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[The Cauldron] Modifiers to a Dice Pool?

Started by Joshua Tompkins, August 02, 2004, 06:27:57 AM

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Joshua Tompkins

I'm working on the resolution system for the Cauldron, and I'm having some doubts about some of the ins and outs.

Here's how it works:  characters are made up of two things:  Aspects and Edges.  This is a pool variant, resolution is done using a dice pool.  Aspects provide a modifier to all the dice rolled in the pool (so, for example, if you roll a 2, 3, and 5, and have a +2 Aspect, you essentially rolled a 4, 5, and 7).  Edges provide additional dice for your pool.  You are provided one die by the narrator.

All rolls are opposed.  Both sides roll their pools and compare the results.  The pool that rolls the highest result (after Aspects are applied) wins.

Pretty simple, right?  But here's the thing:  I'm not sure how much good Aspects will do.  Most characters probably won't have overlapping Aspects and Edges (at least, none of the ones I've come up with so far have), so a character who spent a lot of dice on Aspects during character creation is generally going to be rolling fewer dice then a character who invested mostly in edges.  In the play tests, this usually amounted to something like 1 die vs. 2, 3, or 4 dice.

I guess my real question is a mathematical one.  In this sort of system, is it generally better to have a high modifier, or a large pool to roll?  I'm sort of looking at Aspects and Edges as sort of two "tiers" of the character: an Aspect is something very important to the character, something closely tied in to who the character is.  An Edge is usually just something the character does, something he's good at.  Aspects are more expensive (they use the Pool cost formula of the desired value times itself), so I wanted them to more consistently increase the chance of success.

I've got other questions about my game's mechanics, but I think they're best left for other posts.


Joshua Tompkins

I guess I'm also wondering lately if the added complexity of the Aspects/Edges thing is even worth adding.  The basic Trait system in the Pool seems to work fairly well.  In truth, I really wanted the two types so that people can sort of "fill out" their characters with additional, less effective traits at a cheaper rate.

Does that make any sense at all?  Should I just ditch the two Trait type thing and go back to the original Pool system?

I have to confess that the costs of the two types didn't quite turn out the way I had expected... a +1 Aspect and a +1 edge actually cost the same thing (1 die)!  As the level goes up, the prices diverge somewhat, but not nearly enough (I don't think).  As it works now, the curve is like this for Aspects:

+1: 1 die; +2: 4 dice; +3: 9 dice; +4: 16 dice

This is the standard Pool cost curve.  For Edges, it's like this:

+1: 1 die; +2: 2 dice; +3: 5 dice; +4: 8 dice

Generalized into a formula, that's ( DesiredNumber * Desired Number ) / 2, rounded up.

Any thoughts on that cost scheme?  I get the feeling that I should simplify the costs, but I'm not sure how, exactly.

Thanks for any thoughts you might have!