So, I’m writing some homebrew stuff for Hello, World by @umbralAeronaut , including a weird “Multiplier” playbook for a character who manifests as multiple avatars with one mind, at the cost of a shorter stress bar. I’m planning on doing some playtesting with my group, but thought I’d ask if I’m hitting known pitfalls, since I’m new to the system.
And yes, I’m weird. I also realize the concept bends the game on its own, but I’d like to avoid breaking it entirely.
- Specific to Hello, World, a User “derezzes” (roughly analogous to incarceration) if they hit maximum stress, and voluntarily take on Harm to reduce stress damage. In the Multiplier’s case, derezzing one avatar derezzes the whole PC.
- By default, the Multiplier has two avatars who need to stay “reasonably” close together.
- There’s only so much they can do, despite having multiple bodies: They don’t get additional turns or attacks, and require some mental discipline (abilities) to accomplish what two PCs could do normally.
The abilities I’m most concerned about:
- The Multiplier can function as 3 avatars or as a Scale 1 gang.
The latter part is probably mechanically simple, since it’s essentially the same as the player leading a personal small gang. Do kind of worry it’d affect the early game for more fighty types of crews. Might cut out the former entirely.
- An ability to increase a gang’s Scale by +1 when they lead it.
Probably going to have #1 as a prerequisite for this ability.
- An ability that lets avatars stray apart so long as they’re in the same district.
- An ability that lets the Multiplier’s avatars assist each other.
Given that they have a reduced stress bar, this one would probably mostly encourage a Multiplier to self-assist, rather than push themselves, while also encouraging them to keep their avatars in the same place.
- An ability that lets one Avatar perform Setup actions for their own next turn.
This is a really cool concept!
My initial instinct for ways to approach the idea of personal Scale-increases and having multiple agents for a single PC go in two directions: either toward folding it into a Process playbook, or exploring the concept through the deliberate use of Shades… perhaps an ability that lets you fork off a new Shade when your user is derezzed? It’s a wild idea.
That’s just out of the core setting of World as I have it in my head though, I encourage you to make whatever you want out of it for your group’s setting.
As far as how to balance it, I wouldn’t worry too hard about that for homebrew material, but if that’s still a concern for you my rule of thumb would be to not stray further than maybe “Scale 3” as a benchmark for what a keystone special ability could possibly grant, especially if it costs a resource and is central to the fiction of the playbook.
For comparison, Scale 2 is achievable in a multitude of ways by existing playbooks for the cost of an SA or specialist Gear slots, and Scale 3 would generally require the combined use of a Special Ability and Gear or other bonuses… a Giga-Daemon can be made as a base-level Scale 2 entity which is (allegedly) balanced by the unique characteristics of Daemons in general and the fact that simply existing at that scale features a host of intrinsic drawbacks like stealth, etc.
Thanks. Mostly I was planning on Scale 1 being the maximum for a Multiplier by themselves, while higher Scales would involve working with the crew’s cohort. It felt to me like there was a niche for a playbook that worked well with cohorts. I’m thinking that for a score, the Multiplier can manifest more avatars in flashbacks, but not downward. Once they’re committed to being a Scale 1 gang, they can’t go back down to resume solo sneaking.
For playbook equipment I’m currently thinking:
Linked Arc Wheels (2 boxes): Arc wheels for each avatar. Can be harder to predict since the target doesn’t know which avatar a wheel will return to after being thrown.
n-Cycle (2 boxes): Still thinking about this one, but basically a vehicle or vehicles that can seat all the avatars.
Shadow Clones (2 boxes, +Armor) Resist having one of your avatars attacked, basically by doing a Naruto fakeout with a temporary avatar.
Sensor Suite (1 Box): Basically perception bonus from having multiple sets of eyes/sensors on a target.
Fake IDs (1 Box): To pass themselves off as multiple users instead of a Multiplier.
Anti-Glitch Partitioning (1 Box): In theory, mitigates Glitch spreading from one exposed avatar to the others.