Rolling under the stat expresses Baker's three insights


If it was widespread practice as a generalized method, then you'd be able to find some contemporaneous evidence of it.
Speaking about dragon there's a very weird method based on ability score in the very first issue that shows it was at least a question that was on people's mind, but it wasn't roll under your stat. Issue #68 (1983) however has an article titled "You've always got a chance" by Katharine Kerr that describes rolling d100 under your stat times 5.
More to the point there's also mention of what's essentially a d20 DEX save page 35 of Dragon #39 (July 1980) in the article Good Hits and Bad Misses in a fumble table:

01-19 slip; roll dexterity or less on d20 or fall and stunned for 1-4 rounds
20-33 stumble; roll dexterity or less on d20 or fall and stunned for 1-6 rounds

Etc in the table.

Similarly in issue #46 (February 1981) page 35: The weapons may be wrenched free in 2-8 melee rounds by a character who rolls his strength or less on d20.

And in #50 (June 1981) page 30 and later: To avoid looking into a monster’s eyes, a character must make a number less than or equal to his Dexterity on a roll of d20 every melee round.

Finally (because searching this takes time, not because there isn't more to find) in Dragon #61 (May 1982) there is in an AD&D adventure page 37: If the flesh is damaged by a blow or a weapon strike, the object creature or character’s form will explode, causing 2-16 points of damage to anyone within 1”, and 1-8 points of damage to anyone from 1-2” away who fails a saving throw against dexterity (must roll dexterity or less on d20).

Widespread? Probably not based on these examples alone, but the idea was certainly around and getting traction by 1982.

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I have no direct experience, but I quite like the convrptual elegance of roll under stat. Maybe it wasn't common, but it outta have been.


Of course, something that is often missed is that multiplying your attributes by 5 and then throwing a d% is exactly the same as just rolling a d20 equal to/under your attribute. The one thing I like about the multiplying attribute by x and testing with d% method is that rather than applying a difficulty modifier to the attribute, you can change the multiplier instead. So a moderate task can be x 5, a difficult one x3 etc.

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