After some conversations with Eric Provost, I continue to experiment with Grey Ranks structure and resolution mechanisms. This latest version is not fully cooked, but I think it is headed in the right direction. Comments in italics. Feedback very welcome.
STRUCTURE OF PLAY
The game consists of nine scenes divided into three acts. A scene consists of a communal mission and one vignette per player.
The dice are evenly divided between white dice and red dice (or colored dice in general), and are pulled blind from a bag. White dice, when they come up ones, represent personal trauma. Red dice similarly represent trauma for another player character that you must choose. You need a fuck-ton of dice, which is either a bug or feature.
Once introduced, you keep a die until the end of the game or your character’s death. So you can narrate in being skinny in scene one, and this gives you a die for the rest of the game, even if you lose the skinny trait. This applies to traits and things you hold dear – Romantic partners break this rule.
When rolling dice, look for ones and sixes. A one is trauma and a six is honor. If the die rolled is white, the trauma or honor is personal. If the die rolled is red, the trauma or honor must be given to another player character. “Honor” isn’t exactly right, but a 6 is a success anyway.
NARRATING ELEMENTS INTO A SCENE
You get a six-sided die for every one of the following things you narrate into a scene:
A thing you hold dear (everybody has the same six – My Country, My Family, My Friends, My Self, My Faith, My First Love)
A trait (everybody has three immortal and three unlovable, like Arrogant, Nose for trouble, Awkward, Rubber bones, Bad breath, Fast runner, etc.)
You also get a die (up to six) for intensifying your relationship with a romantic partner. A romantic partner is a single individual that you’ll be focusing on in your vignettes, building the intensity of your relationship to earn extra permanent dice. The stages are Platonic friend, Crush, Mutual crush, Sweetheart, Girlfriend/boyfriend, Lover.
You can narrate one trait, one thing you hold dear, and one increase in intimacy in every scene, meaning you can add up to three dice per scene until you’ve maxed them out at six dice each. This means that in a perfect world, it is theoretically possible to be rolling 18 dice by scene six.
WHY NARRATING STUFF IN IS DANGEROUS
Introducing any element puts it at risk. Once it has been brought into play, it can be removed from play by yourself or another player. Not only will these be things you probably care about, when you lose all six things you hold dear and six traits, your character dies. The really awful thing about this is that there will probably come a point where you have to choose between your last remaining thing and your lover. Which is awesome.
At the start of a mission, roll your die pool. Dice narrated into that scene are rolled as they appear in the game.
Every mission has a target number, which is equal to the scene number. In scene four, you need a combined total of four honor (dice turning up sixes) to wrap up the mission. Missions can succeed or fail as the group sees fit. They won’t end, however, until their target number has been reached. There are other cool AG&G inspired bits to missions not relevant here.
Vignettes are personal sub-scenes that give you a chance to build your relationship and grow your intimacy. They can occur as flashbacks or be contemporary with the action of a mission. Ideally they will be interspersed with the mission. Vignettes need work – maybe they have their own AG&G oracle deal related directly to love and romance? They have no bones right now.
A die roll coming up “1” means trauma. Ones mean that a trait, something held dear, or a loved one has been removed from play – probably destroyed or killed. If the die rolled was white, the loss is your own. If the die rolled was red, the loss must be given to another player character.
The loss of a loved one removes any dice invested in that person from play. Which is awesome.
You can, at any time, arbitrarily narrate the loss of a trait or thing you hold dear to re-roll your dice. This only makes sense if a lot of trauma turns up. Not sure about this.