A short time ago, we announced the Fortune system, which at the time was described only as a system to accumulate points that can be used for various things simply by being in-game and active. Today, I am going to describe exactly what Fortune is and how it can benefit you.
At the simplest level, Fortune is essentially like XP, only more flexible in what one may do with it. The system is also very similar to AutoXP, except that Fortune does not have to be activated by a GM, and it doesn't expire. That's right, the Fortune system is always running.
To give credit, the original concept came from long-time player and former GM stormspirit. Once the concept took root in my head, I worked out the details and initial state with Rowana and added the system to the modules. She's since been instrumental in testing and refining the system.
How does it work?
As long as a character is logged in and active, that character will earn some small amount of Fortune every few minutes. This Fortune adds up, and eventually a character will earn a whole point. Once this happens, that point can be spent or saved. There is no requirement to spend Fortune points. In fact, some may wish to save it up for special reasons, which I will detail later. Fortune points are stored on each character and saved to the database. There's very little to it than that. Characters will continue to accumulate XP through all the normal methods, but they will also accumulate Fortune at the same time.
There is one thing of key importance that must be stressed. Fortune is NOT an in-character thing in any way. Just like XP is an OOC mechanic with in-game benefits. Just like you do not talk about XP in an IC sense, neither should you talk about Fortune in an IC sense. If you need any guidance on this, please ask. Do not discuss Fortune in any in-character way.
One way to think of it is a representation of a character's "social capital", their influence, reknown or reputation, though in some other ways it is also just a way for us to reward and thank you for spending time in-game. Despite Fortune being earned simply by being in-game, as you'll read below, the Fortune rewards for more RP-focused activities are greater, and so there are some significant RP ways to spend one's accumulated Fortune.
Since Fortune is a custom system and will not show up on any character sheet in-game, we've made it easy to check one's Fortune at any time. Simply type the following in the chat bar:
This will report to you how many whole points of Fortune your current character possesses. Also, anytime a character earns a whole point of Fortune, this will be shown as a system message, and that character's current total will also be displayed. This message will not be seen frequently. Instead, during each interval, a more generic and non-specific message will be shown:
Your Fortune has increased slightly.
This means your character has earned some fractional amount of Fortune. This update message can be disabled by using the following toggle command:
=c toggle points_feedback
For those who really need to get a microscopic view of their current Fortune levels, there is another command to show a more exact total:
=c points exact
Everyone who already had a character at the time that this system was put into place will start out with a starting pool of five (5) Fortune points. Existing characters belonging to GMs start out with a pool of fifteen (15) Fortune points. World Leader characters start out with a pool of twenty-five (25) Fortune points. New characters will start out with one (1) Fortune point.
As stated above, simply being actively in-game will allow a character to gain Fortune at a slow but consistent rate. However, there are other ways to earn Fortune.
GMs can give out Fortune points in the same way they give out XP right now. In fact, the tool is set to give out Fortune in the same sort of amounts, except rather than giving out whole or fractional hours worth of XP, they can now give out whole or fractional points of Fortune instead.
GMs may give out Fortune instead of quest XP. This choice will be primarily up to the GM, though requests for one or the other by players will be considered.
Also, effective immediately, GMs will give out 1 Fortune point simply for showing up to a quest, even if the GM cannot ultimately take everyone who shows up. (Note: If people begin to abuse this, we will be forced to reevaluate this policy. Please don't make us do this.)
Lastly, the World Leader XP wand has been modified to give out either XP or Fortune.
One Fortune point granted by GMs and WLs is effectively equivalent to 1 hour of RP or Quest XP.
For transparency, World Leader characters will accumulate Fortune at a faster rate. However, they will receive the same number of Fortune points when awarded by a GM for quest or RP rewards.
Fortune earned by a character is for that character alone. One may not share Fortune with another character on the same account, nor can a player pool all the Fortune from all characters held by that player. There are only a few cases where pooling of Fortune will be allowed at all (more below), but it will not be allowed to pool the Fortune points of characters belonging to the same player.
While the idea of earning points just for playing is probably interesting in itself, it's worth talking about the sorts of things on which these points can be spent. Note that once a point is spent, that character's Fortune is reduced accordingly. Of course, the points can be earned again, but in this way Fortune is also like a sort of currency...a resource to be used and managed.
The things upon which one may spend Fortune fit into one of four key categories:
Direct Exchange – Fortune points can be converted into either XP or GP (True) using a set exchange rate. This can be done in-game at any time by issuing the command
A dialog box will pop up, giving you the options for exchange and displaying the rate of exchange. At present, one Fortune point may be exchanged for 1000 True or the equivalent of 1 hour of quest XP. Since quest XP is dependent upon character level, the number of XP given for one Fortune point will vary depending on character level. However, the amount given will always be appropriate and meaningful for a character of any level.
Please note: These numbers are subject to change, and we may adjust them up or down for balancing reasons, bonus events and other reasons. If you notice different (positive, non-zero) numbers than I have described here, it is not a bug; it is an adjustment
Quest Benefit – At each GM's discretion, Fortune points can be exchanged to affect outcomes in quest situations. The currently-supported possibilities for this are:
“Changing luck” – re-roll failed or poor die rolls. This only applies to manual die rolls (i.e. skill checks, attribute checks, saving throws) and not to automatic mechanical rolls for things like combat, damage and the like (unless these are manually performed for RPed situations). It should be noted that the Save vs. Soul Mother rolls can never be re-rolled using this option. Ever. (cost: 1 Fortune Point per re-roll)
“Greasing the wheels” or “Calling in favors” – You're an adventurer. You're famous, or perhaps infamous, but your name is recognized. Your deeds are remembered. Maybe you have friends you didn't know about. Maybe you have pull and influence beyond the usual just because of your name. Or perhaps your guild has helped people indirectly that you never realized or your reputation in a city's underbelly is worth a favor. Whatever form your fame takes, you might as well be able to take advantage. Naturally, this is not an automatic success, and what is attempted has to make some sort of RP sense. A Toranite is not likely to get favors from a group of Corathites, nor is someone with a less savory reputation likely to get much goodwill among honest shop-owners. Note that networks and influence earned by CDQs and WLDQs can still be used without spending Fortune, but going beyond established parameters can be an option using Fortune. (cost: 1-2 Fortune per use at the GM's discretion)
“Minor heroics” – Effectively, this is equivalent to “taking 20” at times when taking 20 is not supported by the rules or the situation. To make sure everyone understands the term, “taking 20” refers to an automatic roll of 20 when performing a task that has a skill check involved in situations where there is plenty of time and a lack of urgency, such that the character can take the time and caution to succeed and succeed well. Yet sometimes, the survival and/or success of a party may absolutely depend on being able to pick a lock, analyze a magical ward or any number of things without the luxury of time and under various levels of duress. This is opening a complex lock at the last possible second, disarming a magical trap through a moment of extreme clarity and concentration or other similar sorts of outcomes. Basically, it's an opportunity to ensure success when it's sorely needed. (cost: 1-2 Fortune per use at the GM's discretion)
Again, these options are solely at the discretion of the GM(s) running the quest. There is not guarantee these options will be available, nor is there any guarantee of complete success. Always work with the GM when desiring to spend Fortune in this way. Note also that GMs will deduct Fortune on the spot when it is used in this way.
Also, it's important to note that there is a limit to the number of times a single character can utilize Fortune like this during a single quest. While the GM running the quest will have final say on this limit, we will generally limit these uses to three (3) times, in any combination, during a given quest episode/event.
Projects – Want to set up a monument, shrine or some other sort of addition to the game, whether physically represented or not? Or maybe you just want to undertake a massive remodeling of an existing structure. Whatever special project you have in mind, you may be able to spend some Fortune to make that happen. This typically follows in the vein of “pulling some strings”, but can also take the form of drumming up donations and investors in lieu of a pure outlaying of True and piles of harvested/crafted resources. Below are the initial ways Fortune can be used for projects and how much it will cost. As with other aspects of Fortune, this may change over time, but if it does, we'll be certain to update and notify everyone.
Remodels – Fortune points can provide a discount based on how much players want to spend in each aspect (base cost, area-expansion, tileset change, permanent placeables, exterior changes, etc.) of a remodel, with each point of Fortune spent giving a 10% discount in a single aspect of the remodeling cost.
Relocations/reties – Fortune points can provide a 10% reduction in the list of materials needed for every point spent. Obviously, this applies more to materials needed in larger quantities than those in smaller quantities; there is no 10% of a single Gnomish Lens, for example. To put this another way, spending 10 Fortune would eliminate the need for gathering and/or crafting all the necessary materials for the relocation.
Monuments – Each fortune point will provide a 20% discount on the monetary cost of each monument individually. This applies to things like custom statues placed in guild halls and stone markers placed somewhere to denote or commemorate something or someone. Bear in mind, these sorts of monuments are relatively modest, not a gigantic colossus of ego. Also, in the case of outdoor monuments, it may be necessary to obtain permission from the land-owner, pay an additional fee/tax/tribute, which would be covered separately but which could also be discounted by Fortune at a similar rate.
Other buildings – Buildings in this category would be physically in-game but not necessarily usable in any mechanical sense (i.e. no accessible interior, no house-type furniture, etc.). For the monetary costs associated with constructing these buildings, each point of Fortune will reduce the cost by 5,000 True. If there is an additional material cost associated with the construction of this building, each point of Fortune will reduce the material needs by 10%.
Intangibles – Buildings, structures and other constructs that are not represented in-game but which were established in an RP sense through CDQs and which may have some form of cost associated with them fall into this category. This would cover things like orphanages, “underground” markets, trade networks, or things of this ilk, where players have to invest in their creation. The cost in Fortune for such things, should players wish to spend it, will be based on the number of CDQs that the GM estimates will be required to complete the goal. If the number of CDQs increases due to player actions (or inactions!), the Fortune cost will increase as well, however, the Fortune cost will never go below the original estimate. The baseline Fortune cost in this case is 5 points per CDQ required to accomplish the end result.
What else??? – Try as we may, we will never be able to conceive of all possibilities that our player base may want to try to accomplish and how they may want to put Fortune toward such efforts. To that end, we'll have to handle these sorts of things on a case-by-case basis at first while we try to establish some sort of guidelines. Chances are good that it will be some kind of hybrid of the options given above.
Up to four characters will be allowed to pool their Fortune together for any given project. Characters pooling their Fortune for such a purpose should be associated with the project in some way. There is no set limit as to how much Fortune one character may spend on any single project, assuming the character has Fortune to spend.
In some situations, there may be a world-level effort that requires some level of contribution from characters to bring about a certain end. In such cases, there is no limit on how many characters can contribute, but again they should be associated with the effort already.
Graceful Pleas – Yes, I said it. You will be able to spend Fortune to buy a Graceful Plea, even if you have used all three for a given character. The cost is high, and rightly so. At present, it will cost 100 Fortune to gain one Graceful Plea. At this level, we estimate a player can make a dedicated effort with a single character and earn enough Fortune within about 6 months. This assumes a certain number of hours per week, of course. If the player attends quests during that time, the time to earn enough points may be shorter, as the rate of earning Fortune on quests is faster than the always-on trickle of Fortune points.
As you can see, there are some very quick and simple benefits to Fortune, but there can also be some very significant benefits to saving one's Fortune points for a greater purpose. The choice is yours to make.
What are the numbers?
The Fortune systems is based on time and a certain number of points given out per hour of playing, divided up into smaller intervals to allow people to benefit regardless of how long they can spend in-game at any given time. We have factors we can bring into play to increase or decrease this rate or even shut it off completely.
At this time, we are not inclined to discuss the exact numbers. We may never be, in fact. We may tweak and adjust the numbers over time as seems appropriate. We may find cause to change the rates because we feel they're too fast or too slow. We may have bonus events, announced and unannounced.
We also don't want people to game or exploit the system. We don't want people scrutinizing their time spent in-game and figuring out how maximize their Fortune and little else. As such, we are keeping the inner workings of this system private for the foreseeable future. That said, there are certain rates and numbers which are public and visible:
Fortune points given by GMs or WLs are equivalent to 1 hour of quest or RP XP in terms of the magnitude of the reward, and it scales with the character's current level.
Fortune points exchanged for XP are equivalent to 1 hour of quest or RP XP. This is directly parallel to the above point, which again scales with the character's current level.
Fortune points can be exchanged for GP (True) at a rate of 1 Fortune Point for 1000GP/True
Fortune points can be exchanged for a Graceful Plea at the rate of 100 Fortune points for 1 Graceful Plea
These numbers are still subject to change, but we feel they are pretty solid and simple. If we were to make any long-term adjustments, we would instead change the rate of accumulation rather than these exchange rates, so that the system remains simple and there are no mental gymnastics required to conceptualize how much reward one can get for a given number of Fortune points.
So that is the system in summary. As mentioned above, we'll update this with more details as we work them out. If there are any questions regarding what has already been worked out, please feel free to ask. We'll also be creating and updating a FAQ for this system, so that all the important details of the system can be easily found and understood.