I want to provide two new mechanics to Earthdawn. First, I want to set up a way for players to flag interesting things and get LP from those. So a player might have written down “Never refuses a duel,” and gets LP from doing so on-screen. Other examples: seeking wealth, protecting a ward, defending a faith, building renown, or establishing a particular relationship with an organization or character. Oh, and seeking the six-fingered man who killed your father. The Shadow of Yesterday has a good version of this, and is free online.
Second, I want to let players flag particular conflicts as important. The second shows up in lots of systems as Hero/Fudge/Victory/Fate/Willpower/Karma points. ED’s Karma points are actually close, but aren’t broadly usable. It’s not clear to me how much oomph this system should have: a +1? +10? A reroll?
I think these mechanics can be unified, though. Let’s say that you can buy your character a Legend Thread. A Legend costs as much as a first-Circle Talent: so 100, 200, 300, 500, 800… Legend Points. You might buy a Legend of Treasure, or Valor, or Vengeance. When you achieve something related to the Legend, you receive Legend Points back: a number equal to the cost of your Legend-2, -1, or the full cost. So if you’ve spent 800 LPs on a Legend, you receive 300, 500, or 800 LPs for fulfilling its conditions. If you finish the Legend—say by killing the six-fingered man, or renouncing violence—recover the cost of L+1 ranks of Legend (1300, in the example above). You can’t ever have that Legend Thread again. It’s assumed that you’ll want to sink most of that into new Legend threads.
If you’re in a circumstance where a Legend Thread matters, you can check off a rank of Legend and reroll some dice. I’m not sure how often these refresh: never, encouraging you to buy up Legends, use them up, then move on to new ones? Once per session, but you lose the rank of Legend if you still fail the roll? Once per session, but each use also costs a Karma point?
Alternately, once per session you can add your Legend Thread rank to a Step for a roll?
Both of those are larger than what a Karma die grants you, but Karma’s pretty cheap.