Good & Bad Karma
on Jan. 31, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
One of the new systems in Against the Dark Yogi is the karma system, which replaces the luck system found in other Saga Machine games. The idea of karma is a concept that is very common in Vedic spiritual thought, and one that should also be familiar to most of us here in the West.
Over the course of their lives heroes will gain karma--both good karma and bad karma. Good karma is gained by acting in adherence with dharma (the cosmic order). So a hero can gain it from doing good works and maintaining purity. On the other hand, a hero can also gain bad karma for acting against dharma.
Mechanically, karma of both types can be thought of as a pool of points that will follow the character over the course of her entire incarnation, and even have an effect on her next incarnation. At the beginning of each session a PC will draw a hand of cards equal to her good karma and lay down a number of cards in front of her equal to her bad karma.
Good karma cards can be played in place of drawing cards from the top of the deck, or can be discarded to redraw. This is very similar to luck with the card mechanic presented in Arth.
Bad karma cards, on the other hand, can be invoked by the GM or certain traits. When flipped over after a card is played, they force player to take the lower of the two values.
Over the course of a session as a character takes actions she may each more good and bad karma cards, which are then immediately drawn added to her hands. At the end of each session a hero's karma resolves: the cosmic scales are balanced and her actions affect her total karma. Depending on whether she has more good or bad karma when the session ends she either adds one to her pool of good karma, or one to her bad.
Finally, when a character reincarnates, whether she had more good or bad karma over the course of her life determines whether she moves up or down the cosmic ladder for her next incarnation.