Master Mines

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Advice on Economy

One of the things I am working on for NGHB is the economy of bennies. To explain what this means to me is basically the poker chips, power points, etc. etc. that can be used for things like introduction of new facts in the game, rerolling dice, and so on and so forth.

So as I am sticking with the dice pool mechanic with dice added up to see if it beats some target number. Margin of success then buys perks at a rate of 1 perk per 5 over the TN though you have to actually beat the roll by 10 to get a perk since you need to have a full 5 to get a perk AND the first perk is always spent on winning. Not sure if that makes any sense.

So you can at the time of the roll spend perks to do things like increase damage or introduce narrative facts about the success or they can be banked for later use (though spending perks from the base is a more costly proposition than spending them on the roll in which they are made.)

With that comes my question. In a dice pool game, it possible that I can get a big pool of dice that will blow away a TN. It’s also possible that someone can go around doing lesser tasks, succeeding at them really well, and having a large pile of perks to use in play.

I guess my question to those who have used such things in games before is what advice you can give me about controlling the economy of perks. While I am sure no hard and fast rules exist, I was wondering if anyone had war stories they could share. Part of what drives this question is something someone one said (I think it was Fred Hicks) that a lot of game design was figuring out things like the economy of bennies and the like. I was wondering if anyone had any advice.

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February 17, 2008 - Posted by | Mecha

3 Comments »

  1. John Wick’s Houses of the Blooded does a neat thing with a die-pool-added-up-versus-a-TN mechanic: You can take away dice (called wagers, which is very Wick) and put them to the side. If you succeed on your roll with the remaining dice, those extra dice are used to define more facts about what happened.

    Say I need to make or beat a TN of 10. I have 5d6 in my hand. I could, say, put one aside and roll four — knowing that if I win, I get an Extra Thing. Or two, if I really want Extra Things. And in a contest versus someone, I don’t just want to be a TN — I want to beat them, so I have to really think about how much of these I want to hold back.

    (Incidentally, if you lose, you lose half of your wager dice, so you still get some, but not all, of the benefit. And winning is like getting one free wager die in and of itself.)

    What I’m doing for Mythender is different — it’s a die-pool-looking-for-individual-successes mechanic, and it continues to grow in battle as you get successes. However, it’s also (a) your hit points — should you run out, you’re knocked out of the fight — and (b) your fuel to do some spectacular actions that may cause you to lose some or all of your dice — which may also knock you out of the fight.

    Those are a couple approaches to dealing with die pools that doesn’t try to “solve” something as much as it tries to make die pools more than just “let me roll a handful of dice now.” Hopefully there’s something helpful there.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. Actually it does help. I’ve been pondering different ways to make the dice do more. I like the wagers idea and am looking to do something similiar with margin of success.

    Comment by commondialog | February 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. I like the wagers idea and am looking to do something similiar with margin of success.

    Consider: that may not solve your problem, because it still keeps the dice in circulation for achieving said TN. However, I’m sure you could find an implementation of that idea that would work well within that.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | February 19, 2008 | Reply


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