octaNe, and old love of mine

octaNe. A true storygame classic. I bought the book as soon as it hit the shelves, and I was never disappointed. octaNe uses “scene resolution” most of the time. That means, conflicts are resolved with one roll of the dice. Hm.

How can I resolve octaNe conflicts in a way that keeps them exciting for the players? In a nutshell, conflict resolution in octaNe works like this: A threat has a hazard rating. Each Hazard Point neutralizes one of the player’s dice, always the highest one. The dice left after the Hazard determine who gets control of the scene.

For example: A T-Rex controlled by a mad dwarf scientist sitting in a bulletproof cockpit welded onto the dinosaur’s head is, say, Hazard 2. The T-Rex attacks a completely surprised Lucha Livre wrestler. The player rolls the usual 3d6 and comes up with 2,4,5. The two highest roll results, 4 and 5, are “eaten” by the Hazard, leaving only the 2. In octaNe, a 2 means the gamemaster has complete control over the scene – exactly the constellation found in the traditional game. Now everyone involved in the game would play the whole thing out.

The scene would, at least in my eyes, lose tension.

If, instead of subtracting the Hazard Rating from the players’ dice results in one go, I were to tell a short back and forth with the player for each single Hazard point before subtracting the next point of Hazard, it would considerably increase the tension for the players. In comparison to the example above, a Hazard 2 would have two scenes, “snapshots”, of the wrestler’s fight against the T-Rex.

And most importantly, the player doesn’t know the opponent’s Hazard Rating. Does the fight already stop after one scene? After two? Or does it last even longer?

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