MCDM starts work on its RPG Monday!

Staffan

Legend
Yeah. I passed on FFG Star Wars because of the dice. And I'm a dice goblin. I'm willing to have a look at MCDM's game because it's Matt Colville but I'm generally not a fan of unique dice.
It's really an amazing game. The most fun I've had when running a game was the mini-campaign FFG released as a web enhancement for the Age of Rebellion beginner set.

The beginner set itself is a very competently done starter set, with pregenerated characters and an adventure about the PCs infiltrating and taking over an off-the-books Imperial spy base. It's OK, but nothing special. But the web enhancement (Operation: Shadow Point) then asks the question: now what? A base takes resources to run. Where will you get those? It's not like the Rebel Alliance is flush with them, so you have to figure something out. And who's going to run it? And deal with security? So you need to do some recruitment work with the locals, both colonists and natives. And of course, there will be some curve balls thrown your way you need to deal with. Good stuff.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
It's really an amazing game. The most fun I've had when running a game was the mini-campaign FFG released as a web enhancement for the Age of Rebellion beginner set.

The beginner set itself is a very competently done starter set, with pregenerated characters and an adventure about the PCs infiltrating and taking over an off-the-books Imperial spy base. It's OK, but nothing special. But the web enhancement (Operation: Shadow Point) then asks the question: now what? A base takes resources to run. Where will you get those? It's not like the Rebel Alliance is flush with them, so you have to figure something out. And who's going to run it? And deal with security? So you need to do some recruitment work with the locals, both colonists and natives. And of course, there will be some curve balls thrown your way you need to deal with. Good stuff.
I’m sure it’s an awesome game. A few people whose opinions I respect really dig it. I’m just not a fan of specialty dice…despite being a dice goblin. It even bugs me when people put their logos on a face of the die. Like swapping the 1 or 20 for their symbol. Really bugs me.

I am reading through the Genesys book a friend lent me to grok the dice. The text mentions six possible outcomes. Do you happen to know what they are?
 

Reynard

Legend
I’m sure it’s an awesome game. A few people whose opinions I respect really dig it. I’m just not a fan of specialty dice…despite being a dice goblin. It even bugs me when people put their logos on a face of the die. Like swapping the 1 or 20 for their symbol. Really bugs me.

I am reading through the Genesys book a friend lent me to grok the dice. The text mentions six possible outcomes. Do you happen to know what they are?
It's a matrix between levels of success and narrative import. So you can succeed,but you might succeed to some bad happening. Or fail with something bad happening. Or good.
 


Staffan

Legend
I’m sure it’s an awesome game. A few people whose opinions I respect really dig it. I’m just not a fan of specialty dice…despite being a dice goblin. It even bugs me when people put their logos on a face of the die. Like swapping the 1 or 20 for their symbol. Really bugs me.

I am reading through the Genesys book a friend lent me to grok the dice. The text mentions six possible outcomes. Do you happen to know what they are?
Star Wars uses six different symbols (eight if you count the Force die, but that's a separate mechanic), three bad and three good. The symbols are:
  • Success and Failure: These cancel one another out. If you have at least one uncanceled Success, you succeed on whatever you were doing. More successes mean you succeed more – maybe you do the thing faster, or you hit a more vulnerable point dealing more damage, you make a better deal, etc. Uncanceled failures don't mean anything, other than failure.
  • Advantage and Threat: These also cancel one another out. Uncanceled Advantages give good side effects, and uncanceled Threats give bad side effects. These effects are more-or-less independent of actual success or failure. For example, if you're shooting at someone and get a failure but two Advantages, maybe you don't actually hurt the target but you hit and destroy the cover they're using, making it easier for your buddy to shoot them later. If you're slicing a computer system to find some information and succeed but get some Threats, perhaps you find the information you're looking for but you set off an alarm.
  • Triumph and Despair: These are a bit special, and combine elements of the other four. They each act as a Success/Failure respectively, but also have extra-strong narrative effects along the lines of Advantage/Threat but more. The Success/Failure part can be canceled as normal, but not the narrative effects.
These symbols are spread over six different dice, three "good" and three "bad", as follows:
  • Ability dice and Proficiency dice: you get these based on your stats (ability scores and skills). The total number of dice is the highest of the two, and a number equal to the lowest of the two are the amazing Proficiency dice and the rest are the pretty good Ability dice (e.g. if you have Presence 4 and Charm 1, you would roll 1 proficiency die and 3 ability dice). Proficiency dice are the only ones with a Triumph symbol on them.
  • Difficulty dice and Challenge dice: the opposite of Ability/Proficiency dice. Difficulty dice are the ones usually used for static difficulties, and are the counterparts of Ability dice. Challenge dice are the counterparts of Proficiency dice but are rarer, and mostly come into play on opposed rolls where you use the opponent's ability/skill to set the number of dice you roll. So if your opponent has Presence 2 and Cool 3, your Charm roll would use 1 Difficulty die and 2 Challenge dice. Challenge dice are the only ones with a Despair symbol on them.
  • Boost dice and Setback dice: where Ability/Proficiency reflects your own capabilities, and Difficulty/Challenge reflects the core difficulty of a task, these reflect positive/negative circumstances. They often come from gear, special abilities, or circumstances. For example, if I'm shooting at a target under cover, that will give me Setback dice. If I take the time to aim, that will give me Boost dice. Boost/Setback dice are the "weakest" dice.
An interesting side effect is that since each die commonly (not always) gives either a Success/Failure or an Advantage/Threat, the good symbols "compete" with one another, and the same goes for the bad ones. That means that on a roll with a difficulty about equal to your capabilities, it is fairly likely that you will either get a failure with advantages or a success with threats. This tends to create interesting situations.
 

darjr

I crit!
MCDM just dropped a patreon post

Hello Patrons! It is I, the Baron Vladimir Harko…wait, no. It is I, Matt Colville! Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all….

Anyway enough with the literary allusions, there’s a ton of stuff happening right now, including Big Changes to this Patreon, and we want to talk to you folks about what we’re planning.

TL;DR; I hope you like MCDM art, writing, design and worldbuilding, because you’re about to get a lot more of it! 😀
The OGL

Unfortunately there’s no real way to explain what we’re doing without explaining What’s Happening In The TTRPG Industry right now and I realize this is pretty tedious but there’s nothing for it. For those of us directly affected by this news, it seems like everyone is talking about it when in fact I suspect most folks in the larger roleplaying community really have no idea that there’s even anything to talk about. So! A brief primer on how we got here, and where “here” is.

For the last 5 (!) years, MCDM has made content for your 5E game. We are able to legally do that because of a license Wizards of the Coast published about 20 years ago called the Open Gaming License (OGL).

OGL 1.0 makes it possible for everyone to make their own content for WotC’s fantasy RPG. I was working at Wizards of the Coast (in a satellite office in LA) when this all started, so I was pretty close to ground zero for what they called the D20 Boom. And then the D20 Glut and, eventually, the D20 Bust. That’s ancient history now, but the point is, lots of companies in the last 20+ years have used the OGL to make their own content for WotC’s game.

Well, Wizards is changing the terms of that license and the new terms are very…challenging. There’s a lot of “advice” floating around online surrounding all of this, but we have our own lawyers who specialize in exactly this stuff and they’re not incredibly enthusiastic about the new terms, and neither are we!

But frankly…we never really thought of ourselves as making DLC for the Seattle Company anyway. We always thought we were making dope stuff for your table. And we still think that way!

We’re really proud of the community we’ve all built here. Getting three high-quality, crunchy articles done every month is not easy! And we intend to continue using this Patreon to supply you with high-quality fantasy (and High Fantasy and maybe Space Fantasy depending on how much of a genre snob you are) content.

But moving forward, we’re going to start rotating in more worldbuilding stuff for Orden and the Timescape. There will not, at first, be any mechanics for these articles: they’ll just be like an ongoing Gazetteer of our multiverse. If you’ve read our books, or watched The Chain of Acheron, or Dusk, we’re gonna give you a LOT more info on all that. Maps! NPCs! More Time Raider lore! Wode Elves, The City of Capital, The Greatest City in This or Any Age!

But that’s later. In the very short term, nothing much is gonna change.
This Patreon, The Short Term

For now, and for at least a few months, nothing’s changing! We got tons of cool 5E articles and art in the pike and we’re excited about all of it. We have content already in development all the way out to July.

But you may notice there’s a new tier, the $8 MCDM+ tier. Moving forward, we’re going to start developing more setting-based content that can be used in any fantasy game, or just be fun to read and inspire ideas.


There’s a bit more. :(

The $10 Tier

This has been the ARCADIA tier for the last two years, but July is the last 5E ARCADIA issue. After that this is just the “MCDM+ But It Costs $10 Tier.” There’s always a few folks who want to show more support, and this is the tier for them


I've moved to the MCDM+ tier but NGL I'm sad. Excited too for the future.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
It's a matrix between levels of success and narrative import. So you can succeed,but you might succeed to some bad happening. Or fail with something bad happening. Or good.
Cool. So there’s what critical failure, failure, success, critical success on one axis and a narrative “extra good thing” along with an “extra bad thing” along the other?
 

Staffan

Legend
Cool. So there’s what critical failure, failure, success, critical success on one axis and a narrative “extra good thing” along with an “extra bad thing” along the other?
There's no critical success (or failure) as such, just different degrees of success (no extra degrees of failure though). But otherwise, yeah.

The innovative* thing really is that the results fall along two different axes. In other games, "success at a cost" or "yes, but..." tends to be part of a linear spectrum from failure to success. In Star Wars/Genesys, it's semi-independent.

* Warhammer 3rd edition did the same thing earlier, but that was also a FFG creation and the lead designer was the same (Jay Little). WH3 had more different types of dice and some more specific symbols, but you can see the same DNA in them.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
There's no critical success (or failure) as such, just different degrees of success (no extra degrees of failure though). But otherwise, yeah.

The innovative* thing really is that the results fall along two different axes. In other games, "success at a cost" or "yes, but..." tends to be part of a linear spectrum from failure to success. In Star Wars/Genesys, it's semi-independent.

* Warhammer 3rd edition did the same thing earlier, but that was also a FFG creation and the lead designer was the same (Jay Little). WH3 had more different types of dice and some more specific symbols, but you can see the same DNA in them.
Okay. So success++, success+, success, and failure along one axis. And “extra good thing,” “extra bad thing,” and no extra thing along the other. Or there about.
 

aramis erak

Legend
No, goddammit, no funky dice. Don't make players buy special dice to play your freaking game, you know it isn't going to be worth it for us.
People said the same about d4, d8, d12, and d20 back in the day.... Didn't bleeding matter... them funky dice became standard...
 

aramis erak

Legend
Cool. So there’s what critical failure, failure, success, critical success on one axis and a narrative “extra good thing” along with an “extra bad thing” along the other?
Not quite.
Many rolls have limited benefit from extra success symbols.
  • Success and Fail symbols cancel each other; whichever is left is the determinant. If neither in the roll, it's a fail.
  • Advantage and Threat cancel each other; whichever is left is the determinant of which. More is ALWAYS better on advantage, unless people are being lazy. Likewise, opponent threat is always more is better for you and worse for them
  • Triumph (which is closest to a D&D critical hit) is a success and a Triumph result. Note that for almost all combat attacks, it literally can be spent to roll a critical hit. The success portion can be cancelled by fails or despairs, but the triumph symbol effect cannot be cancelled.
  • Despair (which is closest to a D&D fumble) is a fail and a despair. The fail can be cancelled by triumph or success. The despair cannot.
This leads to the following permutations:
  • No symbols at all - a simple failure
  • failures alone- usually a simple failure (in a very few cases the margin of failure matters)
  • Success alone
  • Advantage alone
  • Threat Alone
  • Success and Threat
  • Success and Advantage
  • Failure and Threat
  • Failure and Advantage
  • Success, Advantage, and despair
  • Success, Advantage, and triumph
  • Success, Advantage, triumph and despair
  • Success, Threat, and despair
  • Success, Threat, and triumph
  • Success, Threat, triumph and despair
  • Failure, Advantage, and despair
  • Failure, Advantage, and triumph
  • Failure, Advantage, triumph and despair
  • Failure, Threat, and despair
  • Failure, Threat, and triumph
  • Failure, Threat, triumph and despair
Noting that each of those outcomes is theoretically a gradient from 1+...

Critical Hits are triggered by any of...
  • success >=1 & hit drives wounds past threshold
  • Success >= 1 and Advantage spend of the weapon's crit rating in Advantage
  • success >= 1 & one triumph spend
It's possible to do a crit on a minimal damage hit... multiple triggers stack, and increas the roll on the critical hits table...
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
People said the same about d4, d8, d12, and d20 back in the day.... Didn't bleeding matter... them funky dice became standard...
I will die on this hill, no pun intended.

Specialty dice are anti-consumer. In the unlikely event that I like Genesys so much that it becomes my primary game, playing it once a week or more, then great, everybody wins.

But if I don't, I never develop the muscle memory to read the twenty-plus unique dice results as second nature, which slows down every game, and the money I spent on the stupid dice doesn't carry value.

I have the same opinion about any game in which die results are not instantly obvious at a glance (any additive system, for example, or any system with paper success charts), but at least they don't cost me $15 for more cheap bubble-filled plastic that's only good for one game.

Do it with the standard seven, or stay on the clearance shelf.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
Two very different things. One open TTRPG license, good. One system, bad. Let's have a bevy of options for every table that can adopt and adapt from everything else on the market, regardless of whether they depend on d20, d100, d6, or packaged sliced bologna and Mountain Dew (I'm coming around on the Mountain Dew, but honey ham, come on, that's ridiculous).
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
  • Success and Fail symbols cancel each other; whichever is left is the determinant. If neither in the roll, it's a fail.
  • Advantage and Threat cancel each other; whichever is left is the determinant of which. More is ALWAYS better on advantage, unless people are being lazy. Likewise, opponent threat is always more is better for you and worse for them
  • Triumph (which is closest to a D&D critical hit) is a success and a Triumph result. Note that for almost all combat attacks, it literally can be spent to roll a critical hit. The success portion can be cancelled by fails or despairs, but the triumph symbol effect cannot be cancelled.
  • Despair (which is closest to a D&D fumble) is a fail and a despair. The fail can be cancelled by triumph or success. The despair cannot.
Okay. So four graded axes. Internally exclusive axes: success/null/fail & advantage/null/threat. Non-exclusive axes: triumph/null and despair/null.
 




DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
I don't buy it, any more than video game specific peripherals are "anti-consumer."
So, speaking as a rabid fan of Taiko no Tatsujin, a video-game-specific peripheral can be an integral part of the game, often in a deeply rewarding way. There are MANY video-game-specific peripherals that are cash grabs and little more.

Specialty dice aren't a custom drum controller, they're a couch-top arcade stick with a flash brand decal and dodgy third-party solenoids.

We've already got dice that do everything specialty dice do. Okay, maybe not everything, because no game needs twenty-plus unique outcomes to their core mechanic. It's bad design.

Is this an opinion? Yes. Is it correct in a thoroughly incontrovertible way? Also yes.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
We've already got dice that do everything specialty dice do. Okay, maybe not everything, because no game needs twenty-plus unique outcomes to their core mechanic. It's bad design.
Agreed. Looking at the discussion of the Genesys/Star Wars dice, you could easily replicate that with standard dice. The percentages would be off, but you could easily roll a few standard dice and map that to each of the axes presented. This die is success/fail. That die is advantage/threat. Etc. Put together as one “roll” you’d get the same spread of results.
 

Reynard

Legend
So, speaking as a rabid fan of Taiko no Tatsujin, a video-game-specific peripheral can be an integral part of the game, often in a deeply rewarding way. There are MANY video-game-specific peripherals that are cash grabs and little more.

Specialty dice aren't a custom drum controller, they're a couch-top arcade stick with a flash brand decal and dodgy third-party solenoids.
What a thoroughly arbitrary distinction.
We've already got dice that do everything specialty dice do.
You can use regular dice with Genesys, and YZE, and even Fate. You just have to think a little.
Okay, maybe not everything, because no game needs twenty-plus unique outcomes to their core mechanic. It's bad design.
Some people think that a robust outcome is good design because it doesn't lock them into boring binary results.
Is this an opinion? Yes. Is it correct in a thoroughly incontrovertible way? Also yes.
Is this like that "military intelligence" joke?
 

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