My long-term gaming group and I have been playtesting my design for Powers High. We have played 3 times, and each time has been a lot of fun. I am very lucky because I have good players. Things had gotten very dark in our game, and we wanted a break from the all the heavy stuff.
We have had a fun time every session. The players are invested in their characters and the world. But, what has been most fun, is the dice, when they are rolled,, why they are rolled, and the results.
In many games, and game theory, rolling dice brings with it uncertainty. But, does it really? Often, it brings with it binary results. Failure indicates one thing, and success another. Hit, and then roll damage, or miss.
In our most recent session however, there was a dice roll that ended with a result I didn’t see coming.
One of the conceits of the game is that the 5 specific traits/ tropes determine how well characters fail or succeed at extended actions involving those tropes. The sportsball playoffs, roll Athlete. Final exams, roll Brain. Play video games, roll Outcast.
This particular action was a Halloween party, one that involved students sneaking out to drink, etc.
There was a drinking game, with involved 5 rolls by the players, and produced fun results, but not necessarily unexpected.
One character, who has a high Criminal trait (which was the trait needed to sneak out to the party), but who is basically a social wallflower, and not at all a “bad boy” got a perfect score.
I had to think for a moment what would happen.
How could I remain true to the character, true to the fiction, and true to the dice roll?
I paused for a moment, and explained that he stood at the party, awkward and relatively quiet, perhaps even uncomfortable. But, the other kids, the ones who wanted to party, drink beer, etc, basically just wanted to be in his aura. By doing nothing, he did everything.
He was cool by not trying at all to be cool.
He didn’t drink.
But, man, all the other kids wanted to be in his presence.
Strong and silent type? Yes. But, this was not at all how I might have predicted what could have happened.
The perfect score meant I needed it to be something great, wonderful, and special.
I am liking this system
The other new component we experienced was Rumors. Rumors are a real thing, as they should be. Some might be true, some false, some in the middle.
I handed all the characters three rumors. They chose to share them.
But, they also understood the gravity of the situation.
And next session, there will be more Rumors.
The first session had a very unexpected Homecoming King and Queen, the third session had an awesome drinking game.
What is happening in your games?