I wrote this up a while ago and used it on the Corvis Monkey Troupe. So far it's resulted in one PC death and some very nervous players.
But I jump ahead of myself.
The Corvis Monkey Troupe is my regular game group (though I am working on gaming more for 2010, with other people as well). We mostly play Savage Worlds and that seems to work well for us. I came up with this for a Savage Worlds game I ran in the tail end of 2009.
I don't think it's for every game, but would fit in with the PCs dealing with overwhelming odds and little chance for success (ala D20 Midnight by Fantasy Flight Games).
Doom: All the PCs are doomed. How doomed they are depends on their greatness and willingness to be great. If they pay the price, they can achieve great things. But they can also fall at the height of their greatest successes. Doom will allow the PC to scale these mountains and make for a great, if not tragic, ending.
Doom starts at 1 and grows from there. At any point during a game session, the player can choose to use their Doom. They can use their Doom the number of times in any one game session as they have points in Doom, in fact, they can use all their Doom in the same moment to go out in a blaze of glory, spending it to take down that villain and his chief henchmen at the same time. Playing a Doom point results in an automatic success at the highest level possible for one action. In Savage Worlds terms, it's considered at least three aces on all rolls for that action.
However, the down side of using Doom is that the player is required to roll their Wild Die and see whether their Doom has come. For a Doom of 1, a Wild Die roll of 6 means that it is over for the PC. They either die fighting the big bad in the end battle or they shame themselves to the point of suicide while ruining their opponent for the craven bastards that they are in a social situation. Either way, the PC is out of the game. They reached high and went out with a flash!
If the PC survives that brush with Doom, his Doom value increases by 1 and the Wild Die roll range decreases by 1. So Doom 2 falls when the Wild Die is a 5 or 6, Doom 3 when the die is 4, 5 or 6, and so on. This occurs every time the player plays even one point of their Doom. Doom gained cannot be spent until the next game session.
Doom . . Wild Die
. 1 . . . . . . . 6
. 2 . . . . . . 5-6
. 3 . . . . . . 4-6
. 4 . . . . . . 3-6
. 5 . . . . . . 2-6
. 6 . . . . . .Auto
If the player chooses to use multiple Doom points for multiple actions in the same moment, that is allowed but each successive Wild Die roll range decreases by 1 as well. For example, a D00m 3 PC attacks 3 enemies in a lightning-fast strike. The first attack succeeds and the Wild Die roll is vs. 4-6. If the PC survives that roll, the second attack succeeds but the second Wild Die roll is vs. 3-6 and so on to the third Wild Die roll vs. 2-6. In the event that the PC actually survives, his Doom increases to Doom 6.
When Doom falls it should be described in a dramatically appropriate way. In the fight with the evil dragon, the warrior dies from the poisonous dragon blood as he stabs the foul beast in the heart. It should be agreed upon what happens to the PC by both the player and GM.
Gamma Red Death World
1 year ago