A quick design breakdown

I thought today, since I’ve been thinking about it for a while, I’d do a quick design breakdown of the DiceBenedict system that I’ve been toying with. Specifically, where I stole a bunch of ideas from.

So originally it spawned from the idea of a system built using only d12s, but after looking at how the probability curve behaved, I wanted to try it with some other die types. And yeah, it worked OK for most of them (I’m still not sure how well d4s work, but I don’t know if I need to worry overly much about them at this stage).

I’ve dropped the term ‘Aspects’ to describe part of a character, given that the character dice modifiers are all derived from the Aspects part of the FATE system. The idea of using various different facets for character modifiers comes from a bunch of gaming, but I think FATE had a lot to do with it. For a while, I contemplated them as adding additional dice, but I didn’t like that mechanic. Safer to stick with just the pair of dice, makes things a lot easier!

So we have the character modifiers and scene modifiers. That’s also another little nod to FATE, which had location Aspects that could be tagged for bonuses to dice rolls.
Limiting how many character modifiers could be tagged came around early, realising that a character would have a whole hoard of stuff they could use (and therefore skew the probability way off). The limit being specific to the dice used is new. It seems to have worked in play tests so far.

Spin points come from a variety of sources: FATE points, the honour pool in John Wick’s ‘Blood and Honor‘, but also from Action Points in Dungeons and Dragons (and actually from d20 Modern, which I enjoyed playing the crap out of about 6-7 years ago). I liked the idea of the group as a whole having to manage the resource.

SFX/manoeuvres come around from FATE too (I owe them a bunch really, it seems). But they’re also I think tied to the magic system in D&D (specifically the old multi-round casting times), and the similar system in Legend of the 5 Rings.

How combat handles has yet to really come across (playtesting it a bunch tomorrow afternoon), but I think it owes at least a nod to Feng Shui, or it will do once my first player breaks the system – he has told me his first character advancement will involve making his spells quicker, so he can cast every turn including the first, if he so wishes, and can boost effects quicker.
The loss of parts of the character came from a one-on-one playtest of the 6d6 system last year. Characters being hindered by their pain made sense to me, and certainly struck a chord with other games I’d seen with permanent damage hindering the character in the future (Legend of the 5 Rings, Vampire: the Masquerade and Blood and Honor all jump into my mind thinking about it, and the Dresden Files RPG – FATE again – has a nasty trade-off with a permanent character aspect change in some circumstances).

Overall, I think the focus is on a more story-driven game, which is what I play these days, and even how the D&D and Cyberpunk sessions I’ve played in recent years have gone. I don’t know whether this is because I’ve had more exposure to that kind of game, but I know I’ve tried to have a decent narrative background going back as far as I remember. Whether the rest of the group was playing that way or not. I think I’ve started playing with groups who follow that idea more.

Maybe I’ll play something quick and nasty soon and the rules will take a swing in that direction. We’ll see. I’ve yet to work out the best way to resolve combat damage, so maybe it will get brutal and deadly.


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