Friday, April 27, 2012

Regency/Gothic Design Journal One: Hindrances and True Love

Even if you've never read Pride and Prejudice or seen one of its many adaptations, you are familiar with certain tropes of romance fiction codified by Jane Austen.  Unless you've been living in a cave on Mars your whole life, you've read, watched, or heard something that falls into the the romantic comedy category.  Maybe it was "Bridget Jones' Diary" or "High Fidelity."  Maybe it was "Shaun of the Dead" or "Thor."  Whatever it was, it presented the search for love as a quest for self-perfection.

Yep, self-perfection.

(And yes, "Thor" is a romantic comedy.  Cute meet?  Sparks fly?  The mighty hammer Meow-meow?  Romantic comedy.)

A romantic comedy hero or heroine is much more beset by personal failings than external adversaries in the quest for love.  He or she or both of them together must overcome his or her or their personal failings in order to be worthy of love.  Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy are both beset by pride and prejudice to different degrees; Elizabeth's pride is hurt by Darcy's prejudice toward her goofy-ass family, Elizabeth's prejudice against Darcy because of that first impression wounds his pride later on, etc.  Thor must cast off his arrogance.  Shaun must choose between bromance and romance.  John Cusack's dude in "High Fidelity" has to stop being such a jerk toward women...

In Savage Worlds terms, this means that emulating the "romance" part of our Regency Romance/Gothic Horror mash-up requires characters to buy off their Hindrances during play. 

But who is going to want to do that?  Buying off Hindrances with Advances is losing opportunities to gain new Edges or improve skills.  Nobody's going to buy off a Hindrance if they can get Improved Counterattack instead!  (And only a suicidal fool starts the game with no Hindrances to get the extra points for Edges, Abilities, and Skills.)

The answer (to me at least) seems to be to make True Love an Edge.  A really powerful Edge.  A really powerful Edge that has as a requirement that you have no hindrances.

True Love, the Edge, has to be so powerful that when the Machine sucks all the life out of you, you're only mostly dead.  It has to give you a bonus to Vigor rolls to let you stand up to villainy when you can barely stand at all.  It has to give you a bonus to Spirit rolls that lets you resist the most powerful temptations and stand strong in the face of the worst horrors.

True Love has to kick ass.

Unfortunately, I haven't figured it out yet.  I'll let you know when I do.  (I'm thinking you also need to be at least Heroic rank and have a Spirit of d8+, but that's debatable.)

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