The system for Nefertiti Overdrive has been playtested but is still undergoing some minor revisions. The basics, though, are unlikely to change. Here’s a quick explanation of how Overdrive works.
These are the building blocks of the character, and if you have read or played Sword Noir, Kiss My Axe, or Centurion you have an idea what they are. Generally, these are one-word or short phrases that describe in relatively narrative terms, a character’s abilities, skills, training, etc.
The wuxia portion of the game comes from the way Qualities are measured and applied. Each Quality is measured by die type, from d6 to d12 – the higher being better. Each Quality has a base die type and a bonus die type, so a Quality might be d6/d10 or d8/d12.
Explaining how a Quality applies to the task at hand allows it to be applied with the base die. Providing a cinematic – for actions – or expanded narrative – for mental or social – explanations allows the player to apply the bonus die. Playing both Overdrive and Kiss My Axe leads me to believe that allowing players to ignore physics and make statements regarding the surroundings quickly sets them up to provide very exciting narratives of their actions.
Each character has four Attributes that each provide a die for task resolution. Each Attribute has one or more Qualities, though even if an Attribute has more than one Quality, it generally provides only one die – I say generally because using Luck can allow multiple Qualities from a single Attribute.
A task resolution in Overdrive is called a Test. Tests are opposed rolls, meaning that the two participants in a Test roll dice and then compare. With four Attributes, there are four dice for each Test (sometimes more, if Luck is used). Each Test is against another PC or a Challenge, which also has four Attributes providing dice. The GM rolls the dice for the Challenge. The four dice are divided among Initiative, Success and Effect. Initiative requires at least one die, Success requires at least two, and Effect requires at least one.
Initiative: as can be expected, this decides who goes first. One die from the four dice rolled is applied to Initiative, though if more than four dice are rolled, more than one can be applied. Initiative is measured by result, meaning the number on the die rolled or the sum of the dice rolled, with the highest result acting first as the active character.
Success: the Success is also measured by result, but it is set by the passive character – the character against which the active characters is acting. Success is the sum of the two dice applied to it (or more if there are more dice in play) and the active character must exceed the Success set by the passive character. After a certain number of Successes are made against a Challenge or character, that actor is removed from a scene – not necessarily dead, just removed.
Effect: with Success settled, the Effect dice of the active and passive characters are compared. The character with the lower Effect die receives a condition dictated by the character with the higher. The value of the Condition – which acts as a penalty through the game until removed by Luck or at the end of a session – is equal to the lower Effect die subtracted from the higher (straight math, a d4 being 4, a d6 being 6, etc). A new Condition can be created or an existing Condition increased.
These are the basics of Overdrive. It’s a little more complex than this, of course, running about 15 pages, including three lengthy examples of Tests. Once the basics of running Tests are understood, it is my experience that the game runs quickly and smoothly.
The Kickstarter for Nefertiti Overdrive will be happening in March, 2014. Start stuffing your piggybank in preparation.