What's your favorite dice system?

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
My favorite design for a die rolling system in the one in REIGN, where you roll handfuls of d10s and the results are interpreted for both height and width. Technically that's the One Roll Engine I guess. Anyway, it's superb. I don't use it much, but I love the design.
 

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Sir Brennen

Legend
There was a horror game I playtested years ago. (Unfortunately, it and the company have since evaporated, as they were trying to create a new edition of a game that they didn't have the rights to). It did, however, have a pretty solid resolution mechanic.

It used a percentile system, with the following tweaks:

Target numbers were a combination of attribute + skill (e.g., Dexterity of 30 + Shooting 20 = 50%, with possible modifiers)

Damage was very simple - d10 for small melee weapons (e.g., a knife), 2d10 for medium melee (sword) or small firearms (pistols), 3d10 for large melee weapons (two-handed sword) or large firearms (rifles). (Or you could just say 5 damage for each die for faster combat.)

To resolve tasks, it was roll under, but a black-jack style system where you want to roll as high as possible without going over. Every increment of 25 added a level of success (or die of damage).

A roll of doubles (11, 22, 33 etc.) was a critical success or failure, depending on if you rolled over your target number or not. Usually this added another level of success or doubled your damage.

For example, if you have a 63% total (attribute + skill) in Shooting and using a handgun (2d10 damage), a roll of 1-24 is a Success, a roll over 25 added +1d10 to damage, a roll over 50 added another +1d10, but a roll over 63 was a missed attack. A roll of 55 would double the damage dice, including the added die for levels of success: 8d10. In a game where human stats range from 30 to 80 (IIRC, your Stamina attribute was used for "hit points"), it was fairly lethal.

For skill checks, for things like knowing occult lore about a monster or doing research, each success level would give more information.

In general, I like percentage dice rolls, but especially with nice, playable mechanics built into the rolls. The Critical mechanic for this game, for instance, is much easier than Call of Cthulhu's, where it's 20% of your current score, meaning it required math and could change round to round. That's one I didn't like about the CoC system.
 
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CarlZog

Explorer
Alternity. Roll less than the relevant skill on 1d20 "control die" modified (+/-) by a "situation die", which is another polyhedral 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12 , another d20, or no second die at all.. The choice of situation die and whether it's added or subtracted creates a range of situation difficulties from 1d20-1d20 for very easy to 1d20+1d20 for very hard. How far below the skill you roll determines the degree of sucess.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Also a fan of using die types as prowess. As in, being better at something means you use the d6 instead of the d4. I first saw that in Savage Worlds. It means you get to feel even cooler when you finally get to roll the d12, and fewer dice collect dust. There's probably someone to agree with in this thread, but the Search function isn't working with me right now...

. . . 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.
Pro: 4d6 - 4 would have been great for Bounded Accuracy, by turning tiny bonuses into big rewards.
Pro: 4d6 - 4 uses a handful of dice that most players probably already know how to use for ability score generation.
Con: subtraction.
Con: attack roll resolution is already clunky. 4d6 - 4 would not speed things up.
Con: Sacred Cow in jeopardy!
 


Li Shenron

Legend
d20 the best so far but it is not flawless: it actually has too much swing for skill checks, which causes untrained characters to do better than trained characters too often (it is almost the norm instead of being an exception).

The d20 dice itself is the coolest, but I'd be interested in trying out a system centered on the d12 instead to achieve a smaller swing. Basically the same as d20 system but rearranged to be based around always rolling d12 for resolutions. Obviously the general bonuses and penalties would need to shrink a bit so as not to become relatively huge to the base range of dice results. The d12 dice would also have an interesting nice extra vibe because of its maximum being 10+2, that could lead to say that "10 is when you do everything perfectly according to your purpose, while 11 or 12 is when you exceed even your own purpose".
 



kenada

Legend
2d6+modifier, especially the PbtA difficulty range

My homebrew system uses it for skill checks to reduce the swinginess of them, but it’s surprisingly versatile. I switched my events table to it last night, and with just an increase in the modifier for the danger level, it naturally shifts the distribution of results towards more direct conflicts (i.e., encounters), which eliminated the need for a separate “high alert” table. I might even be able to get away with the same core table for wilderness events.

Combat stuff is still d20-based. It’s supposed to be swingy and compatible (more or less) with B/X D&D. d20 stuff is neat, but I like the mileage I’ve gotten out of 2d6.
 

Aldarc

Legend
2d6+modifier, especially the PbtA difficulty range

My homebrew system uses it for skill checks to reduce the swinginess of them, but it’s surprisingly versatile. I switched my events table to it last night, and with just an increase in the modifier for the danger level, it naturally shifts the distribution of results towards more direct conflicts (i.e., encounters), which eliminated the need for a separate “high alert” table. I might even be able to get away with the same core table for wilderness events.

Combat stuff is still d20-based. It’s supposed to be swingy and compatible (more or less) with B/X D&D. d20 stuff is neat, but I like the mileage I’ve gotten out of 2d6.
I would be curious what you think of the modified PbtA system in Ironsworn. It's 1d6+Mod rolled against two d10s. Failure is when the 1d6+Mod is less than either d10 result. A Weak Hit is when the 1d6+Mod is less than one d10 but higher than one d10. A Strong Hit is when the 1d6+Mod is greater than both d10 results.
 

Argyle King

Legend
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.

Depends

I would posit that D&D's structure (even with "bounded accuracy" and the d20) encourages minmaxing more because "+N" is a primary method of advancement.

In a game where width/breadth of play (and advancement) is encouraged, you certainly can minmax one area (like you've said,) but that comes at the cost of being rather terrible at most other things -and those other things actually matter.
 


kenada

Legend
I would be curious what you think of the modified PbtA system in Ironsworn. It's 1d6+Mod rolled against two d10s. Failure is when the 1d6+Mod is less than either d10 result. A Weak Hit is when the 1d6+Mod is less than one d10 but higher than one d10. A Strong Hit is when the 1d6+Mod is greater than both d10 results.
Do the d10s do anything? Otherwise, it seems more complicated for a similar effect.

Another, homebrew-specific thing I like about 2d6+modifier is it lets me replace several 2d6-based mechanics with skill checks: reaction becomes Connect (CHA), turn undead becomes Invoke (CHA), and morale and loyalty become modifiers that are added to the roll and evaluated like skill checks.

I also do initiative the same way. Hit points and damage are still whatever dice, but everything else uses one of the two unified (and roll-over) mechanics: d20 for combat/saves and 2d6 for checks. I would add unified dice mechanics as another favorite dice mechanic.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Depends

I would posit that D&D's structure (even with "bounded accuracy" and the d20) encourages minmaxing more because "+N" is a primary method of advancement.

In a game where width/breadth of play (and advancement) is encouraged, you certainly can minmax one area (like you've said,) but that comes at the cost of being rather terrible at most other things -and those other things actually matter.
What was being discussed was replacement of the d20 in D&D with 4d6-4. So it's the same structure and context in both situations.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Do the d10s do anything? Otherwise, it seems more complicated for a similar effect.
No solid clue to whom you're asking...
but, based upon the post above...
in the AEG d10 Roll & Keep system (L5R 1e-4e, LBS) the 10's are convienient to the task difficulties; there are mods from +1 to +10, mostly +2 and +5, with base diffs in multiples of 5 most of the time. The 10d10 limit also is conveniently square...
It feels right in play for most. That skilled attempts also open end a given die on 10's is an important.

Not to say one couldn't do d6 R&K; in fact, EABA does, but it's 3 or 4 dice - not att based, but whether or not one is gifted in the attribute.

I also do initiative the same way. Hit points and damage are still whatever dice, but everything else uses one of the two unified (and roll-over) mechanics: d20 for combat/saves and 2d6 for checks. I would add unified dice mechanics as another favorite dice mechanic.
And yet, just advocated for non-unified ones... you've two discrete mechanics.
 

kenada

Legend
No solid clue to whom you're asking...
I was responding to someone who had asked what I thought of Ironsworn’s dice mechanics, which compares a d6+modifier versus two d10s to determine degrees of success. The resulting distribution is similar to PbtA-style 2d6, so my response was to inquire whether the d10s had any other function in the system. Otherwise, it seems more complicated than just rolling 2d6 versus a fixed range of results.

And yet, just advocated for non-unified ones... you've two discrete mechanics.
Yep. Constraints sometimes necessitate making trade-offs. In this case, I wanted to preserve the feel of D&D-style combat, which meant using d20-based attack rolls and saving throws when the rest of the system was going to be using 2d6 versus a fixed range (like PbtA, 6−/7–9/10+). I also wanted to be able to use OSR content without requiring a lot of conversion work, which this approach does*.

One might ask, why not use a unified d20 mechanic? Trying to emulate the non-uniform distribution of 2d6 would be messy. I also don’t like the way 3e unified things, so that approach isn’t an option either. In this case, it ends up being easier and less confusing to use two separate mechanics for what I am trying to do with my homebrew system. At least they both work the same basic way (roll high = good).



* Almost all 2d6 rolls are made by the players, including skill checks and initiative, which obviates the need to devise modifiers for NPCs and monsters. There is some conversion work required, but I most can be done by looking up the replacement saving throw table and converting their morale to a modifier (by subtracting seven). The only exception currently is changing level drain effects, which I have a different approach for handling.
 
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Haiku Elvis

Adventurer
I have been brainstorming of ways of play 5e narratively too, can I be even more heretical?
Should I see myself out or will torches and pitchforks be incoming? :D
If you can turn 5e into a workable narrative diceless game you probably deserve a statue. Of course we'll still send the mob, pioneers are never appreciated in their own time.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I was responding to someone who had asked what I thought of Ironsworn’s dice mechanics, which compares a d6+modifier versus two d10s to determine degrees of success. The resulting distribution is similar to PbtA-style 2d6, so my response was to inquire whether the d10s had any other function in the system. Otherwise, it seems more complicated than just rolling 2d6 versus a fixed range of results.
It weights the mods quite differently. A +5 on the d6+M vs d10 & d10 has a chance of no hits (roll ⚀+5=5; 10s can still cause fail/weak/strong hit results), while the 2d6+5 vs 6-/7-10/11+ is a guaranteed weak or strong hit.
the 2d10 makes modifiers up to +9 viable for all three results, while +4 is the maximum capable of all three results on PBTA standard.

(I'd pondered the why myself.)

Cranking the examples:
M modifier [miss, weak, strong]
M= 0 [355, 190, 55][59.166%, 31.666%, 9.166%]
M= 1 [271, 238, 91][45.166%, 39.666%, 15.166%]
M= 2 [199, 262, 139][33.166%, 43.666%, 23.166%]
M= 3 [139, 262, 199][23.166%, 43.6665, 33.166%]
M= 4 [91, 238, 271][15.166%, 39.666%, 45.166%]
M= 5 [56, 208, 336][9.333%, 34.666%, 56.0%]
M= 6 [32, 176, 392][5.333%, 29.333%, 65.333%]
M= 7 [17, 146, 437][2.833%, 24.333%, 72.833%]
M= 8 [9, 122, 469][1.5%, 20.333%, 78.166%]
M= 9 [6, 108, 486][1.0%, 18.0%, 81.0%]

Note also: I've ignored the 10% chance of a twist; a twist will always be a failure or a strong hit, since it requires the d10's to match.

Now, similar for PBTA 2d6+M vs 7+/10+, of 36
M= 0 [15, 15, 6][41.666%, 41.666%, 16.666%]
M= 1 [10, 16, 10][27.777%, 44.444%, 27.777%]
M= 2 [6, 15, 15][16.666%, 41.666%, 41.666%]
M= 3 [3, 12, 21][8.333%, 33.333%, 58.333%]
M= 4 [1, 9, 26][2.777%, 25%, 72.222%]
M= 5 [0, 6, 30][0.0%, 16.666%, 83.333%]
M= 6 [0, 3, 33][0.0%, 8.333%, 91.666%]
M= 7 [0, 1, 35][0.0%, 2.777%, 97.222%]
M= 8 [0, 0, 36][0.0%, 0.0%, 100%]
M= 9 [0, 0, 36][0.0%, 0.0%, 100%]

(All stats by running the total permutations in python.)
 

Aldarc

Legend
Do the d10s do anything? Otherwise, it seems more complicated for a similar effect.

Another, homebrew-specific thing I like about 2d6+modifier is it lets me replace several 2d6-based mechanics with skill checks: reaction becomes Connect (CHA), turn undead becomes Invoke (CHA), and morale and loyalty become modifiers that are added to the roll and evaluated like skill checks.

I also do initiative the same way. Hit points and damage are still whatever dice, but everything else uses one of the two unified (and roll-over) mechanics: d20 for combat/saves and 2d6 for checks. I would add unified dice mechanics as another favorite dice mechanic.
@innerdude has far more play experience with Ironsworn and likely would be able to articulate that better than I could.

But I would also recommend checking out this Twitter thread where Ironsworn creator Shawn Tompkins talks about their reasoning that they opted for this dice resolution system and not the typical 2d6+mod from PbtA.

 


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