While I agree that the improv penalty is a nifty option, functionally during play, penalizing the opposition, or giving a one shot bonuse to the active party amounts the same way. While the bonus might push someone up to an extra mastery, a penalty can just as likely snatch away a penalty.
That all said, Ron's rules of currency applies. A bonus one way is the same as a penalty the other.
With that, I find positive reinforcement tends to drill things into folks heads quicker than "Oh, yeah, I forgot, he does get a -10 when I do something cool!". Personal preference.
What's interesting about these "open definition" style traits, is that they are effectively player creativity tools. So, if a player can keep getting a "cool" bonus by usefully switching between their top 3 skills, then good for them. Most people need between 5-8 options to really be able to do so. And considering that most of the second tier skills are only 3-5 points lower, the bonus can easily give you better benefits than your highest skill(provided you couldn't think of something cool to do with it).
Either way, I'll be interested in hearing your results.
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