Thursday, September 4, 2014

ODE: Metagame mechanics

So, I've been thinking about ODE recently, due to a couple discussions I've been having, and got to thinking about metagame mechanics; Hackmaster's Honor, Savage World's Bennies, and so on. In keeping with ODE's "gas station playable" system, I'm going to suggest pennies or similar coins, though pretty much any type of distributable counter would work. If you've got someone who simply CANNOT live without their dice at the table, use those... the mechanics of the meta-mechanics might throw them into paroxysms. It also adds an interesting twist if you can tell everyone's counters apart, though it's not necessary.

Each player starts with a certain number of counters; 3 would be a normal gaming session, but you might want more or less. The GM starts with none. As play progresses, players can spend counters to improve their play; I've got a few examples below. However, whenever they spend a counter, it is given to the GM, who can use it to influence ANOTHER play... not the one just influenced. When the GM spends a counter, it is given to the player who has the least counters (or one at random, if they're tied for the least), who can spend it to influence another play. This flow of counters can be stopped by either side... the GM can choose to sit on counters received to keep players from getting them back, then spend them in a flurry at the end. Or the players may hoard their counters, keeping the balls in their court, as it were. Players and GMs can also wage war with their own counters... the GM spends a counter, so you spend another to undo their counter, and so on. The only limitation is that counters, once used on a play, can't be used again on that same play (so you and the GM don't pass them back and forth infinitely).

Note that counters can be spent to influence ANY play which affects your character... you might provide a penalty to your opponent hitting you, or a bonus to your figuring things out. The only thing counters can't be spent on are metagame actions... you can't spend a counter to make an attribute raise play trump.

Uses for counters:
*Add +5 or -5 to a single play
*Make a single play trump (again, if necessary)
*Avoid or inflict a complication
*Draw a single card (which can take you above the hand limit) to either use for the play or to replace the one you choose to use for the play.

Counters can also be used to effect one's hand; if used this way, they don't count as having been used for the play.
*Draw up to 3 cards (subject to hand limit)
*Discard entire hand, shuffle the deck, and draw the same number of cards you just had.