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Are there any games where players have effectively unlimited meta-currency?

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
One aspect of meta-currency I'm not happy about is the fact that either you hold to it till it's "useful" -- possibly not getting anything for your efforts because the time-limit ends before you can spend it -- or you spend it at the wrong time. I'm not saying this is bad design, just that I don't like having to make guesses when to use my world-editing points.

Are there any games that try a different approach? One idea I'd like to figure out is how to let players get the bonuses they want any time they feel it's right, but every time they do they add another tick to.........something. Don't really know how to make it work.
 

MeMeMe

Registered User
Validated User
Full Light Full Steam had a Battery system which was a neat spin on Aspects. You had to charge the battery up, through self-compels and battery-related setbacks, and then could spend it to boost your abilities. So the battery went up and down dynamically in play.

Several games have had what I call a Doom system, which I first saw in Conspiracy of Shadows, and again in Agon as Fate. You have a resource you can spend at any time, but there is a set campaign maximum. It never goes down. When you doom or fate track fills up, your character reaches some kind of end, and is retired from the campaign.

In The Riddle of Steel you have a bunch of destiny pools that build up as you play according to your character and nature, and gives bonuses to rolls when they are relevant. Then you expend them to improve your abilities, and have to build them up again.
 

Numanoid

#rocksteadyrollhard
Validated User
Fate works a little like this; you can run out of Fate points, but you can regain them at any time with a Compel.

Ex. Say there’s a player with no Fate points, and the party is in the middle of a chase. So a player with a “Veteran of the Troll Wars.” Aspect could request a Compel, saying “What if my character, during the chase, is hobbled by his old war injury? His leg gives out and he can no longer pursue?” If the GM agrees, the character is hobbled but he gain a Fate point.

Theoretically, there’s no limit to the number of times you can do this.
 

Michael K

Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
I think that linking metacurrency usage to a sort of clock changes little in terms of perception; I would probably still hesitate to use it, worrying that I would "frivolously" or "unnecessarily" speed up the clock (which I assume will do something to increase tension, or difficulty, or just "bad" at a certain point).

At my current table, I have come to allow rather extensive adventure and setting editing by my players, but there is no mechanical structure to balance that, merely the social construct of us as friends playing to have fun and entertain each other.

What could work would be a clearly time-limited pool of currency; you gain X points per scene, there is no way to gain additional points, every new scene resets the points to X. That way, players know exactly what they can spend and that they don't have to save the points until some later scene.
 

Cannonball

So bouncy!
Validated User
Modiphius' 2d20 system is this. Momentum is mostly a meta-currency, but it's generated by (extra) successful dice rolls and decays swiftly if left unused. As one of the things you can do with it is buy more dice to roll (so you get more successful rolls!) you're encouraged, as it were, to spend money to make money.

You can also buy more dice from the GM (to kickstart your engine!) but that gives the GM more of their own (evil!) version of the meta currency. Which they can sit on like a pile of gold until they want to spend it to make the player's lives...more exciting. Which in turn encourages them to reach for the big dice pools that fuels the gain/spend of their currency and the build-up of the GM's.
 

shockvalue

The Puncher Strikes!
Validated User
One aspect of meta-currency I'm not happy about is the fact that either you hold to it till it's "useful" -- possibly not getting anything for your efforts because the time-limit ends before you can spend it -- or you spend it at the wrong time. I'm not saying this is bad design, just that I don't like having to make guesses when to use my world-editing points.

Are there any games that try a different approach? One idea I'd like to figure out is how to let players get the bonuses they want any time they feel it's right, but every time they do they add another tick to.........something. Don't really know how to make it work.
The upcoming Cortex Prime (and the various Cortex Plus games, like Leverage, Marvel Heroic, Firefly, etc) had something extremely similar. Your character had a few Distinctions (it was always 3, but I don't see any reason it couldn't be more) - descriptive phrases that described things or skills particularly relevant to your character (a lot like Fate Aspects). Typically, you could include one of these in a roll as an extra d8. BUT... you could also choose to roll it as a d4, which was mildly disadvantageous, and provided you an instant Plot Point metacurrency.

This has two, ahem, distinctions that set it apart from the Fate "Compel" method mentioned above. One, it was assumed that almost every roll you make in the game should include one of your Distinctions - they should be broad enough that one of them should apply, for good or bad or weird, in almost any situation. Two, and this is the most important, they required no justifying to the GM. Rolling as a d4 doesn't have to mean the Distinction was working against you, it doesn't limit what your character can attempt, it doesn't really mean anything, other than your roll is a little worse and you get a Plot Point. (I believe Cam Banks described the rational as Distinctions just supply flavor to how your character do things, not particularly if you can.)

As a GM, I like it a lot, because my players don't have to ask me for permission to do a Compel, they can just roll the Distinction as a d4 and collect a Plot Point, as often as they like.
 

Octiron

Pariah
Validated User
In Clown Helsing it's kind of a reverse hot-potato. The GM gives you a metacurrency (chicken) token if you make the group laugh. There is only one at the table, and if you don't use it quick before someone else gets the laugh award, you lose it to them. No limits to the number of times this happens and very strong incentive not to hold on to it long.
 
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Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
Fate works a little like this; you can run out of Fate points, but you can regain them at any time with a Compel.
Except you can run out.
As a GM, I like it a lot, because my players don't have to ask me for permission to do a Compel, they can just roll the Distinction as a d4 and collect a Plot Point, as often as they like.
Hm, wonder if there's a way to port this into other systems.
 

Gentleman Highwayman

Registered User
Validated User
Double Cross is like a modern version of Exalted done right. Instead of counting down your essence you count up, but by the end of the session you need to be below a certain limit or go to the dark side. There are of course many ways to bring down your score, but some are very drastic and character changing.
 

downer

Fairy Tale King
Validated User
I don't see why you couldn't just make meta currency limitless, if your group is into that. It won't work with Fate because it disrupts the fate point economy, but there are certainly games where it wouldn't have an impact. It would of course change the nature of the game a lot, emphasizing the players' wishes and interests over the GM's plot. I wouldn't necessarily hold that to be a bad thing. At that point, however, I would be tempted to flip the game around. Basically, instead of having stats and skills and whatnot that help you succeed, you define certain failure conditions that the GM can invoke to declare that you fail. Otherwise, you succeed, just narrate how. That should do away with 90% of all metacurrency applications.
 
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