Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

The Mechanical Two

So, in Master Plan #4, I came up with two questions about mechanics. Based on the idea that we do mechanics in order to answer questions that we either don’t have an answer to or don’t want to answer in a non-mechanical fashion, here’s my questions:

1) What questions do your mechanics seek to solve?

2) How do you want your mechanics to solve those questions?

So, as I’m thinking with old Damned Anonymous ideas and retooling them for Paranormal Containment, I’m starting with an old idea: roll three dice, drop a certain number of dice, starting with the highest, and total the rest. Higher is better, compare against something else (another roll or target number). Anyway, that’s what I started with. Here are answers to my own questions:

What questions do my mechanics seek to solve?

In addition to determining success with individual mission objectives & complications, I want my mechanics to simultaneously indicate whether an agent risks Exposure — either Suspicious with their family & friends or Witnesses during the mission that need to be dealt with. So, in a high-view sense, it’s a four-spot grid: success or failure as one axis, exposure or, uh, not-exposure as the other.

How do I want my mechanics to solve them?

The core idea: roll 3d6, each with different colors (one white, two of separate other colors). Drop highest die. Total other dice — that’s how well you did, with higher being better. That’s success/failure. That dropped die? The color of that die determines exposure risk — white means none, but the other colors mean a risk because of something, like being spotted by an ATM camera, being clumsy (remember, you’re an agent because you’re a magus, not because you’re trained to be an agent), or because a supernatural effect is noticed.

Dice may be added to the pool — right now, I’m thinking a d10 and then a d12. If you add those to your 3d6, you still drop your highest die, but you’ll have more dice to bring to the success. But if the dropped die is (as it’s likely to be) one of those larger dice, the exposure risk is more likely. But, what’s the advantage to doing this? Well, that’s the rub. I want to create a “speed of mission success = dialing back agent liability” and/or “degree of success over target = something worth having later” element, otherwise it’s just “hey, here’s a way to have higher numbers that sucks! Try it!” And that’s not going to fly.  (Of course, I could take yet another page from Don’t Rest Your Head and just create an increasing sense of difficulty and a perceived need to bring those elements in.)

Later, I’ll talk about the elements I want as emergent play: trust & betrayal. For that, I’m looking at adapting Prisoner’s Dilemma into the game.

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August 23, 2007 - Posted by | Paranormal Containment

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