Dice

What is your opinion of rolling lots of dice, practically? I've never played Mythender, but I have the game and as I understand that involves rolling obscene amount of dice supposedly to invoke a sensory feeling of power from the weight of the dice and the sound when they hit the table. Interesting idea. My system is just rolling a lot of dice because it is practically necessary. Well, a lot of dice as far as I'm concerned, not Mythender amounts of dice.

It's 10D6 every roll. The system necessitates the dice being D6s and I wanted an extremely high chance of success. I've had some comments about it being too many dice and I normally am quick to listen to player feedback, but in this case the dice are kind of integral.

What is your experience with lots of dice?
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Comments

  • I haven't played Mythender, but I don't mind rolling a lot of dice. Marvel Heroic was a lot of fun when I ran a few games - the players actually liked needing to have a bunch of dice. I also played in a Shadowrun campaign and the d6s started racking up pretty quick and again, we generally liked it. 10 is a bunch, but I don't think I'd mind, though I've got some nice smaller size ones so it makes it easier.
  • edited April 2015
    It depends on what you achieve from rolling those. Is it about a whole conflict, is it about the character's background, or is it to just see how much damage you do?

    To me, rolling lots of dice means having a pool with lots of information in it. The game should cherish that, but the more information that is packed into the roll, the bigger impact the roll should have in the game.

    Good dice pool systems in my book: Don't Rest Your Head, Hollow Point, Reign.
    OK dice pool systems: Dogs in the Vineyard.

    Hollow Earth Expedition is an example of a good dice pool system, based around using d2 (=coins), but that doesn't have a lot of information in it. The reason is because of the "Do not roll" rule, where if you got twice the dice than the difficulty, you automatically succeeds. (More people should read that system to discover innovative mechanics. The disadvantage system is brilliant, as an example.)
  • 10D6 is the roll. There is no other roll in the game. It tells you the result of any individual action. It tells you whether you succeed and how well you succeed. There is no "dice pool" in the sense that you will always 10D6, no matter what. There is no way to roll more than 10D6 or less than 10D6. Regardless of the action a PC takes, she can roll 10D6 and that will tell her how it went. The reason why you roll even though the chance of success is extremely high is because the dice don't just determine whether you succeed, they determine how you succeed.

    I'll take a look at the games you recommended though.
  • How do you read the dice to determine success? Are you adding them all up, or counting successes, or taking the highest, or taking width and height, or what?
  • edited April 2015
    How do you read the dice to determine success? Are you adding them all up, or counting successes, or taking the highest, or taking width and height, or what?
    It's a bit complicated. Essentially, you choose one of the dice you rolled. If it's a 6, you succeed. But your 10D6 are divided between three sets of differentiated D6s which are modified separately. If the 6 you choose is one of a certain type, there is a complication to your success, if the 6 you choose is of another type, you succeed dramatically. The third, it's just a normal success.

    EDIT: To clarify, most of the time you're rolling 3 D6s, 4 D6+1s and 3 D6-1s. You are looking for a single 6 on any one of these dice. If your 6 is on a D6, you succeed. If your 6 is on a D6+1, you succeed with a complication. If your 6 is on a D6-1, you succeed dramatically.

    Apart from that it depends on what you're attempting for further details, for example when making an action in combat, for every 1 the result of your chosen die is above 6, you either graduate your deadly damage, or inflict some deadly damage even if you weren't trying to kill your target. Deadly damage isn't the game term, but you get what I mean.
  • In these situations, you generally have to weigh a few factors.

    1. How much of a burden is this mechanic, in the context of the entire game, for your players? Judge this by asking your players and by observing how much they have problems with it during the session.
    2. How important is this specific mechanic to you? Is there something about it you really really like?
    3. Is there another way to achieve the results you want?

    Answer those, and you'll get a much better idea of whether or not it's a good idea to keep the mechanic. (I will totally say that I find dice pools to be fun, and that Mythender works to this end very specifically.)
  • I have numerous unfinished games that roll handfuls of d6es. Verge did this.

    Basically, once you get into the 12-to-15-dice range, interesting things start happening when you look at "melds" in the dice (how many 5's? how many 6's? in a Yahtzee sense). I've played with that idea over and over.

    For example, you have a 5 Muscle and a 7 Swords. For some kind of attack, you roll 12d6 for that and get (sorted): 112223455556. Your best roll is four 5's. In my system, that's a result of FOUR (highest count of all results, since there are four 5's).

    You can have up to six things going on in a single conflict this way. Each result can represent a different stake, for example. Two or more sides roll their dice and compare results.

    Start adding fiddly mechanisms like "choose a number and reroll all the dice of that value" (reroll all the 2's), and you get some neat options.
  • edited April 2015
    It depends on what you achieve from rolling those. Is it about a whole conflict, is it about the character's background, or is it to just see how much damage you do?
    Yup, this.
    To me, rolling lots of dice means having a pool with lots of information in it. The game should cherish that, but the more information that is packed into the roll, the bigger impact the roll should have in the game.
    This is very true. The hippy mantra that 'every dice roll should mean something' I agree with completely. But there are two things we have to consider when building a dice pool, especially if it's a large one: the input data and the output data. Kinda paraphrasing from previous posts, by Rickard and others, the input is how you build the pool; thus, in a specific game you might add skill + attribute, then mods and bonuses for various things like special equipment and/or magical items, defence stats, night vision etc. etc. I don’t know how hard it would be for various games that use large dice pools to reduce them (Exalted being another one, which I don’t think has been mentioned so far), but it’s certainly possible to define/refine how you interpret the roll, which is the output data.

    I agree with Rickard in that the more data the greater the impact on the game. My problem with that is 1) the more impact on the game the less ‘manageable’ the game becomes, in terms of the GM and/or players trying to sort out exactly what happens to who and what, when, where and how as a result of the roll, and the extent of changes applied to the scenario and the gameworld, and 2) the time taken to analyse the roll, which for me is the biggest beef I have with tactical games in general. I don’t expect all my games to be fast and furious all the time, but there are limits as to how much I can take of the ponderous process of dice roll analysis, which I’m afraid to say I find stupendously boring.

    Oh, and DitV? First class use of dice pools IMO.
  • edited April 2015
    Don't like rolling lots of dice. I like elegant dice resolution mechanics like Fate/Fudge or AW.
    The upcoming Blades in the Dark seems a sensible compromise (a few D6s).
    For a while, I went even as far as resolving everything with only a custom D4. It's usually enough for a lot of things.
  • Don't like rolling lots of dice. I like elegant dice resolution mechanics like Fate/Fudge or AW
    Likewise, but I think for a lot of people rolling dice is an iconic activity that in a way represents roleplaying. However, those people are largely tactical gamers, so I'm not sure how much that applies to storygamers, although that said, I do like rolling dice in general, and I myself feel that in some way it represents roleplaying.

  • Why did you choose to use 10d6?

    That's the question, to me. I think a good maxim for game design is that things should be as simple as possible. For instance, rolling a 6 on 3d6 is about 50% (125/216).

    What would your game lose if you just rolled three dice, and counted the highest result, with a 4, 5, or 6 counting as a success? Each die represents one of the categories you mentioned.

    I know that a big factor for me is the availability of dice. Maybe I decide I want to play your game tonight! Do you I have 10d6 handy? No, then I'll play something else. But pretty much every gamer has 3d6 on hand (and certainly every group does, once you gather together).
  • One Role Engine (e.g. REIGN) does clever things with handfuls of dice, too. Just sayin'.
    I think a good maxim for game design is that things should be as simple as possible.
    Therein lies the rub: "as simple as possible." The simplest game design has NO dice, right? (No?) Mythender has a giant handful. Both extremes are trying to accomplish something with their choices.

    I don't mind handfuls of dice as long as you get more out of that roll than you would with a simple 2d6 or 1d20 roll. That is, if you just need a random number on some kind of linear or bell curve, don't do something complicated. However, if you need more than a random number, I'm game for more fiddly results, like in Dogs in the Vineyard, or My Life with Master, or ORE, etc.

  • I've found from experience that subtracting or even adding a result to a die roll always slows things down. Better to step up the dice—it affects the average in the same way. And personally I'd much rather roll 3d4, 4d6, and 3d8 than 10d6 any day!
  • edited April 2015
    Rolling a handful of dice messes up my table, spills the snacks, takes up space, they rattle in my backpack.
    I know there is a certain thrill in playing Cortex Plus Marvel Heroic, grabbing a bunch d4 - d12s.

    Still, reduced to the mechanical purpose, most things could work out with a 1d10 or 2d6.
    At least for conflict resolution, I see no reason to use more than a 1d10 (except bell curve, then take 2d6). Steps of 10% probability should be sufficient for most cases and you can re-roll for critical throws where you need 1% steps.

    Of course, for a simulationist appraoch, you can randomize how much damage each body part takes etc...

    This depends on your design purpose. When designing an RPG game, approaching it from "gee, I have all these dice, what could I do with them?" just seems wrong.
  • @Paul; It has to be a 6 because that way, the D6-1 dice cannot naturally succeed. The chance of success on 3D6, while being the meaning of life (42%) is nowhere near high enough. The reason I went up from 7D6 (79%) to 10D6 (93%) was because I felt like failing 1 in 5 rolls was not achieving what I wanted with the roll. But I might go back to 7D6 in the end.

    I definitely take your point about lacking the dice, that's one of my main concerns, especially considering the fact that you also need three sets of dice that can be differentiated from one another. But unless I can come up with a way to make 3D6 TN6 have an 80% chance of success, I might have to stick with it.

    @Deliverator; love the name, by the way, re-reading Snow Crash atm, but I digress. I take your point, but I've found it fairly simple. The blue dice win on a 6, ignore the yellow dice for the most part, the red dice win on a 5 and up. There isn't really much need to modify, and there isn't much more of it in the system.
  • edited April 2015

    This depends on your design purpose. When designing an RPG game, approaching it from "gee, I have all these dice, what could I do with them?" just seems wrong.
    I think I'd disagree with this; it's mostly an aesthetic viewpoint. You can approach an RPG design from any type of genesis, really, and I think it's not necessary to limit yourself to "what mechanical outcomes do I want and how can I achieve that?" I feel that starting with "I want this to be a game where you roll hecka lotta DICE!" is a totally valid starting point--you just need to find a good direction to take that in.
  • At least for conflict resolution, I see no reason to use more than a 1d10 (except bell curve, then take 2d6).
    Have you played Dogs in the Vineyard? Do you think that game would be as good with a simple 2d6 roll?

    If all you're getting out of a single roll is a Boolean success/failure result, then yeah, why complicate things? But don't assume that's all a designer gets out of a roll of the dice.
  • Who even uses dice anymore, use playing cards instead, they're better.
  • Who even uses dice anymore, use playing cards instead, they're better.
    Who even uses playing cards, use marbles instead, they're better.

  • Who even uses dice anymore, use playing cards instead, they're better.
    Who even uses playing cards, use marbles instead, they're better.

    Who even uses marbles, use dice instead, they're better.
  • At least for conflict resolution, I see no reason to use more than a 1d10 (except bell curve, then take 2d6).
    Have you played Dogs in the Vineyard? Do you think that game would be as good with a simple 2d6 roll?

    If all you're getting out of a single roll is a Boolean success/failure result, then yeah, why complicate things? But don't assume that's all a designer gets out of a roll of the dice.
    Yes, this, exactly.

    My point, above, was that I'd always look for a way to recreate the same odds and the same procedure in a simpler fashion. If that's possible, you should probably go with it.

    I'd take a shot at simplifying your system (and requiring three distinct colours of dice for every roll is quite a challenge for most gamers, I think) if I could understand how it worked. So far, your explanations have been confusing. First you say that you're looking for a 6 in various colours, but now you're saying that you can't roll a 6 on the d6-1 dice at all.

  • edited April 2015
    Thank you all for the discussion so far, it's very illuminating.


    Yes, this, exactly.

    My point, above, was that I'd always look for a way to recreate the same odds and the same procedure in a simpler fashion. If that's possible, you should probably go with it.

    I'd take a shot at simplifying your system (and requiring three distinct colours of dice for every roll is quite a challenge for most gamers, I think) if I could understand how it worked. So far, your explanations have been confusing. First you say that you're looking for a 6 in various colours, but now you're saying that you can't roll a 6 on the d6-1 dice at all.

    Apologies, let me try again. In order to get a success, you must be able to choose one of your rolled dice with a result of 6 or higher.

    Red dice are D6+1. You can only succeed on a Red die if you can qualify your success logically in the narrative i.e. something bad happens as a result of it.

    Blue dice are D6. Your success on a Blue die is unqualified.

    Yellow dice are D6 -1. A D6-1 can never get a result of a 6. Its range is 0-5. You cannot naturally succeed on a Yellow die, but in certain circumstances (by advancing your character) when you can change that D6-1 to a D6 or even a D6+1, your success is dramatic and broadly beneficial.

    To clarify, their colour isn't relevant, just that the dice be differentiated. I have run games where we have played with three sets of similarly coloured but distinguishable dice, and run games where we have played with only 3 dice that we have rolled sequentially. The game plays much, much better when each player has their own set of 7-10 dice though. That's what it's designed for. The ability to pre-emptively roll your dice while knowing that is all the dice you need to roll, no matter what.



  • edited April 2015

    Red dice are D6+1. You can only succeed on a Red die if you can qualify your success logically in the narrative i.e. something bad happens as a result of it.

    Blue dice are D6. Your success on a Blue die is unqualified.

    Yellow dice are D6 -1.
    On a red die, read a result of 1 as a 7.
    On a blue die, read the result as-is.
    On a yellow die, read the result of a 6 as a 0.

    Or here, use these stickers.
  • edited April 2015
    Alternatively:

    A success on the red dice happens roughly 70% of the time.

    A success on the blue dice happens roughly 42% of the time.

    A success on the yellow dice is [unknown]. (You haven't revealed this part.)

    Would you get the same results if you said a success is a 4 or higher, and rolled:

    1d10 (red die) + 1d6 (blue die) + 1d4 (yellow)?

    ...with the yellow requiring a roll of 4 as well as [whatever conditions you require in your rules].

    Or another way: success happens on a 4 or lower.

    Roll 1d6 (red die) + 1d10 (blue die) + 1d20 (yellow).

    I think you could also simplify it by figuring out how often you want dramatic successes to happen, and working that in another way.

    For example, your roll is now 1d6+1d10, with a 4 or lower giving you a success.

    If your 1d6 succeeds, you have to qualify the success. If it's the d10, you don't.

    Now:

    Let's say you want your dramatic successes to happen when your yellow dice roll a 6 AND you [satisfy special secret criteria]. I'm not clear on whether there are three or four yellow dice (your total adds up to 10 dice somehow, so there must be four of some colour), but let's say it was four, which means that you get a 6 roughly 50% of the time (and this is independent of the other two coloured dice rolls).

    Just pick some feature which happens 50% of the time (and is independent of the two dice succeeding or failing), and tie your dramatic success to that:

    Whenever the d10 rolls an even number, if you [meet special criteria], you can have a dramatic success. Or, if it doesn't have to be independent, it can be a 6 or higher.

    So, now, instead of having to make 10 dice in three different colours, and doing math or putting stickers on them, you have:

    When you need to roll, pick up two dice, a d6 and a d10. You usually need to roll a 4 or lower to succeed.

    The d6 is the Pyrrhic die: when you succeed with it, your successes are mitigated, painful, costly.

    The d10 is your Destiny die: when you succeed with it, your successes are accomplished, and sometimes dramatic. On a 4 or lower, you get what you wanted. However, whenever it rolls a 6 or higher, you can also use it for a dramatic success, which only happens when you [do special thing/achieve special secret criteria].


    I don't know enough about your system to know whether this captures all the features you want; it's just an example. But it certainly solves your "10 dice in three different colours" dilemma.

    You could probably work out the odds with three d6s, too, one in a special colour. Now it's starting to look really simple:

    Roll 3d6, one of them in a special colour. You need a 5 or a 6 for a success. If it's the coloured die, you get a full success. If it's one of the two ordinary dice, it's a qualified success.

    You can also achieve a dramatic success any time you roll a double [and achieve criteria].


    That's pretty slick, and easy to remember.

    (Doubles on 3d6 are in that 40-50% range, which is what you have in your mechanic; it might be a good match.)


    Edit: If you want a 1/5 chance of failure, and dramatic successes are so rare so we can discount them, then you'd want to go with 4 dice: three regular dice, and one coloured die. This means you'd have failure 1/5 of the time, unqualified success 1/3 of the time, and mixed outcomes 7/15 of the time.

  • edited April 2015
    As Paul_T points out, that's pretty much what I wanted to say:
    "I'd always look for a way to recreate the same odds and the same procedure in a simpler fashion. If that's possible, you should probably go with it."

    Adam: No, I haven't played Dogs in the Vineyard (played in the 80ies, then missed out on the whole Forge phase...), yet I had looked into the mechanics.
    I don't say everything should be reduced to 1d10 or 2d6. Some games do neat stuff like the Raise & See mechanics of Dogs in the Vineyard, Don't Rest Your Head's Madness/Exhaustion dice or DoomPool in some CortexPlus games, for example. Progressing conflicts (I guess covered by Dogs itV) or chases etc as well as effects could also be good reasons to use more dice.

    Still, more often than not, games have some fancy colorful dice mechanics - and in the end it boils down to more or less:
    complete success + more goodies, complete success, compromise/partial success, failure, failure+bad things happen.
    Thus, I welcome Paul's streamlining approach.

    I've started to warm up to card-based resolution, especially for Player-vs-Player conflicts (PvP) and for mechanics that allow several players to chip in, raise the bar etc.

    It's interesting that it seems more new RPGs use d6 these days. I could think of two good reasons:
    1.) Target group. Especially narrative games try to address a different/broader audience.
    2.) Globalization. RPGs are played throughout the world and d4/8/12/20s are not accessible in a lot of countries.
  • I think the prevalence of D6s is very much just because that is a "die" to the majority of the world's population; also, the D6 bell-curve is a phenomenon that is understood by most people who have ever played a dice game, even if they have never played a roleplaying game.

    To clarify on the side of when you can succeed on a yellow die: one of the things that bothered me about other games is that an unskilled character is no less likely to roll for example a natural 20 than their superior counterpart. In this game, you can only get that "natural 20" if you are skilled at the chosen task.

    In this game every ability has three "advancements": Proficient, Learned and Experienced (this is very intuitive displayed on the character sheet, even if it sounds needlessly complicated in theory, hence I didn't mention it before). You begin by becoming Proficient, then you can become Learned or Experienced, then you can become Learned and Experienced. When you're Learned or Experienced in ability, all your dice when using that ability are modified by +1. When you're both Learned and Experienced in ability, all your dice when using that ability are modified by +2. Thereby, your Yellow dice can score a 6.

    This is essentially what I want from my dice system.

    Chance of success 80% or higher.

    Chance of qualified success 70% or higher.

    Dramatic success only possible while Learned and/or Experienced.

    The ability to push your luck following a failure.


    Thank you for your help @Paul_T those ideas have given me a lot to think about. The three different coloured dice are an affectation I'd like to keep as they are sort of a motif through the system, but you've definitely given me some ideas on how to simplify things.
  • Who even uses playing cards, use marbles instead, they're better.
    Ah, yes, the good-old d1. Useful damage die for low-level dungeon crawls. ;)

  • Have you looked in to the new Blades in the Dark - Action Dice mechanic?
    It has an elegant Action roll system for handling these type of things.
  • Have you looked in to the new Blades in the Dark - Action Dice mechanic?
    It has an elegant Action roll system for handling these type of things.
    Yeah, I've played with it a couple of times. It's not to my taste for what I'm trying to achieve with the game. I also don't particularly like the fact that it almost enforces, rather than encourages co-operation between the team. I think that can only work with an intensely focused game like Blades in the Dark.
  • edited April 2015
    Sorry, I haven't been following this thread in detail, but a couple of points from the most recent exchange:
    What would your game lose if
    I think this is a very good Occam's Razor type discipline for game designers, and particularly those who design games with a lot of the resolution being dice-based. There sometimes comes a point when we need to ask ourselves, Who are we desiging this game for, us or the players/customers? IME most players like games to be as simple as possible, a) because they don't want to have to read and internalise loads of fiddly rules (however necessary the designer thinks they are, and b) becuase they don't want to have to buy lots of different dice or tokens or whatever*. Which brings me to my second point:
    I know that a big factor for me is the availability of dice.
    When I started roleplaying (about five years ago) I came to it with the assumption that poly dice were standard, but over the years I've noticed them getting less and less prevalent, in game design at any rate.

    Okay, as you guys were...

    *I'm not one of these people: I LOVE dice of all kinds and so don't mind this apect.
  • @catty_big; the dice aren't exactly Edge of the Empire dice, or the like. You just need D6s that can be differentiated from one another. It all sounds complicated, but in practice, this is the rule of the game:

    When you wish to make an action that calls for a roll, roll your dice. Choose one die. If it is a "Blue" 6, you have an unqualified success. If it is a "Red" 6, you succeed on the condition that you can devise a negative logical consequence to your action. If it is a "Yellow" 6, you succeed dramatically. If it is not a 6, your action fails.

    Less rules than the World Engine. There are finer rules for extraneous elements of the game, but for the most part, you can play the game on those six sentences. In fact, part of the reason that I am so uncertain about the roll is because it very infrequently occurs. Most of the game is played without rolling any dice. The vast majority of all actions in the game do not call for a roll, you simply succeed.
  • edited April 2015
    Ok, I've now had a chance to look into your idea a bit more detail. I agree that it looks elegant, and if you're talking about different coloured dice then no problem: many gamers, including myself, are always buying more d6s, and there are already plenty of games that call for chromatically-differentiated dice - Fiasco and DRYH to name but two.

    I'll have another look at the OP and following comments in a bit and come back to you if I have any further queries. But yeah, interesting concept.
  • edited April 2015
    My quick reaction (sorry, I'll be brief):

    Based on the features you're looking for (in your last post), your system is far too complicated to give the outcomes you're looking for.

    Are you aware that the odds of success in your system jump up SO dramatically with advanced (Learned/Experienced) that you might as well not roll, or perhaps just roll to see if you have a dramatic success instead of a regular success?

    For instance, with a +2 to your rolls, you will only fail if ALL ten dice roll X or lower, and that X is pretty low (2, 3, and 4, depending on type of die). That means that your chances of a full success (without taking into account the other dice!) are already 7/8, or about 87.5%... once you add in the odds of a dramatic success (almost 20%) and a qualified success, it goes through the roof.

    This means that you're rolling a lot of dice and doing some potentially tricky math (you're adding and subtracting different numbers to different dice, and have to remember which colours are which - I have a pretty extensive collection of dice, but I don't have Red, Blue, and Yellow, and certainly not enough for a whole group of gamers, so I'll have to substitute other colours, introducing more complications), all just to see whether you have a regular success or a dramatic success.

    However, your last two posts really explain what you're going for, which is awesome!

    How would you feel about something like this (just for fun; I don't even know if I'm being helpful here!):

    Three dice, in three colours (since you insist! - and nothing wrong with that), all d6s.

    A 5 or 6 is a success; one die gives regular successes and the other two give qualified successes (perhaps in different ways, depending on colour, that would be interesting). One of the qualified success dice is "special", because it can also give you dramatic successes.

    Then you can do one of:

    1. Change the die size.

    If you're Learned or Experienced, you roll d8s instead.

    If you're both, you roll d10s instead.

    A dramatic success occurs on an 8 or higher, on the "special" die. (You could have it happen on ANY die to make it very likely, or just the "partial success" dice, but for my tastes just one die is enough: it's 12.5% chance of a dramatic success for someone Experienced, and 30% for someone Learned and Experienced, which sounds plenty high to me. Otherwise dramatic successes don't mean much, you know?)

    2. Keep them as d6s, all the time. No need for funky dice. Add +1 or +2, as you have it now.

    A dramatic success happens on a 7 or higher on the "special" die (yellow or whatever). This means a chance of ~16.7% of a dramatic success for an Experienced character, and ~33.3% for someone Learned and Experienced.


    [Edit: I just realized that this doesn't meet your criteria for "80% chance of success or higher". Although that seems really high for people who are totally unskilled. Won't most rolls happen with Learned or Experienced characters? In most games, that's how it works. But maybe your game is about inexperienced children doing stuff they don't know how to do? Then the high success percentage is puzzling, though...

    Anyway, if you want 80%+, you'd have to use 4 dice, not 3. That ruins the elegance of the three colours a bit, so if you're really really attached to the whole 80% thing, you'll have to deal with rolling 4 dice. Make it one full success die, and three partial success dice, of which one is a Dramatic die. I'd go with the 70% chance you get with three dice, myself - plenty high, seems to me - but four dice would fly too.]
  • Thanks again Paul_T; to explain why I want the 80%. Like GUMSHOE, this system is preoccupied with ensuring the success of its players and the progression of the narrative. In a sense, it assumes that the players have "plot armour"; that they don't just fail, because they are the protagonists. However, things do go wrong for the protagonists, frequently. Additionally, protagonists die. There aren't "dodge" rolls for the PCs to ace in this game. If you hit and you pick a Red, you are going to get hurt, there's no way around it.

    There are ways to decrease the chances of success should the players attempt things far beyond their capabilities. In the current system that is ignoring colours of dice (first Yellow, then Blue thereby ensuring that if they succeed something will go wrong, and the more difficult the thing they are attempting, the harsher the consequences, of course). But I have so far never needed to go as far as cutting the Blues because the players are careful not to push themselves due to their characters being fragile.

    Don't take the definitions of the terms so literally, in this game proficient does not mean "totally unskilled", it indicates your character is an expert in that field. Learned or Experienced means that due to their education or experience they have a special insight or talent for the subject beyond that of their peers. At the end of initial character creation, no character is Learned or Experienced in anything, because character creation sort of extends into play, but at the end of the first or second session, I'd say each character is probably Learned or Experienced in 1 or 2 proficiencies.

    They can at most have 8, but most choose to branch out rather than specialise. When they do specialise, it's usually (and logically) in the proficiencies you are most likely to roll on, so I'm trying to come up with ways to further incentivise those you aren't going to roll on, but that's another matter entirely.

    Getting back on topic...it's funny you should say 4 dice, that completely adds up with what I've been doing so far. You start with one of each, then during character creation you choose 1 extra of one of the dice.
  • Yeah, all that makes sense.

    However, it might also make sense to stick with the three dice, and add in some other factor which allows people to increase their odds. For instance, if a character is prepared for an action, they get to roll an extra die (or whatever you want to encourage). If you have another element in your game you want to tie in, this could be a good opportunity!

    Anyway, it's been an interesting discussion, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the end!
  • One of the things I won't include is a way to increase the number of dice you roll, just because I want my players to be able to roll first, think later. It just makes the game move more smoothly. At the moment, you can spend points after you fail a roll to roll more Red dice with graver consequences.

    What I might include...is some means to change the colour of the dice after the fact. Tied to the Learned/Experienced thing. Or just normally spending points. Perhaps, to solve the availability of dice problem, have all the dice identical to begin with, all "Red" dice, but give the player the capability to change their colour when they need to. That might be an idea.
  • edited April 2015
    Hey,

    here are a couple of factors people may not have thought about when designing games with large dice pools. (Hello, diversity, physical dis/ability, gender issues ahead).

    1) I have small hands. It can be hard to fit a large number of normal-sized dice in them. (Also applies to oversized cards, like ALL the normal Tarot decks. Also applies to computer equipment like keyboards and mice. And other stuff).

    Because of the above, I use a bunch of small d6 when playing games with large dice pools. However...

    2) I'm near-sighted. It's not very bad at the moment, but I can the potential in future when it'll be hard to read the pips on a bunch of small d6 in poor light conditions (that's most of the indoor games in the evening).

    Plus...

    3) If you're not very dexterous, a rolling bowl is important when handling a large number of dice. That means yet another piece of equipment to carry around. Not a fan.

    Essentially, bigger is not always better, and does not contribute to the feeling of power as much when you physically can't control it with your hands.
  • Great points, 3Jane!
  • edited April 2015
    And kudos for drawing attention to the difficulties faced by people in specific groups.
  • edited April 2015
    @3Jane; love all the classic cyberpunk references around here. Digression over. I had no interest in creating a sense of power with many dice, the start of the thread was really about practicality and I brought up Mythender to fish for people who had played with a great number of dice. I was using so many dice to achieve a specific mechanical effect, rather than anything subtler. Just as an aside, there are numbered D6s, most of mine are, but they might be few and far between elsewhere.

    I guess that was another digression! I really appreciate your input. I think I've resolved to find a way to achieve my desired effect with much less dice.

    Also, random question, I assume if you're holding tarot cards that means they're in some sort of hand, what kind of person thought it was a sensible idea to make a card game with a hand of tarot cards? I'm genuinely asking, I'm a tall guy, I have large hands, but I think I'd have trouble with a hand of tarot cards as well. I have enough problems shuffling Masquerade cards under the table without dropping them.
  • Hey hey :) I'm a living example of why having diversity in your tester group might bring up unexpected things! Also you had me chuckling at the classic cyberpunk references, it's a nick that's stayed with me from the late 90's - I guess I'm a classic ;)

    I have seen numbered dice, but I haven't seen small d6 with numbers yet. Anyway, I don't mean to say that you can't use large dice pools - it's just that you need to be aware of what trade-offs the players might need to make and you might want to mention ways of dealing with potential problems in your game text. I imagine it's like designing a game with miniatures - you need a case, a board etc.

    With regards to Tarot, holding a hand of cards is not a problem. Holding a whole deck however, when you're attempting to shuffle them quickly, is a problem. It's this bit specifically that's difficult: http://pad1.whstatic.com/images/thumb/5/5a/Shuffle-a-Deck-of-Playing-Cards-Step-2-Version-2.jpg/670px-Shuffle-a-Deck-of-Playing-Cards-Step-2-Version-2.jpg And it's twice as bad for most round Tarot cards because they're oversized in every direction!

    (I can actually dealer-shuffle, and you can always scramble-shuffle, but both of these methods damage cards and you shouldn't do it to an art deck if you want to keep it alive for longer - decks do go out of print and then you can't buy a replacement for anything less then a couple of hundred dollars.)
  • edited April 2015
    @Paul_T; I have a new way of doing this with three dice that makes calculating the chance of success a great deal more complicated, you seem to have a much better grasp of probability than I, so perhaps you might be able to give me your opinion on it?

    Currently, I have it so you're rolling 3 dice. The Blue dice are D6 and the Red dice are D6+2. After rolling, you can spend a point to turn a Blue die into a Red die, or vice versa. I'm also planning on allowing the players to choose any combination of Blues and Reds amounting to 3. I like giving my players choice. But I'm concerned that if a player chooses 3 Blues (42%) as opposed to 3 Reds (87.5%) they're at a massive disadvantage. Should I just fix it to 2 Reds and 1 Blue (79%)?

    Thoughts?

    EDIT: Random thought. What about allowing players to decide the combination before each roll...Ugh. I really don't want there to be any dilly-dallying (so to speak) before they roll.
  • edited April 2015
    Palimpsest, what is the goal of this new version? I'm not sure I understand the idea here.

    EDIT: If you want variety in the dice types rolled, but don't want dilly-dallying before each roll, have each player decide on the breakdown for their character at creation, and then stick with that after the fact. That covers you.

    (Or it could be possible to change it once in a while: every session, every time a character "levels up", by spending some kind of resource, or even - I think most interestingly - by something which happens within the fiction, like changing your allegiance by swearing an oath to a different goddess.)
  • Further thoughts:

    There is most likely an ideal breakdown of dice types, so you should probably find one and stick to it. (For instance, you don't want a die combination which gives full successes when it succeeds, but doesn't succeed very often. That doesn't fit your design criteria, and isn't as interesting in terms of design.)

    I would only allow different proportions of dice if you can find several combinations which give good odds, and then only allow those combinations. (It's no fun to find out that you chose an option which is unplayable or unfun, for example.)

    As for your idea of switching dice types by spending a point, I can't say for sure because I don't know how your new system works, but I'd imagine the only reason I would ever do this is to upgrade one type of success into another. For example, I have a partial success, but I rolled a 6, and if I change it to a different colour, that becomes a full success.

    If so, you can simplify things a great deal: just say that spending a point bumps you up one success level. Much easier to understand and remember, much simpler, and the same effect in terms of the game's design.
  • edited April 2015
    @Paul_T; the goal of the new version is of course to meet my design criteria. It reaches 80%, it has a high chance of complication, you can only get a dramatic success while Learned/Experienced and you can succeed even after failing, but at a cost. By changing a Blue die to a Red die, you get +2 on that Blue die but at the cost of a complication. And just as you say, you can change a Red die to a Blue die. But I don't think it should be "upgrade one success level" because I don't want 1 point equals success. You should only be able to bump that Red to a Blue if it is a natural 6. Likewise, you should only be able to steal a success with that Blue if its result is 4 or higher.

    If I were to make it a choice between 2 Reds and 1 Blue (79% chance of success, 75% chance of complication) and 2 Blues 1 Red (65% chance of success, 50% of complication) I'm not sure it would meet my design criteria as well. Obviously they have an equal chance to succeed if you factor in the points, but I'm not sure the decreased chance of complication is worth the decreased chance of success...or if that's even conducive to my design.
  • Something that's just occurred to me: don't know if this will help any, but ISTR a while back someone posting a link to a website that calculates dice probabilities for you. Anyone know of it?
  • There are lots out there, because I'm mostly working with D6s I'm able to use a Shadowrun dice calculator plus some basic percentile math, but there are no sites out there that are very good at calculating combined probability when rolling separate sets of dice. Thanks for the recommendation though.
  • Anydice.com can do all that stuff, if you're smart enough to use its advanced functions. (I am only smart enough sometimes.)

    But a human test (just roll about 50-100 times and record the results) will give you a vague sense of the general tendencies for any mechanic (however, it won't tell you anything about unusual results and how common they are). That can be a good place to start if you have some truly unusual mechanic you can't even start to estimate.
  • OK, you'll need to summarize your new system. I have no idea how you can earn a dramatic success in it, for example, since there are no longer any yellow dice.
  • edited April 2015
    Anydice.com can do all that stuff, if you're smart enough to use its advanced functions..
    Thanks, that's the one I was thinking of, and I'm not, so...
    a human test (just roll about 50-100 times and record the results) will give you a vague sense of the general tendencies for any mechanic.
    ...this is what I did for SFBK, and it gave me more or les what I wanted, but I'm aware that some people think that method is clunky and not 'scientific' enough, which of course it is, it's just a much more cumbersome and laborious one.
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