Rules Index


Chapter 3: Subsystems

Deciding to Use a Subsystem

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 147
When you have an exciting subsystem available, it can be tempting to use it anytime it can possibly come up (for instance, replacing every social scene with the influence subsystem). However, subsystems are most effective when used with intention. Subsystems are best when used for a component of the game that’s meant to be at least a significant portion of a single session. Think about whether you want a different style of play than normal before you decide to use a subsystem, since that’s what subsystems are best suited for. You should avoid using a particular subsystem if many members of your group don’t like it, or if use of a subsystem during play devolves into the PCs making a series of rolls that don’t contribute to telling an interesting story.

It’s important to leave enough time and mental energy to make the subsystem feel special and to bring all the components and elements of the subsystem to life in the game world. A subsystem stripped of all its life and story depth can become nothing more than a large number of die rolls, and the last thing you want is to lose the magic, especially with a subsystem the PCs enjoy. Sometimes, a simple check is the right way to handle the scene, and that’s okay! The subsystems will be there when you need them to spice up an adventure or really dive deep into a particular element or scene.