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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Dice pool mechanic for combat

    I'm creating a homebrew system for players relatively inexperienced with RPGs, at least P&P ones. The system is meant to be extremely flexible and extendable, but with a focus on simple mechanics and story telling.

    Like many, I'm relatively unfamiliar with dice pools, having grown up with D&D, but it always had a nice storytelling flair to it. I also like the range of possible resolution mechanics.

    I'm having a little trouble writing rules for opposed skill resolution with dice pools. I want to stay away from totalling the rolls, because my system uses as many as 12d6 (in very rare cases). Perhaps a system like Risk (order and compare)? What about comparing the number of general successes (rolls >= 4) and the result is the degree of success?

    Any other ideas?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Dice pool mechanic for combat

    What is your unopposed system?

    Maybe you should make all resolution opposed, and use Risk like mechanics. That also opens up the possibility of adding lower and higher dice (ie: specialisations contribute d10s, skills d8s, attributes contribute d6s, and situational advantages can contribute d4s).

    Simply counting rolls >= # is throwing out more than a bit of information -- you might as well be flipping coins!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Mar 2010

    Default Re: Dice pool mechanic for combat

    My unopposed system is (Skill) X:Y, where skill is something like Magic, Adventuring, or Trickery; X is the number of dice that must show >= Y to succeed. I like the system. It allows for skillful, low variance challenges (8:2) or high chance ones (4:5) or chancy tests that experts will easily get (3:4). Skills go 1-10 and each point counts for a dice to throw. Up to 2 dice can be added or subtracted for circumstance. There are no vital statistics, only skills. I also wants to keep HP low, maybe as low as 20 max for a top tier char.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Re: Dice pool mechanic for combat

    Quote Originally Posted by jackattack
    But in that experience, it seems like the guy with the larger dice pool always wins.
    Not always, but generally (and Exploding Dice help this somewhat). This seems fair, of course, since if you invest more heavily in an area you're going to be better, and thus would expect to win more of the time, no?


    The problem I see with your system, Jazztoken, is that if you don't have at least as many dice as successes are required you've got no chance to succeed. I'd introduce an exploding mechanic, so if you roll a 6 on a die you count that as a success and get to reroll it.

    Now, I got a little distracted at this point in the post and went off on a tangent not really helping you with your question. It's spoilered in case you aren't interested.

    You say you want to keep Hit Points low, but for a dice pool mechanic 20 sounds rather high. I'd assume the extension of your system to damage is to have light/heavy/critical wounds (have maybe 3/2/1 boxes respectively), each with a different X/Y depending on your armour and defence skill. When someone attacks you if they roll say 1/4 they score a light wound, 3/4 they score a heavy wound, 5/4 they score a critical wound. On receiving a wound you cross through an appropriate box, and if all the boxes of a wound type are filled any more hits dealing that kind of wound are bumped up (that sounds unclear, so I'll explain using an example:

    Johnny Goodebe is fighting Chester Wynn. It's Johnny's turn, and he attacks Chester. Chester's wearing some heavy armour, so Johnny needs 1/5 to score a light wound, 3/5 to score a heavy wound, or 5/5 to score a critical wound. Chester has 3 light wound boxes, two heavy wound boxes and one critical wound box, but he has already been rough-housing today and took three light wounds and a heavy wound. This leaves his health track looking like:


    Johnny has 4 dice in his dice pool, and gets 1,2,2,6. That's one success, but it's a 6 so it explodes. He rolls again and gets another 6! Go Johnny go! Two successes and he rolls again. This time the die comes up as a 5, leaving three successes - a heavy wound to Chester. Chester marks off the health box, leaving:


    It's Chester Wynn's turn now, but he fluffs his attack horribly, scoring no successes. Back round to Johnny.

    This time luck isn't so with Johnny - he rolls 1,1,1,5. That's still enough to cause a light wound though. Chester goes to mark off the light wound, but all of his light wound boxes are filled. This means that the light wound is upgraded to a heavy wound, but all of Chester's heavy wound boxes are also filled. Poor Chester has to upgrade it to a Critical wound, meaning that he slumps out of the fight.

    Typically comparing the amount of successes that each party scored is the way to go about it. This boils it down to one roll, and you don't need to compare actual numbers, so it's quite a fast resolution. If both parties score the same number of successes you'll probably have to say that neither side made progress and roll again, however.

    Yakk's suggestion of comparing numbers could work, but it's quite slow and seems fairly inelegant (on a side note, I gather from the OP that Jazztoken wants only to use d6. I've also yet to find someone who likes d4s for anything more than impromptu caltrops). Sure, you lose a little information when simply counting successes, but it's hardly flipping coins - for one, it's difficult to simulate different target numbers when flipping coins, and more so to have exploding successes (unless you do it when the coin lands on its edge).

    I'd say that comparing the number of successes is the way to go.
    Last edited by elpollo; 2010-03-06 at 07:09 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
    Totally Guy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Dice pool mechanic for combat

    This resolution system sounds very similar to the Burning Wheel system. I'd check out that, or Mouse Guard.

    Skills are tested as as Roll X skill dice against Y obstacle. So that's Sword 3 against obstacle 1.
    Opposed skills are tested as your skill against their skill. So that's Inconspicuous 4 against their Observation 3.
    Skills and Stats go from 1 to 10 but there's also a "shade" mechanic to separate the men from the gods. (Mundane characters succeed on a 4, 5 or 6. Supernatural characters can have skills that succeed on a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.)

    The damage is calculated in an interesting way too.

    So a sword is an "Add 2" Weapon. To get more damage you have to roll 2 more successes than you needed.
    So rolling your Sword 3 skill could result in an Incidental hit from 1 or 2 successes or a Mark hit for 3 successes.
    Dagger is Add 1 so you could score a Incidental on 1 success, a Mark hit on 2 successes, and a Superb hit on 3 successes.

    Then you see what your damage is. A Mark hit for a standard sword for a character with average Power is "6".

    So the victim looks to see what a 6 is worth to him.

    What's a 6 worth to the Yeti? A superficial wound.

    What's a 6 worth to the fairy? Kills it outright.

    To Mr Average a 6 is a Midi wound and would result in an injury that cause a loss of 2 dice to everything, all skills and stats. Once any Stat hits zero he gets knocked out. This really makes your lowest stat relevant, it discourages dumping. In D&D terms we see all the time characters with 18s and 8s, this sort of thing makes the all 13s character viable.
    Attempting to say controversial things that everyone will agree with.

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