I realized a potential for abuse with the Divination Challenge. It’s designed as a mechanic to represent and facilitate the advancement of characters from one experience level to the next, but I also wanted it to come with a dire consequence for failure: that each failed check added to the Invasion track.

It sounds great, but I just realized the horrible, horrible potential for abuse. If each player (and let’s say there are five) decided to use Divination in the same turn, they could easily trigger an Invasion every single day of the week. That seems a bit off. Like maybe I need to seriously reconsider how Invasions are triggered.

But actually, I’m almost fine with how it works, and I think it’s just a matter of outlining the specific costs of a Divination Challenge, and the repercussions the players face in the event of an Invasion. First, it costs a weekly action to initiate a Divination. Anyone can join a Divination once it’s initiated, but someone has to have a spare action.

When the Invasion finally does come, the game will probably enter a special phase (that I have yet to determine), in which the players will have the opportunity to spend any remaining weekly actions they have in defense of the region. After that, the current week ends and everyone’s actions are wiped out until the next Expedition.

The prevailing idea regarding the recovery of weekly actions is “once per round” (meaning the drawing of a card for the new week), when the players complete an Expedition Challenge, they lose any weekly actions they might be holding (weekly actions don’t “roll over”), and then gain weekly actions for the current round.

A “day” passes when the players reach a consensus to either take an Extended Rest, or not. It can be voted upon, or everyone can simply agree that the day passes and no one really rests. Days, and weekly actions are tracked separately. Each player has their own actions, but the seven days in the week are a shared resource.

To avoid “griefing” Divination Challenges, there are the following considerations: first and foremost, because a Divination Challenge costs a weekly action, a player has to have at least one to spend. I’m thinking of a limitation of “one level per Expedition or round.” A new round must begin before a character can advance another level.

One level per adventure, guys.

This limitation will prevent a character who’s already gone and advanced a level from a Divination Challenge from going for another simply to continue gaining levels. They can continue to initiate Divination Challenges to grief, but they’ll stop gaining a tangible benefit after the first one that gets them the “Ding!” of a level-up.

Second, I’m thinking of imposing a consequence for failing a Divination Challenge, that costs the initiating player the rest of their weekly actions. They may still participate in the Divination Challenges other players initiate, but they’re out of actions until the next Expedition/round. They can still participate in most anything, actually.

Three strikes and you’re out for the rest of the week.

It also serves to deter players from pushing their advancement willy-nilly, and potentially slows down the rate at which characters can advance. If you botch a Divination, you stand to lose out on the rest of a week, not to mention whatever consequences might arise from a premature Invasion.

Finally, there’s a really easy way to prevent a Divination Challenge from griefing the party, and that’s by jumping in and passing the checks. Because there’s no cost to enter a Challenge that’s already begun, you beat the griefer at his own game and leech some of the resulting experience. He can only help you by starting another.

If you’re now worried about reverse-griefing (in this case, experience leeching) I’m working on some ways to earn solo experience, so you should be able to keep up on your own by meeting some pretty straightforward, recurring requirements. Those will be the Quests and Subplots that I’ve been working on the last couple weeks.