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General Forge Forums => Game Development => Topic started by: Student 20 on July 16, 2011, 11:29:45 AM

Title: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: Student 20 on July 16, 2011, 11:29:45 AM
Hello all - I'm new to the Forge Forums, and I hope to have a great time here. It's been years (about a decade, really) since I actively participated in any forum communities, but hopefully it's more or less like riding a bicycle. It is more or less like riding a bicycle, right?

In any case, I've been working on a system to go along with a campaign setting I started working on when I was 14 or so (I'm 36 now). The system itself is what I have a question about. I'm working out the details as I go, but it's a skill-based system where the skills are assigned numerical values (5, 8, and so on) along with Tiers of expertise (Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, Master, Grand Master). Skills are used for a lot of things, including determining Stats, but that's another topic entirely.

You add the Skill Value to a Stat to create the character's Competence value. This number can be compared to a difficulty, and if it equals or exceeds that difficulty, the character succeeds. When against another character, it works the same way, with the highest result winning. In the event of a tie, the character with the higher Tier of skill would win.

Alternately, the character can Reach. When you Reach, you take a penalty to your Competence, but you add a dice roll. The dice rolled, and the penalty, depends on the Tier of the Skill, as follows:
  • Novice Tier: -4/+1d6
  • Apprentice Tier: -5/+1d8
  • Journeyman Tier: -10/+2d10
  • Expert Tier: -15/+3d10
  • Master Tier: -5/+1d10, -10/+2d10, -15/+3d10, or -20/+4d10
  • Grand Master Tier: -5/+1d12, -10/+2d12, -15/+3d12, -20/+4d12, or -25/+5d12

There will really be no critical success/failure system; instead, there will be degrees of success and failure based on how close the results are to the target number.

My question is this: does this system seem workable? It seems feasible from a statistics standpoint, but I'm hardly an expert (I'm in the Journeyman tier with my Statistic skill :-P ). Is it simple enough, or should it be streamlined? Should I find a way to stick with a single dice type? Is this system at all original, or have I accidentally copied something someone else has already done? Any other suggestions or comments would certainly be welcome.

If it helps, the Skill score ranges for each Tier are:
  • Novice: +0
  • Apprentice: +1 to +5
  • Journeyman: +6 to +10
  • Expert: +11 to +15
  • Master: +16 to +25
  • Grand Master: +26 and higher
Stats may have any value from 0 on up, but a character's most used Stats will probably be about 10 to 20.

Any comments are welcome!

Title: Re: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: horomancer on July 17, 2011, 12:26:29 AM
Hello and welcome to the forums.

At a glance your skill system seems perfectly workable. It seems that most of the rolls are weighed so that the player has roughly a 64% chance of doing equal or better than the initial minus taken, with higher skilled characters virtually always coming out ahead when reaching.
It pretty much shuts out anyone doing anything as a novice (which may or may not be what you want) and masters will benefit from reaching to the max all the time. You're model will reward specialization, and the better someone is at a skill, the less reason not to reach when ever possible.

Is that what you want?

If so, is they an easier way to get the same statistics?

Not knowing anything else about your game, I can't venture any other models which might do the same job more economically. Since most of the rolls in the Apprentice to Master tier are at 64% bonus on reaching, why not use a more traditional Skill +dx and side step the tiers all together?

What do the tiers give you that makes them worth having?

Title: Re: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: Callan S. on July 17, 2011, 01:56:40 AM

I always find these questions (which get asked by alot of people) kind of like asking if rolling 2D6 in monopoly 'works'. Devoid of a greater context, how can anything 'work'? Does a hammer work? When the context is nails, yes. When the context is screws, no. When there is no context...wuh?

And possibly your going for 'endless campaign/goes until someone stops it' design, because that's what everybody does. Which cements that lack of greater context.

Anyway, that's my perspective. How does a campaign end with your game? The traditional 'until someone stops it' method?

Title: Re: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: Student 20 on July 17, 2011, 06:44:19 AM
Thanks for the replies!

Horormancer, To answer your question, the Tiers serve multiple purposes within the game. Where appropriate, they can be used as actual titles by characters in-game (for instance, a character with Jouneyman skill in blacksmithing might actually be a journeyman blacksmith), but that's a minor point.

The Tiers represent levels in a cost structure (character creation is CP based) - the higher the Tier, the higher the cost per level. The Tiers also break ties; I realize that ties between disparate tiers are going to be unlikely, but there it is. Tiers also fill other minor roles throughout the game.

Yes, I want an approximately 60 to 65% chance of Reaching giving you a better result. I wanted something different from the xdx+ bonus model. Honestly, I wanted something different for no better reason than wanting something different. I know how dumb that might sound, but there it is. There's more to it than that, of course. I was looking for a way to simulate the average, work-a-day kind of result. The kind of job people do when going to work. Even if you love your job, and are fantastic at it, you tend to perform at a given level. That's the Character's Competence. You only roll dice if you're "reaching" for more.

Callan S, Sorry about the lack of context. Yes, it's meant to be a "goes on until someone ends it" traditional style of game, because that's the style of game I normally play.

My thread title is even misleading; I know that it "works" in the sense that if people want to roll dice, they can use this system to do it, and that this system will generate results within a certain range. I was even pretty sure that the results were coming out within the range I wanted, or at least close to it.

I was actually wondering if the mechanic was simple enough for regular use in a game, and if there were any obvious holes in the basic design of the mechanic. I was also wondering if it was at all memorable and original. Most big-name games have a memorable dice mechanic, and it seems like a good and reasonable goal in the design of a game.

I would have posted a link to more info about the system, except the system currently resides almost solely in longhand on a legal pad.

Title: Re: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: Ar Kayon on July 17, 2011, 09:21:11 AM
I really like this method.  I might introduce some sort of exertion penalty from reaching so much (maybe you get tired or critically fail more often), especially in order to deter higher-tier characters from "gaming" it all the time.  Think about it this way: if you are being challenged by someone who's lesser in ability than you, you're going to be relaxed going into the task, right?  If I know I have a good chance of losing, or if the opponent is getting a one-up on me, that's probably when I'll start reaching.

Title: Re: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: Callan S. on July 17, 2011, 04:02:04 PM
When I play traditional games and I employ their dice mechanics, I'm generally actually kitbashing a game together as I play (one written in my head (and prone to losing the notes as a result)).

So for myself I've sort of taken to forgiving traditional designs enough that I try to kitbash something together - or I just don't play them at all.

So in terms of 'is it simple enough for regular use', I would answer that 'simple' doesn't cut it for regular use, in terms of myself atleast. I really have no interest in yet another game that I have to forgive and kitbash. Particularly when were at the design stage right now and can actually work out a complete game, as opposed to already published titles who's design stage is well behind them. Obviously this is a sample size of one I'm talking about, but it might be indicative of a bigger trend, who knows?

Do you have a blog you can note stuff about your game on? I think it's a forum requirement now to link to such stuff (Ron the forum owners basically trying to spread the designing, AFAICT).

Title: Re: Dice Mechanics - does this work?
Post by: Student 20 on July 18, 2011, 07:16:57 AM
I do have a blog where I talk about the game, setting, and so forth. Its not, you know, great...
Would be the place. Be gentle.