Perks of Weight Gain and Large Sizes


#1

Oh, look, KaptainKQ is making his third forum topic in ten days, I guess he just wants attention

So, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to mitigate the annoyances of larger sizes in RPGs. The drive of the player of any RPG is to progress, either through the story or in the development of their characters. A WGRPG introduces a third progression, weight gain, which can often work against the other two when their characters naturally lose mobility and other capabilities.

While the player is unlikely to want to stop making their character larger, they may have to if they actually want to make progress in the game, and that may annoy them or cause resentment. As novel and “gratifying” (for lack of a more polite word) as it is to see the consequences of larger sizes, once they become a significant hindrance to gameplay that can’t be dealt with in a straightforward way, the game stops being fun.

While games usually sidestep this by creating soft limits to the amount of weight you can gain in a period of time (stomach capacity, digestion, the like), thus allowing their player to build their capacity to handle increased weight at a rate comparable to the weight gain itself, it still remains that weight gain and genuine character progression are at odds.

I suppose I’m simply wondering: What would increased weight/bodyfat improve in a character? How can one bring some harmony to these two without simply making weight meaningless?

I’ll begin by listing a few possibilities:

  • Being a larger size makes it harder to be grappled, and if the can keep their footing, harder to be pushed around.
  • Greater mass means more damaging body-checking (tackles, body slams, etc.) and the like, meaning a somehow-acrobatic morbidly obese character can deliver massive damage.
  • Higher resistance to sedatives, inebriation, and injected toxins.

What else can you think of?


#2

Something that worked pretty well for a Mutants and Masterminds game I ran out of the previous incarnation of the forum was tying weight directly to progression and power. Super powers came with weight, and higher tier powers packed it on more quickly. The higher weights were a disadvantage if you weren’t prepared, but the fact that getting fatter almost always meant you were getting more points to spend made it easier to keep pace with the changes.

If you want gaining to be a mechanic instead of the mechanic, you could set up a specific set of abilities where weight is advantageous. Say, a tattoo based magic system. More fat means more space to apply tattoos, and stretches out older ones to larger more powerful sizes. Wouldn’t even have to be a class, just something you can take advantage of as you grow larger. Or even slap a transference tattoo on others, and have a house full of fatties to take care of and empower you while you go about your adventure.

I think that, as long as you’re playing in a fantasy or sci-fi setting, it’s probably more helpful to think of new mechanics you can tie in to make weight gain manageable and useful, rather than looking at fat and trying to come up with logical advantages. As weight shoots up any “realistic” upsides run into some hard logical limits, but fantastical ones can be internally consistent and still scale with weight.


#3

That’s fair enough. I was kinda hoping this would be an exercise in creating some general upsides to balance out the typical significant downsides.

I was actually thinking about something like your tattoo system but concluded it was probably too convoluted for anyone to implement in a satisfying way. It’d require a number of things I’ve never seen put into any of these games and likely aren’t possible/practical in the typical engines.

  • Not just one but at least three separate grid-based “inventories” to arrange the tattoos, where I’ve only seen list-based ones.
  • Those grids would have to change in dimension with changes in weight. Probably not impossible if you’ve already got them implemented, but probably a nightmare to make look good and work right.
  • Tattoo scaling could get complex. If the tattoo occupies a 1x1 space on a 10x10 grid, what does it take up on a 15x15 grid? Mathematically, it takes up 2.25 times as much space, but how should it fit into the new grid, assuming it scaled both vertically and horizontally?

I’m probably overthinking this. In the end, I compromised and proposed the Badge Sash, which I figured was easier to create a satisfying abstract for in either a text-based game or RPG Maker. Tabletop might be more doable, but only a bit.


#4

You mentioned something similar with your first point, but you could make a system where being knocked over is a major threat (maybe causing you to lose turns in battle?). It makes sense that being fatter would make you both less likely to be knocked over but also more likely to succeed in knocking over opponents. If it was balanced well enough I think this system could justify a number of disadvantages to getting huge.


#5

>fat character jumps
>shockwave attack


#6

I remember Lisa The Painful RPG having a status exactly like that.

Funny enough, this was exactly what entered my mind whilst reading this thread.

Also, if the RPG is strategy-based game, a fatter character may take up more of the grid, which, may at first seem like a downside, but it also means they can block off areas, which may be useful if used right.


#7

Now that I think about it, high amounts of body fat would also insulate one from both the cold (and/or ice attacks) and electricity (to some extent).

In fact, you could elegantly gate areas of a game from the player by making it so they can’t go somewhere until they’ve got enough insulating fat to survive.


#8

thick fat isn’t a useful ability for nothing! >:3

lol, anyway you could apply this to several things…

  • insulation is a good one; maybe in a situation where no one expects the cold or is prepared for it. no one can make you anything in a reasonable amount of time or knows how else to best the cold, so you do it yourself…
  • weighted pressure plates; this one is obvious. you could get a whole party to stand on each other’s shoulders, or you could just eat a whole party’s worth or rations for a while…
  • a pushing trap (something that physically pushes you, a magical wind, etc.) that can only push so much around, so you make yourself heavier than it can manage…
  • toxin traps - bear with me here.
    – say, a dart trap that will poison you or tranq you.
    – like drinking booze, a skinny person feels the effects more strongly
    – being fat enough makes you more resistant to a toxin’s effects, letting you pass an area that would
    typically knock you out or stay awake after being tranq darted
  • blunt resistance! someone wants to clock you in the gut - it might be easier to land the hit, but it’ll do a lot less when your fist sinks right in…