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Hinders: What They Are and When to Use Them

Aimed at Narrators, this article discusses what hinders are, the mechanics behind them, and how to use them in game to raise the stakes and move the story forward.

Hello friends! I hope you are all doing well and are ready for a lesson on one of the most unique aspects of Tales of Xadia: Hinders. We’ll be exploring what they are and when to use them. 

When you think of the word “Hinder,” it is easy to think of a negative connotation that you would want to avoid at all costs. However, in Tales of Xadia, this game mechanic allows you to willingly make yourself temporarily weaker to gain a premium currency called plot points. Plot points are crucial to the game and can help give you a much-needed edge during moments of conflict. 

What is a Hinder?

The Hinder mechanic can be found on all character sheets, specifically under distinctions. Their text typically reads: “Gain one PP (Plot Point) when you switch out this distinction’s die rating for a d4.” For an example of this, check out the pregenerated character sheet for Diyan.

This means that you can choose to decrease your existing die value for a distinction to a d4 and then gain a single plot point. Once you declare a Hinder, you’ll explain how your character is a bit more vulnerable or prone to mistakes for this scene through roleplay. 

Fear not, though, because a scene in Tales of Xadia is simply the current situation. Once the conflict is resolved and the group moves on, any hindered distinctions return to their standard die value. However, you get to keep any plot points you gained during that scene. 

When to Use Plot Points

So, why would you go through all of the trouble of making your character weaker just for plot points? Well, plot points are a premium in-game currency that can affect the game in various ways. 

Here are some examples of what you can do by spending plot points:

  • Give yourself more dice for your dice pool 
  • Make the dice you have more potent by stepping them up to the next die size 
  • Activate certain traits or special effects on your character sheet
  • Give yourself a temporary asset
  • Share an asset
  • And more!

That is why it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for certain moments where you feel as though you can risk failing a test or contest. That way, you can snag plot points to help ensure victory later when the stakes are high. 

For example, if you are involved in a test or contest where failure means an inconvenience rather than mortal harm, you could deem that a safe situation to activate your Hinder. In roleplay, you would then explain that your character acts rash, flustered, or distracted to justify why they aren’t performing as well as they would normally. 

The other player characters could scold the hindered character for their mistakes, especially if the hinder results in a failure in the current scene. The scolding could later turn into praise when the hindered character uses their previously earned plot point to snatch a clutch victory. These moments of vulnerability have proven fantastic for organic roleplay moments and character growth while also providing a mechanical benefit to players. 

However, you won’t want to constantly hinder your character as you will risk accumulating stress due to failure. If you gain too much stress from failed rolls, the Narrator can use that stress against you, making your contests much harder. Worst case, if the stress gets too high, your character may even be removed from the game for being too physically injured, angry, or terrified.

Keep in mind that the Narrator also has access to plot points. Prominent Narrator characters (NCs) have their own plot points to assist them in difficult situations, which can be used to turn the tide based on the NC’s motivations.

The Hinder mechanic is a lot of fun since it feels similar to a mini-game built into Tales of Xadia, where you balance risk and reward that can cause you massive success or a resounding defeat. Be sure to test out your luck in your next session of Tales of Xadia

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