What's your favorite dice system?

Maletherin

Explorer
A bell curve for skills. Linear for combat (d20 or % roll high or low). I don't think a bell curve feels right for combat, which makes me odd man out if I want a simple single die mechanic rpg. Thankfully, multiple mechanics works fine for me.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Hi all,

What is your favorite dice system and why do you like it? What's the pros and cons of the dice system? And what games using the system is your favorite?
Favorite. 2d6. Pros: nice bell curve and it's simple and quick. Cons: some people don't like the simplicity. Games: a lot of Free Kriegsspiel Renaissance games, Over the Edge, Doctor Who, Apocalypse World, and all PbtA games.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
A bell curve for skills. Linear for combat (d20 or % roll high or low). I don't think a bell curve feels right for combat, which makes me odd man out if I want a simple single die mechanic rpg. Thankfully, multiple mechanics works fine for me.
Favorite. 2d6. Pros: nice bell curve and it's simple and quick. Cons: some people don't like the simplicity.
I hear that 4d6-4 is a good replacer for a 1d20, if you'd like a bell curve distribution in D20 System games. I've never tried it, but the AnyDice.com graph seems legit. Personally, I'd go with the 4d6-3 instead, so that the curve slightly favors nat-20s over nat-1s, but that's just me.

belldice.png
 


Favorite. 2d6. Pros: nice bell curve and it's simple and quick. Cons: some people don't like the simplicity. Games: a lot of Free Kriegsspiel Renaissance games, Over the Edge, Doctor Who, Apocalypse World, and all PbtA games.

Not all PbtA games use 2d6, but definitely most. Just noting that because people sometimes present PbtA as a system, but it's really a design approach. Like some use 2d10, and some rely heavily on advantage and disadvantage, so you might be rolling 3d6 pretty often.
 

RobJN

Adventurer
I'm a big fan of Alternity's control die +/- situation die-step, roll-under mechanic. I also love Free League's Year Zero engine, seeing how each new game tunes the bane/push mechanic to evoke the overall theme/mood.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
What is your favorite dice system and why do you like it? What's the pros and cons of the dice system? And what games using the system is your favorite?
D20 vs. D20, player or GM interprets the result. It's a Pro if the player wins, a Con if the GM wins, and a Tie if they match.

Since that's probably not the pro and con you were looking for...

Pro: it's easy to compare two numbers, even with some bonuses. Since the outcome is a pro or a con, not a succeed or fail, every roll deserves role-playing. Also, since the GM rolls as well, rolling a 1 isn't an automatic Con (although that is very likely).

Con: linear results mean that all Pro results should be considered equal, as well as all Cons. D20 + maths are higher than, say, d4 + maths. Also, additional rules are needed to add nuance to the contest (it's not max elegance).

Tie: equal outcomes can go to the player, call for more role-playing, represent an actual tie, or deserve a re-roll...

Which games: only one that I know of, although it's under a Creative Commons license: Modos RPG.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Hi all,

What is your favorite dice system and why do you like it? What's the pros and cons of the dice system? And what games using the system is your favorite?
L5R 5E... FFG NDS meets Roll & Keep...
Roll (ring)d(Ring) & (skill)d(Skill), keeping 1 to Att of them.
Each die has symbolic faces in one of several outcomes:
  • Success, Opportunity, or Open Ending success.
  • One of the above plus a strain.
Note that one must keep at least 1d, but negative symbols appear only in combination with the positive faces. Difficulties are usually told ahead of time, so you can choose whether to keep the strain and succeed, or not and fail.

Second place? FFG NDS. (Star Wars/Genesys)

3rd place?
Arrowflight 1E.
Attribute d6, for Skill+DiffMod or less each, counting successes. If more than 3 are 1's, roll another batch for more successes. 6's don't succeed; if Skill+DiffMod>5, the amount over 5 becomes bonus successes if one is rolled on <=5. If fail and at least half are 6's, fumble.
 

Staffan

Legend
View attachment 155374
The narrative dice system for the Star Wars and Genesys RPGs is one the most innovative and intuitive dice mechanics I have ever come across, and is hands down my favorite system to run narrative and cinematic games. It is not designed for tactics or min-max strategies, which makes it perfect for games that aren't combat heavy or centric. That also puts off potential players who are used to numbers and building characters primarily for battle. It's not for everyone, obviously. But it has changed the way I describe results and consequences in other games beyond the basic pass/fail state.
I'll add to this. For those who haven't played it, non-Force rolls use a total of six different dice:
  • Ability and proficiency dice come from your stat and your skill. The highest of these give the number of dice rolled, and the lower how many of them are the better proficiency dice (so if you have 5 and 3, you'll roll 3 proficiency dice and 2 ability dice). These give successes, advantages, and (only on the proficiency die) triumphs.
  • Difficulty and challenge dice come from the base difficulty of the task. In some cases these are set by an opponents stat/skill in a similar manner as ability/proficiency dice. These give failures, threats, and (challenge die only) despairs.
  • Boost and setback dice come from circumstances, like good/bad gear, distractions, cover, etc. Boost dice have successes and advantages, and setback dice have failures and threats.
  • Generally speaking, the good dice are slightly more positive than the corresponding bad dice are negative.
Once rolled, successes and failures cancel out, as do advantages and threats. The end result is a roll that's measured on two axes: did you succeed (and if so, how well), and did anything else happen? So if you're rolling to find someone willing to sell you something illicit, having at least one success after successes and failures have canceled one another out means you found a seller. More successes can translate into finding the seller faster, for example. Uncanceled threats could mean that you make waves you don't want to make, getting you into trouble. Uncanceled advantages could mean that you find other things you weren't directly looking for, but are still useful. Since these are orthogonal to success/failure, that creates a wide variety of results. Other systems can also have failure-with-an-upside or success-at-a-cost, but those are usually part of a linear progression, while they are semi-independent* in Star Wars/Genesys.

Triumphs and despairs are a little special. On one hand they work as a regular success/failure, and this aspect of them can be canceled by another symbol as usual. But they also act as souped up advantages/threats, and this aspect is not canceled by other symbols – that's how you can have both good and bad side effects at once.

* They're not quite independent since they come from the same dice, so a roll with lots of advantages probably won't have many successes and vice versa. But it's still quite possible to get a surplus of both on a lucky roll, or a lack of both on an unlucky one.
 

Staffan

Legend
Another game I tried recently that works real nice is The Troubleshooters, which works off a BRP derivative.

The core mechanic is dead simple: roll d100 equal to or below your skill to succeed. On opposed rolls, the highest successful roll wins (tie if both fail) – often called "Pendragon rolls". If you roll doubles, that's a roll with "karma", which can be good karma (if you succeed) or bad karma (if you fail). Karma means something extra happens, which may or may not be related to the success or lack thereof of the original roll.

The first twist is how this interacts with difficulties. Difficulties are expressed as + or - a certain number of "pips". If you're rolling at +/- a certain number of pips, any roll where the ones is between 1 and that number is an automatic success or failure. So if your skill is 63, and you're rolling at -2, you will succeed on a roll of 03-10, 13-20, 23-30, 33-40, 43-50, 51-60, or 63.

The second twist is that you can flip a roll, meaning you turn the ones into tens and vice versa (so a 73 turns into a 37). This usually costs 2 "story points", a metacurrency you have a rather limited starting amount of, and which you can get more of by getting into trouble. You can also have Abilities, which fill the same function as feats and often let you flip certain rolls for 1 story point instead.
 

Yora

Legend
2d6 + attribute against a target number seem really neat.

Simple and straightforward, using only small amounts of normal dice.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I haven't played too many dice pool games but I've recently been delving into Coriolis' d6 with a success on a 6 system and I really don't like it. The game and it's trappings are amazing but the pile of dice gets real big, real fast, and I don't like games that stack up tons of different modifiers from different places whether its more dice or greater +/-.
You might, if you're the GM, want to use the T2K alternative...
AttSkill
54d12
43d10
32d8
21d6
A roll of...
10+2s
6+1s
2-50s
1as 1 in standard rolls.
This replacement means rolling 2d, rather than 3-12 d6.

Dice shifts off higher first, then lower. Shifts up cap at 2d12 in T2K, but I'd suggest allowing them to generate a third die.
Pushing works normally - but you can't push dice with successes nor complications.
 

I'll probably go with D20 and any Dice Pool making ttrpg. Although I've yet to play with any Dice Pool system yet. I splurged on Humble Bundle's Age of Sigmar: Soulbound promotion and I currently own, from the kickstarter before, Strange Machine Games' Robotech RPG. I would also like to start playing/doing the 20th Anniversary editions of White Wolf's Vampire/Werewolf line.)

If there's one "dice system" I don't/can't understand is the "rolling under" ones. Rolling under seems foreign to me as somebody who's so used to D20's rolling above method. Despite that, I splurged on a previous humble bundle deal for Modphius' Star Trek rpg, which is rolling under in some respects too.

I"ve yet to taken a plunge on the PBtA system of games. The one I do own from another kickstarter, Henshin, is a non-dice variant of PBtA.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I hear that 4d6-4 is a good replacer for a 1d20, if you'd like a bell curve distribution in D20 System games. I've never tried it, but the AnyDice.com graph seems legit. Personally, I'd go with the 4d6-3 instead, so that the curve slightly favors nat-20s over nat-1s, but that's just me.
Interesting. I never considered the possibility of rolling "0" as a result, but I find myself not disliking it. I wonder if they make a d6 numbered 0-5... :unsure:
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Interesting. I never considered the possibility of rolling "0" as a result, but I find myself not disliking it. I wonder if they make a d6 numbered 0-5... :unsure:
There are a few different games where you can get a 0 as a result of your die roll in some way.

Fate has you adding up plusses and minuses and 0s to give a bell curve with 0 mean.

Icons 1st edition had you rolling a positive d6 and a negative d6 and adding them together to get a bell curve with a 0 mean (2nd edition moves this to opposed single d6 rolls which is mathematically the same, but losing the need to subtract your dice).

Feng Shui has the same kind of system as Icons, but with exploding 6s.

Torg and Torg Eternity have a roll-a-die-with-exploding-10s-and-20s-then-look-it-up-on-a-chart-for your result that gives 0 as the mean value as well.

Also in Ars Magica when you roll a d10 as a "stress die" the 0 counts as a 0 rather than a 10 and you have to roll botch dice to see how badly you screwed up.
 

Staffan

Legend
If there's one "dice system" I don't/can't understand is the "rolling under" ones. Rolling under seems foreign to me as somebody who's so used to D20's rolling above method. Despite that, I splurged on a previous humble bundle deal for Modphius' Star Trek rpg, which is rolling under in some respects too.
This is funny to me, because the Swedish RPG tradition is heavily descendant from Basic Roleplaying. Roll-under often has percentile values, which makes for an instant understanding of your chances. You have a skill of 63? Well, that's a 63% chance of success, then.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
If there's one "dice system" I don't/can't understand is the "rolling under" ones. Rolling under seems foreign to me as somebody who's so used to D20's rolling above method. Despite that, I splurged on a previous humble bundle deal for Modphius' Star Trek rpg, which is rolling under in some respects too.
Heh - roll under systems are what I cut my teeth on - between the "skill" system in D&D (thieves skills, proficiencies/skills from 2e/Gazeteers), Star Frontiers, Call of Cthulhu and others, roll under was the most common non-D&D system I encountered in the early days.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I hear that 4d6-4 is a good replacer for a 1d20, if you'd like a bell curve distribution in D20 System games. I've never tried it, but the AnyDice.com graph seems legit. Personally, I'd go with the 4d6-3 instead, so that the curve slightly favors nat-20s over nat-1s, but that's just me.

View attachment 155523
Just to make a side comment on this. D&D aims for the rough middle, say 45-65% as common chances of success. When you do to a bell curve, each of those has a lot more than 5% difference between them, sometimes more than double. That means that a +/-1 makes a much larger difference than it would in the flatter d20 distribution. Move from needing an 11+ to a 10+ and that's over a +2 bonus in standard d20 rolling. Which makes pluses a lot more valuable and encourages min-maxing.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Just to make a side comment on this. D&D aims for the rough middle, say 45-65% as common chances of success. When you do to a bell curve, each of those has a lot more than 5% difference between them, sometimes more than double. That means that a +/-1 makes a much larger difference than it would in the flatter d20 distribution. Move from needing an 11+ to a 10+ and that's over a +2 bonus in standard d20 rolling. Which makes pluses a lot more valuable and encourages min-maxing.
Yep, and that's why I don't like bell curve-based systems. I prefer a nice, linear, swing-y d20 System that makes min-maxing as futile as possible. I mean, that +8 to Perception sure looks nice until you roll a 2...

I just saw this 4d6-thing over on Reddit a while back, and thought it was interesting.
 

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