In the Players' Handbook, during character creation the need for Qualia is addressed, but not terribly well explained. I see that for Existentialists either Theistic or Atheistic goes here, but I'm not sure what else to place here in character creation.
This is a set of character traits that have no mechanical impact on the game (with the exception of existentialists and Mediator improvisation), but are defining for your character. Say your humanist can be a plain humanist, or it can be a Balding, Middle Aged, Jaded, Pacifistic humanist, who is also secretly a Viking.
These can be physical traits, a refinement of outlook, habits or behavioural oddities. Constantly acting against a quale should be grounds for hilarious abuse and/or removal of said quale. Acting in excellent accordance with a quale should be grounds for extra pages.
The DM can also assign mechanically significant qualia to any player whenever it's fitting. For example, a public display of wealth could net the philosopher the quale Shunned By The Proletariat. Which will, of course, complicate things when dealing with marxist villagers.
Essentially the above.
Qualia initially had a mechanical impact but now are a means to describe a character with a series of 3-5 adjectives. This keeps motivation, position and background of a character more present in mind both of the Player, the DM and everyone else invovled. You have have a twelve page bio but all I really need/want to know is that you're a Middle Aged Pacifist who is secretly a Viking.
Using it well and being to the point with the character, might give a DM an excuse to slip treatise to a suffering player [particularly in more competetive games like I play where experience isn't distributed evenly] or simply reward characters for following their principles rather than compromising their characterization for the sake of bonuses and treatise [A Fashionista probably wouldn't wear an Ironic T-Shirt salvaged off a Dire PM]. Like many other aspects of the DM's role, there isn't a set guide for it. I don't think I've ever felt the need to but assigning 5 pages of "Bonus" experience for performance and the end of a session based off of these is an option.
I'll be sure to further edit this into the manual shortly in order to clear up any future ambiguity.
During my play test with some friends I put a restriction on Qualia that they have to have at least four and no more than six. I talked to them later and told them about P-Zombies. They said it was a good idea to put a limit on the number of Qualia they had because without a limit, it would have been tough for P-Zombies to bring down a Philosopher and turn him into one of them.
What does everyone think of this? Should there be a restriction?
"It's just mind over matter, if you don't mind than what does it matter." - me
I disliked the qualia eating thing since it seems to be a relic of the first edition where qualia worked like feats. Which while it seems like a good idea, was horrible to balance.
On the other hand, I like the P-Zombies too much to send them away. I think the reason there's not is that it's rare for us to put down that much for Qualia and I suppose if a player could be creative enough to say that many things we figured more power to them and that it served as incentive. This isn't necessarily true of all groups so I think that this is probably for the best; 4-6 Qualia.
I'll throw it into the rule book tomorrow if you don't.
I don't know, I'd say it should be a hard limit on what you can/must begin with, but it shouldn't be a static number after that. So that under certain circumstances the DM can award a quale or remove one due to good/bad roleplay. Or due to P-zombies.
I'm very fond of the qualia eating, because of the flavour. (strawberry qualia, mmmm) In a perfect game, if Brutus Dersiderius would lose his Bombastic and Enthusiastic qualia in battle, Focal would then play him as a moderately interested and quaint character for a while.
Well, just from theorizing(since I'm still a bit new) I feel that qualia eating would force the character's non-eaten qualia to be more present. To use the above example, I would have Brutus show his reckless side much more because that's one of his remaining characteristics. I really think this has some potential.
It was mentioned recently to me by someone who was on the team from the old days of Alpha that it was a shame that Qualia were so under used. They are now basically Personality and Physical Appearance smooshed up in a few words.
This can be interesting but I feel more could be done with it.
It represents the essence of the character concept smooshed into 6 words. In a game where essence is actually a thing of debate and discussion it probably shouldn't be lying around like that.
What do you guys think?
Should we leave it as a part of character brainstorming and nothing more? Should we create more P-Zombie like monsters and plot elements that mess with it? Maybe even classes? Should we perhaps even make more of a fundamental part of the game?
I think a feat-like system as we had in Alpha would be interesting, but I think it would be better for it to be the optional rule of selecting a belief at a certain level [Determinism vs. Libertarianism]and leaving qualia as a completely blank canvas to describe the character.
So leaving that aside, what do you guys think that Qualia should do and how should we work it into the game more?
The way I see it, the various qualia are so diverse in their use and nature, that they should have a generalized use.
MAYBE have some specific qualia that have feat-like uses, but I'm thinking something more alike Shock's links or d20 fate points. Have some lasting effect from having more qualia, like a bonus to turn order or something and have a one-time boost for burning a quale. This would make qualia a valued resource and make p-zombies that much more effective.
This, of course, means that there have to be some ways of gaining and/or recovering more qualia over the course of the game. And I mean something more than just the DM adding "allegedly retarded" to the character sheet.