Feng Shui Core Mechanic - Keep It

So I'd love to see the mechanics revamped enough that we don't keep having "Jose Garcia" as a recurring excuse for not being able to do cool things with the game. However, the core d6-d6 system is good and should be retained.

There's a lot of to and fro on people claiming what is hard or not. But interestingly enough, I did an experiment with my eight year old and "d6-d6" was her favorite dice resolution method from out of all the common ones. Check the results: geek-related.com/2010/06/12/uber ... od-survey/

Conclusion: if d6-d6 is "hard" it's time to repeat the second grade.

I'm... not sure I agree. I like the core mechanic, it's flavorful and fits the theme, but...

The mechanic breaks down if there is a large discrepancy between the AVs. One PC with a combat AV of 12 in a group with 15s and 16s is going to feel frustrated and useless. Likewise, mooks with a combat AV of 8 (or lower) have almost no hope of hurting the PCs unless they roll a "6" on their positive die.

The exploding mechanic is fun, but it seems like too many things depend on it in order to have cool stuff happen. If you don't roll a six, you get an awful lot of +1/+0/-1 results, which are just not all that interesting. I'd like to see a greater range of results where a PC can get a +4/+5 without having to depend on rolling a 6. I've thought about replacing the 2d6 with 2d10, but that goes too far in the opposite direction... notably, the "Boxcars" result is now 1%, which seems too infrequent for such a high-action cinematic game, and likewise the "Snake Eyes" result (out of ammo) won't happen often enough to be relevant. Maybe 2d8 (with an "I Ching" theme, 8 x 8 trigrams) might work better?

I guess I'd like to see if Feng Shui could work with one of the "newer" systems, like FATE. But I'm not sure if a more "narrative" style system would be able to do proper justice to the "crunchy" aspects of Feng Shui.

It all depends on what you consider the core mechanic of those other games to be. Fate, for example, is a roll of 4dF applied to a value and compared to a target, much like Feng Shui. It has many of the same issues in that the range is very much more often -1/0/+1. In fact, Feng Shui is a little more swingy than Fate, and it seems like that's preferred.

If you start importing other elements of Fate, you get the notion of descriptive aspects that justify the spending of game currency to either reroll the dice or add a flat +2 bonus. Feng Shui's equivalent currency is Fortune Dice, which are a net positive d6 added to your total, which is also flat out better. The downside is that there's no in-game refresh method by which a Feng Shui character can play to a weakness and recover Fortune Dice, and not every character has a Fortune score, so that's that.

Aside from aspects (which also provide a guideline for what sorts of things a character can and can't do outside of their basic application as a Fate Point spending framework) Fate is built around skills (as is Feng Shui) and stunts (equivalent to Feng Shui schticks).

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to many that Feng Shui is and continues to be a huge influence on current game design, not the least of which includes Fate.

I can see where there might be room for that with Feng Shui. When I was last running it, I gave out pieces of candy to each PC for each fortune point, and they could eat the candy to "spend" it. I think I may have even given out at least 1 or 2 at the start of every session, even if the PC currently had a Fortune score of zero.

I could also see a refresh/reward mechanic, where I might reward a player for coming up with something very cool, or deliberately doing something because of their hook. That was one of the things that bothered me abut Feng Shui's hooks, there was no real incentive for the player to use them. Tying it to a refresh or some sort of Fortune point mechanic could be a good way to encourage RPing the hooks (similar to Deadlands hindrances/chips). Maybe tie every hook to a short list of aspects, such as:

Hook: Kid Sister Needs an Expensive Heart Operation
Aspects: Family First, Worse than Poor, Cheapskate, Sucker for Puppy-Dog-Eyes, Extremely Kidnappable Relative

Hook: Pay Off Family Debt
Aspects: Untrustworthy, Criminal Past, Turncoat, Triad Enmity, Bounty Hunters, Big Brother Needs a Favor, Encased in Carbonite

It's worth considering how many Fortune Points you'd want to be active in any given session. Hooks are one area where it's clear some people want more mechanical weight, but others would find that if they didn't pick a good enough hook they'd never have it become part of the story and thus never benefit from that mechanical boost.

I fail to understand why a mook ever SHOULD be able to hurt a player character, myself, although I have actually seen it happen.


This may just be a difference in play styles, but mooks that can't hit the PCs just grates on my nerves. Why am I even rolling for them if the only hope they have is to get a 6 and hope it explodes enough to actually do any damage?

This is why I wrote the "Group Attack" schtick into Glympse of the Abyss, so I could put one of my house rules into the actual print rules: group of mooks that attack together roll once, but add +1 AV for each mook past the first. This makes large groups of mooks very dangerous early on in the fight, but not so much to worry about later once the PCs have gone all "Carnival of Carnage" on them.

Coming very late to Feng Shui, on the heels of the recent beta playtest, and I think this is a very good house rule. I'll try it during tomorrow's game.

Matt Ryan

I prefer the Babylon 5 RPG mechanic. Assign one die as positive and one as negative. Roll both. The lowest adds to AV. So if you roll 2 (negative) and 4 (positive), then add -2 to the AV.

It's less calculations but it will at first give trouble looking at the lowest one.

Rolling 6 removes the opposite die and gives a reroll.

Rolling double gives a reroll.

But combat is way too slow for an action game. For my taste anyway. Even the Feng Shui 2 book suggests using a calculator.

I would prefer a wound system where Toughness determines the number of wounds. Higher rolls gives more wounds.

The above example seems VERY confusing, unintuitive and pretty much removes any relative bell curve or average, from the way I'm reading it.

So let me get this right.

You roll a positive and a negative die.

Instead of subtracting one from the other, you look at the lowest roll on each, and apply that to the AV (positive 2 adds, negative 2 subtracts)?

I can't find in my appreciation for different mechanics, any incentive to get behind this.

It got almost the same probability as 1d6-1d6.

Rolling 1 (neg) and 3 (pos) gives -1 to AV.
Rolling 2 (neg) and 3 (pos) gives -2 to AV.
Rolling 3 (neg) and 3 (pos) gives ±0 to AV.
Rolling 4 (neg) and 3 (pos) gives +3 to AV.
Rolling 5 (neg) and 3 (pos) gives +3 to AV.
Rolling 6 (neg) and 3 (pos) removes the positive dice and re-rolls the negative one, re-rolling any sixes. (This is the only one result that wont follow the probability curve.)
Rolling 6 (neg) and 6 (pos) gives a reroll that will make the outcome become a critical one.

I don't think AV differences between players are unfun because of the +/- d6 mechanic. I think the differences are unfun because AV determines how often you hit, what stunts you can do, how hard you hit, how often you are hit, how much damage you do, and how much damage you take.

Of course it's going to be unfun to have a single number dictate every single thing about combat.

One way to improve your Mooks is give them a Schtick I call Group Attack

A mook instead of attacking a character independently can chose to combine forces with other mooks. This adds +1 to hit and +2 damage for every mook beyond the 1st. So if 5 mooks gang up on 1 PC they get a +4 bonus to hit and a +8 damage. This represents mooks using superior numbers to gang-attack a single foe. This usually is enough to pose a threat to most PC`s and make them think twice about engaging one versus a lot of mooks. If you think the damage bonus is too high though you could just make it 1 for 1.