Converting A Dirty World to WoD-style dice pools

A Dirty World cover

A Dirty World

Greg Stolze’s A Dirty World is one of my favorite game designs. It’s inspired several of my own.

To summarize: each of your Identities (attributes) and Qualities (skills) is part of an opposed pair. So, for example, Purity opposes Corruption. Since together each trait pair can’t total more than seven, gaining one often means losing the other.

The intent is that your character’s Qualities will fluctuate regularly throughout a session, as you make choices and get into conflicts, and your Identities will do so more occasionally.

Like a lot of Greg’s work, it uses the One Roll Engine. ORE is a really clever design whereby you roll a dice pool and group the dice showing the same result into sets. The rules use both the Height (the result number) and the Width (the number of dice in the set).

This is a great trick that packs a lot of information into a single roll. However, I count dice very slowly, so when I’ve played ORE games, things tend to bog down a bit.

That’s a long preamble to saying that I’ve converted A Dirty World to WoD-style success counting without changing many of the other mechanics. I’m a little concerned about how damage works, but otherwise I think it’s pretty play-ready.

Core resolution

Difficulty

How hard things are. Ranges from 1-10, only rarely exceeds 1.

Simple actions

Simple actions are actions where no one — or nothing is opposing you. Roll your pool; any roll greater than or equal to 7 is a success, and a single success gets you what you want.

Contested actions

Someone is trying to oppose you. Each of you rolls as if for a simple action. Whoever has more successes get their way.

Multiple actions

Multiple actions require you to roll your lowest relevant pool, and to divide successes between the actions.

Conflict

Conflict is a contested action between two characters. Whoever wins the contested action gets to deal damage to the other character.

Initiative

Each player rolls a d10 at the start of the round. The player with the highest result goes first. (This could be more involved, but I haven’t thought of a good way to handle it yet.)

Weapons

Weapons add their value to dice pools. They’re divided into three categories:

  • Minor (+1): Physical weapon (kitchen knife, broken off bottle), intellectual surprise (like unexpected testimony), or emotional secret (embarrassing personal detail).
  • Serious(+2): Physical weapon (hand gun, fire ax),  intellectual surprise (proof of wrongdoing), emotional secret (revealed sin, blackmail).
  • Horrendous(+3): Physical weapons (submachine gun, hand grenade), intellectual surprise (incontrovertible truth), emotional secret (a life-wrecking personal secret)

Damage

When you take damage, consult this chart.

Successes Result
1-3 Slide the Quality you rolled one down.
4 Remove a point from the Quality rolled. If you can’t do so, remove a point from the Identity you rolled.
5+ Remove a point from the Identity rolled.

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