Monday, 2 August 2010

Team Benny

One of the things I liked about Shadowrun was the Karma mechanic. It was a combination of experience points and an ahead-of-its-time action point system, so you could spend it between adventures to improve your character, or use it within a scenario to add dice to an action. The best bit about it, and the bit that was really ahead of its time, was the Team Karma concept. This was a pool of points which was used to boost actions, much like individual Karma, except that it was donated from the personal stashes of the player-characters, and could be used by any member of the team. Not only did it have an effect on game mechanics, but it also tied the group together.

On Saturday, I finally ran an Eberron game, using the Savage Worlds rules; I might post a summary of that game later, but there's something else I want to discuss first. Savage Worlds also has an action point mechanism, called "Bennies" in the game's terminology, and these Bennies have multiple uses. There are no hard and fast rules for awarding these points, and they're more of a general award for good play.

Each player starts with around three Bennies, depending on the setting, and can pick up more through the session, while the GM gets one for each of the players, plus two for each main villain. The interesting thing here is that the first set of GM Bennies are kept in a pool which can be used by any NPC, while the latter set can only be used by the NPC to which they're attached.

So what happens if you use a similar system for the players? The three Bennies with which they start the game are theirs to use alone, but any Bennies awarded during the session go into a Team Bennies pool, which can be tapped by any player. Furthermore, any player can donate any of their personal Bennies to the pool should they so wish.

Note that this does cross over somewhat with the Common Bond Edge, although that can be used on any Wild Card, whereas this rule only applies to player-characters. Next time I run Savage Eberron, I'm going to give this a go.

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