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Controlling Power

Aug 13, 2022

A classic trope is the young hero, too inexperienced to know their own strength, who damages more than intended. With experience often comes power, but also control of that power.

Games rarely include the latter part. As a character levels-up, they are given increasing ability, but control doesn’t factor into the equation. Low-level players often fail to achieve the effect they desire, but never over do it.

A mechanic for uncontrolled power

Players are given a number of dice corresponding to their level (one die for level one, two dice for level two, etc.), and a target value. The target value is the most common result of the dice (for example, rolling two 6-sided dice most often returns 7).

When rolling for their move, the player rolls all their dice. Results that are under the target undershoot, over the target is too powerful. The consequences and blast radius are up to the GM to decide. The closer to the target value, the closer to the desired intensity of the power achieved.

As players level-up, the bell curve becomes more and more pronounced, resulting in a better chance at hitting the target. Level one players have no bell-curve (since a single die has equal chance of landing on any side), and thus they have no control.