RPG Systems Hacks: The Teamwork Concept

One of the things about being a gamer is that we often try different game systems. Sure, some of us stick with what we know and are playing the same RPG we were playing 20+ years ago. But, a lot of us have our shelves lined with systems and yet, with all those rules, we can’t help but tinkering. We need to modify the rules, make new rules, combine rules, etc. That’s what I find myself doing tonight.


Over the years, I can’t count the number of games I have tried out. Yet, I’ve never found a game I’ve enjoyed for roleplaying in the buddy cop genre. Go figure, I am watching the newer version of Hawaii 5-0 and something hits me. Buddy cop shows and movies are great in their own right. If nothing else, like a lot of other genres—super hero team ups, super sentai, an so on. They all have this one trope: on our own, we’re good; together, we’re great.


Now, we already sort of play off that in a lot of RPGs. Adventures are planned for multiple characters. They’re made so that no one character could complete the whole thing on their own. And, most systems have a rule or two to handle cooperative actions. I’ve always wanted something a bit more. Macy’s SFX RPGs take this to a certain extent with easy and encouraged cooperative actions, but it’s still not quite there.


So, I came up with something. This is just the framework. There’s no dice to go with the mechanic, but it’s an idea. I present it here for you to use, mock, modify as you see fit. Of course, your thoughts are always welcome.


The Teamwork Mechanic


When the characters work together, they build up their Camaraderie. This builds up a series of points that can be used to enhance rolls or grant access to special abilities. The more you allow Camaraderie to build up before expending it, the more powerful the effect will be. Whatever the use, whether it be to line up an attack, call out directions to aid in a chase, remember (retcon) a previous adventure where the team was in a similar situation so they get a sort of familiarity bonus, or whatever—the characters must work together for the bonus.


Another part of the concept is how conflict within the group effects this. Any good group has internal conflict. We see it in families, at work, with our best friends. Often, this conflict makes us stronger rather than weaker, so I am tempted to make internal strife actually aid the Camaraderie score instead of detract from it.


That’s what I have for now. I know it’s not perfect by far. Hell, it’s not even complete, but it is something I think I’m going to toy with in the future and I thought I’d share the beginnings of it with you here. Most likely, you’ll see it evolve here through the blog as well.


  1. Remember Chrono Trigger? I think their system of combing character’s powers into unique “Techs” would be a neat thing to replicate into an RPG.


    1. I kind of do remember it. While it’s going in a different direction somewhat–yeah, it would work. I know we’ve pulled off something similar using SFX. I was disappointed there wasn’t more support for it in Marvel Heroic. It’s almost there in Cortex’s game, but just short.


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