2.1 Dice Pools
In Micronauts, dice are depicted with the usual RPG mechanic, with D followed by the number of sides the dice has. In addition to single dice, there are collections of dice, consisting of different numbers and types of dice. These dice pools are used for all the mechanics in the game.
Every trait used in the game is represented by a dice pool of one or more dice. Larger pools are constructed by combining multiple traits.
Princess Mari has an Agility trait of D12 + D8, and a Duel trait of D8. The dice pool made by adding Agility and Duel would be D12 + D8 + D8.
2.2 Bonus Dice
Some traits are considered bonus dice - they only add once to the pool, even if they apply to more than one trait. There are three types of bonus dice:
Most dice are marked with an upper case D, but the species dice are indicated with a lower case d (in the rules, species dice are also listed in italics). The species dice counts only once, no matter how often they appear in the traits being added together.
- Calling and Fate dice, which are added in certain circumstances (described in the Heroes & Villains section)
- Species dice, which are listed along with the traits they add to.
Prince Acroyear has Endurance D10 + D10 + d10 and Armour D6 + D8 + d10. The dice pool made by adding Endurance and Armour would contain five dice - D10 + D10 + D8 + D6 + d10. The italicised, lower case die only counts once because it represents the same bonus die - the species die.
Any given person or object will have only one set of species dice, although in some cases it may be more than one die.
2.3 Task Rolls
A Task Roll is the simplest use of a dice pool. Simply roll all the dice in the pool, and count the highest die as the value of the roll. Whenever the rules refers to a 'roll' without any other context, it is always referring to a Task Roll.
Princess Mari makes an Agility-Duel roll (D12 + D10 + D6) and gets 6, 4 and 5. The result of the task roll is 6 - the value of the highest die roll in the pool.
A result of 10 on a task roll represents a performance worthy of the limits of realism. An Olympic athlete would be scoring a 10 on their best day. Anything greater than 10 surpasses our normal limits of reality.
Princess Mari is practicing shooting targets with her lasersonic pistol. First, she rolls a 9 for Precision-Blast, hitting the first target very close to the centre. Then, she rolls a 12 for Precision-Blast. She hits a target in the exact centre, and the shot ricochets off some reflective webbing and comes back to shoot the second target in the dead centre too.
Boosts (Optional): players may add 1 to the roll if more than one die has the highest value.
Rolling Agility-Duel, Mari gets 8, 8 and 3. The result of this task roll is 9, one higher than the highest value, since the highest value appears twice. If she had rolled 5, 5 and 5, the result would be 7.
Task rolls are sometimes against fixed targets, and sometimes against other dice pools, as the Gamesmaster dictates.
2.4 Pool Rolls
Whereas a task roll merely provides a single number, in a pool roll every dice rolled counts separately. The resulting pools are compared against each other, as described below.
The character with dramatic necessity on their side (the player characters, the most heroic character, or whomever the Gamesmaster selects) is declared as lead whilst the other pool involved is referred to as the opposing pool.
Seeing it work in practice will help shed some light on this apparently arcane procedure:
- Call out highest lead die. The lead player declares their highest die roll.
- Opposing player selects die. The opposing player selects from their pool the die with the highest roll that is equal to or less than the called roll. If such a die exists, both players remove the respective dice from their pools.
- Repeat. The lead player then calls their next highest die roll. This continues until one of the following has happened:
- every lead die has been removed
- no opposing die remain
- the lead player calls a die roll, and all the remaining opposing die are larger than this value. In this case, all remaining lead dice are removed.
Princess Mari has a pool of
D12 + D8 + D6 + D6, and she is opposing a villain with a pool of
D8 + D6 + D4.
She rolls 8 on the D12, 6 on the D8, 6 on the D6 and 5 on the second D6.
He rolls 6 on the D8, 5 on the D6, and 4 on the D4.
She calls 8; he removes his 6 (leaving 5, 4).
she removes her 8 (leaving 6, 6, 5).
She calls 6, he removes his 5 (leaving just the 4);
she removes her 6 (leaving 6, 5).
She calls 6, he removes his 4, and declares it was his last die
she removes her 6 (leaving 5 on a D6).
At the end, she has a D6 surviving. and the opposing pool has been defeated.
Prince Acroyear has a pool of
D12 + D10 + D8 + D6, and he is opposing a villain with a pool of
D10 + D8 + D6 + D6 + D4.
He rolls 5 on the D12, 9 on the D10, 3 on the D8 and 1 on the D4.
She rolls 9 on the D10, 8 on the D8, 3 on the first D6, 5 on the second D6 and 2 on the D4.
He calls 9; she removes her 9 (leaving 8, 5, 3, 2).
he removes his 9 (leaving 5, 3, 1).
He calls 5, she removes her 5 (leaving 8, 3, 2);
he removes his 5 (leaving 3, 1).
He calls 3, she removes her 3, (leaving 8, 2);
he removes his 3 (leaving just 1 on a D6).
He calls 1, she declares that all her remaining dice are bigger than 1;
he must remove his last die.
At the end, the opposing pool has a D8 and a D4.
Usually, whichever dice survive a pool roll are re-rolled, and their value compared against some other trait. When the survivors are re-rolled, it can be a task roll, or another pool roll.
Criticals (Optional): if criticals are being played with, a lead roll of 10, 11 or 12 removes dice up to the total value rolled. The opposing dice are removed starting with the highest, then the lowest, then the next lowest and so on until removing the next lowest die would cause the total value of die rolls removed to exceed the lead roll.
A certain lead pool has a 12 in it, and the opposing pool contains 7, 5, 3, 1. The 7 is removed, and the 1 and the 3. Total value of removed dice is 11, which is less than 12. The 5 is not removed because then the total value of removed dice would be 16, which is more than 12.
2.5 Slack & Valour
When the Gamesmaster removes opposing dice from a pool in a manner to favour the players, it is called slack. The Gamesmaster does not reveal when they are cutting the players slack; it is a tool for them to maintain dramatic tension.
The best way to provide slack is to always remove the die with the highest number of sides whenever there is a choice of which die to remove (whenever two or more dice have the same die roll showing).
Valour is the opposite of slack. Players try to be valorous by getting the most out of their dice pools. They do this by always removing the die with the lowest number of sides whenever they have a choice of which die to remove.
Of course, everyone is always free to use both slack and valour whenever they please, and neither is the same as cheating which is dishonourable when players do it, and both expected and permitted when Gamesmasters do it, provided it fulfills the One Rule.
The slackest dice pool is the one whose called numbers don't match the numbers rolled at all, but this much slack is not recommended for anyone who is not the Gamesmaster, as their puny souls would wither at the awesome power of superslack.
Previous | Top of this page | Next Section/Chapter