Last time we talked about diegetic advancement in games. That is, when you do something, your character Advances. It works well for asynchronous play in play-by-posts because triggers are dependent on the PCs actions, not when the end of a session occurs.
We talked about what the Advance system would look like for Into the Odd and it’s relatives in that same article. The way a character Advances mechanically depends on the system. That’s for you to figure out. However, these triggers can be pulled in any game which makes them so powerful.
In that last post I also gave three examples of advancement triggers for Mausritter. Here are some more. I tried to make them semi-setting agnostic, but each trigger does suggest something about the game and the world. For example, if the GM rewards looting dungeons, it implies that there are indeed dungeons in the world to be looted.
Remember the goal of advancement triggers:
- Gives the players an aim to shoot for.
- Reduces the arbitrary nature of the game and takes little math.
- Happens in the game, in the fiction, is diegetic, however you want to say it.
So here are 36 examples. I invite you to see this as a list to be read and picked through to see which could service a game you’ve had in mind. I also invite you to use this as a table, rolling d66 three times to see what kind of campaign it implies (roll two six-sided dice, the first is the tens place, the second is the ones place). What kind of gonzo game comes about? How would you run that?
I also listed the trigger’s influence next to it. This is to show that any form of media can be mined of its tactile/emotional elements and used for other purposes. Cross-pollenate recklessly.
|11||When you emerge from an adventure site with treasure, Advance (coin-as-XP, but not quite).|
|12||When you share a meal with new friends, Advance (Ghibli movies).|
|13||When you restore lasting peace to an area, Advance (Avatar the Last Airbender, Mushishi).|
|14||When you carry out a mission for the guild, Advance (Mouse Guard).|
|15||When you complete a journey to a sanctuary, Advance (Lord of the Rings, Pokemon).|
|16||When you remove the influence of the shadow, Advance (Lord of the Rings).|
|21||When you solve one of the town’s/school’s many mysteries, Advance (Scooby-Doo/Harry Potter).|
|22||When you capture a new monster, Advance (Pokemon).|
|23||When you defeat a local leader in single combat, Advance (Pokemon).|
|24||When you overcome a boss monster, Advance (Zelda, Any adventure video game ever).|
|25||When you destroy a keystone shard, Advance (World of Dungeons: Turbo Breakers).|
|26||When you construct a new section of your stronghold, Advance (Strongholds and Followers).|
|31||When you add a new member to your team, Advance (Pokemon Mystery Dungeon).|
|32||When you finish a grand race in the top three, Advance (Mario Kart?).|
|33||When you hand over a detained villain to the authorities, Advance (Batman).|
|34||When you complete a contract, Advance (cyberpunk).|
|35||When you step foot on a new island, Advance (Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag).|
|36||When you acquire a new ship, Advance (Pirate’s Gold).|
|41||When you hire a new detachment for your army, Advance (Mount and Blade).|
|42||When you save someone from a perilous situation, Advance (superheroes).|
|43||When you banish a ghost from its haunting grounds, Advance (Ghostbusters).|
|44||When you earn an invitation to a party or social gathering, Advance (Count of Monte Cristo, I guess).|
|45||When you capture the culprits in a trap, Advance (Scooby-Doo).|
|46||When you overthrow an established organization, Advance (Anarchy, I guess?).|
|51||When you overcome a titan, Advance (Attack on Titan).|
|52||When you collect on a bounty, Advance (Cowboy Bebop).|
|53||When you finish a fight in the arena, Advance (Gladiator, any colosseum arc).|
|54||When you fulfill an oath, Advance (World of Elements).|
|55||When you survive a wave of enemies, Advance (Call of Duty zombie modes).|
|56||When you outdo your rival, Advance (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure? Is this Jojo?).|
|61||When you elevate your position in society, Advance (civil service exams).|
|62||When you defeat a member of higher rank in a challenge, Advance (Kung Fu movies).|
|63||When you do what is right over what is profitable, Advance (Firefly).|
|64||When you do what is caring over what is mean, Advance (Pokemon).|
|65||When you complete a heist, Advance (Any thief-y media).|
|66||When you obtain a new spellbook, Advance (Any mage-centric game).|
Here are some more that I found to be just a bit too genre-specific (d6).
- When you harvest essence from a magic plant, Advance (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles).
- When you sing an exhilarating or emotional song, Advance (musicals).
- When you plunder a ship of its booty, Advance (Pirate’s Gold).
- When you lock the heart of a world, Advance (Kingdom Hearts).
- When you reincarnate, Advance (Infinity Blade).
- When you defeat a great sea monster, Advance (Ocean Hunters).
Some of these imply things about the world, (the existence of titans, keystone shards, etc,.) some imply values (what is caring over what is mean, what is right over what is profitable).
Making your own advancement triggers
Here are the guidelines I used:
- The trigger is within the players’ control and gives options for how to activate it.
- The trigger promotes interaction with the world and its challenges.
- The trigger strikes the middle-ground in both difficulty and frequency.
- The VERB is the most important piece to get right.
- Be as clear as possible. Watch for ways that a trigger could be mishandled.
Gone are the levels and XP from your character sheet! The game’s the thing, after all! Play the world, not the spreadsheet!
When you post a trigger of your own in the comments, Advance.