View Full Version : Diceless resource management system?

2015-12-08, 05:38 AM
Hello once again, Playgrounders.

I've an unusual game in mind for my group, now that we finally finished a campaign, but I don't know of a system that can handle what I want.
My players have asked for:

1) Puzzles, both physical and social.
2) City- or at least town-building.
3) An overarching mystery plot that also leaves room for monster-of-the-week elements. Buffy was cited as an example, as was the Elder Scrolls series.
4) A bare minimum of combat, if any at all.
5) Relatively plausible science fiction in a roughly early-transhumanist regime. Transmetropolitan is in approximately the right range.

The above suggests to me that what I really need is a system for handling resource management, and I'd like to go diceless if at all possible. It just seems that the sort of challenges my players want work better without that much randomness. Unfortunately, most of the diceless systems I know put a great deal of stock in letting the players spend story points to change the plot, and that breaks immersion for my group. So, Playgrounders, are there any diceless systems that can handle city-scale actions without giving the players a pile of story points?

2015-12-08, 10:23 AM
Well, dice are a way to introduce the element of randomness and luck into the story, else it's much more storytelling/improv acting. If by diceless you mean no special dice but d6es are fine I'd advice to go for anima Prime RPG or NWoD which focus less on dice and modifiers, and more on story and skills where a dice will make a difference if needed, or a dicepool to fuel abilities and skills.

Without the dice or some other fate influencing mechanic it's not a game but a puzzle and should be played like Myst or Riven.

2015-12-08, 12:42 PM
Do you want to eliminate ALL luck? Or just dice rolling based luck? Would you be fine with a "card" based system, for instance, in which case you can build a specific deck, but which card comes up might be random?

2015-12-08, 03:07 PM
Most diceless systems I've seen that work operate on a principle of:
1. These are the Moves you can make.
2. This is how much they usually cost.
3. You can spend extra XPoints to make it better.
4. In order to receive XPoints back, you must do one of these (Virtually always unpleasant) actions.

So they have to have predefined Moves to make that cost them for good outcomes and other predefined Moves that earn them something back. For example:

Shoot 'em Down!
Spend 2 Xpoints. The ship, person, or creature you are targeting takes damage according to your weapon's power. If you spend 3 points, the weapon deals one additional point of damage. You may purposefully fail this move to earn 2 Xpoints.

You could have it so that you can put them in a rough spot in exchange for the points, or have them fail moves on purpose (As shown above) for points or have them make moves that sacrifice resources. (ie, consume 3 food resource and get back 1 Xpoint.)

It can be done, but it would likely need to be built from scratch.

2015-12-08, 03:53 PM
wait a minute, I just remembered something better. How do you feel about Jenga? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0loSZFsyoQ)

2015-12-08, 05:03 PM
Strangely enough, I'd actually recommend you look into Noblis.

I haven't read the most recent edition, but the 2nd one is...a bit unusual, but would hit the notes you're going for, I think.

The premise is that the PCs are all "Nobles," or "Powers," and they're effectively gods of particular concepts.

In one game, I played the Power of Storms, another player was the Power of Stairs, and we also had the Power of Superheroes.

All of you are connected by the overdeity you work for, called your Imperitor, who is...alien. And that alienness is part of why the random collection of themes your party is made up of are all elements of that one Imperator's power.

Your primary duties are protecting and promoting your thing, and trying to build up and preserve existnence against the Excrucians, which are things from Outside. (Very similar in concept to Exalted's Raksha, if you're familiar with it, but FAR more powerful, as is fitting since you, too, are on a level that is at LEAST equivalent to a typical Exalt.)

The "building" aspect includes the party getting together to design both their Imperitor and their Imperitor's Realm, wherein you all live when not out in the world preserving it and making it a stronger place. ("Better" is subjective.)

It's wholly diceless, with differences in a single point in a stat being so meaningful that they represent an insurmountable hurdle. If you have a higher stat, you win the contest. Miracle Points enable you to temporarily boost your stats to win, but you have to shepherd those, as they don't come back quickly.

2015-12-11, 09:29 PM
Looks like I'm stuck homebrewing, then. I will check out Nobilis though. Thanks all!

2015-12-12, 03:43 PM
If you're willing to budge on the dice end (particularly away from the city building part), and you just choose not to use combat in a system that can do it, I'd recommend looking into the ORE systems. More specifically, I'd recommend poaching the Company rules from REIGN (which covers organizations in general), then pulling heavily from Nemesis and largely avoiding the combat section. Then de-emphasize the dice.

On a different note, check out Microscope and Kingdom, both by Ben Robbins. Neither are what you want here, but based on what you've said you want both sound like things your group might really enjoy.

2015-12-15, 02:04 PM
Houses of the Blooded (http://johnwickpresents.com/blog/games/houses-of-the-blooded/) might not be the best for the specific game you're playing. (though it could work with modification) but it does feature a pretty good domain management system that could be fairly easily adapted for city building.