Trilemma Adventures wrote a blog post about an experiment in game design they’re calling MOSAIC Strict. I thought it was neat, and seemed like a good opportunity to writeup how I resolve actions in games where I don’t have dice or paper for character sheets.
MOSAIC Strict has 6 rules. The post linked above explains each one in a little more detail, but I’ll recap them quickly.
1. Modular: Any game text that explicitly claims to be an entire, complete RPG is not Mosaic Strict.
2. Optional: Any game text that describes itself as necessary for play is not Mosaic Strict.
3. Short: Mosaic Strict game texts are no more than 1500 words.
4. Attested: Mosaic Strict texts say they are Mosaic Strict.
5. Independent: Mosaic Strict texts do not refer to the mechanics or quantified state in any other game text.
6. Coreless: assume nothing else is in use beyond free-form play
That’s it. Pretty neat, worth giving a try! Here’s my attempt.
Guess a Number Resolution
For 2 or more players. When a player narrates an action or change to a scene and the players agree that the outcome of that action or change is in question, a player besides the narrating one is designated the Guess Master (GM for short) and they secretly choose a number between 1 and 10 and asks the narrating player to Guess. The range wraps around, that is, 1 is as close to 10 as 9 is.
If the action or change being described is performed by a character who has a knack for it, or circumstances make the Narrating Player’s (NP’s) desired outcome more likely, their Guess must be within 2 (e.g. GM selects 9, NP guesses 7) for the NP’s desired outcome to happen. If they guess exactly correct then the Guess Master may add a detail that enhances or supports the NP’s desired outcome.
If the action or change being described is performed by a character who has no special knack for it, nor circumstances making the Narrating Player’s (NP’s) desired outcome more or less likely, their Guess must be within (e.g. GM selects 5, NP guesses 6) for the NP’s desired outcome to happen. If they guess exactly correct then the Guess Master may add a detail that enhances or supports the NP’s desired outcome.
If the action or change being described is performed by a character who has a specified lack of skill, or circumstances make the Narrating Player’s (NP’s) desired outcome less likely, their Guess must be exactly correct (e.g. GM selects 9, NP guesses 7) for the NP’s desired outcome to happen.
If the GM determines that the NP’s narrated action or change to the scene is impossible within the constraints of the story or setting, they may ask the NP to adjust their description to make it possible.
If the NP’s Guess isn’t close enough, the GM narrates a different outcome.
OPTIONAL: You may designate one player to always be the Guess Master.
Examples of Play
The scene takes place inside a narrow canyon, barely wide enough for the wagons of a caravan to pass through. Grogar is the front guard for such a caravan, and bandits have just dropped a large boulder on the first wagon. It’s an ambush! Some above, but many appearing ahead, just around the bend.
Player 1 (NP): Grogar lifts the boulder off the wagon and hurls it towards the approaching bandits, hopefully crushing some and blocking the rest.
Player 2 (GM): Well Grogar is a brute with monstrous strength, so this is very likely. Let me think of a number. Okay, you may guess within 2.
Player 1 (NP): 6?
Player 2 (GM): 8, that’s a success. Grogar has bought himself a little time.
Player 3: Bandits are rappelling down into the canyon. Risalio has been keeping watch, and sends a telekinetic blast in their direction.
Player 1: I don’t know, keeping watch above? Plus the blast could dislodge rocks and cause a collapse.
Player 3 (NP): Risalio used to be a lookout for a petty gang in their home city. They’re very observant to danger.
Player 1 (GM): Oh, true. Okay, but it’s still risky. Guess within 1.
Player 3 (NP): 3?
Player 1 (GM): Bang on! Risalio gets to go full force with the blast, they just restrict the wedge so it doesn’t touch the walls of the canyon.
Player 4: Most of the hit bandits are incapacitated or dead. Somebody’s got to do cleanup. Slik pulls her daggers out and takes care of the rest.
Player 2: There are a lot of them. I don’t know if Slik can get to all of them.
Player 4: Slik is very fast.
Player 3: No doubt, I just don’t think they’re going to wait for you to come do it.
Player 4 (NP): Okay, she’s not alone then. The guards are helping out, but I really want Slik to look like a badass!
Player 2 (GM): I think it will be hard to stand out, you’ve got to guess exactly to look like a badass.
Player 4 (NP): 10!
Player 1 (GM): Oh, so close. It was 1. Slik doesn’t stand out, she plays it pretty smart and ends up getting to more of the incapacitated ones.
Player 4: One away? Ugh, that’s what I get for show-boating.