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I might have finally found my encounter resolution mechanism

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

This post is mainly to get some feedback on the new cencounter resolution mechanism. You can skip to that section if you don't want to read everything.

General problematic and solution: It's for my eldritch express upgrade in a steampunk adventure game. I struggled for months to find a solution on how to resolve encounters and monsters. I originally thought that adding attributes like in Arkham/Eldritch Horror to differentiate the character and give various strength and weakness. But ended up with issues like having a character that could never hope is closing a rift because he does not have the stats. Then there was some other issues that if I did not use attributes in combat, it would break the symmetry or have so few opportunities to use attributes. Eldritch express only used assets and skills as combat stats. So I decided to remove all attribute to make each character proficient in almost everything (The "Elder Scroll" approach). If you want to have a spell casting gunsligner, you can, it's just that the limited mana pool of the gunsligner will not make it the best spell caster. So the character will differentiate themselves with the pool of resources they have available and special abilities instead of attributes.


  • Various character strength and weakness
  • make all encounter achievable
  • semi-deterministic resolution
  • relatively fast resolution
  • focused on ressource management
  • Have various kind of success (high or low casualties)
  • have some choices in the encounter resolution.


Pre-encounter combat: The basic idea is: you'll be facing 1 - 3 monsters in an area of the board. They remain there even after beign killed. For each monster you do not kill, you take casualties on the monster. Your combat strenght is fixed and determined by your assets and skills. You just sum up the values and apply the damage. This is almost the same thing as Eldrich Express and it was one of the strength of the game since there is no randomness, it increases strategy.

Encounter resolution (NEW!): You roll 2 dices of different color, die A represents success, die B represents casualties. Each encounter will have 2 track of icons matching each die. The success die must be >= X value to succeed the encounter (Solve the mystery, close the rift, etc). The casualty roll will determine what consequences you suffered. You take the value on the die and compare it on the casualty track to know the results.

For example, a casualty track could be:

1: -2 health; 2-3: -1 health; 4:-1 sanity; 5-6: nothing;

A success track could be:

1: Fail, gain 2 fate; 2-3: Fail, gain 1 fate; 4-5: success; 6: success, gain 1 mana;

Those rolls can be modified in various ways:

  • You can spend fate/exp to increase the value of any of these dices.
  • Having a matching clue token in hand will increase the success roll by 2, but the clue is lost afterwards.
  • Characters can have skills or assets that manipulate the die rolls.
  • The player can take a risk to attempt acquiring the asset/artifact on the encounter card in addition of completing the encounter. That adds penalties on each die.
  • Players could sacrifice one of their 3 actions before the encounter to "focus" giving them +1 on each die for the encounter.

So the 2 dice mechanics is basically the new stuff. Relatively fast to resovlve. Some options on dice manipulation to increase your chances of success. You can plan ahead the consequences and the probabilities.

What do you think?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Dice Result Resolution Mechanics

larienna wrote:
So the 2 dice mechanics is basically the new stuff. Relatively fast to resovlve. Some options on dice manipulation to increase your chances of success. You can plan ahead the consequences and the probabilities.

What do you think?

Sounds to me like you're on the right track.

I'm especially partial to your idea of being able to modify die results in some way. As mentioned in a recent thread, you may want to experiment with what fits best with your game in terms of modifiers or manipulations - such as straight addition or subtraction, dice flipping, etc. - so leave all the options on the table until playtesting bears out what you think is the most effective option.

Congrats on your progress, larienna. :)

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
One thing I thought for easy

One thing I thought for easy manipulation, is to put the rolled dice on a track and move the dice around the track as modifiers are beign added and subtracted.

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