Doom and momentum

Ok I need some help … we have been running the game(RAW) and for my grp its been creating problems.
Before I describe the problem, let me just say that I have been playing with these guys for years, so I cant just find a new grp :slight_smile:

The players just keep keep buying extra dices when they roll … thus flodding me in doom(that I then use to buy extra dices for the NPCs) but it just creates a silly wierd situation where we roll 5 dices constantly.
I know I can use the doom for traps, reinforcements ect ect but that part of the system(to our grp at least) feels to take that and GM vs players that it sours the game.

So what I am asking is has anyone experienced this before? and if so how did you resolve it?
Has anyone tested variants with no doom and momentum or a variant where you get and use it in a different way?

Thank you for any advice

I am not sure what to tell you. The players are choosing to flood the GM with a mechanic they know can make things difficult for them and then choosing to see it as confrontational. I see it as the furthest thing from being confrontational. It is 100% an outcome of their making.

There is absolutely time the players should use doom, but the use SHOULD result in a build up of, “Oh god, what is going to happen”, it should not result in the players feeling, “Oh great the GM is gonna kill us and win.”

If you have all been playing together for a long time, I think the best thing you guys can do it sit down and discuss what you want from the system, and why they see it as confrontational.

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We have talked about it but as the players see it(and I can see where they are coming from) the more dices they grab(+3 on every attack roll) the more momentum the get.
That leads to better damage, penetration, extra attacks(+3 dices) … they always parry adding more doom(+3 dices on parry).
So I sit there flooded with dices, and is left with the feeling that the system feels “broken” for lack of a better word.

A list of house rules was posted on the G+ group that included a combined pool. I’ve not read it but it may give you some ideas.

My group was getting accustomed to mopping up squads and breezing through combats because I was only using doom to add to my dice pool and that wasn’t a deal breaker. Then we had a bigger combat and I used the accumulated doom pool to have the Nemesis giant attack first, with extra dice, and then us a swift action to attack again with a Threat that spread panic. With half the group stunned and the main fighter suffering 2 Harm before the fight started, it was a stiff reminder to the players that doom is a bad thing and now they are much more mindful of letting me collect too much.


Also, as a principle, I try not to use doom given to me as part of an attack, to immediately increase whatever reaction I might take. I’m not suggesting this fixes the issue, but in general it reduces the sense of immediate escalation (player gives 3 doom to GM to add 3 dice to Melee, GM immediately uses those 3 doom to add 3 dice to Parry).

Let the doom pile up a bit then do something truly regrettable from a player perspective.

Thank you we will try the alternate rules you suggested :slight_smile:

This feels like the core of the problem - players willing to benefit from Doom, but unwilling to accept that it can be spent back at them in turn. A core part of Doom’s function is that players adding to Doom is permission for Doom to be used against them in turn.

Now, this is very much a player issue, so I’d be hesitant about trying to use the rules as a fix without having a proper conversation with your players first.

Beyond that, stripping back the more narrative side of Doom, and the ability for Players to buy dice by adding to it, and using it as an NPC Momentum pool (NPCs generate it, NPCs spend it) is the simplest option, though I personally find that the game is less action-packed when you do that.

My preferred approach is regular small Doom spends to keep things flowing and to avoid the notion that Doom is only for big, life-or-death spends (you’ll still want to save up some for the big tense scenes, though); if nothing else, this also means that you not spending Doom can become associated with a sense of foreboding. Narrating along with it helps - buy an extra die for an NPC’s test and say that they’re especially angry, or determined, or desperate (a single descriptor is fine) and try to associate the way you spend Threat with the events occurring in the game (only bring in reinforcements if you’ve had an NPC call out for help or sound an alarm, for example). Foreshadowing and narration can go a long way to making Doom feel less obtrusive to players.

Or, an alternative, something borrowed from development on the 2d20 System version of Achtung! Cthulhu: whenever you spend several Doom in one go (3+ points is a good threshold for this), all the players get a bit of bonus XP (20XP should be enough). That means that the players get rewarded for the tougher situations that come from Doom being spent, so they’ll be less averse to you spending it.


Ooo, I like this part :slight_smile: Might adopt it for my Conan sessions.

@ogedei is pretty spot on. At first, when I first started to run this game. I ended up at the end of the game with loads of doom left over. Over time, my players was just destroying everything I put in front of them.

But then I slowly started to get the hang on how to best use it, and the combinations. I then told the players, that if they keep giving me doom to spend, I plan on using it. So warning them, helped. But finding that balance between keeping it challenging for the players and a cake walk or a total player kill session takes a little practice (Players and GMs alike)

But its also a system, which forces you to think differently on how you play and GM it too, as this is far from a traditional system.

But warning your players, and seriously telling them that if they use DOOM (which in most cases, they really do not need too) there will be a consequence, as it is DOOM after all, and not “good will” tokens they are giving you. May help a bit.

Now, most players will seldom buy 3 dice with doom, if they think they can do it with out it.

The games got that much more exciting and enjoyable after…


TY everyone :slight_smile:

I make it a point to spend doom periodically as they give it to me. I don’t always tell them what I spent it on (sometimes I’m literally just emptying the bowl a little because my players give me a lot of doom on observation rolls for some reason) but I always lift it up and show them I am spending it. It is a little thing but it shows them that doom gets spent and that it isn’t a free resource for them to spend as they want. Check out the doom spends too. You can do some seriously interesting things for a relatively small amount of doom.

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It’s useful to consider what Doom has the potential to do, and this is the kind of thing that I’ve certainly learned the potential for over time. For me, it’s gone from being something that’s an interesting and useful element of a system I run, to being something I miss when I run games that lack something like it. That’s partly familiarity, and partly because I enjoy the way it gives me as the GM a way to engage with the game that’s more involved than the traditional “referee and narrator” dynamic.

So, based on some of my learned experiences, the following may provide some helpful advice:

Principles of Doom

In brief, Doom is an abstract representation of all the things that can go wrong during the course of an adventure. It’s unknown variables, unfolding conspiracies, malign influence, and the chaos of battle. It’s a discrete quantity of murphy’s law (“anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”), and the bullets in Chekov’s gun (if something is added to a story, it should pay off later - Doom is a way make those things pay off).

At the start of a scene, the GM describes what is currently going on - when and where it’s happening, who’s there, and what’s happening right now (and why it’s happening, but keep that secret). Once the scene begins and the PCs start doing stuff, the GM has two ways to influence the scene - NPC actions, and Doom.

Foreshadowing is a good idea here. When you use Doom, try to link it to the narrative; the easiest way to do this is to build on things established in the scene: if the PCs are crossing a perilous rope bridge, that justifies the GM spending Doom to make the bridge swing and sway unnervingly. The results of complication and failed tests, or NPC actions can also set up new things for you to spend Doom on. This ensures that Doom spends don’t feel like they’ve “come out of nowhere”, but it also means that players can actively try to prevent or shut down some uses: a cultist ringing an alarm bell justifies spending Doom to bring reinforcements, so preventing the cultist sounding the alarm can prevent those reinforcements.

Spotlight of Doom

Doom doesn’t just make things more difficult. You can use it to draw attention to things in the game too. Spending Doom is a sign that something is important because you’re putting resources into it.

Perhaps add a little extra roleplay or descriptive flourish to the NPCs you spend Doom on, like the camera in a movie lingering on a particular foe to show they’re important. You can do similar with the environment and terrain - the important places may change with Doom spent, as unstable cliffs crumble or ancient temples reveal hidden perils.

And it’s not just NPCs and places you can emphasise this way: a point or two of Doom can drop an obstacle in the way of the party that one of them is ideally-suited to overcome, shining a spotlight on what makes that character cool.

Obstacles of Doom

As with most GM advice about failure, the key to creating obstacles and problems with Doom is ensuring that they don’t make the game stop - an obstacle should make the game change direction, as players are encouraged to seek new solutions or find new paths forward. This is particularly useful if the players are dithering or overthinking things - spending a couple of Doom to make some bad guys burst in and attack can shake them out of their inactivity and get the game moving again (and maybe serve as an opportunity to drop in a clue).

Hopefully those musings on Doom come in handy.


All of what Nathan said… that is it exactly. Once you are able to portray this across to your players they will at the least understand the gravity of giving you a limitless pool of Doom.

With momentum could a player who generated it, use it right away to do Create Obstacle for the GMs next attack against him or on an ally, even though the opponents turn may not be for a few turns yet? So they are spending it way ahead of time.

You could, but it’s often an extra layer of fiddliness to track that kind of spend in advance, especially if several characters do it.

I am a little confused on the this sentence in the core book on immediate spends. “Immediate spends can be made the moment its generated(but not on the specific roll it is generated with)”. Thanks

Hi Heimer!

Dunno if they already suggested using, for instance, Create Obstacle and Penetration for alternate Doom spends. Theres also the GM purview to create new dangers using Doom, entirely at his or her discretion. If you go down the Momentum spends list it has a lot of things to counteract your players’ basic strategy, throwing a lot of curves their way.

And remember Nemesis-type antagonists can spend 3 Doom to use any Fortune option too.


The spending doom for any fortune action is something that can only be done when a character has gone down the luck tree if I remember correctly.

Two different things being confused here.

PCs can purchase a talent that lets them Spend 3 Momentum or add 3 to Doom to gain the benefits of a Fortune point - the Make Your Own Luck talent.

Nemesis NPCs can simply spend 3 Doom to gain the benefits of a Fortune Point (NPCs don’t have Fortune Points). That’s a function of being a Nemesis NPC, rather than anything granted by a talent.

My apologies. I misread. Thank you for the clarification.