Pinning Down Mechanics

The hardest part of making anything is pinning down exactly what you are trying to do. It’s really easy to come up with broad, brush-stroke themes, but translating those themes into mechanics that are both easy to grok and mesh together in a simplistic and flowing manner is hard. That said, I’ve been doing a lot of work on my mechanics, and I think I’ve got the basics down.

So, here goes:

Characters have six attributes: WitsCharmInstinctResolveSmarts, and Soul. 

  • Wits is the character’s ability to think quickly on their feet. Wits are rolled when a character has a little less time than they need.
  • Charm is the character’s ability to interact with people in a manner conducive to the character’s wants. Roll Charm when the character is interacting with friendlies.
  • Instinct is the character’s ability to interact on a second-by-second level. Roll Instinct when the character has barely any time to react.
  • Resolve is the character’s ability to march on despite the hardships they endure. Roll Resolve when a character has to persevere.
  • Smarts  is the ability for characters to think when they have all the time in the world. Roll Smarts can think with all the time they need.
  • Soul is the character’s ability to interact with worlds that are not our own. Roll Wits when the character is casting or afflicted by magic.

The next level of character stats is the Threat Hex. There are six threats: Combat, Social, Wilderness, Magic, Knowledge, and Traps. Threats are arrayed in the Threat Hex across from each other, so that each threat is paired with another threat. Those two threats are then assigned levels, which must add up to equal 14. So, a threat pair may be assigned as 6 and 8, or 4 and 10, or whatever the player wants, as long as they equal 14.

Specialties are the next part of stats. Specialties are simple: they are added to stat values or pools whenever the specialty would be relevant. Specialties can be anything: ‘cow herding’ or ‘knife fighting’ or ‘halfing sex practices’, as long as they are narrow enough. ‘Fights with weapons’ is NOT a good specialty.

Lastly, every character has a Background. Backgrounds may be anything: ‘farmer’ or ‘soldier’ or ‘king’. Backgrounds reduce the level of a threat by 1 whenever they would be relevant.

As stated in the post before this one, attributes+relevant specialties are typically simply compared to a value, the Obstacle Level. If the character’s attribute is greater than the OL, then the character succeeds. If the character’s attribute is less than the OL, then the character fails. However, if the character fails, they may choose to ‘defy fate’ and roll dice.

To roll, the character gains a number of dice in their dice pool equal to their relevant stat + any relevant specialties, and then they roll. Any dice that come up greater than the relevant Threat is a success! All dice that come up as a 10 explode – i.e. you take that success and roll another die!

There are a few other parts of characters that I’ve been planning out, but I haven’t fully thought out those mechanics, so I’ll come back to that later!

Thank you for reading!

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