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ThreeD10: The Happiness System

Nakander

Villager
One of the first aspects of this game that I'd like to talk about is the happiness system.

I'll spare you the details of how many failed versions of this system I've tried to make work over the years and why they've failed or only partially been successful, but what's important is why I wanted it to work.

There's two basic ideas behind this system. First, your character is going to logically want to eat good food and have fun or else he'd be depressed and have no reason to do what he's doing. The second is how do you make it worthwhile for your character to spend good money on luxeries or entertainment. It's not like you're going to get any of that in the real world, so why bother?

So that brings us to how do you incorporate those into a game like this? I'm glad you asked.

First, as part of your character creation you'll take a BS personality test that I made up with no relevant education to assign a personality type to your character. (Those players that were not very familiar with RPGs loved this part of the game, by the way.) Each of the personality types have lists of likes and dislikes for your character that include foods, entertainment, and general quirks.

There are 9 personality types with names like Oak or Thistle and other plantish names that I've written lore and backgrounds for. I wanted to come up with something original to denote personalities and it was way harder than you might think.

Okay, so you have your personality type. Now on your character sheet you have a happiness rating that will decrease as your character is caught in crappy situations (like adventuring, eating rations, and camping in the wild). When you have an opportunity to go to a town you can take advantage of the recreation and good food that is offered there to raise your happiness (if you wish). There's a bunch of other ways this can be done that would take too long to list here.

So what are the benefits or penalties of being aware of your happiness? Happiness is a statistic in this game that will get checked at certain points in the quest as well as randomly. Then, successful checks will confer real bonuses or penalties that the player will actually care about. This system also added an interesting facet of players caring where they camped and what city they were in because they wanted to go where their favorite food or "other" favorite things were located.

I'll add that It tested wildly well in my last run. Watching players being choosey about their food and adult companionship was some of the funniest things we've ever seen in years of playing.

And that's it in a nutshell. Thank you.
 

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AnotherGuy

Explorer
This idea has some merit.
You get the odd player who is IMO too frugal with their coin despite the fact that they wear the best armour, use masterwork weapons but are content on using the lowliest daily spend allowances. A poor happiness rating may result in only applying half your proficiency to your social skills, all rolls or your just suffer disadvantage on your skill checks. The 9 personality thing is a little much for my liking but if it works for you and your table have at it.

Things that may increase a happy rating (this is not an exhaustive list) - burying an old feud, mending fences with an ally, good food, lively entertainment, winning at a game, recovering a lost trinket/heirloom, saving a loved one, companionship, becoming a parent. You may also incentivise for great roleplay.

The above may be too admin heavy for some tables but one can stream-line this idea by simply tying it to the replenishment of a character's inspiration. You don't partake in a little me-time, you don't gain your inspiration. Long Rest alone doesn't earn one Inspiration without some personal investment.
 
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Nakander

Villager
These are excellent ideas of which I've covered a few and I greatly look forward and encourage innovation with the system of this sort.

Oddly enough, the personality test and results were pretty much the high point of some players' character creations. But I can understand that more experienced players might be leary of extra rules to keep track of.

I find that if you can get your players interested enough in the story, quirks, and history of their character and campaign, these sorts of extras only add and never take away. Just my opinion, though.

Thank you for your interest.
 

First, your character is going to logically want to eat good food and have fun or else he'd be depressed and have no reason to do what he's doing.

Obviously, you've never served.

Its an interesting system, but it seems to cater to a more passive PC, one who needs motivation.

I can see it now: the band of PCs trudging back into town. "Did you rescue the children kidnapped by the beastmen?"

"No, had to turn back. Ran out of duck pate, and were down to domestic wine; we just couldn't press on. Too sad." :ROFLMAO:
 
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Nakander

Villager
Its an interesting system, but it seems to cater to a more passive PC, one who needs motivation.
Exactly right. This game was created from watching passive PCs - girlfriends, wives, inexperienced RPGers, slightly drunk people, and laymen - become frustrated with the prospects of trying to learn a game that's been around for decades.

With the added disadvantage of trying to hook much more experienced and cynical gamers with the same game.

The reason I've come forward with it is because I believe I've succeeded. I played this game with players of all types and in 30 years of playing I've never seen a campaign or ruleset run so well.

As for your joke: I know you're teasing but the additional facet of this system really did add some needed comedy to the campaign. Have you ever seen players getting into serious arguments about who was going to get which prostitute because they needed the happiness boost more while their reallife wives looked on. I've never laughed so hard in my life.
 

As for your joke: I know you're teasing but the additional facet of this system really did add some needed comedy to the campaign. Have you ever seen players getting into serious arguments about who was going to get which prostitute because they needed the happiness boost more while their reallife wives looked on. I've never laughed so hard in my life.
I'm not much of a fan of comedic games, although they are out there. Most players I encounter lean far more toward heroic themes. Good versus evil, personal accomplishment, that sort of thing.

But if, as you say, you're dealing with players with only marginal interest in being in the game. I suppose a dose of silliness might help.
 

Nakander

Villager
I'm not much of a fan of comedic games, although they are out there. Most players I encounter lean far more toward heroic themes. Good versus evil, personal accomplishment, that sort of thing.
I greatly appreciate your point of view. I also know it's naive to think I can please everyone. That being said, I've certainly tried. There is a massive amount of personal accomplishment and epic (in my own opinion as the author of it) story telling.

I would ask that when I have it in a form that I can release, you would read the quest and see what you think. I'm not opposed to people taking my game and adapting it to their own ruleset. Unfortunately, the quest is 120,000 words long...
 

I greatly appreciate your point of view. I also know it's naive to think I can please everyone. That being said, I've certainly tried. There is a massive amount of personal accomplishment and epic (in my own opinion as the author of it) story telling.

I would ask that when I have it in a form that I can release, you would read the quest and see what you think. I'm not opposed to people taking my game and adapting it to their own ruleset. Unfortunately, the quest is 120,000 words long...
Thanks, but I'm running two weekly campaigns; I really don't have the time. Good luck with your endeavor.
 

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