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Custom die combat resolution

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/01/2008

Ok, I tried the custom die thing from a previous post.

It worked nice and quick as planned. However, an unexpected problem arose.

Even though the system had all the nuaince and odds distribution I wanted, it wasn't very satisfying.

The reason? Well, you were manuevering your various forces and then there is a confrontation, and you roll the appropriate die.... and that's it. It didn't feel much like the units were fighting and earning their victories. It was very anti-climactic.
Imagine that, it was too streamlined.

So, I'm going back to the idea that each unit rolls to score a hit on the opposing unit. Rolls are considered to be simultasneous.

This will simplify my custom die, and eliminate the bonus die entirely.
Using custome die in the first place has a number of benefits:
1) Quicker resoultion
2) Less math
3) A variety of different odds without charts or formulas

While the combat system itself provides:
1) Not specific to any one genere
2) Can be used with a single combat score (more can be added)
3) Higher scores give a unit a better chance to do damage AND a better chance to survive combat.

The biggest downside is that, well, it uses custom dice.
However, you could use the same dice in different games that use the system.

Now for the gutts.
When a unit engages another unit, you compare their combat scores.
If there are any terrain, leadership, etc. or any other modifiers appropriate to your game, you would figure them in now.
Then you find the difference between the two units. This will determine which die will be rolled.
The unit with the lesser score will use the [-] symbol, and the stronger unit will use the [+] symbol when reading the dice. (If they are even, then they use the same symbol)

The die are arranged so that as the score difference increases, the color of the die moves from yellow to orange to red to purple. Within a color, the number of die faces increases.

These two things help make die identification quicker. Though each die also has the score it represents also printed on each face.

For example, a battle with a 4 vs. 6 would look like this:
That's a difference of 2, so the die with the 2s on it will be used. It happens to be an orange d8.
Both units will roll to hit on this die. However, the stronger unit is looking to roll a [+], while the weaker unit is looking to roll a [-].
On this die there are four [+], two [-], and two blank sides.
This gives the stronger unit a 50% chance to hit, while giving the weaker unit a 25% chance to hit.

Here is the break down to the various dice.

<br />
                Hit chance<br />
#  die  color   +  -     % difference<br />
0   d6  Yellow  33 33    0<br />
1  d10  Yellow  40 30    10<br />
2   d8  Orange  50 25    25<br />
3  d10  Orange  60 20    40<br />
4  d12  Orange  67 17    50<br />
5   d8  Red     75 13    62<br />
6  d10  Red     80 10    70<br />
7  d12  Red     83  8    75<br />
8+ d20  Purple  90  5    85<br />

As you can see, they cover a broad range.
The differences between different score levels isn't perfectly even, but I think it is an acceptable sacrifice for speed.

Now, what do you guys think?

Oh, I should mention, the d20 can't really be used for the most part. The faces are too small. However, as the final die, and the only d20, I can make an exception as I don't have to number it.
If there were more, or if they appeared in the middle of the sequence, I think they would cause confusion.

Joined: 12/01/2008
Custom die combat resolution

Well, I was hoping someone could comment here.

Either this doesn't interest anyone, or perhaps it's hard to comment on without trying it?
Or, it's so good as to merit no discussion, or it's so bad as to merrit no discussion.

I'd particulary like to hear from people if they think it's a bad idea.

It's important for me to hear potential pitfalls, or other issues people had who may have tried similar things.

Jpwoo's picture
Joined: 03/26/2009
Custom die combat resolution

Even though the system had all the nuaince and odds distribution I wanted, it wasn't very satisfying.

A friend of mine who has made a very good little RPG has a theory that I can agree with.

"People like to roll against one another."

Given two systems with identical odds. One where the attacker rolls a single die, and another where an attacker and defender both roll a die, I think that the system where people roll against will come off as being more fun. It is the little lizard brain that likes the direct conflict. Intellectually we may know that there is no difference, but some part of us knows that we "rolled better."

I think that the new system looks interesting and like it will work out well. Hard to tell without playtesting it.

Joined: 10/16/2008
Seems pretty good to me.

It seems like you've got a nice little system set up. The big problem I have with opposed rolls has been how much they slow games down. If the opposed rolls are actually "simultaneous attacks", this problem is pretty much eliminated.

If you're putting the die "numbers" on the blank faces, it'll be fairly easy to pick the proper dice. For example, the yellow d6 could have a "0" on it's blank faces

Another idea (that's not compatible with my first) would be to decreasethe number of custom dice you'll be creating. Instead of having +'s and -'s, you could have "+" and a number. So, for example a d8 could have "+5"s, "+2"s, "-5"s, and "-2"s. Never mind, that would get confusing.

Joined: 12/01/2008
Re: Seems pretty good to me.

There are indeed numbers on the faces of the dice.
Typicaly, there is a small number, and then either a black circle with a [+] or a white circle with a [-]. Or it is blank (just the number)

The only exception is the d20 which doesn't have room for the number. However, as mentioned above, I think I can get away with this as it's the only d20 and at the end of the odds spectrum.

OrlandoPat wrote:
Another idea (that's not compatible with my first) would be to decreasethe number of custom dice you'll be creating. Instead of having +'s and -'s, you could have "+" and a number. So, for example a d8 could have "+5"s, "+2"s, "-5"s, and "-2"s. Never mind, that would get confusing.

Hmmm. I'm not sure what you mean here.
Oh, you mean combine like-sided dice?

Yeah, I'm tempted to say that would muddy the waters.
The symbols would get smaller and more complicated, and the color coding scheme would be out.

Interestingly, an earlier attempt at this was to section off the faces of a d6. The idea was that you would look at the correct section, depending on the score difference, and ignore the others.
It was attractive because I'd only need the one custom die, and a "bonus" die. But it would require very small graphics, and I suspect that it would be confusing to try and pick out the relavant area with any particular roll. Too much noise to signal.

Still, it's something to try I suppose.

Joined: 10/16/2008
I like not adding complexity to the dice

I agree, as a gamer, I'd prefer to have the dice separate. The color-coding seems like it would work well, and adding more information on each face will just confuse things. The only reason I was looking at reducing the number of custom dice is to reduce the manufacturing cost.

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