I wrote this over on the Forge back in 2008 but I shouldn’t rely on its archival boards to be available in perpetuity nor speedily, so I’m replicating it here, now. This is a bit on some of my internal brain-map on how the dynamics of the Don’t Rest Your Head dice pools work, and ways they might be hacked. You can visit the original thread to get some larger context.
Dice pools in DRYH and DRYH-derived stuff do a few things, as they work inside my head.
- There are Static pools, which do not change unless acted on under rare, special circumstances. Example: Discipline
- There are Slow Accretion pools, which you can only increase one at a time. Example: Exhaustion.
- Or, there are Fast Surge pools, which can flash up to maximum or anywhere in the range in a single action. Example: Madness.
- Slow pools are almost always Sticky — once they’re established, they hang around and must be a part of every roll. Example: Discipline, Exhaustion (and, to an extent, Permanent Madness).
- Fast pools are usually Ephemeral— they’re established for a single roll, but they don’t persist afterwards. Example: Madness.
Dominance of a given dice pool can have a few dominating effects:
- Any pool can have Graded Consequences — when it dominates, some minor effect happens until you run out, at which point the next dominance produces a major effect. Example: Madness and Responses and Snapping.
- Any pool can be Lethal — When it exceeds a limit (or causes some other resource to exceed a limit), the character dies or is otherwise significantly transformed. Example: Exhaustion, Madness.
- Any pool can produce Erosion — when it dominates, you can lose a die from another Sticky pool. Example: Madness and Snapping reduces Discipline; Discipline can reduce Exhaustion or clear off a checked Response.
- Sticky pools can have Feedback — they can self-increase (add a die to themselves or another pool) when they dominate. Example: Exhaustion
- Sticky pools usually have a Pressure Valve that lets you slowly decrease their size over time. Example: Exhaustion bleeds off when Discipline dominates.
- I may be missing some other ideas that exist in DRYH, and there may be some that could be added here that aren’t in DRYH.
You’ve got several moving parts you could mess around with. It’s entirely possible (if potentially dangerous) to create a Fast Surge pool that’s Sticky. Such as: You could have a pool called Power that’s Fast and Sticky. You decide that you want 3 dice of Power right now, and you get it, but after the roll those 3 dice hang around — you can’t shake ’em, so each time you roll you’re rolling those Power dice as well, and are subject to the dominating effects. You could also add a Feedback effect to Power, saying that it increases another pool called Paradox whenever Power dominates. Or give it Erosion, having it eat away at your Stability pool, etc.