Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs


Alrighty, I’ve got some very loose ideas on what I want my system to do, and I’d like to get some thoughts down to get some feedback.

I think I achieved the “the only ones who can help you are the people just as bad off as you are” vibe. I was happy with it, because it encouraged a real feeling of community at the table. At this point I’m having a hard time figuring out how the system is going to get across the other experiences I’m trying to get the players to feel, like being lost. Not knowing who you are or what happened to you is a start, but not enough at this point. The other problem I ran into was the players were kind of enjoying the fact that no one could see them. I need to work a little harder to drive home the lonliness of existing in a world where no one knows you’re there. I’m not sure how to do this right now, but it’s one of my top priorities.
Here’s what I’m thinking for the system so far:

  • Hope and Despair still determine die steps, from d4 to d12; you still have a hope die and a despair die
  • We’re now working with Conflict resolution instead of Task resolution
  • You get a token for each point of hope and despair
  • When determining the stakes for a conflict, the GM says how many tokens you will have to wager. If your character is willing to go through with it, he has to put the chips down.
  • if the player wins the roll, they get back double the amount of chips they put down. If they lose, they lose the chips (with it they lose the survival or lucidity they wagered)

The problems/things I want to work in are as follows:

  • Players need to be able to bet on other players
  • need to figure out how skills are going to work now
  • I want the characters to be betting something…not just poker chips. What I mean is that when a character loses a conflict, they’re losing more than just that conflict. They’re investing a part of themselves in every wager they make. There may be a way to connect conflicts to the characters secrets, which is something I’ve been wrapping my mind around.

Sorry I keep posting with these random thought fragments, but find it helps solidify ideas in my own head when I post them to a open forum like this, so it ends up being really helpful


I thought it might be helpful to post up the betting system I was using last playtest.  Even though it didn’t work *quite* the way I wanted it to, it was something I wanted to keep working with.


Character advancement in Kingdom of Nothing is based on two distinct elements: a players ability to make the game more fun or impactful for the other players at the table and    pushing along one’s own personal plot.  Tokens are awarded for achievement in either of these two areas, which can then be spent to raise stats and buy abilities.  At the beginning of game session the Judge takes a stack of 15 tokens and adds one for each player at the table.  They are divided evenly among the players.  If there’s an extra, the judge takes it back.  These are called Drama Tokens.  The Judge will also have his own stack, which isn’t limited to any number.  These are called Story Tokens.

drama tokens

Any time a player does something clever with their character, roleplays a scene particularly well or does anything else to make the play session more meaningful, other players can award him with drama tokens.  The group should come up with circumstances beyond just ‘good roleplaying’ that would merit giving a token.  They should decide what kind of game they’re going for, whether it’s an intense psychological horror, epic fantasy or some other genre.  Once this is decided, players should have a conversation about what elements they all think contribute to this style of play.  For example, an epic fantasy game may want to encourage acts of heroism or surviving great danger.  One of the purposes of Drama Tokens is to encourage actions that other players would like to see more of in their game.

story tokens

The Judge gives out story tokens when a player takes a step towards finding out their Secrets.  This can be anything from meeting someone from their past, finding clues about who they were or defeating a personal cobweb; whatever the Judge deems appropriate.

using tokens

Tokens can be spent at any point during game to increase Survival and Lucidity on a one-for-one basis.  When both stats go up to seven, players will add one to their hope and bring their Survival and Lucidity back down to their base.  If a player’s Hope is already at five, maxing out on Survival and Lucidity will lower Despair by one.
Players may also buy new skills for three tokens if they can explain why it would make sense for them to have that skill.

new echoes

Players can work with their judge to create new echoes as they raise their Hope.  Echoes can provide benefits to the characters they belong to.  How powerful these benefits are will depend on how much hope is invested into them.  If a player has three Hope, they can have three echoes with one Hope in each, two Echoes at two and one hope, or one powerful Echo with three hope invested.
Investing one Hope into an Echo allows the player to raise one of their base stats in Survival or Lucidity.  Investing two allows the player to learn a new knack in the category their current knack is already in.  One Echo can have more than one ability attributed to it.  Players should work with the GM to decide what form the Echo takes.  If a character loses the Hope invested into the Echo, than it disappears along with it’s benefits.

evening the odds

if the Despair modifier and the despair die are higher than the hope modifier and hope die, other players can bet tokens on the roll.  It adds a +1 modifier up until the modifier is even with despair, thus canceling out both modifiers.  If the player wins their roll, everyone who bet get double the tokens they put down.  If the player loses the roll, everyone who bet loses their tokens.


July 15, 2007 - Posted by | Kingdom of Nothing


  1. The first version of Know Thyself was all about single-conflict resolution & wagering tokens. Whenever someone got into a conflict, the GM would set the wager amount. Having more coins meant being more likely to have a good ending at endgame.

    So, here’s where it failed for me (which I’ll share in case it’s helpful for you): this made PC vs PC conflicts — which can naturally occur in stressful situations — so alien to PC vs GM that I had to solution to this situation. Second, the coins combined with a completely random resolution created a situation where the players never felt like backing down — they had no influence over the probability of the cards, so they had no good or bad “hand” to influence their wagering.

    There was also so little investment in specific coins that there was no consideration about losing them individually. If I try this idea with a future game, I might mix it with some ideas from Chad Underkoffler’s PDQ, where damage is applied to traits. I think that blending would be “Losing coins = losing potential that can’t be regained until you get some coins back.”

    I want the characters to be betting something…not just poker chips. What I mean is that when a character loses a conflict, they’re losing more than just that conflict.

    I wanted something like that as well, but knowing so little about the character in my game meant not really having much to hang this idea on. You know more — at least by result of character creation — in Kingdom of Nothing, so I think you stand a better chance of achieving this.

    Incidentally, consider this: what if you could share tokens with your fellow PCs? What if one is down too far to keep going, and you’re willing (or must, because otherwise it’s bad for you) to give up some of yourself to help your comrade out. I’m not suggest *how* to do it or what sort of fees or exchange rate would be involved, but it you want the PCs to help lift each other up, that could be one way to look at it.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  2. Jeff,

    This comment may or may not help, but the game text talked about owing favors. If I bet on you, aren’t I doing you a favor by adding hope? Would you owe me something then?

    That makes the character betting something…if the character wins, he/she gets a favor.

    Comment by commondialog | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  3. Ryan- Thanks for the prior experiences. I’ll stay away from that path

    cd- Interesting idea…I’ll keep it in mind

    Comment by jhimmelman | July 17, 2007 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: