Dice in the pair used for Complex 214 and The Dee Sanction have symbols on them, intended to help focus the story. The symbols include: equipment, surveillance/vigilance, access, the system, them, and mutation/magic.
In practice, when you roll the dice initially, the symbol rolled can help understand – plotwise – what helped the challenge succeed or fail. Even if the player rolls a fail and then adjusts it with counters, the symbol applies.
For example, in a scuffle against three thugs in a cluttered room, a fail rolled with the ‘Equipment‘ symbol might suggest the character misses when he stumbles over a chair. On the other hand, a success might indicate the enemy fell over the chair or the character managed to use the guard on their sword to catch and skew the enemies aim before delivering a slash. A success with teamwork could mean that another character shoves a table backward into the path of the enemy causing them to dodge into the oncoming path of your weapon.
In my first game of The Dee Sanction, one player rolled a failure with the ‘Equipment‘ symbol and skidded in a pool of blood catching himself on the furniture. In the game this weekend, a character failed a roll to glean information from bar clientèle with a ‘Them‘ result, which meant they didn’t get any useful information, but their enquiries led to someone, looking mildly suspect, slipping out of the bar, probably off to inform an interested party.
It worked well enough that, after a short while, the players started referring naturally to the symbols themselves. I have them referenced on the character sheet – with a brief word of explanation – but, I think, a little more obvious urging and guidance should have them flavouring the narrative themself. The die isn’t the be-all-and-end-all; the symbols provide a nudge as a tool for story advancement, not a rod for the players’ backs.
As mentioned yesterday, with the introduction of the new Incriminating Evidence mechanic, the teamwork dynamic and counter economy clicked in well. The session felt like it worked well and the feedback at the end seemed to carry that feeling. That the players engaged with the system and each other – despite being relative strangers at a convention – made for a very positive experience. Obviously, I remain keenly aware that I have a long way to go – but, this made me feel more confident I’m going the right way (in some measure) with both adventure and system.