Stealing from DitV: “Slicing” conflicts into more digestible parts

Okay, I’m just brainstorming here, and I more than welcome input and thoughts.
I got Dogs a couple years back — one of the first couple conflict-resolution-level games that I really tried running with my home group (I think maybe InSpectres was before that) — we didn’t get very far at the time, for a number of reasons. Since then, I’ve run two Sorcerer campaigns, two HQ games, a couple TSoY one-shots. Last week, we returned to DitV, same characters, possessing (a) more general group familiarity with dirty-hippe narr/Conflict Resolution games and (b) better GM understanding of the Dogs rules.
The original take on the conflict rules (two years back) were that the dice were sort of ‘in the way’ of every single pose or statement made in a conflict, but the new take is something like this:

The dice mechanic is conflict-based, not task-based, but unlike some others we’ve been doing, there’s plenty of RP and “posing” during the conflicts to make it not feel too dice-driven or “everything depends on this one roll” kind of thing.

Now, this perception that something like HQ or Sorcerer or Galactic is essentially ‘roleplay the scene to conflict, then one die (or clump of dice) gets rolled and the results dictate the resolution of conflict’ is, at least in part a failing of the GM, in my opinion — in some cases (the first Sorcerer game, and grokking the Galactic rules), we are or have been in the past very ‘jerky’ in our transitions from the three ‘phases’ of Roleplay, Engage Conflict System, Do End Narration.
So the simple solution, already undertaken by me, is to make those transitions more organic and natural. Great, but that’s not my point here.
What I want to look at is how to borrow some of the good in DitV and use it in games like HQ or Galactic.

So, what is that good? Well, DitV uses a big old Dice Pool system, but it does two things that take this:

1. RP
2. Roll big ol’ Dice Pool
3. Narrate Outcome

… and breaks it out into much more easily digestible bits: slicing that Conflict Resolution roll (and that big pile of dice) into smaller sections that are (a) more easily digestible and (b) rid you of the feeling that it all comes down to one roll, even though it really does: the difference between HQ/Galactic and Dogs is that in the former you figure out all your dice/augments in one clump of activity and then roll, while in the latter you spread the total pool accumulation/distribution over multiple steps, interspersed with Narration and roleplay.
So, how does it manage that, and what can we steal?

First thing: The Raise/See, See/Raise system means you deal with the big pile o’ dice in discrete chunks.

This is cool, but doesn’t (only IMO, and please enlighten me if you disagree) port into HQ very well — there really IS just one final roll here. In Galactic, there IS some portability of this idea, if we decide to spend a few seconds narrating how/why each “pair” of opposing dice either win, lose, or tie. That’s pretty self-explanatory, so I’m not going into that in more depth here.

Second thing: Escalation of the conflict to include other Stats, plus the narration that allows you to include new Trait dice in the conflict. This goes like so:
1. Narrate your Raise/See.
2. Roll the new dice you’re getting because of the Narration.
3. THEN put forward the dice for your Raise/See, possibly using some of the dice you just rolled, or not.

Now this seems like something that ties back into HQ or Galactic pretty well.
In HeroQuest, this would entail essentially ‘slicing’ the simple conflict into:

1. RP to conflict. Everyone indicates what their intent/goal is in the conflict.
2. Name base trait for conflict.
3. Those involved take turns narrating either…
— 3a. Inclusion of several passive-augment traits.
— 3b. Inclusion of a single variable augment trait, and roll for that augment.
4. Repeat 3 until everyone’s happy.
5. Roll the final conflict resolution TNs. Spend HP as normal, etc.
6. Narrate outcome.

In Galactic:

1. RP to conflict. Everyone indicates what their intent/goal is in the conflict.
2. Name base Archetype for conflict.
3. Those involved take turns narrating in…
— 3a. Inclusion of relevant personality traits, OR
— 3b. The contribution of a Crew member, OR
— 3c. The contribution from Gear, OR
— 3d. The contribution from Ship dice.
— 3e. (GM only): circumstances associated with spending Hazard to add dice to the Conflict.
4. Repeat 3 until everyone’s happy.
5. Roll for conflict resolution.
6. Additional ‘take turns’ narration to activate rerolls, sacrifice red shirts, and bring in additional achetypes, per the standard rules.
7. High dice narrates final outcome.

I think… provisionally… that this would
1. Break down the Conflict Resolution into the kind of scene where it’s clear exactly why the relevant ‘bonus stuff’ is involved.
2. Reduce the ‘augment bloat’ that seems to come up fairly often in some HQ games, to judge from people’s posts on the subject (when someone just keeps adding stuff until they’ve literally exhausted the sheet — more common in HQ, certainly).
3. Add interest, and hopefully reduce that feeling that ‘it all comes down to one roll.’
I realize that this strays into the kind of detail one usually sees in Extended Conflicts in HQ, but I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, IF the players feel like everything is just being ‘lumped’ into a single CR roll, taking everyone too far out of the headspace of the scene.


  1. As one of the principal bitchers about this sort of thing — I’m sure I’ll find something to bitch about this, too (“Conflicts are taking too long!” “Why not have a single die roll and be done with it!”), but it sounds fairly workable. 🙂
    We can certainly give it a try this weekend with Galactic.

  2. It’s worth noting that the currently discussion on the Heroquest “Rules” list was started by a GM who played Dogs and, from that, got a real strong desire for ‘one roll to resolve everything and be done with it!’
    Just no pleasing everyone.

  3. That is almost _exactly_ (we get ship dice in space, and God dice rather than crew dice, I suppose – anyway, that’s all dressing) the conflict resolution I’m working with in Illegal Gods.

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