I was supposed to post this post for my last post, but diverted myself. Now I hope to get it right.
According to Gary Gygax joss comes from South Pacific pidgen English and is their word for “Deus”, or God. Using joss involves petitioning a hopefully beneficial spirit to act on your behalf. In Dangerous Journey it functions as a sort of luck point, though not exactly.
Essentially what the player does with his HP’s joss is ask for the JM’s intervention on behalf of the HP. But unlike the luck points in other guides using joss in Mythus is not just a matter of one point at a time. Instead a player needs to use one or more points depending on what he wants to happen and the circumstances surrounding the immediate situation.
Let’s say the HP wants to walk past a guard without being noticed. It’s midday on a busy street, the street is crowded, and the HP looks rather ordinary, acts rather ordinary, and the guard isn’t on the look out for the ordinary. For the player’s appeal to work would cost put one point of joss.
On the other hand let’s say that the street is otherwise empty and the HP is riding a unicycle, juggling five balls while twirling 3 hoops around his left ankle, dressed in motley in neon colors and wearing a cap with jingling bells, and bellowing out advertising slogans. And the guard isn’t supposed to notice him.
In this case most JMs could be expected to give the stunt a cost of 6 joss, though with a good story behind it I would be willing to price it at five.
But Why Does it Happen?
Make up something entertaining that fits in with the setting. Perhaps the guard is intoxicated and convinced that what he is seeing is an hallucination. Or maybe he’s been told to ignore strange men on unicycles dressed as jesters and juggling balls. Or, his boss has been a dick and the guard just wants to screw with him. Anything that could lighten the mood.
Or, invent a rationale that ranks up the tension, makes matters more stress full while giving the players a sort of relief.
Joss was added to Dangerous Journeys so it would better emulate what happens in old adventure stories. Such as Tarzan’s Jad bal Jaa the golden lion showing up at just the right time, or the hero just happening to conk a guard wearing just the right size uniform to fit him. The sort of stuff that makes you say, “Oh come on now!” when you’re an adult, but, “Gosh wow!” when you’re a 10 year old.
Joss is intended to add excitement to play and to encourage initiative and invention in player and JM.