Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ripping off Mechanics Part I

One idea generated by my mashing and gnashing of Themes is using dice to create game elements.   I won't lie.  I am ripping this idea off.

The genesis of this idea came from descriptions I have read of two recent game systems.  Mouse Guard and Diaspora.  I have not read, nor currently have access to either.  I honestly don't want to know how either of the Mechanics in question work.  I want to be in a vacuum until I am done with my blatant rip off.


The two Mechanics and what I have gleamed about each from the little I have read.  Weather Telling in Mouse Guard, roll a skill check and foretell the weather.  But the GM doesn't provide the weather, the Player does, based on how well they rolled.  And the galaxy “burner”.  Roll dice, make clusters of star to adventure in.

What these have in common, as well as many other mechanics I have never heard of, is taking the act of creation out the GM's hands.  Mouse Guard seems to transfer control to a combination of dice rolling and Player input.  I am unclear how much Diaspora is pure dice rolling, and how much is Player creation.  From the descriptions though, it sounds as though it is a group activity.

Another confession.  I am also ripping off from my other current work in progress, Disconnect.  I am sure Diaspora was running around in the background when I came up with the following mechanic for that game, but I hadn't yet heard of the Weather Telling bit from Mouse guard.

What I want to do is briefly write out the Disconnect mechanic.  And then in Part II, write out two Mechanics for Ascend.

A few notes about Disconnect are in order.

  • Disconnect uses a Dice Pool, the object of the roll is to roll 15 or more.  Rolling 15 is a success.  For every die not used to total 15, you accrue another success.  Rolling a Dice Pool is called a Test.  The mechanic I am ripping off is the Scenario Test.
  • Players play Agents in Disconnect, and are each others Adversaries.  They compete in Scenarios to complete a Mission.
  • Aspects are rated and their rating is added to the Dice Pool if a Player Narrates an appropraite use of that Aspect.

Disconnect Basic Play: Scenario Test

Scenarios are the set-up for scenes.  Colorful locals, intriguing personages, or ambiguous activities, Scenarios are short phrases provided by the Game Master.  They are designed to spark creativity.  The first Scenario of the Mission is chosen by the Game Master. Subsequent scenarios are chosen by the Player whose Agent won the last Scenario. Scenarios are not pre-scripted nor are they well detailed.  That is left to the first roll of a Scenario, the Scenario Test.

The Scenario Test is rolled using 5d6.  If this is not the first Scenario, the Player whose Agent won the last Scenario rolls 6d6.  So do any Players who Negotiated a Share of the Kitty.

If no Player rolls at least one Success, the Players rolls again.  Once a Player has one or more Successes the dice are kept and form a Player's Scenario Pool.  If at least one Player has a Success, the other Players stop re-rolling to form a Scenario Pool.  They must wait until it is their turn to roll again.  The Player with the most Successes begins play.

If Players are tied for the most successes, each tied Player rolls an additional d6.  The Player with the highest result adds that die to their Scenario Pool.  Players re-roll the same d6 if tied until one Player has a higher result.

Play begins with the first Player Narrating an Aspect about the Scenario.  The Aspect is information the Agent's Mega-Corporation has researched or was uncovered by the events of the last Scenario.  The Player is free to Narrate any Aspect and the Aspect is added to the Scenario's Dossier.  Players should Narrate Aspects they think their Agents will best be able to Exploit.

After Narrating an Aspect, the Player slides forward one of their dice from their Scenario Pool, indicating it has been “used”.  They can use one of the solitary Success dice, or the highest die of those used to form 15.  The number shown on the die determines the Rating of the Aspect, with 1-2 being Mild, 3-4 Moderate, and 5-6 Strong.  Once a Player has used the highest die of the set used to make 15, the other dice in the set are discarded from the Scenario Pool.

Play proceeds clockwise.  If a Player has no Successes from their initial Scenario Test, they re roll and play continues. In turn, each Player either Narrates a Success from their Scenario Pool,  re-rolls their Scenario Test if they have not yet rolled a successful Scenario Test, or makes a Skill Test if they have used all their Successes.

A Player may perform a Skill Test only after all Successes from their Scenario Pool have been Narrated.  The first Skill Test is used to Narrate an Agent's arrival to the Scenario.  If a Player's Agent is the first to arrive, they must perform a Solitary Skill Test.  Any Agent who arrives later may perform a Solitary Skill Test or an Opposed Skill Test with an Agent already in the Scenario.

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