Author Topic: Coyote's Spaggotry in which he Spends Too Much Time reinventing the Wheel that  (Read 2531 times)

Don Coyote

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is DnD

ON DICE


Having some thoughts on different ways to use dice as resolution mechanics in a RPG. I wonder if what I perceive as a slow down is limited to just me, or if it universal.
Things I have noticed.
Too many different types of dice slow down play with newer players, especially with regards to similarity in shapes. Specifically a d20 and a d12, or a d10 and a d8. I've watched my wife mistakenly roll a d12 when a d20 was needed, and I have, and still, to stop myself from grabing a d10 thinking it is a d8.
Who the heck likes tetrahedral d4s?

I've played a bit of Ironkingdoms which is 2d6 plus the stat plus skill compared to some target number, which is fairly fast for adding up the numbers, even when tired.
I've played Unhallowed Metropolis, which is a hoot, but uses 2d10 plus an attribute OR skill compared to a target number. I, for some reason, find adding up the result of 2d10 to be much slower.
Then I found Epées & Sorcelerie which is a retroclone of sorts of 0ed D&D. It uses 2d6 plus modifiers for the resolution system, 1d6 for weapon damage.

I find myself liking a lot of how Epées & Sorcelerie does things, especially since, d6 are everywhere, and it I think I would fit in very well with idea for a mechanic for making different weapons different, without tacking on a bunch of weird modifiers and MOAR damage.

Don Coyote

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ON ATTRIBUTES

I don't remember when it started bothering, but once it started, it won't stop. I think it is nonsensical that in DnD and its deriviatives, you roll up or other wise generate a series of ability scores, which you then compare to one or more tables to tell you what numbers to add or subtract to your die rolls.

Example, in 3.x it takes an even number of a bonus or penalty to an attribute for the modifier you get from that attribute. In otherwords, you don't actually care about what your ability scores are, you only care about the modifier you get from a table.

That bugs me. Might as well remove the ability scores, and replace them with the modifier, calling THAT your ability score, and create a table that you roll on to generate your scores.
And example of a game that does this is Old School Hack.
Other games utilize a combination of a table of modifiers, and using the ability score itself. Adding modifiers to certain die rolls, or derived attributes like skills or armor class, and using the ability scores as is for things for skill checks, or other pertinent scores. But the inconsistency also bugs me.

I think that anything that is generated for a player or gamemaster, should at least be used as is, for something. I do not like the idea of generating a number, only use that number to find another number.
It also creates more math that needs to be done. "Oh you reduced the monsters strength by 2, well that is only a reduction of 1 for whatever" Why not just have a spell that reduces all rolls relating to strength by one, or all rolls related to combat by one.






Don Coyote

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ON NOT GETTING THE BAD STUFF ON YOU!!

I hate the having two different ways of avoiding damage and effects in DnD. Make up your mind DnD. Do you want the person causing the effect to roll the dice or the person being affected?

Mechanics should be consistent.

Cainad (dec.)

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ON NOT GETTING THE BAD STUFF ON YOU!!

I hate the having two different ways of avoiding damage and effects in DnD. Make up your mind DnD. Do you want the person causing the effect to roll the dice or the person being affected?

Mechanics should be consistent.

You mean attack rolls vs saving throws? Do you think eliminating one would make things better?

Don Coyote

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ON NOT GETTING THE BAD STUFF ON YOU!!

I hate the having two different ways of avoiding damage and effects in DnD. Make up your mind DnD. Do you want the person causing the effect to roll the dice or the person being affected?

Mechanics should be consistent.

You mean attack rolls vs saving throws? Do you think eliminating one would make things better?

Yes. As far as I know, only DnD and its derivatives have two separate mechanics for avoiding harm.

Don Coyote

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Clarification: Both attacking and casting a spell, and other things, are actions with an origin.  The evolution of the saving throw system means that defender is gaining in defensive strength, while the originator is essentially static, unlike the combat roll system, in which the attacker is the one gaining in offensive strength, with the defender being static, baring some weirdness on class by class case and equipment.

It is also evidently confusing to some new players. My wife gets mixed up with the 3 different armor classes, the reflex saving throw and the combat defense modifier, despite them all being on different places on the character sheet. They all serve as some way to avoid physically avoidable damage, and they all have a modifier from the dexterity score. This in the case of 3.x/pathfinder.

LMNO

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I dunno.  Say I'm shooting an arrow at someone.  If I suck at it, I won't be accurate, and there will be a chance I miss, even if the target is standing still.

On the other hand, even if I'm really accurate, if the target has excellent reflexes, they have a chance to dodge the arrow.

So it make sense there should be both an attack and a defense roll, although they should work in tandem.  That is, if my attack roll is a 1, then your defense roll doesn't have to be that good to avoid it.

Cainad (dec.)

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Clarification: Both attacking and casting a spell, and other things, are actions with an origin.  The evolution of the saving throw system means that defender is gaining in defensive strength, while the originator is essentially static, unlike the combat roll system, in which the attacker is the one gaining in offensive strength, with the defender being static, baring some weirdness on class by class case and equipment.

It is also evidently confusing to some new players. My wife gets mixed up with the 3 different armor classes, the reflex saving throw and the combat defense modifier, despite them all being on different places on the character sheet. They all serve as some way to avoid physically avoidable damage, and they all have a modifier from the dexterity score. This in the case of 3.x/pathfinder.

Then we've run into the simulation vs. flow problem. All of these defensive stats make (some) sense from a simulation perspective, and even the Armor Classes being static numbers rather than rolls is a simplification. I'm very used to these mechanics, and consider them functional...

And yet, I completely appreciate the problems it presents to newer players, or basically anyone who hasn't buried their heads in this stuff for hours and hours. Tell a new player that "Dexterity represents your nimbleness, agility, and ability to dodge stuff," but then they have to grasp that this only modifies their Armor Class and their Reflex Saves. I've noticed that there's almost never a reason to make a plain old ability check, besides Strength to knock down the door (this is something they're toying with in D&D Next). All of this adds up to making an inexperienced player devote more of their attention towards deciphering a sheet full of numbers than towards the game they're supposedly playing.



I've had the same thought about attributes before, too. The actual attribute SCORE is practically meaningless, and only the modifier ever comes into play.



<neckbeard> But you're not taking away my d20s. I'll use other dice for other systems, but if I'm not cutting an orc's head off with an icosohedron, it ain't D&D. </neckbeard> I've heard some arguments that the 5% chance for either amazing success (natural 20) or catastrophic failure (natural 1) is lame, but frankly I love the dynamic it creates. Even if it does imply that the most masterful swordsman in the world fumbles about 1 in every 20 swings.

Don Coyote

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I dunno.  Say I'm shooting an arrow at someone.  If I suck at it, I won't be accurate, and there will be a chance I miss, even if the target is standing still.

On the other hand, even if I'm really accurate, if the target has excellent reflexes, they have a chance to dodge the arrow.

So it make sense there should be both an attack and a defense roll, although they should work in tandem.  That is, if my attack roll is a 1, then your defense roll doesn't have to be that good to avoid it.

It entirely depends on how abstracted you want to make combat rolls and how you determine how hard it is to injury someone.
If you randomly roll hit points every level, does it make sense to further roll to avoid damage?
Does it makes sense to randomly roll damage independent of rolling to see if you hit and how well? What about in conjunction to randomly rolled hit points? What exactly do hit points represent? Are they just a measure of your growing badassatitude, toughness, or the smile of lady luck and your gods on you?

I've played games where attack and defense were opposing rolls, but when done with a d20 it can get really swingy, especially at lower levels. But at the same time, rolling dice is fun, and having unexpected high and low rolls is fun. Like on Saturday night where my cavalier went about a quarter of a mile down river because I rolled poorly on not falling off the slippery bridge.


Don Coyote

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Clarification: Both attacking and casting a spell, and other things, are actions with an origin.  The evolution of the saving throw system means that defender is gaining in defensive strength, while the originator is essentially static, unlike the combat roll system, in which the attacker is the one gaining in offensive strength, with the defender being static, baring some weirdness on class by class case and equipment.

It is also evidently confusing to some new players. My wife gets mixed up with the 3 different armor classes, the reflex saving throw and the combat defense modifier, despite them all being on different places on the character sheet. They all serve as some way to avoid physically avoidable damage, and they all have a modifier from the dexterity score. This in the case of 3.x/pathfinder.

Then we've run into the simulation vs. flow problem. All of these defensive stats make (some) sense from a simulation perspective, and even the Armor Classes being static numbers rather than rolls is a simplification. I'm very used to these mechanics, and consider them functional...

And yet, I completely appreciate the problems it presents to newer players, or basically anyone who hasn't buried their heads in this stuff for hours and hours. Tell a new player that "Dexterity represents your nimbleness, agility, and ability to dodge stuff," but then they have to grasp that this only modifies their Armor Class and their Reflex Saves. I've noticed that there's almost never a reason to make a plain old ability check, besides Strength to knock down the door (this is something they're toying with in D&D Next). All of this adds up to making an inexperienced player devote more of their attention towards deciphering a sheet full of numbers than towards the game they're supposedly playing.



I've had the same thought about attributes before, too. The actual attribute SCORE is practically meaningless, and only the modifier ever comes into play.



<neckbeard> But you're not taking away my d20s. I'll use other dice for other systems, but if I'm not cutting an orc's head off with an icosohedron, it ain't D&D. </neckbeard> I've heard some arguments that the 5% chance for either amazing success (natural 20) or catastrophic failure (natural 1) is lame, but frankly I love the dynamic it creates. Even if it does imply that the most masterful swordsman in the world fumbles about 1 in every 20 swings.

First of all, 2d6 was used for DnD before d20s were, so suck on it neckbeard :lulz: Sorta, before DnD became DnD and was hero level control of units in a wargame.

The ability thing really bugs me. and interestingly bugs some people playtesting DnDnext too, among other people. Old School Hack and Redbox Hack, which are highly derivative of DnD, have your modifier as your ability score.

I disagree that the multitude of defensive scores and rolls makes sense. And it does add to making a new player spend more time deciphering the sheet than playing the game. There is a big slowdown when it's time for my wife to roll the dice, and she's been gaming for about a year now, in the same system. And  my wife is much smarter than I am.

Cainad (dec.)

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First of all, 2d6 was used for DnD before d20s were, so suck on it neckbeard :lulz: Sorta, before DnD became DnD and was hero level control of units in a wargame.

I was not around for that period of time, so I am incapable of incorporating that fact into my NerdRage.



I guess when I say that different defensive stats make sense, it's from the following simulationist perspective:

-Normal AC for somebody wearing armor and able to move normally
-Flat-footed AC to represent being unable to move normally (by being caught unawares or actually unable to move)
-Touch AC to represent scenarios where the only thing that matters is your ability to dodge the threat (i.e. Lightning Bolt)
-Reflex Save covers things that are not "attacks." It wouldn't make any sense to use AC, or any other stat that factors in a bonus from wearing armor, to avoid falling into a pit trap (But it might make sense to scrap saving throws and lump that sort of thing into a Dexterity check).

It's a rabbit hole that really has no end. There's always a potential justification for this-or-that rule to simulate some factor or variable, but it seems clear that D&D takes it to a level that can very easily impede game flow. I've also seen some very smart people take a long time to get comfortable with the zillions of numbers on their sheet. It's pretty clear that understanding the rules is much more about familiarity than about intelligence.

This is why I love me some Warrior, Rogue, and Mage, at least in theory. Still need to get an actual game off the fucking ground.

Don Coyote

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I've thought about how armor could in fact apply to saving your butt from magic, like a fireball. You ever watch Sleeping Beauty? I think it has a scene in which Prince Charming is defending himself from the dragon's breath with his shield, and I know I've seen it illustrated in other places.
OR
Magic being magical ignores your mundane armor for purposes of its attack, and there is precedence in 3.x with ray spells which are ranged touch attacks.
OR
Remove offensive, flashy magical spells from the game. I don't really recall Gandalf, or Merlin tossing fireballs around much. I don't Elric or Corwin tossed many around either. And now I have to go through and add a metric ton of pulp sword and sorcery to my reading list and catalog the use of magic by characters. (I was going to do it anyways)

As for things like avoiding falling into a pit, or resisting poison. I've been thinking about treating things like that as if the thing is attacking the player. Yes, that's right, I'm thinking about having a pit trap rolling an attack roll against a player.