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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 5 months ago

Action & Consequence


When do we roll dice?


In general, whenever your character goes to do something to the active detriment of my character's interests, we roll dice.


  • When your character and mine are talking and disagreeing, immediately before either character gets frustrated or repeats herself.


  • When your character is trying to get mine to do something mine doesn't want to do.


  • When your character does something and I say "hold on there," and my character's capable of intervening in some way.


  • When your character goes to do something to mine that mind doesn't want done.


  • When your character is trying to escape the notice or grasp of mine, and mine is trying to spot or grab yours.


When do we not roll dice?


When your character goes to do something that's not to the active detriment of any other character, we don't roll dice, no matter how difficult or dangerous a thing it is.


Of course your character can do it. She's not incompetent.




What dice do we roll?


You check out your character sheet, I'll check out mine. Which endeavor best suits whatever it is your character's going to do?


You know the stat you assigned to that endeavor? That stat's dice are the dice you roll.



How do we read the dice?


Only your high die really matters, so the thing to read is your high die. Only bother with your lower die or dice if we have to break a tie.


We'll compare our dice a lot. Sometimes it just matters whose high die is higher, but sometimes it also matters whether your high die (supposing your high die is higher than mine) at least doubles mine, or just is higher.


Occasionally you'll include an advantage die - a d6 with pips - in your roll. I'll explain when in a little while. When you do, add it straight to your high stat die.




What do we do with our dice after we've rolled them?


  • Whoever rolled higher is the challenger. Whoever rolled lower is the answerer.


  • If you're the answerer, you can just pick your dice right back up and hold them in your hand. The initial cast determines who challenges and how hard, not who wins.


  • If you're the challenger, say what your character does. The stronger the better - and not just because stronger challenges are more fun. A stronger challenge puts you in a stronger bargaining position later on. Say what your character does, what she accomplishes, not just how she intends to start to go about it. "I stab you in the throat," not "I swing my sword at you."


  • If you're the answerer, reroll your dice. Again as always, only the high die matters (unless there's a tie).




  • Now we compare rolls. Let's say that you rolled higher on the initial cast, so you made your challenge and I rerolled.


Maybe my reroll is higher than your roll.


a) My character totally blocks or dodges the challenge. I say how.


b) I become the challenger, you become the answerer. Now you can pick up your dice; I say what my character does (the stronger the better) and you reroll. We continue on from there.


c) When this happens a couple of times in a row it makes a fun jostle upward.


Maybe my reroll is half of your roll or less.


a) My character totally sucks it up. Whatever you said your character does, that's exactly what happens.


b) Consequently, your character exhausts or injures my character. I lose two die sizes from a stat - the stat I use when my character exerts herself or the stat I use when my character endures duress. You choose which two die sizes (two sizes from which die, or one size each from both?) and which stat, if there's a choice.


Or else the two of us agree to some other outcome. It can include die penalties if we choose, or it can be entirely what happens to our characters.


But either of us can, at any time, fall back on the standard: your character exhausts or injures mine.


These consequences are in addition to the challenge coming true.


c) Either way, the conflict's over.


Maybe my reroll is less than yours, but greater than half yours.


I have to choose:


a) My character sucks it up but hangs in. I say how my character blocks or dodges the worst of your challenge, but takes some of it anyway. Consequently, your character goes forward with an advantage. The conflict continues into a new round. We both pick up and reroll our dice, but because of your character's advantage, you get to add a d6 with pips - an advantage die - to the stat dice in your hand.


Or else:


b) My character totally sucks up your challenge and the conflict ends, without going to a next round. However, unlike when your roll doubles mine, your character doesn't exhaust or injure mine, nor do we negotiate any other consequences. This is called giving, as in "I give."




Maybe your roll and mine really tie, down to the last die.


a) My character blocks or dodges your character's challenge. I say how.


b) We continue the conflict into a new round, with neither of us carrying any particular advantage forward.




So here's an example putting the whole lot together:




Fatal consequences


Narrating a fatal blow puts you in a nice, strong bargaining position, if you want the other player to accept that their character's dead instead of just injured.


If you like, you can read "take the blow" to mean "take the blow unless it's fatal, in which case you get to somehow block or dodge the fatal part, unless your dice are already low."


But maybe look at it this way instead. We know what the baseline for consequences is - exhaustion or injury. If you make your challenge be something whose natural consequences would exceed exhaustion or injury, you should be prepared to scale back to exhaustion or injury afterward. It's not like I cheated you out of me being stomped to paste by your war elephant - we both knew when you made that challenge that it probably wouldn't entirely come true.


Negotiating consequences


Consequences: you come up with them, the winner and loser together, once somebody's won and somebody's lost.


The dice back-and-forth makes sure that everybody knows exactly what their character has done. "Exhaust/injure" establishes the baseline for consequences, upon which the players may elaborate, according to what happened during the back-and-forth.


Here's the total winner, suggesting consequences as alternates to "I exhaust or injure you."


Legit: "You cross 'mastery of the necromantic arts' off your character sheet."


Legit: "My character gets 'mastery of the necromantic arts.'"


Not legit: "I add 'mastery of the necromantic arts' to my character sheet."


You can lose things from your character sheet as consequences, you can't add things to your character sheet as consequences. You can add something to your character sheet only during setup for your character's next chapter.


Ben: Legit? Your character loses three Guts and gains one Art. Your character loses three Guts and gains a specialization "demon-marked," which adds Guts to demonology.


Legit, yes indeed.


Press me and I'll get technical: you can't add die sizes to your character sheet, but you can completely move die sizes around.


Also legit: "now you defend yourself with Grace instead."


An example


I'm the GM. You're the player. My npc is Althesa, a warrior-priestess of a truly bloodthirsty cult. Her interest is to drive all foreign influences out forever. Your character is Irin, the lieutenant of the prince sent to pacify the region. His interests are to marry a priestess of the cult (in order to create a tie by blood between the two groups) and to do the prince's dirty work so he can keep his hands clean.


My character comes into your character's chamber in the middle of the night, to kill your character.


We roll. You roll your defending yourself, Guts, d12 d6. I have "warrior-priestessing" as an endeavor, so I roll it, my Art, d10 d8.


Your high die is a 4. Mine's an 8. I'm the challenger.


"I cut your throat while you sleep," I say.


You reroll. It comes up a 7. You do a partial block or dodge and I get the advantage. (Also, because my dice are better than yours and I didn't double you out the gate, your name goes on the we owe list.)


"I wake up when you come in, but I don't realize the danger I'm in - I figure you're a prostitute bought by my captain and sent to me. I catch your wrist, but only when you've got your dagger to my throat."


We both roll fresh. You roll an 11, but adding the d6 advantage die, my roll's a 15 (ouch).


"While we're grappling, I slip a long spike, a needle holding up my thumb and forefinger spread as far as they can out of my sleeve with my other hand. I stab it straight into your ear."


You reroll. A 6. My roll doubles yours, I totally win.


First of all, you have to take the blow. "Oh hell," you say. "Yeah, you stab me in the ear. Crap, dude."


Then we negotiate additional grief for you. Either of us can simply insist that it's exhaustion or injury, my choice - and let's say that exhausting or injuring your character means that you lose two die sizes from Grace - but let's hold that back. Is there something else we like better?


"I totally kill you," I say. "I totally kill you right in the ear."


You think about it for a while. Your name's on the we owe list; being killed won't take it off. You can continue to play this character, in flashback, as a ghost, all kinds of ways. But, "nah, I'd rather just be exhausted or injured than killed. But how about you make me deaf in that ear?"


"Deaf in that ear and lose one die size from Guts," I say.


"Done. And you leave me for dead."


"Yeah, okay."


So what we've just done is, we've established that me deafening you in one ear and taking one die size from your Guts, and leaving you for dead, is equivalent to me taking two die sizes from your Grace (for exhaustion or injury) - and we've chosen the former.


Make sense?



What do we do with the "we owe" list?


The "we owe" list is the backbone of the long-term game.


  • Add your character's name to the "we owe" list whenever a) you enter into a conflict with someone; b) their dice have more sides, in total, than yours do; and c) they don't double your roll on the first round.


  • Whenever you're comparing dice with an opponent, you may cross the name of one of your characters off of the "we owe" list. It can be any of your characters, not only the character you're playing now. Pick up an advantage die and roll it right now, adding it to your highest die.




What do we do when...?


Someone rolls an advantage die.


An advantage die is a d6 with pips. You get one in a round of conflict where you and your character seized the advantage - but didn't win outright - in the round before.


Whenever the rules call upon you to look at your high die, add your advantage die straight to it. Just go ahead and pretend that you rolled their sum on your high die (no matter how impossible that might've been).


An advantage die lasts for a whole round - the initial cast and any rerolls you might make. It goes away at the end of the round, although of course you might win a new one for next round.




Someone uses a specialization.


You can use a specialization you've got listed on your character sheet whenever your character takes action appropriate to the specialization's endeavor - just declare that you're using it.


When you use a specialization, roll your usual stat dice according to the endeavor, plus roll dice for the stat the specialization names. Only the highest die matters, as always, unless you need to resolve a tie.


That's unless I'm using the specialization your specialization is vulnerable to - which you can suppose I will be, if I've got it on my character sheet. In that case, you don't get to roll dice for the additional stat.


If you come to be the challenger, you can, if you choose, use one of your specialization's formal challenges. But likewise, if I'm the challenger I can use your specialization's opponent's challenge against you.


Using a specialization's listed challenges doesn't have any effect on anyone's dice, but it can have tremendous effect on what our characters do and the outcome we finally negotiate.




There are more than two of us involved in a conflict.


Well, maybe the third character is helping one of ours.


Let's say that it's Mitch's character and she's helping your character.


In that case, you and Mitch both roll your dice as usual, but only the high die between you matters. You both roll, but you make only one challenge or answer, together.


Whichever of the two of you rolled the high die, that's the one who says the challenge or answer on your shared behalf.


If together you ultimately totally lose, I can exhaust or injure you both, or else we all have to agree to some other outcome.


On the other hand, maybe there are legitimately more than two sides to the conflict.


Your character's taking action against mine, mine's taking action against Mitch's, Mitch's is taking action against mine - but not the same kind of action as yours or wanting the same kind of outcome.


In that case, all three of us roll as usual.


The player with the highest roll is the first challenger. Let's say it's you. You say what your character does, the stronger the better. You also name your answerer - me or Mitch.

Let's say that you name me. I become the answerer.


But first, any player whose roll is higher than mine can choose to interfere with you. That person becomes the answerer instead.




Anyway, the answerer - let's have it be me after all - I pick up my dice and reroll them as usual. We compare our two rolls and resolve as usual, up to the point where one or the other of us has seized the advantage - put the d6 with pips next to your dice and remember to roll it in with your stats when the conflict finally goes forward into a next round - or else one of us has been put out of the conflict.




So now, other than the two of us, who has the highest roll showing? (Mitch does.) Now it's Mitch's turn to challenge. He says what his character does and names his answerer - me, again. If there were anyone else remaining with a higher die than mine - you don't count because you've had your turn - they'd have the choice to interfere; otherwise I reroll and Mitch and I resolve as usual.




If it's your turn to challenge and your answerer's already out of the conflict, by the way, you can either change your interests in the conflict and, y'know, stab your friend or something, or else you can drop out of the conflict yourself.




Repeat this whole process down the line, highest roll to lowest, until everyone has challenged, answered, or dropped out. At that point, everyone who's still in the conflict goes forward into a next round. Pick up your dice and reroll them - this is a new first cast - and don't forget your advantage die if you won one.


How about a quick recap?




When to roll:


  • When two characters are at odds.


What to roll:


  • Whichever stat goes with the endeavor that matches your character's action.




  • Both roll.
  • High roller challenges.
  • Challenger: say what your character does, the stronger the better.
  • Answerer: reroll.
  • Compare the challenger's standing roll with the answerer's new roll:
    • Answerer's higher: the answerer's character blocks or dodges, then responds; the answerer becomes the challenger.
    • Answerer's half or less: the answerer's character sucks it up; the challenger exhausts or injures, or they negotiate another outcome.
    • Answerer's over half: the answerer's character hangs in there; the challenger gets an advantage die and the conflict goes into a new round, or the answerer gives and the stated action happens.
    • True tie: the answerer's character blocks or dodges; the conflict goes into a new round, with nobody advantaged.
  • Repeat the whole procedure until the conflict ends: when the challenger doubles the attacker, or else when the answerer gives instead of going forward into a new round with the challenger advantaged.


How about a total overall example?





Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 11:27 am on Apr 21, 2006

Here's a question. Can you scratch your name off the we owe list more than once for multiple advantage dice?

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