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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 23, 2010

The Journey System: Rolling Dice

So, looks like it's time again to delve into that monster known as the Journey System. This time, it's to flesh out and come up with a complete core mechanic. I've given a lot of thought to it, and finally arrived at what I think is an interesting solution. It avoids the cut-and-dry addition of stats algorithm, in favor of a roll-under mechanic. It also takes an unusual approach, of sorts, to the concept of task difficulty, but one which allows for flexibility.

What's in a Statistic?
Like I've mentioned before, two statistics bolster your roll. There's a primary statistic and a secondary statistic. Your primary statistic determines the base difficulty of a task, and your secondary statistic provides a point pool which can be spent to add dice to your roll. To flesh that first one out, however, your primary statistic actually plays directly into the difficulty of a roll.

When making a roll, you first determine the Affinity of a task. This is simply how matched the task is to your abilities. You can attempt tasks with low Affinity, but you're not well suited to those tasks, so you'll do worse. Affinity starts, at its base, with the value of your primary statistic. If, for instance, it's a Strength-based task, and you have a strength of 4, the Affinity of that task begins at 4. This is the number that you must roll beneath in order to succeed at the task. If you match the number, you run into what's known as a Compromise situation, where you pick something to go right, and the GM picks something to go wrong.

Making it Easier
Well, that doesn't strike one as incredibly good odds to undergo when trying to attempt a task. Statistically, pumping extra dice into the equation goes a long way towards helping, but something that can also help is numbers. A Task's Affinity, first and foremost, can be increased when you leverage aspects of your character appropriate to the task. When you take on a task, you may pick one appropriate Skill or Ability (special, innate power) that your character possesses, and add its value to the task's Affinity. Say you're trying to lift a heavy crate, a Strength-based task, you can also add in your two ranks of Athletics, making the total Affinity 2.

There's also situational bonuses that can come in, which individually give bonuses of +1 each. Those are less common to come by, though. And on the flip side, ways in which the odds are stacked against you subtract from a Task's Affinity. Your Wyrd also plays into this. Tasks can have Wyrd values, because some things are suited only to those who have embraced their destiny. Often, these are big, epic quests such as retrieving a magic item or confronting a great foe (Wyrd is always a factor in combat). Your specific Wyrd will also affect, in general, what sorts of tasks are better-suited to you. The higher your Wyrd is, the more specific those Tasks get. (I'll go into exactly how the Wyrd mechanic works later on. It's kinda like choosing class features, though, in an RPG, as you level up.)

A Little Goodie
I've also put together an Excel spreadsheet to calculate exactly what sort of odds you can expect while working with the Journey System's "roll and replace" mechanic. This shows the average die roll, which is very helpful to know as a straight probability counter. Later on, I'll probably update it with even more data, although at the moment, I'm needing that data to crunch numbers.

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