is d66+bonuses a viable system?

I'd rather use AW 2d6+ single digit bonuses, but some players in my group keep asking me for a system that could handle bigger numbers. They want to keep leveling up forever. I could use d20 or d100 but the thing is that :

1) I want to make a cheap game that I can sell in my country; and the only thing you can get here anywhere are common d6.

2) Most players would be new to the hobbie and I found out that if I can appeal to the MMORPGs atmosphere on the mechanics its easier for them to understand and feel comfortable with the game.

3) I've played games that use pools of d6. They are terrific, but these ain't my group's thing, and I'm not used to design thing around those.

Does anyone know of a functional tested d66 game? I'm not even sure about what the probability curves are for that and how far could the bonuses go. I thought I could give players +30 at most, but now I'm not so sure.

Also, one of the players has this thing about numbers in the game; he loves to powergame in order to make sure that his character will accomplish one sigle thing 98% of the time or better. But then he relaxes and roleplays it. He just can't stand that my designs usually give the players a 50/50 chance at high levels against the highest difficulty, even when I won't be using this degree of difficulty often. Strangely, he's okey if the GM just says "no, you can't beat this guy because of reasons right now", though he has pushed a GM before by gaming the system or even the GM plot in meta, but only when said GM used really poor excuses for railroading insted of being honest and say it was railroading.

This player is also a good friend of mine and I'd really like to either get how he gets his fun from this to make a game to his liking or find a way to compromise and make a game that at least he can stand playing. I already got a couple ideas for this, but I would like to hear some other opinions on the subject. Thanks for your time!

Comments

  • edited February 2015
    Sounds like you have a compatibility issue with your friend. Not sure where to find a middle ground, but there may be a set of rules which gives each of you what you want.

    That said, one easy way to use AW mechanics and allow incremental progress is to break the roll into two:

    Roll twice. If both succeed, that's a 10+. If neither succeed, that's a miss. If only one succeeds, it's a 7-9.

    This allows you to change the odds very slowly, particularly if the two rolls are based on different numbers.

    With 2d6, you could do it like this, for a traditional-seeming game:

    Roll 2d6, twice. Roll under your score for a success.

    For each roll, you combine an Attribute with a Skill, or two different abilities, or whatever. Perhaps attacking someone requires you to roll Warrior + Sword skill, while defending against an attack requires Reflexes + Sword skill, for example.

    This means that the player needs to advance two separate scores by +1 to achieve a "net" +1 in terms of his odds, giving you two "steps" per bonus. And even without that, you'll get a much bigger range than in AW as-written.

    For example, someone who has a score of 4 has only a 1/36 chance of a full success, a 25/36 chance of failure, and a 10/36 chance of a partial success.

    Someone with a score of 5 has a 1/13 chance of a full success, a 1/2 chance of failure, and a 4/10 chance of a partial success. (Very roughly; not exact odds.)

    These are pretty similar, but two steps apart in this system (you can have two rolls a 4 or less, one at 4 or less and one at 5 or less, and finally two rolls at 5 or less). Gives a lot of granularity to an AW mechanic with only two dice.

    Just a thought; don't know how useful it is to you!
  • The d6/d6 roll you mentioned (I assume you mean rolling one d6 for a tens digit and another for a ones digit.) is used a little bit for specialty purposes in some games, but it's not too popular due to being pretty ugly and not too intuitive. The resulting random distribution is identical to a 1d36, it's just expressed in base 6, so a result of "34" is actually the 16th smallest possible result, "66" is the 36th smallest result, and so on.

    To me it seems like if you want to use d6s, don't like dice pools, want uncapped advancement of numbers, and want to also use big numbers for their (debatable) sexiness, then clearly most elegant dice math for you is [ability bonus]+d6 vs. [difficulty rating]. Make that 2d6 or 3d6 if you want a bell curve - most games that use straight bonuses + roll system prefer the bell curve. There are certainly some rather major games out there with this exact setup.

    This math has all the qualities you want. It also includes "competency ranges" in that ability at 2 directly implies automatic success at difficulty 1-2 and automatic failure at difficult 9+ (assuming you're rolling a single d6, that is). This is a feature for some types of game, while it is not so for others; if it's important to you that every roll has a chance to succeed or fail, I suggest making the dice explode in whatever manner suits you best, and decree that certain results out of the dice are automatic fails - or "fumbles" - no matter the difficulty or skill involved.

    If all of the above seems to you entirely conventional, then perhaps reflect on this: your friend wants an entirely conventional traditional roleplaying game rules system. If you do as well, then it might be a good idea to do that instead of thinking up an exotic dice mechanic.

    For a starting point: it is rather easy to play a somewhat different flavour of conventional d20 D&D by substituting that d20 roll with a 3d6 roll - it's surprising how little you'd need to change about the system. What would your friend dislike about a game that was exactly like say 3rd edition D&D (Pathfinder, that is), except it'd have a 3d6 roll instead of the d20?
  • edited February 2015
    The only game I know of that uses a d66 is SJG's version of In Nomine. Actually it's a d666 but the third 6 is more a "degree of success" die. It has some clunky results though.

    I agree with Eero that if you're designing for constantly escalating big numbers (and having just played through a shit ton of Bor2erlands, I totally get the appeal) that perhaps your model might be d20/D&D3.X with the d20 replaced by 3d6. (Any time I say to story hyphen games dot com "hey, maybe you want to look at this little game called Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition" an angel gets his wings.)

    Additive die pools (versus counting-success die pools) were used in West End Games' d6 series of games that began with Ghostbusters and Star Wars; you can still get great stuff for free on rpgnow if you're interested in seeing how it was done.
  • Yeah, you´re right. Additive 3d6 + bonuses may play wonders and it will be definitely easier for him to take something similar to PF. Also, I could break those 3d6 to make them part of the leveling up in the game, as in untrained characters roll 1d6 + bonuses, trained roll 2d6 + bonuses and veteran get the full 3d6.

    It would also let me recycle the critical table I modeled after Age of Dragons and a lot of stuff from my tenra bansho/anima hack. I'll stay away from the d66 fo the system, though it's cool for random tables anyway and I'll probably be using a lot of those. Thanks a lot for the quick response everyone!
  • edited February 2015
    Since we're comparing distribution curves...
    The action resolution system in DayTrippers uses Xd6, take the best one, and add your mod (which is +1 to +6).

    The success distribution looks like this:
    image
  • Better statisticians than me have already weighed in on the dice, so here's an opinion about this:
    Also, one of the players has this thing about numbers in the game; he loves to powergame in order to make sure that his character will accomplish one sigle thing 98% of the time or better. But then he relaxes and roleplays it. He just can't stand that my designs usually give the players a 50/50 chance at high levels against the highest difficulty, even when I won't be using this degree of difficulty often. Strangely, he's okey if the GM just says "no, you can't beat this guy because of reasons right now", though he has pushed a GM before by gaming the system or even the GM plot in meta, but only when said GM used really poor excuses for railroading insted of being honest and say it was railroading.

    This player is also a good friend of mine and I'd really like to either get how he gets his fun from this to make a game to his liking
    It might be a genre-fidelity thing; you set your sights on playing a character who isn't just good at something, but the best at it. And then the rules say, "Actually, when it's time for you to really shine at this task, you're basically crap at it. Might as well flip a coin." If the GM says the task can't be done because of reasons -- usually in-genre reasons at that -- that's fine, that's in keeping with the kind of story you're telling. But the whole point of putting the Greatest Safecracker In The World in front of the Most Nigh-Impregnable Vault In The World is to see him open it, not to see him screw up. Any random unskilled jerkbag can screw up opening the toughest lock in the world, but since they didn't invest all of that energy and all of those skill points in opening locks, it's okay and no one really feels bad about it. The expert who fails in that situation? That guy feels like the biggest idiot in the world.


    Or alternately, it might be a statement along the lines of "I never want to spend time worrying about how to deal with this kind of obstacle." Making a character who can get that one job done 98% of the time means that 98% of the time the player is never even going to have to think about it. When the rules say that the best person for the toughest job can't actually handle that job at least half of the time, that option is off the table and the annoying, non-fun shit you didn't want to have to deal with is going to be jammed in your face anyway.

    It's why it's always a good idea to talk with players about what they like doing and don't like doing in games. If someone's building their character because they want a particular task to not be a challenge, you need to know so that you can give them other (more fun) things to do. If you don't ask, you might mistakenly respond by ramping up the difficulty of that task in order to challenge them, and then no one's gonna be happy.
  • edited February 2015
    Dice + adds vs TN (target number) aren't usually going to give you 98% success at the highest difficulties. They have a tendency to be drifted so the TN increases with the adds.
    But for the record, d66 + 33 to equal or beat 45 is pretty much 97.2222 percent chance.
    In fact, as long as the adds are twelve below the TN, you get those same odds with a d66.

    I've said it before, but I don't think what the world needs now is more dice systems. It's such a small part of a game's design.

    It might surprise you to learn that 2d6 has a similar property!
    As long as the adds are three below the TN, you get the same odds as the d66 did.
    So 2d6 + 7 to equal or beat 10, say, is that same 97.222222 chance of success.
  • My bigger point was that once you've allowed 2d6 + 7 you're going to see some way higher target numbers also. Because characters will (empowered with their newly improved stats) attempt diegetically harder and harder challenges.
  • True that.

  • edited February 2015
    I love d66... for random tables. Japanese RPGs have inspired me to use them more and more.

    A main question in my opinion is: Do you want a linear probability curve (i.e. d100) or bell curve (i.e. 2d6)?
    It makes a huge difference to add +3 bonus to 2d6 vs 1d12.

    For a linear scale, d66 does work in my experience. You just need a look-up table for your specific scale(s). It works pretty well, though it is a bit less elegant in game flow.
    Here is a conversion table (in German) from all sorts of dice to d66:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0kstQO9Gc1dZGtZUGNwSXR6R2s/view

    For crunchy mechanics, especially if you find it terrific, dice pools are a good solution.
    Is it more important to please your group or the target audience of your game?

    "Little Fears - Nightmare Edition" has a "top 3" d6 mechanic:
    Your skill gives you a no. of d6, you pick the best 3d6. (if you have skill 1 or 2, you just get 1d6 / 2d6). Can be interesting for certain genres.

    Another alternative could be using i.e. playing cards (52cards + 2jokers).

    As for dealing with your friend:
    Generally, I think it is great if your friend "relaxes and roleplays". If uncertainties like 50:50 situations put him in stress, he might be more happy with a more narrative style or a FATE based game (you can roll d6-d6 instead of Fate/Fudge dice) that is more predictable.

    In the AW context, I like moving up to 3d6 (or even higher, though 1d6 is just linear, not attractive). You can combine it with character advancement, combining a higher skill bonus with "levelling up" to 3d6. To make it also desireable to the players, "levelling up" to 3d6 would unlock new moves/options etc.

    AsIf:
    Thanks for the nice colorful table. What is the "X" in Xd6+Y ? Ok, +Y is the bonus.
    Generally as GM, I find it hard to scale difficulties with two parameters.
  • A main question in my opinion is: Do you want a linear probability curve (i.e. d100) or bell curve (i.e. 2d6)?
    I don't see it.
    In games where you’re rolling “X or higher”, or “X or lower”, bell curves and linear curves give the same results.

    For example, to roll a 7 or higher on 2d6 is exactly the same as rolling 16 or higher on 1d36.

    I know three cases where bell curves are relevant.
    One is in situations where the exact numbers are relevant. Like in Settlers of Catan where the number rolled gives you a specific resource.

    The other is when there’s deliberate conversion distortion effect that you as designer want to achieve.

    But the difference between roll under 17 on 3d6 vs roll under 16 on 3d6 is about four times smaller than the difference between roll under 12 on 3d6 and roll under 11 on 3d6. That way you get a “diminishing returns” effect as you go higher and higher.

    The third case is when you want to condense a larger spread into fewer, easier to grasp outcomes. I am, or used to be, huge fan of 4dF because it takes a scale of 81 and map it them to three simple symbols. That way you can have a fine-grained difficulty scale but still represent it with simple plusses and minuses. Like, if you need to end up with ++ on 4dF, that’s the equivalent of needing to roll at least a 67 on 1d81.
    However, I’ve found that I don’t really need or want a fine-grained difficulty scale. Honestly, I’d be fine with just rolling one fudge die for everything except maybe for the really long shots.
  • edited February 2015
    2097:
    Well, bell-curve vs linear is less dramatic if you go "at least X" instead of a specific number. Still, there are significant differences in the feeling.

    Just compare i.e. 6d6 vs 1d36: http://anydice.com/program/551b
    20 on 6d6 = 63,69%
    14 on 1d36 = 63,89%

    Now, if you have a +5 bonus, the odds change significantly:
    20 on 6d6 + 5 = 93,92%
    14 on 1d36 + 5 = 77,78%

    It's an extreme example, yet demonstrates what I perceive as an important difference. (the difference is more drastic in the upper/lower ranges).
    Generally, bell-curve is more predictable, if you like/need that.

    That being said, I share your sentiment:
    I used to love 4dF.
    Then, for a long time, I've reduced everything to simple 1d4 (good/decent/meager/bad result).
    Now, I msostly roll 1d10 with rule of thumb % estimation (10%/20%/30%/...).
    1dF could be nice:
    +: Success
    o: Partial Success/Hard choice
    -: Fail



  • 2097:
    Well, bell-curve vs linear is less dramatic if you go "at least X" instead of a specific number. Still, there are significant differences in the feeling.

    Just compare i.e. 6d6 vs 1d36: http://anydice.com/program/551b
    20 on 6d6 = 63,69%
    14 on 1d36 = 63,89%

    Now, if you have a +5 bonus, the odds change significantly:
    20 on 6d6 + 5 = 93,92%
    14 on 1d36 + 5 = 77,78%
    Sure, this is the aforementioned “conversion distortion effect” in action. Linearly scaled (or static) mods and target numbers along side a bell-curvy dice-result.
    Generally, bell-curve is more predictable, if you like/need that.
    I don’t really see a difference in predictability either. In a given situation, let’s say it’s that good old 63.79% chance, it’s just as hard/easy to predict if you’ll make it or not in the bell-system as in the linear system.

    Things like damage rolls where the exact number is relevant is a different story.
    1dF could be nice:
    +: Success
    o: Partial Success/Hard choice
    -: Fail
    Looks good. These days I’m mostly running D&D and the probabilities are all wonky and I’m OK with it.
    I don’t really care if the PCs whiff or succeed. If dice rolls are necessary, that just means that the PCs have already messed up. :)
  • edited February 2015
    AsIf:
    Thanks for the nice colorful table. What is the "X" in Xd6+Y ? Ok, +Y is the bonus.
    Generally as GM, I find it hard to scale difficulties with two parameters.
    X is your governing Stat. Y is your skill bonus or other modifiers.
    e.g.: A PC with CHARM of 3 and Rhetoric Skill +1 would roll 3d6, take the highest, and add 1 to attempt a rhetorical maneuver.

    The numbers shown in the cells above show the percentage chances of the modified roll being higher than the Difficulty Level shown on the left side of the charts.

  • Fully tested, on sale and available are my two "code books" -
    THE COMICS CODE and THE CODE OF THE SPACELANES. Players allocate the numbers from 1 through 6 in pairs across three abilities and multiply them to get scores from 2 to 30.

    In play they roll 2d6 and multiply them - 1 through 36 - and then add their ability scores. So the outcomes range from 3 to 66.

    The games are available on RPGNOW if you want a look. Trust me, the system works.
  • Any system works when players get accustomed to it, though for newcomers, it's always easier to get used to systems in this order of complexity:

    -comparative system (roll dice, compare it to target number or opposition roll)
    -Additive/subtractive system (roll dice, add them together/add bonuses or substract one from the other /substract penalties, compare it against TN or opposition roll)
    -multiplication
    -Division

    the more complicated the operations, the longer it takes for players to get accustomed / the longer the game flow is interrupted by dice rolling math. In way to many cases to minimize this case, possible players get scared by all the math, specially when the reasons behind this or that operation aren't clear at first sight. "Ok, I get that I have to roll dice to see if my character gets something done or not, but why so many dice? How do I know when I can use more than one? It's really important to be able to answer clearly and quickly these questions to the players, more than you think if you want the game to appeal to a wider audience.

    I mean, come on, the basic nature of roleplaying is incredibly simple. It's cool to refine the math to make the system into an accurate tool to represent different situations, but I'm going into the opposite direction.

    As I stated first, for me old 2d6+bonuses up to 4 would be more than enough, but players have consistently been asking me for more. 3d6+ bonuses seem to be a good compromise. It's not a pool (I really don't want to make me rich by selling buckets of dice needed to play my game) nor a single dice. I would allow me to use bonuses up to 20 without breaking the math. In regard to this and something Accountingfortaste mentioned:

    It might be a genre-fidelity thing; you set your sights on playing a character who isn't just good at something, but the best at it. And then the rules say, "Actually, when it's time for you to really shine at this task, you're basically crap at it. Might as well flip a coin." If the GM says the task can't be done because of reasons -- usually in-genre reasons at that -- that's fine, that's in keeping with the kind of story you're telling. But the whole point of putting the Greatest Safecracker In The World in front of the Most Nigh-Impregnable Vault In The World is to see him open it, not to see him screw up. Any random unskilled jerkbag can screw up opening the toughest lock in the world, but since they didn't invest all of that energy and all of those skill points in opening locks, it's okay and no one really feels bad about it. The expert who fails in that situation? That guy feels like the biggest idiot in the world.


    Or alternately, it might be a statement along the lines of "I never want to spend time worrying about how to deal with this kind of obstacle." Making a character who can get that one job done 98% of the time means that 98% of the time the player is never even going to have to think about it. When the rules say that the best person for the toughest job can't actually handle that job at least half of the time, that option is off the table and the annoying, non-fun shit you didn't want to have to deal with is going to be jammed in your face anyway.

    It's why it's always a good idea to talk with players about what they like doing and don't like doing in games. If someone's building their character because they want a particular task to not be a challenge, you need to know so that you can give them other (more fun) things to do. If you don't ask, you might mistakenly respond by ramping up the difficulty of that task in order to challenge them, and then no one's gonna be happy.
    Yes I get your point, but there's another ingredient in this mix that ruins things and it's not in the math, but in the way the GM interpretates the dice. You see, this player has been playing with another two groups where the norm is that when you roll low, the GM describes how your character does something stupid. In some cases, it's even humilliating for the players. I stopped playing with those groups because I really don't enjoy to be put in that situation too often as they did, and also because the only way to stop those GMs from reading the dice like that was by building an impenetrable barrier of bonuses until you only failed at something by rolling a 1.

    I'm not so good at math and power-gaming stresses me out, also, having continuous arguments with the GM to defend my interpretation of the rules that gave me those bonuses tired me out, all of which gave me more powerful reasons to stop playing with them. Yet my friend endured it and found out another way of having fun. Now he powergames a bit and also breaks their rails here and there. He's in full control when he manages things to go his way, and having thins g his way is now his way of having fun with those groups. They all go with it (with some complains, but nothing really serious) so it's a valid way of having fun for them.

    OTOH there's the way I've been learning to read the dice and use the TN, which is the opposite those GMs do. When players roll low in my games, their characters don't suck; it's just that their enemies are a bit better, or maybe just lucky. They don't just miss, but something interesting happens (they could even actually succeed but something turns that success into a complication instead of solving a problem. TN doesn't matter too much for me, I'm usually going for the average difficulty or one that makes the action a bit more risky (like +3 or +4 more difficult) when the player's plans look more fragile. I let as much as I can happen without any rolls, so players actually get 98% winning chances and 60% chances that something interesting happens, even while the math says that at top level they have 50% chances to lose, which I really seldom apply in full force.

    I believe that If I explain my way of interpretating the dice and make it an integral part of the system instead of just puting it down at the "good advice for GMs" chapter of the game, I can make the game actually work. Good GM praxis shouldn't be just wishful thinking but actual rules of the game instead.
  • I've run into the "you rolled really low so you get humiliated" thing a lot before even in systems where there is explicitly no degree-of-failure rules or worse, degree of failure rules that explicitly don't say that.

    I've often had people dejectedly announce "that's a double botch" in World of Darkness games when that actually does not make any probabilistic sense and doesn't exist in any World of Darkness system ever published.

    I think people look for "big deals" in-fiction to come of perceived probability outliers, and we often have really bad "probability sense". In my previous example, finding another 1 versus finding any 9-10s in a World of Darkness die pool that has already rolled a 1 isn't actually all that remarkable, but man, people FREAKED when it happened.

    Totally a real, widespread thing. Even against the explicit statement of the games! (People also wanted a 20 on a skill check in D&D3 to mean a critical success, when it unquestionably didn't, and looking at the skill system in the context of that game, it wouldn't make any sense at all if it did.)
  • I originally said that 5e had no support for such shenanigans in the text, but I looked closer in the DMG and there are some traces there. I know it's super-common, I watch a lot of games on youtube and it's almost like the norm. I guess I'm fighting at the windmills here…
    But it's been pretty much eradicated at my table.
    JDCorley, it looks like you understand the issue perfectly. What's your prescription?
  • edited February 2015
    To me there are three results:
    1. You fail but put in good effort. You get in a good swing but the enemy is keeping up with you. You grabbed the ledge but the stone came loose. You got in a perfect hit but the chitaneous hide is just too thick.
    2. You succeed normally. The enemy lose ground. You manage to latch on.
    3. For attack rolls only: you crit, which has effects on the damage roll but not necessarily on the narration.
  • edited February 2015
    A rolling method I haven't seen used, but might be fun: roll 2d6, use the bigger result as the ones digit and the smaller result as the tens. This gives 21 possible results, clustering around the low end but diverging at the top: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 35, 36, 44, 45, 46, 55, 56, 66.
  • SOS suggested this:
    This method requires 2d6 of one "positive" color (or size) and 2d6 of another, "negative" color or size. Roll all four dice. Do not add the dice in this system. Instead, remove from the table all but the lowest die (or dice, if more than one has the same lowest number showing).

    If the only dice left on the table are the same color, that is the result: a positive die with a “1” showing is a +1, for example. If there are still dice of both colors showing, the result is “0”.

    This gives a range from -5 to +5, with the outliers being very rare. It's tricky to get the hang of but it's very fast. I like it, but I like regular Fudge dice better.
  • Any system works when players get accustomed to it, though for newcomers, it's always easier to get used to systems in this order of complexity:

    -comparative system (roll dice, compare it to target number or opposition roll)
    -Additive/subtractive system (roll dice, add them together/add bonuses or substract one from the other /substract penalties, compare it against TN or opposition roll)
    -multiplication
    -Division

    the more complicated the operations, the longer it takes for players to get accustomed / the longer the game flow is interrupted by dice rolling math.
    [...]
    For me, multiplication seems about the same as adding. Subtraction is usually fine, but surprisingly takes a bit more mental work when you have the possibility of negatives. But that depends on the size of the numbers involved... actually size of the numbers is a big deal, I'd say anything over 10 is a step up in perceived complexity, and going over 20 is too (note how English and many other languages has a special one-word name for each number until 21); beyond that numbers don't feel more complex until > 100.

    But the much more important factor in intimidating dice rolls is the number of steps involved. If you have to know which die type or how many to roll, that's a step; if you have to know what to add to it, multiply it by, etc, that's a step (ie, multiplying 2D6 is 1 step; adding a D6 to your modifier, that's 2 steps, since you have to know your modifier).

    What I'm trying to say is, having to remember 4 steps is way more intimidating than 3 steps, etc. Each step you eliminate interrupts people's thoughts less. (Still referring to people new to a system, of course.) Each step you make identical every time helps too. And any number you put right in front of people rather than allowing any uncertainty.
    I think people look for "big deals" in-fiction to come of perceived probability outliers, and we often have really bad "probability sense".
    Wise words indeed. In fact I've nearly noticed this in the past but written it off: I sort of figured it was deliberate. Fiction isn't about everyday happenings, so it makes some sense for it to be biased toward extraordinary success and extraordinary failure. But really, your explanation fits much better with the behavior I've seen. On anything bigger than a 1D6 roll, people will tend to think of the high and low as amazing improbabilities.

  • JDCorley, it looks like you understand the issue perfectly. What's your prescription?
    I tell them to stop fucking around. "Critical success" on a D&D3 skill roll? A "double botch" in World of Darkness? "We're not doing that."
  • How about a rule like this:

    BADASS

    You're really good at [something]. Whenever you put your ability to use, you always do an incredible, expert-level job.

    On a failed roll, you're still badass. The GM will tell you why your actions had unexpected side effects, or how someone else screwed up, or how an unexpected result means your attempt doesn't achieve its goals.

    Sometimes, you might screw up and look like an idiot, though: on any failed roll, you can tell us how you did that. Each time you do, you get 1 XP, as you learn from your mistakes.
  • I tell them to stop fucking around. "Critical success" on a D&D3 skill roll? A "double botch" in World of Darkness? "We're not doing that."
    Yeah, same here. I said "This is not the Three Stooges".
    You're really good at [something]. Whenever you put your ability to use, you always do an incredible, expert-level job.

    On a failed roll, you're still badass. The GM will tell you why your actions had unexpected side effects, or how someone else screwed up, or how an unexpected result means your attempt doesn't achieve its goals.
    Sounds good. That's how I do it.
    Because the PC are goofy enough with their own actions (walking into traps, becoming attacked by orcs etc). I don't need the dice to make it worse.
    The dice come out when there's uncertainty in whether or not an action will or won't give you the intended outcome, not when there's uncertainty in whether or not you'll even be able to perform the action because you're so wasted on Drow pills.
  • My take on this too. I'm making it a point of forcing myself to describe low rolls in a better light too. It's not that the character misses, but that the enemy is really lucky, or that while his/her aim was true the opponent managed to read the attack and skillfully avoid it.

    I've got to admit that I'm forcing myself a bit sometimes because I learned to play the other way and it's terribly easy to fall into the temptation of making a bit of fun of the situation, specially when no harm is done and the player is actually able to laugh at him/herself a little. At least I don't keep pushing it further than a couple of jokes at top, but again, it shouldn't be me making those jokes, but the player when and if he/she feels totally comfortable with it. Bad habits die hard, but it's worth to try and kill them.

    Agreed that the number of steps are more intimidating that their nature. Let me see, If I use the 3d6+bonuses and crit table, the hole procedure would be:

    -GM asks for a roll of a specific skill or attribute, player finds it on his character sheet and rolls as much dice as it says. 3d6 top.
    -Adds the dice together with the proper bonuses.
    -Tells the result to the GM who compares it to the TN.
    -If there are doubles or triples, the player gets to choose an effect or two from the critical table.
    -Damage is fixed, armour or other defenses reduce it. GM calculates this part.

    That's doable for me, not too much complex and allows bonuses for up to +20. This critical table is something I've tested before and I love it how it turns the fight into something interesting even if the players just go describing their actions with something just like "I hit it with my sword"

    For me, bell curve is the way to go. Having a better chance to roll just enough to make it, a slimmer chance to roll low and the (perceived though not real) same usual chance to roll a crit do wonders for me. This is another reason I prefer 1d6 before this, but again, I need to be able to reward the players more often with items that pump up their bonuses, since this is practically a central theme for MMORPGs
  • edited February 2015
    Generally, bell-curve is more predictable, if you like/need that.
    I don’t really see a difference in predictability either. In a given situation, let’s say it’s that good old 63.79% chance, it’s just as hard/easy to predict if you’ll make it or not in the bell-system as in the linear system.
    2097:
    Well, statistically, the mean value has nothing to do with predictability. The probability to get struck by lightning is 0.000...x%, and let's say this is pretty predictable.
    Predictability really depends on statistic variance. In a bell curve, like i.e. 4dF, even if you don't make the roll, you still know that most of the time you'll roll something around '0'.
    Wheras with 1d9 - 5, the results would be much more swingy and thus unpredictable.

  • Generally, bell-curve is more predictable, if you like/need that.
    I don’t really see a difference in predictability either. In a given situation, let’s say it’s that good old 63.79% chance, it’s just as hard/easy to predict if you’ll make it or not in the bell-system as in the linear system.
    2097:
    Well, statistically, the mean value has nothing to do with predictability. The probability to get struck by lightning is 0.000...x%, and let's say this is pretty predictable.
    Predictability really depends on statistic variance. In a bell curve, like i.e. 4dF, even if you don't make the roll, you still know that most of the time you'll roll something around '0'.
    Wheras with 1d9 - 5, the results would be much more swingy and thus unpredictable.

    Variance is relevant precisely when the actual value rolled is relevant. If the roll is simply determining success/fail, variance affects the feel in some way, but isn't that important.
  • edited February 2015
    Yeah, I figured my comment doesn't reflect this exactly. There are a various factors.
    i.e. in Fate, the bell-curve does make a difference because the result - success or fail - will stay in a certain range, thus you can more predictably succeed by investing Fate points or stacked bonuses.
  • Yes interaction between linear and bell curves can make the bell curve matter. Fudge is exceptionally well thought through in this regard unlike GURPS.
  • edited February 2015
    In games where you’re rolling “X or higher”, or “X or lower”, bell curves and linear curves give the same results.

    For example, to roll a 7 or higher on 2d6 is exactly the same as rolling 16 or higher on 1d36.
    Math police here, I'm afraid you're in violation of the law of probability. I'll have to write a ticket.

    A 7+ on 2d6 happens 21/36th of the time, the same range on D66 (1d36) would be 34 or higher. The key difference is that the bonus or penalty to the rolls are different. For a D66 roll, each +/- is roughly a shift of 3% flat. For a bell curve, the smaller number starts off with a bigger boost in range. (ie. a +1 to roll a 7+ is 26/36th while D66 would only slightly change with a 22/36th chance.)

    [edit]

    I'm also a big fan of D66 due to games like Maid, Fiasco (think about it), and Traveller tables. My first game design, when I only heard rumors about D&D, was D66 based since that was all my brother and I had.
  • Do not attempt to school me, child, for:
    For example, to roll a 7 or higher on 2d6 is exactly the same as rolling 16 or higher on 1d36.
    Math police here, I'm afraid you're in violation of the law of probability. I'll have to write a ticket.

    A 7+ on 2d6 happens 21/36th of the time, the same range on D66 (1d36) would be 34 or higher
    And on a true thirty-six-sided die, the same range is 16 or higher, for 16,17,18..36=21 counts so 16+ = 21/36. QED.
    Also the sixteenth number in the d66 sequence 11,12,13..65,66 is 34 so also QED.
  • I do not want a ticket!!!!! :( :( :( :(
  • I'm afraid I don't get your math either 2097. I always thought that rolling 2 dice and adding them together is the reason of the bell curve, since there are higher chances that the sum would be the double of an average of the two dice. But I haven't sleep well yesterday, so perhaps I'm the one to blame.

    Anyway, What I came up with yesterday (and part of the reason I didin't sleep well) was something like this:

    Attributes would be old Str, Dex, Con, Int, Perception (only change here so far) and Cha
    Players distribute +1, +2 and +3 for three of them and all the rest are +0. However in game these can grow up to +20.

    Skills, equipment and special powers would be Traits, defined by the players and usable with any attributes relevant to the situation. Traits doesn't have a range, however depending on the level they are trained they will give extra dice.

    For easy challenges, if the player has a trait and/or if the called attribute is higher than the Target Number, there's no need to roll.

    For untrained or barely applicable traits, these give only 1d6 + attribute.
    For trained traits, 2d6 + attribute
    For veteran status traits, 3d6 + attribute
    Traits can go higher, by giving bonus dice (up to three, so players can roll six dice and keep the 3 highest)

    When combining traits, players get the bigger amount of dice from one trait only (the best one). When helping, two or more players can roll their dice and keep the 3 highest (or less).

    Damage is a fixed value, modified by the applicable attribute.

    Buff spells or items allow re-rolls based on the level of the trait used. Debuffs do the same by forcing the opponent to keep the lower rolls.

    Doubles allow for a "stunt" as in Dragon Age, so on the best case you could combine two stunts if you roll a triple. There will be a table for players to choose from and combine effects according to the situation.

    I'll definitely won't go for the exploding die, since it has not much meaning in this system to keep adding dice to the roll. Maaaybe for the first levels, but again, I think it would be too much trouble.

    That's it so far, the rest that kept me awake was rewriting the introduction and the method for world creation anyway :P any thoughts?
  • I'm afraid I don't get your math either 2097. I always thought that rolling 2 dice and adding them together is the reason of the bell curve, since there are higher chances that the sum would be the double of an average of the two dice.
    It does become a bell curve, but only when the exact number is relevant, such as a damage roll or a roll on a table.
    For "this number or higher", it's not really a bell curve. The graph just has two points, over and under.
    That was all I was saying. Maybe I read too much into that.
  • Ooh, I see! Yeah, somebody else mentioned that too, my bad! You're right, though when I GM, most of the time I read the natural roll instead of comparing the total result to a target number. I mean, I do both, but when I'm in a rush I tend to do the former. I know this probably fuzzes all the math so I'm only doing it when it feels like the right thing to do.

    Depending on the playstyle of the group, it could be a bad habit or a good one, so lately I'm trying to be fair to the math more than to my guts when DMing 5e. It's been cool so far, though I left two out of 5 first level PCs inconscious when they fought against 5 goblins. Saving rolls against death did the trick.

    It was just the second combat with this system for the players (an maybe my 6th one with it as well) but I really enjoyed it. Players too, though some admitted that these goblins were harder than they expected. Players rolled low at the start of the fight and I've seen some reviews where the party was wiped out in a similar encounter, so I think we all did okay. The playstyle I want to use now is just like this, a bit more "dangerous" for the PCs, though I'm not really in for the killing, I'm just trying to be fair with the game math and mechanics and it's doing a fine job for me.
  • edited February 2015

    Math police here, I'm afraid you're in violation of the law of probability. I'll have to write a ticket.
    Todd, always the ruthless math police! :)
    (I remember a mistake I made on another forum with some Fate numbers, you showed no mercy there, either... ;-) )

  • edited February 2015
    Ooh, I see! Yeah, somebody else mentioned that too, my bad! You're right, though when I GM, most of the time I read the natural roll instead of comparing the total result to a target number.
    That causes a couple of different problem. It makes the characters mod less meaningful, and the large variance of numbers tend to be read as outliers ("falling on your ass" vs "oh wow what an amazing hit, you split the arrow and the Olympic Committee celebrate you!").
    Todd, always the ruthless math police! :)
    Cops should leave me alone. Goes double for non-cops looking like cops. I do not trust the police. :(
  • edited February 2015

    That causes a couple of different problem. It makes the characters mod less meaningful, and the large variance of numbers tend to be read as outliers ("falling on your ass" vs "oh wow what an amazing hit, you split the arrow and the Olympic Committee celebrate you!").
    Yes, we were discussing that just earlier in the thread:

    OTOH there's the way I've been learning to read the dice and use the TN, which is the opposite those GMs do. When players roll low in my games, their characters don't suck; it's just that their enemies are a bit better, or maybe just lucky. They don't just miss, but something interesting happens (they could even actually succeed but something turns that success into a complication instead of solving a problem. TN doesn't matter too much for me, I'm usually going for the average difficulty or one that makes the action a bit more risky (like +3 or +4 more difficult) when the player's plans look more fragile. I let as much as I can happen without any rolls, so players actually get 98% winning chances and 60% chances that something interesting happens, even while the math says that at top level they have 50% chances to lose, which I really seldom apply in full force.

    I believe that If I explain my way of interpretating the dice and make it an integral part of the system instead of just puting it down at the "good advice for GMs" chapter of the game, I can make the game actually work. Good GM praxis shouldn't be just wishful thinking but actual rules of the game instead.
    so this goes with my way of interpretating the dice roll, otherwise my group of players would be leaving the group or powergaming and argumenting a lot to make their bonuses matter. But as I state again, it's something not only I don't reccomend but something that I'm trying hard to avoid in recent times.
  • edited February 2015
    thanks
  • I do not want a ticket!!!!! :( :( :( :(
    Heh, looks like I was talking D66 and you were talking 1d36. So, I'll rip that ticket up as a failure to communicate on my part. :-)
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