Monday, September 7, 2009

Major Events, Part II

Continuing from a previous post: the GM rolls 3d6 on a dice map and interprets the results. You've already seen a list of suggestions, but the dice can show much more than those 25 results. If some of the dice match, or if a die lands on a boundary between two regions on the map, two values are interpreted together; the results can become very complex, such as Sea+Damned v. Living, which might be the crew attacking a helpless ship while sharks gnaw through the hull.

The lowest result on the 3 dice, in addition to indicating the threat, indicates the general strength of the threat -- how many hit points it has, relative to other threats. Many threats will only be 1 or 2, easily dealt with; rolling triple 6s will likely produce deadly, exotic threats.

To deal with the threat, the players will describe what actions they attempt. If you need to know the speed or effectiveness (strength) of their action, roll 2d6 and assign one value to each. If the character's action is opposed by another character, NPC or PC, or even by a force, that opponent rolls 2d6 as well. The lowest speed result goes first; if the strength of the action is higher than the defensive strength, the action overcame the resistance. The GM may compare factors in favor or opposed to the action and adjust one side or the other by +1 or +2.

After the threat is dealt with, if the ship is heading for a specific port, one player and the GM each roll 2d6 and compare the highest result; if the player wins, do that much "damage" to the distance needed to be traveled. Some events, such as whirlpools and gales, may actually add to the distance; a gale, if the PCs are clever, might give a bonus to damage.


  1. Hi. Good use of ingredients. Two questions and a comment. Why is a lower roll better/ faster for- seems like higher rolls are stronger in other cases?
    Also, what if player rolls against gm and their strength is tied- reroll? The comment- giving gm ability to add/subtract 2 when you're rolling d6 is pretty impactful. Maybe there are mechanical limits like special cards or a set number of divine/ chaos interventions or each pc or ship or encounter can modify one roll per voyage etc- apologies if the rest of your posts answer these


  2. Hi Mark. A lot of these questions aren't answered here, since for generic actions and effects, I'm using a previously-developed set of rules.

    The 2d6 are used separately for speed and power. Lower results are better for speed because actions happen in order: first 1, then 2, etc. It's intuitive, and easy to handle. For power/effectiveness, bigger is better, which also seems intuitive. If the opponent is taking defensive action, your power must beat the opponent's die roll; ties are blocked. Otherwise, use the resistance number of the opponent's current defense, which might be no defense at all.

    The 3d6 roll isn't even the same kind of roll as the 2d6 roll; it's basically the same thing as rolling for random treasure or monsters in D&D. For maximum variety, I pick two numbers from the roll and use them to describe two different features: lowest result means where the event comes from, highest means what it moves towards or against. Since the lowest roll is the form of the event, the actual number rolled is the event's overall power. The actual numbers rolled on the other dice don't matter.

  3. Oh, and about the impact of a +1 or +2: I just prefer what other people refer to as low or coarse granularity. I keep the bonuses low, and I don't allow them to stack very much. The way I would run this game is: I would consider all the advantageous and disadvantageous factors in the current situation and decide if one side has an overall advantage; that side gets a +1, or a +2 if it's a huge advantage. This is assuming that the action and the opponent are in the same scale: there's be no need to roll for a typical human-sized opponent to lift a large galleon, for example.