using Achievements at the game table

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using Achievements at the game table

Post by willpell » Thu May 24, 2018 10:14 am

The concept of Achievements from video gaming seem like they might have a place in tabletop RP as well. The big difference would be that without game code constraining the player's available actions, it would be foolish to actually design achievements in advance, or at least to tell the players about the ones you've picked out. Instead, when you get into a situation and you find yourself noticing something appropriate happening, or recognize the potential for it to happen, perhaps write a fitting Achievement name on an index card which you can hand to a player, to recognize and commemorate some stunt or misadventure.

For a mechanical effect, consider using Achievements in place of Inspiration, with the exception that when the effect is used, the card is not returned to the DM, but rather marked as having been cashed in. I would disallow transferring your achievements to another player, but taking suggestions that something could count as an Achievement fulfills the same purpose, without the suggester needing to give anything up. Achievements need not be positive, and they should never reward the player for an obvious or mechanically optimal choice, which he would have done anyway. Use them to reward players for inserting good complications into the basic monotony of gameplay, or to encourage them to undermine their own successes or explore choices that are mechanically undesirable, but seem fitting nonetheless.

Here are a few sample Achievements to get the ball rolling.
* Circus Tamer - Fend off a Dire Lion for at least three rounds with only a Whip and an improvised shield.
* With My Bare Hands - Successfully hit a creature with an Unarmed Strike, without possessing a feat to prevent the Attack of Opportunity this provokes, or any equipment that improves the damage of your fist. Preferably, roleplay that the character is so pissed off that he drops his weapon, just to have the satisfaction of feeling his knuckles crack across the foe's jaw.
* Agincourt - recreate a tactical maneuver from this famous battle (sorry to be vague, but I lack the energy to look up any details).
* Watch That First Step - fail to spot a trapdoor or the like, and plunge far enough to take maximum falling damage (this may be reduced).
* Better Lucky Than Good - roll a natural 20 on three consecutive attacks.
* Never Tell Me The Odds - as a Lawful Neutral warrior or cleric type, voluntarily accept a die result of 1 on all damage rolls for an encounter, just so they can be consistent.
* Pick a Card, Any Card - craft a basically convincing fake of a Deck of Many Things and use it to swindle some novice adventurer you passed on a road, between your Next Big Score and the last place you're wanted dead or alive in.
* Bathroom Humor - make (in)appropriate comments while fighting an Otyugh in a midden trench behind an orc warcamp.
* Decomposing of My Own Free Will - refuse a resurrection spell, and play an entire game session roleplaying your character's deceased status, claiming believably that this is better than the Revolving Door Afterlife.

There, that ought to do for a start. Again, don't actually use these; just do this *type* of thing.

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Re: using Achievements at the game table

Post by zontoxira » Thu May 24, 2018 11:48 am

My group had a discussion to introduce achievements in the game, in much a simpler form that is (relatively) easy to achieve at every session. Below were a few of our recommendations (5e btw):
* Stinky Rolls. The player with the most failed rolls (or worst outcomes).
* And the Oscar goes.. The player with excellent role-playing skills.
* Puzzle breaker. The player with outstanding puzzle-solving skills.
* Steamroller. The player with 3+ critical hits in a session.
* Never tell me the odds. The player who succeeded at a difficult DC with disadvantage.
* The Joker. The player with the best jokes, puns, witty comments etc.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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"There are no saints in the animal kingdom. Only breakfast, and dinner." - Lorne Malvo

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