Thursday, September 11, 2014

TROTT Is Going 2D

I am not a junkie rules tinkerer, or at least I don't think that I am. The system that I am designing for myself to use as the shorthand that I think in as I write up settings, my true passion keeps getting modified. 

First I wanted it to be straight T&T matrix with a bit of flare, I would use the ASTRO rule (All Same? Terrific. Roll On!) versus the DARO and TARO (doubles and triples, roll on) rules of that system. I mean why stop at triple results. Wouldn't all four, or five, or 17 dice rolled be rolled on if all their results were the same be just so much more spaghetti sauce to some Italian-based dish while sitting in a hot tub just before slipping off with a Swedish model that isn't friends with your wife? Then as a GM running things, I realized I was doing great stuff to help 6-9 year-olds with basic math skills not much else.

I then sought to move away from that using 10-sided dice but the same randomizing system, with the inclusion of percentile rolls every now and again. It didn't take long to get over that clunky gear-shifting mode after a couple play-tests. Imagine the annoying and pedantic math quiz that T&T can be in combat and throw a "roll below" mechanic as well. When to consistently use the "always higher" mechanic versus when to use the "roll under" convention would be as tough as being a fan rooting for a Duran Duran comeback tour in 2025 on FacetuBe this year. Definitely a labor or love, and I am not in love with making rules.

Switching back to the six-sided driven game mechanics, it occurred to me during the Glow play-tests at GenCon that I was looking at things backwards. Thirty years ago, polyhedral-sided dice games struck me as silly. Five years ago, I realized that "rules lite" games while they have their niche at conventions, were not where I truly wanted to be, besides my TACK system is that already and reportedly pretty easy to utilize by other GMs. This year, while watching TimS run his session, I saw all the dice on the table and thought, "What if I got rid of all the dice?"

Two six-sided dice, so it's back to Ken St Andre's DARO, but with multiple integers. Not just the 2-12 (3-infinity, really), I have always sincerely liked using the so-called d3 (subtract 3 from 4-6 results on the dice) for quirky little situations-- like a fist fight in T&T, where combatants get d6+Combat Adds; 2d3 always gave the Characters to get some DARO worked in making more spectacular boxing matches between equal opponents. I also like the "Odd/Even" (Yes/No) usage of the d2. So while there isn't tables full of six-siders blocking out the sun during combat, there are usage variations for the two useful ones in front of everyone at the session. That is a bit of crunching that doesn't over do it.

Now I get to pay for my third round of editing for the one system that I've been working on forever.


  1. Your comment on rules-light games being suited for conventions made me think of the last con I attended where I played my first game of Apocalypse World--in fact my first game of any of the Dungeon World-type games.

    Great game, but afterwards I asked the GM how this system could hold up in a campaign and he responded that the key is selecting different character archetypes (or whatever the term is) than we did.

    (A favorite, tangentially appropriate:

    1. Tom K.September 12, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      I actually believe that any system can be made into a campaign game. It depends on the passion of the gaming group, and can be influenced by material authors producing scenarios and possibly settings.
      Funny you mention Types. During the play-testing to date, I have been consciously working in sub-plots for Types and Kinds (races) into the scenarios, it's been helping me refine as to what I want to be in this or that specific setting (say Glow or Spacers) overall.

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