Simple System rework

Started by horomancer, February 27, 2011, 10:40:09 PM

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Ari Black

Quote from: horomancer on March 06, 2011, 10:03:54 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.

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."


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...


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.

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci


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