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Chapter 3: Subsystems / Victory Points

Victory Point Subsystem Structure

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 148
There are a few common structures for tracking Victory Points that you might use for your new subsystem. You could come up with a structure based off one of the subsystems below, or you could create your own completely different structure if none of them match the way you’re running your game. The most important thing is to consider how the PCs or their opposition gain or lose various forms of Victory Points.

Accumulating Victory Points

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 148
The most common structure is to accumulate Victory Points toward a total, either stopping after reaching a success threshold or collecting as many Victory Points as possible in a given time frame and then measuring the results against various thresholds. The influence subsystem on page 151 is a great example of this structure in action: each PC has a certain number of chances to influence various NPCs, and after reaching a particular threshold of Victory Points with an NPC, the PCs have convinced that NPC.

In a variation of this structure, the PCs’ adversaries can also accumulate Victory Points, giving the PCs a moving target—either to reach the goal before the adversary or to have more Victory Points than the adversary at the end of a given time frame. This is a great structure for you to use in a situation where the PCs face opposition rather than having the PCs accumulate Victory Points while adversaries decrease the total, since it’s dynamic and less at risk of resulting in a stalemate.

You can track a subsystem at a larger scale, like over the course of an adventure or campaign, by granting the PCs Victory Points for achieving difficult goals or making particular decisions. Such subsystems usually ask the PCs to compare their accumulated Victory Points against several ranked tiers that each having varying results on the story. Typically these results become more positive for the PCs as they acquire more Victory Points, but sometimes succeeding too fully could have unintended consequences, like convincing the workers to support a rebellion so thoroughly that it riles up a mob. If you’re making your own subsystem, you might not define these ranks in full, but just use your best guess at the end.

Accumulating Rolls

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 148
In cases where the PCs need to make checks to gain Victory Points, the amount they get for the degrees of success is up to you. The default scale detailed below works in most cases.
Critical Success The PCs gain 2 Victory Points.
Success The PCs gain 1 Victory Point.
Critical Failure The PCs lose 1 Victory Point. This means that the result of a PC’s check usually results in the party gaining either 1 or no Victory Points. However, specialized PCs have a solid chance of earning the party 2 Victory Points, and hare‑brained schemes have a fair chance of losing the PCs 1 Victory Point.

Diminishing Victory Points

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 149
Using this method, the PCs start with a certain number of Victory Points, and rather than accumulating them, they attempt to avoid losing them. Perhaps the PCs are trying to keep dragon eggs from cracking, or are otherwise attempting to minimize damage, loss, or danger. This variant is less common, but it’s great at conveying the urgency of a situation as the PCs lose points. Sometimes it’s necessary to add that sense of tension with this subsystem! Typically, when the PCs lose all their Victory Points, a negative event occurs. If they’re on a timer, the final results might be better the more points they manage to keep before the time runs out.

Diminishing Rolls

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 149
Using this structure, the PCs typically lose Victory Points as a result of failed checks, though they can still lose them for making particularly poor decisions or behaving recklessly. Once again, you can use any scaling consequences that make sense, but the default degrees of success are as follows.
Critical Success If regaining ground is possible, the PCs gain 1 Victory Point. Otherwise, as success.
Success The PCs avoid losing any Victory Points.
Failure The PCs lose 1 Victory Point.
Critical Failure The PCs lose 2 Victory Points.

Multiple Point Subsystems

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 149
In a multiple point subsystem, you have more than one point system, each measuring something different. For example, in a long-distance race, the PCs and their opponents both try to gain their own Marathon Points, and whoever gets to 10 points first wins!

Infiltration on page 160 offers a different example of a Victory Point subsystem with multiple types of points. PCs try to get a certain number of Infiltration Points to successfully infiltrate a location while avoiding giving Awareness Points to their enemies through failure.

Consider combining the multiple points with a time factor, like in infiltrations, where the PCs automatically accrue Awareness Points over time at a slow rate.