Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition -- Karma Points

or.. .

How to Mechanically Reward Roleplaying in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Ed. and love the Atomic Bomb  . . .

When you hate an RPG System and you run it, you tend to create house rules to make the game run better.  I came up with one of these rules before.  Karma Points.

Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra) originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies.

Trying to build a system around Karma is tough enough, since Karma is an abstraction.   Since Karma has to do with Good and Bad deeds, I based mine on Force Points.


There are Good Karma and Bad Karma.  A player gains a Karma point, good or bad, when he roleplays his character sufficiently well in a Session.  Good Karma points are awarded if the player roleplays his character consistently according to his concept.  Bad Karma is awarded when a character plays against his type.

This is Based on real experience.  If a person in real life pursues happiness in this life according to his path, he will gain Good Karma, if he goes against his path of happiness, he gains Bad Karma.

Good Karmic Rewards

A Karma Point can be used to:
  • Modify a skill roll by +1d6 -- like an Action point.
  • Modify a save check by +1d6.
  • Be spent on an extra Utility power (the kind of powers that are good for roleplaying and not good in combat.)  7 Karma points can gain an Utility Power or a Skill Power (see PHB3). 
A Bad Karma Point can be used to:
  • Provide an extra use of a combat oriented Encounter Power. 
  • Provide an extra use of a combat oriented Daily Power.
  • Modify a Skill Roll by +1d4.
  • Modify a save check by +1d4.
  • Affect an NPC's attitude towards the player.  If said NPC isn't a follower, minion, henchmen, cohort, or thrall of the Player, accumulating Bad Karma will make an NPC react negatively to the player.  An NPC will react at -2 for every five Bad Karma points the PC accumulates.
  • If an NPC accumulates enough Bad Karma (exceeding his wisdom score) then he becomes Lost to Evil and must change his alignment to Evil.  
  • To redeem oneself of Bad Karma, those with Bad Karma must sacrifice themselves for the good of the people.  Then the Karma points are erased at the expense of the character's life (and he might be reincarnated to make up for his past deeds).
Karma points cannot be used for:
Purchasing a feat, or extra combat oriented powers.

They can't be used to raise a skill level.

However, the implications of Karma points is quite sound.  By tinkering with them more, I can probably turn 4e more into the game Feng Shui, since they are both similar in many respects.  In Feng Shui, the player characters get Shticks, which are -- for all intents and purposes -- mechanically the same as Powers in 4e.  The only difference between the two games are the fact that Feng Shui doesn't use classes and it's stunt oriented.

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