Roll Some Dice

2010/03/16

My research into Meso-american cultures, particularly Aztec and Mayan civilizations, lead me to a game called Patolli. In this game, you try to move your game pieces around an X-shaped playing area in hopes of winning the opponents items that he bet at the beginning of the game. Players would have five kidney beans marked with a single white dot on one side of each bean. These beans would be tossed, and the white dots counted, to determine how many spaces their game pieces were moved. Before each game, each player would typically bet six items. This is the basis for the core system of S&S:

Roll 5d2 (0 and 1), each 1 is a success. Total number of successes plus your attribute score must be equal to or greater than 6.

Not a lot of people carry around d2s all the time. Sure, you could use coins, but there are a host of other things you could try too. If you have d6’s, you could count 1, 2, and 3 as 0, and 4, 5, and 6 as 1. Or, you could use kidney beans, with a white dot painted on one side, as they did in Patolli. You could use glass or plastic stones, or even bottle caps. It’s your game, play how you want.

Now, when you’re creating your character, 10 points are to be used to pay for your 5 attribute scores. Each score ranges from 0 to 4. Starting at 0, if you wish to increase it to 1, it costs 1 point. Each point higher costs twice as much as the previous number, with a maximum attribute of 4 costing 8 points. With the 10 points, I could create a character with scores of 3, 2, 2, 1, 1. The math being 4 + 2 +2 +1 + 1. If you didn’t notice you don’t have to pay for each step up. You don’t have to pay for a score of 1, then 2, then 3. Just pay for the 3 and you’re done. If, during the course of the game, you find or are allowed an item that increases your attribute scores, even if temporary, it cannot improve it beyond a score of 4.

If you want something more to play with, the five ability scores are: Agility, Brawn, Faith, Ingenuity, and Leadership. More about these will be discussed in a future post. Go ahead and chuck some dice, play around with this system. Let me know what you find and how it plays!
Game on!

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10 Responses to “Roll Some Dice”

  1. Stuart said

    That’s awesome! I have some d6s that have 1/2 of the faces one colour and the other half a different colour.

    Although for a system like this I’d make the effort to get some kidney beans. Why not? It’s not like they’re really expensive. 🙂

    • I’m glad you like it so far! Let me know what you think, should you decide to test it out. I’m thinking I need to bump some numbers a little. The system is still being worked out 🙂

  2. Question about this: Each point higher costs twice as much as the previous number, with a maximum attribute of 4 costing 8 points.

    So the breakdown would be this?

    Score / Cost
    0 / 0
    1 / 1
    2 / 2
    3 / 4
    4 / 8

    Is that right?

  3. Calvino said

    Tenox: Male Hunter

    Agility: 3
    Brawn: 1
    Faith: 2
    Ingenuity: 2
    Leadership: 1

    So, if I am doing this right:

    Using Brawn or Leadership to get a score of 6: 3.125% chance
    Using Faith or Ingenuity to get a score of 6: 18.75% chance
    Using Agility to get a score of 6: 50% chance

    I dig using a native system. It seems those scores make sharp jumps; is that what you want? Are these pretty much fixed throughout the game or upgraded with experience.

    Cool ideas! Good luck!

    • I really thought about it a lot. I do worry about the sharp jumps a little. If I do anything, i’ll bump the scores up by one. Otherwise I do plan on making them available to upgrade through the game. I still have to give the it some thought though.

  4. Dan said

    Would it be possible to make it so that when you create your character, your competing against another person creating their character? So like if you land on the 4 square, it’s minus 2 for the other guy, unless he tries to take your piece?

    It might make for an interesting dynamic if the players are competing right off the bat.

    • That certainly is an interesting concept and I’ll give it some consideration as to how I’d be able to work in a competitive mechanic along with it. 🙂

      • Calvino said

        I’ve tried the ‘board game style competition during character creation,’ a few times, and it would be really cool to see if someone got it to work. Very touchy situation.

        Congrats on the shift up to 1-5!

  5. […] Last week we took a peek at the core mechanic for Sabotage & Suns. We also looked at purchasing points in […]

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