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[DitV] d12s?

Started by zornwil, June 15, 2007, 11:55:03 AM

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(First, I'd like to apologize for not properly putting the "[DitV]" in front of my other posts, still getting used to this board's etiquette)

I searched posts on d12s in this forum, but haven't really seen any results of people trying these out and any warnings people have.  I can imagine issues, but real play is always the proof in the pudding.  The reason I am bringing this up is that in our superhero game, which is being adopted to Dogs mechanics now, we're toying with the idea of representing a certain level of "schtick" and high ability for PCs with allowing ONE Trait to be a d12, and the idea is that this is the power/ability of which your character is the master.  A corollary is that players should not step on each other's schtick, i.e., each player's PC should have a distinctive one that does not overlap (not to say that if two players wanted to make their overlapping an aspect of play that the rest of us would reject that, either, though, so not a rule per se but more of a guideline).  I have mixed feelings, though it sounds cool - but that's why I have mixed feelings, in that I know I can be a sucker for something that looks all shiny and cool but in the end adds complexity but relatively little value.  I'm trying to kick that habit!  Thoughts are invited.  And I promise not to inundate the forum with a bunch more topics!
- Wilson

David Artman

Some point immediately leap to my mind:

1) d12 won't break "Supers in the Metropolis" (SitM) so long as the NPCs also have a means to use them. Otherwise, it will become overly common for a PC to "force" two-die NPC Raises with a high d12 roll (b/c of the threat of single-die Sees of 11 or 12 which can be done over and over again). Hmmm... but maybe that's the point of a shtick... though it might make for one-trick ponies.

2) What does "demonic possession" now mean--not just the terminology translation to suit the supers genre, but the "oomph" of it--now that there's the d12 trump? Is d12 perhaps just an uninteresting/irrelevant inflation of die values? Do "demons" now take a back seat to the PCs? Wasn't the whole point of d10 demon dice to give the NPCs a shot at occasionally pressing the Dogs? Do demon dice now inflate to d12 dice, for parity?

3) It is already in the "Escalation Metaengine" that Dogs can make Traits that are 2d10, 3d10, or more (IIRC, I played a Dog at a convention with a 4d10 Trait). So what makes a 1d12 particularly "super?" Sure, it's got 16.7% chance of making a higher die value than a d10, but how often will that really lead to a single-die Sees (i.e. allowing the die take-back)? I don't think it's 16% more often than a d10, because I don't think a d10 leads very often to a "guaranteed" one-die See.

... OK, my head's spinning a bit. I can almost sense that there's some merit to the notion... but I feel like I need to scan the rules as written to confirm where the game balance is impacted, if at all. I don't think d12s break the engine at the core... but I am not sure they gain us anything, either.

Interesting, though. As long as we're musing, what would d20 bring to the table? (A LOT of single-die Sees, for one!) Maybe thinking in terms of how a d20 plays would provide a reductio ad absurdum proof against the use of d12s?

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages


d20s scare me!  :)  Seriously, as there's no intermediary dice between 12 and 20, I can see that as much more troublesome.

Dogs can take Traits of d10s, that's part of the game as is, as you observed (just confirming it wasn't some weird house rule or such).  In most games, I think d12s would just be clutter and besides I think that the dynamic of 2 d6s with good results still stop you from Reversing the Blow matters, at least a bit, let alone the general issue of Seeing a 24.  As you say, this might just be noise, anyway, even for this genre.  I think, as you note, it's not so much that there'd be so high a probability of rolling so many 11s and 12s (although if you consider an ongoing campaign with 5d12 or such, it will happen), but it would be the player feel/hope that would be there.  As you say, the demon dice and NPC dice become a consideration (wouldn't a master villain (equivalent to a sorcerer) rate a d12 for his schtick, and even if not mightn't you need to for balance?).

All these things are why I especially wonder if anyone's actually done it - I saw some posts that people alluded to considering trying, but didn't see any results, if they did.
- Wilson

Filip Luszczyk

I didn't try it yet. I've been considering using d12s in my Exalted conversion, as I recall someone suggesting d12s for Exalted somewhere before, but in the end, I dropped it for now along with most of my planned variant rules.

I remember Vincent mentioning that d12s were inititially used in Dogs, for being blowed up, only turned up to be superfluous. I think he stated somewhere that using d12s shouldn't really break the game, however.

d20s on the other hand sound like an overkill to me.

The schtick idea sounds nice. I'm not sure about having only a single Trait rated d12, however - I suppose players would be encouraged to pump all the experience Fallout into the schtick. What if everyone started with 1d12 in the schtick, and adding more dice would be possible only with the reflection fallout (as a trade-off for adding unassigned Relationship dice)?

Giving the schtick to the main villain seems a good idea, too, but I wouldn't really replace Demonic Influence equivalent with d12s, as d10s seem kind of a staple for it. Instead, what if the first master villain had 1d12 in schtick, the second 2d12, the third 3d12 and so on, till the final villain.


Thanks much (to both of you).  I should have added some vital context, which I apologize for not including.  There's an odd particularity here in that we are looking at adopting a long-running and, we hope, still to be long-running campaign.  As such, that means that there will be, even with contained growth (for more on that see the thread I recently posted about Dogs and experience in long-running games, with some discussion of session-only Fallout/Experience), some rather powerful PCs.  So in this context (only) it might not be overkill for d12 demonic influence, hence my consideration of it at all, though I really don't think that's appropriate (I know, I wrote all that just to say I'm not interested in it after all - but wanted to give better context for why consider it at all). 

That's an interesting idea re escalating d12s, thanks. 

I like your d12 Reflection idea, thanks!!  I'll post that back to someone I'm collaborating with on ideas and ultimately, of course, to the group.
- Wilson


What I found in early play was just that d10s and d12s are statistically similar enough, compared to the game's 2d6 baseline, to be interchangeable.

The d20 is your guy, I think you'll find.



Okay, cool, thanks a lot!  Re d20s, I would tend to think, since our notion is (and I think it fits comic books well) that it takes a while to be that cool at that one thing, so we might require a couple Experiences/Reflections to first reach d20 or such, I dunno.  Since d20 is going to be such a blockbuster, as well, it might be worth that restraint.  However, that might be too conservative and also if you want to play a one-shot superhero and be super-cool, it probably should be just like a normal Experience to go from d10 to d20 - in fact, if you're playing a one-shot, I'm now thinking that each superhero would get 1 single Trait that would be d20 - yeah....

Anyway, thanks again, to all.
- Wilson

Matt Smith

I actually am prepping a Space Marines (in the Warhammer sense) game, with each player getting a d20 as their "Space Marine" trait.  It has the caveat that all uses of the Trait need to be outsize actions, because a Space Marine's strength is not subtlety.

In the one test session I ran, it went pretty well; in conflict with a group of genestealers trying to get him out of their nest, the guy playing the Librarian pulled out some pretty cool stuff but still barely edged out of the conflict, and it served as a nice capstone to a later conflict.

The Demonic Influence point is a good one, but in settings where players are "super" as it were, the conflict is generally against others, either scads of people or relative equals in power.  But then, why not add a d20 to "Demonic Influence" for a supers game, but only in appropriate situations, like to represent the kidnapping of a ward or the exposure of a secret identity.  Or make a rule that it only comes out if the player brings out their die in such a conflict.


Thanks a lot for sharing that, and I was kind of thinking of something similar for d20s as part of Opposition Influence or the like.  I was toying with a few different ideas, one around "really really" big stuff (universe-ending) and/or depending on the PCs' level (though I don't as much like the latter idea except for taking it into account in Big Bad builds).  Also, I do want to allow Big Bads to have a Schtick as well.  I'm glad to hear it worked in your game. 

I'll post the provisional (as in until tested and vetted) set of rules as soon as completed, probably mid-next week.

In your game, it's just 1d20?  What if you take a Trait and bumped it from such as 4d10 to d20 level?  Or how are you working it?
- Wilson

Matt Smith

In the game I'm running, it's functionally a trait that all the players have, called Space Marine, and rated at 1d20.  They can't increase the dice of this trait or bring other traits up to d20 level.  I mean, already, with 1d20, you're talking the potential to have to see with 5 or 6 dice.


- Wilson