Gaming Thursday: Aurora Results

Alright!  With a gaggle of sessions under our proverbial belts, our Star Wars game and my new ruleset that powers it have been going great.  Thus far, things have run very smoothly and has already fueled a lot of great moments.  There’s still some rules gaps and wrangling to do, but the base document is pretty much complete (if written completely in point form language).  I’m not quite ready to share it yet, but I will try to get back to writing its big gestures and intents.  Until then, here several cool things that have emerged thus far, specifically around core Aurora Engine elements:

Getting the MoS(t) out of your roll – The fully integrated MoS (and MoF) mechanic for every skill test has been working out great, providing good narrative guidance on both ends of the success/failure spectrum.  It’s extra great when the players take it and run, suggesting the outcomes that allow them to both shine and, well, the opposite.  In a way, like it is in Mouse Guard, narrating your failure can be as interesting and character defining as one’s success (not to mention it makes the failure sting less).

Getting the MoS(t) out of your roll 2 – For the players, this is also their first encounter with a system where weapon effect is directly tied to (and only to, no separate roll) the Margin of Success on the ‘to hit’ roll.  And they love it.  It’s intuitive and it’s exciting to see great success on the skill test pay off.  Plus, it allows for a nice way to differentiate between weapons, tweaking how much base damage versus how much extra per MoS each one does.

The temptation of buying extra dice for success – That’s not to mean the players want to fail all the time, and I am positively delighted with how often the players are willing to engage with this mechanic (even more so surprised and pleased how often they want to do so before they even roll and guarantee some narrative penalty – again, taking agency for one’s own follies).  Besides allowing them to avoid an unwanted or untimely failure, the consequences have been great for creating interesting and flavourful situations, and some great RP.  Even something as simple as “take a -1d from slipping because you’re atop piles of junk” has worked great, allowing the character to avoid that blaster bolt while leaving them half sprawled and unsteady for a round.  But we’ve had even more interesting and amusing consequences, including dropping a blaster rifle to avoid falling off a rope into the depths of a crashed ship (thus losing the rifle), stressed starship engines, accidental credit transfer, and just last game we ended with one player hanging on for dear life on the edge of a speeding speeder as they overreached in order to slice at a foe on an opposing speeder.   Very adventurous moments!

The other beauty of those extra dice – One thing that I hadn’t counted on but that is a nice surprise is that given how MoS is calculated (ie counting extra dice once you’ve reached 15), even buying a single extra die might turn the roll from a near failure into an MoS of 2 if you roll well enough on that extra die.  It wonderfully adds to the heroic epicness.

Ease of creating opponents and setting challenges – On the GM side, the “5d = Entry Level Professional” baseline has been absolutely fabulous for quick NPC and creature creation.  There’s no need to complete a full character creation, I only need to ask myself “about how good would this person/thing be at this?” and then peg it to that 5d level.  Players do something unexpected and take a different tack with an NPC?  Meet someone unexpected?  I forgot to do design the nasty creature they’re encountering?  No problem!  Ask that question, gauge the value, and play continues.

More soon as we continue to play and the system gets more and more “in-the-field” playtesting!

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