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Party Tension Meter - how can this be made to not suck

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#21 GmMichael



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Posted 30 January 2014 - 10:39 AM

I can totally see, given your examples, why you guys would remove it. I've had the opposite experience though. Several players in my party are usually in some sort of "conflict". It's provided a fun and Warhammer dark humor element to the game. I simply ignore any attempts the party make to munchkin it from a mechanical standpoint and only utilize it when it brings something to the narrative. It is an optional tool, afterall. We enjoy it.

Edited by GmMichael, 30 January 2014 - 10:42 AM.

#22 Buzter



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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:07 PM


Im pretty new to this but I also thought that the tension meter is a bit strange but got some good ideas out of the discussion


Why start either high or low? With a newly formed party with arbitrary people that doesnt know each other, joining together for a task theres bound to be tension.


I think starting in the middle and be able to both rise and lower the tension from the start would be a better idea. then I think it could become a good tool to display what happens with group  dynamics over time and due to things that happens. Using it as a meter of the group dynamics more than what happens to the group. Its not necessary the tension would rise because the group find themselves in a pinch, that actually could lower the tension.


When the tension rises the group sufffers together because tension creats mistrus and cooperation will be harder, maybe as someone said, slots will be unavailable on the party sheet. The effect is continuing until they adress the issue in some way and would accumulate if they get more out of hand so I think things could happen at step seven and  nine. On the other hand if they manage to lower the tension the bad effect would go away.

For example, if the tension rises and the dwarf says to the elf "Its not our fault our races distrusts each other, I want to be your friend and work together with you" just to seemingly create less tension.  If that happened it would be so out of caracter for a dwarf that all the other members would distrust the dwarf and the tension would rise further.


On the other hand, if the group dynamics evolve in some way and not necessarily people getting along better, the tension would lower and at step three and one beneficiary things could happen. Maybe adding another slot or some action that would be available to the whole group or recharges of actions would be faster.

Like in the last example, the dwarf and elf would set aside their distrust when they get in a really bad fight and protects each other because they know the whole group would probably die if they dont work together the tension would actually lower and some promotion might be available. Then after the battle and if they survive, the tension wouldnt necessarily rise because the group would know that in a pinch, they can trust that everyone would do their best to protect each other.


I think this way it would be an actual meter of the group dynamics instead of a ladder to climb. Both good and bad things could happen like for real but it would be more likely it would lower over time and more good would come out of it. Realisticly maybe the equilibrium over time would hover around three and with that "reward"  in effect more time than not,


Just an idea



#23 Roland the Red

Roland the Red


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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:28 PM

I started the Intro adventure with some new players over Christmas break. With regards to the PT meter, I wanted to do something to try and engage the players a bit more with it. The players really liked the what I did, although I didn't think much of it after seeing it in action.


What I did was during character creation, I looked at the traits of each career and compared them and pointed out to the players the differences and similarities as a basis for roleplaying. The Noble and the Thug didn't have much in common and since they had the largest discrepancy I used that to start party tension (1 point for every mismatch, max 4 obviously). I told the players, as party tension rises I'll place a white die in the pool (speading up refresh) and if it lowers I'll I will remove a white die from the pool (slowing refresh) if available or adding a black dice if no whites were available (a negative fortune, removing the black instead of adding a fortune). This was a mechanical way to encourage the players to exploit tension and play up those differences. with the hindrances already on the card for going up I felt this was a nice little balance.


In play, the players pushed tension up pretty quick. I wasn't adding fortune points to the pool for the usual reasons although I meant to. The players pushed it up fast enough and fortune seemed aplenty so if I had added fortune for usual reasons it would have been quite a bit. In all I felt it didn't work as well as I intended. I could have left it as is and simply added fortune as usual for the same effect.


One player in the post game discussion did mention he thought it would be cool to add 1 black die to the pool every time tension went up and I add fortune as usual, but it only refreshed when Fortune-Misfortune + # players with the black die(s) going to a random player. It has merits. You would a clear way to determine who gets the misfortune and when they have to use it. I think it would be better if the GM gets in his pool to add at the worse possible moments, for example. I'll try it if we play again.

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