Episode 2024.3 Published on 5 April 2024

The Power Roll, and Language & Research | March Roundup

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Velkommen! I'm Jon de Nor and this is Goblin Points - a podcast covering MCDM, the MCDM community, and whatever else MCDM related.

March has been a more interesting month than February, mostly down to the changes in the die system. Let's dive right in.


The Power Roll

The big news of March was the introduction of the Power Roll. The Power Roll replaces both the attack roll and the test roll.

The Power Roll works like this. You roll 2d6 and add a relevant characteristic score. You then compare the result to a set table which explains the effect of the result. The higher the roll, the better the effect.

The table is always the same, and is divided into three tiers. Tier 1, 2 and 3. If you roll a seven or below, you hit tier 1; 8 through 10, you hit tier 2; 11 or higher, tier 3. The numbers for each tier may be changed during future design, but Matt and James seem happy with the numbers at the moment. Once they are set though, they will always be those three sets numbers; they'll not vary based on what you're rolling for.

Attack Rolls

When rolling power for attack, the tiers translate to damage and maybe an effect. Tier 1 does a little damage, and maybe a small effect; tier 2 does moderate damage and a significant effect; while tier 3 does a lot of damage, and a big effect.

It's also possible to deviate from this, where tier 1 does miniscule damage, while tier 3 does massive damage. Maybe each tier only have an effect, and no damage? And it's possible the effect of tier 3 is a different and more severe effect than the one in tier 2.

An example of a damage table could be:

7 or below: 2 damage, move 1 8-10: 4 damage, move 3 11+: 6 damage, move 6

Kits add their bonus to the damage, and they vary how they apply their bonus. The Panther kit might only add +4 damage to tier 3, while Cloak and Dagger adds +1 to all three tiers. A melee kit could add bonuses to melee attacks only, while a ranged kit add bonuses to ranged attacks only.

There has also been some musings about supernatural weapons adding a fourth tier at 13+, which would add extra effects to the result, but I don't think anything like that has been designed or planned.

Critical Success

They've also made critical success only trigger on double sixes, which makes them more rare. But you can roll multiple critical successes in a row, now. You still get an extra turn on a critical success, and if you roll critical success on your extra turn, you get another turn. This could in theory go on forever.

There will most likely not be a critical failure result, as that is antithesis of what they're trying to do.


Tests also use power rolls, and use the same three tier system to determine outcomes. Tests are also divided into two categories: Challenging tests, and severe tests. If something is easy to do, the hero attempting the test should succeed automatically. If it's hard to do, it's a challenging test; and if it's very difficult to do, it's a severe test.

For challenging tests, tier 1 is failure: the hero does not succeed at what they are attempting. Tier 2 is success: the hero succeeds at what they're attempting. While tier 3 is success and a benefit: the hero succeeds at what they're attempting and they get an extra beneficial effect on top.

For severe tests, tier 1 is failure and a consequence: the hero does not succeed and something bad happens. Tier 2 is failure: the hero does not succeed at what they're attempting. And tier 3 is success: the hero succeeds at what they're attempting. If you roll a critical success on a severe test, the hero succeeds and gets a benefit.

In addition to the standard outcomes of tests, specific tests might define their own outcomes for the three tiers.

Edges and Banes

For a little while the boons and banes system was renamed to edges and banes, and it was changed from rolling d4s, to rolling extra d6s: you'd roll one d6 for for each edge and bane, up to a maximum of two extra dice, then pick the two highest results for edges and to lowest for banes.

But this system was scrapped because it made the impact of rolling with an edge or a bane to severe.

+1 and -1

Instead the system was swapped out for the +1 and -1 system. Whenever you have an advantage you get a +1 to your rolled result, and whenever you have a disadvantage you get a -1 on your rolled result. +1s and -1s do stack, but only to a maximum of two, so a +2 or -2 is the max.

Limiting the the number of +1 and -1 to two makes sure that players don't spend a lot of time hunting for extra bonuses. Once you've got two, there are no more benefits to have.

+1s and -1s also cancel each other out. Once you've determined your pluses and minuses, you add them together: a +1 and a -2 gives -1; simple.

It's possible for heroes to add +1s and -1s after the result of a power roll is known. If someone rolls a seven, it's possible for someone else to add a +1 to bump the result from tier 1 into tier 2.

Outside of the +1 and -1, there isn't going to be much that modifies the power roll. Because the range of numbers is so small, a +1 or -1 is already a significant change in the result.

How'd They Get Here?

James also talked a bit about how they got to the power roll. They'd noticed 2d6 damage wasn't fun enough, and contract testers and Patreon testers said the same thing. They started work on trying to find a better system in January and tried multiple different solutions before landing on the power roll.


Monsters also use power rolls in the current design, but that's not set in stone yet. There's also the possibility that monsters may miss if they hit tier 1. Monsters missing and doing no damage is not considered a bug in the game. The Director controls multiple monsters, and having a dud turn is not as significant for them as it is for a player.


Conditions have also changed a bit with the introduction of the power roll. They're still analogue, in that they're accompanied by a severity: On Fire 5. The severity of the condition may now be determined by the power roll, where higher tiers might make the condition more severe.

Characteristics now provide a resistance to conditions. A condition defines it's resisted by might, for example. The target then subtracts their might score from the condition severity. So if someone is set on fire five, with a might score of two, they get set on fire three.

At the end of your turn you still roll 1d6 for each active condition and subtract the result from the condition severity.

It's also possible to stack conditions. That means it's possible for heroes to work together to always keep a monster dazed, for example. This also works well with conditions that get more severe with higher severity, where if you get a condition over a certain threshold, it'll be more effective, or have additional effects.


Skills are now numerous and very specific. Instead of a having a small number of skills which cover broad areas of actions and situations, there are a lot of skills that are very specific. Instead of a general finesse or sleight of hand skill, there are separate skills for picking locks, disarming traps and picking pockets.

Each hero is expected to keep track of which skills they have, and if they may apply to a certain test their making. When the director calls for a test, they only specify which characteristic to add. The player is then expected to ask if they can add a +1 from a skill that is relevant to the test. The director is not expected to know which skills a hero has, or remember the complete list.

Skills now apply a +1 to the power roll. That's a regular +1, which contributes to the maximum of two +1s, and can be canceled by a -1,.


Endurance, which has been removed as a characteristic, lives on as a skill instead. So you'll still be able to endure things.

Language and Research

Matt shared some more details on languages and research. I covered languages in greater detail in the February 2024 episode, which is still the current design, but here's a short summary.

Most people know a common language, but also have a local language they speak. Traditionally certain languages are associated with certain fields of knowledge. The language of the dwarves, for example, is heavily used in engineering. While engineering books may not be written in the dwarven language, a lot of the terminology will be in dwarven.


While doing research, the hero needs a source of knowledge. This is most often a written source. The source may be written in a language not well know, if at all, by the hero. Based on what languages the hero knows, how well they know them, and how closely related the languages are to the language of the written material, affects the time it takes to research a topic in a given language.

If you can read the language of the research material, you can make progress right away. But if you can only read a related language, you have to spend three research points to make two research points of progress. If you can only speak a language in the same family, you'll have to spend two research points to make one research point of progress.

Based on how many pages there are in a book, or how large the source of knowledge is, it might be beneficial to learn the language it's written in first, then do the research. The increased speed of the research makes more than up for the time spent learning a new language.

The rules list sources of knowledge, which language they're written in, and how many pages they are. If the source is written in an old elven language, you can make progress if you know a modern elven language, but it's going to be slow going. You might also have chosen to learn an old elven language during character creation, even the specific language the source is written in. A hero might have a goal to research a specific topic, and knows, from before they became a hero, that they should learn an old elven language to do that more efficiently.


Knowing languages also helps in negotiation. You get 2 extra patience if you know the language of the NPC you're negotiating with.

Character Creation

There has also been some talk about character creation this past month. With the power roll working well, focus has been shifted onto the next step.

Career System

James has started work on the things you pick for what your hero did before adventuring. This includes wealth and favors. Both are currencies which can be used to acquire goods and or services from others. You'll select background options which will grant some of each, most likely.


Titles can also be picked during character creation. They grant small advantages to your hero, but they're not going to give straight bonuses to damage or characteristic scores. You'll also be able to earn titles through play. In fact some titles are only attainable through play.

Matt's goal with titles is to make it so that two players who created the same character should have wildly different characters after 6 months of play. The abilities of the two heroes should not resemble each other. The choices the player's made along the way should matter to such a degree that no two heroes should be too similar.

Leveling up

Advancement has not been worked on properly yet, but it's certain that heroes won't get an increase to their characteristic scores every level. The maximum characteristic score is +3 for a hero, and the maximum for the most powerful monster is +5.

Instead as an advancement, you might get a permanent damage increase to all tiers, or better abilities. Abilities that cost heroic resources to use may at tier 1 do as much damage as tier 3 for one of the "free" abilities.

Matt mentioned that he doesn't want all advancement to be done through leveling up. Titles enable characters to make advancements that are personal and triggered by choice.


Matt and James are currently looking at how money and Wealth will be handled. They haven't landed on anything specific yet, but it's currently looking like Wealth will be pretty abstract. Instead of counting gold pieces, characters have a trait or property which says they are a certain kind of rich. High level heroes might be, build-a-castle-rich, or buy-a-duchy-rich.


The art team has started working on ancestries, and designs for them; both the familiar ones, but also the novel ones from MCDM. Matt showed off initial art for the dragon people and the Memonek.


The dragon people is currently just called Draconians, but they'll get a proper name once Matt has figured it out. The designs of the Draconians have tails, and some with and some without wings.


The Memonek are native to Axium, the plane of utter law. They are machine people, not robots or Warforged. They are made from ceramic, plastic or colored glass. When you cut them they don't bleed, they spill.

Next Play Test Packet

James mentioned that the goal is to release a new patron test package within the second quarter of 2024, but we're currently looking at late June, maybe July. There are external factors that may delay the test packet, and he doesn't want to make any promises yet.

There will also be a backer test packet around the same time. People who didn't back the crowdfunder initially, but pre-order the game will also get access to that packet. It currently looks like they will be different packets; following the principle that patrons are getting a more unpolished, raw version of the game, while the crowdfunder backers will get a more polished version.

It's also possible that there will be some character creation rules included in the next packet to patrons.

Q&A from January

An edited version of the Patreon Q&A from January has been published on Youtube. It's a nice, denser version of the original patron exclusive stream. They've also published a few YouTube Shorts based on clips from the video.


The VTT will support parsing text, not requiring users to enter values manually, but rather express damage and effects in the standard syntax of the RPG and have that work automatically. They also aim to allow users to define their own syntax, allowing parsing of even more text.

The DMHub team has created a dedicated channel in their Discord for the MCDM RPG VTT. The developers are active in both their own Discord, and the MCDM Discord, answering questions about the VTT. They also shared a few videos of the VTT in action.

The MCDM team has tested the VTT, and James was impressed with the early progress. There's already a lot of automation implemented.

Vasloria Box Set

The Vasloria Box Set has not been started on yet. The money is being used to hire new people, who may eventually work on the box set, but work won't start until the core rules are in a much more finished state.


The aim of the license is to be as allowing as possible. They want people to be able to use stuff from the game, just not the text directly. Some of the rules text will probably also be made available, to prevent the need for making up another way of writing "roll 2d6".

Matt also vaguely mentioned something akin to a partner program to help promote people creating things for the RPG.

From the Community

The creativity of the community overfloweth. Here's a few things from the last month.

The Felldrake

Zack has made the Felldrake class, which is a 5e port of the Dragon Shaman and Adept from 3.5e. The Shaman and Adept are implemented as subclasses of the Felldrake class.


DinoVolgJet has made a monster stat block for the dinosaur Longclaw. This after a discussion on the MCDM Discord whether there should and/or would be more dinosaurs in the RPG than in D&D.

The Dice Society

The Dice Society has a new episode out of their podcast covering the new Power Roll. Also, Goblin Points got a shout out! Thanks!

Dameon’s Warlock Overhaul V2 The Witch

DameonVee has made an overhauled version of the Warlock. The overhaul has an intentional witchy vibe and aims to balance the class' resource recovery.

Oblivion Stalker

HanoiCritRoll has created a monster called the Oblivian Stalker. It can make creatures that attack it forget their abilities.

The Nullifier

KingYaga has made a Fighter sub class for fighters with an especial dislike of magic users. The Nullifier is particularly effective resisting spell effects, and dealing damage to creatures with high mental ability scores.

Path of the Death Shaman

Also from KingYaga, Path of the Death Shaman for the Barbarian class. This sub class makes the Barbarian an anti-Shaman, using their own health as a source of power when casting spells.

How to Create Better DnD Monsters

That Italian Guy has made a great video on how to create better and more interesting monsters, without ruining the action economy. There's also a free adventure which uses the monsters designed in the video.

MCDM RPG VTT Discord Channel

The creators of the VTT has created a dedicated channel in their Discord for the MCDM RPG version. They've also tweeted some previews from play tests of the VTT.

The Quartermaster

Harvist has created a Fighter subclass called The Quartermaster. The Quartermaster specializes in using multiple Fighting Styles at the same time.

Juvenile Nightmare Beast

tombombodil has created a juvenile version of their action-oriented Nightmare Beast.

Better Nature Themed Monsters: More Than Entangle

TheNatureGM has created 6 plant and insect themed monsters, inspired by plants from Flee, Mortals! Avoiding the cliché of just entangling the characters, and actually being interesting.

Retainer Sheets

Zephhyr- has made character sheets for retainers. They're half a page large and contain only the necessary fields for a retainer.

Fire Giant Miniboss (CR 7 Solo)

TheHauntedTopHat has created a fire giant mini boss with a unique Heat system that enables it to use powerful legendary attacks. It also comes with a recommended arena layout to fight it in.

Progressive Skill Challenges

Sweatband77 has made a system for progressive skill challenges that sets up options for how make progress towards a goal, while making it more and more difficult. It also includes suggestions for how to reward players based on their success.

Around the Web

I've collected a few links from around the web where MCDM was featured. A couple of them that I want to highlight is the Jagged Edge Hideaway Goblin Box minis crowdfunder by Trenchworx, and the fact that Flee, Mortals! was mentioned as inspiration for the Daggerheart RPG.


If you have anything that should be included next time, send me an e-mail on [email protected].

Links to everything, including this script can be found on goblinpoints.com.

Until next time. Snakkes.