I'm working on a game (with RPG mechanics based loosely upon the d20 SRD, version 3.5
, the system used by Dungeons & Dragons 3.5E
), and I wanted to get some takes on a certain mechanic.
What I plan is to have something akin to a "vitality" or "endurance" score, handled in a way similar to HP (in other words, a literal value that can often go up and down). This score (which I am thinking about calling "tension") basically acts as "fuel" for certain actions (empowered physical attacks and spell effects, and faster reaction times, primarily). The idea is that under certain circumstances -- such as in a moment of desperation, for example -- one can call upon this "tension" to perform an extraordinary feat.
Of course, the question is, how should I go about handling such a mechanic.
My ideas involve a "pressure gauge" of sorts that changes based on a character's situation. Depending on how this gauge is set determines how much a character's tension builds. For example, if the character is in a situation where the odds are stacked against him, the "pressure gauge" would be higher -- and as a result, his tension score would increase faster than it would if, say, he were relaxing at a pub (in which case, the "pressure gauge" would be lower than normal).
With this in mind, I figure I could make the "pressure gauge" serve as a modifier to a character's rate of building tension. Maybe if the pressure is "normal", it could be a simple 2d6 roll; with "relaxing" adding a -5 penalty to the result; and a +5 bonus for "intense" situations. In any case, this roll would be factored into a character's tension score at a set interval (perhaps in order of turn initiative, or maybe over the course of "world time").
There are also ideas for allowing direct manipulation of tension. For example, an "Adrenaline Rush" technique that allows a character to rapidly accumulate tension score; or maybe a feat called "Hot-Headed" that augments the modifier applied to all "pressure" rolls. On the obverse, one could have abilities to diminish the tension of other characters (like "Soothe," which could lower a character's pressure gauge; or "Feign Advantage," which would be somewhat the reverse of "Intimidate" -- in other words, trying to bluff your way into fooling the enemy into thinking you have some significant advantage over him).
Any input is appreciated.