Gem System

This system is a sort of rewards program. I have some gemstones of two colors, red and green. Red gems are related to combat, while green gems are used for social/roleplay encounters. Gems are linked to the character who earned them; gems do not transfer to a new character should the previous die or be retired.

Players may hold a maximum of 7 gemstones at any one time. They will be unqualified and unable to earn any more until they spend some; gems are not “held in waiting” until they are spent. The sole exception to this is if one earns two or more gems simultaneously, thus bringing them over 7 gems total. The gems must be spent at that point to retain the excess.

Gems are rewarded through several means. Unstated gems rewards are random (red or green). In general these are rewarded for exceptional efforts, not run-of-the-mill occurrences. As such, try to be somewhat conservative in their use.

  • All players receive one red and one green gem upon character creation.
  • Characters also receive one red and green gem per level gained.
  • Characters receive an additional green gem for a finished backstory.
  • Major plot reveals and/or story arc completions award one red and green gem.
  • Regular attendance (every three sessions attended, marked on tally chart).
  • Exceptional acts of character and/or heroics.
  • Achievement and/or advancement of a character’s personal goals.
  • Completed journal postings of substance.
  • Aiding in world creation beyond backstory.
  • Building or inspiring new, favorable game mechanics.

Gems can be redeemed for combat bonuses, one-time effects, or even permanent boosts. Up to three red gem actions, but no more than one action per turn, can be redeemed by a character per combat. Only 3 green gem actions can be redeemed by a character per session, excluding Mod/Major Narrative Declaration (see below). All gem actions can otherwise be redeemed in any character state (e.g. unconscious, stunned, intoxicated), but the upper-bound effects (5+ gems) cannot be redeemed in combat.

Some examples of things you can use the gems on:

  • One more time: one additional attack at full attack bonus, redeemed during your turn (1 red)
  • Shrug it off: Ignore the next attack against you (1 red, must be used before damage rolled)
  • Critical Assured: Automatically confirm a critical threat (1 red, must be used before the confirmation roll)
  • Haemostasis: Stabilize from dying (1 red)
  • Mulligan: Re-roll a failed action (1 red (attack) or 1 green (action/check), must take new result)
  • Bolster Spells: +2 to all spell DCs (1 green, lasts for the duration of combat)
  • Bolster a Feat: You double a designated feat’s effects (duration, damage, etc.) (1 red, lasts for the duration of combat)
  • Emulate a Skill: You treat a skill as a class skill +3 (1 green, lasts for 1 session)
    • 3 uses turns the skill into a permanent Class Skill. 5 uses grants the Skill Focus for that skill.
  • Emulate a Feat: You possess a feat temporarily. (1 red, must meet all prerequisites, lasts for duration of combat)
    • 5 uses grants the feat permanently.
  • Better than expected!: Add 1d20 to a non-combat die roll. (1 green)
  • Divine Inspiration: DM Hint (1 green)
  • Minor Narrative Declaration: See below. (1 green)
  • Minor Recall: Regain a Minor Spell (levels 0-3), ready for use immediately. (1 green)
  • Mine’s Bigger: Increase weapon damage die size by one step for the remainder of combat. (1 red)
  • Five Shots or Six?: Use a limited ability (e.g. per day) one extra time (1 red OR green, depending on ability)
  • Make it a Good One: Automatically critical next attack (2 red, must be used before dice rolled)
  • My Turn Again!: Gain an additional full round outside normal initiative (2 red)
  • I got better!: Ignore, recover from, or negate a Status Effect (2 red)
  • Second Wind: Full heal (2 red, must be below half health, once per combat)
  • Moderate Recall: Regain a Moderate Spell (levels 4-6), ready for use immediately. (2 green)
  • Moderate Narrative Declaration: See below. (2 green)
  • Solipsistic Well-being: Negate the effects of a deathblow (3 red)
  • Major Recall: Regain a Major Spell (levels 7-9), ready for use immediately. (3 green)
  • Major Narrative Declaration: See below. (3 green)
  • Epic Recall: Regain an Epic Spell (level 10+), ready for use immediately. (4 green)
  • Hale: Gain a bonus d8 Hit Die + CON (5 gems)
  • Skilled: Gain 10 Skill Points (5 gems)
  • Practiced: Gain a bonus Feat (6 gems)
  • Potent: Improve a Racial/Class Feature (e.g. gain additional uses or dice) (6 gems)
  • Able: Gain a +1 to Ability Score (7 gems, max 5)
  • Content Not Found: purple-shiny-stuff (7 gems)

A Note on Declarations:
Minor Declarations can alter small details of descriptions or minor action results (e.g. the guards chasing the rogue through the alleyways instead turn left when the rogue goes right).
Only one Moderate or Major Narrative Declaration can be redeemed per session; once used, no player can use it until the next session. Mod/Maj Declarations do not count against the character’s green gem actions for the session. Declarations must be used before an action takes place (no undoing something already stated) and cannot be used to directly harm or slay any major opponents (no killing bosses!).

Gem System

The Vault Maesenko