In Game Mechanics and other Niftiness
Die Pools and Sets
Height vs. Width
Expert Dice and Master Dice
Multiple Actions and Multiple Sets
Exchanging Height and Width. If you can squish a result two points, you can change a 4×5 to a 2×7 or a 6×3. If you squish something down to 1x, it’s no longer a set. You can’t squish a set above height 10. You can’t squish more than one ‘step’ – i.e., in the example above, you can’t squish your 4×5 to a 6×3, and then squish it again into an 8×1.
Squishing can only be used by paying 1 XP when a a player is in a rush (as in combat, for example). When a player is taking his time to solve tasks, squishing is free.
Duty, Mission, Craving
Only PCs can use Fate Cards.
At the beginning of each ‘Chapter’ (as opposed to each ‘Session’), characters will be dealt one Fate Card each. During play, Fate Cards can be discarded to give the owning player one free Master Die for any one skill attempt, so long as that skill attempt relates to the lore of the card. Cards can be played or not after all dice are rolled.
The party is fighting off a band of cut-throats who are intent on breaking into the cabin where they’ve shacked up. The brigands’ plan seems to kill everyone inside, including the family who have kindly put the characters up for the night. During the combat, a character fails a crucial roll. The player’s Fate Card is the Ten of Cups – the theme of which is ‘contented home life’. The player discards his Fate Card in return for adding a Master Die to his combat roll, turning a failure into a success in an effort to save the family of NPCs and their home. Note that the Ten of Cups card pictures a cat and some bees. A player could not play this Fate Card to influence a roll having something to do with cats or bees – it’s about the theme of the card – not the damned pictures on it.
Alternatively, a Fate Card can be discarded by a player to introduce a plot point into the story – again, the plot point must somehow relate to the lore of the card.
A player wants her character to learn blacksmithing, but knows no one who can teach her, and has no money to pay for such training. Playing the Ace of Wands (the theme of which is a person reaching a ‘propitious point’ or receiving a ‘fortuitous gift’), the player suggests to the g.m. that perhaps her character reminds the head of the local blacksmith’s guild of his long lost daughter, and offers her an apprenticeship. The g.m. agrees to this, and the player may now spend XP on buying and improving her blacksmithing skill!
In the first example above, the Ten of Cups could have been used to bring the friendly family into being to begin with…
By playing a Fate card in either of these two ways, a character earns one XP at the end of the Session (Major Arcana earn players two XP).
At the beginning of a new Chapter, all players without Fate Cards will draw one new card from the deck. A player who still has their fate card from the previous Chapter may continue to hold onto their card, or they may discard it (for no XP) for a new draw from the deck. Players will not be allowed to drop Fate Cards hastily at the end of a Chapter just to earn quick XP (the g.m. will adjudicate whether a discard attempt is ‘too late’ or not).
Fate Card draws can be shared with other players if the drawing player wishes, but there is no prohibition from keeping your Fate Card draw a secret. However, during tight situations, players may wish to reveal their Fate Cards to one another. That way players can bounce ideas off each other as to who might be able to do what with their cards.
The Fate Card system is an experiment – the g.m. will have final say as to how and when Fate Cards can be used, and has the right to veto any ‘plot point’ use of a Fate Card if he feels a player’s suggestion will interfere too much with the storyline. We’ll try it and see how it goes!
Preludes and XP Debt
XP debt can be accrued during play or during character creation. Before play begins, I’m considering allowing players to go into additional XP debt when improving skills or stats at initial character construction costs, but I haven’t decided yet (meaning I may impose standard post-character generation XP costs).
I think the max XP debt will be 10, but I’ll insist that anything that goes beyond 5 points be for a single loan only. All XP debt must be pre-approved by the g.m. I am the Fed. If a character is killed, any remaining debt will be assumed by that player’s new character.
At the end of any Session or Chapter were XP is doled out, players who are carrying XP debt (but not expanding their debt) must replay at least one point.
Award at least a few at the end of each Session, and then more at the end of each Chapter.