Monday, February 4, 2013

Non-Mechanical Conditions

I was motivated to write this post whilst reminiscing about my campaign that recently ended. I was recalling how much I enjoyed running Tegel Manor updated for 4e. I have posted before about the good times to be had with funhouse-style alternate rewards, but I felt the need to emphasize how great non-mechanical conditions can be.

 What do I mean by "non-mechanical"? Well, instead of players having to track any specifics, or worry about mechanical details, the player is affected by a condition that really only demands role play. For example, an enchanted painting made a player in my game feel incredibly brave for like an hour and a half. I swear to you that some of the funniest moments in my entire gaming history came from this.

There are endless possibilities for this sort of thing: a player could become itchy, thirsty, starving, frightened, romantic, violent, paranoid, dim-witted, narcissistic, or simply think they are a chicken. And on and on. Any extreme/exaggerated characteristic will work wonderfully. Don't make assumptions about how your group might react to something like this; a little silliness has an odd way of engaging players!


  1. I've had some success with this, but sadly a lot of people will only pay attention to a dice modifier, and will assume there is no other effect. Luckily, I tend to hang around with people who love getting the chance to role play these days, but for the Tuesday night game, where I didn't pick my players, there's a couple who just don't get the fun to be had with playing teh part, not playing the system...