Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Passions: Redux

Okay, so the idea of simple swapping of passions has fallen by the wayside.  I think I may toss it into a playtest some day because I think it’s got potential as an idea, but there was enough that had me interested in some of the comments I got.

First, I am perfectly okay with the idea that what you love is what you are good at.  It’s perhaps not perfectly believeable and I will have some sort of skill/Trait system to flesh out other stuff you can do.  Pretty minimal on that front.

So a starting character will likely get 5-7 passion points (by the way, if the term “passions” is making you think too much about Mortal Coil, call them widget points.  This mechanic is similar, though unrelated.)  So 5-7 points into 3-5 passions.

Any situation in which you have a passion gives you +1 die.  So again, the passion “I want to be the greatest pilot” means that in pilot situations, you get +1.  (I think a normal roll will be Attr + Skill + passion.)  If this roll fails, the passion used is dropped 1 level.

You can also risk the passion.  If you do that, your entire level of passion in dice to the pool but they must be a different color.  Roll the dice.  If the roll is a failure, you have lost your passion.  You have burnt out.  Period.  Your passion goes to zero(0) and you have to create an antithetical passion (“I want to support my teammates, being flashy is bad.”)

If the roll is a success, yay.  Look at the passion dice.  Any successes can either add or subtract from the passion.  This allows the player to change their passions through play.  The player can decide that they risked their passion and now they can either increase it or decrease it.

I think that limits change for change’s sake.

Also, increasing passions comes at a price.  No passion can be twice as much as the next highest passion plus one or one level in another passion must be sacrified.  So if I have a passion that is 3 and one that is 7, if I want the passion that is 7 to go to 8, I have to sacrifice a passion elsewhere.

I hope that this will allow players to get really good at one thing or kinda good at several things.

So my question to you Master Miners:

1.  Does it strike you as overly sucky before playtest?
2.  Does it produce power creep (as passions start to raise, they will only keep raising.)  I was thinking about having a failure on the passion dice result in dropping the passion by 1 step.  I kind of tend to shy away from mechanics that penalize higher ranks, but I think that an overly passionate person can burn out.
3.  Would a Fate-style pyramid work better for passions or does that force everyone to have a balanced passions and not give them something in which they believe with all their heart?
4.  I am kicking around the idea of having a passion that cannot be reduced, only increased.  Something in which the character believes so strongly that they cannot be shaken (without the player making a concious decision.)  I fear that could be easily abused.


October 16, 2007 - Posted by | Mecha


  1. What benefit is there to having a higher passion? Or a lower one? Maybe you could require someone use the highest passion they have that’s relevant to the situation?

    1) It strikes me as overly cool before playtest.

    2) Well reducing options while increasing intensity is a trade-off. One strong passion may not be as applicable or interesting as many. You might want to have a minimum number of passions, or a constant number that everyone should have. The real question is how having a high passion will matter, that will help answer this question.

    3) I think that’s an empirical question. try it once one way and once another way.

    4) That could be interesting, if there are associated problems with constant increase. I feel like I need to know better what passions would do to answer some of these.

    Comment by robertbohl | October 17, 2007 | Reply

  2. 0. I’m with Rob. There currently is little difference to having a low passion versus a high passion, except for the passions safety.

    1. I think it’s about playtestable, certainly better than some of the things I’ve brought to the table.

    2. You could limit the maximum number of points a passion can have. I would wait and see if the automatic lowering, and ability to risk a passion naturally keep things in line before adding a limit rule.

    3. Esentially the passions are balanced now. See 0.

    4. This sounds less fun. I like the idea that you’re going to have to struggle to keep your passions.

    5. What happens if I deliberately want to lose and change a passion because it’s appropriate to the fiction created at the table? Any bones to throw me?

    Comment by iamclyde | October 17, 2007 | Reply

  3. 6. You don’t explain why I would want to risk burning out a passion and what I would gain. Maybe that would change number 0.

    Comment by iamclyde | October 17, 2007 | Reply

  4. Interesting point. I want the Passions to be the primary instrument of showing character growth. So they serve a mechanical function (they make you better at stuff) but they also serve as the flag/one way the character grows. (The others will be skill increases.)

    Comment by commondialog | October 17, 2007 | Reply

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