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Chapter 3: Subsystems / Victory Points

Setting Your Scale

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 149
The number of points it takes to reach a goal will greatly affect how your subsystem feels during play. If you want the subsystem to be used for a single scene, such as one negotiation with a powerful NPC, set the number lower than if it’s meant to take up most or all of a game session. The Table 3–1 (page 150) suggests possible values for your Victory Point scale. The “adventure-wide” scale is for subsystems that are part of a larger narrative, granting Victory Points when the PCs overcome entire encounters or dungeons, rather than as an encounter unfolds.

This larger scale is intended for subsystems that take a lot of the party’s focus. A subsystem that runs in the background during an adventure should use a smaller scale. This is usually the “adventure-wide, sideline” value. It could be even lower, such as if you have a dungeon-based adventure including several opportunities to interact with a kobold tribe to get some small benefits. Though they appear throughout the adventure, you would use a lower value because attaining the VP is a minor part of the story. In fact, you might choose not to use a VP subsystem at all.

The table also lists numbers for one or more thresholds. These are the point values at which the PCs get a partial benefit (or, for a diminishing subsystem, take a drawback). You should grant partial benefits when the PCs reach a certain threshold or introduce twists to the subsystem to ensure they continue to feel engaged and rewarded over time.

Table 3-1: Victory Point Scales

Duration of ChallengeVP End PointVP Thresholds
Quick encounter3–5
Long encounter7–104
Most of a session15–255, 10, 15
Adventure-wide, sideline15–205, 10, 15
Adventure-wide, forefront25–5010, 20, 30, 40
The values also depend on various factors. These might include the DCs, the number of chances the PCs get to gain Victory Points, and the flexibility of how the PCs can deploy themselves (for example, if PCs are all forced to try something they might not be trained in, it could cause critical failures). They might also include the amount of effort the PCs need to spend on tasks that don’t directly earn Victory Points—such as checks to Discover information about NPCs using the Influence subsystem. Keep all these in mind when deciding what end point you want to use.