The Dice of Best Intentions

During one of our recent NOVA6 playtest sessions my mage was set up to lay down a lightning bolt on two yakuza guards that were watching the ol’ tri-vid. I had gotten into position, having created advantage using Stealth, and popped up to attack. I had 4 bonus dice at my disposal (the white ones), so I set aside 2 of them to guarantee 1 stunt point (when I succeed). That left me with 2 bonus dice and I made my move.

Yahtzee! Literally, I rolled 5 ones. The basic mechanics of the situation in NOVA6 are when you have bonus dice you choose the best three dice of the pool. Yeah, bad luck for sure.

Complications. Right of the bat this roll results in 1 stunt point as a complication (triples + failure). The GM, drawing from his limited pool of “GM Shenanigans Plot Points,” gives me a plot point, upping the magnitude of the complication to 2 stunt points worth. “What happens?” the GM asks.

Narrative. “As I create the massive concentration of electricity I suddenly realize that I am actually in a large metal box surrounded by wires and other conductive material. Had I planned for this, rather than just focusing on creating as much lightning as possible, I could possibly have controlled for this event. But I didn’t, and now the magical energy is arcing out of control and through me, as a 2d physical fatigue effect.” The GM agreed and roll the effect I did. Tingly!

Stunt Mechanics. 1 stunt point is basically worth 1d of a brief condition or 1d of fatigue effect, fatigue being a type of damage mechanic that results in temporary (lasts a scene) conditions. Stunt points can also increase the scope (more people/area affected) or duration (brief > temporary > lasting > long-lasting) of an effect if appropriate.

Funnily enough, this action was then followed by the infiltrator attempting a flying tackle on one of the guards, you know, the ol’ “flying grab and stab,” which also failed miserably. However, our luck turned around after the infiltrator (now prone at the feet of his target) miraculously dodged a full auto burst from the yak standing over him while on the ground (can you dodge serpentine while prone?). The mage then regained his composure, re-calibrated to use lightning in a metal box (or so he said), and managed to get 2 stunt points on his lightning bolt, using 1 to fork the bolt, and the other stunt point to increase its damage, taking both of them out.

I’m happy to report that the revised damage mechanics work much better, which was the whole point of the test to begin with. Plus, I get to post a little playtest story for NOVA6, something we should be sharing more of.

2 thoughts on “The Dice of Best Intentions

  1. I’m really liking this approach to “damage” myself. It was much more fun to narrate a +2d knife throwing trick shot as hitting the yakuza in the foot and tripping him up to slam his head into a table rather than just adding up damage and subtracting it from his hit point total.

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