Wednesday, April 4, 2018
MCC Downtime & Development
My MCC campaign has finally completed the first major adventure module and the heroes are returning home, many of them with a few fresh faces (read: level zeroes). The mains are all able to level to 2nd level and the surviving zeroes are mostly able to level to 1st. I know a lot of campaigns would gloss over this transition but for my money the biggest problem I have with level systems (rather than piecemeal advancement) is the level transitions, or lack of transitions. While I could also handwave a lot of this I feel that some simple mechanics will not be difficult to assemble and will help generate some verisimilitude. Codifying this time also ensures that there is a fair way to determine recovery of lost Luck and Glowburn without simply giving the player a "fill up" after each adventure, meaning that these mechanics cannot be abused without creating lasting difficulties.
My thinking is that some training time is warranted when leveling. This is some simple time that takes things from the prior adventure/session, to the point where the players level. This is pretty key in MCC for Shamen, Manimals, Mutants, and Plantients, all of whom benefit from some amount of downtime to recover from glowburn (and burnt Luck for the Shamen). This also allows for the PSH classes to recover Luck (which should make them more willing to use it in play) and also recovery any temporary ability loss.
My plan is to roll 1d7+[Prior level] days to determine the training time. This is directly the amount of Glowburn recovery. Since Shamen recover Luck very slowly I'll round up any fraction of 1 week for their recovery. This may be generous, but considering how slowly they recover Luck compared to how often they will want to burn it I doubt it will be problematic. Simultaneously this will prevent abuse of Glowburn as the players may not recover all spent points before the next adventure.
Since Shamen can try to re-forge their patron bonds (and gain new wetware and additional castings of Invoke Patron bond), and the various mutants can re-roll their permanent mutations each level this also allows the players to do so with some degree of understanding of their available resources. Again, Glowburn comes into play heavily here. A mutant may have burned down their stats earlier and the training time allows for some recovery prior to a fresh roll.
For mutants these rolls do not require time, but for Shamen there is a 1 week casting time (though the GM can waive this as they see fit). Much in the same way I intend to round up for Shamen luck recovery I will do the same for the (re)casting of Patron Bonds. Early on the Shaman class is dependant on the Patron bond so allowing them enough time to re-cast at least 1 of those bonds each level up seems reasonable.
Once characters have trained and leveled they need to get to the next adventure, or have it come to them. I don't want to allow too much time here (again, I need to ensure I don't break the Glowburn rules,) but I also want to ensure that the passage of time is appropriate and characters don't end up feeling like they went from level 1 to level 10 in days or weeks. I plan to roll 1d3 days per level of the PCs (average if the group is mixed). At higher levels this could generate significant time between adventures, but higher level adventures also require more from the PCs.
One of the ways I am trying to make my MCC game feel different from the DCC game I play in with most of the same folks is by giving them a home to return to and making it compelling to keep doing so. Firstly this provides them a safe place to level and recover. Secondly I am tracking all the artifacts they donate to the village (instead of keeping to themselves), and then using those artifacts to determine how the village changes over time.
If the PCs find a machine that makes a strange material (like an extruded epoxy for example) and donate it to the village the village craftspeople will find ways to use it to make better gear and/or improve the village's buildings. Perhaps that epoxy can help them make strong walls around the village to protect from attack, or can be molded into better armor (closer to DCC armor or maybe even using Crawling Under a Broken Moon's armor rules).
Hopefully this will keep the players interested in the village and instead of a wandering band of murderhobos (which is how our DCC game feels) they will become invested in their home and this will allow the MCC game to feel differently.