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Arcana Victoriana: Still not happy with the change.

I'm really missing the 3-dice system. I trashed the idea after I was told the dice system was too dice-y. In other words, the numbers swung too much. I don't know if I'll ever go back to fix it. "Real" wargamers want hard numbers. They don't want to leave attacks to chance even if the dice allocated are based on a stat.

I've since been working on the d12 system and I'm running into options and having to choose 1 route to take.
Attacker gets X dice. He needs to roll Y Number or higher to successfully hit/damage.
Defender gets X dice. He needs to roll Y Number or higher to successfully defend/reduce damage.

1a) Opposing Rolls. Attack Successes X - Defense Successes Y = Z damage.
1b) Single Roll. Attack Success X - Static Defense Number Y = Z damage.
2a) Opposing Rolls. More Successes than Defenses = Fixed damage from attacking weapon.
2b) Single Roll. More Successes than Static Defense Number = Fixed damage from attacking weapon.

The basic question is Fixed/Variable Damage and/or Fixed/Variable Defense Number?

Right now, I'm working with 1a. It's quick, easy, and simple to add up. I've been writing up more and more characters for the module, but if I'm writing them up for a system which is disliked by the majority of the public, I'll have to rewrite everything AGAIN.


It's a trade off. Single die

It's a trade off.

Single die = flatter probabilities with more upsets.
Multiple dice added or subtracted = bell curve probabilities. Slower play, but more sensible results.

Fixed numbers = faster play. Everything else being equal, faster = more fun.
Rolled defense = more sense of involvement/control for the defending player. Comes at the cost of play speed, and the sense of increased control is actually an illusion unless the player has decisions that allow them to manipulate the roll. More extreme upsets possible, when the attacker rolls high damage and the defender rolls bad defense.

Putting it all together:

1a) This is the same system as World Of Darkness RPGs. You can get some fluky rolls where someone does suddenly more damage than they expected, but the probabilities are pretty rational the other 98% of the time.

1b) Only attacker rolls, with constant defense: This will be faster. It will also make it possible to have a defense that some weapons can't get through. If you want to make sure that a sufficiently lucky roll can always get through, add a re-roll rule. (i.e. "For every 11 or 12 rolled, add an extra die to the roll.")

2a) So this is like 1a, but you're trading away the possibility of critically good hits (and the drama they bring) for the speed of skipping a math step.

2b) The most simplified of all your options, this will naturally be the fastest but give the fewest chances for upsets and the drama they bring.

To my thinking, the big questions that should be deciding this are:

1) How fast do you want combat to run? The more you simplify, the faster it runs, but at the cost of dramatic upsets happening in the edge cases and less detail on the simulation.

2) How many units are in a fight? The more things you're rolling for, the simpler you need each one to be to get through a combat at a brisk pace.

3) The less simple you make things, the more hooks you give yourself to hang plot and accurate simulation off of, though the more attention you have to pay to how you do it to get each of those things right.

For comparison:

In Warhammer, you roll a single die to hit. Every die that hits you pick up and roll again to see if the weapon's power overcomes the defender's toughness. Every one that does might still take a third roll to penetrate armor/cover. A single unit shooting a single opponent has very chunky probabilities that make little sense. However, you can resolve an entire squad of shots in three handfuls of dice, quickly, and on that scale the probabilities start to make sense.

Compare versus:

In WarMachine, you're summing two dice with a stat bonus against a static defense number to see if you hit, and again versus an armor number to see how much force from the hit got through. This takes longer than one die for each, but the results make more sense at every step: If you're very skilled attacking an easy target, you can still miss, but only on an extreme fluke. If you're very weak, attacking a heavily armored target, you will very rarely roll high enough to overcome its toughness, and even then only for a few points of damage. The cost of this additional granularity of simulation is slower play.

Warhammer is tuned to let you play massive armies, while WarMachine is tuned to make playing with just a handful of units interesting. Both games finish in a few hours. Similarly, in Warhammer you have very coarse decisions to make with each squad: How does the entire squad move. Do they all fire? While in WarMachine you only have a few troops, but you take closer control of each one. In WarMachine, you can decide for a single unit to headlock, body-slam, or throw another unit. That level of detail in Warhammer would slow the game down to a crawl, as you made decisions for each of a hundred soldiers.

So yeah. What's your scale, how fast do you want things to run, and what's your optimal balance of simulation vs. speed of play?

Quick Play

First of all, thank you for that in-depth response.

1) How fast do you want combat to run? Faster than Warmachine. I'm told that Steamroller events limit the time you have to take your army's turn. I don't want to be that fast. 15mins a turn, maybe? With the opponent making Defense Rolls, it let's the opponent become more involved and turns don't feel like forever.

2) How many units are in a fight? 10-15. Skirmish level. "Solomachine" Almost all the characters are Solo (Infinity). Some models are a duo. Play-style is "My Model, Your Model" (Heroclix, thought Heroclix does 2 models/2 models). This speeds up gameplay as well.

3) The options I've laid before myself are the compromises for Simulation unless something "better" comes along. Fate Coins, Abilities, and additional rules will allow for plot and fluff. I've played 2 games using only 4 models and play felt quick and smooth.

Looking back, I'm going to try to make time to re-rewrite my 3-dice system with Fixed Defense but defense is still added from 3 stats. Con 2 + Armor 2 + Skill 2 = 6 Defense. Anything over that deals that much damage (as an example). Before, both players rolled which made things swing heavily. I feel this will fix that problem.

even odds dice

Here is how to make dice with even odds for any number. Use one regular d6 dice and If a high number of 12 is what you're shooting for, add a dice that has 0 (zero) on three sides and 6 on three sides.
If you want a three dice option, ie, 1-18, you can get that with just two dice. Again use a d6 then add a d6 that has zero on two sides, #6 on two sides and #12 on two sides.
Now the 0,6,12 dice will either come up 0, in which case you have even odds the regular dice will come up between 1-6. Or the 0,6,12 dice will roll 6 so with the regular dice you will will end with 7-12. Or the odd dice will roll 12, and with the d6 you will end up with 13-18, with even odds for any of those numbers.
If you want higher numbers with even odds, I can get you into the millions using just 7, six sided dice.

That's a really cool concept!

That's a really cool concept! Unfortunately, with the 3-dice system, it uses all ranges of polyhedral: d4, d6, d8, etc. I think I should call it the 3-Skill Dice system as to avoid confusion.

I wasn't really shooting for a high number of 12, I just want to use 12-sided dice. I see the concept though on how it works. Equal chances for failure, normal, and high damage attacks kind of worries me though.

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blog | by Dr. Radut