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Dice Rolling Methods


Dudemeister

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On 3/15/2016 at 6:07 AM, Dudemeister said:

I am not very happy with the way BRP handles crits, specials, etc. <snip> ... does the basic method just need a few sessions to feel smooth?

It's really just going to come down to what feels comfortable to you. There are plenty of options out there.

Give 1/5 and 1/20 a shot in-play (emphasis on in-play and not just rules theorizing) and see if it works for you. And if it doesn't, move on and try something else.

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Good to hear someone else is experimenting with partial success/failure. What do you think it adds to the game?

My own take is that all doubles (22, 33, etc) indicate partial success (if below the skill) or partial failure (if above the skill). For some skill rolls, especially in social conflicts and combat, it will often add interesting twists making the storytelling take unexpected turns on occasion. 

I use crits and specials as per BGB. The calculations suggested by KPhan2121 are easy to use and remenber. 

Edited by clarence

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7 minutes ago, clarence said:

Good to hear someone else is experimenting with partial success/failure. What do you think it adds to the game?

Personally, I think it can offer a wider range of results which can help determine what happens in a skill contest, descriptively. The results can be tailored to the contest in the case of partial-success. As you said, it can add 'interesting twists'.

Late at night, an investigator prepares to climb the tall, wrought iron fence that surrounds the Penhew Foundation... with a partial-success on a Climb roll, you could get all kinds of interesting descriptive results. He snags and tears his jacket during the descent. He lands heavily on the other side - or otherwise makes a hell of a lot of noise doing it - alerting the nightwatchman or dogs.

 

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I agree. Many situations are not binary and benefit from grey zones. (Except Lock Picking maybe - how do you fail but gain an advantage in a binary situation like that?). 

How widespread is it in RPGs? I don't think I have seen it in any BRP derivatives. 

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Yeah, I don't think it works for every situation. (Maybe damaging the lockpicking tools so they're less useful for other contests??)

I know that some modern (indie?) Rpgs have used that approach. And on other forums I've seen it defined as "failing forward". But it's not something I've seen in D100 Rpgs.

I'm more of a traditional gamer, but I tend to run Call of Cthulhu very loosely - using interpretation, partial successes, and a lot more judgement calls than when I run other D100 Rpgs.

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13 hours ago, clarence said:

To add another layer of complexity, I wonder if anyone use systems for partial success/partial failure? Examples: "You succeed, but she will never do business with you again" or "You fail, but you're positioned very favorably for the next round". Or do you feel it's not necessary?

Some kind of opposed roll mechanic would be the best way to handle that. It gives a wider range of information than a single roll. 

Using your examples for opposed rolls with a blackjack mechanic:

"You succeed, but she will never do business with you again"

The player rolls a success on the Persuasion check. The NPC rolls a critical to resist. The GM interprets the result as the PC getting what he wants, and the NPC deciding to cut him off forever after this deal.

"You fail, but you're positioned very favorably for the next round".

The character rolls a failure, but the opposition also rolls a mishap, leaving the character at an advantage. 

Using this system would likely require percentage values to impersonal challenges so that opposed rolls can be made even when an NPC isn't the opposition. Obviously, this system requires a lot of handwavy interpretation, but I think that's the case with any system like this. 

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14 hours ago, nDervish said:

Note that this makes specials more common than in the vanilla rules.  In vanilla, it's actually only a 15% chance of a special, not 20%.  (Special isn't just "under 20% of skill", but "under 20% and over 5% of skill".)

Practically that is true for most people who use the normal mathematical method (the critical results are considered to subsume the specials), but 20% chance of special is what is stated in the rules.

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4 hours ago, Baulderstone said:

Some kind of opposed roll mechanic would be the best way to handle that. It gives a wider range of information than a single roll. 

Using your examples for opposed rolls with a blackjack mechanic:

"You succeed, but she will never do business with you again"

The player rolls a success on the Persuasion check. The NPC rolls a critical to resist. The GM interprets the result as the PC getting what he wants, and the NPC deciding to cut him off forever after this deal.

In this case, the NPC should still win. A critical is always triumphant. 

If the PC succeeds, AND the NPC succeeds, but rolls lower than the PC, the NPC has a partial success and would "know something is up". That is when I would say that the PC gets what they want, but the NPC then cuts them off, or is at least pissed with them and says that they cut them off.

WRT to skills over 100%, just introduce a bump system (Masteries from HQ). Skills reset, start over from 1 and advance from there. The player may use the bump to bump in either direction, but cannot bump a special to a critical (at least in my version), or a critical to a special if they do not want to necessarily kill their opponent.

SDLeary

 

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44 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

In this case, the NPC should still win. A critical is always triumphant. 

If the PC succeeds, AND the NPC succeeds, but rolls lower than the PC, the NPC has a partial success and would "know something is up". That is when I would say that the PC gets what they want, but the NPC then cuts them off, or is at least pissed with them and says that they cut them off.

 

That also makes sense. I was going from the interpretation that the NPCs critical would give a permanent effect, never dealing with the PC again, while the PCs success means they do get one last win as they lose the contact. I need to think more about it. 

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7 hours ago, Questbird said:

Practically that is true for most people who use the normal mathematical method (the critical results are considered to subsume the specials), but 20% chance of special is what is stated in the rules.

Ah, sure...  Make me break out the actual rules...  BGB, p. 13 defines a Special Success as "A roll of 1/5 of the required score for success indicates that your character performed exceptionally well and achieves a greater result than a traditional success."  Note that it says nothing about the actual chance of achieving a special, only the roll which indicates that you have done so.  p.11 defines a Critical Success as "This is the result of a skill check roll that is 1/20 (or 5%) of the regular chance of success."  Again, it is defined solely in terms of the roll which produces it, not the odds of a success being critical.

Since a roll under 1/20 of skill will always also be under 1/5 of skill, the 5% of hits that are crits necessarily come out of the 20% which are specials (20% of successes are superior, with 15% special + 5% crit).  The rules do not support 25% of successes being superior (20% specials plus an additional 5% crits), as there is no bonus triggered on rolling below 1/4 of the regular chance of success.

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On 16/3/2016 at 11:09 AM, clarence said:

To add another layer of complexity, I wonder if anyone use systems for partial success/partial failure? Examples: "You succeed, but she will never do business with you again" or "You fail, but you're positioned very favorably for the next round". Or do you feel it's not necessary?

Wait-wait-wait.

This is completely different territory. Not unexplored territory, but tricky nevertheless.

Once you start including this kind of reasoning, you are steering the simple success roll towards a conflict resolution mechanic. Which BRP at its core isn't: BRP is the archetype of task resolution mechanics, instead. The fact that more than one person replied to your comment by introducing typical Conflict Resolution components and techniques like opposition or fail forward. I will add one more important consideration: all of your speculations so far imply that there is a goal that is not intrinsic to the roll. Typical signs that the roll is a part of a larger conflict - a concept that BRP does not support outside of combat. HeroQuest, for instance, does, and not surprisingly you will find concepts like partial of pyrrhic victory in HQ. They belong there.

Now, I am absolutely in favour of introducing the concept of conflicts in BRP. It might show in what I have written recently. :)

But I am extremely skeptical about using single rolls - even opposed rolls - to resolve a conflict. This kind of mechanics is quite popular in indie games, but I find it extremely unsatisfactory, and above all very limited. Which implies that attempts to introduce it by means of simple tweaks to how the dice are read will in most cases result mainly in a huge amount of GM fiat, as Baulderstone imagined a few posts upstream. This might not be the most desirable outcome.

Just to make an example, examine the simple dice pool mechanics in the new 7th Sea game: the player and the GM agree on goals and possible positive and negative "attachments", the player rolls a dice pool and then arranges it in groups totaling 10. Each group can be allocated to either reaching the goal, avoiding an unpleasant complication or obtaining a positive complication. This mechanics - which is specifically designed to handle whole conflicts, not just micro-tasks, eliminates GM fiat while not complicating anything, and leaving the result extremely open - unlike it happens in HeroQuest, you might end up obtaining something different than your original goal! The trick is that there is much player agenda that takes place after the roll - a technique called Fortune in the Middle that is similar to the "Choose your effect after you roll" of Mythras combat.

Now the point is that such results are easy to achieve with something that is conflict-oriented from the start. The D100 success roll (Copyright Perrin & Co. 1978) is not. Nor is the opposed roll.

Bottom of the line: tweaking the d100 roll is rather unlikely to produce an effective mechanics for things like fail forward or partial success. You can use it successfully in your game, I am sure, but I am equally sure that if this happens it is the result of strong "intrusions" of GM authority in the process.

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16 hours ago, clarence said:

I agree. Many situations are not binary and benefit from grey zones. (Except Lock Picking maybe - how do you fail but gain an advantage in a binary situation like that?). 

How widespread is it in RPGs? I don't think I have seen it in any BRP derivatives. 

In my very limited real life lock picking experience, in any one attempt (say a minute's worth of trying) the following things can happen:

Complete success - Lock is picked

Partial Success - I can feel I have managed to lift a pin and turned the barrel enough to hold that pin up but there are still pins I haven't lifted

Failure (no progress) - I haven't succeeded in lifting and holding any more pins

Failure (negative progress) - I have exerted too much pressure and the pins are stuck meaning I can't raise any more. Almost always I can rotate the barrel in the other direction and drop all the pins back to their locked position and start all over again.

Failure (negative and positive progress) - As per Failure (negative progress) but some locks require the pins to be lifted in a particular order and though I have to start over I at least have made progress in learning the order.

Fumble - I damage the lock picks or lock.

Of course my experience with modern locks may not hold true for those from other eras or settings.

btw.  Lock picking and wine parties are heaps of fun especially if you have access to cut away locks designed for learning so you can see what is going on inside the lock.

Drinking games where you down a shot every time you succeed in picking a lock are also a fun way to pass an evening. 

 

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Good points Paolo. If I understand you correctly, you view partial success/failure and extended conflicts as two sides of the same thing, but that extended conflicts are more satisfactory for all involved?

In my games I usually stick to the idea that single rolls can be broken out to extended conflicts. If a player is not happy with a result (failing to pick a lock) she can always declare that she wants to turn it into a multi-roll conflict (quite like conflicts in Revolution). Here, a partial failure/success adds an interesting in-between. The player must decide if the partial success is good enough or if it's worth going into a (often riskier) longer conflict. 

This means the dice must provide me with more information. Perhaps something like this: All rolls within the same tens as the skill (70-79 if the skill is 74% for example) is in the Schrödinger Zone; the outcome is uncertain until you take a closer look. The player can accept partial success/failure or enter an extended conflict. 

Ideally, the GM and player can jointly come up with a partial that is working - hopefully not bringing GM fiat into the game, but instead a creative consensus.

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51 minutes ago, clarence said:

Good points Paolo. If I understand you correctly, you view partial success/failure and extended conflicts as two sides of the same thing, but that extended conflicts are more satisfactory for all involved?

In my games I usually stick to the idea that single rolls can be broken out to extended conflicts. If a player is not happy with a result (failing to pick a lock) she can always declare that she wants to turn it into a multi-roll conflict (quite like conflicts in Revolution). Here, a partial failure/success adds an interesting in-between. The player must decide if the partial success is good enough or if it's worth going into a (often riskier) longer conflict.

Not quite, but exactly as it works in Revolution. I have expanded the small chapter about turning failed rolls into an extended conflict if the player does not accept failure as the only possible result. This is a case that is quite likely to happen in real play, so it deserved a longer treatment. You will see it in the next public release.

Quote

This means the dice must provide me with more information. Perhaps something like this: All rolls within the same tens as the skill (70-79 if the skill is 74% for example) is in the Schrödinger Zone; the outcome is uncertain until you take a closer look. The player can accept partial success/failure or enter an extended conflict. 

Why the dice? It is player initiative, not the dice, that is important here. The point is to avoid the baffling effect of "Sorry, bad roll, your great idea is simply not gonna work because you rolled 97". Allowing the player to "push" the result with a conflict only on certain die rolls does not eliminate the "whiff factor". I very much prefer your suggestion of finding an agreement with the GM. But again, it is quite easy to devise simple rules to handle this situation without "GM fiat".

 

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3 hours ago, Mechashef said:

In my very limited real life lock picking experience, in any one attempt (say a minute's worth of trying) the following things can happen:

[snip]

This is one reason I like the "pushing the roll" concept from 7th-edition Call of Cthulhu. On the first roll, your results are:

  • Regular, Hard, Extreme, or Critical success - open the lock
  • Failure - you have the option to try again, once, by upping the stake for the roll.
  • Fumble - as failure, but with some added consequence (perhaps you make noise, or leave a noticeable mark on the lock)

On the pushed roll, any success opens the lock; any failure means you can't ever do it (damage the lock, break a pick, or just realize that you don't have the necessary level of skill).

The case where you miss the first roll but make the second one is the "you fail, but you learn something (or achieve partial success) which aids your second attempt" outcome. And you don't get the worst-possible outcome on the first roll, even if you fumble; you have to accept the risk, try again, and then fail to get to the okay-you-can't-do-this point.

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