A little question about Bonus/Malus Dice

Started by Luca Veluttini, September 09, 2010, 08:30:52 AM

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Luca Veluttini

I have a little question about bonus and malus dice.

Let's talk about an example:

I make a check with 1 malus die.

(+) ( ) ( ) (-)

so the worst 3 are: ( ) ( ) (-)

After the check was made (after I've seen the dice), I'll spend to obtain a bonus die.

How the check will change?

Eero Tuovinen

Adding dice into a check happens in stages: first you add dice by rolling them, then you reduce to three discarding the rest (they become "overflow", as described by some subsystems) and then you decide whether to perhaps add more, activate Secrets or just accept the result and continue onwards. The extra dice rolled into the check are always discarded between the stages, so they do not influence the outcome anymore.

In the case of this example, the pertinent dice are two empties and a minus after the first roll. When you roll a bonus die you add it to these and then pick out the three best dice. The (+) rolled earlier no longer has anything to do with the situation, it was already discarded after the initial roll.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Luca Veluttini

So I cannot erase che malus dice.

The flux is:

- make the check
- take the 3 correct dice (best/worst)
- every dice added, affect only the 3 dice

That's ok?

Paolo D.

Hi! :-)

About bonus/penalty dice in one roll: however, you could counter a penalty die with a Pool point (paying for a "bonus die") before rolling it, right?

...Here's another one, about penalty dice in Advance debt:

(from the Solar System)
QuoteA character in Advance debt suffers one penalty die for each Advance's worth of debted benefits activated in play; if the benefit is not immediately utilized in conflict (such as a Key or specific types of Secrets), the Story Guide saves the penalty dice and assigns them to the character's checks later, as soon as practical.

I have some trouble understanding this paragraph... Could you help me? :-)

Eero Tuovinen

Advance debt is when you want to give a character some crunch, but he does not have enough free Advances for it at the moment. When the flow of the narration would be better served by the character getting the crunch anyway instead of having to wait, Advance debt is the way out. Usually this comes up with Secrets that have a particularly firm relationship to the fiction: a piece of equipment, for example, or some Secret that represents a social position.

Advance debt means that the player marks down the Secret or whatever on his character sheet without paying the Advance cost. He has to pay this "debt" of experience when he can - when he's obtained free Advances, that is. Meanwhile, using any crunch that was obtained by debt incurs a penalty: for every time he uses the crunch, the player imposes a penalty die to his current Ability check. If the crunch usage does not correspond to a particular Ability check, then the Story Guide retains the penalty dice to the side and assigns them to the character later.

For example, let's say that I'm getting the Secret of Enhancement for a particular Ability, but the situation is such that I end up in Advance debt for it - there's a magical rock that imbues anybody touching it with this Secret, for example, and then my character touches it without having a free Advance to spend. The Story Guide decides that I still get the Secret, but I go into debt for it, which I mark accordingly on the character sheet (I use a small symbol next to the Secret's name). What this means is that until I've collected enough experience for an Advance to pay off the debt, every time I activate the Secret of Enhancement I got, I incur a penalty die to my Ability check. In the case of this particular Secret this essentially means that the first bonus die I purchase for the check is annulled - I have to pay an extra Pool point to use the Secret every time I activate it.

A potentially trickier case is if the magic rock happens to give me the Secret of Language (Deep Ones) or some other crunch that doesn't rely on Ability checks. In this case I still cause penalty dice every time I speak this new language I know, but instead of immediately suffering those dice, I give them to the Story Guide; he sets them aside to wait for the next time I make an Ability check. The Story Guide might wait until my character is making a social Ability check of some sort, perhaps to reflect his ineptitude with his new language, but that's not mandatory - he can assign those penalty dice I accumulate by using debted crunch as soon as I do any Ability checks. This might or might not have some fictional causal explanation - perhaps my character is distracted by his unfinished language studies, causing him to fumble whatever else he's doing, or something like that.

The Advance debt rule never needs to be used, as you can always just decide that a character without free Advances simply can't get some crunch before he gains more of them. Another alternative house rule could be that characters can always pay for new crunch by giving up Pool points in the Pool corresponding to the new crunch if they don't have sufficient Advances. I myself prefer the Advance debt thing because it has a nice bite and doesn't interfere with story pacing; I would find it pretty idiotic if a character would have to pass on wielding the Excalibur because he didn't happen to have enough Advances for it at the time. In fact, I originally invented this rule to compensate for the old TSoY equipment rules that made a powerful magic item cost several Advances, meaning that a character rarely could just pick up and possess such an item due to the extremely high Advance cost.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Paolo D.