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 Post subject: School Drama Mechanic: Anxiety
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:11 pm 
Shelled Plebeian
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I've been dabbling in OVA campaigns that take place during high school, the setting of many slice-of-life stories. Unlike "traditional" role-playing games, however, the conflicts faced by characters in school dramas are rarely martial in nature. Students' struggles are more about emotional conflicts between one another. To resolve this, and keep the dice-rolling impactful in a school drama campaign, I'm introducing a mechanic I call Anxiety, which I invite any fellow GMs to use in their games and report on what works and what doesn't, so that the system can be tweaked. More than anything I'm looking to find the sweet spot for the DN adjustments from Drama Dice and Temptation: Anxiety should be challenging, but not insurmountable. Or should the base DN be raised?

Anxiety
High school is teenage hell. Between students' academic future depending on their class performance, the storm of new and difficult emotions caused by adolescence, and awful peers spreading nasty rumors around, something's gotta give. When a character is faced with a source of anxiety, known as an Anxiety Trigger, that character must roll against DN 4 to resist it (adding her Iron-Willed and other relevant dice to the roll as normal). If the roll is successful, no ill effect occurs, but the DN of the next Anxiety Trigger increases by 1 for each consecutive success, to represent the cumulative effect of multiple sources of anxiety. When a roll succeeds, the character may spend a Drama Die to return her Anxiety Trigger DN to 4. Players are encouraged to keep track of their characters' own Anxiety Trigger DNs.

Whenever a character's Anxiety Trigger roll fails, the character suffers the effects of the Anxiety Trigger, which are determined by the nature of the Anxiety Trigger itself. Anxiety Triggers are divided into three types: Alarm, Guilt, and Temptation.

Alarm: Applies when a character faces something that causes worry or panic. Failure results in the inability to spend or acquire Drama Dice until the source of the Alarm is removed or conquered.

Guilt: Applies when a character deceives, betrays, or otherwise wrongs someone else, OR when a character discovers that someone else has wronged them. Failure means that being in the presence of the other person becomes a Level 1 Weakness for the character. This effect persists until the guilty party apologizes for what she did and rectifies it somehow (the exact terms of this are up to the Game Master's discretion). If the source of this Anxiety Trigger lies in something that can never be fixed, the effect persists forever.

Temptation: Applies when a character wants to resist doing something that is desirable, but that she knows is wrong. Failure results in her succumbing to the Temptation, and the DN of her next Anxiety Trigger of any kind is raised by 2. Prior to rolling, a character may willingly succumb to Temptation; if she does so, the DN of her next Anxiety Trigger is lowered by 2 instead, to a minimum of 4, to reflect the temporary relief offered by the Temptation. (This is not considered a success.)

Note: My primary source of inspiration for Anxiety is the anime series School Days, which I finally got around to watching earlier this week, and it's somewhat colored by that series as a result, but my hope is that it can work for lighter school settings as well.


Last edited by MarthWMaster on Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: School Drama Mechanic: Anxiety
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:34 pm 
Dangerously Sane
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Very interesting! I love when people hack the game to suit different settings. I think “Guilt” is my favorite...so much flavor in having Penalties just for being in the presence of the appropriate parties. Thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: School Drama Mechanic: Anxiety
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:41 pm 
Exalted Amphibian

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I don't know about this. It seems a little too neurotic, for even anime standards...

But at the end of the day, if this does your gaming group, more power to you.

_________________
"And now my friends, a Dragon's Toast! To life's little blessings; wars, plagues and all forms of evil. Their presence keeps us alert-- And their absence keeps us grateful!" - T.A. Barron


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 Post subject: Re: School Drama Mechanic: Anxiety
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:59 pm 
Shelled Plebeian
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Chris Brady wrote:
I don't know about this. It seems a little too neurotic, for even anime standards...
Like I said, I had just finished watching School Days when writing this, and the intense themes of that show definitely affected the final product. But I do feel the basic concepts here, though phrased a bit more direly than you're going to find in most slice-of-life anime, can still apply. For example, a student can succumb to the temptation not to study for an exam, and then feel alarm when the exam date arrives. Guilt is the one I really feel could use some tweaking, as there are forms of guilt, such as the avoidance of studying I've just mentioned, that do not relate to interpersonal situations, and I think it'd be a bit too much to consider the person both the wronging and wronged party, thus giving her a persistent Weakness in everything until the problem is resolved.


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