Design 1 – The Dice Roll

A few weeks back I discussed Dice and Cards and how they vary.

However, I also mentioned that each could be used in a variety of ways or even together. Today I’m going to describe two scenarios which I have designed dice as a fundamental mechanic.

The key thing is that these are the dice isolated from the rest of the mechanics. There are other mechanics that exist but they will be discussed later.

Blood in the Circle

Gladiators fighting in the arena – summary done… lets roll some dice.

The dice pool is divided into Skill and Theatrics. Every 4+ does the following:

  • A Skill pass ignores 1 Wound
  • A Theatrics pass adds 1 Entertainment which becomes favour later on

This is a very kinetic system which the sound could easily be linked to the clashing of swords and energy to create a sense of excitement.

Every die rolled is an opportunity, a chance to do something that will please the crowd or protect their life. These opportunities are available to those with the skill but even if they perform well, the shield must be in the right spot and your ground solid or the crowd have to be watching your Gladiator at the right time… rewards are not.

The role of the dice in this case is to reward and excite. Make the players to roll a large number of dice.

Lightbound Journey

People lost in a world of Fog and trying to survive.

In this game, when you enter combat, you must roll a number of dice each against a single target and if 1 die fails you fail and there are consequences that can push you back.

This system has a serious consequence of failing if one die fails to go above a specific target. As such you want to roll LESS dice, if not none.

The dice do not represent the player, they represent the threat trying to defeat the player. There are no mechanical rewards for a success only for a fail so there are no real passive benefits for crossing their path.

There are active options (taking the enemy out, defending others through and stealing) and these always succeed but to do them you have to walk into the path of the threat which is always risky.

The role of the dice in this case is to deal consequence and create a sense of dread when you roll them.

The one point I made last time I discussed this was that both cards and dice can give separate feels and mechanical effect, this exercise shows that by just changing the rules of how the dice are interpreted, you can change the feel of the game you are playing.

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