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[TSOY] Passion Dice and A Gift from the Future

Started by Greis, December 04, 2007, 12:13:47 PM

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One of the neat things about TSoY er The Gift of Dice, however I can't help experimenting a bit with this resource. Recently Troels and I have begun playing The Shadow of Mortal Coil, where we use The Gift of Dice as is. However both Troels and I run other campaigns in completely different settings, and in those cases we've stopped using the original rules system and have switched to TSoY.

I've just begun playing Transhuman Space (orignally a GURPS-thing) and Troels plays Fading Suns (VPS-rules), more about all this here:

A Gift from the Future
I renamed the dicepool. In order to use the bonus dice a player must add colour to the conflict. Basicly it's just the minutiae-rules from Shock: Social Science Fiction.
The idea is not to limit the players as such, but to add details to an already technological complex setting. Instead of having rules and stats for all the equipment, you posses a pool of generic bonus dice, that can be added to a conflict (as in the original rules), if you add colour to the setting. The requirement is that, the description fits into the settings parameters for technology (e.g. no forcefields). If a player accidentally adds "wrong" tech, the sentence is rephrased. The dice are no lost, nor the right to spend them.

Passion Dice
An important aspect in Fading Suns are the Spirit statpairs Introvert/Extrovert and Ego/Faith. As I heard Troels' description of Fading Suns with the TSoY-rules, I felt something was missing out, so after a bit of brainstorming (with some help from one of Troels' players) we came up with the following changes:
When a PC enters a conflict, the player must declare wether it is based on the Introvert/Extrovert pair or on the Ego/Faith pair.
The other players can then offer gift dice, declaring wether these belong to either aspect of the statpair. For example: The Hawkwood Knight attempts to seduce a beautiful noble lady, and the player declares that this a Ego/Faith-based conflict. The other players can then offer either Ego-bonus dice or Faith-bonus dice. Whatever the player chooses, he must play. So if he is offered to one Ego-bonus and three Faith-bonus, he might decide to play out the characters faith in order to gain the three bonus dice.
Dice that are not chosen are not lost. They go back to the donor, so you can keep tempting your fellow players untill they choose your dice.

The premise is that Fading Suns is a "passion play" and that people act a lot on their passions. The idea is to "tempt" the players to play out Passions they had not thought of playing out. There is no penalty in refusing the dice and not playing out the passion, there is a bonus if you do play a passion, and the player has some control of what passions, he wants to play out, since he gets to choose what passion-pair he wants active.

So when sneaking past a guard, a player might choose Ego/Faith, and then either describe have he sure of himself sneaks past the guard, or how he hopes for the blessing of the Pancreator in his endeavor and then sneaks past the guard.

So what do you think?

Morten Greis

Eero Tuovinen

I like the Gift from the Future, it seems like an interesting way of encouraging appropriate color. I could imagine doing the same by shuffling the Pools around and having characters possess a Technology Pool. The Passion Dice seem gimmicky to me, though, and more like something that should be made into a set of Secrets and/or Keys.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
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I'm glad that you like the colouring for the Gift of Dice. I did consider renaming one the ability pools "Technology", but chose not to, since I wanted to reflect another theme in Transhuman Space, namely: What is "Human"? – this is the basic question in the setting. Instead the pools are just called Force, Reason and Intuition.

As for the Passion dice, we did consider secrets and keys, but ran into the problem, that the passions is a constant. Keys could be created to reflect the Passions, but it would require all the characters to buy them, or that we granted them a lot of free stuff. The same problem occurs with secrets.

As an alternative we considered creating the Passions as skills that through assisted use generates bonus dice, but this meant that you'd constantly be rolling against at least two skills in order to handle one skill checks, and we wanted to keep die-rolling at acceptable levels.

So it was either adding a new rule or modifying an existing, and since I had already created Gift from the Future, we decided to do some more experimenting in this direction.

Morten Greis



I'm the one running the TSo Fading Suns campaign. After chewing on it for a bit, I've decided not to use the Passion Dice idea, as it adds a delaying complication to all conflicts, which I guess is not worth it. I don't like secrets and keys for it either, since they are individual and the whole point of the passions is that these things apply to everyone. Thematic messing on the basic mechanical level, using TSoY, should probably be done with renaming pools, but I couldn't make it look cool even on paper with the themes intro/extro and faith/ego, so we're sticking with Vigour, Instinct and Reason, as they are pretty nifty anyway.

I really like the Gift from the Future, though.

Yours, Troels


A few more details on A Gift from the Future.

We have played twice now with the TSoY-rules. In both cases the rules works fine. My players have learned the rules quickly, and they have been quick to apply A Gift from the Future. The cool thing is that it adds an extra layer of colour - and the players are eager to add the extra layer of colour, in part because the system has been "tweaked" to reward them for adding colour (though you still only get to add the dice according to the regular rules).

So just as you are being awarded XP for playing your keys, so do the rules sort of award you influcence on the outcome of a conflict if you are being creative and adds details to the setting. As you can see there is a slight difference in the social mechanics. It also seems to increase my players sense of ownership of the setting, since they are the ones adding details and introducing new elements.

Just my observations for now.