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Author Topic: A newbie question about a dice mechanic  (Read 1374 times)
Samarkand
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Posts: 7


« on: August 21, 2006, 06:12:16 PM »

    I'm working out the details of a descriptor based challenge ladder inspired by FUDGE, only not using the 4dF dice.  The ladder is -5 to +5, with 0 being the default position for skill tests in which the character has no relevant skill.  The mechanic I came up with works into one of the themes of the game: that a character's adventures are reflective of the influence both good and bad fortune have upon the PC.

     It is a 2d6 roll, with one die representing Good Luck and a different-coloured die representing Bad Luck.  One subtracts the number on the negative die from the positive die and move up or down the ladder depending if it is a positive/negative difference.  A quick result distribution chart worked out on a spreadsheet indicated a natural "zero weighting" of the die roll of 16%.  The likelihood of minor shifts of 1 or 2 up and down the ladder are more likely than shifts of 3 or more.

   I'm sure this mechanic has been considered before in at least one other game.  But advice about this roll mechanic being appropriate or useful would be appreciated.

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Kesher
Member

Posts: 174


« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 07:58:55 PM »

Howdy, and welcome to the Forge!

Quote from: Samarkand
But advice about this roll mechanic being appropriate or useful would be appreciated.

It's pretty hard, actually, to answer this question without any context.  So, could I convince you to talk a bit more about this:

Quote from: Samarkand
The mechanic I came up with works into one of the themes of the game: that a character's adventures are reflective of the influence both good and bad fortune have upon the PC.

And, is this check you're talking about made on every skill roll?  Do the players have a resource they can use to modify the results of the "good luck" die (I'm assuming it's beneficial for it to be a high number); can anyone else use a resource to affect the "bad luck" die?

Aaron

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Josh Roby
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Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2006, 08:27:12 PM »

Babylon Project (AKA Babylon 5) used a similar system; I hated it.  This gives you very little variation from base abilities, and drastically reduces the random factor in character success.  Badasses will almost always be badasses, schmucks will almost always be schmucks.  With the exception of Marcus Cole, nobody on Babylon 5 was consistently a badass, and nobody was consistently a schmuck.  It was a terrible mismatch between system and setting.

That said, if you want a very deterministic success mechanic, this is a good choice.

(You know what would be super-keen?  If your good luck and bad luck dice changed size depending on how much good and bad luck you got in-game.  So if you've accrued good luck, your good luck die goes up to d8, d10, d12.  And if you accrue bad luck, it goes up, too.  Throws the bellcurve to hell, but it might be neat.)
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Darcy Burgess
Member

Posts: 476


« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2006, 04:07:04 AM »

Cool idea Joshua!

Another way of reducing the deterministic side is to put some resource into the mix -- you don't have to use all of the luck (good or bad) that you roll -- only as much as you pay for.  System determines who pays for good, who pays for bad.

Depending on Samarkand's design goals, the "resource" in question could be plot points, beers chugged in 10seconds, or narration (to name a few).
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Mcrow
Member

Posts: 38


« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2006, 06:57:21 AM »

It's a workable mechanic if your game is not meant to have a huge variation in power levels among PCs & NPCs. You can work around it a little bit by having a "wild" die that can be substituted for a possitive die. I would suggest a d4 and the more the character is played and advances the die increases up to a d6.

it would also help if we knew more of what the game was about.
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