Table of contents for The Dual-Core System
Role playing games often have whats called a “Core Mechanic.” Generally these are ways in which the game determines success or failure when a character faces a challenge. The Dual-Core System features two different core mechanics; a Primary Mechanic which is a simple mechanic that features dice, and a Secondary Mechanic which features playing cards, enriching the game through providing a level of strategy.
The Primary Mechanic consists of rolling two six-sided dice, producing a range of numbers from 2 to 12, and then adding the result to a modifier as defined by the game.
The Secondary Mechanic consists of choosing a card from your hand, and playing it to either adjust or replace your roll. Any time you use a card, you will draw back up to a full hand – normally 5 cards. The simplest way to use the secondary mechanic is to replace your initial die roll by choosing a card from your hand and playing it after you had rolled for the Primary Mechanic. Unfortunately, you cannot choose just any card; each skill is keyed to a specific suit and any cards played on that skill must be of the same suit.
The second way in which the Secondary Mechanic can be used is before the rolling dice for the Primary Mechanic. When you play a card before the rolling dice, it becomes conditional a modifier to your roll; either +1 or -1. Roll over the value of the card, and you receive a +1 to that roll. Roll under the value of that card, and you receive a -1 to that roll. The idea behind this is to make lower valued cards more useful in game-play. Again, you would only be able to use a card suited to the skill you are rolling for.
The cards produce a range of numbers from 1 through 13, with Ace equaling 1, Jack equaling 11, Queen for 12, and King for 13 – slightly higher and slightly lower than the range produced by 2d6. Together, dice and cards produce an average result of 9, providing that you have a hand of five cards. This is two points above the average for the Primary Mechanic alone.
The cards also serve as health indicator. Each character has five health levels, corresponding to the five cards in the player’s hand. As each health level is taking away, the player’s hand size decreases by one card… More about health levels when I discuss combat.
Some of the cards are treated differently than others. For example, Face cards (Jack, Queen, King, and Joker) can be discarded to trigger special abilities, such as magic and psychic powers (depending on the character and/or setting). Jokers can be used as a King of any suit, but forces that player to discard and redraw his whole hand. Aces, when used to replace a die roll, allows the player to draw one of the top three cards of her choosing.
Now, it’s worth to note that six-sided dice and cards are fairly common and cheap; just today I passed a 10 set of dice and a pack of cards in a department store that were on sale for a dollar a piece (USD). Along with paper, writing implements, and a copy of the freely downloadable game rules, you would have everything you needed to play.