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Since we're Throwing Around Alternate Dice Systems...

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0B

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« on: <08-04-20/1751:11> »
I didn't want to necro-post in Marcus's intriguing thread here. However, with the discussion of variable TN vs TN 5 vs TN 4, I thought of something a bit odd and convoluted that I would like to share.

Basically, your ability score is your TN, and you roll a pool of Skill (+ Cyber/Magic Bonus) against that TN.


Explanation: Able-4 means you have a 4 in that ability. 1H is the chance of at least one hit, 2H is the chance of at least two hits, etc. Pools of 2-10 are expected for normal play, since optimized characters won't derive much bonus from a pool of 11-14

One hit is a success, but multiple Hits will increase your level of success (Your "Win Step"). However, your "Fail Step" is based on the percentage of ones that you roll. (20% is "Fail Step 1," 30% is "Fail Step 2," etc.) If "levels of success" are not possible in a situation, subtract Fail from Win. If result is greater than or equal to zero, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail. You can use the Able-6 chart to see the chances of getting 1, 2, or 3 ones given a dice pool.

Modifiers

Modifiers increase either Win or Fail, provided you are at least at "Step 1" in Win or Fail. Forcing the player to be at least "Step 1" before applying modifiers will eliminate some swinginess, and also avoid situations where success is guaranteed.



Modifiers can also decrease one or both of the Steps. however, even decreasing the Win Step by 1 will create swingy results- Even ignoring the "low-level" of 2-4, there can be up to a 40% difference between 1 hit and 2 hits. Higher-powered pools tend to be more stable, which is a good thing. Decreasing a Step does not have any requirements, and should be able to turn a success into a failure. This should be reserved for extreme circumstances (IE, shooting at someone in a blizzard), or when an untrained character attempts a complex task (Helicopter). Only the best of the best should have a chance at succeeding (in other words, shadowrunners).

Given the above, and looking at my chart, a '6' in an ability is mediocre, a '5' is above-average, and a '4' is near-superhuman. Rather than spending points to get 4, 5, 6 in whatever abilities, it'd be better to just have a set distribution, and maybe only 5 abilities. 4,5,5,5,6 for standard games, and 5,5,5,6,6 for "street" games. Skills should go up to 4ish at character creation, and cyber/magic up to 2ish. I'm partial to anarchy's ability layout (Strength, Agility, Logic, Charisma, Willpower), and then separating Edge and Magic into their own thing.

I wouldn't want modifiers that increase/decrease pools, simply because the modifiers would either have to be large (even in moderate situations), or else the impact of them will be low. I would also want to reduce the amount of "computation" required- if the pool and TN are always the same for a specific action, all the player needs to worry about is level of success and failure given the circumstances. However, modifiers are likely more balanced if we want a system that strictly uses binary success/failure.

Flaws

1. You have a discrete number of options for modifiers: Decrease Fail by 1, Increase Win by 2, Increase Win by 1, Increase Fail by 1, Increase Fail by 2, or Decrease Win by 1. Basically, this limits you to 3 levels of negative circumstances and 3 levels of positive circumstances. It's not particularly granular, but it may be sufficient (After all, in 5e does a +1 vs a +2 really matter once you get past a certain dice pool?)

2. Variable TN systems are confusing. I think I address most of this by having the TNs be 'static,' but different based on ability- you will always roll the same amount of dice to shoot against the same TN, regardless of circumstances. Modifiers based on the circumstances are applied after rolling, not before- and requiring "at least one step" means that you may be able to skip over them (If you don't roll any 1s, you don't need to increase Fail step). However, the stepping may just be adding more complexity to the system without much gain (IE, would switching to a +2/4/6 bonus really lose out that much?)

Edit: 3. I included it just in case- but decreasing Win Step by 2 is also going to be swingy. It should be reserved for truly impossible circumstances that are too cool not to try. The only characters who would be able to consistently succeed at these (Meaning that they need at least 3 hits, and aren't rolling many ones) are going to be Able-4 with 8+ pools, and Able-5 with 12+ pools. Neither of these are possible at character creation, but are definitely feasible with long-term characters.

4. Others? I'm curious
« Last Edit: <08-04-20/1805:37> by 0B »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <08-16-20/1316:50> »
SR 1-3 had a trefold mechanic for modifying dice rolls:

Variable TN (which 4-6e have abandoned)
+/- Dice rolled in the pool
+/- Threshold of ignored hits/successes before you being "counting" them.


I *think* the system was streamlined down from 3 factors to 2 was in part due to the extremely arcane mishmash of what sorts of things were supposed to reflect in different ways.  For example, environmental factors were SUPPOSED to manifest in modifying the TN, but sometimes they'd give or subtract dice or threshold.  Gear USUALLY gave dice, but sometimes they affected TNs.

It took a special kind of OCD brain to keep it all straight.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

penllawen

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« Reply #2 on: <08-17-20/0327:52> »
You can arguably add variable staging to that in 1e/2e too, for a four-dimensional system...!

For those who don't know - a weapon damage code looked like, say, 9M3. The "3" means that it took three hits on your attack test to stage the damage up from M(edium) to S(erious). This could vary from 1 to (IIRC) 4.

Going back on-topic... something I've occasionally attempted to work into modern SR is an advantage/disadvantage system based on changing the target number to 4 or 6. And then somehow using that to reduce the duo of defence/soak rolls down to a single roll, which would have advantage or disadvantage based on armour. The closest I've ever gotten to liking it was to split weapons into three tiers based on (roughly) caliber, and armour into three tiers, and grant advantage or disadvantage for heavy guns vs light armour or vice versa.

But it's still a "breakpoint" type system, like Edge in 6e, and I don't care for them.

0B

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« Reply #3 on: <08-17-20/0858:09> »
Oh I forgot about this.

SSDR: Yeah, I don't know if limiting the TN changes to ability used makes things any easier to keep track of. And those modifiers can get weird really quick

pen: Agree, I don't think 3 levels of advantage-normal-disadvantage is really granular enough. 5 stages would be better. I also don't think 5e really gains anything by having a +1/+3/+6/+10 system for some of its modifiers, opposed to a +2/+4/+6/+8. There's a lot of tiny modifiers that don't really seem to matter all that much, especially in the skills charts: is a -3 for trying to climb a flat surface significantly different than a -2 for a wet surface? Maybe at low dice pools, but not at 12+.

There's a balance to be had between "simple vs detailed"

penllawen

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« Reply #4 on: <08-17-20/0927:36> »
pen: Agree, I don't think 3 levels of advantage-normal-disadvantage is really granular enough. 5 stages would be better.
Concur. Although now you're either dealing with exploding dice, or you need to move to d10s or d12s for the dice to give your modifiers more room to breath. Both of those are trade-offs.

I never minded how classic Word of Darkness did it, although as they too have moved away from variable TNs to fixed ones I suppose the market has spoken.

Quote
I also don't think 5e really gains anything by having a +1/+3/+6/+10 system for some of its modifiers, opposed to a +2/+4/+6/+8. There's a lot of tiny modifiers that don't really seem to matter all that much, especially in the skills charts: is a -3 for trying to climb a flat surface significantly different than a -2 for a wet surface? Maybe at low dice pools, but not at 12+.
Strongly agree with this. I do a lot of handwaving of dice pool modifiers, and I usually work to a streamlined set of +/- 2/4/6. (Details here.)

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« Reply #5 on: <08-20-20/1725:04> »
pen: Agree, I don't think 3 levels of advantage-normal-disadvantage is really granular enough. 5 stages would be better.
Concur. Although now you're either dealing with exploding dice, or you need to move to d10s or d12s for the dice to give your modifiers more room to breath. Both of those are trade-offs.

I never minded how classic Word of Darkness did it, although as they too have moved away from variable TNs to fixed ones I suppose the market has spoken.

Quote
I also don't think 5e really gains anything by having a +1/+3/+6/+10 system for some of its modifiers, opposed to a +2/+4/+6/+8. There's a lot of tiny modifiers that don't really seem to matter all that much, especially in the skills charts: is a -3 for trying to climb a flat surface significantly different than a -2 for a wet surface? Maybe at low dice pools, but not at 12+.
Strongly agree with this. I do a lot of handwaving of dice pool modifiers, and I usually work to a streamlined set of +/- 2/4/6. (Details here.)

That would be because WOD was originally developed for White Wolf by a line developer from Shadowrun :P
He took Shadowrun 1e's 6d system and changed it to a d10 system (as well as other small changes)... Its only natural that White Wolf would follow SR in removing the floating TNs, for much the same reason as SR did...
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Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

penllawen

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« Reply #6 on: <08-21-20/0845:32> »
That would be because WOD was originally developed for White Wolf by a line developer from Shadowrun :P
Hah! I had no idea Tom Dowd had worked on the early WoD games. You live and learn.