[ATTIKA] Adding a Fear Mechanic

edited July 2011 in Game Design Help
In looking at how to make Principia's character creation "more Greek" for Attika, I'm thinking of adding a Fear mechanic: at creation, players choose one thing their character's fear. Maybe it's theatre masks, or unburied corpses, or dogs, or even a particular god, goddess, or hero. Then, during the course of play, if the GM has an opportunity to invoke this fear, it triggers a flashback scene wherein the player narrates and plays out how this fear came to be. But, to what end? Maybe a good narration earns Arete (Attika's version of Resolve)? Or is there another mechanical benefit to playing out a fear-inspired flashback?

Thanks for any help!


  • Why fear? I don't see the greeks as being particularly cowardly, fearing this or fearing that.

    I think I maybe have some kind of grasp of where you're going with this (accounting for multiple strange superstitions we would find downright strange?), but could you tell me in more detail anyway?
  • The whole idea of adding a mechanic for fear/terror is a riff off a theme in Steven Pressfield's excellent Gates of Fire, about the battle of Thermopylae. An ongoing dialogue in the book is an almost Socratic process by which Dienekes instructs the younger Spartans on the science of Fear; to conquer it, one must find its opposite. I thought this might make a cool addition to the game. Mechanically, players define their character's fear. One playtest character, a hetaira and former slave from Corinth, has as her fear slavery; she's terrified of going back to her former station and will do almost anything to avoid that. So, if via flashback or some other trigger she conquers that fear, the player can later add a different fear (such as poverty, since she's been squirreling away coin to the tune of 3000 drachmae). I guess it's kind of a morphing disadvantage that ideally would spur some awesome scenes as character's work through their fears. I'm just not sure *how* to address the mechanical, crunchy aspects. Should there be a dice roll involved to conquer a fear? Should there be a reward to playing out the flashback scene? Should the whole conquer/don't conquer be handled by players voting on the strength of the scene? I just don't know . . .
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