Hello! I’m pretty long overdue for a writeup of this, but I’ve conceptualized the last two bits of my ttrpg: Acquisitions and Traumas!
I’ll be writing down details in this thread as I work through it.
In most games, magic, abilities, skills, and items are commonly separated out by categorization and concrete rules. FES doesn’t work this way - it’s intended to be a very freeform-oriented game that has enough glue for you to be able to try random things and see how it feels on the fly.
Instead of all of that, players attain acquisitions as directed by their own personal background, and the ongoing stories they participate in!
An acquisition is made up of two designations: Effect, and Limits.
What happens when you use an acquisition? This covers a large variety of concepts, but it really can be whatever you want. Some ideas include:
- A fancy strike attack that can damage and disarm an opponent (typically, you can only disarm once you get an enemy to 0 HP)
- Attack a target using a mental stat
- Gain fire resistance (+advantage against fire damage, can stack!)
- You get an animal companion or familiar that can do challenges on your behalf
Really, the sky’s the limit here! However, as things scale out beyond basic abilities, keep in mind how strong the effect is compared to your proficiency level. In general, it’s a good idea to limit the maximum permanent effectiveness to equal one advantage for every +2 proficiency a character has starting from +1 - so for instance, if you’re proficiency level +3, you probably shouldn’t have access to permanent effects that surpasses +2 advantage, otherwise the balance of the game gets out of control. This is a guideline, not a rule, and to get access to stronger effects, you should consider applying healthy limits to your abilities.
A limit is intended to encapsulate the duration of an acquisition’s effect, its drawbacks, how often it can be used, etc. Often, if an effect is very powerful, you should balance it out by making your effect more conditional or have worse drawbacks.
If you have an acquisition stronger than what’s recommended, then there should likely be some kind of extreme limit or drawback. A potion that heals you can only be used once to immediately heal you, but a wand that heals you can be used for a much longer time, and is therefore quite a bit stronger an effect and thus might require a healing challenge instead of just restoring health. A stronger heal spell might heal someone for multiple turns, granting them a temporary, separate acquisition that heals them 1 hp every round until the effect is depleted.
Perhaps you wield a cursed blade, and its use depletes your own hp 1 per turn you successfully strike a foe, but it grants you multiple advantage dice in exchange.
Ultimately, how your acquisitions are limited are up to your interpretation, but I’ll eventually start compiling a proper index of examples as I play this more.