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View Full Version : Conflict/Task Resolution Prepared Vs. Random

AMFV
2016-01-11, 01:38 PM
As I was reading the "Task/Conflict Resolution System" thread, I thought of something that's fairly interesting, and that I've seen tried. Basically the idea would be to have all the rolls prerolled (as DMs occasionally do), but instead of simply getting the rolls in the order you rolled them. You could pick the roll and remove it from the pool of rolls. For example if in the pre-rolling phase you rolled a 11,14, 5, and 20, you could get take the 20 as a result to a particular challenge, then you would have an 11, a 14, and a 5 remaining. I'm curious as to how you folks think this might work, and if anybody's tried or heard of anything similar.

Red Fel
2016-01-11, 01:46 PM
As I was reading the "Task/Conflict Resolution System" thread, I thought of something that's fairly interesting, and that I've seen tried. Basically the idea would be to have all the rolls prerolled (as DMs occasionally do), but instead of simply getting the rolls in the order you rolled them. You could pick the roll and remove it from the pool of rolls. For example if in the pre-rolling phase you rolled a 11,14, 5, and 20, you could get take the 20 as a result to a particular challenge, then you would have an 11, a 14, and a 5 remaining. I'm curious as to how you folks think this might work, and if anybody's tried or heard of anything similar.

There's something to be said for this. It's basically like putting chips in the pot. You start with X number of chips, in Y denominations, and for any given task you put chips into the pot proportionate to the level of effort your character is putting in.

The drawback of this particular system, though, is this: Suppose you roll consistently crappy numbers on every single die. Say you pre-roll 5d20, and you roll a 3, 7, 5, 6, and 4. Those are probably going to be rubbish rolls. You know, for a fact, that you are going to be useless, dead weight in this particular encounter/task. You might as well sit back and play games on your phone. Conversely, suppose you rolled 17, 17, 20, 19, and 16. Chances are you're basically winning at everything. The rest of the party can sit back with their cell phones and let you handle it.

Basically, by pre-rolling, the party pretty much knows in advance whether they win or lose. If a party in a normal system rolls poorly across the board in one round of combat, they can at least hope to do better the next round. If in this system they roll poorly on all of their upfront rolls, there's no reason to stay around and use them - better to just bail and try another time.

If you want an auction-style action-bidding system, you're better off just handing out chips or counters, and using those to bid on actions.

AMFV
2016-01-11, 02:02 PM
There's something to be said for this. It's basically like putting chips in the pot. You start with X number of chips, in Y denominations, and for any given task you put chips into the pot proportionate to the level of effort your character is putting in.

The drawback of this particular system, though, is this: Suppose you roll consistently crappy numbers on every single die. Say you pre-roll 5d20, and you roll a 3, 7, 5, 6, and 4. Those are probably going to be rubbish rolls. You know, for a fact, that you are going to be useless, dead weight in this particular encounter/task. You might as well sit back and play games on your phone. Conversely, suppose you rolled 17, 17, 20, 19, and 16. Chances are you're basically winning at everything. The rest of the party can sit back with their cell phones and let you handle it.

Basically, by pre-rolling, the party pretty much knows in advance whether they win or lose. If a party in a normal system rolls poorly across the board in one round of combat, they can at least hope to do better the next round. If in this system they roll poorly on all of their upfront rolls, there's no reason to stay around and use them - better to just bail and try another time.

If you want an auction-style action-bidding system, you're better off just handing out chips or counters, and using those to bid on actions.

That is a good point. I guess you could take the randomness out of it completely, although I still can't think of any system that has done that. Alternatively one could mechanically incentivize play with lower rolls, by giving extra experience, or allowing re-rolls, or something of that nature. I do think think that the auction system would be an interesting one to try, since it would give a more strategic sort of gameplay, which is often missing from roleplaying games (at least those where preparation isn't a big deal). Although I do like the random aspect, since that means that if you have a bunch of bad rolls you need to plan around avoiding monsters and avoiding encounters, or if you have the high rolls you need to plan to take advantage of them.

Red Fel
2016-01-11, 02:15 PM
That is a good point. I guess you could take the randomness out of it completely, although I still can't think of any system that has done that.

I'm almost positive I've heard mention of systems where the players are given chips or counters in lieu of dice. Can't recall any, but I'm sure there are some.

Alternatively one could mechanically incentivize play with lower rolls, by giving extra experience, or allowing re-rolls, or something of that nature. I do think think that the auction system would be an interesting one to try, since it would give a more strategic sort of gameplay, which is often missing from roleplaying games (at least those where preparation isn't a big deal).

Doesn't FATE have a function like that? Where you can basically voluntarily take a penalty for something something RP something something? I forget the details.

Although I do like the random aspect, since that means that if you have a bunch of bad rolls you need to plan around avoiding monsters and avoiding encounters, or if you have the high rolls you need to plan to take advantage of them.

The problem is that I'm not sure it's really randomness at that point. Here's why. Randomness in the moment makes sense. You're in combat and swing a sword - do you hit or miss? Exciting! You're sneaking around - do you step on a twig and give yourself away? Thrilling! You're giving a speech in hopes of swaying the audience to your cause - do they buy into it or throw a salad bar? Hyperbolic! The randomness serves a function in the moment, it creates a tension of whether you will succeed.

Knowing in advance that you will or will not succeed obviates the need for randomness. Your character rolls poorly, those are his rolls for the day. There's no tension; he's basically just going to stay out of the way. Your character rolls well, he's going to seek out trouble. And what happens if the low-roller can't avoid using his dice? Well, now he's just hosed. What if the high-roller is in the middle of the wilderness, without a dice roll to be had? Well, now that's just a waste.

Point is, if it's about budgeting resources in advance, why bother with the dice? Here's a simple system. Everyone has skill ranks and abilities and what-not. They also receive an allocation of chips or counters. On any action, your base ability is your skill rank, with circumstances offering bonuses or penalties, and chips offering an additional bonus. As such, a character can budget his effort. Feel confident in your Attack skill? Save your chips. Really want to make sure this Diplomacy check works? Spend a few. As long as we're removing randomness, let's remove it, completely.

Or not.

AMFV
2016-01-11, 02:28 PM
I'm almost positive I've heard mention of systems where the players are given chips or counters in lieu of dice. Can't recall any, but I'm sure there are some.

I can't think of any either, but it seems like a really interesting concept.

Doesn't FATE have a function like that? Where you can basically voluntarily take a penalty for something something RP something something? I forget the details.

Fate does, the thread about roleplaying systems is actually where I stole the "incentivize playing the disadvantage" line from, since it seemed to fit. But I think we could do more than FATE could, since we're playing with numbers rather than with a binary success vs. failure. One could do something like have two distinct character types, one that's more planning oriented, whose pool would increase over time (the longer a scene goes on), and the other one would be a quick action type, who would start with a bonus and then their pool would decrease over time. Tg

The problem is that I'm not sure it's really randomness at that point. Here's why. Randomness in the moment makes sense. You're in combat and swing a sword - do you hit or miss? Exciting! You're sneaking around - do you step on a twig and give yourself away? Thrilling! You're giving a speech in hopes of swaying the audience to your cause - do they buy into it or throw a salad bar? Hyperbolic! The randomness serves a function in the moment, it creates a tension of whether you will succeed.

Knowing in advance that you will or will not succeed obviates the need for randomness. Your character rolls poorly, those are his rolls for the day. There's no tension; he's basically just going to stay out of the way. Your character rolls well, he's going to seek out trouble. And what happens if the low-roller can't avoid using his dice? Well, now he's just hosed. What if the high-roller is in the middle of the wilderness, without a dice roll to be had? Well, now that's just a waste.

Point is, if it's about budgeting resources in advance, why bother with the dice? Here's a simple system. Everyone has skill ranks and abilities and what-not. They also receive an allocation of chips or counters. On any action, your base ability is your skill rank, with circumstances offering bonuses or penalties, and chips offering an additional bonus. As such, a character can budget his effort. Feel confident in your Attack skill? Save your chips. Really want to make sure this Diplomacy check works? Spend a few. As long as we're removing randomness, let's remove it, completely.

Or not.

True, you're probably right on that count. It would definitely create a different type of game, at least as far as the tone and pacing of the game goes. I'd be really interested to see what sort of game it works with.

Airk
2016-01-11, 04:04 PM
This is an idea that sounds interesting on the surface, but I don't think it leads anywhere interesting, because of essentially the reasons Red Fel cites - it's not any fun to know that you're going to suck today, regardless of what you do. And also because you're basically just creating a less interesting version of a diceless RPG. I think it might be slightly more interesting to give everyone the same array of rolls - maybe in a d20 system everyone gets one of each number on the die, and no "refresh" until they've used them all, which effectively pulls this closer to the "limited resources" model of diceless RPG, but I feel like this would need to be coupled with a very tightly GM'd system, where the PCs wouldn't just be able to roll for random dumb crap because that would effectively defeat the purpose entirely, since resources aren't ACTUALLY limited.

"I'm gonna try to hit the seagull with a rock! I'll use my 2 on this attack. Oh, I missed? Oh well."

Honestly, I think given the choice, I'd rather play a diceless "finite resource" game instead of trying to adapt a "diceful" game to what is essentially a diceless model with something like this. The resource pool offers more tension.

AMFV
2016-01-11, 04:12 PM
This is an idea that sounds interesting on the surface, but I don't think it leads anywhere interesting, because of essentially the reasons Red Fel cites - it's not any fun to know that you're going to suck today, regardless of what you do. And also because you're basically just creating a less interesting version of a diceless RPG. I think it might be slightly more interesting to give everyone the same array of rolls - maybe in a d20 system everyone gets one of each number on the die, and no "refresh" until they've used them all, which effectively pulls this closer to the "limited resources" model of diceless RPG, but I feel like this would need to be coupled with a very tightly GM'd system, where the PCs wouldn't just be able to roll for random dumb crap because that would effectively defeat the purpose entirely, since resources aren't ACTUALLY limited.

"I'm gonna try to hit the seagull with a rock! I'll use my 2 on this attack. Oh, I missed? Oh well."

Honestly, I think given the choice, I'd rather play a diceless "finite resource" game instead of trying to adapt a "diceful" game to what is essentially a diceless model with something like this. The resource pool offers more tension.

Well to be fair, Red Fel actually hit more of what I was aiming for. The rolling is pretty much not required to the idea of the design. Probably you would need some kind of limit, although if it's too tight, then it ceases to have any significance to the strategic element. There are also other ways to make it interesting, as I was suggesting earlier, where some people get benefits from not burning resources till later in a scene (or whatever) and others get benefits from burning them early. Which makes for an interesting amount of tension, and creates a built in system to allow the characters to have their moment in the spot-light.

I do think the poker chips (or what-not) would work, I was mostly theorizing about ways to keep some element of randomness. I should probably let you guys know that I'm not really being contrary, just trying to expand on ideas.

Airk
2016-01-11, 04:16 PM
Well to be fair, Red Fel actually hit more of what I was aiming for. The rolling is pretty much not required to the idea of the design. Probably you would need some kind of limit, although if it's too tight, then it ceases to have any significance to the strategic element. There are also other ways to make it interesting, as I was suggesting earlier, where some people get benefits from not burning resources till later in a scene (or whatever) and others get benefits from burning them early. Which makes for an interesting amount of tension, and creates a built in system to allow the characters to have their moment in the spot-light.

I do think the poker chips (or what-not) would work, I was mostly theorizing about ways to keep some element of randomness. I should probably let you guys know that I'm not really being contrary, just trying to expand on ideas.

Poker chips or whatnot are one of the standards of diceless RPGs, I think, in much the way that you described them. I think it's a pretty interesting method, actually, though I've yet to have the opportunity to play a game that uses it.

NichG
2016-01-14, 04:41 AM
Isn't this mechanic basically how CCGs work? You draw a pool of potential moves which change out slowly. The randomness isn't really there for risk purposes, its there to prevent you from precomputing complete play sequences and to make you adjust strategy on the fly.

Usually such games enable you to both stack the deck and to sacrifice resources to manage the randomness.

Knaight
2016-01-14, 04:51 AM
On where this has been seen: I do know of a few games which have a reserve of sorts, with Weapons of the Gods and Legends of the Wulin standing out here (where you have a 2 die reserve you can use, switching your current roll in). There's a definite precedent.

With that said, a system where you have dice, pre-roll them, then keep the rolls around seems to be a needlessly difficult method, given that playing a card from a hand of cards accomplishes essentially the same thing. It's faster, it's more natural, and it guarantees that luck evens out in the long run, provided that you discard to an actual discard. It also lets you do things like have variable hand sizes, do things like playing multiple cards and permanently decreasing the hand size by doing so, having varying draws, etc.

You also suggested a spotlight sharing mechanism with benefits for going early or late. That can work, but there are also other ways to handle it. One person might start with a large hand, be able to play more than 1 card, and only ever draw 1 to replace. Early on they have a lot of impact, but they peter out. Another might start with a small hand, be able to play 1 card, and draw 2 to replace (possibly up to another hand size). That essentially creates a slow build. It's a versatile system, and much easier than doing the same thing with dice.

neonchameleon
2016-01-14, 06:13 AM
As I was reading the "Task/Conflict Resolution System" thread, I thought of something that's fairly interesting, and that I've seen tried. Basically the idea would be to have all the rolls prerolled (as DMs occasionally do), but instead of simply getting the rolls in the order you rolled them. You could pick the roll and remove it from the pool of rolls. For example if in the pre-rolling phase you rolled a 11,14, 5, and 20, you could get take the 20 as a result to a particular challenge, then you would have an 11, a 14, and a 5 remaining. I'm curious as to how you folks think this might work, and if anybody's tried or heard of anything similar.

This isn't a system you want dice for. It's one you want playing cards for. And you don't reshuffle until your deck is exhausted.

What it tends to create is tactics where players find safe places to waste their bad cards.

goto124
2016-01-14, 06:18 AM
But... what happens when they run out of cards?

If the punishment for running out of cards is worse than the punishment for getting a low number - actually, let's resolve the top question first, about what happens when cards have run out. Can you attack? Or even jump across pits? Or make Survival checks?

neonchameleon
2016-01-14, 07:33 AM
But... what happens when they run out of cards?

If the punishment for running out of cards is worse than the punishment for getting a low number - actually, let's resolve the top question first, about what happens when cards have run out. Can you attack? Or even jump across pits? Or make Survival checks?

That depends on how the system is set up. In a swashbuckling game you draw a new hand of course - the object is to get fast and evocative play, so if you burn through your cards you always need a new hand. In a survival horror game your cards are a strictly limited resource and you want to get through playing as few as possible.

Douche
2016-01-14, 08:04 AM
The drawback of this particular system, though, is this: Suppose you roll consistently crappy numbers on every single die. Say you pre-roll 5d20, and you roll a 3, 7, 5, 6, and 4. Those are probably going to be rubbish rolls. You know, for a fact, that you are going to be useless, dead weight in this particular encounter/task. You might as well sit back and play games on your phone. Conversely, suppose you rolled 17, 17, 20, 19, and 16. Chances are you're basically winning at everything. The rest of the party can sit back with their cell phones and let you handle it.

Unless you create a Xanatos gambit and cause your failures to be success!

Like, if you've got really cruddy rolls, just swing your sword to intentionally miss the target, and you will "accidentally" hit it instead! Or say you're trying to pass a speech check - just try to persuade the person to do the exact opposite of what you want! You will fail so spectacularly that they will do what you actually intended all along... Reverse psychology!!!

NichG
2016-01-14, 10:03 AM
But... what happens when they run out of cards?

If the punishment for running out of cards is worse than the punishment for getting a low number - actually, let's resolve the top question first, about what happens when cards have run out. Can you attack? Or even jump across pits? Or make Survival checks?

If I were doing this system with numerical card effects, I'd make it so you only get bonuses from playing a card with an action. So you can always 'take zero' when you don't need to expend the card (or you're out). Most cards would be +1, +2, +3, with rare +5, +10.
Assuming D&D scales.

I'd probably want a paced redraw mechanism with totally exhausting the deck being rare in practice but happening once every 3 games to one player - maybe triggered by deck depletion or deck sacrifice as stand-out mechanics.

For example, draw two and discard one as a special ability, so you only go empty if you really go all out.

nyjastul69
2016-01-14, 10:51 AM
I'm almost positive I've heard mention of systems where the players are given chips or counters in lieu of dice. Can't recall any, but I'm sure there are some.

Aces & Eights uses a poker chip bidding system to resolve brawls.

AMFV
2016-01-15, 08:50 AM
But... what happens when they run out of cards?

If the punishment for running out of cards is worse than the punishment for getting a low number - actually, let's resolve the top question first, about what happens when cards have run out. Can you attack? Or even jump across pits? Or make Survival checks?

I'd actually thought about this. What I would do, if I ever wind up actually doing this system is to add what I'm going to call swing dice. Basically (supposing that cards are equivalent to 2d6), for the swing dice you'd roll two six dice, the first one would just be a number value. Then the second would tell you what to do with this value (On a 1 you'd multiply it by 2 and subtract it from your total, on a 3, or 5, you'd subtract it. On a 4, or 2 you'd add it. On a 6 you'd double it and then add it). Then I would probably incorporate degrees of success and failure, so you could choose to add the randomness (or would have to if you wanted to act but had run out of counters before whatever the refresh mechanism is takes place). The degrees would give a reason to potentially choose the swingy options on a normal roll.

Segev
2016-01-15, 11:30 AM
Noblis - at least, the edition I saw, with the huge white book - ran without dice. The difference between adjacent stat values (say, a 1 and a 2) was declared to be so huge that a 1 in a stat just couldn't overcome a 2, and a 2 could steamroll a 1. So if you had two people with Body 2 and Body 3 in a wrestling match, the person with Body 3 just gets to narrate how he wins, because he's that much stronger, faster, and overall better at all things to do with physical prowess than his foe, who just cannot match up.

Ties resulted in ties - deadlocks or other, similarly no-one-wins outcomes.

But it also had Miracle Points (MP), which could be expended by players from a finite pool to, for a single action, increase their stat by the amount of MP spent on it. IIRC, it was a blind bid on each action, so you would spend MP without knowing what the other guy was going to spend. (And of course, the amount could be zero on either side, potentially bluffing a higher-stat foe into spending MP when he had no need to because you just conceded the action.)

nedz
2016-01-15, 07:38 PM
That is a good point. I guess you could take the randomness out of it completely, although I still can't think of any system that has done that.

Amber Diceless - more of an auction system.

I actually like the unknown result, but then I lean toward being a simulationist.

The choices, as a resource to manage, is an interesting approach to collaborative story telling though. In order to avoid some of the issues Red Fel raised you could preselect the results so that each 'hand' contains {Very Bad, Bad, Average, Good, Very Good} this way the actual rolls don't matter - since they don't happen.

Raimun
2016-01-18, 09:51 PM
As I was reading the "Task/Conflict Resolution System" thread, I thought of something that's fairly interesting, and that I've seen tried. Basically the idea would be to have all the rolls prerolled (as DMs occasionally do), but instead of simply getting the rolls in the order you rolled them. You could pick the roll and remove it from the pool of rolls. For example if in the pre-rolling phase you rolled a 11,14, 5, and 20, you could get take the 20 as a result to a particular challenge, then you would have an 11, a 14, and a 5 remaining. I'm curious as to how you folks think this might work, and if anybody's tried or heard of anything similar.

This kind of thing works best as a mechanic for portents.

You pre-roll a very limited number of D20s (or whatever) and then you can use them in place of a die rolls (yours and/or others, depending on fluff). Bonus points if you immediately add retroactive storytelling such as making your character claim: "You all ignored me at the morning but it happened just as I told you: "When the goat turns red strikes true."."

Jay R
2016-01-19, 11:11 AM
Unless you create a Xanatos gambit and cause your failures to be success!

Like, if you've got really cruddy rolls, just swing your sword to intentionally miss the target, and you will "accidentally" hit it instead! Or say you're trying to pass a speech check - just try to persuade the person to do the exact opposite of what you want! You will fail so spectacularly that they will do what you actually intended all along... Reverse psychology!!!

As DM, I wouldn't let that work. If you roll to miss the target, and "miss", you would hit an ally, or your shield, or some such.

But there's a much more reasonable way to clear a series of bad rolls, based on the fact that I can choose when or if to make rolls.

If I roll a 6, 2, 19, 5, 17 18, I would immediately clear the three poor numbers by making a Search check for secret doors (6), a Spot check for enemies (2), and a Listen check for creaking doors (5). Now all the poor rolls are gone without hurting me, and the good ones are waiting for when I really need them.

goto124
2016-01-20, 02:16 AM
As DM, I wouldn't let that work. If you roll to miss the target, and "miss", you would hit an ally, or your shield, or some such.

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/images/comic_lotr74b.jpg

Jay R
2016-01-20, 09:02 AM
http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/images/comic_lotr74b.jpg

Sure, but that agrees with my point. A failed roll means bad things happen, not good things happen.