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Dice in a new Elric RPG

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  • Dice in a new Elric RPG

    I have a basic task resolution mechanic worked out. I'm looking for a comfortable medium in "graininess" (10% increments ala d10 is too few, 1% increments ala d100 is too much). Towards that end, I'm considering either a d20 or possibly a d30. Everyone should have a d20, but not necessarily a d30 (though they're easy enough to find).

  • #2
    would you take "no dice" for an answer? There already exist thousands of systems, much of them open enough to be used with an Elric background and most of them complete enough for GMs to take what they like and leave the rest. I really think there's no need for a new dice-based system as any (good) GM can make their own out of the existing ones.
    Something really fresh is needed here. more creative..I dunno.


    • #3
      I hope you don't mind a sort of different idea being thrown in.

      Perhaps you'd like to have a slightly more dynamic range of numbers to be thrown.

      Thanks to Yatzee nearly everyone has access to at least 5xD6. There's your thirty. As your game system develops, you may discover that you need a wider range of totals. I know I don't need to tell you, but:

      1xD6 = 1-6
      2xD6 = 7-12
      3xD6 = 13-18
      4xD6 = 19-24
      5xD6 = 25-32

      You can scale down or up as neccesary, and almost every player can get their hands on at least one D6, which they could roll multiple times as needed. That might make a good game system name: *xD6

      I'm definitely not trying ot be a wiseass.
      The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords


      • #4
        As I mentioned in the [broken link]other thread, for several reasons, I am more supportive of a d20 mechanic. Even though I have a d30, and even a book on d30 encounters, I don't really think using one would be such a wise marketting strategy.

        With Berry's idea, a d6 based mechanic would be at least more accessible to a general audience. To this end, a good system to look at would be the d6 system used by West End Games, which has been around for over 20 years and is most notable for its Star Wars game. Its a very easy system to use, and in a lot of ways it plays much faster than a d20 system. You might want to check out their site, as there are some downloadable examples you can get.
        Last edited by Rothgo; 04-08-2010, 02:14 PM.
        Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."


        • #5
          I apologize in advance if I sound testy, but I seem to be one of those people who's questions and answers are always misunderstood, with people hearing what they want to hear and not what's actually said. I would hope that my questions will be taken at face value without trying to figure out what I'm getting to later on. In this instance, I'm not asking if you like Karma, dice, coins, cards or some other type of resolution. I'm just asking if you would play a game if it required a d30.

          We can, and should, discuss how to handle task resolution. Even in this thread, if that's where people want to do it. It's just not what I was asking for. Hope that doesn't come out as too bitchy.

          @Mordenkainen: If any (good) GM can make/modify any existing game and just fill in Elric specific stuff, then there's no real point in actually producing an Elric game. And if everyone just "rolls their own", how much time are you wasting each session making sure that everyone is on the same page? Or more importantly that your styles of play are compatible?

          More importantly, I completely disagree with the notion that any new (Eric or other) game needs to be revolutionary/more creative/push the bounds of RPG design. There's a reason that D&D3 is the most popular game around and that you (the allegorical you, not you personally) haven't heard of Trollbabe. A new game just needs to be simple and internally consistant (no one should ever wonder what the heck the author was thinking), IMO. And fun, of course.

          @Berry: I didn't take it as a wiseass comment. I thought that you were just offering up an idea on an alternative way to get a range up to 30. Nothing wrong with that.

          As to whether I would use it or not, that's a different story. I wouldn't. I like bell curves for attributes/abilities/traits, but definitely not for task resolution. Difficulty modifiers are usually linear (+1, +2, etc, as opposed to +1d6 or some such) and need a linear resolution mechanic to be "fair".

          On 1d10, a +1 mod is a simple 10% change in difficulty. But on a bell curve, that +1 can be a huge difference (if anyone has ever played Battletech, on 2d6, they should know what I'm talking about. This phenomenon is why Pulse Lasers are broken).

          Could you clarify what you're getting at with 1xD6=1-6...5xd6=25-30? Because I don't see it. Unless you're using Yatzee counting? (Which I don't play so don't know how dice are counted there...). So I may be just completely missing what you're trying to say.

          If you're wondering specifically what I was thinking for the mechanic, here it is:

          Tasks have a difficulty assigned to them: 1 = instinctual (don't even need to think about doing it, it just happens) to 20 = darn near impossible. The system assumes that everyone, regardless of their skill level, has a 100% chance of success at their level of competence. A person of Skill 5 automatically succeeds at all tasks w/ difficulty 5 or less. For tasks w/ difficulty greater than your skill, roll on a d30. Your base chance for success is 31 or less, -2 for each level of difficulty over your skill.

          So if you were skill 7 and the difficulty was 13, you'd succeed on 19 or less. 13-7=6, x2 = 12, 31-12=19.

          I should point out that I did not create this mechanic. It was originally used in CORPS, and that uses a d10. I find that a d10 makes a game too "grainy" (not enough difference between levels). You can use the same formula for a d20. Or any other die, for that matter.

          The strength of the system is that it cuts out unnecessary rolling. It also fixes the problem in BRP where a person with "30%" is considered "competent", yet they still have to roll and will fail 70% of the time. It's also easy to implement a "Margin of Success" system so we can do away with arbitrary "Critical Hit" levels (you know, a "natural 20" = double damage, or "You Crit on 10% of your skill"). You magnitude of success/failure should determine the effect.

          Sorry for the length.


          • #6
            Thinking about it, I see why I caused confusion. I did label the thread "A new Elric RPG". That was my fault. Life is sometimes difficult when you think in a half-dozen threads at once. Sorry for the confusion.


            • #7
              I find the use of a d30 to be a quirky option and it would tend to discourage me from taking the game as seriously as I might otherwise. I think d20, with 5% incrementals is sufficient variability if one thinks d100 too much. The Pendragon opposed rolls on a d20 sytem (which takes into account degrees of success whilst retaining enough variability) was for me the most intelligent use of a d20 based system, and I believe the WotC 3rd edition D+D borrowed the opposed elements of its sytem from Pendragon, a very underrated game now being sold by White Wolf.

              I am familiar with Berry's example of the multiple d6's, which seems a better way to simulate a d30 with a more readily available dice type. It is a good method of generating an even non-bell curve trend with d6's, and I recall it being used for generating a 1 - 36 spread, and others like d18, d12, d3, d2 etc. A d30 is such an unusual spread that it seems more logical to me to use it as part of a d6 system, rather than to go to the extent of using a specifically d30 system.

              Some excellent games have been based on a d10, like WW's Vampire the Masquerade and Ars Magica, but I agree there's not enough variability in d10 and both those games were somewhat spoiled for me because of that. Traveller and the original Mechwarrior on 2d6 suffered from this too.

              My advice is try for d20 and 5% increments, but modeled more on Pendragon's opposed roll method than WotC's D+D, but I am heavily biased in that Pendragon was one of my favourite games.

              I'd love to see a sophisticated well wrought d6 based system.

              I hope you won't rule out d100 altogether though. It has great fidelity and you'd just need to factor in degrees of success. How about an opposed d100 system?


              • #8
                I guess maybe I'm being dense. Could you lay out how to use the d6s that Berry is describing?

                I have no objection to using a d100 in a pre-existing game, but I probably won't design a game that way. I just don't see a need to make it that finely grained. I'm also a big fan of Margin of Success systems, and 1d100 starts making the numbers too large. (I'm reasonably decent at math, but I know enough people who aren't, and I've actually seen a d100 used as an excuse to not play.

                Glad you mentioned Pendragon, I like that game too. The two things that I don't like about its mechanic is that it prohibits MOS. Sorry Grey, but it does. If you're skill is 15 there is no functional difference between rolling 01 to hit and rolling 14 (except that you're more likely to beat your opponent's roll with the 14). The big thing I don't like is that they use Criticals. (though that's not inherrent in the mechanic. For those who haven't played Pendragon, it's task resolution is "roll as high as you can while still rolling equal to or under your skill level)

                I'm against Criticals the way they're usually handled. They're usually set at some arbitrary percentage of your skill. Ex. You have a 90% w/ Broadsword, you Crit on 09 or less. So if you roll a 90, nothing special happens. If you roll a 10, nothing special happens. But if you roll a 09, all of a sudden you do double damage and your opponents armor value is halved and all sorts of silly things. This, too me, is bad game design. First, it's completely arbitrary. Second, and more importantly, it's designed to screw the player characters. Think about it, the PCs are the only participants that are present for every encounter. Eventually their luck will run out.

                I am in favor of hurting PCs (especially when they make stupid mistakes that they new better than to do), but think an MOS system can give better results. When handled right.

                I'm not dead set on MOS. The CORPS variant I proposed does not inherrently support MOS, but it can be made to: If you have to roll (because difficulty is greater than your skill), then you MOS is however much you beat your roll by. Skill 15 vs Difficulty 21, you'd need a 19 or less (on a d30) to succeed. If you rolled a 4, that'd be a 15pt MOS.

                If you auto-succeed (because your skill is greather than or equal to the difficulty), then you roll anyway and add 30-your roll to the amount that you auto-succeed.

                So, on a d30, if your skill was a 15 and the difficulty was a 12, you'd auto-succeed by 3 pts. To find out your MOS, you'd roll the d30 anyway, say you got a 22. Your final MOS would be 11 ([30-22] + [15-12]).

                If MOS isn't important to the situation, you wouldn't roll. The reason I like the CORPS mechanic is that it cuts down on unneccessary rolling. (If you can drive a car, there's no reason to make someone roll to prove it)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chopper_Dave
                  Think about it, the PCs are the only participants that are present for every encounter. Eventually their luck will run out.
                  Statistically this is correct. Many GM's tend to secretly modify results on the fly in the players favour to offset this but I agree it's not normally built into the game system itself in the way that you are suggesting, barring perhaps the hit points and saving throws in D+D level based systems. I've seen Fate Points used to offset this. But it would be better if, as you say, it was built into to the core system. Criticals etc do however add to the players tension in that there's always the risk/threat of that lucky blow/shot coming in, and it gives a chance for less skilled characters to occasionally get the upper hand against sometimes overwhelmingly skilled opponents, which is arguably a little closer to life. Pros and cons to both approaches I guess.

                  Re MoS and Pendragon, after reading your comments I'd have to agree. Rather than say that it prohibits MoS though I'd say that it just doesn't use it, although it could be added. I just find d30 a little awkward to work with as a range and, like Kommando, would tend to tack the MoS onto a d20 rather than d30 system, but you have to follow your spirit and see where it takes you on this. I would tend to shy away from a game that forced me to make too many calculations during play but you should grab a bunch of players and give your ideas a shot. But I have to agree that an MoS system on a d100 would be a nightmare to work out so I see why you'd avoid using the d100 for MoS.

                  PS the d6's used to generate a 1-30 spread work like this:

                  1st roll on d6 2nd roll on d6 number generated

                  1 1 1
                  2 2
                  3 3
                  4 4
                  5 5
                  6 6
                  2 1 7
                  2 8
                  3 9
                  4 10
                  5 11
                  6 12
                  3 1 13
                  2 14
                  3 15
                  4 16
                  5 17
                  6 18
                  4 1 19
                  2 20
                  3 21
                  4 22
                  5 23
                  6 24
                  5 1 25
                  2 26
                  3 27
                  4 28
                  5 29
                  6 30

                  Sorry about higgledypiggledyness. :)

                  You have to trust your instincts though. I'm RPG old school and probabably need dragging into the 21st century. :roll:


                  • #10
                    Arg, sorry Dave the database compressed my d30 table! 8O


                    • #11
                      Is that really too many calculations? Perhaps that's why Greg went with the d10 for only has 6 levels of success: automatic, 9 or less, 7 or less, 5 or less, 3 or less, 1.

                      The same pattern works for the d30: automatic, 29, 27, 25... (16 levels).

                      Mathematically there's no problem changing that to a d20 (11 levels). I'd have to re-set the damage and armor levels...

                      I'll explain in a little more detail tomorrow. I have some reading to do before bed.

                      re: Sounds like your using the first d6 as a control die (in the same fashion that we used to have to roll a control die + a d10 in order to get a d20 result). It still looks a little fugly to me. Frankly, I'd rather just spend the $3 to get an actual d30.

                      Heck, Back In The Day, we didn't even have Old School :D
                      Just remember, they're all just games, there is no right and wrong way to play them, no one else gets to tell you what is fun.


                      • #12
                        I think the opposed roll idea would be keeping with the feeling of MMs works. I really perceive his works as being more character driven than setting driven, and having a character opposing challenges would be keeping more with the mood than rolling against predermined numbers.

                        This is one of the reasons I like the system present in Mutants and Masterminds. There might be a few arbitrary numbers with regards to skill checks (diffficultly level ala d20), but for the most part its ability against ability. My main appeal to systems like M+M and GURPS is also the non-structured means of putting characters together. You have a certain amount of character points to put into whatever you like, rather than adhering to a level based system. As such, perhaps making things skill based would be a way to go.

                        Another appeal to the d20 system is the rolling high for success rather than rolling low in a d100 or GURPS like system. This is merely esthetic, as high numbers can be more satisfying to players than having to roll low.

                        I have to admit warming up again to a d6 type system. For one thing, I think the bell-curve would be keeping with the tone of MMs works rather than a linear system. The thing I liked about the WEG d6 system is that you had a certain amount of dice to work with. It worked in increments of d6, d6+1, d6+2, 2d6 and so forth. The higher your level in a skill (more d6), the more the bell curve works in your favour. The better you are at something, then better your rate of success and the less chance you have at failure. Rarely in MMs works have I seen a character fail at something they are very good at, and a bell curve with multiple dice would ensure failure at routine tasks to be negligable or at least very low.

                        I am in favor of hurting PCs (especially when they make stupid mistakes that they new better than to do)
                        I guess this depends on what you mean by hurting. In MMs works, major characters rarely die without purpose, and if misfortune occurs it is often something which can occur later on. Death occurs a lot in MMs works, but far less often to central characters. This should be considered, and making bad choices should have consequences, but not to the point that game play becomes interesting or undesirable. Making mistakes are part of being human, and despite the race or background of a character (whether Melnibonean, Human, Vadhagh, or otherwise), there is still an underlying humanity to them. A good system should allow a character to learn from their mistakes and move on. Even Gaynor survived (sort of) his betrayal of Arioch in The Dreamthief's Daughter, just as Jerry Cornelius ended up crawling to Mrs C after failing his attempt to male it 1977 forever in Golddiggers.
                        Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mordenkainen
                          would you take "no dice" for an answer? There already exist thousands of systems, much of them open enough to be used with an Elric background and most of them complete enough for GMs to take what they like and leave the rest. I really think there's no need for a new dice-based system as any (good) GM can make their own out of the existing ones.
                          Something really fresh is needed here. more creative..I dunno.
                          There's a certain truth to this Mord. Have you heard of a wild west steampunk game called Deadlands? It uses cards and poker chips as its game mechanic - the more skilled your character is the more cards you get to draw and the better a hand you can put together to achieve whatever you are attempting. Very entertaining system and perhaps a good one to consider in a game version of the 2nd Ether books.


                          • #14
                            Mouser, I have looked over some Deadlands material, and after your comments I'll have to check it out again. That is a VERY cool idea. In fact, I can't see why there wouldn't be room for more than one system of conflict resolution.
                            Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."


                            • #15
                              Seeing as we all obviously have computers with net access, and so does probably 98% of the RPG buying public, I don't know why anyone messes with dice at all anymore, except for pure fetishism.

                              You want a 30-side die? You can roll one here:


                              When it comes to mechanics, I personally favor strict percentile. It's the way we tend to calculate odds in real life and is the easiest to grasp in game terms because of that. It's also the easiest to modify in small increments.
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