The Simple Complexity of it All, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the D10

on January 11, 2014 in GRUGS

I think I have it all figured out now.  Or at least the basic framework.  The action dice system worked well, but also needed a way to have a success or failure when doing actions.  I started playing with using a standard d10 that was then multiplied by the character’s base attribute for the action being attempted.  I kept trying variations of this method but found it wasn’t a fast enough system.  The goal was to cut down on the crazy math as much as possible.  But what would happen is you would end up with working out multiplication tables every time your character tried to do anything.  I needed to cut it down to a simple yes or no, success or fail, 1 or 0.  The it hit me to just use the attribute to indicate the number of dice to roll and forget the multiplication.

So now I am just using multiple d10 for the attributes, but I didn’t want to roll them out and add them up.  Typically a human would have all of his attributes at 3.  So roll 3d10, but even then it seems a bit slow and awkward to do.  So instead of just adding up all the dice for a result I decided to change it up to a best of roll.  In the case of a human, he would roll 3d10 and choose the best dice that was rolled for his score.  It is fast and easy to pick the highest number from a bunch of dice and best of all, the more dice that are rolled, the greater the odds of getting a higher dice to roll.  Otherwise, just doing the roll and add method would mean that the player with the most dice would almost always win.  That just didn’t feel very fair.  Granted, the guy who is stronger should be more of a threat on the battlefield, but not by this large of a margin.

Next up was now that I had figured out how to use these “Resolution Dice”, I still wanted a chance for that crit hit effect.  The old stand-by for this was to simply make it to where when a dice comes up as a natural 10 the player got to roll another d10 and add its result to the total.  This just makes things too crazy to deal with.  There is always going to be times where someone will roll a bunch of 10s in a row and be able to leap the Grand Canyon.  So then I tried a threshold amount by which if the dice comes up to be lower than the characters attribute it would mean another dice was added.  It was better, but still had the chance to become a problem with scores being too high and players sitting around re-rolling dice a lot.  So instead I went the poker route.  Roll the dice and pick the highest number, but if multiple dice come up with the same number they could be added together as one score.  If the combined dice was the highest value, use it, otherwise just use the highest number rolled.  Simple to use and a fast system.  So without going into a lot of the math, rolling 3d10 would still give you a score from 1 to 10, but would be more likely to get a higher value of that 1 to 10 than someone only rolling 2d10.  And with the chance for critical results, that 3d10 could possibly be a 3-30 while the 2d10 would get a 2 to 20.

All this and I haven’t even scratched the surface on skills or equipment yet.  When they are factored in there is virtually unlimited possibilities in even the simplest of skirmishes.