Tuesday 21 August 2018

#RPGaDay2018: Day 21 - Which dice mechanic appeals to you?

purple #rpgaday2018 graphic

ALL OF THE DICE! They're mine! Mine! Mwahahahah!


By which I mean, dice mechanics that allow me to satisfy my inner magpie and give me an excuse to own more dice. It's undeniably part of why I like White Wolf and Shadowrun.

pile of d10's (not my full collection, just the ones currently in use for White Wolf games)
D10's! Nearly enough...

I don't remember the details of the Shadowrun system well, but I remember the exploding dice. My character had had her mono-filament whip taken from her, and couldn't afford a new one (or possibly it happened while we were trapped in the Arcology so there was no access to buy one). We killed someone, and I immediately asked whether he had a mono-whip. I think maybe I'd asked this often enough to have annoyed the GM slightly, because this time he responded "yeah, sure. Target number 36." I reached 40. It was one of those moments where he was a little annoyed I'd got my preferred weapon back, but entertained and impressed at the same time, and I've never forgotten the excitement of reaching such a high number on a d6.

I like systems where botching doesn't happen a set statistical amount of the time: it annoys me in D20 that now matter how good you are, you will fail 5% of the time. Savage Worlds gives you a wild die to roll as well as your skill die, and the chance of failing on your skill die reduces as you improve because you increase the size of that die - and you need a failure (a 1) on both the skill die and the wild die before you get a critical failure ("which is when I get to unleash funnies" says Husbit, grinning manically). And White Wolf, where 1's can cancel out successes, and it's only when the 1's outnumber the successes you have real problems (although in Exalted I think it's only when there are no successes that 1's matter, andI can't remember for Aberrant). Which means you're more likely to screw up when you're inexperienced than when you're experienced, but you can screw up far more epically later, because that experience comes in the form of more dice to roll. If you're only rolling a couple of dice, you physically can't screw up as badly as you can when you're rolling 10. That feels satisfying, somehow.

Oh, there was one D20 mechanic I came across once I liked! A friend at uni wanted to run a game for some other friends of his who'd never played an RPG before, and asked me to play as well to help them out. It was Space Munchkin, and I played a force sensitive cat person (curiosity meaning I could keep the story moving). One of the force sensitive powers was 'force nudge', which meant after rolling the D20 I could use a single finger to 'nudge' the die so another, adjacent face was topmost.

Mostly, though, I like to roll lots of dice at a time. I giggle as I count them into my hands.

What about you? Let me know below!


  1. Replies
    1. I think it's really clever - it seems a bit silly, but it's fun and that tactile action, physically nudging the die, is more satisfying than adding a bonus