I like dice.
No…let’s be clear…I love dice.
I love their shapes. I love their colors. I love them in different materials. I love the way they rattle around on the table. I love the fantastic highs and crushing lows that can come as that final die spins endlessly on its tip before its momentum gives into the inexorable pull of gravity and the final value is laid bare, resulting in rousing cheers or forehead-smacking groans.
Many long moons ago a friend of mine, Scott, tried to introduce me to Amber: The Diceless Roleplaying Game by Erick Wujcik, based upon the Roger Zelazny Chronicles of Amber.
At the time it felt anathema…no dice?! But…but…that’s what RPGs are about…tossing those brilliant cubes of probabilities and watching them dance the bell curves fantastic….
So even though I love the “role” part of roleplaying, I love the dice aspect enough as well that I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. It wasn’t until many, many years latter (and several years working in the industry under my belt) that I realized what Amber had accomplished and that it rightly deserves a high place of honor in the pantheon of RPG systems.
What does all of that have to do with Cosmic Patrol? Well, for me, CP is the best of both worlds. With a heavy focus on improv/shared GM-style play it will have a heavier “role” play aspect of almost any game I’ve had the pleasure of working on, while it makes use of the entire gamut of polyhedrals, which makes the dice geek in me happy.
So how does it make use of every dice?
First, each character has 6 “Stat Dice”: Brawn, Brains, Charisma, Combat, Special and Luck. Instead of a static value, each Stat is represented by a Stat Dice, which can be D4, D6, D8, D10 or D12. The D20, then, comes into play when you’re actually making Challenge, Tests and Combat rolls to resolve various situation.
Challenges are any actions taken against an inanimate object, while Tests are actions against other characters or NPCs that are non-combat related. And Combat, well, if you don’t know what that is, you may not be interested in checking this game out…
The Basic Mechanic for Challenges and Tests, then, is: D12 + Stat Die + Modifiers vs. D20.
See…lost of dice. But have no fear, next time I’ll dive into how turns actually work and how the “GM-less” play resolves itself and you’ll quickly find that dice rolling is relatively light (though obviously a given playing group can make it heavier if they wish)…but all those fun dice are still there.
Till next episode…