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Pathfinder 1E 3d6 instead of 1d20


Hi all.I'm about to start playing dragon age RPG. I have played it before and I liked the bell curve the die produced. It sacrifices some randomness to gain a bit of realism. It makes me feel like every combat is harsh because of that feeling of realism I perceive.I'm curious about how that could work with pathfinder where randomness is a big part of the game.I know that unearthed arcana (d&d 3.5) has this optional rule. I'm looking forward to try it a few times to see how it works. I se potential in things like changing critical hits for stunts or things like that.I'm wonder if some of you have sone comments or personal experience with this optional rule. Any comment is welcome.

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As you mention, 3e's "Unearthed Arcana" is your friend here. Pretty much everything it says on the subject still applies.

Alas, it's not something I can recommend. But since I don't want to be "that guy", I'll leave it at that, and instead wish you the best of luck - I do hope it works out for you.


I'm open to any comment. As long as what you say is reasonable it's OK. If you have any negative comment about this please say it. So I can evaluate.


I'm open to any comment. As long as what you say is reasonable it's OK.

Well, okay. I didn't want to just dump on the idea.

Unfortunately, I don't think it works: D&D 3e, and by extension Pathfinder, are built assuming a linear probability, and switching to a bell curve doesn't work with that very well. As UA notes, bonuses to the roll become much more important, and in 3e/PF the bonuses get very high. (It actually might work better in 5e, what with Bounded Accuracy.)

Unfortunately, given the fundamental different assumptions in play, I'd actually be more inclined to find a new system entirely rather than try to retrofit 3d6 in place of the d20.


Well at lower levels I was concern that, since you need high rolls to "hit" or success, and compressing the curve makes high rolls hard to get, it could be very frustrating since most rolls will fall into a "no success zone". I'll think about it. Still I'd like to read an actual experience.
Remember that Im just curious about this optional rule, it's not that I really want it. If I see that there is no good in it I'll not use it.
Thanks for your opinion.


Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
If you are interested in something less linear, you could try substituting 2d10 for 1d20. It'll be a smaller shift than to 3d6 and the probabilities are a little easier to convert and predict.


First Post
I have to agree with Delerechio. This issue gets discussed every now and again from the other side on the Hero Games boards, as Hero is driven by 3d6 rolls. The value of a bonus when rolling 3d6 increases considerably. Consider that the likelihood of rolling 11+ on 3d6 is 50% (same as 11+ on a D20), but the odds of rolling 10+ is 62.5% (equivalent to a 2 - 3 point change in the D&D bonus).

+4 or -4 is pretty common in D&D, changing the odds by 20%, but it moves "pretty likely" (10+; 62.5%) to "bit of a long shot" (14+, about 25% IIRC).

You could adjust all the bonuses and penalties to tighten them as well, but you're forced to rewrite a lot of the game.


Guide of Modos
Full disclosure: my experience with 3d6 is mostly from this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWn6b8vi-PY&list=PL0Y9n5uBJuXyuq6juUQnocnJUzzKrTnOd

It sacrifices some randomness to gain a bit of realism. It makes me feel like every combat is harsh
I'll agree with you here, because watching people add up 3d6 when they could just be reading a d20 does feel very harsh. Now, as already mentioned, this doesn't work very well for 3.5 or Pathfinder because whole-point and multiple/sizable bonuses get exponential when compared to a bell curve contest roll. 5e is a little better, with the smaller numbers, and the Adv/Dis mechanic works exceptionally well with a bell curve contest.

Bottom line: you'd be better off leaving the bell curve in the system designed with it in mind: AGE.


First Post
Further reflection: kiss Critical Hits goodbye unless you revamp those rules. a Nat 20 comes up 5% of the time on a d20. 19/18? 10%/15%.

An 18 on 3d6 is one in 216 (under 0.5%) and a 17 is 4 chances in 216 (so about 1.85%).

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