05 July 2021

Meet Your Calamity

To my knowledge — and I shall correct myself if I am mistaken — the first role-playing game to employ a wild die was Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game. Referred to as the "Ghost Die," it was included in every dice pool and bore the Ghostbusters insignia in place of the 6. Whenever a Ghost was rolled, something disadvantageous happened to the player character affected, regardless of whether the roll indicated success or failure and regardless of whether the roll was made by a player or the Ghostmaster. Other role-playing games would adapt this idea, referring to it as a Wild Die, Drama Die, etc. Some would assign the negative effect to the 1 instead of the 6; some would even add a positive effect to the 6. Some would include the wild die in the dice pool; others would make the wild die something to be rolled in addition to the dice pool. Many game systems have utilized the wild die in different and interesting ways, and the Awfully Cheerful Engine!, inspired as it is by Ghostbusters, has introduced its own innovations. Please meet the Calamity Die.

As with most other dice pool games, the Awfully Cheerful Engine! has assigned the negative effect (the "Calamity") to the 1 rather than the 6. Unlike Ghostbusters, the negative effect only takes effect if the roll is a failure, and it only effects the player character who rolled it. (I think this is a splendid decision.) The other difference here is that it is one's fellow players who dictate the nature of one's Calamity. Hopefully, this leads to hilarious or at least entertaining results befitting a comedy role-playing game, but if the players are reticent, I'm sure the Director (GM) can rise to the occasion.

Learn more about the Awfully Cheerful Engine! from EN Publishing.

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