Spells with varying levels of success?

Sacrosanct

Legend
As playtesting for GEAS is progressing, the ways spells work has changed. Rather than D&D-like, where when you cast a spell it does X all the time, we're really liking spells that have varying levels of success. Kinda like Earthdawn.

For example:
1689178818089.png


Whenever you cast a spell, there is a difficulty target number. Against creatures, that would typically be the highest result of their attempt to resist/defend against it. For spells that don't have a target, the target # is based on spell level. Depending on how well you roll against that number, you have either cast a disaster, failure, minimal effect, expected result, or a spectacular casting. The above example illustrates what happens based on that.

Note: This is a dice pool system, where both sides roll their pool and compare the highest die. Whoever gets highest wins.

Thoughts? I have to admit I'm liking it.

Dice pools system overview: The # and dice type in your pool are based on how skilled/powerful you are. For example, a lower skilled power might be 2d6 in your pool, while highly skilled might be 3d12. If the highest die in your pool beats the highest die in the defender (or the target static #), it's a success. If all of your dice result in 1s, it's a disaster.

Example: You're casting a spell at a target and your arcane skill pool (ASP) is 3d8. The target's defense is 2d8. You roll a 7, 6, and 2. The defender rolls a 4 and 3. Two of your highest dice beats the highest dice of the defender (4), so you have a spectacular result.
 
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J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I don't know how this dice pool system works, so I have to ask: Does "more ASP dice" mean more power/competence? If so, it looks like the fewer such dice you have, the more likely you'll be to get a Spectacular result. (Eg, rolling one 6 on one die is much more likely than rolling three 6's on three dice.) That seems counter-intuitive to me, that a low-dice caster has a better chance of causing a great boon like permanent immunity to petrification.

Am I reading that correctly?
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I don't know how this dice pool system works, so I have to ask: Does "more ASP dice" mean more power/competence? If so, it looks like the fewer such dice you have, the more likely you'll be to get a Spectacular result. (Eg, rolling one 6 on one die is much more likely than rolling three 6's on three dice.) That seems counter-intuitive to me, that a low-dice caster has a better chance of causing a great boon like permanent immunity to petrification.

Am I reading that correctly?
Doh. I've updated to help give context.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Doh. I've updated to help give context.
Thanks for the overview!
I think my concern still holds, at least as far as the "max result" boon that can come on a Spectacular result, and even moreso since it looks like dice pools can be of differing sizes.
Consider two casters, a lesser one with a 2d6 pool and more powerful one with 3d8. Also assume both beat a particular opponent that rolls all 1s on 2d6. If I understand correctly, both those characters would enjoy a Spectacular result, with the max result bonus tacked on, right? Then the math for those max results looks like:
The odds of the lesser one rolling two 6s is 1/36, or a little under 3%.​
The odds of the better one rolling three 8s is 1/512, or around 0.2%.​
So that lesser caster is over 10x more likely to get that max result (ie, "all dice roll max") than a better caster. For your spell above, that means that lesser caster would accidentally pop off 10x as many permanent petrification immunities as the more accomplished caster.

Does that make sense? I'm not sure I'm explaining this well, or if it's even a concern for this game system.

(Fwiw, I've only zeroed in on this because I was recently considering a dice pool system similar to this and encountered exactly this paradoxical issue where the "best possible" result gets less likely as a chacter becomes more competent.)
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Thanks for the overview!
I think my concern still holds, at least as far as the "max result" boon that can come on a Spectacular result, and even moreso since it looks like dice pools can be of differing sizes.
Consider two casters, a lesser one with a 2d6 pool and more powerful one with 3d8. Also assume both beat a particular opponent that rolls all 1s on 2d6. If I understand correctly, both those characters would enjoy a Spectacular result, with the max result bonus tacked on, right? Then the math for those max results looks like:
The odds of the lesser one rolling two 6s is 1/36, or a little under 3%.​
The odds of the better one rolling three 8s is 1/512, or around 0.2%.​
So that lesser caster is over 10x more likely to get that max result (ie, "all dice roll max") than a better caster. For your spell above, that means that lesser caster would accidentally pop off 10x as many permanent petrification immunities as the more accomplished caster.

Does that make sense? I'm not sure I'm explaining this well, or if it's even a concern for this game system.

(Fwiw, I've only zeroed in on this because I was recently considering a dice pool system similar to this and encountered exactly this paradoxical issue where the "best possible" result gets less likely as a chacter becomes more competent.)
Ah, not quite. I think I didn't use the best example above, because it looks like you have to get max results in your dice. A spectacular casting occurs when you have more than one or your dice beating the highest result of the defender/target #. They don't have to be the highest result showing. In the example above, if you have more than one of your dice beating the target #, then the creature is immune to petrification for an hour. if your dice also happen to be max, then you get the second part. That's actually rare (needing highest result). the vast majority are how many dice beat the target. For example:

1689186525293.png


So for each addition die beyond the first that beats the defender, you add extra damage. You don't need to get max.

One other thing of note is that you can trade in your dice. Either trade in 2 dice for 1 of the next highest step, or trade in 1 for 2 of the next lowest step. I.e., trade 2d6 for 1d8, or 1d10 for 2d8. This allows two neat ways of handling pools:

1. if the defender has a die that you can't beat, saying rolling a 7 when your pool is 3d6. You can trade in 2d6 for a d8 so you have an opportunity to get higher than a 7.
2. If you know your opponent has low dice in their pool, you can trade in your higher dice to get more lower dice for an opportunity to get more spectacular results.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Ah, gotcha! Yeah, i was a bit off in my interpretation.
Btw, I really like that idea of trading up and trading down dice sizes depending if want to hit a too-high TN or want a greater success. That's a neat tactical dimension.

As for the OP: Yes, degrees of success on spellcasting are almost always more interesting than simple pass/fail, imo.
 



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