So, I doodled a few ideas about the dice system. I liked the idea of some sort of duality; the idea of pushing a dice pool at the risk of compromising your character. For instance, a Noire-style investigation campaign could have opposing good cop/bad cop stats; dropping further into corruption might make sense in the short term, but will have serious repercussions in the long run; or a pulp fantasy campaign where your character can give in to chaos to give a temporary edge.
I think this can be represented by having three separate dice pools; the first we’ll term ‘Order’. This represents a character’s adherence to the laws of the setting; in the Police Investigation setting it’s the character’s standing in the police department, how ‘by-the-book’ they are. The second we’ll term ‘Chaos’. This will normally be a temporary pool, though it may increase as the character’s Order decreases. It represents a character’s existence ‘outside’ the rules, how far they’ve pushed the limits. Finally, we have a stat (or series of stats) representing the character’s other abilities. In order to keep this simple, I was tempted to go for just three other stats: Power, Reserves, and Finesse. These three stats can apply to a variety of spheres; so Physical Power would be Strength, Mental Reserves would be Willpower and Social Finesse would be Manipulation.
Finally, we’ll call the opposition pool Pain; this keeps it personal for the characters. This keeps rankings for enemies simple too, and modifiers for difficulties can all be rolled up into a single number.
Conflicts are resolved by players gathering all the dice in their pools, and rolling them together. The GM rolls all the Pain dice too. All dice showing a 1 or a 2 are a success; compare the players successes against the GM’s successes. Ties go to the players. This determines if an action is successful or not; the number of successes you win (or fail) by is your margin.
The pool which shows the highest die is the dominant pool; in ties compare the next highest, and so on, until a pool runs out of dice (in which case the pool with more dice wins) or one pool has a higher die.
A player rolls 3 Order/3 Stat/2 Chaos against 5 Pain and gets:
3 4 2 / 1 6 3 / 6 1 against 2 1 3 4 3
The player gets 3 successes against the GMs 2 successes, succeeding at the action with a margin of 1. Stat and Chaos both have a 6 as their highest die though Stat has the second highest as 3 vs 1. This means the Stat pool dominates. So, the player succeeds at the action by application of their natural aptitudes; depending on the action, this might be brute force or mental agility.
This is a first pass at the idea, nice and basic so far. I want to add a bit more flavour by mixing in some talents, and I’ll talk about that in the next post.