's recent posts on useful ways to manage starvation and encumbrance in D&D got me thinking:
I've always liked an element of girtty realism in my fantasy adventure gaming. For me, nothing elevates a weird monster (from some art and stats in a book into a memorable experience
) better than facing it as an imaginary person who might be too tired to react quickly, or too sick to fight well, or holding things other than weapons, or carrying too much crap to pivot and run. Let's dive into what it's like to be in those shoes, inconveniences and all!
At the same time, I've never found a mechanical system for such things that came even close
to providing sufficient bang for the accounting-requirement buck. It's always been track and calculate and track and calculate and then sometimes we apply those quantities to a situation where they don't really have much overall effect and then every once in a great while they really matter
but then it's back to track and calculate and track and calculate. No one at the table wants this responsibility, so the players try to pass it to the GM, and the GM tries to pass it to the players, and in the end "track and calculate" is sometimes dropped completely... and then when it does
matter in a dramatic moment, the experience of that moment is utterly destroyed by an epic iteration of "track and calculate" catch-up.
My solution, as GM, has been to abandon mechanical simulation entirely, and just include hardship and inconvenience as part of my color narration, allowing the players to wrangle with it as they wish, and letting the characters' state impact the mechanics per improvised "what would happen" logic (GM proposal subject to table agreement).
I've had fun games where, e.g., the characters got stuck in terrible weather and most of them got sick and then an enemy they'd previously outclassed became more of a threat. "Instead of having damage modifiers from your usual excellent Strength scores, you now have damage modifiers that someone with a poor Strength would have, as befits your weakness," or something.
I suspect this sort of ad lib is good enough for me.
At the same time, I do still have some temptation to encode some inconvenient life concerns into the procedures of play, such that, when I GM, such things can still surprise me, or at least arrive without me keeping an eye on them or pushing them.
So! Has anyone had any awesome RPG experiences resulting from using rules for such things? Encumbrance? Starvation? Exhaustion? Others?