Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Christmas Tree Effect

Another sample from CTE. This is currently slated to be the introduction to the game.

Merry Christmas!


A solitaire adventure card game.

To play CTE, you will need some method of note taking, a standard deck of 52 playing cards, some table-top space and this document. 

CTE stands for "Christmas tree effect." The Christmas tree effect was the perception, from the earliest days of table-top role-playing games, that characters were defined by the accumulation of magic items. Such shiny glowing treasures (amulets, rings, weapons, armors, etc.) were said to dangle from characters like lights and ornaments from a Christmas tree. 

Over the years the Christmas tree effect came to be recognized as a weakness in game design. Later editions of the world's most famous role-playing game worked to eliminate the Christmas tree effect. Emphasis shifted to class, skills, abilities and powers, elements considered easier to balance and regulate. 

CTE is a game built around the pretense that the Christmas tree effect, and the disproportionate emphasis that it placed on the accumulation of treasure, is actually what made those early games so much fun!

In CTE your character starts out as an average, everyday, unremarkable person living in a fantasy world. Your character owns nothing of any special worth, and they have no experience. As your character finds items of equipment that they can wear or carry, they will grow in power and utility. 

Equipment is categorized by where it can be worn or equipped. In keeping with the spirit of the Christmas tree effect, we call these equipment locations, "branches." There are 10 different equipment branches encompassing 10 different general equipment categories. Your character can only assign one item of equipment at each branch. Equipment listings will always include an abbreviation indicating the branch where the equipment goes. 

Equipment Branches (and abbreviations) 

  • [HD] Head
  • [MH] Main Hand 
  • [OH] Off Hand 
  • [RF] Ring Finger
  • [TS] Torso 
  • [WT] Waist
  • [HA] Hands
  • [FT] Feet
  • [NK] Neck
  • [BK] Back

Some pieces of equipment will include the restriction: No[OH]. This means that your character cannot use any [OH] (off hand) branch equipment at the same time that they are using the equipment with this restriction.

In addition to the items that your character can equip, they have a backpack that can carry up to 20 items. Items in your backpack don't provide any immediate benefit to your character. Your backpack is not designated as equipment, although it might sound like it. Equipment that would belong to the [BK] (back) branch instead includes things like capes, cloaks and mantles.

(Look here for the next chapter.)

More about CTE coming soon! In the meantime feel free to join my Facebook Group to discuss this post and anything related to RPG's and geekdom! Stay tuned!!

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