Saturday, September 28, 2013
Strange Mechanics: Success And Effect In One Roll
An idea, since things seem to be popping in my head to distract me from the project I'm working on. I like zero-based dynamics, that is, games like Fate where the dice tend towards zero, and thus your character's base skill/competence, and go a little plus or minus. The flat d20 roll and ever-inflating bonuses just feels out of balance to me. So I had this idea and thought I'd share it.
Take 2 ten-sided dice, each of a different color. I'll use Green and Red for this illustration. You have a skill, could even just be your level. Roll the dice and add to your skill Green minus Red. So it will be a -9 to +9 bonus, that should tend towards 0. From your total, subtract a modifier for difficulty, say Easy 0, Hard -5, Incredible -10. You skill/base + roll - difficulty then makes a total. To determine your success, look at the following table:
1 or less Botch - you made things worse
2 - 5 Fail - you did not accomplish what you wanted
6 - 11 Partial - you sort of succeeded, but not completely
12 - 15 Success - you did what you wanted
16+ Extra - you got more than you wanted
Now, if you roll a Botch or Fail, take the highest of your two dice and lose that many points. So, taking combat as an example, lose that many HP. If you get a Success or Extra, take your highest die and inflict that many points on your opponent. If you get a Partial, if that die is odd go up to the next even number, then split the results between your cost and your effect on the opponent. If you get a Botch or Extra, the GM will describe how the situation gets worse or better.
Weapons could give a bonus to the effect number, and armor could lessen the cost number. Everything could get a form of HP, like you need so many points to influence a merchant vs so many for a guard. Maybe a good reputation could be "armor" or even a "weapon" adding to effect totals or reducing cost totals.
I've had in my head a desire to make as much of a one-roll system as possible. I'd like to keep modifiers low and the number of things to add/manipulate as few as possible. I'm not fond of this system because subtracting is more work than adding, granted not by a lot but still. I do kind of like it more than the "roll over target number" and even the "every point over is a point of effect." Just going over a number does not feel to me like a good measure of success, just effect, and while the two are related they kind of aren't as well. I don't know, now I'm babbling on paper (so to speak) - this is an odd idea, not sure if it's worth using or if I ever would try to use it, but there it is.