The King is Dead

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Setting Rule: Fear of Intimacy

New Setting Rule:
Fear of Intimacy


In many cultures throughout history (ex. Heian Japan) and fiction (the planet Vulcan), the expression of powerful emotions has been censored by societal norms.  In such a setting, the GM may require a player to make a Fear check (rolling either Spirit or Guts, depending on the setting) in order to overcome their character's fear of public censure in order to admit and/or act upon a socially-unacceptable desire or impulse.  In most settings, failing the roll will result in a Fear/Nausea result but settings that emphasize extremes of emotion may instead result in Terror and call for a roll on the Fright Table (Savage Worlds Deluxe p. 85).

In the most obvious use of this rule -- forcing characters to screw their courage to the sticking place in order to confess love -- the object of affection's Charisma is used as a negative modifier on the Fear check and a positive modifier on the Fright Table as per the normal "Fear penalty" rules.  In other words, the more desirable the beloved, the harder it is to admit love.

Additional penalties or bonuses may apply depending on the setting.
  • Example 1 (Fear/Nausea):  Ranma Saotome is a Japanese high school student in an anime/manga-based setting.  As the Japanese public education system discourages the free time that allows American high school boys to (frankly) learn how to talk to girls, Ranma is unable to tell his fiancee Akane Tendo of his feelings.  When a new, smooth-talking rival wins a smile from Akane, Ranma tries to win her back with a confession of his love.  She really is kind of cute (Attractive - Charisma +2), so Ranma applies a -2 penalty to his Fear check.  Failing the roll, he is stricken with self-doubt that leaves him Fatigued in the coming "Anything Goes Salsa Dance" battle.
  • Example 2 (Terror): Sir Lancelot is a noble knight in a medieval setting of powerful passions.  He has fallen hopelessly in love with his liege's wife and sneaks off to a tryst with her during a formal hunt.  Approaching the beautiful Guenivere in a secluded forest glade, he rolls to overcome the battling demands of love and honor and fails.  The queen has a +6 Charisma (Very Attractive and Noble) so Lancelot suffers a -6 penalty on the Fear check and adds a +6 penalty on the Fright Table.  He ends up with a Fright Table result of 21+, suffers a heart attack, and dies.  Hooray!  The Round Table is saved!
New Edges:

Casanova

Requirements: Novice, Spirit (or Guts) d6+
Your affections are easily given.  You do not suffer the usual Charisma-based penalty to your Fear check, but your reputation has suffered for it.  Instead of the GM rolling on the reaction table, targets of your seduction attempts always begin at Uncooperative -- or Hostile if they have personal reasons to dislike you (see "Persuasion" on p. 26 of Savage Worlds Deluxe).

Soul Mate
Requirements: Seasoned, Spirit D8+, character must have previously succeeded on a Fear check against Fear of Intimacy with subject
There is one person in the universe with whom you can really speak your heart.  You do not roll Fear checks when facing a situation that would call for a Fear of Intimacy check with this character.  This soul mate may be a player or non-player character, but the benefits of this Edge are lost if the character dies (and is not resurrected by a Genesis Device or the Phoenix Force or something like that).  At the GM's discretion, the Edge may apply to alternate universe versions of the soul mate.  This Edge may be taken again to apply to a new character upon the death of the original soul mate (or if the setting is just into that kind of thing).

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