Hacked Trait Voting/Artha Expenditure Tracking

Posted this before but in the wrong forum.


Traits votes are regularly unsatisfying. We often hit one character perfectly, but the rest degenerate into soul-searching and flipping through the trait lists looking for inspiration. I think this is because we’re trying to find the intersection between three things:
[li]The way in which we felt the character ought to be growing[/li][li]The value of the trait we think they deserve[/li][li]The trait list, which is very lumpy, large, and not memorized[/li][/ul]

My proposal makes this a more linear process - the group can reflect on what they want to underscore, then how much underscoring it ought to get, then pick a trait for it.

BIT Cards

You no longer track artha spent on BIT-related scenes, you just track artha earned by each BIT. (e.g. When a trait earns you 1 fate, you tally that right next to the trait.)

Beliefs and instincts are each written on separate cards. The Belief card has a spot for the ‘guiding light’ portion (e.g. I will enrich myself through thievery), and then six or so rows for kickers (e.g. and so I will locate the baron’s buried treasure). As you resolve kickers, you just cross them out and write the new one on the next line.

Instinct cards just have the one line plus a spot for artha earned.

Artha-earning traits can just stay on the character sheet, since they evolve slowly.

You’ll have some long-lived guiding light-only beliefs and instincts that earn a lot of Fate but don’t really change, and then some really churny spine-of-the-quest belief cards that look like a little history of the accomplishments along the way, that earn a lot of persona. Insurance-style instincts won’t have much artha on them at all.

Anything that’s resolved completely, or no longer interesting (like totally completed belief, an insurance instinct that’s being swapped out for something new) goes into a Trait Vote pile. Your replacement belief/instinct gets a fresh card.

Trait Vote

When it comes time for the trait vote, the group considers a single PC. Everyone passes around their trait vote pile and their current BITs, and discusses other directions they saw the PC exhibit during play. The group picks one. Which was most emblematic of the character’s change? Give priority to resolved B/I cards with big artha spends, since these won’t be considered again.

They then decide how big a change to apply. If the change was motivated from a ‘new direction’, it’s worth one point. If the change was rooted in a BIT, consult the artha spend from its card/sheet tally.

The group then looks at the character’s existing traits. Are they going to elevate an existing one, or give them a new one?

In either case, favor simple trait definitions - character traits, call-ons with a very narrow skill and narrow scope, call-ons with a broad scope, then die traits like Affinity For … with a narrow scope, then Affinity For… with a broad scope.

By narrow and broad, I mean things like, ‘Piggy - Call-On for Stealth when in deep summer muds of Fairisle’, vs. ‘Sneaky - Call-On for Stealth’.

Elevating a trait might just mean broadening its scope.

Optionally, there might be an pro-rating table to adjust trait value based on how frequently you’re doing the trait vote. Like, if you’re doing them every four sessions, it might take Deeds to get a 4-point Die Trait. If you’re doing them every 15, a trouble-trait with a couple of earned fate might be enough for Affinity …

Moving On

After the trait vote, the cards in the trait vote pile is discarded, and won’t be considered again. BITs still on the character remain where they are, to be considered again next time.

Any artha spends used to power a trait, however, should get marked (like a wiggly line after the tally) so they don’t get double-counted on the next trait vote.

I’ve been thinking about this, on and off, ever since you posted it. We’re currently giving this a try, though the trait vote has worked pretty well for us so far (no Artha tracking for the trait vote at all, new traits based on perception of the characters in play, new traits assigned mostly not by pouring over the list but by thinking of a fittingly named trait and seeing if it exists/matches or making one up from scratch).

Mostly I’m interested in seeing how things work with Artha spending/earning being an actual input into the vote. I suspect my players are mostly interested in not having to copy over their characters when their sheets are getting threadbare. Their beliefs are rather fluid.

You know, that’s the first time in my life I ever bought index cards, for anything.