Strain is a concept we used in the Chthonian Highways to model stress and trauma suffered by a character. Each time the character is strained, a point of Strain is added to character.
This approach has multiple strengths compared to the more traditional resource pool mechanics like Hit Points or Pool of Willpower/Psyche/Sanity etc.
To sum up a few – As characters gain points, instead of losing points:
- Players do not feel they are giving away stuff
- Being under lot of strain, but unharmed is more intuitive,
than having taken N damage and being still somehow unharmed.
- Adding a point when you take something, is intuitive
- Adding N points is often easier math than subtracting N points.
Even if point 4 does not apply to our minimalized system, points 1-3 make perfect sense. Thus we have removed the Psyche-as-pool-of-resilience and moved to a model where characters gain Strain, and become Exhausted or Gone after they gain more Strain than their Psyche can carry.
In this example character sheet, we have a character with 2 Psyche. This means the character may have 2 points of Strain before the character is Exhausted.
As characters use Powers: the player rolls against the Character’s passion. If the GM wins, a point of Strain is created.
As characters witness traumatic events: the player can roll against 1-3 dice. If the GM wins, a point of Strain is created.
Edge Dice are normal dice, but each Edge Dice used creates a point of Strain. (This is actually an implementation of the Ironcore Push technique for Astray)
–> Now we just need to update these changes to the rules.