Nim Style

The vast majority of actions require a quick judgement call to resolve. Players who leverage their environment, use their items and common sense, and clearly declare their actions often receive success. The consequences of any described actions follow accordingly.

If an action described by a player is uncertain, the GM may call for a roll. Before the roll, the GM may delcare the possible impact on a successful and unsuccessful roll. One participant then rolls 2d6.

If the roll is a 9 or higher, the adventurer succeeds. If not, something bad happens.

If the adventurer has an advantage to an action from the use of a proper item, aid, or a good position or approach, the GM may grant +2 to their roll. If several advantages apply to the action, the action is usually no longer risky.

If the roll is against an opponent, the player looks to roll that opponent’s Danger Score (DS) or higher instead of the usual target of 9. Danger Scores are most often rolled against in combat and other direct forms of opposition and contest.

Example DS:

  • Seedling (3)
  • Mushman (5)
  • Goblin, twins (6)
  • Blighted Thug (9)
  • Gorgon, drunk (10)
  • Fell Chimera (11)
  • Inverted Dragon (13)

Intended for Adventure Hour! as yet another Uncertain Action Alternative (pg. 22).

The style comes from combining the names of Jim Parkin (who often advocates for target 9 or 7 on 2d6 from playing a lot of Traveller) and Nate Treme (whose Tunnel Goons gives one stat to all monsters). I wanted both of these approaches with a little bit of Maze Rats to scratch the Dark Souls itch, but with no stats to manage/balance/sweat over. Dangerous is dangerous, regardless of stats. If you want to take down the Inverted Dragon, you need an advantage something fierce.

3 thoughts on “Nim Style

  1. Nice. The one thing I don’t love in Adventure Hour! is the fixed 50/50 chance. But of course it’s trivially hackable, and this is one way.

    In my opinion, there are three separate axes that advantage/disadvantage (skill, “positioning”, difficulty, whatever) can affect: risk/danger, effect/impact, AND chance of success/failure. In real life, I feel that the last one is extremely important in defining our perception of difficulty, risk, skill, etc. (maybe even more than the other two).

    Traditional games tend to focus on the chance axis, neglecting the other two, so I understand the desire to “redeem” these by downplaying that, but I like mechanics that work well with all three of them.

    I also like mechanics that differentiate the possible roll outcomes. My favourite is probably the one from Freeform Universal: a d6 where 1=”No, and…”, 2=”No”, 3=”No, but…”, 4=”Yes, but…”, 5=”Yes”, 6=”Yes, and…” (or some appropriate variation), combined with the so-called “advantage” mechanics (roll one or more dice – I’d say max three – and choose the highest/lowest) to affect chance. It’s extremely fast and requires no arithmetical calculations.

    1. I think of the forced 50/50 like the 7-9 result in PbtA: the dice force you to come up with something. It’s very often that people just slap on advantage and disadvantage from the dice and don’t think about the world enough in that scenario. Exactly what you said, it’s an attempt to redeem this axis.

      Funny enough: https://dreamingdragonslayer.com/2021/01/14/d6-universal/

      It’s weird, but Nim Style is something I’d only use in-person because there’s two dice and it feels better. Online, I gravitate towards only one die to remove any adding. Suppose more dice for advantage doesn’t burden the system too much.

      1. Oh, I didn’t remember that post. I wonder how many times the “FU d6″ has been independently invented.

        By the way, the original default in FU is actually 1=”No, and”, 3=”No”, 5=”No, but”, 2=”Yes, but”, 4=”Yes”, 6=”Yes, and” to make a pun on “beating the odds”, but everyone else I saw – including FU 2e – uses the saner alternative.

        I agree, two dice have a better tactile feeling than just one.

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