Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dice as a Narrative Tool

I’ve written about this a bit for Mythweaver, but it bears repeating within the context of playing Resolute; dice can and should be a narrative tool. I’m a big advocate of using the dice as a way to tell the story. My players tend to want to tell me exactly what their character is going to try to do, and then they roll the dice to see if it worked.

I find that games tend to be more cinematic and interesting when the player creates a general sense of what he’s trying to do, and then uses the dice result to flesh out the action as appropriate.

For example, a hero who tries to unleash a mighty blast against a foe, and spends time describing how cool this blast is going to look (including the way that energy ripples across his fingertips before the silvery glow surges forward) is REALLY disappointed when he botches.

The better solution is to say “I’ll use my energy projection” and then roll; if he botches, he gets to save face, saying that his super tried to show off by making his fingers into a pistol shape and saying ‘bang’ as a small fragment of energy sparkled at the end of his hand; if he rolls double 6’s, he gets to use the awesome description he’s had in the bag and wanted to use.

This does two things. First, it allows the player to ‘save face’ by interpreting a dice result in a more favorable way for his super; it’s not that he can’t fire an awesome energy blast when he wants to, it’s just that he was showing off this time and will know better next time. Second, it keeps you from having to re-envision a previous description because the dice don’t support the way the action was described; you can safely describe the incredible energy blast, because the dice already told you it was awesome.