Sunday, January 31, 2016

Karma Awards for Crapsack Totalitarian Sandboxes

In a typical superhero world, it's hard to have a sandbox campaign. The real superhero normally must always pursue the greatest threat they can, not a chosen target from a target-rich environment.

Not so totalitarian worlds: if the heroes are undermining the regime, you're back in a target-rich environment, where weighing chance of survival versus juiciness of target in an overall plan makes sense.

This does rather tend to undercut both the moral and social order the traditional superhero game rewards upholding here in what Hannah Arendt called "the world of the dying, in which men are taught they are superfluous through a way of life in which punishment is meted out without connection with crime, in which exploitation is practiced without profit, and where work is performed without product, is a place where senselessness is daily produced anew" you're gonna be doing less rescuing kittens from trees and more punching cops and taking their stuff.

So for my new Marvel campaign, I had to rewrite the standard Karma and Popularity awards. This should also work for other similarly terrible worlds like Days of Future Past or Darkseid's planet Apokolips. Aside from "crime" no longer being a meaningful category, I also slightly lessened the karma loss for failing to stop atrocities since basically all day it's atrocity.

I also threw in some things that just reward the players for being cool.

Karma awards:

Wear a costume in front of enemies/witnesses (ie represent a counterforce): 20
Be visibly stigmatized in front of enemies/witnesses: 15
Major act of photogenic vandalism: 5
Violence against innocent: Stop/Prevent 40
Violence against the innocent: Stop/Prevent in front of witnesses 15 more
Theft against innocent: Stop/Prevent 10
Theft against innocent: Stop/Prevent in front of witnesses: 5 more
National offense: Commit 15
National offence: Commit in front of witnesses 5 more
Local conspiracy:  Commit: 20
Local conspiracy: Commit in front of witnesses: 5 more
National conspiracy:  Commit: 30
National conspiracy: Commit in front of witnesses: 15 more
Global conspiracy:  Commit: 40
Global conspiracy: Commit in front of witnesses: 25 more
Other significant crimes: Commit: 10
Other crimes: Commit in front of witnesses: 5 more
Rescue: 20
Rescue in front of witnesses: 10 more
Multiple rescues (5+): 100
Multiple rescues in front of witnesses: 20 more
Aid anyone visibly stigmatized in any way: 10 front of witnesses: 5 more
Defeating foes:
-Remarkable: 30
-Incredible: 40
-Amazing: 50
-Monstrous: 75
-Unearthly: 100
-Shift X: 150
Commit violence against an innocent: -70
Destroy the property of the innocent: -50
Steal from the innocent: -30
Public defeat: -60
Private defeat: -10
Permit violence against the innocent: -10
Permit destruction of the property of the innocent: -5
Permit theft from the innocent: -2
Permit new nationwide disaster: -20
Permit other crime: -5
Permit death of innocent: -all but 10
Noble death: -50
Mysterious death: -50
Self-destruction: -50
Making a commitment: +10
Failing a commitment: -20
Random acts of aid to the underground: +popularity (max 20)
Role-playing (personality tic): +1 until it gets easy
Role-playing (very in character act): +10
Role-playing (so in character it hurts): +15
Awesome plan/idea: +15
I LOL: +5
I LOL and you're in character: +10
Make up something cool that builds the world: +5
Have a rule handy when another player needs it or otherwise lessening the GM's workload: +5


Popularity scores work in reverse when dealing with anyone loyal to the Stadt.

Defeated in public -5
Accused of crime +5
General good deeds +1
Rescues +2
Witnessed committing crime +10

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a world that is a right fit for the Golden Age Superman, who along with fighting street-level punks, fought against social injustices, even in the opposition of laws and members of authority. Although, unlike later incarnations of Superman, he straight-up murders criminals without remorse!

    In your world, the original Superman would be a villain who is fighting to make the crapsack world a better place to live, whatever anyone likes it or not. (Wow, almost like a Bizarro World into itself!)