23 March, 2015

Grammatical Conflict

First, here's the list of adverbs I'm thinking of using.

Conflict Resolution (This applies to violent combat, social intrigue, and pretty much anything where a two or more characters oppose one another)

One – Stance
Every round, each player chooses a stance for their character. The stance determines the maximum number of actions the character can engage during a round.

Two – Initiative
The player whose character has the highest number of actions goes first. If there is a tie, randomly determine who goes first.

Three A – Action Declaration
The player declares their character’s action, in a single sentence using an available verb (if the character has specialised in this verb, they’ll get an advantage). If they have an adverb that makes sense as an advantage in this situation (and matches their current stance), they may also include this in the sentence. They may also include a noun representing a piece of equipment used in the task. Other things that might help in this statement of intent include some kind of “target noun” in the sentence to help identify who or what is the objective of the action, some kind of reference to a character relationship that might help, and a reference to any situational bonuses that might apply. If this gets too complicated you might want to split it up into two sentences.
I interrogate [fire verb] the prisoner [target noun] angrily [fire adverb]
I carefully [water adverb] refine [water verb] the methamphetamine [target noun] with my lab equipment [equipment noun].
Taking advantage of the distraction caused by Snickers [situational bonus], I climb [air verb] the alley wall on the left [target noun].
I excavate [earth verb] the box [target noun] with the instructions provided by Spot [situational bonus]. Diligently [adverb] working away with my shovel [equipment noun], until it is free.  

Three B – Difficulty
In most cases, a single success is all a character needs to accomplish their goal. In some cases the GM may determine that a task is more difficult and requires extra successes to accomplish (or might not be attempted at all while another obstacle is in the way). If the GM has specified a higher difficulty for the action, they indicate it now. The player with the active character may modify their statement of intent.

Three C – Determine Dice
Pick up dice to represent your character’s chances of accomplishing the deed.

Verb Die
d4: You have the verb, but you’re in another stance (you cannot use it at all if you’re in the opposing stance). Or, you don’t have the verb but you’re in the right stance.
d6: It’s a general verb without a stance.
d8: You have the verb and you’re in the right stance.
-d2: You're injured in a way that makes this verb difficult.
+d2: You’re using an advantage.

Equipment Die
d4: Poor quality piece of equipment.
d6: Typical piece of equipment.
d8: High quality piece of equipment.
d10: Optimum piece of equipment.
-d2: Using the equipment in a way that it wasn’t intended.
-d2: The equipment is damaged, but still basically usable.
The presence of an adverb or relationship doesn’t add dice to the pool, instead they each add a single automatic success to the final result.

(Any die that drops below a d4 cannot possibly obtain a 4 or higher as it's result, and is therefore eliminated).

Three D – The Roll
Roll the dice, every die that rolls 4 or higher earns a success. If a die rolls 8, it earns an extra success. Any die rolling an even number earns an advantage, any die rolling an odd number earns a disadvantage.
For an increased chance of success, you may spend two of your character’s actions at once. If you do this, roll 2 of the designated verb die and choose the more advantageous result.

Three E – Resistance?
If the target noun was another character, they may now use one of their actions to make a statement. The make this statement using the verb they are intending to use to avoid the effects directed at them (and any of their adverbs, or nouns that might contribute to this resistance). They determine and roll their dice; successes on 4s, double successes on 8s. Any resistance successes cancel incoming successes on a 1-for-1 basis.

Three F – Result
Any successes not resisted now produce effects. One success will accomplish a result, but in the case of more difficult tasks it might only get some of the way toward completing the intended action. If extra successes have been earned, above and beyond what the GM has designated necessary, they may be used to add special effects, provide advantages to allies, or do something else (I’m still thinking here, perhaps different verbs have different “extra success” conditions, to make them each unique in some way…perhaps that’s just getting a bit fiddly).

Four – Next Action
The character with the next highest number of available actions acts. The same character may act twice in a row, but if they would act three times in a row, they need to defer to someone else’s action before taking any more.     

I haven’t addressed the idea of backgrounds/relationships at this stage of the core game mechanisms, because I haven’t decided whether to add them in as an extra die, use them to give automatic successes to actions, perhaps rerolls, or automatic advantage points at the start of a conflict where their presence is justified.

Also note that I haven't included the benefits of advantages gained from rolling even numbers, or the drawbacks of disadvantages gained from rolling odd numbers. I'm basically thinking that spending an advantage allows the player to boost a verb die by +d2 (I've included this in the procedure above). Spending two advantage points give an automatic success, or give everyone on your side a +d2 bonus for their next action (as long as this can be justified in the narrative). Spending three advantage points gives an automatic success to everyone on your side (again, as long as this can be justified). Disadvantage points might cancel out advantage points, or might be spent by the GM to inflict penalties (1 pt = -d2, 2pts = -d2 to everyone or -1 success, 3pts = -1 success to everyone). 

I hope that this might encourage strategic thinking within the narrative. "I'll draw the fire in this direction (-1 success to me), which will give everyone else a better chance to accomplish their actions (+d2 to everyone else on my side)."  

I’m rapidly heading back to that area of game design where I want a whole lot of detail, but I don’t want to bog down play to get there. 
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