Monday, February 5, 2024

New Salem: Renaissance - How do we solve a problem like Alignment?

Now that we've spent three days looking at Alignment and Charisma, how are am I actually going to use use them for NS:R? 

Good Question!

There will be four alignments 

  • Good: the character striving for the reclamation of the city of New Salem. There are any number of ways to go about doing this, but they have committed themselves towards the concept of justice and community. They have positive reactions from other Good and Unaligned PCs and negative reactions from Evil ones. All PCs are Good as that's the point of the game. 
  • Unaligned: The character has not yet committed to restoring the city or fallen prey to its corruption, mostly just trying to keep their heads down and get by. They are equally swayed by the force of personality of whoever they are talking to, so receive all positive reaction reaction modifiers, but project positive modifiers to Good characters and negative modifiers to Evil ones, evil characters being more likely be angered or dismissive.
  • Evil: The character has fallen to (or initiates) the corruption in New Salem, and are against the city being restored to some semblance of a just community. They hold the Unaligned in general contempt and the Good with visceral dislike. They have negative reactions to Good and Unaligned PCs, and positive reactions with Evil ones. Remember that their modifiers are positive with Unaligned PCs by overawing them with their personality. 
  • Non-Sentient: these are animals, and they have negative reactions for everyone. Their Charisma is a measure of their ferocity - how likely they are to attack, and how difficult they are to train.
This keeps the moral clarity of the campaign frame while adding the need for the PCs to sway or recruit unaligned people to their cause. 

Charisma is the character's force of personality. It is used for

  • The ability to resist mental and emotional control, both its initiation via an attack roll and to throw it off if it is successful
  • The chance to develop new Magic Spells or Psionic Effects (see those powers for rules)
  • Calculating range of several psionic or magical powers.
  • Initial reactions with individuals: does this person like you or not? (Player characters can feel when someone has a powerful personality, but aren't effected by reaction rolls).  
  • It has a lesser effect on attempts to change someone's reaction to you later - pure Charisma will not undo a bad first impression. 
  • Reactions to plans or suggestions the character puts forward: even if they like you, it doesn't mean they are going to go along with your weird plan. (PCs are again immune to this; the player has full control over the character's actions.)
  • Determining number of henchmen/support staff can the character have? If the character is part of an organization, how many nodes of that organization can they control? Each node contains as many as their standard number of henchmen/support staff. An individual villain usually taps out at 9 henchmen, but if they are part of an organization they would control 9 nodes of 9 henchmen each. 
  • Modifying initial Loyalty rolls for Henchmen. Loyalty once determined is set unless you either treat them very well or poorly, or someone else tries to undermine it (which is based on their Charisma, not yours). 
  • Charisma does not directly effect Morale tests, but an enemy's morale test is modified by their reaction to your suggestion (however phrased) that they break morale. 
Charisma is no longer an arbiter of how well you embody your alignment, nor is it a tracker of your reputation. If you wish to develop a powerful reputation, you can use Training or Invention to do so. This will be discussed later. 

This, I think keeps some of the spirit of the original rules while removing a lot of their complexity, and highlighting the possibility of developing a support structure for the PCs of a gang of henchmen for the villains (or an organization of several nodes for the real villains!). 

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