Friday, 24 February 2017

Do or Dice: Intent vs Action

I just read this article from Gnome Stew about Player Intent, and (apart from it being interesting) is a great excuse for me to discuss some of the design decisions behind Do or Dice.

As Do or Dice is leveraging both the Blades in the Dark and Fate Core systems, there are a list of skills that a player can have their character use to perform tasks. However, in Do or Dice, a roll is never called for - at no point should the GM say "I want you to roll Tinker." Instead, the first step of performing a task is to declare your intent - the player describes what outcome on the situation they wish to have.

(Image from Brainless Tales.)

Players don't say "I want to attack the guard", but instead "I want to kill the guard", or "I want the guard to die". This intent is then matched with a skill, but any skill can arguably be used - so long as the player can justify it. Are they killing the guard by Fighting them? Or are they Tinkering with a device that will kill them?
Once an intent and a skill have been announced, the GM can determine how difficult this would be to achieve, how risky, and how much effect the player would likely have. Everything, easily, flows from the fiction.

This process of intent completely removes the problem of the player's engagement with the mechanics missing the GM's perception of that engagement. The player directly states the cool thing they want, the GM sets opposition and announces what's at stake, the player can re-negotiate (if they want to), and then a roll is performed. Everyone - even other players - are allowed to sit on the edge of their seats during this roll because they know what every possible result could lead to (but not exactly what will happen)...

Whilst Do or Dice is still in testing and development, this mechanic of intent over action is central to the game and, as far as I can tell, isn't going anywhere.

If you enjoyed seeing this little glimpse into Do or Dice, please let me know in the comments and I can write more posts like this. It's fun to discuss what I've been working on for so long now!