# Adjust difficulty without affecting character's capacity, without adding steps to assess result, for a dice pool with unvariable target system

#### jasonsol

##### First Post
Hello all!

I search for alternatives to scale the difficulty for a count success system with d6 or d10 dice pool, where characters' stats form the pool (ex: dext 3 + guile 3 = 6 dice pool).

Raising difficulty should:
- not affect player's capacity (increase % of failure)
- preserve the system unvariability (example: 6+ are always success; 0 success is always fail, 1 is always partial fail, 2 is always success...)
- have a logic/fair feel to it

The ways I do not want to use:
1. remove dice from the pool
• example: "it is hard, remove 2d from your pool"
• pro: applied before the rolls, so the result of the roll will not be modified afterwards, making assessment of the result faster
• con: increase % of failure, while I only want to decrease the likelihood to happen, not the capability of the characters
• con: the psychological effect is "unfair" (for my players at least)(to have less "skill" because it is difficult)
2. changing the number of success requiered
• example: "it is hard, make 3 success instead of 2"
• pro: do not increase % of failure
• pro: the psychological effect is "fair" (to make extra efforts to succeed)
• con: it makes the system variable (in the example, 2 would be no more a full success but a partial success; while I want 0 success = always fail, 1 success = always partial success, 2 success = always full success...)
3. changing the pip that qualify as success
• example: "it is hard, successes are 6 instead of 5 and 6"
• con: increase % of failure
• con: it makes the system variable (in the example, 5 would be no more a success; while I want 5,6 to be always success)
4. to remove success after the roll
• example: "it is hard, remove 2 success from the roll"
• pro: do not increase % of failure
• con: modifier is applied after the dice rolled, so it slows the assessment of the result
• con: the psychological effect is "unfair" (for my players at least)
What I tried (only applied if task is inherently hard):
• any 1 in the result automatically make it a partial success but it is not good because the bigger the dice pool (meaning competent), the bigger the chance of rolling ones
• to add "difficulty dice" in the players' pool, where 1 on those dice makes it a partial success, but it slows the assessment of the result and I prefer to avoid to add stuff like different dice, cards, token...
• to make 2 success merge as 1, but it slows the assessment of the result and it is not elegant for 3 success (merged as 1 or 2?) or 5 success (merged as 2 or 3?)
• to reroll(s) and take the lowest result, but it slows the game
Is that even possible ahah?
Thanks!

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#### aramis erak

##### Legend
change "any 1" to "half or more 1's" and it scales suitably.

Opposed rolls are one mode you haven't listed...

Difficulty as GM roll. then direct compare success count.

Another mode is "keep best N" ... this works best with sum of dice rather than count successes..
Couple it with "drop all 1's before keeping" and you're able to get a forced partial by didn't have enough to keep N.

#### jasonsol

##### First Post
hey aramis erak,

change "any 1" to "half or more 1's" and it scales suitably.
can you give me some examples for this? I do not get it. And what are 1 supposed to be, failure or partial or success?

Another mode is "keep best N" ... this works best with sum of dice rather than count successes..
Couple it with "drop all 1's before keeping" and you're able to get a forced partial by didn't have enough to keep N.
can you also give some examples for this one? I am not sure I get it.

Thanks !

#### Blue

##### Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
can you give me some examples for this? I do not get it. And what are 1 supposed to be, failure or partial or success?
I'm not Aramis Erak, but I think they mean "if half or more of the dice are ones" replacing your "any ones make it a partial success".

So if rolling six dice, if three or more of them are ones, it's a partial success.

That might be too uncommon, you could make make it "if half or more of them are 1s or 2s", but it looks like you are going for a very intuitive system and not sure that fits.

#### Blue

##### Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Can you help me understand the difference between "affect player's capacity (increase % of failure)" and "decrease the likelihood to happen". There doesn't seem to be a "non-failure and non-success" option.

#### jasonsol

##### First Post
That might be too uncommon, you could make make it "if half or more of them are 1s or 2s", but it looks like you are going for a very intuitive system and not sure that fits.
You got that right! An intuitive system, yes, I lacked a clear wording for it, now I got that!

Can you help me understand the difference between "affect player's capacity (increase % of failure)" and "decrease the likelihood to happen". There doesn't seem to be a "non-failure and non-success" option.
If 0 success is a failure, and 1 is a success:
When dice are removed from a characters' pool, it statistically increases the odds of 0 success, therefore a failure.
When dice are not removed, but the number of success required increases, it statistically does not increases the odds of 0 success.
I want to remove any ambiguity for both the player and the referee: 0 is fail. 1 is success.
But the problem is when something is difficult, I want to make it harder without increasing the probability of 0 success, simply the probability of partial success in a way, but without having a partial success system.
For now, my workarounds are:
• for hard task that can be divided in steps I ask multiple rolls ("I want to kill him with my sword!" > "he is far away and in a defensive stance, how do you do that?" > "first, I rush toward him and at the last moment I feint to have a better chance to hit him" > roll success > "he turtles behind his shield but your feint left an opening" > "I try to hit toward the opening" > ...
• for hard task that cannot be divided in steps, I ask to split success for difficult action made into subactions (example: "to throw my dagger at the man's arm to stop him in time", it would require like 2 success to completely succeed. So a workaround is to say to the player: "in one roll: 1 success to aim precisely, 1 success to do it in time". If the roll has 1 success, it is a success but for one action only: player can choose either to do it in time but not precisely enough (like not damaging much), or to do it precisely (damaging) but not in time...
• alternative to this: splitting the dice pool (instead of success) with purposes tied to them (player must choose before the roll, not after, what does what)
• to use "fake" opponent rolls (simply put and show a dice to players with x success, then must go above it

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#### Blue

##### Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Okay, let's look at what knobs of adjustment we have to make something more difficult, with the limitations.
1. Can't make zero successes more common.
2. Can't change the chance of success on a particular die. ("Can't change the pips.")
3. Can't change the number of successes needed.
4. No post-roll changes.

So "more difficult" is more partial successes, with the extra coming only from complete successes.

Varying the size of the die is out, it would make more failures.

So we can't reduce the number of dice, change the reading of dice, or change the number of successes needed.

That locks out just about every mathematical change within the roll itself.

We can't change anything after, which leaves us with changing things before.

How about two different color dice?

Option 1: A player uses one color, but difficulty replaces some with a different color. 1 success on any dice is a partial, 2 successes on the player color dice is a full success.

Option 2: A player uses one color. Difficult tasks add dice of a different color. The Difficult color offsets successes, but can't turn a partial success into a failure.

#### jasonsol

##### First Post
Option 1: A player uses one color, but difficulty replaces some with a different color. 1 success on any dice is a partial, 2 successes on the player color dice is a full success.

Option 2: A player uses one color. Difficult tasks add dice of a different color. The Difficult color offsets successes, but can't turn a partial success into a failure.

Thank you Blue, will think on it.
Cheers!

#### aramis erak

##### Legend
COmeing back at this... the new system for Cowboy Bebop has a pool based upon character size, and a difficulty equivalent by how many of the dice are color changed.

Which gives me an idea...
Say the ranges are 1-3 fail, 4-6 success. The difficulty dice are how many get swapped for a different color. Let's call the base dice and complicated dice. Difficulty becomes a factor of how complicated success becomes, because they use a slight difference...
Complicated dice are 1 = complication, 2-3 fail, 4-5 complicated success, and 6 = standard success. So the player then looks at how many they want to keep to establish the quality level of their success... and take 1 complication per complicated die on 1, and on each kept complicated die.

Chance of success never changes this way inherently, but difficulty makes it more costly.

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