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Attacks: d20+HD+AC ≥ 20Uses (old-school) descending AC.
A way to cut out math pretty much altogether, for everyone involved. Just compare two numbers.Option Two
This one is pretty cool, with only two drawbacks I can see:
1. Those high d20 rolls are no longer necessarily good. (Could be a problem if you're seriously nostalgic. But it wouldn't be too hard to add in a "natural 20" critical hit rule if you just can't live without.)
2. If you want to extend your attack bonuses or armor classes past a 0-10 range, you may need to involve some funky math for very advanced characters.
Here's how it works:
Each character has a "to hit" number, the higher the better. Let's say the "to hit" number starts at 11 and you add applicable modifiers (e.g. +2 for Strength, +3 Fighter's attack bonus, or whatever). Any time you roll higher than this number, it's a miss. If you roll lower, tell your target what you rolled; they'll tell you if you hit.
Each character has an Armor Class, the higher the better (probably in the 1 to 10 range). Your opponent's roll has to beat your Armor Class to hit you.
That's it! Pretty elegant.
I roll a d20. If it's lower than my "to-hit" number, that's my attack roll.
The target compares my attack roll to their Armor Class. If it beats the AC, it's a hit! Ouch. But pretty slick.
The only potential problem is that if you want your "to hit" bonuses to cover a range of more than 10 or so, you'll need to add some rule for what happens if your "to hit" number exceeds 20. I can see two easy options:
1. When your "to hit" number exceeds 20, subtract some number (would have to do the math to figure out what number) and add other dice to your roll. Maybe you subtract 5 points to roll a d10 along with your d20, and keep the better result, or something like that. Or you just get to roll two d20s and keep the best one (or just plain old make two attacks per round!). Something like that.
2. The scale "wraps around". This emulates the way D&D's "to hit" bonuses normally work much better. To do this:
When your "to hit" number exceeds 20, subtract 20 from it and write it down with some kind of special symbol. So, 25 becomes 5!!!.
From now on, any roll is compared to the target's Armor Class (there's no such thing as an automatic miss). But if you roll less than your new "to hit" number, add 20 to the result. (So, if you roll a 3, treat it as 23.)
Personally, I would just cap the number at 20, I think, but this second method is mathematically identical to the way D&D normally works, so that may help if you're using some kind of conversion from a certain system.
As I mentioned before, you can keep the "natural 20" effect if it's important to you. Just increase all the numbers by one, and have all natural 20s be automatic hits.
Use a narrowing range of numbers, which are recorded by the target. This is not at all identical to how D&D works! It's a totally different way to use the d20 roll. I'm including it simply because it's so different.Questions
First, you have some kind of basic miss chance. Maybe it's based on your Dexterity or natural AC or dodge ability or whatever. Maybe for a normal human, it's 1-7. So you write that down.
Second, any armour you wear reduces damage by a certain amount (and it can be a pretty good amount, no need to be stingy here). How extensive is the armour? Write down how many body parts are covered:
[this list is from the blog comments]
one arm or partial both arms
+other arm or rest of the arms*
one leg or partial both legs
+other leg or rest of the legs*
Upper left body*
Upper right body*
Lower left body*
Lower right body*
*-the armor can optionally only cover part of a section of the body. You could just protect one arm, or wear gauntlets on both arms.
For each body part covered, add 1 to your "armour range" (there are 10 body parts in this list, so this is a 0-10 value; you could design it some other way, of course). This range either begins where your "dodge/miss" range left off, or it starts at 10. (Depending on how quickly you want to be able to calculate it on the fly.)
When someone rolls to hit you, they just say what they rolled. (And optionally add some kind of hit bonus to their roll.)
On your sheet, you write down your ranges. Let's say the basic miss range is 1-7, and you're wearing heavy armour on your torso (4 areas), a helmet (1 area), and your left arm (like a gladiator -- one more area), for a total of 6 armoured areas. So, on your sheet, you write down:
8-13 Hit to armoured area
14+ Hit to exposed area
So, when your opponent tells you what they rolled, you look at the chart and you know whether you a) avoided the hit altogether ("Dodge"), took a hit to an armoured area (in which you subtract the armour's defensive value from the damage), or got hit somewhere which really hurts.
It's neat in that it requires very little math in actual play: I roll a number and add something and then tell you what it is, and you tell me what happened. Knowing whether the hit was to an exposed area or not could also be important for, say, skin contact attacks or something like that.
But now we're pretty far afield from how D&D works!