Tabletop RPG with Narrative Control for Task Resolution

What tabletop rpgs give varying levels of narrative control for standard task resolution? Thanks in advance.

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You mean like : adding a narrative element for each level of success, that sort of things ?

Mercer’s D&D lets players narrate their finishing moves. Narrating criticals is a practice I’ve seen elsewhere.
Otherkind and all that allow a Devil’s bargain let players add a narrative thread and a die to a roll
Swords Without Masters lets you pick the level of intensity at which you interrupt narration to resolve.

Thanks for the suggestions. Your understanding of the question was accurate.

Some classics to read about or look up include:

  • The Pool (the first RPG to shift narrative authority based on a roll)
  • Donjon (successes allow different levels of definition or narration)
  • Primetime Adventures (narration rights randomly determined, separate from success/failure)

PbtA games also do this in an encoded fashion, since the move’s available choices will often result in narrative control over the story for the player.

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I think the Genesys system (and similar, like Star Wars) from Fantasy Flight falls into this description. (They literally call it the Narrative Dice System.) Basic task resolution, aside from determining success/failure, also produces a varying number of “threats” and “advantages” that are used like narrative control currency.

Also makes me think of the AGE system from Green Ronin (Fantasy AGE, etc.), in which resolution rolls of a high enough level of success give you some random quantity of…stunt points or something like that, which can be cashed in for bonuses. They’re commonly centered more around mechanical effects than the narrative, but the effects can introduce narrative elements (like…getting a defensive bonus mechanically, but it’s because you choose to dive for cover or whatever).

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Great American Novel and Great American Witch both use the PbtA resolution system to determine who has narrative control.

“Varying levels” is the crux of the matter.

I’m not sure I really got what you’re looking for, but if I did: Stories from the Grave, by Spectrum games.

It has three levels of resolution, PbtA-style.
With a full success, the player decides the outcome and narrates the action.
With a partial success, the player must choose one. (So they either narrate their failure, making it controlled, or they let the GM narrate their success, which will add a complication.)
With a failure, the GM decides the outcome and narrates the action, which means the PC fails as hard as possible.

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Inspectres grants either the character or the game master different levels of narrative control, based on the dice rolls. You can check out the character sheet that contains the Skill Roll Chart.

Feng Shui gives narrative control to the players when they roll - either they succeed or they fail.

Given that, just by giving narrative control to the players in D&D , you got three types of levels of narrative control: failure, success and crit.

I wonder why you’re asking, because there is more to narrative control than just describing the grades of a successful action.

The collaborative storytelling game Dungeons and Bananas have more than just 50 grades of success, it also forces the player to involve elements in the description. Another example of the latter is Dogs in the Vineyard and it’s better, and French, version Les Cordes Sensibles. Here, you not only have to describe an argument “blow for blow”, but the rules also give guidelines (elements) in how you should play it out, by adding an emotion and a way of saying it.

It’s the same game in a new package. :slight_smile: I haven’t read/played the new version so I can’t compare.

[edit] I love this forum. Who had the brilliant idea to add a history button?


Richard, is Les Cordes Sensibles related to Psychodrame?


Sorry for misspelling your name, above. It got autocorrected!

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Well, you’ve got InSpectres, where players narrate their successes, but the GM narrates their failures…

But I think the real king of this is Houses of the Blooded, where you don’t even roll for success/failure, you roll for who has narrative control and how much. It’s been a while since I read it, but it’s something like, “For a generic task, roll your dice. If you roll less than 10, the GM narrates what happens. If you roll 10-14, you narrate what happens. If you roll 15-19, you narrate what happens and you can add a detail, with additional details for each increment of 5.” Something like that, anyway. It’s pretty cool, and I like it, but I felt the game added too much other stuff into the mix.

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Establishing facts (“points”) is part of the game in Epidiah Ravachol’s Lincoln Green. Being of higher level, having advantage, lets you narrate before or after the roll, and ask various levels of questions.

I can’t see a clear divide between task or conflict resolution in some games, they are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes it’s either/or.