As a way of introducing myself to the community, I thought I’d share my current project. I’ll throw in my elevator pitch.
Hollow is a Monster Hunter style, high fantasy ttrpg set on a world several millennia after humanity was eradicated by their own technology. In this “Points of Light in the Darkness” style setting, the players play Fairies struggling to survive in an inhospitable world full of savage techno-monster hybrids.
Players may be fairies, but don’t assume they’ll be wearing bells and placing dewdrops on flowers. Faced with a world of dwindling magic, monsters and mortality fairies have become fierce warrior survivalists. The players will need to explore a world full of danger, both familiar and alien, battling giant monsters, looting ruins and scavenging the resources they need to survive.
Hollow pairs deep tactical combat with mechanics designed to enhance the narrative and encourage storytelling. Some of Hollows features are:
- The Dice Bag resolution system. Players build a bag of d6’s where the color of the dice corresponds to development choices. The system uses familiar d6 dice pool building mechanics with the twist that the dice pool is build using dice drawn randomly from the bag. This allows dice check to have non-binary narrative elements, alongside the typical degrees of success found in dice pool systems.
- Hollow seeks to capture the feel of the Monster Hunter genre by having strategic tactical combat, advancement that integrates harvesting/crafting, and of course giant oversized weapons and monsters.
- In Hollow, advancement isn’t limited to the players. GMs take on the role of a sentient AI that can influence the remnants of technology that litter the world. Over time, as the players draw the AI’s awareness, the GM will gain new options to make life tougher for the players.
- A rich open character development system that uses time and resources, alongside experience, as fuel for improvement.
At the time I wrote that pitch I was much more confident about my core resolution mechanic. Since then I’ve been tweaking things a lot and it still doesn’t feel right. The dice bag system opens up a ton of unexplored design space but so much space has me trying out too many things.
Currently, the basic idea is that characters attributes are tied to dice colors. Colored dice make up about half of the player’s dice bag at a ratio equal to their attribute distribution. Since dice color corrisponds with attributes, dice color can be used to add additional effects to checks corrisponding to that attribute. So, for example, Red dice might corrispond to Charisma and when Charisma checks are made, red dice being in the check provides additional benefits. In theory, this would work system similiar to the Narrative Dice system used by Star Wars and Genesys only without having to use custom dice. Thematically, these dice produce “sparks” of mana of different color that the player can spend to power powers, spells, or just as performance boosts.
The problem I keep running in to is one of too much ambition. I think, “Wouldn’t it be cool if the refreshing of the dice related to the rest mechanic”, “What if I looped the action economy into the dice”, “What if the “exhausting” (refreshes daily) a dice could be used to power daily effects”, “Critical injuries should add wound dice that impact survivability”, etc. Too many ideas, that don’t always blend well and have me questioning older estabilished mechanics.
I really wasn’t posting this with the intention of looking for advice but I guess it’s shifted in that direction, so please feel free. Any comments or feedback would be welcome.