Complications vs. Disadvantages.   Posted by DungeonKeeper.Group: archive U
DungeonKeeper
 GM, 53 posts
Wed 23 Mar 2016
at 05:03
Complications vs. Disadvantages
This site has a pretty cool concept of taking "complications" that "enforce" role playing negative character traits, but instead of gaining a permanent front-loaded benefit for them, the character only gets a temporary benefit after a "complication" comes into play.

This actually seems better than the Champions system of point-based "Disadvantages".

http://www.d20herosrd.com/char...eation#complications

These are open gaming rules derived from Green Ronin's Mutants & Masterminds 3rd. This has a super-hero feel to it, so some of it would not be relevant in this Ptolus fantasy setting.

Any feedback on this is appreciated.

This message was last updated by the GM at 03:35, Sun 24 Apr 2016.

Ember Ashwind
 player, 54 posts
Wed 23 Mar 2016
at 14:51
Complications vs. Disadvantages
I prefer a more traditional Disadvantage system. Complications don't seem to run in a logical way. It makes sense to mitigate your weaknesses: It's the reason people wear armor and carry a shield. Complications reward you for doing things you should avoid. For free victory points for indulging in your addiction seems odd.
DungeonKeeper
 GM, 55 posts
Thu 24 Mar 2016
at 04:25
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
Ember Ashwind:
I prefer a more traditional Disadvantage system. Complications don't seem to run in a logical way. It makes sense to mitigate your weaknesses: It's the reason people wear armor and carry a shield. Complications reward you for doing things you should avoid. For free victory points for indulging in your addiction seems odd.


To be clear on how the mechanic works, the complication does not give victory points every time they come into the story. You can't, lets say, MAKE them happen and just get a point.

They only give a victory point (and you can't save them up, only one at a time in the "bank") if the complication actually causes a significant setback for the character/party.

For example, say you did have Alcoholism (an addiction) as a complication. You're not getting a victory point for sitting in a safe tavern drinking yourself into a stupor. The times when this complication would give a reward is like in The Walking Dead season 3 (or 4) when Bob (an alcoholic) is so driven by his addiction that he chooses to save the bottle of booze over helping one of his companions avoid being zombie dinner. In other words, the character SHOULD want to avoid the addiction... it's a dangerous situation and teamwork is needed for everyone to make it through... but they can't, maybe the DM calls for a willpower check and they fail it, and so they make a really bad choice.

Sure, they get a compensatory victory point... but that isn't going to bring back poor Samwise Gamgee, is it? Poor little guy, that zombie ate him up in like nothing.... uh... well, lets be honest, he was probably a 7 course meal as far as hobbits go, and a lot more marbled than ol' Aragon was, but still.
Ember Ashwind
 player, 58 posts
Fri 25 Mar 2016
at 23:04
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
In reply to DungeonKeeper (msg # 3):

IMO it still sets up a reward system for disruptive behavior. They 'just can't help themselves' and they get points for it...

"You can't, lets say, MAKE them happen and just get a point.": Maybe not, but you sure can jump on any situation that might lead to the issue meaning you can HELP make it happen. If you have Alcoholism, you can choose the situation involving liquor in hopes of points instead of picking a situation unlikely to involve alcohol. the incentive isn't to make good choices but to make bad ones.

I'd rather see points for people playing well. Points for roleplaying their struggle with the issue not for failing a "willpower check". I'd rather not incentivize people playing like a kender. :P

You are of course free to use a complication system, I'll just avoid it like the literal plague.
DungeonKeeper
 GM, 65 posts
Fri 25 Mar 2016
at 23:21
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
I will conceed that rewarding them when the complication comes into play could potentially become a "complication magnet" where players seek out opportunities to be complicated. Especially if a DM is not very careful about only rewarding if the complication actually caused a significant setback. I also remember how it worked in Champions where players loathed to take any disadvantages that could ever actually come into play more often than a blue moon, too. Both systems have their problems.

I've never used a Complications system before, what would be interesting is to maybe do some research on what the players of such systems (M&M apparently) actually think about it and especially if they also have played systems like Champions or GURPS.
Ember Ashwind
 player, 62 posts
Fri 25 Mar 2016
at 23:38
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
I've played those games in the past which is why I think I dislike the idea so much. Really I found all the 'active' systems a pain in the butt. No matter the system, people can, and are actually incentivized to, game it.

That's why I play with systems like the current disadvantage one. While the benefits may seem 'frontloaded', so are the disadvantages. The positives and negatives are written down on the sheet and figured into your sheet. As such, it's easy to use and no gaming the system past picking negatives that affect you the least.
Krass
 player, 37 posts
 the Orc.
Fri 25 Mar 2016
at 23:56
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
I'm a longtime Champions player since the first edition was released. I heartily approve of Disadvantages, as they bring in situations that cause a character to either hurt himself or put himself at a forewarned disadvantage in order to remain 'heroic'. It has made for some epic storytelling for me in the past. I'm not sure I like the Complications idea. Don't really like M&M, and Champions 5E use Complications (Disadvantages, but named otherwise).
DungeonKeeper
 GM, 66 posts
Sat 26 Mar 2016
at 02:56
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
I have not played champions since the 90's. I played 1st through 3rd edition quite extensively. I played as a player in a decade long running campaign and ran a few games of my own with it. At one time it was easily my favorite gaming system. I did no know 5E had renamed Disadvantages to be called something else. Do they still work where you get X points for each one which can be used to buy more powers?
Krass
 player, 38 posts
 the Orc.
Sat 26 Mar 2016
at 03:24
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
Not exactly. You get 300 or 400 points for your character. You have to choose 'x' points of 'Complications '. But they do not add to your character points. That eay, everyone in the game starts at the same active point total, and everyone suffers from the same amount, point-wise, of Complications.
Ember Ashwind
 player, 63 posts
Sat 26 Mar 2016
at 16:10
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
In reply to Krass (msg # 9):

Interesting. Like the DungeonKeeper, it's been ages since I've played those systems. I had no idea Champions 5E changed things that much.
Krass
 player, 39 posts
 the Orc.
Sat 26 Mar 2016
at 17:55
Re: Complications vs. Disadvantages
Yeah. Champs 5E no longer has figured characteristics.  Each ability is bought seperately. Skills/powers are done differently too.