Watching The Losers reminded me of an action movie staple: mouthing off to the bad guy from an inferior position, making an outrageous claim of how you’re going to win, and then pulling it off to his great surprise. Now, a lot of players will do this anyway in a game with a reasonably correct tone and memorable villains, but why not incentivize it to make sure such banter takes place?
This is a modular system that borrows heavily from FATE. If a +2 bonus is not significant (or doesn’t make any sense) in your system of choice, change it to a comparable modifier that’s relevant.
Any time during a game session, any player can mouth off to an enemy, suggesting something entertaining that he or she is about to accomplish. The mouthing off portion is important: the enemy must be informed of the PC’s intent, whether or not it is believed. The GM awards the player from 0-5 tokens based on whether:
- The PC is in a dangerous position or otherwise outclassed.
- The stated course of action seems difficult to accomplish.
- The stated course of action suggests interesting results.
These tokens can be spent by the player any time during the scene to make this statement become a reality. Effectively, the statement becomes, in FATE-parlance, an Aspect placed on the enemy, and the tokens are equivalent to FATE points that can be spent to tag that Aspect. The player may spend a token to:
- Reroll any roll (the PC’s, an ally’s, or an opponent’s) where the result makes success at accomplishing the goal less likely.
- Add 2 to any result (the PC’s or an ally) that would affect accomplishing the goal, or subtract 2 from the result of an enemy if doing so makes accomplishing the goal more likely.
- Narrate a minor contrivance that is reasonable to the characters and current scenario but which has not been previously established (e.g., “Our sniper has a clear line of fire to the target,” “The van in which we have the rest of the explosives is next to his escape route,” “They missed one small knife when they searched me for weapons,” etc.)
There is a downside to making these statements: if the statement is not accomplished by the end of the scene, the PC has a -2 penalty to all actions until the end of the session (or the goal is accomplished). Further, if the bonus is being abused, the GM should feel free to offer fewer or zero tokens (while retaining the penalty to failure) when players aren’t actually using the system at dramatic moments.