Thursday, June 21, 2012

Character Sheet, Corruption and update notes

I've finally got a character sheet. Credit to Mad Irishman for the original layout.

The character sheet includes a few things that haven't been added to the rules yet: namely the Artistry skill and the Corruption points system, which I've described below.

If you're one of the few people that have read through the rules, you should go back and check out the Races post for the new Advanced Races, as well as the equipment post, as that's where I'm adding content right now.

Corruption replaces Dark Side Points in the SWSAGA system. Characters with a Corruption score less than or equal to 1/2 of their wisdom score are considered Good and are not subject to Holy damage. Characters with a Corruption score greater than than their Wisdom score are considered Evil and are not subject to Unholy Damage. Characters with a Corruption score greater than 1/2 their Wisdom, but less than or equal to their Wisdom score are considered Neutral, and are not subject to either Holy or Unholy Damage, but gain no benefit from magic weapon abilities that deal extra aligned damage.

The "awarding" of Corruption points is entirely up to the DM, but they have a few rules of thumb:

If a player uses the lack of a moral compass to gain in-game benefit, whether for the sake of wealth or short-cutting encounters the character earns a Corruption point. 

If a player willfully takes action that is destructive to the goals of the party, without adding value to the story, the character earns a Corruption point. 

This means that robbing random villagers in order to accumulate wealth will get you a Corruption point, while freeing the slaves from an Orcish dungeon will not. Stealing from or assaulting your party members without cause will almost certainly earn you a Corruption point. Stealing a valuable artifact from a merchant might earn the character(s) a Corruption point, depending on the importance of the object to their quest, the importance of their quest, and their ability to acquire the object through honest means. Obviously there's a lot of gray area here, but the intention of the rule is to allow the DM some measure of control against players that might use their detachment from the character to take actions that a rational, decent person would not do.

What defines rational and decent? Well, that's largely up to the player. If a player devout follows the Utilitarian ethic of "the greatest good for the greatest number" for instance, they should not necessarily be given Corruption for making ruthless, yet overall beneficial decisions. A thief that steals from the rich to give to the poor in an oppressed nation should not necessarily be given Corruption, especially when he avoids bloodshed.

Players should always know when they are about to receive a Corruption point. Obviously, exceptions can be made when a player is being particularly obtuse, but when the DM believes they should award a character a corruption point the player should be given an opportunity to defend their position before taking the action. Some actions, like recklessly murdering or assaulting innocent bystanders without cause, should be clearly out of line and the DM is under no obligation to accept an argument.

Depending on the campaign, being Evil can have various consequences. In traditionally Good campaigns, Evil characters become NPCs under the control of the DM and must cease adventuring with the rest of the party. In Neutral Campaigns the consequences would be decidedly less harsh, giving a penalty to Charisma checks against Good characters, for instance, or simply having the local law be an effective enforcer of good behavior. Evil campaigns would have no negative consequences for being Evil, aside from the vulnerability to Holy damage.