Going Non-Binary – The Narrative Dice System

Genesys Dice

If you’ve never played a game using the Narrative Dice System, it takes some getting used to–but it’s totally worthwhile. The Narrative Dice System (“NDS”) is used in two Role Playing Game systems created by Fantasy Flight Games; the Star Wars role playing games (Edge of the Empire, Force and Destiny, Age of Rebellion), and their recently published Genesys RPG system. We love using it for the Melting Plot podcast because it encourages more creative outcomes to actions.

The Narrative Dice System is different compared to other RPGs in that you don’t just succeed or fail. The NDS introduces another axis to your rolls with Advantage and Threat, Triumph and Despair. Instead of binary success or failure, results using the NDS can vary widely.

For example, when shooting a firearm in a binary “succeed or fail” system, you shoot your weapon and you hit or you miss. With the Narrative Dice System, there is often advantage or threat as well, so you hit or miss with additional effects.

A success with advantage might result in not only hitting your target, but also causing another positive effect related to the attack. Maybe your target falls prone or drops his or her weapon. A success with threat may represent hitting your target but granting one of their allies a benefit against you. A failure with advantage might be missing your target but hitting another advantageous object (like the control panel used to close the blast doors).

Triumph and Despair represent even more interesting outcomes. These symbols have 2 parts. They add a respective Success or Failure, and they also count as something of a “super” advantage or threat – think of it like critical success or fumbles in a traditional system. You can have some wild results, like a Success with Threat and Despair. The fun and challenging part is determining how to adjudicate the results.

Of course, you’ll hear plenty of great examples in the Melting Plot podcast! If you have any questions or comments about the system, post them below!  And of course, if you like our show, please rate, review, and subscribe!

Your expendable imaginary friends,
The Melting Plot cast

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