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Dice tricks instead of modifiers


deleriad

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The recent critical math thread and other things going on has reminded me that I tend to prefer to dice tricks to skill modifiers. So I've been dusting off some notes and toying with some ideas. The following works best as a replacement for 1/10 criticals and no specials. The key to this is to remember that skill modifiers are completely gone. No +/- no division or multiplication. Your skill is your skill is your skill. 

 

1. A critical success occurs when you roll 1 on the units dice and succeed at a skill test.

2. A critical failure (fumble) occurs when you roll 0 on the unit dice and fail at a skill test. 

01-05 is always a success (and 01 = crit). 96-00 is always a failure (and 00 is critical failure).

 

Advantage. Is your skill test easier than usual for some reason? Roll two tens dice and pick your favourite.

Disadvantage.  Is your skill test harder than usual for some reason? Roll two tens dice and pick the worst.

Mastery. Is your skill 100% or greater? Roll two units dice and pick your favourite. (i.e. double your chance of a critical.)

 

The big problem with this is that for skills over 100 it doesn't really matter how far over 100% you are, there is no further advantage so it only really works for systems with hard or soft skill caps around 100% which, anyway, tends to be my preference.

 

An alternative to mastery that avoids the 100+ issue is something like this.

Mastery. Did you roll a number that is less than or equal to your skill minus 100? if yes, you scored a critical. (e.g. skill 127% roll 22% = critical). No actual subtraction needed and because skill doesn't change when tested, no need to double check.

 

This also means there's no need to do any kind of skill adjustment for opposed rolls of skills over 100 because the extra critical chance means that you have a significantly greater chance of winning through the critical vs normal result. (Large skill differences in opposed rolls should probably generate advantage and disadvantage respectively.)

 

What does the hive think?

 

 

 

 

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I'm not a human calculator like some of these fine folk here,but I honestly don't see what's wrong with the standard version of rolling skills and tests.

But That's one of the great things about BRP. MOST changes don't break the game.

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deleriad, are you familiar with BareBones Fantasy and Covert Ops from DwD Studios? You may find their d00Lite system to your liking.

 

I own a d5, i.e. a d10 numbered 1-5 twice and have used it for determining criticals/impales (20% of your current skill percentage) in CoC: on a success roll de d5, on a 1 you get a critical. Most of my players don't mind figuring out what 20% of their skill level is and don't take a lot of time doing it, but those who do I allow to use the d5 instead.

 

The advantages and disadvantages are something that's (optionally?) been included in the upcoming CoC 7E, by the way.

RPGbericht (Dutch)
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I know of d100lite. It uses doubles for criticals and a negative for multiple actions in a round if I remember rightly. I know that CoC7 uses something like advantage as well. Not overly fond of what I have seen of CoC7.

 

I don't personally have any issue about doing the maths needed; I ran more RQ3 than I can remember and that was as fiddly as any BRP system has ever been. What I am interested in is looking at what happens when you take *all* of the maths out of the dice resolution system. That means no skill modifiers and no calculating critical/special/fumble results etc. 

 

I've used doubles as criticals in games I run with non-gaming friends and it works ok for characters in the 50-70% range. This is also normally for CoC so having lots of chance to fumble works quite well. There are various little quirks about doubles as criticals that means I don't think it's that flexible as a core mechanic. 

 

I've not tried the set numbers (1s and 0s) for criticals and fumbles but I think it is probably more flexible than doubles and preserves some old, old BRP standards such as 01 always been good and 00 always being bad.

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I'm not a human calculator like some of these fine folk here,but I honestly don't see what's wrong with the standard version of rolling skills and tests.

But That's one of the great things about BRP. MOST changes don't break the game.

 

 

But which "standard version of rolling skills and tests" are you referring to? One of the complicated bits about the game is that the "standard version" has been tweaked a bit here and there over the years in the various incarnations and variants. I think most of us now default to thier own favorite version of the rules as the standard. 

 

And while most changes don't break the game, per sey, they can have a significant effect on how it plays. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Isn't this 'ad/disad... roll 2, keep 1' thing a mechanism from the 'hot 'n new' version of D&D?

Not that it's a new idea but I'm guessing that's why it's getting mention here.

 

I'm not sure I see the attraction... and aesthetically it puts me right off.

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I have my BRP groundings in RQ3 (although I tend to run a mish mash of BRP/RQ3 meets RQ6 at present). The skill mechanic is just one of those things it never crossed my mind to radically alter, although I do have a wider range of Special Success options now, thanks to RQ6 Combat Manuvers. 

 

I'm not one for maths, but the Critical chance is pretty straight forward, it is only the Special Success I tend to get muddy with.

 

But the use of a GM screen pretty much handles these kind of issues for me.

So I've never really had a problem with it. I've always had the Success Chart available to refer to, it's one of the core things I have on my GM screen.

 

When I say a GM screen, I mean a single page, double sided printed, with the Success chart, the Resistance Table, the Hit Location Chart, and the various Special Success effects, the Fumble Table, and the Sanity Table. This is not clumsy to refer to during the game. I do have a couple of other charts at hand, mainly weapon charts, quick spelll lists and what-not, but my core references is a single page, double-sided, with those aforementioned essential tables for reference.

 

So, in my sessions, checking mid game for a Special Success is pretty much second nature for any skill roll that has a result less than 20% for most PCs. Doesn't slow things down at all, no more than checking a Hit Location chart ( or a Major Wound chart, for that matter, if you are using those rules). 

 

I can see why people would like another system, for for me personally, this one ain't broke so I don't try to fix it.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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A thing I would very much like to have is special dice (a special d10 numbered 00, 10, 20, 30, 40 twice, and a special d20 numbered 00, 10, 20 ... 170, 180, 190) to use instead of the tens die when making respectively easy and hard checks. By using these dice one could use the base skill ratings (for normal, special and crit. success) all the time, without the need of doubling or halving them when making checks. In order to avoid mistaking it with the "normal" tens die, the first one might even be a d20 numbered 00 - 40 four times; the two special tens dice might be color-coded, for example the "d50" being green and the "d200" being red.

 

To use all the dice consistently one would just need to always read the result of skill rolls as the SUM of the results rolled on the tens and the units dice (e.g. 00 and (1)0 as 0+10=10, and 90 and (1)0 as 90+10=100). Fumbles would have to be rethought, though.

 

I might back a kickstarter to produce them.

 

(One could even roll a d20 in the case of "trivial" tasks, and another special d10, numbered 000, 100, 200, 300, 400 twice, alongside an ordinary tens die and the units die, for "titanic" tasks.)

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In order to avoid mistaking it with the "normal" tens die, the first one might even be a d20 numbered 00 - 40 four times; the two special tens dice might be color-coded, for example the "d50" being green and the "d200" being red.

 

 

I'be happy if I could buy a tube containing a standard d20 (numbered 1 to 20, for hit locations), a 20-sided units die (numbered 1 to 10 - not 0 to 9 - twice), a 20-sided yellow tens die (numbered 00 to 90 twice), a 20-sided green die numbered 00 to 40 four times, and a 20-sided red die numbered 000 to 190.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A thing I would very much like to have is special dice (a special d10 numbered 00, 10, 20, 30, 40 twice, and a special d20 numbered 00, 10, 20 ... 170, 180, 190) to use instead of the tens die when making respectively easy and hard checks. By using these dice one could use the base skill ratings (for normal, special and crit. success) all the time, without the need of doubling or halving them when making checks. 

 

To use all the dice consistently one would just need to always read the result of skill rolls as the SUM of the results rolled on the tens and the units dice (e.g. 00 and (1)0 as 0+10=10, and 90 and (1)0 as 90+10=100). Fumbles would have to be rethought, though.

 

There would be no need to modify the way fumbles work if it were possible to print two sets of numbers on the sides of the special dice, as follows:

 

ten-sided D50: 00/00 | 10/10 | 20/20 | 30/30 | 40/40 | 00/50 | 10/60 | 20/70 | 30/80 | 40/90 

 

twenty-sided D200: 00/00 | 10/10 | 20/20 | 30/30 | 40/40 | 50/50 | 60/60 | 70/70 | 80/80 | 90/90 | 100/00 | 110/10 | 120/20 | 130/30 | 140/40 | 150/50 | 160/60 | 170/70 | 180/80 | 190/90

 

One would simply have to:

- add the result of the unit die to that on the left of the "/", to determine if the check is successful, and if it's a normal, special or crit. success; and, if the check is unsuccessful,

add the result of the unit die to that on the right of the "/", to determine if the result is a failure or a fumble.

 

The problem is, would the special dice, in particular the twenty-sided D200, be hard to read?

 

On the positive side, having two sets of numbers on the two special dice, which would in turn be intuitively distinguishable because of their different shapes, would prevent any confusion between the D50, D100, and D200 tens dice.

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zip

Now that I think about, there's also the problem of the fixed 5% chance of failure (on a roll of 96 - 100 on the D100). Perhaps a way to account for both "automatic failures" and fumbles might be resorting to color-coded dice:

 

ten-sided units die: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

 

ten-sided D50: 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40

 

ten-sided D100: 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90

 

twenty-sided D200: 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90 | 100 | 110 | 120 | 130 | 140 | 150 | 160 | 170 | 180 | 190

 

If you roll a red number on both the units and the tens die, the check fails automatically. In this case, the check is also a fumble if the sum of the number rolled on the units die and 90 (D10+90) is within the fixed fumble range of the skill you're using. Or if the number rolled on the units die is within the fixed fumble range minus 90.

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Perhaps this would be better:

 

ten-sided units die: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

 

ten-sided D50: 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40(+50)

 

ten-sided D100: 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90

 

twenty-sided D200: 00 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90 | 100 | 110 | 120 | 130 | 140 | 150 | 160 | 170 | 180 | 190(-100)

 

If you roll a red number on both the units and the tens die, the check fails automatically. In this case, the check is also a fumble if the result (in case modified by the number in brackets) is within the fumble range of the skill you are using.

 

 

EDIT: this solution however fails to account for the fact that doubling or halving a skill rating  affects its fumble range.

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Or you could just pay attention during math class.

 

Yes!

 

A lot of complaints I see about RPG math being bad or overly complicated seems to be more a case of people simply lacking ability or interest. While someone shouldn't need to do calculus or advanced algebra to make a skill roll in an RPG, they should be able to do the type of math used in the resistance table. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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The OP never wrote that he has difficulties making divisions or multiplications. And as far as I'm concerned, I've played Rolemaster much more than BRP and have never had any problem whatsoever in doing mental additions and subtractions of  two and three digit numbers. What the OP wrote is that he has a preference for dice tricks over modifiers, and I don't see a point in arguing his or anyone else's preferences.

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The OP never wrote that he has difficulties making divisions or multiplications. And as far as I'm concerned, I've played Rolemaster much more than BRP and have never had any problem whatsoever in doing mental additions and subtractions of  two and three digit numbers. What the OP wrote is that he has a preference for dice tricks over modifiers, and I don't see a point in arguing his or anyone else's preferences.

Indeed. Yes I can do the modifiers. I've been playing RQ since 1981. I used to GM a long Villains and Vigilantes campaign. I'm currently interested to explore what you can do to replace the calculation of degrees of success and modifiers with dice rolls. It is rather tiring to be told that this means that I didn't pay attention in maths class. I'm also a sucker for shiny dice. Been mulling over MatteoN's posts and thinking it would be fun to have a rune die. A d20 marked with some Gloranthan runes that you roll at the same time. E.g. if you fail your skill test and roll a Disorder rune it's a fumble or if you succeed and roll an infinity rune it's a critical.

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Indeed. Yes I can do the modifiers. I've been playing RQ since 1981. I used to GM a long Villains and Vigilantes campaign. I'm currently interested to explore what you can do to replace the calculation of degrees of success and modifiers with dice rolls. It is rather tiring to be told that this means that I didn't pay attention in maths class. I'm also a sucker for shiny dice. Been mulling over MatteoN's posts and thinking it would be fun to have a rune die. A d20 marked with some Gloranthan runes that you roll at the same time. E.g. if you fail your skill test and roll a Disorder rune it's a fumble or if you succeed and roll an infinity rune it's a critical.

Using a third die as you suggest would indeed simplify things a lot, but it would be even more erethical. On the rune die you could also have three faces with a third different rune, for special successes.

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The other problem with weird dice i.e. those beyond the usual platonic solids plus d10, is the cost. I know someone who has just had a die for special D6's cut and that wasn't cheap so I'm guessing that an example would be Cubicle 7's set of One Ring dice( 6xD6 with one face adding a symbol and a D12 with two special symbols) and they sell for UKP 8 a set. Trying to get players to spend the normal cost for a set of 7 poly dice is hard enough (USD7 from Chessex). I know it's less than the cost of a fast food meal but there's a certain reluctance amongst gamers to spend money on stuff (other than maybe pizza and soda). Look at the number of players who turn up at a convention or even a home game and don't have dice or a pencil and paper.

Nigel

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