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D&D General Story Now, Skilled Play, and Elephants

But of course people do that all the time. They're called "borders". :) And that's the gig, something can seem meaningless to one person while being quite important to another, and while all of it is a rationalization on some level, that doesn't mean it doesn't seem coherent internally.
I think if you asked the leaders of Chad and Sudan what they think of arbitrary lines drawn in the desert they would tell you that regardless of how much meaning they try to invest them with, at their core they are artificial distinctions which cause endless trouble! lol.
Well, that tends to turn on other issues, specifically how fine you want to sift resource management and the like. In a game where the convention isn't to be to tight about that, I doubt an immersive would blink at that--but they also wouldn't expect to need to spend anything special to do it. It'd either be an agreement that it appears reasonable between the player or the GM, or a random die roll of some sort.
Why is there a difference between a meta-currency and a random check? That seems like another arbitrary distinction. Well, @pemerton actually has pointed out a distinction, in that a die roll in response to a character saying "I hope I have a bit of rope" IS different from a player saying "I spend an equipment slot to pull a rope out of my pack." Yet at the same time the later hardly seems to be some monumental violation of actor stance. The action and motivation of the character was still in keeping with the player, an 'equipment point' (this is how DW does it) is just mere book-keeping, no different from Hit Points, which seem to be at least seen as a necessary evil. So either way, the distinction IMHO seems pretty arbitrary.
That's the issue of course; most metacurrencies (recalling caveats I've presented earlier) are about authorship-on-the-fly, and at least the being-character immersives don't want to be doing that during actual IC play. And a metacurrency in that situation only makes sense in that context; it requires the player to decide what that's worth to them (since its a finite resource) and they don't want to be making that decision at that part of play.
Right, so then what would your argument be against a Wises check, BW style? There's no currency there at all! In fact I think the only constraints on the use of something like that are basically situational/fictional (IE if I'm an expert on plant life, I am not going to get much use out of a Wises check to know where emergency space suits are stored on an Imperial Battlecruiser).
 

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In my view, not if the fate point or whatever is hoping/trying - in BW, for instance, this would be spending Fate and/or Persona on a Scavenging check.

But for most "hoping" doesn't do work and "trying" is irrelevant to whether the rope is there. There's just no interaction with what the player is currently doing and whether the rope is there.
 

I do think you are pointing to something valid when it comes to running a world. I also think there are different solutions to this issue (and I realize our solutions and conceptions of this may differ, but the problem is there regardless). I liken this to a divide I noticed recently among many fans when it comes to maps (and a divide I have especially seen among people who take the 'exploring the world approach'. Basically when you have a map of a province, of a region of a small area, or even a city, what does that imply about the spaces in between? For instance, I often encounter fans of Ravenloft who have a totally different notion than I do of how many towns, homesteads, villages, etc are present. Some people see the map and conclude, those are the settlements present. I look at a map and always assume this is broad stroke, like when I look at a map of the Roman empire that doesn't have all the cities (it is assumed there are places not present on the map). A GM can refine and refine, but most GMs are not going to be completely exhaustive (and this is especially true of city maps, where the street level view you describe is definitely not going to be covered unless the GM gives his city the kind of detail you would find on a modern city map or google earth). So there needs to be wiggle room here for how to manage that. The solutions I lean to tend to be utilization of a combination of randomization, extrapolation, and, very often, pinning things down as I go. But there isn't one way that works.
So, even Gygax was OK with players being in charge, at times, of filling in some of those gaps. I see what you are saying as BROADLY being compatible with something like Dungeon World, where there are 'maps with holes in them'. It is up to the process of play to fill those in, where needed. Presumably when this is well done it will produce a relatively pleasing 'map' that everyone can look at and feel like it is a coherent thing in some sense. And I would note, even in DW the GM isn't mandated to go to the players specifically to fill in any given blank! Nor do the players have ANY formal mechanical recourse to invoking something that will give THEM some authorial power. A player can state actions that are surely likely to get the GM to call a Discern Realities, but once the player rolls for that, it is the GM who answers the questions! I'm not saying DW is cool with a GM who never asks questions and answers them all with his own ideas exclusively, but if the players want more of a feel of "we are just exploring what someone else's imagination/dice/whatever generated without our input" you can get pretty close! I've played in one or two DW games where the players were all veterans of traditional play and they pretty much pushed it in that direction. It wasn't the most dynamic DW game ever, but the system worked and as long as the players were willing to take their bonds and whatnot seriously the game could still achieve reasonable forward velocity. There are certainly other Story Games which are INTENDED to run that way, usually they are more niche thematic games where everyone is bound to a fairly tight milieu.
 

I think if you asked the leaders of Chad and Sudan what they think of arbitrary lines drawn in the desert they would tell you that regardless of how much meaning they try to invest them with, at their core they are artificial distinctions which cause endless trouble! lol.

On the other hand, I've met people from parts of the world that think their particular region ending on this side of this particular river is self-evidently proper.

Why is there a difference between a meta-currency and a random check? That seems like another arbitrary distinction.

One you have to decide to do (and its a decision because metacurrencies are finite) and the other is just a mechanic. Honestly, the difference between those is pretty clear to me; the random check, for example, doesn't have to involve the player at all. They don't even need to know it happened.

Well, @pemerton actually has pointed out a distinction, in that a die roll in response to a character saying "I hope I have a bit of rope" IS different from a player saying "I spend an equipment slot to pull a rope out of my pack." Yet at the same time the later hardly seems to be some monumental violation of actor stance. The action and motivation of the character was still in keeping with the player, an 'equipment point' (this is how DW does it) is just mere book-keeping, no different from Hit Points, which seem to be at least seen as a necessary evil. So either way, the distinction IMHO seems pretty arbitrary.

Again, deciding on expenditure of a finite resource is a very player-level thing, and at a point in time that doesn't correspond to when the character would be doing it.

Right, so then what would your argument be against a Wises check, BW style? There's no currency there at all! In fact I think the only constraints on the use of something like that are basically situational/fictional (IE if I'm an expert on plant life, I am not going to get much use out of a Wises check to know where emergency space suits are stored on an Imperial Battlecruiser).

I don't know that I would have an argument against it. I'm not sure most immersives would have an issue with it, either. I've certainly used the equivalent in other games with my most immersive player when it came to such things and she didn't seem to. There's still a bit of the temporal issue, but there's no real decision making involved on the player's part that's separate from the character checking to see if they brought X (and usually in low-stuff-monitoring games a little bit of that temporal paradox is just accepted as the price of doing business).
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Abstraction is a relation - the abstract thing has been abstracted from ("detached from") something.
That (your post as a whole) is a wonderful explanation, thank you. I believe I can see a chink for quibbling, and this being Enworld I shall jump right through it!

Let's start by supposing we agree that characters don't experience anything. Only players do. There cannot strictly be abstraction from the experience of and life of the character, only abstraction from the experience abstracts and life abstracts of a character abstract. We could have a notion of degrees of abstraction, and equally we might argue that each abstraction is direct because again, we can't process any thought through the mind of the character, only through our own.

If right, that may suggest that our choices are as to how we represent our abstractions, not whether we abstract. We're already committed to abstraction. When it comes to choices about how to represent our abstractions, you've neatly describe a description-in-language model.
Another faculty we can call on is visual processing. For me, looking at a sketch speedily evokes the landscape. Additionally, the artifact helps with consistency (when we return to this space, weeks later, the map will be our mnemonic.) As well as words, our symbolic representation can include drawings, and possibly numbers. These can be compact and expressive, and it seems highly viable to resist a claim that only words will do (I am not saying you are making that claim). Anything that serves as a touchstone for the imagined, can do.

Where you discuss forgetfulness, that is where there is scope for being reminded. Oh, that corner was here, I recall now very vividly the struggle we had with the ghoul right over there. And so forth. The idea I'm putting perhaps needs better development, but I'll leave it there because I hope the direction of thought is clear enough, and it will be interesting to hear counter-quibbles :)
 
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I suspect it normally needs to be done at a different time. I've got a very immersive player who is perfectly willing to develop and expand on her character during downtime, but doing it in the middle of other things would pull her out of character in a way she'd find very unpleasant.



Doesn't seem overkill to me, on observation.
Right, I think it can be done in discrete 'modes of play', like 'interlude' vs 'challenge'. Exactly when each one comes into force might need to be formalized more. I'm not sure how best to do that in a way that would foster, for example, your 'very immersive player'.

OTOH, I don't want to white room it either. I mean, I'm willing to accommodate a lot of players in practice. Still, there may sometimes need to be a bit of a give and take there. I think there's a tendency to describe positions in terms of absolute requirements, where we know that in practice things are fuzzier. Seems to me that the best mechanic/process would admit of shades of interpretation so as to be at least marginally acceptable to the widest range of participants, yet 'get the work done'.
 

Right, I think it can be done in discrete 'modes of play', like 'interlude' vs 'challenge'. Exactly when each one comes into force might need to be formalized more. I'm not sure how best to do that in a way that would foster, for example, your 'very immersive player'.

OTOH, I don't want to white room it either. I mean, I'm willing to accommodate a lot of players in practice. Still, there may sometimes need to be a bit of a give and take there. I think there's a tendency to describe positions in terms of absolute requirements, where we know that in practice things are fuzzier. Seems to me that the best mechanic/process would admit of shades of interpretation so as to be at least marginally acceptable to the widest range of participants, yet 'get the work done'.

Well, if you want me to claim heavy duty immersives aren't incompatible with some other styles, I'm not going to do that. As I said, I can take a bit of a view-from-on-high because I only modestly do immersion in FTF play, and only in fits and starts, so if its not going to work well in a situation I can just drop back to Author mode and call it good.

(Though I have had a couple occasions where I was doing the immersion thing and a GM stuck me in a situation that I thought was a gotcha where I got stubborn about it because I felt like I was only in it because of inadequate information (and information I should have reasonably had).)
 

On the other hand, I've met people from parts of the world that think their particular region ending on this side of this particular river is self-evidently proper.
Sure, because they can articulate an objective non-controversial process for how to find that border, and there are probably practical reasons to draw it there. The Chad/Sudan border is a line in the desert, and what we find there (I suspect) is it is pretty much ignored, probably not even clear exactly where it lies when you are on the ground. The people living along that border just don't even care, it is meaningless to them. At least until some guy comes along and tries to enforce it, then problems arise.
One you have to decide to do (and its a decision because metacurrencies are finite) and the other is just a mechanic. Honestly, the difference between those is pretty clear to me; the random check, for example, doesn't have to involve the player at all. They don't even need to know it happened.
Do they need to know how many times they can dip into their equipment? I've not seen a game where this sort of thing is secret from players, but I can certainly imagine it easily enough!
Again, deciding on expenditure of a finite resource is a very player-level thing, and at a point in time that doesn't correspond to when the character would be doing it.
Well, time is another construct in the game. I am not sure why we are 'out of character' if we flash back to yesterday, for example.
I don't know that I would have an argument against it. I'm not sure most immersives would have an issue with it, either. I've certainly used the equivalent in other games with my most immersive player when it came to such things and she didn't seem to. There's still a bit of the temporal issue, but there's no real decision making involved on the player's part that's separate from the character checking to see if they brought X (and usually in low-stuff-monitoring games a little bit of that temporal paradox is just accepted as the price of doing business).
Right, which is how I see it. There's certainly a decent amount of room here for the possibility of mechanics that address STORY but are purely IN CHARACTER. As you say, sometimes people are willing to fudge a bit in terms of stuff like maybe a Wises check to see if you packed extra rope. That gets a bit more 'meta' than "do I remember X being here on the map" but we all tolerate SOME drift. I would just say that if I designed a game for you, I'd want to make those situations pay for themselves well in terms of helping to support the agenda of the game, etc.
 

Sure, because they can articulate an objective non-controversial process for how to find that border, and there are probably practical reasons to draw it there. The Chad/Sudan border is a line in the desert, and what we find there (I suspect) is it is pretty much ignored, probably not even clear exactly where it lies when you are on the ground. The people living along that border just don't even care, it is meaningless to them. At least until some guy comes along and tries to enforce it, then problems arise.

I've seen it pointed at a particular rock. Honestly, a lot of times there are nothing but historical reasons for a border to be what they are, but it doesn't feel that way to the locals.

Do they need to know how many times they can dip into their equipment? I've not seen a game where this sort of thing is secret from players, but I can certainly imagine it easily enough!

Usually its not been an issue, because the commonly tapped equipment they do record. Past that its usually controlled by some sort of monetary or para-monetary resource, and while those are a resource, notably they're a resource that has an in-game meaning; the only issue is the temporal one, and I already noted the thing.

Where it can get tricky is if there's a secondary encumbrance mechanic of any stripe, and the usual thing if that's the case is that the player just assumes they didn't bring whatever it is, and rationalizes why.


Well, time is another construct in the game. I am not sure why we are 'out of character' if we flash back to yesterday, for example.

"Flashing back to yesterday" would, itself, be a problem for some people.

Right, which is how I see it. There's certainly a decent amount of room here for the possibility of mechanics that address STORY but are purely IN CHARACTER. As you say, sometimes people are willing to fudge a bit in terms of stuff like maybe a Wises check to see if you packed extra rope. That gets a bit more 'meta' than "do I remember X being here on the map" but we all tolerate SOME drift. I would just say that if I designed a game for you, I'd want to make those situations pay for themselves well in terms of helping to support the agenda of the game, etc.

Well, again, to make this clear, I'm not a super-strong immersive, and the place I did it most things like resources were mostly moot.
 

I've seen it pointed at a particular rock. Honestly, a lot of times there are nothing but historical reasons for a border to be what they are, but it doesn't feel that way to the locals.
Right, so clearly to bring back to the topic at hand, we don't seem to be able to entirely articulate reasons why the border should be here vs over there at that other rock in terms of game process either, IMHO. People can often say that something is 'over the edge', but we need to be careful to evaluate what that really means in practice, and I personally think it is OK to ask if something is really going to far, or is it just that a particular player or GM has not done X before and is getting defensive by drawing a line.
Usually its not been an issue, because the commonly tapped equipment they do record. Past that its usually controlled by some sort of monetary or para-monetary resource, and while those are a resource, notably they're a resource that has an in-game meaning; the only issue is the temporal one, and I already noted the thing.

Where it can get tricky is if there's a secondary encumbrance mechanic of any stripe, and the usual thing if that's the case is that the player just assumes they didn't bring whatever it is, and rationalizes why.
I'm not sure why that is problematic. In a classic D&D game you could implement your inventory that way. You pick 'adventuring gear' and the GM says "OK, it weighs 42 lbs and cost 25 GP" and then you get to pick within those constraints as you go along. I mean, there are valid objections that can be lodged in terms of skilled play, etc. but they get down into the weeds of exactly how you define those things, so not clearly breaking that paradigm.
"Flashing back to yesterday" would, itself, be a problem for some people.
Oh, I'm sure absolutely anything would be a problem for SOMEONE. Probably someone on this thread! :)
Well, again, to make this clear, I'm not a super-strong immersive, and the place I did it most things like resources were mostly moot.
Yeah, and I'm not a fire eater when it comes to what I want out of play either. I do feel its lack when it isn't there though, sometimes acutely.
 

I'm not sure why that is problematic. In a classic D&D game you could implement your inventory that way. You pick 'adventuring gear' and the GM says "OK, it weighs 42 lbs and cost 25 GP" and then you get to pick within those constraints as you go along. I mean, there are valid objections that can be lodged in terms of skilled play, etc. but they get down into the weeds of exactly how you define those things, so not clearly breaking that paradigm.

I don't think it is. I was just answering the question regarding rolling multiple times for equipment not brought as compared to using something of a metacurrency. There's a limiting factor, its just a factor that has an in-world meaning.

Oh, I'm sure absolutely anything would be a problem for SOMEONE. Probably someone on this thread! :)

I'm just noting you can't completely blow off the temporality issue with an immersive player. They may have some give here, but its unlikely to be unlimited.

Yeah, and I'm not a fire eater when it comes to what I want out of play either. I do feel its lack when it isn't there though, sometimes acutely.

Well, the issue with me is I want a lot of different things out of play at different times, so I don't have a super-strong dedication to any one of them (though I've reached the point where I've decided if I'm going to participate in combat scenes from either side of the table, I want something with more decision making than what target I pick, though how much I care depends on how much combat you're going to see; in an urban fantasy game the relatively schematic take in Liminal might be okay, but its not what I'd expect out of a superhero game or most fantasy adventure).
 

4e looked at this, but didn't hit the nail quite on the head. One needs to ask - is an exploration turn structure needed - and question of that ilk. If the future for PnP RPG must be about what we as small groups of humans can do, then we need better rules in 6e. And those are not combat rules - 5e combat rules are strong - 6e needs to offer more in the exploration and social pillars. Parts of play that 5e shied away from, and then returned to rather reluctantly, when what was needed was vigorous and sincere design attention from the start.
I think that the best option for this is creating rules additions that guide play. Moldvay B/X is astounding in this regard with how it lays out the procedural elements of D&D. It creates strong gameplay enhanced by clear and concise rules. Now, the rules for dungeon exploration are not appropriate for every aspect of D&D play--if the players are entering a tavern, it would not be appropriate to test for wandering monsters or make reaction rolls (unless it's a rather unusual tavern)--but the framework provides sufficient structure for the "meat" of the game.

I think creating a handful of subsystems that utilize different styles of rolls is the best option in this regard. Apocalypse World and its derivates all utilize 2d6 + stat and a ternary resolution system, but the exact implementation of those rolls varies based on circumstance. A player who attacks another character (typically described as Seize By Force) has very different effects and outcomes of the roll compared to a player who is surveying a tense scene (typically described as Reading a Sitch).

For the simplest distillation of those mechanic, view the basics of Burning Wheel: the GM tells the players exactly what happens on a failed dice roll, and then the players roll the dice. A failure changes based on circumstance. In the scope of D&D, a failed check to pick a lock could have any of the following happen:

  • You can't pick this lock. Sorry, you'll have to find another way through.
  • You pick the lock, but you trigger a trap on it.
  • You pick the lock, but the bandits on the other side of the door are ready and waiting for you.
  • You pick the lock, but the sorcerer moves one step closer to completing his evil ritual.

Some might find a lack of defined mechanics frustrating, but in a story-first game, the freedom for GMs to improvise and modify consequences based on circumstance is invaluable.
 
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clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I think that the best option for this is creating rules additions that guide play. Moldvay B/X is astounding in this regard with how it lays out the procedural elements of D&D. It creates strong gameplay enhanced by clear and concise rules. Now, the rules for dungeon exploration are not appropriate for every aspect of D&D play--if the players are entering a tavern, it would not be appropriate to test for wandering monsters or make reaction rolls (unless it's a rather unusual tavern)--but the framework provides sufficient structure for the "meat" of the game.
I'm assaying a mod for 5e - inspired by B/X and WWN - that offers four levels of resolution. Combat (about a minute), scenes (about ten minutes), marches (about eight hours), and workweeks (about five days).
  • Combat is for the most granular action.
  • Scenes are for skill use - such as, a party of four want to clamber around a pit - that can be resolved without much granular die rolling. Even one and done, at times.
  • Marches are for rests, watches, marches (of course!) and random encounters - things that are checked or arc over a day or night.
  • Workweeks are for downtime activities - building strongholds, training, making potions, that sort of thing (we're using XGE).
This structure is looking promising so far. If there were a combat while clambering around a pit, then we can revert to granular checks and the tempot, space and action rules for combat. If not, then we can just clamber around the pit: that might be one roll, or none, depending (is it sheer, have the party any relevant gear, and so on). Connecting rests with random encounters works neatly (I use longer duration rests, explained in another thread). Workweeks I have yet to playtest in earnest - we've only had one case where it was relevant.

I think creating a handful of subsystems that utilize different styles of rolls is the best option in this regard. Apocalypse World and its derivates all utilize 2d6 + stat and a ternary resolution system, but the exact implementation of those rolls varies based on circumstance. A player who attacks another character (typically described as Seize By Force) has very different effects and outcomes of the roll compared to a player who is surveying a tense scene (typically described as Reading a Sitch).
Exactly. I enjoy more when the mechanic for hitting things feels different from the mechanic for chatting to them, and where there is a little more room for the character to be more or less capable (so that they can be differently capable). I'm not dissing other approaches - the AW structure is wonderfully economic - but here I am designing to my own taste. That said, I feel I have gained a lot from better appreciating those other systems; what they are doing, and how they guide as to use.

For the simplest distillation of those mechanic, view the basics of Burning Wheel: the GM tells the players exactly what happens on a failed dice roll, and then the players roll the dice. A failure changes based on circumstance. In the scope of D&D, a failed check to pick a lock could have any of the following happen:
  • You can't pick this lock. Sorry, you'll have to find another way through.
  • You pick the lock, but you trigger a trap on it.
  • You pick the lock, but the bandits on the other side of the door are ready and waiting for you.
  • You pick the lock, but the sorcerer moves one step closer to completing his evil ritual.
Some might find a lack of defined mechanics frustrating, but in a story-first game, the freedom for GMs to improvise and modify consequences based on circumstance is invaluable.
Again, on point. I felt a strong need to expand the expressive range of the d20. In combat we have 1 auto-fails, 20 auto-hits and crits. I've expanded that 1 botches an ability check if it would fail, but that is not much more expressive. I am trying to think of ways to improve on it. The AW 2d6 neatly offers full success, success with drawback, fail and drawback, and in some cases super-success. The downside of the 2d6 is that it is sensitive to modifiers so you can only really work with +/- 5 or less. Helpfully, the first +/-1 matters more than the fifth, although the fifth could yield degenerate cases. Gain in expressive range of outcomes has come at a small cost in expressive range of inputs. I'm not fond of the count successes approach used by some other systems, because it is not at all intuitive to understand the true odds (I mean, BW goes ahead and puts in a reference table just to try and ameliorate that!) On the other hand, I kind of like L5R...

Anyway, unmodified, the AW 2d6 is offering ~16% of full success, ~42% success with drawback, and ~42% fail and drawback. Better than a coin flip of some sort of success. 5% at either end on d20 is a long way from that! I feel this little piece of engineering, if finessed, could be very helpful. It could have important consequences for the way the system can be played. Any thoughts?
 

Numidius

Explorer
In my OSE game, I add a Dfudge to D20 rolls, to indicate magnitude of criticals/botches, if maneuvers (deeds ala DCCRPG) are performed well in combat, casting spells, complications, drawbacks, boons and the like
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
In my OSE game, I add a Dfudge to D20 rolls, to indicate magnitude of criticals/botches, if maneuvers (deeds ala DCCRPG) are performed well in combat, casting spells, complications, drawbacks, boons and the like
I did consider rolling a die on the side. Do you mean that you take say a '+' to mean that a 1 or 20 is more severe? That would still be only 10% of the range. What's key I suspect, is to find a way to differentiate the meanings of broader parts of the range. Suggested in the DMG is that failing by <6 has no downside, and failing by >5 has a downside. And that is used in some published adventures. It's just fiddly to implement. With AW the result is a 5 and I know what that means. With the DMG method the result is a 5 and I have no idea what that means until I also recall the DC and subtract 5 from it. Locking the nuance to the result is far easier to apply than varying it by the DC!

Looking then at the result on the die. One might picture (for ability checks, not attack rolls) -
  • die shows 5 or less, a failed check comes with a drawback
  • die shows 15 or less, a successful check comes with a drawback, a failed check is just a fail (the fail is the drawback)
  • die shows 19 or less, any success is just a success
  • die shows 20, any success is an enhanced success
In this picture, there are no guaranteed successes or failures on ability checks (accords with PHB RAW), but when you do succeed or fail, that might come with nuance. A feature that might bug people is possibly a disconnect between character skill (its modifiers to the check) and the outcome. Say I am an expert tier 2 rogue, with +4 PB and +3 from my ability score. So I have +11. If the DC is 17 I can fail only on 5 or less. So if I fail at all, 100% of the time that comes with a drawback. Possibly that will drive dissonance. OTOH it makes Reliable Talent more worthwhile!

EDIT Another method I thought of, drawing inspiration from Bushido, is that if die shows an odd number then the outcome includes a drawback. That naturally scales with character skill. In the case above, our rogue has a 15% chance of fail with drawback, 10% chance of straight fail, 35% chance of success with drawback, and 40% chance of straight success.
 
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Numidius

Explorer
I take a + (plus) like positive/better/bonus/success; a - (minus) like negative/worse/malus/fail, self evident for the table in every case.

I also allow, actually foster, Players to come up with stuff/manouvers/boons even after rolling it, even passing it to another Pc
 


clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I think it's going to be a pretty open question whether (say) Seize by Force feels the same as Go Aggro or Seduce/Manipulate.
Well, the AW method is to write a separate mechanic for each move. So they should feel different, because the mechanics are different. What I believe isn't an open question is that Seize by Force should not normally feel the same as Seduce/Manipulate. Do you see what I mean?

What's important to me is that they are varied. And for me the most substantial variation is that embodied in the mechanics. There are a lot of ways to engineer that. One way that I feel can be effective is to vary the stochastic element of the mechanic - not move by move, but class of move by class of move.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I take a + (plus) like positive/better/bonus/success; a - (minus) like negative/worse/malus/fail, self evident for the table in every case.

I also allow, actually foster, Players to come up with stuff/manouvers/boons even after rolling it, even passing it to another Pc
I think we can get half of that by checking the parity of the d20. Say odds = negative. Dfudge has +/nothing/- so what we would increase negative from 1/3rd to 1/2, but this is still much lower than the 4/5ths used in PbtA games.

Say we also make it that a 20 is an enhanced success. To capture back some of the boons concept. Potentially, one die becomes decently expressive.
 

Again, on point. I felt a strong need to expand the expressive range of the d20. In combat we have 1 auto-fails, 20 auto-hits and crits. I've expanded that 1 botches an ability check if it would fail, but that is not much more expressive. I am trying to think of ways to improve on it. The AW 2d6 neatly offers full success, success with drawback, fail and drawback, and in some cases super-success. The downside of the 2d6 is that it is sensitive to modifiers so you can only really work with +/- 5 or less. Helpfully, the first +/-1 matters more than the fifth, although the fifth could yield degenerate cases. Gain in expressive range of outcomes has come at a small cost in expressive range of inputs. I'm not fond of the count successes approach used by some other systems, because it is not at all intuitive to understand the true odds (I mean, BW goes ahead and puts in a reference table just to try and ameliorate that!) On the other hand, I kind of like L5R...

Anyway, unmodified, the AW 2d6 is offering ~16% of full success, ~42% success with drawback, and ~42% fail and drawback. Better than a coin flip of some sort of success. 5% at either end on d20 is a long way from that! I feel this little piece of engineering, if finessed, could be very helpful. It could have important consequences for the way the system can be played. Any thoughts?
As a mathematician I would just point out that there's no reason you cannot emulate the behavior of 2d6 with a d20, it is just probabilities. obviously you could say 17+ total success, 8+ success with complication, otherwise complication without success. That emulates the PbtA 2d6 throw pretty accurately. Heck, you have more freedom, you can tweak those numbers in 5% increments, which is a lot easier. While bonuses/penalties will indeed 'stack' in a linear vs non-linear fashion, the difference is not HUGE and IMHO it is easier to deal with. You also have to consider (dis)advantage, which already hands you a non-linear mechanism to use. I like PbtA games, they have their virtues. I'm not totally in love with 2d6, nor necessarily the dice pool mechanics of FitD or similar engines. They can be convenient, but they tend to break down in unusual cases due to non-linear behavior. d20 offers BOTH types of options. Heck, you can always stack more than 2 dice on a 'take the best' mechanism if you want REALLY non-linear.
 

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