October 22, 2013
I have never been all that interested in introducing additional mechanics or “house rules” into a game. The way I look at it is that a game should be able to stand on its own without having to resort to additional or altered rules to make it fun. Sure, there are always exceptions to this rule, but for the most part this has remained my stance on the matter for as long as I have been running games. There is one additional rule that has always been a favorite of mine, however; one that was introduced to me by a friend several years ago. It’s called having “yum-yums!”
Yum yums are probably what most of you are thinking; candy. How it works in the game is that each player is given a set amount of these “yum-yums” (skittles or starbursts are a personal favorite of mine) and are awarded more, in game, for good role-playing, funny remarks, awesome moments in a fight, or for whatever other reason the Gamemaster might designate. These yum-yums can be traded in at any point for bonuses on any action your character might want. In this way, they work very similar to Fate Points in the Dresden Files RPG. Usually, they will give a small bonus to any dice rolls a character makes, or allow for a re-roll, or turn any attack into a critical hit, or a variety of other things. Again, the specifics are left up to the Gamemaster and will vary based on what game is being played. Another important rule of yum-yums is that these be the only snacks available at the game. Why? Because this forces players to have to make a really difficult decision.
“Do I save up my yum-yums for when I really need them, or do I eat them?”
Let me tell you that there are fewer things funnier than a player really needing a yum-yum right after eating their very last one. That sad, pathetic look alone is often enough for me to award them a yum-yum or two, albeit after whatever roll they needed them for has been made.
This rule comes from sillier games, as you can likely tell, but it can have its place in more serious game sessions. Many games already have a resource that is meant to represent luck or chance; see Edge in Shadowrun, the previously mentioned Fate Points of the Dresden Files RPG, Force Points in Star Wars Saga, Destiny Points in Anima: Beyond Fantasy, and so forth, so introducing another source of these can be a lot of fun. Besides, as always, it is important to remember that these are just games, and taking them too seriously can sometimes be a bad thing. Yum-yums help keep the realization that these are just games in your mind throughout play, even when the drama and hardships that your characters are facing start to feel overwhelming.
So, with Halloween fast approaching, maybe you might want to be saving some of that candy for your next game? Who knows when you will need a fresh supply of yum-yums to go around?
Image Credit: Thinkstock