Impression of Dishonored

So today I finished reading Modiphius’ Dishonored RPG. I was interested in it because of the what I had heard about the computer game, but I had no real information on the setting of the game, just a few vague memories about the advertising campaign. I also knew nothing about the system that the game uses, but I was interested in learning more about the 2d20 system. I don’t know how much this particular implementation has tweaked the 2d20 system (especially when it is referred as a "fast-paced version"). What I found is that this is a very interesting system, I don’t know that it takes the place of my favorite Savage Worlds, but there was a lot that I found that I liked.

First off, the setting, which I see a lot of similarities with Blades in the Dark. Which are really Blades in the Dark was influenced by the video game that this product was based on. With that said, aside from seeing how the setting was an influence of Blades in the Dark, it was surprisingly disappointing to me. It felt like there was not enough information on the setting, and I kept looking for more information and more importantly maps of the known world, and they just were not there. I don’t know if there is more information in the video games, or if the decision was made to limit the information in the game because it was expected that anyone who picked up this game had already played the videos games. So the setting was mostly limited to Dunwall and Karnaca each with a chapter and a third chapter that covers the islands of Morely, Tyvia, and the High Seas. Since I don’t really know the setting, I found the setting information not as fulfilling, but I was given enough to see how this could be used as a precursor setting for Blades in the Dark.

The other thing that I wish I knew more about was the Void. Again I don’t know how much information is in the game, but I was pretty curious about it and looking for more information. Though based on what was in the chapter on the Void, it is supposed to be mysterious and rare, which makes me wish they had explicitly called it out as something that the player’s shouldn’t have access to.

What I did like was the rules for the game. At a most basic, you roll 2d20 and try to get a number less than your skill plus style. The game is has six skills (Fight, Move, Study, Survive, Talk, and Tinker), and I love this skill list. It is something special covering broad categories without going into too much details. There are also six styles (Boldly, Carefully, Cleverly, Forcefully, Quietly, and Swiftly). I love that you can mix an match skills and styles to come up with a target number to roll under. So in certain circumstances you might roll against a Fight plus Forcefully if you are charging your opponent, and other times you might roll a Fight plus Quietly if you are attacking someone from ambush. Each dice you roll under the total gives you one success, if you roll a 1 on a die, you get two successes. In most cases, you only need one success to succeed on a task. Another aspect of the game is you gain Momentum when you roll more successes than you need for the task. These points of Momentum can be saved or spent when earned, but you can only have six at any time. Momentum can be spent on buying extra d20s for a roll, Create Truth, or ask a question. Another important thing about Momentum is that it fades over time if you don’t spend it all, so at the start of every scene, your Momentum total goes down by one. Truths that are created by spending Momentum are similar to Aspects from Fate which makes them powerful and pretty cool, but I don’t feel like there was enough discussion on them.

Another thing that I really liked about this game was the Chaos Pool. The Gamemaster starts with a pool of two chaos points per player, and certain actions taken by the players can increase the pool. The points in the pool can also be used to buy extra d20s for a roll, to Create a Truth, or prevent a player from creating a truth. One of the things that I found very interesting was that reckless murder adds 5 chaos points to the pool. The setting or game actually discourages the players from killing when it is not necessary. Such a refreshing change that I was surprised to find in a role playing game based on a computer game.

The final thing that I wanted to mention is this game makes use of a count down clocks, though the game calls them tracks. It also made me realize something as I was reading it (that Hit Points from D&D are basically a count down clock for monsters). The entire chapter on running the game blends a lot of different systems together, and I found that I really enjoyed reading it and will want to reference it for a number of other games.

All in all, I really liked the game, and I am glad that I got it. I want to read some more games that make use of this system just to see how it was changed for this particular implementation as opposed to a standard implementation of the 2d20 system.

Author: Hours without Sleep

I am a professional software tester, who has an interest in programming, computers, role-playing games, history, and reading in general. This is my third attempt at keeping a blog, and I am going to try putting all of my thoughts in one place, and see how it goes.

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