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"Corruption" mechanic

16 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/31/2015

Hi everyone this is my first post on BGDF. I am designing a dungeon crawler board game thats on really early stage right now and i have a question for you super people.
In this game players walk around doing all kinds of special abilities searching for treasure etc.
So i wanted to make a "Corruption" mechanism.

I want players to use when they WANT a "corruption" point to secure that their next spell will be critical.
Example : Lets say that when i use an ability i use a 10sided "hit" die.
So my ability does one point of damage but if i roll more than 7 on the "hit" die i do 1 more extra damage.

I want the players to be able to use one "corruption point" to get a plus on their hit rolls so they can do more frequently and at will their criticals
(meaning that one corruption point gives them a +3 on their hit rolls).

Now my REAL question is what DRAWBACKS could this mechanic have so that the players wont spam it.
I have seen penalties in treasure - loot or loosing hp or stuff like that.
What are your opinions?

Are there any board games that use something like that so i can get inspiration from ?

Tedthebug's picture
Joined: 01/17/2016
Lower their base health

Not in they just lose 3 health which they could later heal, they actually lower their base health so no matter how much they heal they can never get back to where they were. E.g. The player starts with 10 health, they take 2 damage, so now have 8/10. They use a potion to heal 1 (9/10) & use corruption to ensure they can kill the enemy this time. They cast the corruption spell (6/7 health), kill the enemy & take a plus 3 potion. Their health is now 7/7.

adversitygames's picture
Joined: 09/02/2014
You could have a deck of

You could have a deck of corruption cards, which are drawn instead of getting corruption points.

Corruption cards could have:
Lose HP
An ally loses HP (a misfire)
Draw 2 corruption cards
Summon an enemy
Attack an ally
An ally attacks you
Alert the all-seeing-eye (monsters in another room are alerted)
Evil whispers... (no effect if you have 1, but if you have 2 then something nasty happens)
Get slimed! (can't move!)
Get smelly! (allies may not be adjacent to you, monsters like it tho)
Go blind! (may not used ranged attacks)
Change race (if these are in your game)

If any are too nasty, you can have them apply just for a turn, or tie them in to the "Evil whispers..." effect.

And depending on the style of your game you could have these:
You explode (harsh, but funny in a light game)
Become an enemy (your goal is now to kill the other players)

It's pretty hard to make suggestions without knowing what mechanics you already have tho, so I've pretty much picked generic fantasy/d&d stuff.

Check out Munchkin for the (often very silly) curses

Joined: 12/31/2015

Thanks so much for your recommendations thats really good stuff to think.
Yes i understand that i did not give much info about the mechanics and stuff and thats because its in early stage.
I understand that all the drawbacks and possible penalties depend on the overall gameplay and rules the game has but you gave some good general ideas.

Joined: 08/21/2015
In my opinion all the

In my opinion all the previous suggestions are good ones, and I'd be tempted to combine them (which could be easily done by making a permanent loss of base hitpoints one of the curses, and a common one - though three hitpoints a shot sounds a bit severe in that case). In addition, I'd keep track of each player's corrruption points, and once they reached a certain threshold number, something dreadful should happen (probably along the lines of "going over to the dark side" permanently, or a scary, almost unbeatable bad-guy with a huge scythe comes to claim your soul and has to be fought off) and you can't use corruption any more, even if you survive.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Opportunity Cost

Hello and welcome, impyo! :)

Since we know little of the other mechanics involved in your game, it may be useful to consider your mechanic in a more general sense. What it sounds like to me is an opportunity cost: grabbing a short-term gain for a potential long-term problem. The typical aspiration of a player that goes this route is that they'll be able to take advantage of all the short-term gains they've picked up before all the long-term problems they've started catch up with them, and their game engine stalls out in favor of those who "kept to the high road," so to speak.

What is the long-term objective of the players? What resources do they need an abundance of to make their way to that goal? Is there more than one resource? Can a player succeed by maximizing or specializing in a specific resource while foregoing another? How does the player's strategy look if they are forced (via this corruption mechanic, for example) to abandon one resource for the rest of the game?

When you use the word "corruption," particularly in a fantasy context, I can't help but think of demons and devils and all sorts of other hellish, diabolical creatures from D&D and beyond. What would be the consequences of a player allying themselves with such monsters? How does that change their end-game objective?

These aren't necessarily solutions for you. But maybe they're a different way of approaching the problem that can help you come up with ways to use your already-present mechanics and themes to keep the main game idea intact while incorporating something new.

Best of success to you on your project. :)

Joined: 06/07/2016
Without knowing the other

Without knowing the other mechanics of your game, I have no way of knowing if this will conflict with then or not, but here goes-

This idea is based off of the insanity mechanic in Fantasy Flights Death watch RPG. In that game every "race" (because they aren't technically races) has a pre-set corruption effect that triggers new badness every time insanity reaches a certain threshold.

Applied to your game- every player draws a corruption card at the beginning of the game. On the card are 4 values (I figure 3, 6, 9, 10, but you determine what works best). The penalty at 3 should be bad- something like losing a particular ability or taking a penalty on one, not just a hit point penalty. The penalty at 6 should be cumulative with the penalty at 3 and be extremely undesirable. At 9 the penalty needs to be so extremely bad that it would take a very dire situation to make a player want to engage in that. And at 10 the character should be removed from the game or turn on their friends.

Joined: 12/31/2015
Thanks for all the replies!

Really appreciate all your ideas!

Though i cant give you enough info about the mechanics cause they are not complete or standard yet you gave me some interesting ideas to think of here.
I will definitely update when i have more info so we can discuss.

@gilamonster Something close to your idea already has been talked about.We are considering it.

@mcobb83 I like that card draw and level of corruption penalty you said i will think of it more.

@let-off studios Many things to think of here haha. First of all i guess the challenge is to make players want to use that corruption point or make them really need to use it (possible really hard encounters?)and then give them the bad or negative results bases on the game overall.But all these general ideas are really helpful

Joined: 06/07/2016
There are some great effect

There are some great effect that can be achieved by giving the players knowledge of consequence. For example, they see that the first 2 corruption points are essentially free of consequence, they will use those easily and readily (strategic players might see corruption for the advantage it could be and opt to bide their time).

Of course you also create some great angst as players debate the value of that 3rd, 6th, 9th, or 10th corruption point relative to the bonus it will give them.

Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016
Corruption is an interesting

Corruption is an interesting thing...

Maybe it could be used to interact with stuff they find?

The corrupted could be incapable of using holy weapons and objects for example. If you use loot in this game that is.
There could maybe also be a powerfull evil weapon that adds corruption points on use.

Maybe at some point when a player reaches a certain amount of corruption, they would have to roll a dice each turn to see what act they perform AGAINST their own party?

It could maybe be something unique to each hero, allowing corruption to affect them differently.

-Thief could roll to see if they steal something from another hero.
-Warrior could roll to see if they attack another hero.
-Priest could roll to see if they steal life from another hero.
-Mage could roll to see if they freeze a hero in place, forcing them to skip a turn.

Just some suggestions of course.

Joined: 03/02/2016
I like the idea of corruption

I like the idea of corruption as something that's being built. The first acts are not a big problem, but to use it a lot can be increasingly dangerous.

There's a good game called Armello, which is basically a board game made as a videogame. In this case, there are a lot of Corruption cards, and they are more powerful than the others, but they give you Corruption Points. Every two rounds, you take damage equal to your current corruption level. The twist is that one of the ways to win the game is to reach the end being morre corrupt then the King, meaning that if you can survive to that (it's pretty hard), you can win.

The main idea here is that I think it should be something that builds up, becoming increasingly dangerous (turning itself in a permanent discussion between short-term and long-term effects).

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Opinioso wrote:I like the

Opinioso wrote:
I like the idea of corruption as something that's being built. The first acts are not a big problem, but to use it a lot can be increasingly dangerous.

You beat me to it.
What Opinioso said is a very good mechanic. And still leaves open to many ways.

The corruptions should be permanent. Unless you take medicine of some sort, that is rare. And the effect will be stacked by using more corruption spells.

Pretending a player has 10 health.
Having used the spell only once, means -1 health every round, and you are dead within 10 rounds.
Using it a second time, would reduce the number of rounds to 5.

Using once
Using twice in 2 rounds
Using 3 times in 3 rounds
Players can't use it 4 times at all.

Medicine can only remove 1 corruption each round.
Special abilities that cause 2 or 3 corruption are especially dangerous now.
A corruption spell of a level 4, would mean certain suicide on 10 health if that player only has 4 medicine ready against the corruption. This might bring forth a !@#$ moment in the game after the deal is done :)

Removing 1 corruption should be about twice as rare as healing 1 in my opinion.

Joined: 12/31/2015

@Willem Verheij Hey to tell you the truth i had in my mind that every corrupted player should somehow attack their own but your idea that every one has a different reaction (like mage does that and thief does this) gives more flavor and probably more interesting situations.

@Opinioso , @X3M Iam going to check out Armello for sure.I like the idea of corruption "growing" after each use.I was thinking maybe each time you use the same spell the corruption points needed to use it increase(first time 1 point , second time 2 points of corruptions and the finally something happens when a limit is reached).But i also like that health penalty and that short - long term
risk in general that you guys said.Really helpful

Tedthebug's picture
Joined: 01/17/2016
Reduce the cost

I think the cost to use corruption should decrease the more corrupt you are. This will add an extra incentive to use it which the player has to weigh against the cost of using it. As the player uses more the cost decreases & therefore the ability of a person to convince themselves they can use it again is made easier because 'it costs even less now'

Gabe's picture
Joined: 09/11/2014
Eric Lang has an interesting

Eric Lang has an interesting "corruption" mechanic in his new game "The Others: 7 Deadly Sins."

Check out how the mechanic works here:

Joined: 12/31/2015
thank you

Thank you thats really helpful!

Joined: 07/28/2008
My question is - what role

My question is - what role does corruption play in the game?

Is it a big part of the theme, perhaps a bit like The Others: 7 Sins or is it a core mechanic that has implications later in the game, or is it being used to simply limit players in what they can do. From your initial post is looks like the last.

You could simply have a 'strain' token. When you use an ability an try to push it further for a bonus, you flip the strain token, and the end of your following turn, it refreshes and you flip it back. Players then get a choice of when to use and it limits you to every other turn, without adding another deck of cards.

Another flip on this, instead of a token, you have a Strain card, with 1-4 on each side. When a player uses an ability and wants to push it, they can choose to turn their strain card to one side and gain that bonus, the downside is that it will take that many rounds before they can push another action again.

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