The Patience Stat
A new game mechanic is introduced into this campaign, named Patience.
This stat was created in response to the habit of numerous players of playing their characters as if they were stat blocks designed to blend through dungeons, not people with lives and hopes and aspirations.
This stat is by no means balanced and fair, and I do not have the time and resources to properly playtest it. You’re just going to have to do what I do most of the time: just wing it.
The Patience stat represents your character’s threshold for unpleasantries. From the extremes of starvation and limb rotting disease, to the subtle but insidious never ending supply of bad food and chronic disease, there’s a whole range of things that can and will piss off your character.
And if your character becomes too pissed off, he will begin making dumb decisions.
This stat is designed function in a manner similar to Hit Points. You take Patience damage when things piss you off, you recover Patience when you do things that make you happy, and if you ever completely run out of Patience, you temporarily lose control of your character, until he does things that brings him back “into the black, from the red”.
Base calculation of your Patience stat:
Final Fortitude Modifier + Final Willpower Modifier = Patience Score.
All permanent modifiers that apply to these stats, or the sub-stats which construct them, apply. Any temporary modifiers that last less than 24 hours do not count.
The primary mechanisms to recover Patience is not “Time”, as time is actually one of the primary causes of damage. The primary way of recovering Patience is Indulgence in one of the Seven Major Vices.
Since this happens to be an “evil” campaign, in which all of the characters are expected to have evil alignment, it is theoretically possible (in fact, easy) to adapt the Patience system to also function with the Seven Major Virtues. But I do not presently have time to adapt the system for such eventualities.
In short: Various things your characters will experience will cause them Patience damage, and to recover Patience, you must Indulge your characters.
This is a highly subjective system prone to exploitation and abuse, but I never claimed to be a nice GM. I’m just here to give you an experience.
All characters are supposed to select their primary Vice at the moment of character creation. For the better part, this selection cannot be reversed on a whim, but like alignment, sufficient roleplaying and proper opportunities can cause a transition of one primary Vice to another.
All characters can recover Patience by Indulging in any of the Seven Vices, but if they happen to indulge in their primary one, characters will recover twice as much Patience.
As an extra rule, it is possible for characters to select an additional Vice, if they use up their Level 1 Feat. It is essentially a new feat, “Extra Vice”. This, as you may guess, allows the characters to consider two Vices to be their primary Vices, therefore gaining the benefit for both.
Since humans, and a few other races, gain a Bonus Feat at level 1, they can theoretically take this feat a third time, if they really want to be vicious.
The Seven Major Vices are:
If you care to adapt the system to also incorporate Virtues, the Seven Major Virtues are:
Examples of things that would affect one’s Patience:
Getting Sickened by a spell (-1)
Getting Nauseated by a spell (-2)
Every week of being forced to sleep outside with a properly made camp (-1)
Being forced to sleep in the woods without a properly made camp (no fire, no tent, just bedrolls) (-1)
Fighting Goblins (-1)
Fighting a Troll (-2)
Fighting an Otyugh (-3)
Each week of living off of Trail Ration exclusively (-2)
Being afflicted by a sickness (-1 to -5, depending on severity and duration)
Being poisoned (-3 to -8, depending on severity and duration)
Each week of journey through plains or forests (-1)
Each day of journey through a jungle or on a medieval boat (-1)
Each day of journey through a swamp or a desert (-2)
Each hour spent in sewers or a particularly slimy dungeon (-1)
Each day spent in an uncomfortable setting (graveyard, dungeon, jail) (-1)
Getting raped by something you might date in other circumstances (humanoid) (-15)
Getting raped by something unusual (Centaur, farm animal, pack of Goblins) (-25)
Getting raped by something particularly awful (Otyugh, Demon, Zombies) (-35)
Traveling in first class (-1)
Traveling in coach (-2)
Traveling strapped to the side of the train/airplane (-5)
Discovering a potion or wine bottle or milk is spoiled (-1)
Performing an autopsy on a healthy body (-2)
Performing an autopsy on a zombie-like body (-3)
Having to navigate a particularly annoying bureaucracy (-1)
Having to defend yourself in a court of law (-2)
Having to suck up to a despot for simple base survival (-3)
Completing a fight with only minor wounds (less than 20% health damage) (-1)
Completing a fight with serious wounds (between 20% to 50% health damage) (-2)
Completing a fight having nearly died (more than 50% health damage) (-3)
Undergoing the journey of being brought back to life (-10)
- Envy: Stealing your rival’s love interest (+5)
- Envy: Getting the same pool than all of your suburban neighbors (+3)
- Envy: Sabotaging the dress of a rival for an important ball (+2)
- Envy: Poisoning the fields of a nearby family to guarantee better yields (+3)
- Gluttony: Getting shit-faced drunk at the tavern after a lengthy journey (+3)
- Gluttony: Getting a hit of cocaine (+4)
- Gluttony: Spending two hours, with herbs and spices and efforts, working on a meal at campsite (+1)
- Gluttony: Spending the extra for a bottle of wine, and desert, in a meal (+1)
- Greed: Petty theft of a random person’s purse, just because the opportunity was there (+1)
- Greed: Firing an employee just for greater profit margins (+3)
- Greed: Pirating an entire cargo ship/airship’s loot (+5)
- Greed: Murdering a family in order to get their farm (+5)
- Lust: Banging a drunken wench at the tavern (+3)
- Lust: Acquiring the services of a hooker (+2)
- Lust: Engaging in voyeurism without getting caught (+1)
- Lust: Making love to a Nymph (+8)
- Pride: Having more dance partners than others at a ball (+3)
- Pride: Winning an argument (+1)
- Pride: Acquiring a new title of nobility/status (+2 to +8)
- Pride: Refusing to back down or retreat in the face of a superior threat (+4)
- Sloth: Spending the week off while the rest of the party practices for their level-up (+4)
- Sloth: Taking a three week vacation (+5)
- Sloth: Purposely falling asleep while on guard duty (+1)
- Sloth: Going to the restaurant instead of cooking (+1)
- Wrath: Punching an asshole in the face instead of just ignoring him (+2)
- Wrath: Yelling at a waiter because of the service (+1)
- Wrath: Winning a particularly challenging encounter (+3)
- Wrath: Killing an opponent which had surrendered (+3)
Examples of the Patience System in Action:
Elizabeth is a level 1 Wizard. Her primary Vice is Envy, and after all modifiers, her Patience score is 3. She is a teenager at a Wizard School, and apparently lives an entirely normal life.
During one spectacularly failed experiment in her Hag’s Worth boarding school classes, she’s exposed to enough noxious fumes to make her Nauseated. This cost her 2 Patience, in addition to needing to wash off the puke from her wizardly robes.
Instead of going to her next class as was planned, she decided to soak in the bathtub for the other hour, spending much more time than necessary cleaning herself up, and missing an important lecture. This is Indulgence in a Vice, but it is not her primary vice, it is Sloth. She recovers 1 Patience, placing her at 1 Patience damage.
Later that evening, supper is served. Since her school is poor and doesn’t care about its students, regular cafeteria fare is served, the same thing she’s been fed all week long. The week’s worth of poor quality food costs her 1 Patience, bringing her back to 2.
In addition, her fellow classmates pick on her for her earlier failure, giving her a solid two hours of classical teenager angsts. This costs her 1 Patience point, which is sufficient to reach her Threshold, which pushes her over the edge.
At this point, under ordinary circumstances, the rest of the evening would be spent relaxing or studying, or better yet, catching up with the material missed in the class spent in the bathtub, but the GM takes over the character, and her good sense.
The GM decides she would spend all evening long working on entrapping the student that’s at the top of the class, because he has better grades than she does, and she hates that. She organizes a quick ambush, forces her to touch her inappropriately within earshot of adults, screams bloody murder, and frames him, sending him to detention for two days to do menial chores, instead of school work.
Since she has directly indulged in her Envy Vice, instead of getting revenge against the earlier bullies (which would be Wrath), the petty entrapment grants her back 2 points of Patience (double what such an ordinary task should bring her, because Envy is her main Vice), bringing her back under her threshold, and back under the control of her player. She also gained considerable enmity from the other student, but such is the price of being better than her.
She ends the day with 1 point of Patience, but otherwise can operate normally.