This post is one of a series describing the design of a prospective RPG called the Wall. You can find more posts here.
In writing the text for the actual game, I came across a further problem with the rules as they existed. There is a carrot and a stick in regards to Fist: it is the easiest to succeed with, but failure has heavier penalties than the other Tools. Also, while d4 is more likely than the other dice to provide a re-roll, the likelihood of success is so much lower that this is not an advantage, so presently Eyes is the most difficult Tool to use. That should be Heart – as careful planning may not work as well as force, but it is generally a better approach than just persuasion.
So, the dice for each need to be changed (the easiest change) and each should have an advantage and/or a disadvantage commiserate to the ease of use.
In the first place, Fist will remain d8, but Eyes will be d6, and Heart will be d4.
Fist already has an advantage (likelihood of success) along with a disadvantage (both an increase to the Threat and the degradation of a Condition on failure).
So, right now, Eyes isn’t as useful as Fist, but is certainly more useful than Heart and it doesn’t carry a disadvantage. I think that works. That balances it.
In order for Heart to be attractive – being the most difficult to gain a Success – it needs an advantage. Let’s have Heart provide a free Sympathy to spend (which is useful only with the Dispossessed) and when a PC Prevails (even with a Negotiation), Distance decreases by 1. This makes Heart extremely useful when interacting with the Dispossessed, and even provides a bonus when used with other Factions, given the impact on Threats.
It think that works. I like that Heart now becomes the best Tool to use with the Dispossessed but is not particularly useful with the Elite or the Occupiers, which to me is pretty much correct.