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Started by contracycle, February 11, 2005, 04:08:46 AM

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Here's another micro-mechanic for discussion.  Its a Fortune device but with a kinda blurring of gamble and crunch.

AMA/NLT stands for "As Much As" and "No Lower Than" and is a pretty weird way to use dice, especially the multiple polyhedrals, although I guess the same principle could be used with die pools.

You make a role with two dice of different colours, one representing the maximum you can achieve, and the other representing the minimum you will achieve.  In this way inputs to the resolution are broken into two strands.  By default the second die (will achieve) is smaller the the first (can achieve).

When you roll, the first die tells you that the degree of success can be "as much as" the number rolled.  The second die tells you that the degree of success is "no lower than" the number rolled.

The only slighlty odd-looking result this produces is when the AMA die is lower than the NLT die, say 4 on d8 vs. 6 on d6.  You could prioritise one die over the other depending on what effect you want to achieve with the the game, or the specific topic of the mechanic.

The purposes behind this is to influence the range of success that will probably be achieved, and thus reduce whiff factor.  It should be usable to reflect experience versus talent or the like, in the a character with d10/d4 in an ability is going to have a much more random, and likely lower, performance than a character with d10/d8.  

Thus, both the quantity of the ability, and its quality, are represented at the same time in a single toss.[/b]
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I'm a bit unclear here.  How do you determine your actual result?  If, as Nathan (Paganini) says, dice are merely a selection tool that are used to choose from a pre-selected menu of possible outcomes, where does this mechanic make a selection?  I can see that it is selecting some range of outcomes, but if we a turning to the dice to select things for us in the first place we might as well go all the way.  Is there something I'm missing?

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Nathan P.

As I read this (interesting, to me) mechanic, you could use the actual range generated in number of ways, depending, on always, on what you want your game to look like.

An example or two off the top of the head -

Task resolution where theres a certain threshold you need to hit to succeed, and everything over it adds successes. So say you need a 5 to succeed, and you roll a 6 on your low dice and an 8 on the high dice, you get 3 successes, but if you had rolled a 4 on the low dice you would have failed.

Similarly, low die indicates success/failure, and high die indicates degree of effect. Or vice versa.

Resolution where you get to narrate a number of facts equal to the difference between the dice. Maybe here the dice start out the same size, and as the character improves/develops they diverge.

Getting more to your point, say there's some kind of effect table, and for the range generated by the dice you select elements off of that table yourself - the dice narrow down your range of selection, rather than selecting whatever outcome themselves. Why bother, you say? Well...why bother with any given mechanic? If you, as a designer, want this game to be about allowing free choice among a restricted range of options, why the hell not use something like this to support it?
Nathan P.
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This mechanic is pretty much what is used in Pinnacle / Great White's Savage system.

In that game you roll 1 polyhedral for your skill, and heroes (and significant NPCs...Wild Cards in the game's lingo) get an additional 1d6 called the Wild Die.

Your result is basically the higher number on either die.  The Wild Die's purpose is to reduce the whiff factor inherent in single die linear resolution by giving a second chance to avoid a horrible result.

This is pretty close to having the skill be the AMA die and the Wild Die as the NLT die...only instead of prioritizing one or the other, you get the best of either.


You could combine it with a resource: you get a result equal to the low die for free, you can spend points to buy your result up to as high as the high die.



I like this! I think if your actual is higher than your potential maybe it's an auto-success with extra benefits left over. And I think Vincent is dead on: you could spend points or something to make up the difference.

In fact: your AMA dice could be "potential" and your NLT dice could be Training or something like that (so the young warrior starts with AMA 1d20 but NLT 1d4 and has to work it up by getting resource points during the adventure).

Very cool.

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I don't think I'd identify the AMA die vs the NMT die until after you roll: the lower number is always the AMA die, the higher the NMT. That way you never have to worry about having an NMT less than your AMA, and I don't think you lose anything too interesting.

Instead of potential and training, then, it'd be something like instincts and training.