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What are your favourite single game mechanics?

DMMike

Game Masticator
World Tree . . . succeeding TOO WELL on a skill check can have unforeseen consequences. Not only did you beat the threshold, you beat it by 30 or more. The example given was of a singer entertaining a crowd, who gets potentially unwanted attention from a female in the audience. I like the idea that succeeding by too much can also be bad.
That reminds me. I have to change my answer again, in favor of streamlining.

Favorite single game mechanic is that outcome resolution rolls have only three results: favorable, tie, and unfavorable.

It's not the false dichotomy of succeed/fail. You don't either reach the top of the cliff or die trying. Your too-low roll could mean you reached the top, but in an unfavorable amount of time.
There's no reason to spend time adding up various bonuses from across the character sheet to get a better result; high enough is high enough.
No five-result-table is needed for every different type of roll, depending on how close you were to the target.
Mathematically, it pays respect to an important consideration: every result on the die has an equal chance of popping up. So you're not penalized for rolling too low on a one-die system, because the lowest roll has the same chance of occurring as the middle result. This is in contrast to a bell-curve system, when you have worse odds of a very low (or high) result, and high odds of a middle result.
A tie outcome removes the problem of "was I supposed to equal or exceed the target?" It opens up the possibility of an ambiguous outcome, or simply allows for a re-roll to determine favorable/unfavorable.

But if you REALLY want to say that something awesome happened because you rolled high enough, roll again versus your previous result. If you beat that, yeah, you got a critical hit or some other cool outcome. This effectively gives you the chance to do better when the bar is set lower - it's easier to get a critical hit on a goblin than the elder black dragon.

Disclaimer: I won't try to take credit for writing the only-three-outcome rule because much like fiction, every rule has already been written. Right? But there are definitely some rules I prefer over others ; )
 

corwyn77

Villager
From Mutants and Masterminds
- Alternative Effects: they're cheap variations on a power that can generally only be activated one at a time - most often for alternate means of attack from a broadly defined power

- Extra Effort: for the cost of a bit of fatigue, a hero can push his powers, move farther, gain an extra action or, and perhaps most importantly, perform a power stunt which is an alternative effect that isn't already defined on your character. Didn't buy your optic blast with an area effect wide angle? Use extra effort and you can do it in a pinch when you realize you have a need for it.
Both of these were done first in Champions to a certain degree though M&M added the idea of adding completely new enhancements to a power and using hero points to add alternate effects on the fly which is really cool.
 

corwyn77

Villager
I like point buy systems like Hero and GURPS and M&M where I can do anything, limited only by setting and power level.
 

Stormonu

Hero
At the time it came out THAC0 was an amazing concept and seemed so brilliant, compared to constantly consulting pages 74 & 75 of the DMG. Later, when 3E flipped AC to go up, that was another "why wasn't this thought of ages ago" sort of moment.

Nowadays, Advantage/Disadvantage is such a fun concept.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Both of these were done first in Champions to a certain degree though M&M added the idea of adding completely new enhancements to a power and using hero points to add alternate effects on the fly which is really cool.
I'm quite familiar with Champions and M&M takes them and makes them a lot better.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
At the time it came out THAC0 was an amazing concept and seemed so brilliant, compared to constantly consulting pages 74 & 75 of the DMG. Later, when 3E flipped AC to go up, that was another "why wasn't this thought of ages ago" sort of moment.

Nowadays, Advantage/Disadvantage is such a fun concept.
Ah, but roll high over Armor WAS thought of, and implemented, in a number of games in the early 80's... including almost everything by Palladium (except Amber and Recon).

For those who don't know...
Palladium Fantasy uses 1d20+mods for 4+ to hit, and AR+ to hit hit points directly.
(Hits to armor do damage to the armor in Palladium. If the armor is out of SDC, then the damage passes through to the character.)

A number of people adopted palladium's method into D&D before 3E came out... apparently not at TSR...

Several little known heartbreakers copied them with varying degrees of fidelity.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
One of my favorite new mechanics is the Wounded condition from Pathfinder 2. It's nice to see something to disincentive the use negligible healing to pop someone back up strategy. You should want to get them back in good shape.
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya!

Masterbook RPG's Drama Deck (especially with the additional Plot Development deck added in!). Normally I stay far, FAR away from any type of 'cards' in a RPG; cards in an RPG just completely suck all the RPG-feelings out of me for some really odd reason. But the sheer brilliance and smoothness that these add to the game are freaking AMAZING! I've gone so far as to use them with vastly different RPG's and just 'convert on the fly' as needed (mechanics wise). I've used the decks with SUPERS!, Star Frontiers, Dominion Rules, 5e D&D, etc, all to great effect. Absolutely LOVE THEM! 😍

As a runner up...and this is probably cheating... would be my own "3d12 HMC Tables". Short version: You roll 3 different coloured dice...a 'bright/light/hot' one, a 'medium colour/neutral tone' one, and a 'dark/cold' one (Hot Medium Cold...HMC). The tables are colour coded, with a sort of cross-reference system to find the particular 'result/cell'. Hard to explain because it's really fairly visual and the results are more in the realm of "idea-spice" to get the GM's imagination going. So under the "What found you..." table, your rolls determine Beast, Distance, and Motive. Example, a 7, 3, 10 (for H,M,C) would give the following: "Kinda expected...", "20'-", "Curious". The distance would be 'exactly' 17' (20' minus the roll of 3 = 17'). If the area the encounter happened it was a forest near a large lake, the GM might go with "You finally push through the overgrown undergrowth and see the lake about 30' away. However, between you and it is a small herd of perhaps 20 deer, many of them drinking at the shore. They don't bolt, and most just cock their necks, looking curiously in your direction". :) Anyway, I really do like my HMC system and tables! Really help get and keep the creative juices flowing during a game session.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
As a runner up...and this is probably cheating... would be my own "3d12 HMC Tables". Short version: You roll 3 different coloured dice...a 'bright/light/hot' one, a 'medium colour/neutral tone' one, and a 'dark/cold' one (Hot Medium Cold...HMC). The tables are colour coded, with a sort of cross-reference system to find the particular 'result/cell'.
Put these on a Rubik's Cube and I'll try it.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
One of my favorite new mechanics is the Wounded condition from Pathfinder 2. It's nice to see something to disincentive the use negligible healing to pop someone back up strategy. You should want to get them back in good shape.
On that note, I still really like (negative) Hit Points, because they also solve this problem. If you're barely down, and someone uses negligible healing to get you up again, then you're going to drop down even further from the next hit; and negligible healing might not be enough to get you up again after that.

Really, the more I think about it, the better Hit Points are as a mechanic. The do so much, with so little effort.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
The Arcanum.

Armor as damage-reduction.

Changed my mind as a GM.
The Arcanum is, amongst many of my friends, thought of fondly as, "Palladium's mechanics redone by sane people."

The simpler combat mechanics, the much reduced HP gain, the ability to add skills when you see fit (provided you don't spend enough to lose a level)...
 

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