Don’t Break Your Pact is my house-ruled hack of Don’t Rest Your Head for stories of mystic heroism. From a mechanical perspective the bones of the hack are pretty simple; Discipline, Exhaustion, and Madness dice pools from DRYH become:
- Represents the core of who you are. You have 3 dice in this pool, and if you lose them, you’re likely to lose yourself and what’s important to you.
- Represents what makes you exceptional. You start with 2 and can push yourself to gain more (max 6). Having a lot of guts dice means you’re near your limit and you’re in danger of having the situation get out of control, whether that means losing your nerve or going into a frenzy.
- Represent fantastic power granted by a patron. You can have access to up to 6 pact dice total, possibly from multiple patrons.
There are some differences in how these pools work, but it’s basically still the case that you have a “safe” pool (Soul), a “push it” pool (Guts), and a magical pool that you can exploit at great personal risk (Pact). Games of this sort allow the characters to accomplish a lot as long as their players are willing to take risks, and so the drama often comes from the danger of collateral damage to things the characters value.
I’ve been trying to hone in on what kinds of stories DBYP is supposed to help tell and build an meta-setting that supports it. In terms of inspirations, I think the list below is as short as I can get without leaving out anything essential. I might delve into each of these in separate posts as a way of collecting my thoughts.
- Dragon Ball (Akira Toriyama)
- Le Monde d’Edena (Mœbius)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- Chrono Trigger
- The Earthsea Cycle (Ursula K. Le Guin)
- The Old Kingdom series (Garth Nix)
- The Broken Earth trilogy (N. K. Jemisin)
Bonus: There’s also a visual inspiration album on Pinterest.