Skip to main content

Ars Arcana Blog: Split Die Pools / Multiple Actions



Split Die Pools / Multiple Actions
Travis Joseph Rodgers

The Dungeon Chatter system uses a d20 base roll with a modifier of XD6. So a roll at "minus 3" means that you're rolling 1d20 minus 3d6. A "10" is always a success, a negative number is always a critical failure, and a 20 is always a critical success.

I've just introduced rules for split die pools. I've done it with the following three rules:

Rule 1. Skill Required
Your relevant skill must be above 0. A zero represents familiarity but lack of skill, so if you're only familiar with something, you can't try to trade off skill for speed/frequency.

Rule 2. Buy Frequency /Spend Skill
You can double your actions (from 1 to 2) by rolling each check at two less than your total pool.
So, if you have a +3, you can roll two +1 actions (+3 - 2 = +1).
If you have a +2, you can roll two +0 actions.
If you have a +1, you can roll two -1 actions.
You cannot roll two actions if you have below a +1 (see rule 1).

Rule 3. The Process is Iterative
So, if you have a +3, you can make two +1 rolls. But since for each +1 roll, you can make two -1 rolls, you could translate your +3 into:
a single +3 roll
one +1 roll and two -1 rolls
four -1 rolls

With those rules in mind, I started thinking about when it made sense to split your die pool. Would it always or never make sense?

Here's the breakdown:
One at +3 vs. two at +1
97% Success% 93%
3% Fail% 7%
48% Single Crit% 41%
0% Single Crit Fail% 0%
0% Two Success% 53%
0% Two Crit% 5%
A +3 roll gives an exceptionally good chance of success and a good shot at a critical. It's "safe" in that a check will never critically fail.

The two +1 rolls drop the success chance and the odds that the roll will result in a critical, but it opens up the possibility of two successes and a slim shot at two criticals.

The +3 is probably best for foes with lots of armor, while the +1 is probably best for multiple foes or foes with light armor. Confession: I really like this aspect of the system.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ars Arcana Blog 2.7: Creating a Character SPARK

Ars Arcana Blog: Bringing Your Character to Life with SPARK Travis J. Rodgers The Challenge(s) For the grizzled vet of RPGs, creating a character is often a struggle of too many options rather than not knowing where to start. The character concept comes easily to mind, either because there is a character the vet has been wanting to play or because vets often have served as GM as well as player for so long, character concepts seem to spring from an endless font. The challenge becomes determining which of the system options is the best way to make use of your character concept. Let’s call this the “How? Question” of character design. On the other hand, for the relative novice to Roleplaying, the challenge is two-fold. In addition, to the struggles of navigating a system’s options, the novice may not have, and may struggle to create, the character concept. Let’s call this new question the “What? Question” of character design. The SPARK In an episode of the Dungeon Chat

Ars Arcana Blog: Why No One Understands Alignment

Why No One Understands Alignment Travis J. Rodgers Alignment was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons as a character (NPC or PC) attribute. It wasn’t rolled for; it was typically selected, but sometimes a particular alignment was necessitated by the character’s race or class. But what is ostensibly a kind of “outlook” piece, cross-indexing a regard for law and chaos on one axis and good and evil on the other is at best a concept evolving across game versions. This fact would explain why long-time gamers, or at least gamers who have played multiple iterations of D&D, might view alignment differently from others. At worst, however, it’s essentially meaningless. There’s a middle path, which may be its original intent, one according to which alignment is both meaningful and quite objective – but then it’s extremely contentious. My considered view is that alignment is either meaningless or objective in a way that many players do not like (which is accurate is undertermined – the

Ars Arcana Blog 3-1: A Party Comes Together

A Party Comes Together: A Modal Approach to Group Dynamics Travis Joseph Rodgers Ars Arcana Blog Volume III, Number 1 Two of the central struggles associated with an RPG party - as opposed to the players or the game itself - are how to bring a diverse group of characters together in the first place and how to keep them sufficiently together in the long run to keep them a party. I draw out two distinct polaristic approaches that are especially difficult to make work for most groups: hard railroad and utter chaos. I draw out a third possibility, based on modal operators (what is possible, what is necessary, what is impossible). Hard Railroad Whatever railroading is in an RPG, there is a bad version of it. Eliminating player agency altogether seems also to eliminate the role of the player. This seems antithetical to the nature of an RPG (it's a ROLE PLAYING game, after all). At the same time, what amounts to railroading will depend upon what an agent wants to do. If an agent w