01 February 2008
Per encounter abilities
Listening to the D&D podcast, they talked about “per encounter” abilities in fourth edition. Abilities that can basically be used once-per-fight. It’s also something I’ve been experiencing in the Star Wars Saga Edition. On one level, “per encounter” abilities are very artificial or meta-game-ish. Put simply, there’s seldom a good “in character” explanation for such things. On the other hand, though, in movies, literature, real-life, etc., heroes don’t tend to have a signature move that they use almost to the exclusion of all else. In games, however, that’s an easy thing to fall into. Trying to make the rules emulate the real reason for this dichotomy—I think—is both hard and tends to led to unnecessary complication. So, I’m thinking that “per encounter” abilities can actually be a very abstract way to improve simulation (whether you’re simulating reality or fiction). Improving the simulation without overly complicating the rules. The difficulty may lie in figuring out how to not make them feel artificial “in character”.