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Now I'll present a few alternatives that subvert some of the design philosophies of the Push system, but that might fit better the type of game you have in mind. Use them at your own risk.

Guided play

If you really wanted to, you could have a person with a role analog to a Game Master in most cooperative (and solo) games without any tweaks in the rules themselves, as long as this person works more as a facilitator than as a traditional GM.

For Push, my idea is that a Guide, if existent, should fill these roles:

  • Help role play NPCs and describe the scenes
  • Explain how the dice work
  • Offer suggestions for complications and setbacks
  • Help frame questions for The Oracle (not answer them)
  • Describe how the world reacts to characters' actions
  • Suggest what happens next
  • Help interpret the quest matrix and weave the story together
  • Help share the spotlight among players

It shouldn't be a part of a Guide's job to define what is true in the world, what the limits of what a character can do are, how and when the rules apply. They don't have any kind of special authority here. They should offer suggestions and guidance, but ultimately it is the group's responsibility to make the game their own. A guide would be there to help them achieve that.

That means no prep, either. What a Guide could do is create their own Quest Sheet and offer it to the group, as long as they (the Guide) are willing to let go of their preconceptions of what those prompts should mean, and are excited to let players take those ideas and run with them.

Altering the roll

Alright, alright. I know the concept of having a roll not be influenced by character abilities may sound alien and counter-intuitive, so here are some (of the many) ways you could insert modifiers to the core mechanic:

  • Advantage: players roll 2d6 and pick the highest when they're doing something that belongs to an area of their character's expertise.
  • Threshold: the Strong Hit range becomes 5 to X, where X is the character's ability score. So a character with Persuasion 8 would score a hit with any result between 5 and 8.
  • Threshold 2: the Strong Hit range becomes X to 6, where X is the character's ability score. So a character with Persuasion 3 would score a hit with any result between 3 and 6.
  • Resource pool: Characters have a resource pool they can spend 1 to 1 to increase the result of the first roll or decrease the second one.
  • Expendable traits: Characters can spend their traits to bypass a roll altogether and declare it a Strong Hit. They refresh their traits after performing a downtime activity meaningful to your game.

There are countless other alternatives, but I'd strongly advise you to try using only the core mechanic at least once to get a feeling of it. You might realize (as I did) you don't need to modify the roll after all. Or you may think I lost my mind and there's no way it could possibly work without stats.

Objective success and failure

If you feel you need more concrete standards to determine victory or defeat, here's how I would do it:

  • Give each character an amount of Energy, HP, Mana, or some other form of life resource. Let's say 5 per character.
  • Give the challenge or the scene an amount of Resistance, HP, Risk, or some sort of measurement of how much the characters will have to work to overcome it. Let's say something between 5 and 10.
  • A Strong Hit would reduce the Challenge by 2; a Weak Hit would reduce the Challenge by 1 and the character's Energy by 1; a Miss would only reduce the character's Energy by 1.
  • If a character reaches 0 Energy, they're defeated.
  • If the Challenge is brought to 0, it is overcome. Move on to the next Challenge.

See, this could work, but it brings a lot of philosophy changes to the table. Dice rolls are now penalizing, so they won't be as much a player choice as before. Now they should always and only roll when there's a potential risk, as most games do. So make sure that's the experience you want to bring to the table before you make this decision.

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