RPG a Day 2022 – [System Sunday] – Describe a cool part of a system you love

I love Bennies in Savage Worlds. Bennies, usually represented by a poker chip or some other token, allow players (and game masters) to re-roll skill checks and attacks. Players begin with a set number of bennies per session – usually 3 – and spend them throughout that session. Critically, they can earn more bennies for role-playing, entertaining the group, and bribing the GM with snacks.

The bennie economy creates a virteous, self-reinforcing loop: players take risks because they have bennies; taking risks earns them more bennies. Those risks can be associated with combat, social challenges, or any other aspect of role-playing; the key thing is the positive, infectious atmosphere that bennies enable at the table.

The key bits are 1) having a pool of bennies 2) being able to earn more. Other systems, like D&D 5e, have something like bennies, but its not as successful because the economy is more limited. Only having a single inspiration die leads players to hoard them (even though they could technically earn a new die through role-playing). Having multiple bennies gives people a resource to manage … and one they’re comfortable spending because they know they will get more.

It’s something id like to experiment with in D&D 5e – perhaps by giving people three inspiration rather than one, just like bennies in Savage Worlds. Having three tokens im front of you, just waiting to be spent, could change up the dynamic nicely. Another option, which was a variant rule in D&D, is plot points. These were d6s that could be spent to modify did rolls, but could also be spent to make minor (or major, if you spent enough) changes to the plot. The challenge I’ve found with our prior experiments is that our D&D minds resist adding these mechanics. We settle into our familiar groves, and don’t think to use the mechanic (even if we would when playing Savage Worlds and FATE).

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