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5e Inspiration with a dash of Hillfolk

*Update* We don’t use these rules currently. They were just an idea, we haven’t put them into practice.

New update: We *are* giving them a try now. Only two sessions in, so far.

So in our 5e game, we threw out Persuasion, Intimidation and Deception day one, in favor of using Robin Law’s Petitioner & Granter structure from Hillfolk, though that aspect of the system is better explained in Law’s chapter in the Unframed anthology.

I read it in Unframed first, implemented it and loved it so much that I also bought Hillfolk. In Hillfolk, there are also “drama tokens” that we haven’t used. The players have been like… “why?”

And, honestly, good question. I’m not at all sure that it’ll be better – our games are on rocket fuel as it is with tense talking scenes and wild fighting and vampire hunting. The petitioner/granter/tactics cycle as laid out in Unframed work as advertised, or better. We love it and we haven’t used the tokens at all.

Buuuut I’ve brought it up again and again, I think mostly for some unfounded desire to “Do Hillfolk right”, but also to get some more consequences out of the PvP talking scenes (the PvNPC talking scenes are already great) especially for the new campaign, a homebrew more epic scope campaign.

So, yesterday, I laid out the tokens again and explained them again and then… while I was talking, something so obvious struck me. Why not combine the drama tokens and insp tokens into one token type?

Here are the rules:

In Hillfolk proper, it resets to zero between every session. In our 5e game we’ve had it as going down to 1 if you have more than 1, keeping 0 if you had 0 (because you never need more than one because you empty your pool to get advantage). However, in Hillfolk on page 65 it says that when you put this system into another game (which is just what we’re doing now), you keep your tokens from session to session but reset all pools every fifteenth scene. That “fifteenth scene” thing we can skip, our pools will go to zero often enough because that’s how you get advantage — but, maybe too often?

One play pattern that that I hope will come up that is that someone with an empty pool grant a significant concession to someone, get insp, spend that insp to get advantage, and then have an empty pool to do it all over again.

This ties the dramatic and procedural scenes together in a way beyond what Hillfolk proper does — it does keep its procedural tokens and dramatic tokens separate. We will see…

We haven’t tested any of this yet, but we will — ABT, Always Be Testing!