RFC: Request for Comments on a game mechanic.

dracdrac9

Registered User
Validated User
Greetings, all. I'd like to ask if any would comment as to a basic mechanic for a die-rolling mechanic, to be used as the basis for an interconnected series (I hope :p ) of games.
In essence, one uses only two six-sided dice; a task or situation resolution goes as follows: The character wishes to accomplish XYZ; s/he rolls 2d6 + skill + mods -7; a result of 0 means (absolutely minimal) success; if a weapon attack, then the target receives a cut in his clothing (but no damage), or a clang off of its scales; on a sensors check, a vague indication (there was something there for a second, but it disappeared from the screen!". The result would be called "Effect". For combat, a given weapon would have an effective "power" stat, and damage is noted as effect X power. A .38 special or basic knife might have a Power of 1, so if the player has an appropriate skill of 2 and the target has a mod (for whatever reason; dodging, mayhap) of -1 (and no mod for unusual player stats), then the character rolls 2D6 + 2 -1 -7, resulting in 8 +2 -1 -7 = an effect of 2; damage is therefore 2 points, whereupon the player them checks location struck (and armor subtracts from damage), so if a second die roll of 9 shows "abdomen" (which is covered by 1-point leather), the target receives 1 actual point of damage to the abdomen, that being what got past the leather pants. The same mechanic follows for magical effects, missile weapons, crafting tasks, sensing tasks, starship piloting.

Note that Effect can be negative; each point of negative Effect is a Complication. So if our hero above had rolled a 5, with a resulting Effect of -1, then the GM informs him that he not only didn't strike his target, but the attack resulted in him being thrown off-balance for a moment, giving him a -1 for the next round on any actions that he takes. I can leave Complications to the GM, or come up with some sort of basic table for minor & major Complications... a third die roll, perhaps.

For tasks that aren't combat-oriented, say listening at a door, then Effect takes the form of information; each point of Effect gives one small bit of information, say, the character hears shuffling. If the Effect were 3, then he hears shuffling, 2 gurgling voices that just moan. He can decide what that sounds like for himself (in this case, a multiple undead walkers.. zombies, in other words). If in a sci-fi setting, then sensors show a craft nestled up against a nearby asteroid, of a configuration consistent with local corsairs, and a weaponlike power signature.

Negative Effect may give false readings, of course.. or, if using active sensors (radar, say) then the corsair might think that they'd been spotted... and come looking for whomever was spraying radar signals around.
 

CWalck93

Doom Priest of Peace and Happiness
Validated User
It's... okay. I don't like the '-7' bit honestly. I get what you're doing and basically you are saying your Target Number is 7 and then you're comparing that TN versus what the person rolled. Which is fine... I just don't know if in the grand scheme of things if your system will be better served by doing the '-7' or just saying the TN is 7 and going from there.

There really is no difference between the two. As far as the Effect/Complication idea, that's interesting but I'm not sure if its going to get really out of the ordinary when you start rolling 2d6 and your total is something like 13 for a non-combat check and you have to come up with 6 different Effects under the way your system handles things.
 

Octiron

Pariah
Validated User
Yeah the -7 is a bit of a deal killer.

It looks like what you want is a zero-centered result on two dice. You can get this by rolling taking two six-sided dice as above and declaring one the negative die and one the positive die. Usually different colors is how they keep track of it. The one that rolls lowest absolute value/face number is the result, doubles are zeros, so it gives you a number from -5 to +5 with no awkward subtraction.

It's one of the die variants for FATE/fudge if you want to look it up.
 

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Banned
Validated User
So you have a target number of 7 (don't do the math thing... just don't). Are skills and mods often 0 or are low numbers? Because then this works fairly well 2d6+skill and mods vs target of 7.

If skills are usually present, then target number of 8 or better or 9 better might give you a more satisfying success curve.

Note: Modifiers could just change the target number to beat... save the communication gap with the players (and if there are any mystery modifiers... you don't have to reveal them).

The effect is just how much you beat the target number by. That way you only do extra math on actions that need success measured.

If you are applying penalties to all failed dramatic rolls, this could generate a death spiral (oh I failed this one by -1, now I failed the next one by -2, crap now I have to roll really well to succeed. crap now I am at -5)

Plus about complications... give lots and lots of examples or otherwise you are handing a GM a tool to abuse players (if the mean to or not...). They need to see what you properly mean by them... or they will just use their own imagination or follow guidelines that might not fit based on what they played previously.

(I do like the d6-d6 system mentioned up thread.)
 

macul

Registered User
Validated User
Too much math; not that it's difficult, though just too much to have multiple people dealing with that equation every round. Guaranteed to be mistakes and people checking each other often.
 

Paul DuPont

Chronic RPG Creator
Validated User
I agree that -7 feels clunky, players don't like subtraction. Either set 7 as your base target number, or use d6-d6.
 

ThornyJohn

Registered User
Validated User
Greetings, all. I'd like to ask if any would comment as to a basic mechanic for a die-rolling mechanic, to be used as the basis for an interconnected series (I hope :p ) of games.
In essence, one uses only two six-sided dice; a task or situation resolution goes as follows: The character wishes to accomplish XYZ; s/he rolls 2d6 + skill + mods -7; a result of 0 means (absolutely minimal) success...
Try to avoid using negatives like this whenever possible. What seems simple to you often isn't to others. If a GM needs to add and subtract a few modifiers to spit out a combined simple modifier (like say: +3 or -2) that's okay, but if you have to add a bunch of things together and then subtract 7 from every roll because you got it in your head that there is a certain numeric beauty to having every result revolve around 0, get it out of your head.

Of course, if the system is just a personal exploration into game and numbers theory, go wild with the weird, but if it's for distribution, do yourself and everyone a favor and keep it simple.
 
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