Torment: Tides of Numenera Post-funding Update #47

A new post-funding update for the Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign has been released. It offers some words on the ongoing Alpha Systems Tests, the mechanics the designers are going to implement to handle companions' defeat in combat and their deaths, and a few additional assorted things.

I'm going to quote a snippet on how the designers are trying to combine their "interesting failure" design philosophy with the necessity to provide real consequences for the loss of a companion:

The world does move on when the player dies. Sometimes the player can return to a Crisis to try again, but just as often things have changed. A crime lord may have increased her guards (or decreased them, thinking that the threat was over). The Last Castoff may have been dragged away by his enemies to some new location (or posthumously arrested, for those that know what he is). These branching "failures" are designed to encourage players to continue on after a defeat, if only to see what happens.

The death of party members is a little trickier. Some companions are castoffs themselves or are hard to kill for other reasons and so they can get back up after most battles. But the Ninth World holds no resurrection for mortal characters. When a mortal companion dies, it's permanent.

This presents a problem with our "interesting failure" guideline. I imagine there are only a small percentage of gamers who would play through a beloved companion's death, knowing that a happier storyline lay only a reload away. At the same time, if we just let the defeated companions get up at the end of a Crisis, it would take away a lot of the tension of keeping your party alive despite your player character's near-immortality, we don't want combat to be a low-stress, "nothing that happens matters" affair.

Our solution (pending playtesting) is an adaptation from Numenera core rules called Lasting Damage. When a mortal companion drops to zero in all three Stat Pools, they're out of combat but not dead. When the Crisis is over, the companion will get up but they will be scathed with a Lasting Damage fettle.

The specific effects of this fettle and how to remove it will be tweaked as needed for balance, but in general:
  • The fettle will have some severe effect, on the order of making all tasks more difficult by two steps.
  • The fettle will go away after the party Sleeps X times. The player can choose to Sleep until it's gone, but doing so will have other effects on the game.
  • There will usually be a skilled chiurgeon of some sort nearby who can remove this fettle immediately for a number of shins. Sometimes this NPC may be hard to find, or their healing might not be available right away, but the player should be able to heal before most major Crises.