I’m going to stick to Extra Credits’ term for those indirect-thingies that grant players advantages and disadvantages until I find a better one. Incomparables. When you weigh the decision to use a power that allows you to teleport against a power that heals your buddy, you’re weighing incomparables.

Tending to be non-damaging effects, incomparables are powers, abilities, skills, attributes, or whatever that give you (or an ally!) some kind of advantage in a game challenge that doesn’t directly contribute to whatever goal is at hand (killing the monsters) but usually contributes toward a larger goal, like just surviving.

Weighing machine and ancient freight trolley T...

The ability to carry more loot, versus the ability to travel quickly between places where loot can be acquired.

From the word go, I want players to be able to weigh incomparables in their fights – and I started with status effects because I think it’s a good place to start. I’ve discussed Norvendae status effects before – they are in large designed to be more specific about what they impede, and simpler in their applicability.

Effects are bigger in a way – like not being able to hit with attacks, as opposed to suffering some sort of numerical disadvantage to attack success – or not being able to damage with attacks that miss, or are blocked, as opposed to a mathematical reduction of damage. Characters who don’t deal damage directly to foes suffer no ill effects in this case…

…Like a leader who directs allies to attack. They don’t need to deal damage.

The tactics needs to be there though, they need to have a purpose in most cases, even if they aren’t always the best choice. That’s where weighing your options helps.

One of the important factors at this stage is making sure those status effects can be easily and effectively be removed or protected against. That’s one of those reciprocating factors in determining how powerful the status effects themselves are. If it’s going to be worth using (and removing!), it should be kind of a big deal.

Incomparables make things complicated though. How much time do you really want to spend sorting out effects, and how much time do you want to spend playing? There can’t be too many effects, or the players will lose track. The effects have to be easy to learn (keep it simple!), easy to remember (use them a lot!), easy to apply, easy to remove (good thing you can heal!), and so on, and so forth.

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