Anatomy of a Metaplot Milestone

Expanding on the example from my last post, I’ve done a bit of thinking as to how the milestone trait and pool might work.

First, we have the milestone trait itself. It’s a lot like a distinction statement, with a die rating: Build a Settlement d4. The statement defines very clearly what the milestone does: a settlement is being built. The rating defines how far along the milestone is – not even started (d4) to complete (d12). That’s pretty straightforward so far. But we also have to figure out how dice get into the pool; how they can be removed; what they’re used for; and how the milestone rating can be stepped up or down.

Getting dice into the pool could be as simple as a few SFX similar to these:

  • When you have shared resource dice that would help with this milestone, spend a PP to add them to or step up dice in the milestone pool.
  • When you create an asset relevant to this milestone, spend a PP to add it to or step up a die in the milestone pool.
  • Spend a PP to use an opportunity resulting from a non-milestone pool roll (i.e., a crisis or doom regular doom pool roll) to add a die to or step up a die in the milestone pool.

The intent is these SFX provide a directed way to add dice to the pool (more on these SFX in a minute). You have to do things relevant to the milestone to add dice to the pool. For the settlement, it’s obtaining building supplies, getting laborers, doing the construction.

Once the milestone pool has some dice, you have to be able to use them for something. The most obvious is they can be rolled as a pool. Some milestones will be GM-facing, while others are player-facing. If building the settlement is a player-facing milestone, they might roll the pool to resist bandits, or a fire, or some other setback. For a GM-facing milestone, the players would take actions that would allow them to roll against it. Spoilers or opportunities rolled directly for or against the pool would work normally, allowing the players and GM to buy dice that roll 1s to grow or shrink the milestone pool. When a die is added, it can be used to instead to step up an existing die in the pool.

The primary purpose of the milestone pool itself is to step up dice within it past d12. When a die is stepped up past d12, it is removed from the pool and the milestone’s rating is stepped up. Once the milestone’s rating is stepped up past d12, the milestone is considered completed. In our case, that means settlement is built. There are two conditions where the milestone can be closed out without reaching d12. Once the milestone is put into play and its pool gets dice in it, if the pool is ever completely depleted the milestone is closed out at its current rating. Similarly, another SFX of milestone pools is that a d6 from the pool can be spent to immediately close out the milestone.

Regarding the milestone’s SFX, they should likely gain them as they get stepped up. At d4, they would gain the SFX to spend a d6 to close out the milestone. At d8 and d12 it would gain an SFX similar to what was listed above, tailored to the nature of the milestone. This has the effect of the milestone growing slower at lower ratings, gaining momentum as it gets closer to completion.

Now that we know what the milestone pool is used for and how to grow and shrink it…what is the milestone rating used for? That depends on the scale. The d12 from a completed “environment” level milestone might be spent to create a resource – in our example, maybe the settlement becomes a 2d8 Location. Or it becomes a distinction in effect the next session. Larger scale milestones would likely be broken to into several smaller scale milestones. In that case, the d12 from the completed milestone may go into the pool of the next layer’s milestone, either as a d4 or to step up an existing die. An example might be a world-layer milestone Build a City. One of its dependent milestones is Build a Settlement. Once that’s completed, its d12 goes into Build a City‘s milestone pool as a d4.

In the end, it’s just kind of a Bronze-ruled plot-as-character structure. I’m going to have to get it into play to see how well it works and what could be tweaked.

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