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Patrick Zoch
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A question suggested by

Roger Hobden
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What are your favourite, and your least favoured, dice mechanisms (2d6, 1d20, 1d100, etc.), and why?


Do you have a question you want asked as QOTD? Post here!

And if you want to find an old QOTD: The big QOTD Summary and Subscription Thread Volume 3
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henry proctor
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I like my probability curves, so 3d6 has always pleased me.
Dice pools system, with results above/below X netting successes can also work well.

It's no surprise then, that I dislike single Die systems. 1d100 get's a pass, because WFRP 1st/2nd edition was really really easy to teach people.

I think a single D6 would annoy me most. Very swingy and makes it harder to apply small adjustments for help/hindrance/whatever.
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Alain Curato
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henry proctor wrote:
I think a single D6 would annoy me most. Very swingy and makes it harder to apply small adjustments for help/hindrance/whatever.


Dying DEarth uses this, but as you point out, you have to be prepared for a lot of s**t coming your way (it is the whole story of the game). Help and hindrances are simulated by how much you pay to reroll the die.

I do not have a preferred size of dice, but I prefer games where you cannot drop below a minimum score or effect.

For example, if I roll 2D6+4, I know I will have at least 6 (damage etc.). It may not be sufficient, but it still shows for something.

Imagine now that I roll D100 under my skill, and that differents ranges of results mean I do 4/2/0 damage. The last one, 0, does not suit my tastes because I want to feel that I have accomplished something, no matter how little. I prefer to think that I still did some damage but the armor absorbed it. Same result, different feeling.
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I'm very flexible when it comes to dice mechanics. I just go with whatever the system requires. After all, everybody is using the same system so there are no advantages/disadvantages over other players.

My only caveat is that I dislike systems that require their own specialized dice (e.g. Star Wars Edge of the Empire). Maybe I just don't have enough experience with this type of dice system...
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William Hostman
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My favorite overall? Variable TN dice pools with quality being number of successes. Examples include VTM 1E, 1st Ed Shadowrun (and, IIRC, 2E and 3E), Arrowflight 1E...

Second to that? L5R's variable number of dice, vs TN, using symbols, with another axis for Opportunity (spent for side benefits other than completing the core task.


Least favorite? that's a simple choice: Robotech: The Roleplaying Game.
If things are normal...
123 0 success each
4 1/2 success
5 1 success each
6 2 successes.
Cumbersome, but not horrible.

Then, there are three difficulty labels. I think they're supposed to form a scale, but the drafts were very unclear.
So, situational mods:
Minor... 4 Penalty = 1/3 success, bonus = 1 success
Moderate... 5 penalty = 1/2 success, bonus 2 successes
Major ... 6 penalty = 1 success, bonus = 3 successes.
Couple this with "Must do two actions per turn with a limited number of dice so that nothing is ever being rolled at full value."
So, you need two colors of dice (at least all are d6's) at least 4 of each, and note that the two actions may have different reading instructions. Rapidly became a headache
I would much rather have seen
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Major Penalty: 12345=0 6=1 no explode
Moderate penalty 12345=0 6=1+explode
Minor Penalty 1234=0 5=1 6=1+explode
Baseline: 123=0 45=1 6=1+explode
Minor Bonus 12=0 345=1 6=1+explode
Moderate Bonus: 1=0 2345=1 6=1+explode
Major Bonus: 1=0 234=1 56=1+explode

Anyway...

Another couple I was unfond of ...
Gnomemurdered's "roll 1d6, on a 4-6 you're fine, on a 1-3, you"re dead" It's no better than Dread's pull a jenga block.

The system in Dying Earth RPG... 1d6,
6 Excellent Success
5 Moderate Success
4 marginal Success
3 margnal failure
2 moderate failure
1 severe failure

Stats and skills are a number of times you can reroll in a given span of play within the scope of that ability.
At least it allows a ±2 for difficulty.
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Bruce McGeorge
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I'm random (no pun intended).

For example, I loved bell curves, then hated bell curves, and now I'm okay with them. I might even love them again.

I loved 1d20, then hated 1d20, and now I'm in the middle. I made my peace with it.

I loathed Fudge Dice for a long time (sorry Steffan!), and now I'm okay with them.

I haven't made up my mind about RPGs where you "play with your dice" after you roll. Like FFG's RPGs, Cortex Plus, or One Roll Engine. The issue is our frequency of play, so the learning curve never gets flattened. That's got worse as we've aged.

I guess I'd have to say that d100 has been consistent through the years. It's such an easy concept in games such as BRP.

I'll have to think about least favorite. Even 1d6 - which doesn't sound like much fun to me - can be good in certain RPGs (GUMSHOE for example).
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I have to agree with William here:

aramis wrote:
Variable TN dice pools with quality being number of successes.


I also like to see "roll XX, drop YY" mechanics with my absolute favorite being a mix of this and the above pool mechanics.

I dislike shifting between multiple dice types. Although it sounds very clever on paper, personally I've always found it cumbersome.

Any roll of a single die is a no-go for me.


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The Grinch
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I don't like d6 dice pools because it "feels" too board-game-like to me. I know it's irrational. I like games that use all the funny dice.
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Ryan Shellito
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The D10xD10 system that Cyborg Commando used is my least favorite die mechanic i’ve Ever run across. There is a blurb in the rules talking about it providing a more bell shaped result curve an that most people cat multiply fast then they can add. The curve part may be true but in practice people stare at the dice blankly trying to not add them or interpret them as a d100 for several seconds before rembering how multiplication works.
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D4 are a pain to roll (i know there are D8s and D12s doing the job but they're just not the fire platonic solid and themes are important)

I don't like pools of anything other then cubes (D6s of all kinds are swell cause they stack) and they need some restraint in numbers.

The ones I currently love are D6 colors D12 zodiac and my very own point vector plane volume Tesseract/Tetracube/Hypercube...

8D6

Point 1
Vector33
Plane:

Volume: D6

Point: 1d6
Vector: 2d6
Plane: 4d6
Volume: 8d6

https://anydice.com/program/11a20

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Hard to go wrong with d20/d% if you're just looking for a binary result. This is one thing RPGs got right the first time around. For qualitative results, I'm less picky.

Conversely, I still don't like nonlinear systems for binary results. We're supposed to be geeks - why are we using 3d6 to answer pass/fail questions? Nobody in the real world would ever do this.

Also not a fan of incomprehensible dice pools. Half the time, I get the sense that the designers don't really understand the math, either.
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Harry Lee
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I'm a big fan of the curve on 2d6, which gets used in a lot of Apocalypse Engine stuff, as well as some of my favorite board games. I struggle a bit with custom dice with lots of symbology, like in the Fantasy Flight Star Wars game.
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Chris L
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I have come to be all about the pragmatics.
Get the result quickly. Resolve. Move on.

So, I don't care whether you roll 1d20, 2d6, or d%, so long as everyone rolls the same thing every time. When it's time to roll, there's no decisions about what to roll. Just pick it/them up and toss.

Not my first choice, but I can tolerate a small dice pool (up to about six dice) preferentially with a result like choose highest rather than anything additive or counting successes.

Things I'll avoid entirely:
Exploding dice.
Dice pools composed of multiple kinds of dice.
Making sets or matches.
Summing more than about five dice.
Anything else that increases the amount of time deciding what to roll or reading the dice after they're rolled or determining the result of the roll.
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Rebus Carnival
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The dice are ritual objects and I am usually not overly concerned with the system governing them. The value is in focusing the table's attention on the action and appealing to the spirits for an answer. I like a lot of variety of dice for the obfuscation they provides. Systems with a lot of after-roll adjustment take away the excitement, but I think a little bump is good for morale.

Craps is best. I especially like to utilize hard ways in my 2d6. And exploding dice. Otherwise, simplest is bestest and the fewer rolls the better.

I don't especially like the d100 system. Maybe because you are rolling two dice for one number? Perhaps because of the illusion of precision that the % offers. It has also always seemed silly that you could be only 42% good at driving. To be fair, the silly skill system from 3e, etc, has the same issue, but it has auto-success baked in.

Please note it has been a long time since I have played a BRP game.
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Systems when you throw more than one d6 at a time are my preference. I've always preferred that bell curve look rather than the seemingly flat results of 1d20 rolls. Besides d6 is easily obtainable by anyone and they usually have a plethora of them in several board games somewhere; seems to make it easier to get them into RPG faster.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Geoffrey Burrell
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My favorite is D6. My least favorite is the D100 because is so hard to control.
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Badger242 wrote:
The D10xD10 system

That was definitely a solution in search of a problem.
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shiva666 wrote:

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Paolo Robino
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pdzoch wrote:
What are your favourite, and your least favoured, dice mechanisms (2d6, 1d20, 1d100, etc.), and why?

Favorite: dice pool, preferably d6s. Reason: I like to throw dice, preferably more than two but less then 10. D6s rolls fine, and I like pips.

Least favorite: d%. Reason: too spelt out, i.e. boring. I will play gladly anyway, it's not a deal-breaker.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Give me Fudge Dice or give me death.
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Least favourite: Dice Step (variable dice vs. static target) and multiple dice exploding at the same time.

Second least favourite: extensive "playing" with your dice after rolling, such as One Roll Engine (ORE) and FFG divinatory dice.

Favourite: d100, blackjack method.
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Frank Eisenhauer
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I favour d100 because everybody, even a first time player understands the probabilities involved.
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True Blue Jon
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I like flat dice curves as chances of success and failure are easy to figure out. Bell curves are just unnecessary complexity and dice pools are the worst.
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Marshall Miller
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There are so many sides to dice! Overall, I like 2d6 and simple dice pool mechanisms. I want to be preserve some of the magic of the uncertainty while still being able to use intuition and heuristics to feel like I'm making actual decisions. Percentile systems are my least favorite. Percentile systems break the spell and kind of flatten the game experience, asking me to take off my creative hat and put on my analytic hat. For example, playing a game with an odds table in front of me totally changes the experience (often for the worse).
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