This is a continuation of last week’s post, which sets out my goals for a dice mechanic for a homebrew RPG system to replace Shadowrun 5th for one of my larger and less experienced gaming groups.
I like 3-4 dice because it gives me a predictable bell curve. This won’t matter at all for most of the players, but it does help me set difficulties as a game master. A few of the more advanced players will also grok to that as well.
I love exploding dice, but they work less well with multi die systems. The solution I have used in the past is to roll a different sized die for the exploding die. A different colour of die would work too, but it has the potential to be confusing.
So I will go with that system which uses 3d6 +d8 added together. This gives me a range of 4 to 26 with an average weighted exactly to 15, which is an easy difficulty number. I have used this dice set in the past with good success. I called the d8 the Chaos die.
- Roll 3d6 and add a d8
- On a roll of 8 on the Chaos die take another d8, roll and add it
- Keep rolling. In older versions of Chaos die I just assigned a big bonus to a roll of 8. Open ending more is more fun! The rule is stop once the highest level of success has been achieved.
The standard mechanic for a roll and add system is to set a variable difficulty. The more difficult the action, the higher the target number. I used to do it this way, but having a set target number and rolling difficulty into a modifier for the die roll, might be a way to squeeze more efficiency out the system. It will certainly let the player know how well they did without my input.
Old way: roll + modifiers vs difficulty
New way: roll + modifiers (difficulty included) vs set TN
Thus in this version a 15 is the TN for a basic success. Additional levels of success would be 20, 30, and 50+ for argument’s sake.
Difficulties would be +5 (easy), +3 (routine), +0 (Standard), -3 (Hard), -5 (Harder), -10 (Extremely Hard), -15 (Heroic), -20 (Epic), -25 (Legendary), -30 (Mythical)
This relegates difficulty to another roll modifier. It does lose some levels of precision in choosing a base difficulty and then stacking modifiers onto it like some games might, but that is a degree of precision that is only useful for tournaments and organized play with experienced players; I am willing to lose it for Runepunk.
Opposed rolls would simply be based on whoever rolls higher, with the level of success of the action added to the reaction as a modifier.
Now what about critical failure and open ending down.
I do like the idea of critical failure, though mostly as a gauge of how screwed minions are when they make bad rolls. I’ll set it at 5 or less, which would be pretty unlikely without a big penalty.
With the old Chaos die system I used to have a roll of 1 on the d8 open end downward. This was both complicated and not fun when it happened to a player. Instead with this system, if a player rolls a 1 on the Chaos die they cannot use re-rolls.
The final product looks like this:
3d6 + d8 (open ended) +/- modifiers (including difficulty) vs 15
Not bad for now 🙂