Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RPG Crafting #4 - But What Dice?

In our rules-lite fantasy RPG for beginners, Sam and and I have decided to KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid.

But how do you do that with dice? Aren't dice the lifeblood of RPGs?

As a gamer, it's hard to mentally break away from all of the dice RPGs traditionally use. Percentile dice and the D20 system are so universal. Plus, it's a lot of fun to swing 20D10 in a World of Darkness game or Oz: Dark and Terrible.

Ultimately, we decided to go with the humble six sided die. Why? Well, because everybody's got them. Monopoly, Risk, Yahtzee, and, heck, even Mouse Trap all use a D6. The rest of the dice are specialty tools - 99% of people have never heard of a D12 and have no idea where to get one. So if we want our game to be for new players we're going to have to make sure they can readily get the equipment needed to play.

To make it even EASIER we're going with a SINGLE six-sider to resolve everything. As a function of game design this is a bit of a challenge. To succeed, the character must roll under a target number. That essentially limits an action's chances of success to the following results, depending on what the target number is -

0 - 0% (For example, the chances of someone who doesn't know any magic casting the "Invisibility" spell)
1 -  17%
2 -  33%
3 -  50%
4 -  67%
5 -  83%
6 - 100% (This would be an auto-success)

While you don't want characters to have automatic successes very frequently you certainly don't want them missing 67% of the time because they have to roll a 1 or 2 to hit. That would put most target numbers in areas the character is proficient in around the 3, 4, and 5 range.

But what about character advancement? How can this system show that a character can improve over time, especially since it is so limited in range? We'll explore those questions in the next installment in this series.

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