Monday, January 01, 1990

Narrating the Game--Reading the Dice

When all is said and done, the only concrete information that the Legends of Alyria system provides is this: which character succeeded? However, this still leaves an important question: what actually happened? The system provides no guidance to the Narrator…or does it? By taking into account several different factors, the Narrator can find guidance from the system to structure his narration.

The most obvious factors to consider when interpreting a dice roll are the stated intents of the characters in conflict and their success or failure. However, there are several other factors that have a certain measure of influence. In order of importance, they are as follows:
  • Traits activated
  • Attributes chosen
  • adjusted Attribute clock face
  • current Attribute clock face
  • actual dice rolls
So, with all this in mind, let’s work through several possible dice rolls for a sample exchange. Try figuring out your own interpretation before reading mine.

Situation: Sirius and the dragon are squared off. Both are using Force and, additionally, Sirius has activated his Driven Trait. Sirus has a Terce/None rating and the dragon is functioning with a Lauds/Compline rating from Sirus’s Driven Trait, despite having a Force of Sext.

Sirius: Prime/Vespers (success) Dragon: Prime/Vespers (failed)

Due to the dice rolls, I see that Sirius will win the conflict. However, I also should take into account the dragon’s actual Force of Sext and the fact that the dice rolls are exactly the same. Therefore I might decide that Sirius inflicts deadly injury to the dragon but does not actually drive it off. Additionally, I need to factor in Sirius’s use of his Driven Trait. So I might end up narrating Sirius’s determined assault on the dragon, rolling under its deadly flame to tear at its exoskeleton with his power gauntlets.

Sirius: Matins (failed) Dragon: Terce/None (success)

The dragon obviously wins this conflict. Additionally the wide margin between the dice results speaks for a hefty draconian victory. So I narrate Sirius’ getting caught in the dragon’s fiery breath, which knocks him backwards and burns him severely. Still, he drags himself back to his feet and spits at the dragon (as a result of using his Driven Trait).

Sirius: Prime/Vespers (success) Dragon: Devil’s Hour (critical failure)

Sirius wins and wins big. Indeed, this result would count as two successful exchanges. As the dragon opens its mouth to breathe fire, Sirius grabs a fallen spar and hurls it like a spear into the gaping maw. As the dragon reels backwards, Sirius levels a blast at it from his power gauntlets, blasting it backward off the mist ship.

Sirius: Devil’s Hour (critical failure) Dragon: Sext (critical success)

This is the worst possible result for Sirius. The dragon is credited with three successful exchanges and has its way with him. Since this is a combat situation, Sirius should probably die. At the very least he should be seriously maimed. Sirius’ player decides that a horrible death would be a good way to end Sirius’ career, so I narrate the dragon’s renewed assault on Sirius. Then, the dragon’s tail whips around, impaling Sirius. As Sirius struggles to slide off the dragon’s tail, a beam of sickly green light blazes from the dragon’s eyes. Sirius disintegrates. A single metal gauntlet clatters to the deck. The dragon roars in triumph.


Post a Comment

<< Home