I read a post on another blog recently that reminded me of the Condition Rating system from Star Wars Saga Edition, to the extent that I’m reviewing the system for possible adaptation in my game. Why? Well — partly to make playing a controller easier, more straightforward, and more fun in general.

SWSE features a “Condition Rating” that (almost?) completely replaces status effects. Instead of blinding an enemy to impose the “Blinded” condition, you hit an enemy with a Blindness effect and reduce their Condition Rating — which in turn imposes a fairly generic, Blindness-like penalty.

I think I just might have inadvertently made it sound kind of awful.

Here’s the thing though — it isn’t exactly unique. It bears similarities to the wounds systems in Storyteller games like Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage, and I believe it’s referred to as a “Death Spiral” system. In a game featuring a Death Spiral, when one side starts to lose a fight, their defeat becomes pretty much inevitable.

I don’t know if I could actually make a Death Spiral work any better than it does in other games — I mean, I think Death Spirals are generally viewed as a bad thing, it’s been forever and a day since the last time I took a poll — but what I like about the system in this case is that it’s really, really easy to use.

It would neatly summarize a controller’s contribution to a fight — they bring the AoEs and the status effects — with status effects contained within a singular mechanic, that makes things even easier. In fact, it ties up conditions neatly and gives me room to explore other options available to the controller.

I’m actually thinking of calling it “Morale,” and using it as the basis for well, morale. I prefer to think of it as a pretty constant thing that can be incremented, rather than a thing which changes suddenly with a die roll. If that makes any sense.

I’ve had players in the past who’ve rolled their own “morale,” which is a practice that bothers me. I prefer that players take responsibility for the actions of their characters, to avoid the trap of “it’s what my character would do” shenanigans.

I understand being at a loss for what to do. And I understand wanting the dice to help one out on occasion. But it’s using the dice to absolve you of responsibility that I can’t abide — but truthfully, that’s a gripe for another time.