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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Journey System: Core Mechanic

Well, this post is actually going to tie into one of my previous posts, particularly "A Modest Proposal" (Part I, Part II). For reasons that I'll explain later, I'm naming this the Journey System. I figured that I should probably explain exactly where I want to go with the core mechanic, and see what my readers think of it. Like I mentioned before, I'm going to be using a d12, which isn't exactly unheard of. I can actually think of a couple smaller RPGs that use it effectively as their main die. With that set out, it's time for me to work through exactly what sort of system I'm going for. I've already waxed descriptive on core mechanics previously, and that means I'll be pulling a lot of that into here.

What I've Said Already
First and foremost, in A Modest Proposal, I decided that my approach to the system would be one that rewards you for expending resources, with more of a reward coming if you don't decide to immediately replenish those resources. I spoke of a "pool" system of sorts, where you spend stats. This will probably lead to a system whereby each stat has a value, which is permanent, and that value denotes how many points are generated to be spent from that stat to improve your odds.

I've also said that I'm a big fan of the dice pool mechanic for games. That being said, I don't exactly like the idea of mimicking the Storyteller System (of World of Darkness fame), because that just feels cheap to me. At the same time, I do want to introduce the idea of relying on two of your stats, and not just one, for whatever task you attempt. So here's what I'm planning. First, there are two stats involved in any roll: a primary statistic and a secondary statistic. The primary statistic is the bonus given to the roll, and the secondary statistic is the one with a point pool you can spend. I'll clarify it here below. First, though, the question--what does spending points do?

A Pool...Kinda
The thing is, rolling a bunch of dice in a pool just screams World of Darkness to me. So, how else can you use the idea of a dice pool in conjunction with the game? Well, there's one fun and interesting solution that came to mind. What if you rolled a dice pool, and then picked the best die out of the pool to be your roll? I took that, rolled it around a little, and here's the idea I came up with, in the end.

You have your stats. They have values. Starting out, each Stat also comes with an equal (or maybe 1/2 value, rounded up, we'll see) pool of Heroic Points to be spent. When you want to do a task, figure out the Primary and Secondary stats. The Primary stat is added to your roll. You roll one 12-sided die. Alternatively, you can burn any number of points in the Heroic Points pool for the Secondary stat, to roll an additional 12-sided die for each point burned. The end result? You roll a bunch of dice, and pick the best one. So really, it offers you the opportunity of control over your luck, to a small extent.

This is essentially what the system would look like. This is for the character attempting to move aside a boulder burying an ally.

Primary Stat: Strength Value 7
Secondary Stat: Passion 6 Heroic Points

Your character really wants to succeed, so you burn 4 of those Heroic Points. You roll 4d12, and they come up with 4, 6, 2, 9. You pick the 9, and add in the Strength value, for a total roll of 16. You now have 2 Heroic Points in Passion.

So, I know this is a bit rambly for a post, but hopefully it gives a bit of insight into what I've got in store. I'll really be introducing the system proper in a following post (either Thursday or maybe Saturday), and then it should start to make some more sense.


  1. I would say that the heroic points of a stat should be the normal number of the stat, not half. Unless the stats are huge. So that you have a sizable number of points to be able to roll more than one die per roll. With more than one die you can get a standard deviation, whereas one die gives you just as much chance of getting a 12 as a 1.

    By the way, this rolling mechanic (roll a bunch of dice and pick the highest) is very similar to the rolling in Deadlands. Deadlands is an RPG put out by Pinnacle Entertainment Group in the late 1990's.

  2. Ah, good point. I'll have to look up the original Deadlands mechanic. And here I thought I was being original... ;)


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