A while ago I tried out the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, and a while before that I tried out WFRP3e too. Warhammer was downright overwhelming for its preponderance of board game style components, more in line with one of FFG’s Lovecraftian board games than any prior RPG, but as unconventional as it was, I really liked the dice mechanic. The basic idea is that you roll a pool of various types of special dice representing different factors in the game, including not only your character’s abilities, but the difficulties you’re facing as well. The dice have different symbols that you use to figure out the outcome of the roll, with a number of possible side effects. The Star Wars game presents a more refined version of that. The selection of symbols and dice is a little simpler, and it has this nice aspect where the more potent dice have more sides. (The Star Wars symbols aren’t quite as intuitive as the Warhammer ones though.) Apart from those dice and some Star Wars flavor, Edge of the Empire is basically just a fairly solid, rules-medium traditional RPG.
For a while I’ve been wanting to put together my own genericized version of this style of dice, and I finally sat down and did just that. I call these “Destiny Dice” (like they’re some weird, elaborate cousin of Fate dice). I don’t really expect to establish a new standard, not even on the level of Fudge/Fate dice, but I do expect to make something that’ll at least be fun for me to play with. For practical reasons, at least for this initial iteration, I’m using only six-sided dice. Chessex charges by the side for custom dice, which makes prototyping a bunch of dice where every side is custom prohibitively expensive. Q-Workshop also does custom dice, but they want fancy designs and the it’s not really at that stage yet. But what I can do is get blank six-sided dice and custom-printed stickers from The Game Crafter. I stuck pretty close to the Edge of the Empire version otherwise, so the dice produce both Successes/Failures and Advantage/Disadvantage, plus the occasional Hope and Despair symbol. Success/Failure determines whether a given task succeeds, while Advantage/Disadvantage lets other good or bad things potentially spin off from it (the simplest being mechanical stuff like giving an ally a bonus die), and Hope/Despair is basically a more potent version of Advantage/Disadvantage.
In order to actually have a system to play it with, I put together a hack of Fate Accelerated. With the new Fate Core the Evil Hat team has done an incredible job of refining the Fate rules, and with FAE they’ve really distilled the essence of it down to the sleek little game that’s been buried inside of Fate’s usual bricklike books all along. This is going to necessarily change the feel of the game a bit. For more rolls than not you’re going to be figuring out how to spend the Advantage/Disadvantage symbols that come up, plus Aspects aren’t quite as powerful as in standard Fate. I’m thinking I’ll make the dice available for purchase through TGC in case anyone is interested in trying it themselves (and willing to spend an hour or so applying stickers to dice), but not until I’ve done some playtesting and refined the whole thing a bit in terms of both game design and graphic design. In the meantime here’s what I have so far for the rules: