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My Synergy suggestion

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  • My Synergy suggestion

    I was looking through the "what do you want in a 2e Chronicle book" thread recently and saw a lot of call for a big update to Synergy. Here's my stab at it. (Note- I'm more trying to get the concept out there than show how I would write it in a new book):

    Synergy is the measure of how well you and your geist work together. At high Synergy, your geist is right there with you, and you hold a tight command over great and terrible powers. Life as a Sin-Eater can lead to some gruesome and brutal sights, though, some of which are your doing. As hard as that can be to live with, for Sin-Eaters that all comes on top of the basic fact-of-life that you have a death-concept-ghost-thing whispering to you about how it wants to live life all of the time. Most people would eventually break.
    Maintaining your control is hard work in the face of life. As your grip slips, your geist's leash gets a little longer until one day, when you can't take it anymore, the geist is the one in complete control and you are nothing but a simpering, sniveling little soul, begging for it all to stop. But that's not until your Synergy is completely gone. There's a big, long slide before that happens.

    Synergy as Authority/Control -
    There's a lot of precedence for this. In DaveB's notes about Wisdom-as-Integrity, he discussed how low Wisdom meant the spell effects of the Mage were less well controlled. In 1e Geist, negative modifiers were placed on your Synergy Dischord rolls when you submitted to admitted to your geist's authority by using krewe Aspect abilities. This mostly begs the question, though, of how to make it play out.

    Dischord as Madness and Geist Dice-
    Basic existence as a Sin-Eater means you have a voice telling you what to do. Sure, you don't have to obey it, but just hearing it is typically a sign of insanity. So lets slap every Sin-Eater there is with a persistent Madness condition. Each chapter, either the Storyteller or your shadowguide (if you've got player-led geister) gets a pool of generally distinguishable dice equal to 10 - your Synergy (how Discordant your Bond is). Over the course of the chapter, they can take each geist die once and substitute it for one of your regular dice for a Social or Mental tasks. They can spend their pool all at once or spread it out over the course of the night. If the only Successes on a roll are on the geist dice, then it takes the form of a Dramatic Failure as your geist is accomplishing this task it's way. This, of course, grants a Beat.
    A complete failure on such a roll is treated as a normal Failure, which could be upgraded to a Dramatic Failure as per normal. The narrative should reflect that this is not specifically because of the geist's influence - you were going to fail hard with or without it distracting you.

    Power at the Cost of Control -
    Plasm pools start larger than any other line's fuel capacity, and with good reason. Plasm is easy to spend, and, if you're good with Virtures and Vices and Archetypes, easy to gain. As such, Psyche should be easier to gain than the other power stats so that Plasm can be spend efficiently and not have easy-to-reach Manifestations taking three and four rounds to use.
    If Psyche is the power of your Bond, the quickest way to power is to loosen up on control a bit. Instead of the 5 Experiences it usually takes to increase a power stat in 2E, Psyche only costs 3. It also costs a dot of Synergy. This isn't a permanent loss, but it is unavaoidable. Perhaps you could give the option of buying the 5 Experiences version without the Synergy loss, too...
    Synergy, like all Integrity, also costs 3 Experience. Yes, waiting is cheaper, but there's also this next thing to consider...

    Expressions of Authority and Grace - Synergistic Beats -
    Given Krewe Experience, and I firmly support it still being a thing in Geist, there will already be a secondary set of Beats to keep track of. I propose a third: Synergistic Beats. These are Beats relating to Experiences ear-marked specifically for regaining Synergy.
    As you exercise your Archetype, you solidify your understanding of life in the face of death as the truth of your Bond. In doing so, you bring your geist closer to you. Whever you reap plasmic benefits from acting out your Virtue or Vice in furtherance of your Archetypal goals, you gain a Synergistic Beat. Once per chapter, if you use a Manifestation in furtherance of your Archetypal goals, not only does it cost no plasm, but it also grants you a Synergistic Beat.
    Much as carrying out actions that wrankle your geist cause Dischord, treating your geist well can lead to a tighter bond. Your geist has its own Aspirations, which are chosen by either the Storyteller or shadowguide. As your Synergy falls, your geist gets more of them and they should become more outlandish and less obviously aligned with your Sin-Eater's goals. Completing these Aspirations grants a Synergistic Beat as well as your Dischord (10-Synergy) in plasm.

    Life after life -
    Succumbing to death and needing your geist to drag you back to the shores of the life is a clear sign that it is the one holding all the cards. This immediately causes Dischord, and makes healing the growing rift between you significantly more difficult. After your second death (the first after your Bargain), rising above 8 Synergy requires that all Experiences spent be from Synergistic Beats. After the third, this threshold drops to rising above 6 Synergy. This trend contiues until the sixth death, after which no other Experiences can aid in Synergy reovery ever again.
    Having your Synergy cieling drop below your current Synergy is a Dischord trigger, rolled nomally.

    The only other thing I think I'd put into a new Synergy system is to expand the geist resolution section. The Bound spend their whole lives helping ghosts deal with their issues. They should be given a little more of a push to some day deal with their own. I like how open ended the post-resolution comments are, but it feels like it should be a more common goal to have on the back burner.

    So what do you think?
    Last edited by TerraBen; 05-15-2015, 11:49 PM.