Friday, November 26, 2010

Ways to Read the Dice

The current edition of Resolute has a blending of two ways to read dice… in one way, you take the totals of the dice added to the linked ability. An attack roll works this way. In another way, you count the number of successes as a multiple of the resist. If the target rolls 7 to soak damage, you deal 1 wound at 7, 2 wounds at 14, 3 wounds at 21, etc.

In short, the game has a wee bit of an identity crisis.

In my notes, I have a long comparison between two alternate dice systems. I have already made up my mind, but I figured I’d at least let you know what I was thinking…

In Guardians of Metro City (my first ‘real’ supers game), you rolled D6’s and counted ‘successes’ on the dice. 1=-1, 2 or 3 = +0; 4 or 5 = +1; 6 = +2. If your hero had might +4, you could end up with a result between -4 (if you rolled all 1’s) and +8 (if you rolled all 6’s). I toyed with the idea of keeping the foundation from this system and porting it over to Resolute… roll 2D for everything, and count your successes. This gives you a result of -2 to +4, and a decent bell curve. You add your ability as automatic successes; if you have might +3, every time you roll might, you end up with a result between 1 and 7. This works great mathematically, and gives very predictable results while also giving a good deal of variety. However, this system revealed two big flaws as I played with it (and read over reviews of that game):

1. This dice system is somewhat counter-intuitive. You can ‘learn’ how to read the dice, but it’s a thought process. Every time you roll, you have to think about what a 5 ‘means’; a 5 isn’t 5, it’s +1 success. You are constantly converting numbers in your head.
2. The scale of numbers is way too small for long-term play. The benchmarks work nicely for the most part… might +1 is Captain America, +2 is Beast, +3 is Spider Man, +4 is Iron Man, +5 is the Thing, +6 is the Hulk. However, this is relatively unfulfilling in play, and for extended campaigning. Although going from +4 to +5 is a HUGE difference, you still only take +1 from what your hero was before. The psychological effect on long-term play is considerable. You ‘feel’ the difference between a +4 and a +7 as your character grows… between +3 and +4, not so much. That is the actual difference in the two systems between what the numbers ‘mean’.

In the end, 2D6, total and add the attribute is what I’ve decided on… and this has some important implications…