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Gaming Thursday: RPG System 4: Resolution

November 6, 2014

Alright, here we go. After defining and developing attributes and the nature of skills, we come to the crux: task resolution. How best to take those attributes and skills and introduce the random element that tests the characters against the task at hand.

I’m going to start by cataloging what I want from the dice mechanic:

– I want it to be a multi-die/dice pool system. Taking a page from WEG’s d6 system, there is something elegant and simple with adding and subtracting dice as a way of tracking skill, modifiers, and more. Moreover, there’s also something visceral about it. Dice are easier to keep track of than faceless +/- modifiers, and there’s a feeling to it that adds to the experience of the rolling.

– That said, I want to avoid having to add up the values on a pile of dice (and the time it takes to do so – this was one disadvantage to the d6 system), so how we use those dice will become interesting.

– In addition, I want the values of success to be low, so that we can implement a damage system that is directly correlated with the die roll and the amount of success. Besides taking extra time to roll a second set of dice, it can also lead to incongruous or frustrating results (true, it can also create exciting results where you just barely “hit” and do max damage, so there is a tradeoff here).

– This system has to have enough dice being rolled (at least at higher experience levels) to allow for removing dice as a vehicle for interesting options. Conversely, too many dice would make it too easy to pile on the interesting things, so that’s something to watch out for.

So what could fulfill on all of that?

Where I’m leaning towards right now is the “success based” system, that is, a system where every die that rolls higher than a target number is considered one success. (There are several game systems using this concept.) To increase the chances of success, but limiting the number of dice, multiple die sizes could be introduced, all using the same target number (so a larger die has a larger chance of getting a success).

Difficulties for most skill tasks will be classified by a static number of successes needed: simple tasks would require one success (note here that the idea of a simple task might be where something is already out of the ordinary; I could make it such that everyday tasks with plenty of resources do not require rolls), while epic tasks might require four or more.

As a baseline for resolution, my starting idea is that a skilled average individual (your average working employee skilled at their job) ought to be successful on a simple but out of the ordinary task in their field of work about 75% of the time.

(An example of what I mean by out of the ordinary or tricky task: an average starting auto mechanic can change oil all day fine (a trivial task), but having to change a tricky part in a car would be classified a simple task. It takes them an hour, they roll and have a roughly 75% chance to succeed. If they fail, unlikely anything bad happens, it just takes more time. If they succeed, then the job’s done.)

Effectiveness of success can be modified by the margin of success, that is by how many extra successes are gained. The reverse is true… the margin of failure could leave you bloody on a hard task.

Character combat will be handled (mostly) by opposed rolls, comparing number of successes. Damage is based on margin of success and the weapon type.

Interaction skills can also be handled by opposed rolls.

Bonuses in the system are additional dice; penalties remove dice. Options taken can give bonuses or penalties.

Ok, great. What dice and how many? Ah, there’s the rub. I’m still working on that, using anydice.com to try out different combos and checking the %ages… and I’m open to any ideas or suggestions to shorten that process!

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2 comments

  1. Well Oliver,
    If my memory serves me correct you were very proficient at rolling Ones. Maybe if you use dice without Ones you will be able to survive any fight,trap or skill roll. I think you have the right idea, but no matter what system and how many dice, even the most proficient person at any task can make a simple mistake, trip, stumble, or break something. Your mechanic Idea is true most would make a simple repair and do it without error, but remember some external factors could cause a mistake eg. over tightening a bolt and breaking it because your angry at your boss. Your dice system should still have that chance at a One role for failure, like falling down a mountain over and over. With the bonus to die rolls will help eliminate complete failure, same as multiple die roles. So some one who rolls a D20 and has a bonus of +2 can still roll a 1 and get a 3 not a complete failure but close, same as rolling 3d6, you roll 3 ones close to failure. I think you just play and adjust by trial and error. see which way you prefer. If you need some help I can fly down to California for a weekend gaming session, and I can influence you with my amazing dice rolls, remember playing risk at Carl’s. Bye for now I think I may have made sense, and maybe not.
    Scott


    • I think you have me and Jeff confused… my dice liked me. Jeff was famous for rolling a 1, then, after Kevin asked him to roll it again, rolling another one. }:)

      I will likely have an auto failure (and crit success) results in the die rolls somewhere, depending what dice system I end up using. One nice thing about a multiple die system is that as you level up (more dice) it is harder to get a crit fail. I would still stand by the thought that unless there’s some duress, some skill uses don’t require checks — if you’re angry at your boss, that’s an unusual situation and thus might require a check.

      If you’re angry at your boss while being shot at and repairing the engine with bailing twine and a piece of gum, that’s DEFINITIVELY a check. ;)



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