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Why not use a d20?


islan

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I know that Pendragon uses a d20, but I haven't played it yet.

It seems to me that if you used a d20 for BRP, you could easily make Stat Checks without having to "math out" the derived stats (Effort, Idea, etc) and could easily figure out degrees of success (since the scale would be much smaller). Meanwhile you could change the Resistance Tables mods from + or - 5 to just + or - 1. I guess you'd have to alter the way skillls improve, though.

So, I guess for those of you who have played Pendragon, how does it compare to the base BRP model (ie, how does it "feel")? For everyone else, why would you prefer d100 over d20, besides just to be different?

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You could of course simplify BRP and play it with a d20 instead of a d100.

However, in my opinion this would change the feeling of the game a bit

too much. I prefer to have a wide range of different skill levels and pos-

sible outcomes of actions for my campaign's characters, and 100 possi-

bilities suits me better than only 20 ones.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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That's what I want to hear about: the difference of feel. It can be argued that the percent-chance remains the same, but the feel is definitely different.

Just sitting here rolling dice, I got the feeling of a d20 to be more simple and broad, while the d100 is more attention-to-detail feeling. Yet I still want to here from people with game experience with this.

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Well, with a d20 you kind of introduce D&D-like levels into the game, because

a character can only have one of those 20 possible levels in any specific skill.

You have a "Swordsman-12" or a "Archer-9" instead of a character with a bit

more individual skill levels, and there is a tendency to look at "levels" instead

of characters' personalities - the D&D-style creeps in, so to speak.

With a d100 system, a character with "Sword 27 %" is different from one with

"Sword 26 %" or one with "Sword 28 %", and it becomes a bit easier to consi-

der and play the character as a unique personality instead of a list of statis-

tics.

But this is just my personal experience and feeling ... :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Actually, I think there is an important and practical reason why the game is played with d100 and not d20: The chances of special successes, critical successes and critical failures are too low to represent correctly on a d20 (unless you really changed the way they are calculated). I.e., if my skill goes from 40 % to 80 %, I've increased my chance of scoring a critical success by lot (from 2 % to 4 %), but the discretization of a d20 roll is too 'chunky' to represent the change. Pendragon gets around this by having a very different mechanic for determining critical successes (and for resolving rolls generally). You would need to re-tool the special success systems pretty extensively if you wanted to roll d20.

I was actually sort of hoping that the new edition of BRP would use d20 and the Pendragon resolution mechanic. But, the old-standby RQ/d100 resolution mechanic is a well-oiled machine, so no harm done.

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I haven't played it with D20, thought I've thought about doing so quite a bit. If you go the D20 route, then the skills become equal to the stats without any differentiation.

I moved Awareness from Skill to Characteristic* in my PenDragon games so I sort of agree with you but not in a 'this is a bad thing' way.

The big advantage of d100 is that (for example) a 75% chance of success is so blindingly obvious and intuitive whilst '15' is just a number. It is not hard to think 'a ha 15 on a d20 scale = 75%' but it is NOT as intuitive.

That being said.........

Despite my emotional attachment I would now choose GenDragon (do you see what I did there?) over BRP. And players at my club clamour to play PenDragon in way which they do not for BRP.

Al

* and unified base chances coz I'm too lazy to keep track of different base chances so Skill start at (Dex/2); Missile Weapons (Awa/2) and so on

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The d20 mechanics in Pendragon are a bit different than what you encounter with a d100.

For example, in combat both opponents roll a d20. You need to roll below your skill but above your opponent to win the contest. But even if you succeed and lose the contest you gain no benefit for winning unless you have a shield.

So you don't parry with a sword like you would in BRP. You pretty much almost never have drawn out duels. I think the mechanics work well for the type of game it is. It is a bigger picture game so the rules aren't as detailed when it comes to combat. Pendragon is an awesome game and I would recommend it to anyone. But, if you want to you use it in your homebrew game you might find its genre specific mechanics don't work as well as BRP.

I agree with lars dangly that the d100 can just be broken down more easily than the d20.

When making ability score rolls, the d100 is superior because sometimes you do ability x1, x2, x3, x4, x5, or x6 depending on the situation. I don't think the math here should slow down the game much.

Using bleeding as an example, In one roll; CON x5 or less to not bleed that round. CON x1 to stop bleeding all together. It doesn't get any more elegant.

IMO the d100 is superior in everyway.

I would be happy to hear why someone would think the d20 would be better.

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Apart from the intuitiveness of saying "Chances 65%" over saying "Chance 13", the real reason to stick to d100 is criticals and specials, a feature that is rather peculiar to BRP and is largely neglected in Pendragon. Most battles in RuneQuest or in Call of Cthulhu are decided by an "Impale" or by and "Ignore armor" result. If you use a d20, this result is largely dependent on luck, because you have a score of 1 for a critical and this is the same if your skill is 01 or 20. With D100, luck plays a lesser role, because your 100% gunman will score double damage with a 20 or less and a critical with 05 or less, while your 20% rookie will score a critical with 01 and an impale with 04: a big difference that you hardly ever notice if you use d20.

Characteristics could be brought to the same scale of skills (01-100 instead of 01-20) but this would not make the game any more playable. Very few people have trouble doing the maths for a CON x4 roll, although some exist.

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The big advantage of d100 is that (for example) a 75% chance of success is so blindingly obvious and intuitive whilst '15' is just a number.

Yes, this is the key point. The % scale is intuitive. The immediacy of knowing (i) your skills, and (ii) how well you just did, gives affinity with the character.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Hi,

In Fire and Sword, my follow on to RuneQuest, I went with a D20 mechanic. Specials happen when a character has skill > 20. In that case you roll D20 for base skill {if you roll a one you fumble, unless you make the special die}. You also roll a D20 to see if you make less than (skill-20) and special. Crits are rolls exactly equal to skill, on either oridnary dice or special dice, and a than a success on another D20 roll. Been doing it for about 10 years, works pretty well.

The advantage of D20 is you roll fewer dice per skill test. For one skill test, this is insignificant. But a large fight might involve 300 attacks and parries, so the amount of extra time taken by rolling D100 becomes significant. Our fights can get pretty big, so D20 was the way to go for us.

The disadvantage of D20 is that there really are more than 20 different levels of skill in doing anything. So a system with D20 will annoy people used to D100 for a while, because it gives a somewhat more abstract feel.

I was a co-designer of RQ ! & II back in the Dark Ages. If you're curious about Fire and Sword, or want more on the advantages of each type of dice, go to the Fire and Sword Download page on this site. Fire and Sword, a Designer's commentary {that addresses the dice issue}, the second iteration of a setting description, and character sheets are available as a free download under an open source license. For obvious reasons, I recommend it:).

Good luck, and feel free to use my refinement of Pendragon's mechanics in your game,

Ray,

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If you use a d20, this result is largely dependent on luck, because you have a score of 1 for a critical and this is the same if your skill is 01 or 20.

Absolutely correct any skill of 1 to 20 only criticals 5% of the time.

It is even worse in that each point of skill over 20 adds 5% to your chance for a critical

HOWEVER:

The situational bonuses in PenDragon are

a) mansize (big) usually +5 (+25%) or +10 (+50%)

B) reflexive (they effect both advantaged and disadvantaged

So it is possible to affect your chance of success and critical much more than in d100

I attack from the flank on horseback with my mate against a lone infantryman and I am adding +15 (+75%) and he is subtracting -15(-75%)

So tactics CAN have a much bigger effect.

Also PenDragon Pass has rules for Feats (my anti 'D20tm' bias leads to me renaming these Stunts) which allow even greater control (with a risk)

Characteristics could be brought to the same scale of skills (01-100 instead of 01-20) but this would not make the game any more playable. Very few people have trouble doing the maths for a CON x4 roll, although some exist.

All absolutely correct but also (possibly) missing the point that no multipliers is inherently easier and quicker than (even very simple) multipliers

Al

Rule Zero: Don't be on fire

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So it is possible to affect your chance of success and critical much more than in d100

This does not mean that this "enhanced effect" is better than the standard effect given by D100. It is just the consequence of a limit imposed by the fewer options given by the dice.

All absolutely correct but also (possibly) missing the point that no multipliers is inherently easier and quicker than (even very simple) multipliers

I did not miss the point. It is just that I do not agree that simpler is always better. No dice is simpler than any dice, so why do we use dice at all? I have not heard that many people complaining about the x2 or x4 or x5 multipliers. In fact I never heard any, while I heard people complaining about lack of realism and detail.

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This does not mean that this "enhanced effect" is better than the standard effect given by D100. It is just the consequence of a limit imposed by the fewer options given by the dice.

Noooooooooo. PenDragon could still have measley modifiers and BRP/d100 could still have manszied, reflexive ones. The die size does not come into that. Possibly (probably) I mixed my original argument up here. :o

I did not miss the point. It is just that I do not agree that simpler is always better. No dice is simpler than any dice, so why do we use dice at all? I have not heard that many people complaining about the x2 or x4 or x5 multipliers. In fact I never heard any, while I heard people complaining about lack of realism and detail.

And I have heard people grizzling about multipliers!

Some gamers always complain about 'realism' and some of those gripes are even valid. :)

Halving a d20 scale skill or characteristic allows for a harder test. (equivalent to characteristic x2.5) Albeit that's not in the PenDragon rules which prefer straight adds or subtracts for bonuses and penalties.

Simpler is not always better and claiming that somethings simpler doesn't make it so. And having a simple rule with lots of exceptions may be more fiddly and annoying than a more robust and initially complex rule. In that I absolutely agree with you.

I have also played and run some cracking games with no or very few die rolls. Whether I'd be happy with a system which didn't have a fairly robust random mechanic in is another thing.

I like the intuitiveness of d100 and percentage scales but I don't dismiss a simpler idea out of hand. In fact as you can probably tell the more I play/run d20 PenDragon styley the more I like it.

Al

Rule Zero: Don't be on fire

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The advantage of D20 is you roll fewer dice per skill test. For one skill test, this is insignificant. But a large fight might involve 300 attacks and parries, so the amount of extra time taken by rolling D100 becomes significant. Our fights can get pretty big, so D20 was the way to go for us.

I find it hard to believe rolling a d20 is significantly quicker than a d100 (i.e. two associated d10's). Time-savings in Fire & Sword combat come far more from elimination of strike ranks and hit locations, surely?

The disadvantage of D20 is that there really are more than 20 different levels of skill in doing anything. So a system with D20 will annoy people used to D100 for a while, because it gives a somewhat more abstract feel.

For some people, I imagine, the D&D3.x (and F&S?) style of re-rolling on a 'threatened' special/critical to see if it actually happens could feel more dramatic, and add excitement.

PenDragon could still have measley modifiers and BRP/d100 could still have manszied, reflexive ones.

Quite right. I don't bother with measly modifiers for skills in my BRP, and tend to use proper manly x2 (easy) or /2 (difficult) multipliers.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Hi,

I never ran a test to confirm my suspicion that rolling D20 is faster than rolling 2D10. On the other hand, I remember enough arguments over whether or not players were consistent in reading their D10's with the dark color high, and cases where one of the two dice rolled off the table {twice as likely with two dice}, etc, to convince me that rolling D20 caused slightly fewer hassles. Also, it just seems to me that it is obvious that rolling two dice, reading them, and putting what you see together to make 87 or whatever will take longer than rolling one die and reading 17.

You could play F&S using D100. What dice you roll is probably less important than other aspects of a systems.

Ray,

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I think what makes the d20 roll a bit faster than the d100 is the calculation of specials and criticals.

I've changed the calculations from skill/5 and skill/20 to skill/5 & skill/20 rounded down. It seems to go a bit faster, as instead of dividing you just see how many 5s and 20s you have in your skill%. Fumble is 99-00 at skills <100%, and 00 at 100+.

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On the notion of speed and with heavy combat, I was thinking about having a ton of bad guys fighting. With a d100 I would have to roll them individually in order to best assess their results and not getting the dice mixed up with one another, while with a d20 I could pick up as many d20's as there are bad guys and just roll them all at the same time, immediately dropping any that roll over their skill.

But yes, still very abstract, though :P

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I'd put "Kaplow Double D10" on my Christmas List, if only I thought Santa would know what it meant (or where to find one)...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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On the notion of speed and with heavy combat, I was thinking about having a ton of bad guys fighting. With a d100 I would have to roll them individually in order to best assess their results and not getting the dice mixed up with one another, while with a d20 I could pick up as many d20's as there are bad guys and just roll them all at the same time, immediately dropping any that roll over their skill.

You can still roll D20 for mobs and d100 for PCs and important characters. It reeks of D&D but it should work.

But my idea as a GM would be to just say: "You picked a fight with 50 bad guys? Well, you are dead!".

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