Hacking Emotions

Emotions define a character’s role. They also interact with the Mood Marker rules, so you gain a benefit on future rolls. But what if you don’t like that particular flavor of the system? Maybe a different theme would fit you better?

After my work with Michtim was done, I also thought about writing a shinobi hack. I’m a big fan of Naruto and Legend of the Five Rings, so it sounded reasonable to go with an Elemental theme:

Elemental Theme

  • Air: Movement and Perception.
  • Water: Restoration and Building.
  • Earth: Defense.
  • Shadow: Stealth.
  • Fire: Attack.

The oppositions would remain the same though. If you are attuned to Earth, you are less able to attack and move swiftly. If you’re attuned to Shadow, it also means you’re slowing down and can’t channel healing powers.


lying200I like pentagram based systems, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of my previous projects, also used five Attributes. These are much more in line with classical RPG systems.

  • Body: Power, Resist (Physical)
  • Agility: Move, Attack, Evade, Hide
  • Ego: Influence
  • Logic: Reason
  • Psyche: Resist (Mental), Detect

The system was built around the concept of doing nasty, forbidden things. Breaking with moral codes and experiencing a lot of traumatic situations. It was inspired by Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. The game was supposed to be played as one-shot with a lot of randomly generated plot hooks and secret mission objectives. It had high lethality and was very PVP-oriented. It reflected my default gaming group back then. We played a lot of Vampire and other games about manipulation; and our fun consisted mostly of backstabbing each other. That game was co-created by A. Wladkowski, but we never finished development. Sometimes I think I should work on it again.

In this hack I would still use the bonuses conferred by randomly generated markers. But I would remove the penalties, because these traits don’t really reflect actions that well. Also the system doesn’t really benefit from Callings as is. It might help to change the traits to a more active theme instead.

What are your thoughts?

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