We’ve discussed a lot of details about my Myers-Briggs Tabletop RPG so far: the inspiration, the acronyms, the core mechanic, and the job system. Today we’re going to explore some deeper mechanics of the game. These mechanics help to create the specialties of the game’s four temperaments, the thing that ties the four jobs underneath a temperament together. Now the unique abilities of each job will be special, but this is what makes all Guardians feel like Guardians, and all Idealists feel like Idealists, and so on. These mechanics are Training, Science, and Spirituality.
Training is a pretty simple concept, but the rewards are rich. Training applies to two of the acronyms in Sixteen: COMBAT and BEHAVIORS. When you create a character that’s a Guardian, you’ll have some COMBAT training, and when you create a character that’s an Artisan, you’ll have some BEHAVIORS training. What does that do? Well let’s talk about it.
Training has two effects. The first one is pretty simple – it’s a flat bonus to the modifier of your stat. So let’s take two girls whose PSYCHE has given them a modifier of 6 in Subterfuge, the last of the BEHAVIORS. But if Girl A is trained while Girl B is not, Girl A will actually have a modifier of 8, while Girl B is stuck with that 6. Being trained in something makes you a bit better at it.
But there’s a more important aspect of training. Someone who is trained in a skill has access to more applications of that skill. Let’s stick with our Subterfuge example above. Girls A and B can both probably use Subterfuge to hide in some bushes. No one has to teach you to hide. Teaching can make you better at it, sure, but that’s represented by the bonus to Girl A’s modifier. However, what about lock picking? That’s a skill that either has to be learned by a teacher or by lots of trial and error. It doesn’t come naturally – you have to train. So since Girl A is trained in Subterfuge, she can pick locks. But Girl B cannot. Whenever your character is trained in something, this allows them to unlock applications of that ability that are not available to an untrained person.
This applies to both COMBAT and BEHAVIORS, but the first is limited to Guardian characters while the latter is limited to Artisans. Why is that? To represent the benefits of those temperaments. Guardians are protectors – they care about protecting what’s theirs and what they stand for, so to do that they improve their COMBAT abilities. Conversely, Artisans want to experience life – they live to the fullest and as such dabble in all sorts of things. They large array of experiences that they pursue is the secret behind their BEHAVIORS training. While each job within those temperaments has different abilities, all four jobs within the temperaments have the same opportunities for training. It’s what makes them serve in the role they are designed for.
Science is a really broad term that applies to a few different abilities in Sixteen. It is the Myers-Briggs version of magic, a more modern application of this staple of fantasy RPGs. Science has two main schools: technology and alchemy. The former is the equivalent of enchantment in other games, allowing the character to invent special GEAR that gives better bonuses than the stuff they normally have access to. The latter is the equivalent of spellcasting in other games, allowing the character to create powerful effects that solve problems normal abilities cannot circumvent.
Science is the special ability of Rationals, as only their intuitive and logical minds can observe the patterns and understand the way they link together. Technology depends a lot on gathering good materials to invent a better mousetrap. Alchemy depends on combining components in creative ways to get the desired effect. Both of these are easier to do in a laboratory, a creative space with no danger of being interrupted or sabotaged. However, many situations will require science to happen on the fly. The jobs that feature Perceiving as a preference will thrive in these scenarios, as their abilities will help them to do science on-the-fly and still be effective.
In a game like D&D or Dungeon World, you have set spells that always do a particular thing. In Sixteen, creating an alchemy effect will be more like designing a superpower in Mutants and Masterminds. You’ll have limitations on what you can do based on your resources and on the level of difficulty of what you’re trying to create, but otherwise you can mix and match effects to suit your needs. This gives each effect of alchemy a more personal touch, something handcrafted rather than a generic spell you read from a list. My hope is that this makes the experience of science more satisfying.
Spirituality is not synonymous with “religion.” There will be characters in Sixteen driven by religion, sure, but there are plenty of people who are spiritual in a completely humanistic way. Spirituality refers to the unexplained yet undeniable abilities of the Idealist, the powers that make them appear psychic or give them the ability to persist through unbearable pain. It’s power that comes from accepting – even hungering for – the intangible forces in the world. It creates a moral superiority that Idealists can tap in to for strength and guidance.
Where science can be used to create any effect whenever it is needed, the power of spirituality is more reliable and reusable. An Idealist has more limited abilities but always has access to those abilities. As the character gets stronger, their existing abilities grow or they unlock new ones. Spirituality, like magic in more traditional tabletop RPGs, has a number of schools. These are referred to as spiritual gifts (just “gifts” for short) and they have a number of different effects.
The gift of Healing allows the character to restore the Constitution and Oomph of allies, or heal more invasive conditions such as poison or disease from enemy science. Exhortation is a gift that buffs the stats of allies, making them more capable at their jobs. Those gifted in Prophecy have access to knowledge that they did not gather through tangible, understandable means. Then there’s Mercy, a gift that protects those who refuse to raise their hand against foes in battle. Depending on the character’s job, they may have one or two strong gifts, or multiple gifts at a more basic level.
SO CAN THESE CROSS OVER?
In most tabletop RPGs I have seen that offer a class system, there’s some way to do what’s called multiclassing. “Yeah, I want to be a fighter, but can I do some wizarding on the side?” Multiclassing is there for those of us who want to create really unique characters with a number of different abilities. Some folks don’t want to be put in a box or settle. So is there room in Sixteen for those who want to play an Artisan yet be able to use some Science abilities?
Yes and no. I have no intentions of including multiclassing in Sixteen. The game is built around personalities, and while there are schools of psychological thought that allow for things like ambiverts (someone with a balance of introverted and extroverted tendencies), Myers-Briggs does not allow for that sort of thing. Your personality is your personality, and the job you choose for your character will be your one job.
However, no person is completely one hundred percent aligned with their exact Myers-Briggs personality. In the description for the INFP (my personality), the Keirsey website explains that INFPs are incredibly optimistic and strive to see the goodness in the world. Those who know me personally are probably having a good chuckle right now. On a good day, you could call me a realist. Generally speaking, I’m a pessimistic individual. I’ve stolen this motto from somewhere and I can’t remember where, but I like to say “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” I see someone cut me off driving and I’m not like “that poor fellow had a rough day.” I say “that guy is an idiot.” That part of the INFP personality is not true for me.
In the same way, not every character in Sixteen should play exactly the same way. Two people with the Promoter job shouldn’t be Promoters in the exact same way. To allow for this, I do plan to have some way for players to give their characters some abilities that might be from another job. Maybe you want a Rational who has some COMBAT training. Or an Artisan with a spiritual gift. That WILL be possible within Sixteen’s system. However, like in most RPGs, cross abilities will be more limited for those outside of a temperament, and it’s gonna cost something to do it. What’s that cost? Honestly, that part I haven’t worked the kinks out of yet, but I do plan to incorporate it. So if you’re itching to play a Guardian with a talent for science on the side, stay positive – it will happen for you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these mechanics and getting a glimpse of how they’ll work in-game. I think these ideas will add yet another layer of complexity to the characters, but in a way that isn’t too complicated to keep track of. I mean, at this point, we have PSYCHE, BEHAVIORS, and COMBAT on your sheet, your inventory and its GEAR rating, your job and your job-specific abilities. The only thing we discussed today that might need a separate section on the character sheet is spirituality, and done correctly this section could easily fit descriptions of the effect the player is creating with science as well. I think this is very doable – I just don’t need to create anything else that would go on the character sheet and we’ll be good.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you are getting more and more excited as Sixteen comes further along!