City of Judas has a very interesting mechanic called the momentum die which replaces the “take +1 forward” of…

City of Judas has a very interesting mechanic called the momentum die which replaces the “take +1 forward” of…

City of Judas has a very interesting mechanic called the momentum die which replaces the “take +1 forward” of several moves. What do folks think about this?

At the beginning to the session, set aside a D6 and set it to one. This is the momentum die. When you roll for a move, you may exchange one of the dice in your roll with the momentum die. If you do, set the momentum die back to one.

When a move or effect tells you to take +X forward, increase the momentum die by X instead. (For example, the Paladin’s Charge! move tells you to take +1 forward when you lead the charge into combat. Instead, increase the momentum die by one.) The value of the momentum die cannot be reduced below one, nor can it exceed the maximum value of the die.

This also opens up the possibility of advanced moves that hack the momentum die (making the die a D8 instead of D6, starting at higher than one, etc.)

10 thoughts on “City of Judas has a very interesting mechanic called the momentum die which replaces the “take +1 forward” of…”

  1. I’d grab this in a heartbeat if I had a player reluctant to engage in any ‘dice rolling’ level risks.

    Heck, I might let players pick whether to use this individually.  It sounds plausible.

  2. There were a couple of things that I had in mind when I decided to add this to the game.

    The first is the real reason: this die gives you the possibility to build up advantages and play them all together (i.e. when you get to a 5 or 6) for what really matters.

    I don’t care much for the single plus or minus one, but if they build up into something heroic or meaningful, that’s great (and I already see patterns: players really trying to build a high score there, and others playing instead other choices for more immediate returns, instead of increasing their die).

    The other thing.. well, at least at my table(s) we often lose track of a plus or minus one, ongoing or forward…

    It doesn’t break the game of course, but having all those plus and minus one transformed into something physical (a die in front of you) make it easier to remember.

  3. Both good points. I think that some players try to hard to collect bonuses so they can never fail, this seems like it would cut down on bonus stacking a lot.

    I may steal this mechanic to make it part of a party mechanic, similar to the party sheets from Warhammer Fantasy.

  4. I love the Momentum Die mechanic, and hereby yoink it to my Numenera campaign.

    I wonder however if using this throws the DW die roll too far? Certain tasks are virtually certain to succeed, given the bell curve distribution of 2d6. 

    Momentum Die is excellent, but seems better suited to other games.

  5. Michael Barry​ Who cares? The point isn’t to create mechanical challenges but narrative ones, if they’re having great rolls, great! Make the situation harder or more complex.

  6. Michael Barry Ari Black take my comment with a grain of salt (I am the author of the game and I’ve seen this in action a looooot, but on the other hand I’m biased to see the positive side of it, I guess).

    What I’ve seen is this: often my players used it to turn a 6- into a 7-9, more often than a 7-9 into a 10+… In the few occasions when it was used to get a 10+ usually was towards the end of the session (if you don’t use it, it’s a waste: next session you start with the reset to 1 anyway).

    Now, using it to achieve a 7-9 of course is more interesting usually than if it’s used for a 10+… but anyway City of Judas can be quite harsh as a game, so I have anyway plenty of occasions to make my GM moves (i.e. in combat I make a GM move also on a 7-9, not just on a 6-).

    When it was used to get to a 10+ it was at some crucial moment towards the end of the session (i.e. a classic “boss fight”). In those moment, the players really loooooved to have this little trick up their sleeves. Those who were patient enough to built up a decent score and managed to use it to turn a fight around, were of course very pleased. And it’s nice, it rewards a slow building up bonuses exactly towards this type of moments.

    The other thing: it indeed requires build up. Sometimes you get a + 1 to this die as default result among your moves, but sometimes (often) you need to decide it to take for example 2 nice options from a move, or just take 1 but at the same time increase the die (for future use).

    It makes for interesting choices: get all the good stuff now, or stash a bonus to reclaim later down the road?

    Now, of course if you have questions I am happy to answer them. There is a G+ community for the game (City of Judas) and of course if you want to join there you’re welcome.

  7. Heiko Stapf, in Numenera it would be an Asset that reduces the target difficulty of a roll.

    The Difference is that d20 has a flat distribution; 2d6 is bell-shaped with 7 most common. In that case a plus 1 is a significant change, with a plus 5 (say, 2 from Attribute and 3 from the Momentum Die) making a success virtually certain.

    Still, it’s just a consideration.

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