Following a train of thought from my writing about motivations and moral choices from this morning, I had a weird sort of realization. I’ve been a little uncomfortable with the Isolation and Ostracism conditions, and the idea to add Addiction and Compulsion conditions to the mix gave me a lot to think about.

It occurred to me that most social conditions should be voluntary, and when I reflected on the idea of the D&D “roguelike,” I think I finally realized what needed to change to make everything work together. Physical (and mental) conditions, being what they are, effect all adventurers. Social conditions simply do not.

Several lights went on in my head simultaneously when I realized that all social conditions might be made voluntarily. Simply put, a social condition might be the qualifier for quests. It can be used to define the types of quests a character can obtain, and what’s on the line should they succeed or fail.

If one assumes (as one should, in this case) that the worsening of one or more conditions leads directly to a loss of hit point resources, then there can be found a direct correlation between effort and condition, and success and failure. The more a character is worn down by adventuring, the less resources they have available.

Each social condition becomes optional, and represents a social “strain” on the character. Your standard adventurer who starts out helping the little guy and working his way up the ladder, probably begins by taking the Isolation and/or Ostracism conditions to take missions and quests for normal people.

By subjecting themselves to the social conventions, or “playing by the rules,” of a group, the adventurer gains access to the resources of that group. This drains their stamina, as the adventurer then struggles to meet the expectations of the group. Alternatively, they may assume related “flaws” to offset the hit to stamina.