I’ve completed the first session of playtesting for Centurion, and it went both well and poorly. It went well because the mechanic worked exactly as I expected. It went poorly because this was not enough.
Two of my playtesters are also game designers, and one made the comment that during the dice mechanic, there are many points in which dice are being removed from the resolution and each of those moments should mean something. There should be a narrative, in-game response to the process of task resolution with dice.
He was absolutely correct, but I so wished he weren’t at the time, because I was having a hard time trying to figure out how all this could work. A lot of ‘but!’ came into my head and a few made it to my tongue.
Not to worry, as there were still six people around the table, and brainstorming ensued. This led to a new interpretation of the task resolution system, one in which each action during task resolution has an in-game component.
The biggest stumbling block so far is group involvement in a single task. Right now, all task resolution is dice vs. dice, as in the GM rolls dice that reflect the difficulty of a challenge against a player rolling dice for a character. When a group tries, for example, to find a single individual or accomplish some other task that is a single challenge, the number of dice used by the group overwhelms the challenge, but adding in extra dice to compensate for the number of characters inflates the challenge ridiculously.
Still working on that and we’ve scheduled another playtest session, so hopefully we’ll soon have a group challenge mechanic. Right now, I’m using “number of successes,” but it doesn’t feel right as it is totally removed from the main task resolution mechanic.