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Title: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on February 27, 2011, 02:40:09 PM
After much down time I've gotten the gaming itch once again and have set about cobbling on my own system. Below is a link to the Googledoc that I'll update as I make progress. My prior trial run left me with a feeling that the mechanics could be more streamlined, though much thought has yielded few results. I feel the math behind the dice has much untapped potential, and trying to extract that potential without cumbersome math is proving challenging. It may be as simple as poor presentation on my part, possibly adding steps needlessly, so I've ripped out everything but the core skill check rule and will approach the interpreting of its result from the ad hoc rule set.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jYSIdP6lqggdYLTfjqU22ka5efXzXSToOXEHpcoygVY/edit?hl=en&authkey=CKj5q5QL (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jYSIdP6lqggdYLTfjqU22ka5efXzXSToOXEHpcoygVY/edit?hl=en&authkey=CKj5q5QL)



Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Paul Czege on February 28, 2011, 07:05:50 AM
Hey,

So, when you say "[m]iscellaneous modifiers can be added based on narration and setting specific powers, equipment, or subsystems," that's a factor in addition to STAT+SKILL+DICE?

You say "STATs can range from 1d2 to 1d12". What's the range on SKILLs?

Paul


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ar Kayon on February 28, 2011, 09:23:33 AM
What is the rationale behind using a step-die scheme for stats rather than a static number?


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: ssem on February 28, 2011, 09:34:53 AM
sorry if i offend anyone by commenting on the posts without actually taking a look at the game.
earthdawn, deadlands and alternity are games ive played that use different dice for stats and skills. perhaps you can take a look at them for ideas and such...

Jan the sidetracking buttinski


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on February 28, 2011, 11:54:00 AM
The miscellaneous modifiers can be a wide range of adjustments to the STAT+SKILL+DICE combo and will be a product of the ad hoc rules. it could be something like a straight +N to the roll for some sorta awesome item that helps you perform a task to 'omit SKILL' from the roll do to some narration in game. I figured some rules and modifiers won't fit in all types of play or settings, so coming up with different ones that are small and to the point would make hammering out a good system easier.

I tried STATs as a straight integer last go around (range of -2 to +3). It worked, but it felt...stale. In that iteration you rolled 3d6 for DICE then add the value of SKILL and STAT. With stepped dice, a character can do just as poorly with a high stat, as another character could with a low stat, which i feel is realistic. A higher STAT now can generate +2 more on a roll per step rather than +1 with an integer, but the average roll is still going to be +1 over the next step for a large number group. Also, with making the STAT a die i go from adding 5 numbers (3 DICE 1 SKILL and 1 STAT) to 4 numbers (2 DICE 1 SKILL and 1 STAT) which tiddies things up a bit.
Also with the fumble mechanic, lower STATs = more fumbles than higher STATs, so high STATs can insulate you to a certain extent from really bad outcomes. It also makes dumping one of the STATs to min max more problematic since you will then be more likely to really screw up.
Lots of aspects i feel mimic reality better through a change that requires less math.

Also, skill range will most likely go from 0 to 10. If you think of an 'easy' task as something an unskilled average joe has  50% chance of success, then the easy DC would be 10. 50% of the time when you roll 3d6 you get an 11 or higher. I figure the exact numbers will be easier to tweek after i get some more rules


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ar Kayon on March 04, 2011, 03:17:12 PM
To clarify, it seems peculiar that Mr. Olympia could roll the same strength check as a 9 year old girl.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 04, 2011, 08:11:11 PM
You're touching an example of different magnitudes going head to head, which is a problem I'm working on. The example of a child and an adult is little different than that of a human and, say, an Ogre that might crop up in a fantasy setting. It could be a very weak Ogre as far as Ogres (d4) but still overpower a human physically with no contest.
I don't have a good solution at this time for how to bridge this gap.  The best solution I have is a tiering mechanism, so stats in the same tier can be used against each other, but anytime two different tiers are opposed the higher wins. I don't like that idea but it gets many things settled very quickly. It also has the benefit of keeping the dice range and numbers used small.

A more proper comparison would be Mr Olympia vs Couchpotato in test of physical ability, but that would largely imply how skilled they are in any given challenge. The point being that Mr. Olympia is strong not just because he has a d12 stat, but because he also has a large Athletic skill and possibly other adjustments based on what rules I have yet to cook up. Having a higher stat in this game isn't meant to be the same as having a higher stat in STR or DEX like in many games that follow the stat/skill combo.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ari Black on March 05, 2011, 04:44:08 AM
You might consider a different approach. You set the standard DC for all task, something high enough to always be challenging but low enough that it's still possible. In your system all rolls are 2d6 + STAT(1d2 - 1d12) + SKILL. My suggestion is that SKILL plays a different role in your mechanic so the new roll would be 2d6 + STAT(1d2 - 1d12). The average roll on 2d6 is 7, so let's say the standard DC is 9. This will make rolls for the 1d2 STATs pretty hard, but that seems to be the point.

Now, instead of SKILL being a modifier, it actually represents different tiers of DC. So you have multiple tiers in a SKILL that show different levels of DC for different tasks. If you're not "trained" in the skill, you're going to be rolling the standard DC with your whichever DICE+STAT combination is deemed appropriate. This means that rolls now look like this (from your doc):

Untrained challenges
SKILL+DICE vs STANDARD-DC

Trained challenges
SKILL+DICE vs STAT-DC

Now I have to address dynamic, and by this I think you mean opposed, challenges. For this, I suggest that both participants roll as if they were making a normal challenge (trained/untrained) and compare not the values but the fail/succeed. So, for the example of Weak Ogre (BODY 1d4) vs. Strong Warrior (BODY 1d8), the Ogre could have a SKILL "Bashing humans into paste with my big club" at the lowest possible DC tier. If the Warrior succeeds and the Ogre doesn't, then the Warrior does damage or whatever the winning result is. If the Ogre succeeds and the Warrior does, then the Warrior is pate or what have you. You will get situations where they both win, causing a stalemate, and that happens in challenges, but someone will prevail.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 05, 2011, 09:12:08 AM
Quote
Untrained challenges
SKILL+DICE vs STANDARD-DC

Trained challenges
SKILL+DICE vs STAT-DC

Did you write that down proper? I thought the idea was STATs + DICE vs a DC modified by SKILL.
Lets have a numerical example so i can wrap my head around this better. Currently an easy DC is 10 so an average guy doing something with no prior experience is 1d6+2d6+0 vs 10. Same guy doing something he is very skilled in (we'll say a skill of 5) doing an easy task (DC 10) would now be 1d6+2d6+5 vs 10
The probability for success for both scenarios is 50% and 95.37% respectively.
For reference a DC of 10 has the following probability of success for straight STAT rolls
1d2- 22.22%
1d4- 36.11%
1d6- 50%
1d8- 61.11%
1d10- 68.89%
1d12- 74.07%

How would your idea effect the rolls numerically?


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ari Black on March 05, 2011, 09:57:22 AM
Quote
Untrained challenges
SKILL+DICE vs STANDARD-DC

Trained challenges
SKILL+DICE vs STAT-DC

Did you write that down proper? I thought the idea was STATs + DICE vs a DC modified by SKILL.
Lets have a numerical example so i can wrap my head around this better. Currently an easy DC is 10 so an average guy doing something with no prior experience is 1d6+2d6+0 vs 10. Same guy doing something he is very skilled in (we'll say a skill of 5) doing an easy task (DC 10) would now be 1d6+2d6+5 vs 10
The probability for success for both scenarios is 50% and 95.37% respectively.
For reference a DC of 10 has the following probability of success for straight STAT rolls
1d2- 22.22%
1d4- 36.11%
1d6- 50%
1d8- 61.11%
1d10- 68.89%
1d12- 74.07%

How would your idea effect the rolls numerically?

You're absolutely right, I wrote that wrong. It should have been STAT+DICE vs STANDARD-DC and STAT+DICE vs SKILL-DC. So the way it would work in your scenario is:

The standard DC would be 9. I'm assuming a meet-or-beat system here. So, let's use an average guy with a Body stat of 1d2(I'd call that average). So the guy doing something that was Body based (let's say boxing) would have the following roll:

STAT(1d2) + DICE(2d6) vs DC(9) = That's 50% chance of a success (I'm using http://anydice.com/ because I'm terrible at probability)

Take a similar guy with a Body (1d2) but who's been trained in boxing would have this roll:

STAT(1d2) + DICE(2d6) vs DC(7) = That's about a 78% chance of success.

If you had an actual boxing match, the untrained guy would still have 50/50 odds of landing a punch, and the trained guy would still have a 22% chance of missing, but they'd be aligned based on their skill level.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 05, 2011, 10:35:50 PM
I fail to see how that differs mathematically from what i had before. If i'm reading you correctly, you are suggesting I have the SKILL subtract from the DC. That would be no different than adding it to the dice rolled. I do see how having both character roll against a static DC rather than each others own roll could be beneficial, but I would have to play around some with the numbers to see how well it works.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ari Black on March 06, 2011, 03:46:49 AM
I fail to see how that differs mathematically from what i had before. If i'm reading you correctly, you are suggesting I have the SKILL subtract from the DC. That would be no different than adding it to the dice rolled. I do see how having both character roll against a static DC rather than each others own roll could be beneficial, but I would have to play around some with the numbers to see how well it works.

Besides bringing the standard DC down by 1 initially, it doesn't differ mathematically at all. Psychologically, however, it differs quite a bit. The less work each roll is, the less imposing using a system becomes. As well, since the players will be able to see the DC they're rolling against dropping, it could encourage them to embody the confidence of someone who is trained in that skill in their roleplay.

The psychological impact of a mechanic is important to play experience. For example, I've found that, even though the odds are very close, players respond more calmly to failures of rolls in the Storyteller multi D10 system as compared to D&D's single D20. Is this a rational response, not really. But they seem to be able to more easily accept a failure with a roll of multiple dice than they can a failure of a single die roll.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 06, 2011, 10:04:58 AM
Noted. This presentation also lends itself to much more 'behind the shield' kinda work, where the GM just spits out the pass/fail results.

Still have the problem of different magnitudes going against each other. What is irksome is the problem only arises during certain challenges. Back to that ogre/human example, a very capable fighter could go toe to toe with the Ogre and rely on being quicker to avoid being overwhelmed by the ogre's greater size and strength. So just saying 'all checks made with the BODY STAT are auto fail' ain't gona cut it. A good point for those systems that break up physical characteristics into multiple stats.
It boils down to having front end rules, something that modifies the stats, or back end rules, like 'traits' or 'attributes' to set up some guide lines.
I think front end would be better, as different magnitudes of stats happen all the time in fantasy and scifi settings. Hell, even mundane settings have large beast that can be brought into play that would generate this same confusion.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ari Black on March 06, 2011, 11:13:24 AM
It boils down to having front end rules, something that modifies the stats, or back end rules, like 'traits' or 'attributes' to set up some guide lines.
I think front end would be better, as different magnitudes of stats happen all the time in fantasy and scifi settings. Hell, even mundane settings have large beast that can be brought into play that would generate this same confusion.

I'm still a little confused about this "different magnitudes" situation. Can you give me an example with the scenario and rolls so I can try to see the problem better?


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 06, 2011, 02:03:54 PM
That's the thing. It's hard to express it in rolls!

Lets say you got Batman and Superman arm-wrestling. Batman is ment to be the ultimate human an could be represnted with solid 1d12 STATs and plenty of skill points, but there isn't really a contest in this situation as Superman by default is on a completely different level than Batman in terms of physical ability. Trying to apply the current structure would result in either some very large dice for Superman's Stats, multiple dice, or very very high SKILL numbers. None of that is very satisfying in my opinion.
The current rules can work for either character Batman or Superman, since the numerical values can mean different things (e.g. Batman tries to pick up a large badguy and throw him, Superman tries to Pick up a train and throw it. Both could be defined as DC 10 respectively) but it's when it has to function for both of them that there is trouble.

Body is the most susceptible to this kind of problem, as Mind and Spirit are hard to define and pin down with numbers anyways.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: Ari Black on March 06, 2011, 04:39:22 PM
That's the thing. It's hard to express it in rolls!

Lets say you got Batman and Superman arm-wrestling. Batman is ment to be the ultimate human an could be represnted with solid 1d12 STATs and plenty of skill points, but there isn't really a contest in this situation as Superman by default is on a completely different level than Batman in terms of physical ability. Trying to apply the current structure would result in either some very large dice for Superman's Stats, multiple dice, or very very high SKILL numbers. None of that is very satisfying in my opinion.
The current rules can work for either character Batman or Superman, since the numerical values can mean different things (e.g. Batman tries to pick up a large badguy and throw him, Superman tries to Pick up a train and throw it. Both could be defined as DC 10 respectively) but it's when it has to function for both of them that there is trouble.

Body is the most susceptible to this kind of problem, as Mind and Spirit are hard to define and pin down with numbers anyways.

Ah ha! Now I understand. One suggestion I might make to address this is that, when doing these opposed rolls, you give each participant a number of successes that's required before they've "actually" succeeded. So in the arm-wrestling between Batman and Superman, Batman would need four successes and Superman would need 2 or even 1. Superman will be more likely to succeed, but Batman still has something of a chance. This works with my previous suggestion about how to handle these types of challenges but requires the GM to "scale" the challenge on the fly.

The other idea is to ignore my original suggestions and use your original model. What I think you were worried about with that was that there was still a chance that, say, Batman could actually win out in the end. I'm not trying to start an argument about who would win at arm-wrestling (Psst... It's Superman) but if the reality of the situation is that there's really no chance for one of the participants to succeed, there really shouldn't be a challenge in the first place. Instead, the situation should be handled through narrative. Rolls, in my opinion, should only be used when there's a chance to succeed or a chance to fail. It should be the GM's discretion to say something like "Superman smiles are Batman's bravado, but flies off to deal with something that's actually worth his time."



Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 06, 2011, 05:20:23 PM
It's easy to shrug off the batman/superman example with narrative as the difference is so extreme. My problem is my mechanics are built around looking at a population as a whole, then assigning numbers to represent how they fair in comparison to other individuals in that rather homogeneous population. My mechanics are not well suited for taking different groups that have different standards and throwing them together.
I like my mechanics, as much of my gaming is geared toward low fantasy settings, and the mechanics I think will work well for that. You use the system as-is to play an over the top D&D setting and it's going to not perform as well as I would desire.

There was a system some friends of mine where playing with that dealt with this issue. Had various characters that where the offspring of Gods so they had some powers that were well above natural, while other aspects were very human. ...Scion? was that it...


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: contracycle on March 06, 2011, 07:12:29 PM
Conspiracy X, first edition, had an interesting take on the magntiude problem.  The ability score ranges were very compressed, 1-5 for humans, and when stronger went up against weaker it didn't resolve itself purely in terms of success, but also in terms of effect.  Roughly, a superior value would automatically succeed agianst an inferior value, and then make an additional roll to increase the effect.  The inferior value could also make a roll to decrease the effect, but with a rather lower probability.  This results in a sort of matrix; most of the time, the superior value succeeds, and sometimes it succeeds double-plus good.

To apply this to your scenario above, Superman automatically wins the arm-wrestling contest, that is a given.  If Superman wins his roll to step up the effects, and Batman fails his roll to step them down, Superman wins overwhelmingly and immediately.  But if Superman's step-up test failed, and Batmans step-down test succeeded, Superman would only just win, after a struggle.  This stuff only applied when the value were within a certain range of each other, though, which in the case of humans was most of the time.  If they were heavily mismatched, the step up rolls would be automatic as well, and the step down rolls automatically fail, which produces the appropriate overkill effect.  D&D-esque fantasy already has something which could be exploited in this way, the fact that humaniods carry size ratings - halflings, giants etc.  So all you'd need to do would be to attach a scale value to each creature and then carry on as above.

The D6 system (WEG Star Wars) also some scale value, which work mostly be restricting maximum roll values.  In this case, an inferior scale contesting a larger scale would have it's dice capped at 4 or 5, so regardless of how well it rolled, the roll total would be restricted.  Unfortunately the assignment of scales was a bit arbitrary, and the thing become sometimes tricky to apply, but it was more or less succesful in matching snowspeeders versus AT-AT's etc.  It also worked both ways, so that in this sort of example, the AT-AT, being large, had its attack roll capped against the snowspeeders, while the snowspeeders had their damage rolls capped against the AT-AT's.


Title: Re: Simple System rework
Post by: horomancer on March 06, 2011, 10:50:38 PM
That auto pass matrix thing sounds like it might be very applicable for my current mechanics.  It would also dovetail neatly to Ari's proposition that all rolls are vs. a static DC rather than vs. the opponent's roll directly.
I could work a frontend tier system with 0 being the human standard and I, II and so on being super human and -I, -II be sub-human (animal intellegence, small humanoid strength)
Maybe have the dice grades repeat themselves? Say a super strong human, Hurculian in nature, would have a I d2 BODY instead of a d12 as the next step in physical ability. I would need to have some alterations to the fumble rules, as it would mess with the fumble %, but that shouldn't be to drastic.

I feel I'm kinda loosing sight though on my original concept of STATs and turning them into simplified versions of d20 stats. I didn't want them to be auto success, but maybe there isn't much avoiding it.

Played with some numbers and it looks like going from d10 to d2+4 makes for a very smooth transition in the probability % for our DC of 10
the down side is the maximum value achieved with d2+4 would only be 18, while d10 could go as high as 24.

It's a good Idea, I'll just need to play with the numbers more to figure it out