Story Costs

Just as positive benefits accrue during the effort to achieve the goal, so do negative costs have to be paid. Every time a character endures some displeasure as a result of trying to achieve the goal, this additional price is a Cost. Costs and Dividends modulate the intensity of the Objective Character's drive toward the Goal. These characters cannot know if they will ultimately succeed or not. As a result, putting in effort is something of a gamble. Just as with a slot machine in a casino, every spin that simply takes one's money is a Cost. Every small payout is a Dividend. By properly balancing the two, motivation to continue in hopes of a jackpot can be maintained, for each Dividend is seen as proof that rewards can be had, and even if the Costs outweigh the Dividends, the Goal would cover those costs and leave much more profit besides. Of course, as with gambling, characters may slowly accrue so many costs that even the achievement of the goal would not cover the physical or emotional debt.

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