Yet Another Fate Sub-System for Soul's Calling

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Yet Another Fate Sub-System for Soul's Calling

Postby Omnifray » 6:13pm on 08 Feb 15

A rough draft.

To put what follows in context, SC regularly permits players to start with pools of around 100 Fate. The Double Roll mechanic permits 5 basic categories of outcome (Fail or Bare/Middling/Clear/Perfect success). The Single Roll mechanic permits only Fail or Perfect success. The Single Roll and Double Roll mechanics can often be used interchangeably. Player Characters typically start with Luck scores of 4 but these can vary from 2 to 8 and the group's collective Luck score (using Collective Action rules) will be usually 1, 2 or 3 points higher depending largely on how big the group is. PCs gain new Fate points at a rate per session equal to their Luck (with no maximum accumulated Fate total) but do not strictly speaking regain spent Fate points.

[ed. changed from "Doom" score to "Destiny" score]

The use of Fate as a resource by the referee depends on the Destiny score applicable to an encounter/conflict.

(1) Deciding Who Is Involved

Normally one PC alone if the dice-roll is to determine harm suffered by that PC or to accomplish a personal goal, but several PCs collectively if it is to accomplish a group goal. If PCs are on different sides of the conflict (even if not actively involved) decide this for both sides at this stage. Only proceed further if one group's Fate total exceeds the other's by 50+.

(2) Deciding a Destiny Score

As ref, ask yourself how you classify the immediate encounter/conflict/hazard that the characters are dealing with:

Hazard-Type: ............... Destiny Score: ......... Features (in the referee's judgement):

"Random"................................ 1 ....................................... (default base-line minimum)
"Natural".................................. 2 ....................................... reasonably foreseeable to the referee before
.................................................................................it becomes inevitable and not random/trivial
"Predictable"............................ 3 ....................................... reasonably foreseeable to the player before
.................................................................................. it becomes inevitable and not random/trivial
"Fated".................................... 4 ....................................... planned or prepared by the referee and
................................................................................... intended by the referee to be a significant element in
...................................................................................the game session
"Foreshadowed"...................... 5 ....................................... intended by the referee to be anticipated by
...................................................................................the player as a significant element of the campaign -
...................................................................................foreshadowed in play
"Critical".................................. 7 ....................................... planned by the referee to be a critical
...................................................................................element in the campaign
"Climactic"............................... 9 ....................................... the climax of a campaign

Use the highest category applicable.

In a 1-shot, events are more likely to be treated as Fated or Critical.

Where PCs are on opposing sides of the conflict (even if not actively involved), out of two opposing groups of PCs, you only consider this for the PC or group with the higher (collective) Fate total, and then only if their Fate total exceeds the other side's Fate total by at least 50 points. Their opponents' collective Luck score (determined using the beneficial collective action rules) will replace the Destiny score if it exceeds it.

(3) Making a Destiny Dice-Check

The PC (or group of PCs using beneficial collective action rules, if they are sharing the Fate cost of this) make a dice-check matching their Luck (or collective Luck) against the Destiny score, using the same type of roll (single roll or double roll) as the underlying action.

(4) Results of Destiny Roll determine Scope for Adjusting Underlying Roll

Single Roll:
Perfect success: as ref you can switch a Fail with the player's underlying dice-roll to a Perfect success for a cost to the player(s) of 4 x Destiny in Fate points (shared among a group of PCs in the referee's discretion)
Fail: the Fates refuse to intervene.

Double Roll:
(a) general principles
if you have an option, use it in the way that represents the best overall benefit to the player(s) concerned; doing so costs as many Fate points as the Destiny score of the situation for each 1-category improvement in the success of the underlying dice-roll (shared among a group of PCs in the referee's discretion), so 1 x Destiny to shift from Middling to Clear success, or 2 x Destiny to shift from Middling to Perfect, or 3 x Destiny to shift from Fail to Clear success, or 4 x Destiny to shift from Fail to Perfect.
(b) specific results of Destiny Dice-Check as Double Roll
Perfect success: as ref you can boost the success category of the player's underlying dice-roll by up to 4 categories
Clear success: as Perfect but only up to 3 success categories.
Middling success: as Perfect but only up to 2 success categories.
Bare success: as Perfect but only 1 success category.

Design logic in spoiler tags.
Spoiler: show
Design Logic

I want to avoid the inevitability of a positive outcome for the players and to avoid forcing the players to get involved in a meta way in the decision. I also want 1 point of Fate to have the potential to improve a PC's fortunes, but also the potential to burn through 100 Fate points without an excessively system-heavy session.

Previously I permitted re-rolls, even 2nd, 3rd and so on re-rolls, of the underlying dice, for a Fate cost (1 for 1st re-roll, 2 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd etc., with very limited exceptions). This I ultimately found excessively cumbersome.

More recently I have experimented with giving the referee options depending on the number of odds and evens rolled by the opposing parties in their underlying dice-rolls. But as referee I find this unsatisfying because I have too much direct non-random influence.

Recently reflecting on the common refrain in some quarters that a player may not mind their PC dying for a reason but wants their death to mean something, and marrying something from that approach with my aversion to non-random complete guarantees of survival no matter how trivial the circumstances, I have come up with the system set out above. Basically, the more important events are to what some may call the "story", the more likely it is that the dice will rest where they fall, and the greater the cost in Fate points in hauling the players' backsides out of the fire. This means that 1 point of Fate is valuable:- it could save your life in a random brawl with a peasant who gets remarkably lucky. But it won't decide the climactic conflict of the campaign. It also means that with a single Fated encounter requiring two Destiny dice-checks, a player could get through 32 points of Fate, which means that there is genuine value in having a greater Fate resource than another player.

It is going to be dice-heavier than the subsystem I have been using most recently, but perhaps easier to apply (not having to keep track of odd and even numbers), and not as dice-heavy as the re-roll subsystem.
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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