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How can I make skill checks more than just rolling a die?

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Blunder
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Joined: 09/25/2012

I'm looking at creating a narrative game smashed up with runebound for true overland adventuring.

I'd love my skill checks to be more than just dice rolls, as runebounds fights are protracted and drawn out and a bit of a theme disconnect.

Anyone got any ideas of how to marry theme with skill checks? My current ideas are as follows:

Dexterity check: A dex mini game of some sort (ideas welcome)

Perception check: A card with spot the difference? Dunno how you could do this on a single card?

Intelligence check: A card with an IQ test on it one of the "whats the next in the pattern" thing?

I'd love some other ideas, and think you could always offer a dice roll as an alternative to players (as I'd choose that over a dex game as i suck so bad at them).

Additionally how could you keep the components at a price manageable level whilst offering variety?

laperen
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Joined: 04/30/2013
As long as its card based,

As long as its card based, you can tweak the probabilities easily.

The perception check you proposed works really well with cards. Depending on the perception level, there can be lesser blanks in the search pile. Of course the down side is, there is a limit.

Not sure how the intelligence would work with an IQ test, and I don't think players would be willing to do a cartwheel or a split for the dexterity check.

But essentially, probability through cards may not be any less random than dice, but can FEEL less random than dice.

Its down to the experience you wish for the player to experience through the new interface.

Blunder
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Joined: 09/25/2012
I wasnt talking about

I wasnt talking about physical dexterity, more flicking a disk or something like that.

How do you imagine the perception working? I can forsee an image with things missing on a card, but what are they comparing the picture to...

I think the IQ test things match up with runes and the like, the pattern images in an IQ test is the sort of thing I was going for...

Inquisibot
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Mansions of Madness has a fun

Mansions of Madness has a fun little mini game which acts as an "intelligence" check of sorts. They have puzzles which are either A: unscramble these tiles and build the picture shown; or B: close the circuit (sort of like a pipe game).

All players can attempt these tests, however the amount of moves you are able to make to solve the puzzle depends on your characters intelligence stat. So fighters with 2 intelligence get 2 moves to make on the puzzle, often needing several turns to finish. Intelligence characters with 8 intelligence can usually finish the puzzle in one turn (as long as they know how to solve the puzzle).

There is an example of one of the many puzzles in this video at the 5 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8OQyVjU07A

And this is an example of one of the easier arrange the image puzzles, which you can probably use for perception checks. The puzzle starts at 2:40 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ3tR9JZGQ4

Despot9
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Joined: 07/26/2008
As a role player, I don't

As a role player, I don't like the idea of any of these ideas. I tend to play characters who have significantly different skill sets than myself. If my character is supposed to be really good at something but I am personally not good at a particular dexterity check then the character won't be as successful as they really should be. Likewise, if I happen to be very good at the Dex check it doesn't really matter if my character is supposed to be good at whatever is being checked because they will be by default because I am. This goes for the Perception and Intelligence checks purposed as well.

If you want to focus more on the story and less on the checks I would try using playing cards as results. Deal out cards to players before a conflict and tell them these are the results they will have during this conflict. Then they can pick and choose when the roll well and when they roll bad or average or whatever. They can only get new cards when they've used all their current cards. Or maybe if they do something that tells a good story will let them discard and draw a card?

laperen
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Joined: 04/30/2013
For perception, lets say the

Blunder wrote:
...

How do you imagine the perception working? I can forsee an image with things missing on a card, but what are they comparing the picture to...

For perception, lets say the situation is finding a switch, or trap, or loot, etc, we'll call this the objective

So there is a card representing objective, maybe there's a tick on the card

There's a second type of card which is basically a blank, maybe there's a cross on it.

So when a perception check is called, a pile made up of 1 objective card and some blank cards is made.

The perception level decides the number of blank cards in the pile. Maybe by default there are 10 blank cards. If your perception level is 4, 6 blank cards are put in the pile instead.

The player will shuffle and choose 1 card from the pile randomly. If the objective card was drawn, the perception check is a success. If the blank was drawn, then it fails

This can be tweaked in so many ways to fit the needs of the game, and doesn't even need to be restricted to perception.

...

And Despot9 pretty much sums up the next issue, does how you fulfill a check even matter, since role-play is more about story and interaction.

I'm imagining a LARPer wanting Gladiatorial Combat to the death because Rock-Paper-Scissors was too boring, as an exaggerated example of this topic

devaloki
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Blunder wrote:I'm looking at

Blunder wrote:
I'm looking at creating a narrative game smashed up with runebound for true overland adventuring.

I'd love my skill checks to be more than just dice rolls, as runebounds fights are protracted and drawn out and a bit of a theme disconnect.

Anyone got any ideas of how to marry theme with skill checks? My current ideas are as follows:

Dexterity check: A dex mini game of some sort (ideas welcome)

Perception check: A card with spot the difference? Dunno how you could do this on a single card?

Intelligence check: A card with an IQ test on it one of the "whats the next in the pattern" thing?

I'd love some other ideas, and think you could always offer a dice roll as an alternative to players (as I'd choose that over a dex game as i suck so bad at them).

Additionally how could you keep the components at a price manageable level whilst offering variety?

I really think it's a bad idea for you to implement systems like the ones you mentioned, because with tests in the game you're supposed to be testing the CHARACTER not the PLAYER themselves. And also the tests you mentioned can be mostly be learned and solved so the player will have eventually learn them and solve them all the time. It breaks the theme of the gameworld.

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
To be honest, I agree I'm not

To be honest, I agree I'm not fond of the idea of minigames for the exact same reasons. You limit the number of replays and risk balance by making it possible for the players to "Know" the answer.

I'd probably simply give the player more influence on the results. At the most basic, allow the player to "Exert Himself" before a roll to improve his chances. Every 1 Health he willingly spends, he gains a +1 value.

Or maybe have another player read the "Event Card" with the specific requirements of success. The acting player may spend cards or items while HOPING that he completes the requirements on the card.
While this would have the same memorization issues you could theoretically have multiple requirements for the same event.
For example, "Stranger Approaches" could have one card that requires Charisma to be given a treasure. But another "Stranger Approaches" that will damage a player if he isn't readied for combat.
A player COULD be prepare for both results, but he'd be spending extra resources. That may offset the issues.

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Thematic card resolution

Similar to previous posters, I prefer separating a character test from a player test because this allows me as a player to roleplay characters who are quite different to myself. If my character's puzzle solving ability is a reflection of my own puzzle solving ability then it limits the types of characters that I can roleplay.

However, some ideas for more thematic resolution mechanics than just dice rolling, where the result is still based on random chance. These assume that you have a deck of cards with different suits which can be ordered in a sequence (like a normal deck of playing cards, but you could create a unique deck).

[Note: All untested and completely unbalanced. It's just some ideas.]

Searching for things: Name a specific card (or cards, depending on the search difficulty). Draw cards equal to your Perception attribute to try to find the card(s).

Endurance (sprint, forced march, all-night-study): Draw 1 card per turn/minute/hour. Once you get a number of Spades cards equal to your Toughness attribute you collapse from exhaustion.

Opposed actions (e.g. melee combat, bartering): All parties draw cards equal to their skill level. Highest card wins. Level of success is shown by the number of cards you have that are higher than the highest opposing card.

Puzzle solving (e.g. lockpicking, research): Draw cards equal to skill level. Level of success is shown by the longest sequence of consecutive numbers.

These kinds of resolutions could be combined with allowing players to store cards in their hand (as story points, karma, fate, magic, whatever). Then players could try to keep useful cards in their hand, but what cards are most useful depends on the situation.

Random aside:
Dragonlance: Fifth Age used a card-based system. It's been many years since I played it, but IIRC there were 4 suits of cards, and your hand of cards was also your HP. You could play any card to resolve an action, but if it was not the correct suit for the situation (e.g. played a non-combat suit during combat) then you didn't get to draw a replacement card -- so effectively you took a damage/exhaustion.

Regards,
kos

Blunder
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Joined: 09/25/2012
Wow, I really appreciate the

Wow, I really appreciate the comments here.

I've gotta say Kos's idea seems a really elegant solution and does away with the traditional dice fest you have in these sort of games. Not only that but it would have relatively low downtime and would allow you to tailor skills and level ups around it as well.

I still love the puzzle aspects of MOM (which inspired this initially) but totally see what you guys mean by the restriction it imposes on the players.

Heraclitus
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Joined: 09/10/2013
another card solutions

I like kos's solutions, too. I've considered using something similar in one of my designs in progress.

If every card of a certain deck had a small randomizer number in one corner, the skill check could involve adding a player's skill level to the number on the top card of the deck, and seeing whether it passes the threshhold. If you also wanted an "effort" component, then (as kos suggested) you could add the skill level, the number on the top card, and the number on one card from the player's hand (to be discarded).

That approach isn't quite as thematic as the other suggestions, but it would resolve quickly and easily without requiring you to use dice or any other equipment that you're not already using.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
I don't like the idea of mini

I don't like the idea of mini games because it slow down the game way too much.

I also find that in adventure games, sometimes you only draw a card, something happens to you, make a check to survive and that's it. I think the problem is the lack of decision involved in the whole process.

There could be various ways to solve this:

A- Give a choice. Make each event or exploration give a choice between 2 different check for 2 different outcome. You could even hide the check from the players so that he cannot predict which one he has better odds.

B- Use cards instead of dice. Use cards with stats and value. Player will be allowed to keep in their hand stronger cards for later, but if they have no card, they fail the check. So they must now decide when or not to fail a check by keeping or spending the right card. You could also allow cards to stack (spend 2 cards of the same stats to combine value together). So that weaker characters could still use certain cards.

C- My dungeon quest variant example: In one of my DQ variant, if you fail a roll you get a determination token. But you can spend X token to increase your die value by X to succeed the roll. So you give the player a choice. If I really need to pass this test, then I'll flush some tokens, but if failure is not much a problem, I could fail the test and gain a token that I could use on a later turn. So in that case, you make the player evaluate the importance of the failling/succedding the test.

Of course, you could combine many ideas above, and there could be many other variant possible to the suggestion above.

I think I should start using some of the ideas in my own games.

devaloki
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Joined: 01/15/2014
If you want to do adventure

If you want to do adventure type of stuff, check out the rules for "Castaways." I played that one and it had an interesting system where you had 3 decks. One for each area of the island you explore. When you encounter some cards they give you a choice and depending on your choice you add new cards to the later decks. So you influence what appears later as you adventure on the island. It was pretty cool
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/71906/castaways

ErnstFourie
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Joined: 06/18/2014
Maybe for perception you

Maybe for perception you could do that tile test you also get on IQ tests, with a gap in a shape, with four possible shapes to fill the gap(rotated to different degrees obviously, to not make it too easy).

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