My Games base conflict mechanic?

edited August 2009 in Game Design Help
Alright so it always helps me to understand a game by first looking at the character sheet, so here is what I have thus far.

The concept is not meant to be overly simple I am looking for a game that does a lot of different things, and fixes some problems that I have in some of my much loved games. It is based heavily upon the mechanical bits of several games that I enjoy, but no one of these games has everything that I am looking for. The concepts come heavily from Dogs in the Vineyard, Houses of the Blooded, Wilderness of Mirrors, and Mutants and Masterminds. It is meant to have the narrative control of Houses, the back and forth in a conflict of Dogs, and the party "Trust" of Wilderness of Mirrors. And since a part of me is still a huge fan of the tactile, and tactical, minis combat, that is included in as well.

Base Mechanic
Roll a pool of Dice and resolve a conflict the same way you would with Dogs in the Vineyard.
Determine your Pool
You gain a number of d10s equal to your base stat; you can set a number of these to the side as wagers for things like additional successes if you succeed on the roll. You also gain effect dice. These are little mechanical perks that you can purchase that give you a number of d6's, or higher die value if you pay extra, that you may also roll as part of your pool, you can only wager stat dice. Effect dice also give an effect, such as increased movement, particular types of damage, and other status conditions (i.e. mechanical effects similar to the powers you would find in Mutants and Masterminds, Speed, Deflection, Fire Blast, etc). Once you have your pool, and wagers, determined you roll your pool. You then use that pool to go back and forth making challenges against each other. You choose two dice to make a challenge with. Your opponent has to come up with two dice or less to meet that challenge, or they lose the conflict. If your opponent loses the conflict you may distribute your Wagers amongst the effect you brought into the conflict. So if you used Fire Blast (damage), and Fear, you may spend your wagered dice on those effects.
Going Further
As a method to limit what a character can actually do and what effects he may call upon during a conflict we are using an Action Point (AP) tracker. A bead is moved back and forth across the first page to help with this. The first page of the character sheet is laid down in front of you and never lifted up. The third and fourth pages contain the rest of your characters info and several rules summaries. All effects that player’s wishes to pull into a scene have an AP cost, as do particular types of actions.
Example: Player A is attacking player B with his “Fathers Pistol”. He pays 4 AP to initiate an attack; this means he gets to use his base Prowess in the pool (4d10s). He also wants to use the effect of “Fathers Pistol,” so he pays the 2 AP for that effect. This effect adds a range that he can affect the target up to, and the ability to do the Paralyze effect that the gun offers, as well as adding dice to the pool (4d6). The player chooses Wager 2 so there final roll is (2d10, 4d6). If this player wins he can spend any combination of 2 points in either physical damage or Paralyze.

This is the basic conflict mechanic that can apply to all situations. There is still much more to detail, such as the very extensive Plot Currency mechanic. So far what I have outlined is simply a very broad conflict mechanic, one that is barely my own (thank you Vincent Baker for changing the way I look at games), but it is the basic foundation I am starting with. I realize that this horribly unfinished, but I want some ideas before I go any further. What do you think?


  • Your conflict resolution is very different than Dogs in the Vineyard. In Dogs, failure to See an opponent's Raise does not lose the conflict. It only mean you have to Take the Blow (that one specific thing, not the whole conflict) and you get Fallout. I assume you've made this design choice on purpose, right?

    What it loses is a player's ability to trade short term pain for long term pain. For example, if the conflict is about "I kill the witness" and I raise "my bullet shoots the witness' five-year-old girl, dead," then if your dice aren't good, you have to decide which pain to accept: a dead witness or a dead little girl.

    It also seems as if you've separated the winning/losing aspect of the main conflict away from the effects of the conflict. That is, you play raise-see games back and forth till someone wins, then spend wager dice on damage and effects. That means that the raise-see part of play has no teeth while it's happening. We could go back and forth five times without anyone taking damage; then I win, and you take a ton of damage. This seems inferior to how Dogs apportions effects with Dodging/Blocking, Reversing the Blow, and Taking the Blow (and Fallout, too, though these effects don't take place till the conflict ends).

    All that said, I think your set of mechanics have a lot of novelty to them. It's hard to predict how they'll play out. So time to playtest! Get a friend and play out one or two conflicts using pre-gen characters. Let us know how it goes! And don't forget you can share with us on The Forge, too!
  • edited August 2009
    Seth, what does this mechanic do? Looking at mechanics in isolation is always difficult. What's the game about?

    If you combine bits from various games, you'll get something that kind of works. But it's rather like blending together a chocolate milkshake and fried chicken and expecting the result to taste great. Those mechanics supported particular things in the games they came from, so we'd need to know what you're trying to do with the mechanics in your game.

    You said you liked Vincent Baker's games, right? What else have you read, apart from Dogs In The Vineyard? Because the mechanics are different and very specifically support different styles of play. Poison'd is superb, but it does different things than Dogs, which is also superb.

    We need Luke for this kind of discussion.

  • Short Term Pain
    In the many of sessions of Dogs I have run and played in I have only once ever seen someone take fall out more than once in a conflict. So I am not that concerned about that mechanic.

    Not exactly looking for the specifics of Dogs. I just like its die rolling mechanic as a method to resolve a conflict. Mainly because I love the way it out right enforces RP.
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