Does Binary NPC (coin flip) vs Nonbinary PCs (dice rolls) work?

I’m working on a short free two-page game (“I Am Cyber (Pink)”) where I want to have the rules to reflect how the Opposition are binary in their thinking. The players are nonbinary, and use dice. There’s an obvious cybernetics/transgender metaphor here, so the binary vs nonbinary is really important to the theme. My problem at the moment is that I don’t know if the rules I’ve invented are too cumbersome, even for a two-page RPG. I’m pasting the relevant sections below, so if anyone has feedback, that would be great.

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SCENARIOS

You and the other players take turns running short scenarios (unless your group wants to designate a single player to be the traditional narrator who runs every scenario). All scenarios should involve at least one Cyber, anyone’s Opposition, and rolling the dice.

When it’s your turn to run a scenario, describe a location (club, back alley, elevator, waiting room, etc). Next, pick one Cyber. Ask another player to pick an Opposition and decide what they want. You provoke a confrontation where both sides want a positive outcome for their priorities, and let them play it out.

ACTIONS

Describe what the opposition does, usually confronting the player in order to protect one or both of their Priorities, then ask the player “What do you do?” When the player takes an action that could have a consequence for themselves or those around them, it’s time to make a check.

Basic Checks (Unopposed)

Whenever you take an unopposed action, roll your trait die plus one 10-sided die (1d10). If you have a tool that applies to the situation, add another 1d10 to your roll.

  • A result of 5 or less is a fail. It’s going to end much worse than you hoped. Even if you get what you wanted, know that the obstacle, the consequence, or the price is going to be significant and irrevocable.
  • A result of 6-9 is a pass. You get some of what you wanted, but you will face an obstacle, a consequence, or pay a price (not necessarily a monetary one).
  • A result of 10+ is a success. Your attempt succeeds with few to no negative consequences. Every additional 5 points (at 15, 20, etc) grants an additional degree of success.

If you fail, you’ll have to find another way to resolve the situation. You can’t keep making the same attempt over and over to try for different results.

Opposed Checks (Resistance)

The Opposition always acts first, but (being binary) only flips a coin or other token to indicate success or failure. If it fails, the Cyber may roll dice as normal to see if it also fails (in which case it’s a stalemate) or succeeds. However, if the Opposition flip succeeds, the Cyber rolls to resist.

  • A resistance roll resulting in 5 or less offers the Opposition the option to flip again in hopes of achieving a second greater degree of success. If they choose to flip again and fail, they still keep their first success.
  • A resistance of 6-9 forces the Opposition to flip again. If the second flip fails, they cancel each other out and you’re both at a stalemate until one of you acts again. Fortunately, your resistance is strong enough that two successful flips aren’t any better than one.
  • A resistance of 10+ forces the Opposition to flip two more times. Every additional 5 points (at 15, 20, etc) forces one more flip. Any negative coin flip causes the Opposition’s action to fail.

Automatic Successes

To get an automatic success on a normal check or resistance roll, choose a related Edge and narrate how it helps you achieve that success, then erase it from your character details.

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I like the theme here (although perhaps you could make it even stronger, if the “human” side wasn’t numerical at all?). Binary vs non-binary is a nice touch.

The mechanics look mostly workable (although your odds of failure here are really low; don’t know if that’s intentional).

My concern would be the common reality of ties and stalemates - those could drag the game down, unless they are somehow interesting.

Have you considered having “bits” that get flipped 1 or 0, and add up to something like a Blades in the Dark clock or other tracking mechanism? For instance, defeating an opponent requires you to flip all of its bits to 0, or something like that?

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The same way you can roll multiple dice at the same time, I’d rather flip multiple coins at the same time than flip multiple times. Btw, Epidiah Ravachol explores coin flips in Lincoln green. Of course, they are not coin flips but “0/1 bytes” here.

“Resistance” supposes opposite goals, that flattens information in the conflict. Orthogonal goals make 1-1 different from 0-0. Compare : 1-1 we take 1 shot each (now let’s compare caliber) ; 0-0 bullets go flying, we both do crazy backflips, furniture explodes into pieces.

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Love “cyberpink”, and the mechanical metaphor.

I would probably just go with “Opposition flips a coin. A tail removes the highest rolled die for the Cyber”.

Without doing any math, I feel it should achieve the same thing.

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I like that idea a lot, actually, @Rickard I may do that or something very like it. Thanks!

Thanks @Paul_T ! Yeah, the chance of failure is too low right now, agreed. it may not be d10s in the final. Maybe d6s or d8s - I have to think about it. I may change the chances of failure too/instead. I hadn’t considered a ‘clock’, but that’s an idea I’ll have to ponder.