Component Gimmicks

Some gimmicks that change the way Components work in the game.

Durable Components

Submitted by Bob McNamee

This gimmick is designed to make it more difficult to remove Traits or Eliminate Components from play.

When Components are Created, they can be designated as “Durable”.  This is a special Trait that costs 5 Coins and cannot be Removed from the Component.  For the rest of the game it takes 2 Coins instead of 1 to Remove a Trait of that Component or reduce the Component’s Importance.  This will make killing Characters, destroying Locations, etc much harder. It will tend to skew things toward making existing things gain Importance, since it is cheaper to add a Fact to something than to destroy a Fact from it.

A combat example…
Bob’s has character A attack B. Character B is Durable.  After resolving the Complication. A side wins with 10 coins, B side gets 3. B is an Importance 6 character. With this Add-on, instead of reducing Importance to 0 and describing the 6 “coin moves” and keeping 4 Coins- killing B like the normal rules, Bob can’t kill B (he would need 12 coins to reduce the importance), so he adds 6 Coins worth of Facts (like…Flesh wounds x2, Weak with Blood Loss x2, Broken Nose, No match for Character A) and keeps 4 Coins. These added traits will have the effect of acting against B in other Complications, but they also increase the Importance of character B to 12. These “negative” Facts are also difficult to remove from B. (and perhaps Bob will destroy one or two trait Facts and add a couple wounding traits etc instead of using them all one way)

If you want to make sure that the groups creative work hangs around longer, this might be a good Add-on for you.

— Mike and Bob worked on this Add-on on our Discussion Forum.  I added a couple small tweaks to it before posting it here.  Ralph


Enigma Traits

Submitted by Christopher Chinn

This rule allows players to conceal the hidden facts about a character or other Component. You can buy Traits for Components that are not known to the other players, although they do have to be written down, and cannot be used for Complications or Challenges until revealed.

You have to pay 2 Coins for an Enigma Trait (essentially 1 Coin for the Trait and 1 for the privilege of keeping it secret).  The Trait is written down and not revealed to the other players.  At any point the player desires he can reveal the Trait and bring it to bear in a Complication or Challenge or simply refer to it in narrative.

The purpose of an Enigma Trait is to allow a player to secure “first dibs” on an idea but yet still keep it secret to “spring” on the other players at a dramatic moment.  Players can always add “surprise” or “plot twist” Traits to Components via the normal rules.  But by waiting for the right moment to purchase those Traits other Facts may be purchased by other players in the mean time that invalidate the player’s plans.

For instance.  Dave might really want to add a Trait to Elton Frakes that he is, in fact, a werewolf.  He decides to wait to a suitable moment to buy the Trait and reveal Elton’s secret.  Before he gets the chance, Ed buys “Immune to Lycanthrope” as a Trait for Elton.  Now Dave could Challenge this, but in addition to the expense it may make his announcement anti-climactic.  Using the Enigma Trait rule Dave buys the Werewolf Trait for Elton but records it in secret.  Now if Ed tries to render Elton “Immune” he will be too late.  Dave can now challenge Ed with the weight of the newly revealed Enigma Trait serving as Fact.

These traits work well for mystery stories, noir stories, heroes with undiscovered powers, and soap operas. Memento comes to mind as a movie that would incorporate this very well.

— This Add-on was first proposed in our Discussion Forum.  I tweaked it a bit before posting it here.  Ralph


Public Domain Trait

Submitted by Kirt Dankmyer

This Gimmick is something of the reverse of the Control Trait Gimmick.  Instead of adding a “Control Trait” that makes it harder for others to take Control of a Component, the player adds a “Public Domain” Trait to the Component.

This Component can now be Taken Over for free, without spending a coin to do so. The Take Over can be Challenged as usual.

— This gimmick would be useful in a variety of situations such as:  Large complex locations like a castle or city that every player wants to be able to add Traits to at any time without having to spend a Coin to Take Control each time, reoccurring villains so that any player can initiate a Complication using that villain without needing to pay to control him.

— See also the Friendly Control  Gimmick for a similar way of handling this.


Royalty Gimmick

Submitted by Ralph Mazza

This gimmick is used in conjunction with the Control Trait Gimmick that gives the owning player the weight of Fact to Challenge attempts to Take Over their Component.

Using this gimmick, allows players to Take Over Control-Trait characters without fear of Challenge if they pay the 1 Coin directly to the player named in the Trait instead of the Bank

— Royalties were actually a concept from way in the early days of Universalis.  The intention was to motivate players to Create interesting Components by paying them if they were something other players would want to use.  This motivation proved completely unnecessary and so the rule was scrapped; but it fit so nicely with Bob’s clever Control Trait Gimmick that I resurrected the concept just for it.

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