Astral Frontier Blog


In the examples below, I'm introducing a mechanic called "Gambits". A Gambit is a package of conditions (when the Gambit can come into play), costs (determining the Action Cost), and consequences (what the Gambit does on success).

  Good Dice Mechanics

Because most RPGs have you roll dice fairly frequently, and because most games use the dice for most of their mechanics, it's important that the specific rules around rolling dice are inclusive, expressive, believable, and simple.

  A Baroque Dice Mechanic

I originally posted this on Ello in two parts (Part 1, Part 2). This is a rewrite of some of that material, with extra thoughts.

Mostly I need better terminology for some of these things, and a truckload of playtesting. I wrote Inept Sorcerers around this dice mechanic, and it's theoretically a playable game, so if you want to help me test it, let's start with that.

  Vessels - Mechanics

Let's start with some of my deeper goals.

  1. The game should teach you how to play a game focused on emotions rather than actions. You shouldn't need to bring your own skill at this for the game to work for you.
  2. Rising tension and the unpredictability of human emotion is the only real enemy the players will contend with.
  3. Double-edged mechanics - ones that work in your favor sometimes and against you at others - are an interesting tactical twist.

One of the things that's kept me from doing this game already is my fear about point 1. I want to write a game that conveys a specific experience. I want a game that plausibly approximates the shifting nature of peoples' feelings. The uncertainty that I feel is found in this question: Do I really understand what that is like?

Points 1 and 2 are what keeps me from just writing a DW/AW hack and shipping. I actually had written Simple World rules but I was unsatisfied with them. The main reason is how I interpret how the World games handle difficulty. And the way I think of that is like a train robbery.

  Vessels - Design Goals

What do I want out of this game? While this isn't an AW/DW game, that design vocabulary is useful and I am using it here.

  • The game should be built around emotional resolutions for a series of specific crises.
  • Rules should tell you what's on your character sheet, or how moves work. All other rules should be moves.
  • Whenever possible, character sheets and moves should be self-documenting.