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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 70 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Resolution Mechanic Questions  (Read 889 times)
shehee
Member

Posts: 11


« on: October 22, 2005, 01:13:40 AM »

Searches haven't helped me, so I'm posting. I'm a beginner, be kind.

I want a simple dice system for a resolution mechanic. I played with some friends the other day and we just wanted something simple. So we used something generic: roll a die and the higher you get, the better you did.

After, I realized, it was *too* simple. What was missing was some tension. So I pondered some other ways to make it simple, but tense. The twist I thought of was this: based on how good you are at something, you can choose to re-roll (say 1 to 3 times or something). If you choose to re-roll, you forfeit your current roll. The higher the number, the better still.

I have yet to try it, but what do you think about it? Sound good in theory? Any modifications you can think of?

One more thing: I was thinking about it, and if I were to use this, there'd still be something missing for me. The tension may be there, but unlike the rules-heavy games there'd be no real strategy before you roll (the first time). Which I think also adds to the "no tension" part.

Well, just throwing it out there. I'm looking to come up with something that my friends and I can just whip out at any time. I find that if we don't start playing when the mood strikes, we drop it; and by the time characters are made and stuff, we lose interest. So, any help is appreciated (just looking for thoughts mostly).

Thanks,
Ryan
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TonyLB
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Posts: 3702


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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2005, 04:47:16 AM »

I have yet to try it, but what do you think about it? Sound good in theory? Any modifications you can think of?

For what it's worth, the statistics of this get very different if you change from "Roll one die, then reroll it if you want" to "Roll two dice, then reroll one of them if you want."
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shehee
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2005, 03:44:03 PM »

No, that's exactly the kind of help I'm looking for. I'll look into it, even if statistics aren't my forte. Thank you.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2005, 04:35:55 PM »

You don't really need to do the mathematical analysis to get a sense of it.  Grab some dice, and roll a couple dozen conflicts.  Give one character more rerolls than another, and see how much of an advantage it gives them.  I'm pretty sure that with two dice the advantage will be much more marked.  With three dice it can become well-nigh total.
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Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2005, 04:42:27 PM »

The Dying Earth RPG uses a simple system quite similar to your suggestion.
Basically, you have a pool of points (often 8-12) which can be used for rerolls. Don't worry, you don't use them all on a single roll!
Combatants take turns to act.
On your turn, roll a d6. If 4-6, you succeed (and 4, 5, and 6, are each different levels of success). If you roll 1-3 you fail (with 1 being a worse failure than 3).
If you don't like your roll, you can spend a point from your pool and roll again. Each roll of the die requires you to narrate something, describing what is happening based on your actual roll. When you get a result you like, you end your turn.
Then your opponent takes his turn, doing the same thing. The first roll is free, and if he chooses to reroll, he spends a point for each reroll.
Then its back to you.
Sooner or later, someone will give up or run out of pool dice, and that conflict is over.
In DERPG, the Pool is meant to last you an entire session or longer, so you try to avoid blowing it in a single conflict. You also have several different pools, for different types of action.
For a system where you wanted to use just one pool, and have it replenish every conflict, having a smaller Pool,, say 1-5, would probably work just fine.

Also, in DE, rolls of 1 and 6 were special - they ended the conflict, or optionally, caused you to spend more to reroll (or, for a 6 caused the opponent to spend points just to get that first normally free roll).

Hope this is understandable.
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Matthew Chan
Registree

Posts: 2


« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2005, 12:03:42 AM »

Hi Ryan,

I suspect that your lack of tension comes more from how the result is understood by the group than how you get the result. In your first solution, there's a bit of tension because you're risking your current result for a potentially worse one, but the problem with that tension is that it doesn't directly translate into any tension you might have as to what's going on with your characters.

Are these rolls opposed, against a target number, or do you "eyeball out" how well someone does for the number they get?

If you're eyeballing it out, who's doing that? Does doing "better" change the nature of the consequences of the action, or does it just affect quality of performance for the task itself?

If you're rolling against a TN, who sets it? If you're going with opposed rolls, who's the opponent and how/why do they oppose the first roller? What happens if you fail or lose, and how many times can you try again on the same thing?

For any of the above: what have you got to lose when the numbers don't go your way, and what does someone else stand to gain when that happens?

This line of questioning is mostly based off of Vincent Baker's explanation of the heart of conflict resolution here. In summary: if the dice go one way, your awesome idea happens, and if they don't go your way, someone else's awesome idea happens. You always risk something important when you roll, and losing never means whiffing.

So for crappily improvised examples, to illustrate the difference between 1) task resolution and 2) conflict resolution:

Example 1: You need to get 10 or higher on a d20 to successfully pick a lock. You roll a 9, which means you don't manage to pick it now. You try again, and either a) about ten tries later you get it working (the GM has nothing else planned), or b) the GM (who has something else planned) arbitrarily has a guard show up and interrupt your work. In other words, unless you give up, whether you succeed or not is entirely decided by the GM. There's no tension because the player is sitting around waiting for the GM, knowing that they don't have any real options at this point other than giving up and finding another route, while the final outcome is purely up to the GM.

Example 2: You need to get 10 or higher on a d20 to successfully pick a lock, which you have decided is the best way to break into the building. You roll a 9, which means you don't manage to pick the lock. The GM (or whoever had an interest in your failure) has a guard show up, forcing you to hide or escape and abandon the lockpicking. Had you rolled a 10, however, you would have picked the lock and removed the barrier between you and whatever's behind that door. The tension lies in the fact that you've got something riding on every roll, but not getting what you want doesn't break the game either because someone else had something riding on a contrary result.
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- Matt
shehee
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2005, 12:50:20 AM »

TonyLB: I left my dice at my girlfriends. :)

Darren: All of that made sense. My favorite part of that whole thing is, you don't have to hide your dice. With my thing, you kinda have to. Hmm, I'll check that out.

Matthew: First off, your partially right. I'm not that great a GM. Not my thing, but I don't live in an area where people jump at the chance to do it. A GMless system would be right up my alley, but the closest thing to easy and simple that I've found is "Soap", and that's even beyond how much I want to invest with these guys (aside from the fact the rules aren't very sci-fi based).

To answer your questions specifically, I'm eyeballing them mostly. They can be opposed against other players, or against me in the case of an NPC. In the end though, maybe I'm not looking for a mechanic, but a new way to play.

"You always risk something important when you roll, and losing never means whiffing." This is my new way to look at it, thanks.

Ryan
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Rob Carriere
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2005, 01:48:34 AM »

"You always risk something important when you roll, and losing never means whiffing." This is my new way to look at it, thanks.
If you like that, take a look at The Pool. They don't get much simpler than that.

SR
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