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Unorthodox Dice Pool System - thoughts?


Registered User
Validated User
Why d10? They are the ugliest dice and only good for one thing, to use them as a %. 1-4 on a d10 = 40%, which is easier than 1-3 on a d8 to get a feel for. Or real % dice like BRP.
You are not using them this way, though. You are skewing them with a bell curve approach. Which is the opposite of the % approach. Not a fan.

Using them for addition is a fundamentally a bad idea, especially if you get more than 3 dice. People are not that good at math. We used to use a lot of 2d10 instead of d20 in different incarnations of d20 systems (when everyone was a fan of the bell curve) and it was a hassle even with two dice. People miscalculated all the time. I think it partially has to do with numbers instead of eyes on the dice.

d8 would be slightly better since they look better (platonic and all that). But d6 would be best. Sure, you don't get the increments of 5 for the averages that I assume you wanted, but it is easy to count and the difference between two levels of difficulty will be manageable. 7, 10.5, 14, 17.5 are not that hard to remember.

TFT uses this system to a certain extent but didn't go all the way (mostly just 3 and 4 dice and often bonuses of +2 or +4 instead of +1d). I think an early version of Star Wars did too. So there is an opening for a strict application of several d6 from 2 on up.

I assume you will use the difference between the target number and the roll in some way. If so there is a fun alternative rolling system:

You have your skill value and then you start to roll d6's and add them up, one at a time. Each die under give you 1 level of "success". Safe circumstances you roll until you fail and don't count the last die. So you basically always get 1 degree of success (unless severly underskilled, hurt or disadvantaged) and you never fail. But if the circumstances are risky, you go bust if you roll too high. So do you feel lucky? How far do you want to push it and risk a total fail?

It plays really well with drama when you roll one die at a time for important die rolls. You as GM can describe an action step by step, start out good with a 2, then some problems with a 5 and then finish off with a 6 and go bust. That can be turned into a dramatic description for a giants attack or a thief jumping from one roof to the next and falling down. And when you want speed you just add them up quickly.

I've been tinkering a little with a similar system as the new version of TFT got delivered from the Kickstarter. To take it one step further, but TFT is very nostalgic for me so it hurts a little every time I try to change it. :-D

And The Fantasy Trip also uses attributes from 8-16 more or less, with a few exceptions. And a talent/skill usually makes something easier by one die to do, sometimes two dice.

Good luck with your system! Even if you keep the ugly d10's hehe.


Registered User
Validated User
DSA does it kinda like this.
But instead of rolling together, you roll 3D20 for every state used in a skill, which are displayed right besides it. Then if you roll to high for one or more of the D20 you can use your skill points to excuse some points.
To be honest, I hated it. Way to complicated for such a simple thing as a skill mechanic. If I let a player roll for skill, we are all already waiting to hear about the result. The faster the better I say.


Green haired rodent
Validated User
I've played this system before in Traveller, although it was d6s not d10s. I think it's a perfectly good system and I liked playing with it (it was often fun to offer greater rewards for rolling an extra die), but I would absolutely choose d6s over d10s. They're easier to get ahold of and more common, and they're smaller so you have finer control over your difficulties.


Tinker of Games
Validated User
You may get a better granularity between difficulty curves if you use 3d12 for the toughest difficulty, down to 3d4 for the easiest. The Redemption system uses this; it also allows mix of different dice for the difficulty, such as 2d12+d8.


Registered User
Validated User
It reminds me of the old french games Avant Charlemagne, and second edition Empire Galactique.
Both were based on Xd6 rolls under attribute + skill, X ranging from 1 to 5.
The difference was that X was a factor of the task's difficulty and the character's attitude (careful/normal/bold). A careful character facing an easy task rolled 1D6, while a bold one facing a difficult task rolled 5d6.
It was also a "roll-under blackjack" mechanism : the higher the roll was, the best the success was.
What was strange, though, was that harder tasks resulted in better success in general...


Registered User
Validated User
Right, you might be able to achieve the same feel but make the calculations easier if you rescale to d6s.

Like stats scale from 7-12 and skill scales from 0-6, with 3d6 roll for an average test and so on.
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