Every day we draw closer to the Home by Dark Kickstarter. As such, I'm going to illuminate some of the unique systems in the game. One of the systems that I believe is unique to the game is that of Belief Dice.
Story games don't usually have as many stats as traditional RPGs if any. In Home by Dark, the only true system description for a character is Belief Dice.
Belief Dice come in two types: Hope Dice and Responsibility Dice.
Hope Dice describe a character's innocence and willingness to believe in the fantastic. Kids are chock full of Hope Dice. They may be aware that magic doesn't exist in the real world, but they can believe that magic exists in another world. It's easy for someone with Hope Dice to believe the fantastic.
Adults don't typically have a lot of Hope Dice. Instead, they usually have Responsibility Dice. They pay bills. They've experienced the reality of life and the experiences that come from it. It isn't necessarily that they're empty drones of cynicism, but they find it hard to believe things can happen outside of their realm of understanding.
Every player character in Home by Dark has a combination of these two dice. That combination of belief dice pretty much describes everything you need to know about a character.
Typically, two Hope Dice describe a kid, two Responsibility Dice describe an adult, and a Hope Die and a Responsibility Die describe a teenager. This is not hard and fast, as there are some adults that lead a protected life and maintain that innocence and kids that have lead difficult lives, having to grow up quick.
To help understand this, I'll use the characters from Stranger Things as examples. When creating characters in Home by Dark, the group starts with a pool of Hope Dice and Responsibility Dice, each equal to the number of players.
SPOILER WARNING: I describe why I chose the dice I did, which reveal plot points about the series.
Out of the whole cast of the series, I'd say 7 of them would be player characters: Dustin, Joyce, Nancy, Mike, Lucas, Jonathan, and Hopper. That means 7 Hope Dice and 7 Responsibility Dice. Here's how I think the group would have picked and why:
Dustin - Dustin is one of the most hopeful characters in the whole series. Hope dice don't mean uneducated. On the contrary: Dustin is the most scientifically minded kid of the group. What makes Dustin so hopeful is that he's instantly willing to accept the fantastic. Eleven has powers? Of course. The Upside Down? Makes sense. Don't close his curiosity door! Belief Dice: 2 Hope
Mike - Mike is another example of complete hope. He had no doubts that the magical and mystical exists. The moment that Eleven showed up, he never questioned her abilities. His faith in the supernatural is unshakeable. But his faith in friendship can be tested. Belief Dice: 2 Hope
Lucas - Lucas is a believer.... eventually. He doesn't take much convincing, but he still doesn't hop on the Eleven train right away. Moreover, he is the rational one of the group. He doubts that Eleven is as effective in finding Will as they are by themselves. He also has a stronger reliability on more conventional search methods. Belief Dice: 1 Hope 1 Responsibility
Nancy - Now Nancy is interesting. I went back and forth on her a couple of times, but ended on focusing on a little of each. When she first saw the Demigorgon, she thought it was a man. A faceless man, true, but a man. It didn't take much convincing for her to quickly believe in the actual Demigorgon. Belief Dice: 1 Hope 1 Responsibility
Jonathan - Jonathan is a quintecential loner teenager. He is self-reliant and wants to do things his own way. He has a strong sense of responsibility. Despite this, he's also very quick to believe in the Demigorgon once he sees a fuzzy picture of it. I mean, it's an 80's picture from a high school photographer! He still believes. Now that's faith! Belief Dice: 1 Hope 1 Responsibility
Joyce - Will's mother starts the series as a very responsible person. She's a single mother. She has systems in place to handle raising two kids and still work her shifts. It's true that she doesn't have an initial opportunity to challenge her faith, but her assumptions about Will's disappearance are based on mundane science. Belief Dice: 2 Responsibility
Hopper - This may come as a shock to you, but Hopper is fully onboard the responsibility train. I know, right? He doesn't believe any of the craziness initially. That body is Will's, Eleven is just a kidnap victim, and people just haven't called home yet. Belief Dice: 2 Responsibility
Now you may be asking yourself a few questions:
"Wait, if Joyce has 2 Responsibility Dice then how could she believe Will talked through the lights?"
"Hopper must have had a Hope Die if he was willing to believe in Eleven."
Well, I've got you covered there, too! There are rules in the book that will explain that, but that means buying Home by Dark. See what I did there?
I'll post soon!
P.S. I'll be running sessions of Home by Dark at GeekGirlCon in the open gaming area! Please come by and join in the fun!