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Bogeymen on Ingenero

posted Feb 9, 2012, 11:45 AM by Good Idea Games
I was recently put in touch with Steven Mathers of Ingenero, about including one of our modules in his upcoming book. His favorite of our works is Bogeymen. Since then, I've been working on the spit and polish for Bogeymen, adapting it to his unique system, and scrapping out the art for something I can actually call my own.

What makes Ingenero a system worth my time?

I hate game systems. I'm sorry to say it, but it's true. I hate to memorize charts and tables, I hate rules for complicated actions like suppression fire, notice rolls to get interesting information... the whole lot. I kind of hate rules. They slow down the game. Unfortunately, they're kind of a  necessary evil, since they create the game... They give a skeleton over which a narrative is built. They allow for the possibility of failure, which is so hard to accept when we're writing the narratives for our own heroes (or villains).

So why in Ingenero different?
Ingenero puts the characters and the story first. It's a reimagining of the narrative game structure. It is not trying to create a system that emulates conflict in real life (or real life if we had super powers). It's creating a system to create an interesting story. And in the process, it does a good job at providing structure to real conflict.

Here's how it works...
It starts with the characters, whose abilities are, rather than a fixed list of skills (which may or may not include computers, security, stealth, animal husbandry... some of the many things heroes need to do), it instead gives players space to write the hero's experiences. They are given a score (8 points to divide, since you asked) and a player can roll dice for anything that is associated with a documented experience.

On top of that, characters have a full half a page of motivations. These are role-playing queues that are written down, and remind the player that their character is full, flawed, and can be upset and driven to distracted by some events. These are broken down into Beliefs, Desires, Issues, Influences and Dispositions. Let's just pretend that it's obvious how all those are different. 

After that, players choose goals. Short term goals, and long term goals. This is the primary driver behind their choices. Furthermore, character progression is awarded when goals are achieved. Not based on number of bad guys killed, or amount of loot plundered, but on personal accomplishment. Which I'm down for. XP is a great motivator for players.

Then your hero has a few "signature plays" these are special moves that receive a small die bonus because they're well practices. Things like "dodge a punch by making a feint," and "shoot a searing laser blast out of his eyes." This is how special powers get cataloged.

After that, your character has 2 stats: Body and Soul. These are the all encompassing Physical and Mental traits. When either is depleted, a character is unable to accomplish their goals in a conflict (note that they are not taken out of the conflict). A player is allowed to "bid" their body and soul points to receive die bonuses for a roll. +1 per point committed. If they succeed, they are refreshed. If they fail, the effort takes its toll, either mentally or physically, and the points do not return.

After that you have your completed character. 
I'll talk more about the system next week.