Sunday, February 12, 2012

2D6: Boons & Banes

Okay, I am still working on a makeshift list of talents.  It is coming along but not quickly.  In the meantime, I will present a little bit of information about another area of the rules: boons and banes.  Many other games have rules corresponding to boons and banes but they just call them something different; advantages, disadvantages, edges, and flaws are just a few examples.  

Boons (aka advantages and edges)
Put simply, a boon affects a character or the situation in a positive manner.  They differ from talents by the fact that they represent something other than just training or skills.  Some examples might include security clearancelucky, and fearless.  One of the mechanics involved will be rolling a 3D6 for any task related to the boon and the player picks which two dice to use for the task.  A second idea for a mechanic involves rolling the normal 2D6 but only picking one die for the total while assuming a 6 was rolled on the other die; this would be for a minor boon.  A major boon would use the assumption of a 6 on on die while rolling 3D6 and the player chooses which of the dice to use for the total.  All fo these methods give a chance for a higher roll and that is what a boon is good for.

Banes (aka disadvantages, flaws, and hindrances)
In a nutshell, banes are the opposite of boons and affect the character or situation in a negative or adverse manner.  Some examples might include phobia or unlucky.  Of course, they would work in the opposite manner of a boon and some would come in two levels - minor and major.  A minor bane would work with the assumption of an already rolled 1 and the player rolls 2D6 and keeps the lowest roll.  A major bane would work the same except involve rolling 3D6  while keeping the lowest result.

There are the basic ideas for how boons and banes might work.  Of course, it is all subject to change because it is just the rough draft.  More later...


  1. The method you use all comes down to how you want the probability to work out. Since you want dice involved it will be interesting to see how you get the banes to work out where there would be cases where it is used. If not, then banes don't really have an impact.

    As an alternative mechanic, I have to more to consider:

    1. Boon, you get to reroll the lowest die (or maybe just if it is a 1). Bane, you have to reroll the highest die (or maybe if it is just a 6).

    2. Boon - you can reroll if you have a 6 and add it to the total. Say you roll a 2 and a 6. You then reroll the 6 and get a 3. Now you have 2+6+3. A major could allow for it to occur on a 5 or a 6.

    Bane, you reroll a 1 and then subtract the number from the total. So, if you had a 1 and a 5, you reroll the 1. If you get a 3 it would be 1+5-3 for a total of 3.

    There is a lot of ways you can play with the mechanics for probability.

    1. You seem to always have more insight than I on these things! I like the methods you detail in your comment above. The banes might not be completely dice based. There will be ones that it makes complete sense to use the dice - for example, unlucky. There will also be situations where the dice will not represent the game effects of the bane - for example, the phobia bane will probably just cause the character to "freeze up" unless they can make a successful roll against WILL to overcome it. As this system is still in development, I am sure that there will be multiple banes and boons of each type - some adjust the dice and some affect the character in certain situations.

    2. Maybe using the dice determines if it is a minor and major boon/bane?

      If I have any greater insight than anyone else, it is likely due to simply having a greater amount of time thinking on these issues. I have written 2 rpgs, have multiple shelves full of rpgs, and have had many long discussions about meta-gaming (or would the philosophy of rpg design be a better description?) Combine that with my occupation and perhaps it gives me an advantage into seeing things.

      Anyway, I am just working off of what you write. I see you mention d6, and it gets me thinking of Shadowrun where you re-roll a 6 and then the Heresy Engine that has an extra die that can cause misfortune. I just took those ideas and repackaged them for your purposes since you were wanting to stick with only 2d6.

    3. I like that idea also; die results could be applied to either bane or boon to determine if it was minor or major at the time of application.

      I appreciate the feedback on the ideas.

  2. I like this sort of thing. I'm interested in seeming where you go with this.

    1. So am I have noticed one thing about being an aging gamer, though. It seems that I try to rationalize rules and make them much more consistent than when I was younger. In the early days it seems that when I was designing a game then it would not go through much revision before play. Of course, that may be just my experience...