At the start of every adventure (or game session, whichever you prefer), each player gets six Story Dice, which are d4s set aside in some sort of suitable receptacle or space so as to not confused with regular d4s. (Did you notice the alliteration?) Whenever a PC performs an action, the player can choose to roll between one to three Story Dice instead of whatever he’d normally roll for action resolution. (If you’re using statements or something similar, consider permitting a bonus die for actions tied to a PC’s statements.)
After the Story Dice are rolled, select the single Story Die with the highest result. Compare that result to the following:
4: You are completely successful. Describe the result of your action.
3: You are mostly successful. Describe the result, but include one negative consequence.
2: You are mostly unsuccessful. Describe the failure, but include one positive consequence.
1: You blew it. The GM describes the result.
Let see some examples.
Example the First
The PCs have to get past well-armed, alert security guards blocking the door to the VIP suite in a neo-disco aboard Station Antares so that they can have a face-to-face with a crime lord who probably has vital information about a missing shipment of vaccines. Fighting their way in isn’t an option. Terry decides his PC, Alexandra Mason, is going to try to talk the guards into letting them in. Terry decides to spend three Story Dice on the attempt, and rolls 3d4. His highest result is a four. Terry gets to describe the results.
“I take a moment to make sure my make-up looks good, put on my best smile, and slink up to the two guards, holding a drink in each hand. As I get closer, I recognize one of the guards as a spacepox survivor by the distinctive scarring on his face. I hand them the drinks, and explain that we’re trying to track down the missing spacepox vaccine, and that hundreds of children could go untreated. The spacepox survivor is outraged that anyone would steal such vital medicine, and he not only let’s us in, but introduces us to his boss.”
Example the Second
The PCs are heading to Daley, a backwater planet whose main settlement, New Chicago, is a dome-covered hive of scum and villainy. Violent electromagnetic storms make traveling on the surface dangerous, and one of the storms hits suddenly as the Thaddeus Knight guides the PCs’ spaceship in for a landing. Christopher decides to roll two Story Dice rather than run the risk of a skill check. His highest result is a three.
“The electromagnetic storm wreaks havoc with the ship’s systems, and we go into a dive. I manage to reroute power to increase shielding against the storm in time to bring the ship in for a landing, but it’s a rough one. The landing gear is damaged and will need to be repaired.”
Example the Third
While being pursued by vaccine thief enforcers, Jack Owen gets separated from the rest of the group and finds himself facing a dead end in one direction and a juiced-up thug in the other. Gary figures Jack can’t win the fight, and so his only hope is to escape over the wall. Unfortunately, Gary only has one Story Die left, but it’s better than nothing. He rolls and gets a two.
“Uh, bummer. How about this? Jack runs at the wall and jumps, just grabbing the top edge and pulling himself up and over. Unfortunately, he loses his balance and falls down the other side, suffering whatever damage is appropriate.”
Example the Fourth
Naiyah Ferobo has just grabbed the satchel of stolen vaccines when she hears the guards coming. Thinking quickly, Naiyah exits through the window and out onto the ledge running around the seventeenth story of the building. Fortunately, Naiyah has a relevant statement: “Agile as a mountain goat.” Naiyah attempts to climb down to the next floor to re-enter the building below the guards. Wes decides to use two Story Dice and gets a bonus Story Die for Naiyah’s statement. Wes rolls and gets nothing but ones. The GM takes over.
“Naiyah loses her footing and falls from the ledge. She drops three stories before she manages to hook a projecting decoration with the strap on the satchel. Naiyah is now dangling a 100-plus feet above the street with a precarious grip on a synthide bag. She’s not sure how much longer she can hold on, especially with that freshly wrenched shoulder.”