Not that long ago a gentleman by the name of Bill Edmunds got in contact and told me about an awesome kickstarter he was planning for a game aid he calls Meta Dice. These groovy things are cubes that have a host of info and all sorts of potential for our games. Yes, the sides are numbered 1 – 6 like standard d6, but they also have a success/fail icon, qualifiers for “and” and “but”, and even a hit location indicator. You should totally go and check out the Meta Dice kickstarter, it only has 3 days left to run!
Now these dice could be infinitely useful for all kinds of roleplaying games (and probably other games, too), but I particularly like how handy they could be for playing FU. You can use the stock-standard numbers to indicate success, or the success/failure icons. And you can totally use the and/but icons, too. But there is probably more that can be done with them when playing FU.
First though, let’s take a look at all six sides, as that is kind of important:
The “success” symbols are on the 4, 5 and 6, while the “failure” symbol are on the 1, 2 and 3, so you could use either for success and failure in FU (as an unmodified roll has a 50% chance of success). If you wanted to use the classic “beat the odds” roll the and/but symbols don’t correlate with the rules as written, but still work (there is one and/but and “neutral” result for both success and failure).
To be honest, if playing a “standard” game of FU I would ignore the numbers completely and just use the success/failure icons in conjunction with the -/+ (and dot) symbols. When the player has bonus dice they get to choose which to use for the result, but when they are rolling penalty dice the game master can choose. The numbers could then be used for other randomisers for something like damage:
Damage: what if, after rolling dice for an attack, a player has to choose one die to use for success/failure and another for damage. This would obviously require some form of “hit points” or other health tracking, but could present an interesting layer of play. As all the highest numbers (highest damage) are on the “success” dice, players may be left in the position of having to choose between an average success with good damage, or a good success with poor damage.
Imagine a player rolls 1, 4 and 6. That would result in a “No, but”, Yes, but” and a “Yes, and” result. The player could take the “Yes, and” result and also deal the 4 points of damage. Alternatively they could take the “Yes, but” result and deal 6 points of damage – more damage, but they have to put themselves in some kind of sticky situation.
Similarly, the player could use the hit location for “called” shots, allocating one die for success/failure and another for the location of the injury. For both damage and called shots there could still be some quirky things going on, and you would have to make a ruling for when players only roll a single die.
And and But: In this variation, every roll results in an “and” or “but” modifier. Use the -/+ /* symbol as an indicator of “No/Yes/Maybe” and the “check-mark” and “no-symbol” as indicators of “and” or “but” .
Narration rights: You could use the numbers on the dice as you always have. The number of yes/no symbols, however, could indicate who gets to narrate the result. If more check-marks are rolled (on all the dice) the player can narrate, while if more no-symbols are rolled the game master gets to describe the outcome.
Boons: You could use a similar system as above to determine if a player receives some random boon or penalty. If all the dice rolled come up as + symbols, the character might receive some narrative bonus, while all – symbols could indicate ill fortune.
These are just some ideas off the top of my head. How might you use Meta Dice in your games of FU?
I probably wouldn’t use them for FU. For me, I’d use them for FATE. In Fate, or Fudge, there’s no 50/50, there’s “tie” (rolling zero), where that is the most likely result. But it takes up most of the middle of the bell curve. It’s rather difficult to get a pure 50/50 or “yes/no” result. What bugs me is that a tie, in FATE, gives a boost to the die roller, where I think it should sometimes be sort of a 50/50 as to who gets the boost. I’d probably do this:
1) use the Fudge/Fate part of the die as normal, for normal rolls.
2) pick a color to be the “first die”, as some die rolling methods care about the result of one of the specific dice, and perhaps the success/failure would indicate something special happening.
3) when you roll a tie, the success/failure tells you if the tie/boost goes to the die roller (success) or to the target (failure).
4) for non-ties, I might use success/failure to help clarify between a failed roll that is actually “success with consequences” vs “actual failure”. And I might use the number of success/failure results to help flavor other results.
5) for some bonuses, I might say that instead of using the Fudge result on one more more dice, you use the success/failure result for 1 vs 0. (the number of dice you read that way would be determined by the magnitude of the bonus)
6) for some penalties, I might say that instead of using the Fudge result on one or more dice, you use the success/failure result for 0 vs -1. (the number of dice you read that way would be determined by the magnitude of the penalty)
Some nice ideas there! It never hurts to have more FATE dice, though I don’t seem to play FATE games much these days.
I don’t have any ideas other than hit locations for every game, and probably mostly D&D, Palladium games, and most certainly Fate. I really want some time with them, and with the system that came as part of the Kickstarter, Red Mists, so I can come up with more of my own ideas.