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Brian M
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Not fond of bell curves - just makes figuring things out harder.

Not fond of "roll, add modifier, compare to TN".

Tend to enjoy rolling multiple dice vs. target number to generate some number of successes; gets a lot of versatility/information in a very quick fashion.

Multiple die types in a roll are probably impractical, but are kinda fun.
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henry proctor wrote:
I like my probability curves, so 3d6 has always pleased me.

Try using that to figure out whether somebody can trow a ball through a hoop, though.
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3rik de πrik
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E Decker wrote:
henry proctor wrote:
I like my probability curves, so 3d6 has always pleased me.

Try using that to figure out whether somebody can trow a ball through a hoop, though.

Roll 3d6. Result lower than or equal to your throwing skill? You made it. Result higher than your throwing skill? You missed.
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3rik wrote:
E Decker wrote:
henry proctor wrote:
I like my probability curves, so 3d6 has always pleased me.

Try using that to figure out whether somebody can trow a ball through a hoop, though.

Roll 3d6. Result lower than or equal to your throwing skill? You made it. Result higher than your throwing skill? You missed.

And I want big gaps in skill level in the middle and finer distinctions at the extremes because?

Sure, you can do it. It's better than 2d6 or 4d6, at least. But it's awkward. If no actual models of this sort of thing are designed this way, why do we insist on doing so?

I mean, it's not a big deal. I have no problem playing games with bell curves. But the idea that they're somehow better at this sort of thing is a bit odd, isn't it?

(But we've had this discussion before.)
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Roger Hobden
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eisenphx wrote:
I favour d100 because everybody, even a first time player understands the probabilities involved.


thumbsup

+1, forever.
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Quick real world example. Let's look at sports, because that's where the best data is.

The average NBA player can toss that ball through a hoop from the free throw line at pretty close to 12 or lower on 3d6. That's great! The number fits the dice!

(It's also coincidence. There's no skill level on a 3d6 curve that matches the average college player well, because the skill levels in that part of the curve are so far apart.)

But how do you handle a player who's a bit better or worse than average? Skill level 11 is really poor, while 13 is already excellent. And yet being able to model players whose abilities lie between those levels is important, because there are an awful lot of them, and that's also where a lot of games are won and lost.

Sure, you can find ways to work around those issues using bell curves, but that's unnecessary work, and the results can wind up being awkward. Why not just use percentages in the first place?

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The Grinch
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Paolo Robino wrote:
Least favorite: d%.


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I like 3d6 roll under. Notably with the + and - are applied to the skill/ability in question, not the roll; I find it helps set expectations easier - if you have a 17 or less in a skill then you will make almost all rolls, and most even with penalties - it helps for character immersion to me. Drawback of course can be limited granularity.

I find I like result that have the dice providing information on multiple Axis in one roll - the Genesys or FFG Star Wars Narrative dice allow for success and failure, something good or something bad happening, or something extreme happening (good or bad) - each separately with 1 roll of dice. HERO system normal damage where you count the pips for 1 type of damage and then a "1" means a zero, "6" means 2, all others mean 1 for a separate type of damage to track.

Least favorite - Flat probability - D20 or d100. Usually what I've seen is that the mods are sorta low, and the result is really dependent on dice - or the mods are high, which makes success or failure almost irrelevant to the dice roll. I've never seen the balance just right for me.
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Joseph Hellar
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i have two players that hate the d20 that go from 0 to 9 twice

had two in the loaner tin and they coundnt figure out why they coundnt get a roll higher then 9 all night
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Patrick Zoch
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I wonder how much everyone's prior gaming experience influences dice mechanic preferences. For example, some may not like d6 because because it feels like a boardgame mechanic. Some may not like multiple d6s because it feels like a wargame mechanic. Neither bother me, but there are not my preference because of how I associate them. I also recognize my bias for dice mechanics similar to my first rpg.

As long as it is easy to use and yields a probability of success consistent with my character's expected capability in face of a challenge, I am good.
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Dave B
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I think we've had this question (or something similar) before? Although it was like a year or two ago, so... whatever.

Someone at that time mentioned something about their friend making a golf ball a die, using all the dimples of the ball as numbers. That is so nuts, I love it, I'm going with that.

1d338! Or whatever it was.
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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I loathe dice pool systems with degree of success. The mechanics have too high of a variance and you end up with a lot of long tail events happening too frequently. Not fun. Dice pool at a target number of successes for binary success/failure can be okay, as long as there are constraints on the numbers of dice you're rolling.

I can deal with a lot of dice mechanics, and recognize their flaws. But the big thing they have to have going for them to be effective is constraint. The D&D Fifth Edition designers understood this. Many designers don't. You need to have constraints on the dice at some point so that you don't have characters who whip up unrealistic probabilities of success.

So at some point you need to put a constraint on. No more than 4 dice for skill. Dice are capped by some external restraint. You can't score more than N successes unless you have better equipment. Constraining the dice system provides better results, and is something that all designers need to do.
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Hans Messersmith
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Give me simple or crazy complicated. Its the middle ground I'm not fond of. Simple, because its simple. Crazy, because its fun.

Simple - 2d6, d20, d100
Crazy - Cortex plus, the One Ring, Warhammer 3E/Star Wars Edge of the Empire

Neither simple nor crazy enough - d6 dice pools like Blades in the dark
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Chris Abbott
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d20 because it was the first one I learned (AD&D) and I'm familiar with its quirks.

2d6 because it was the second one I learned (Classic Traveller) and I liked the simplicity.

I enjoyed the 2d20 mechanic in the new Conan. It led to some terrific, cinematic events in our session.

FFG Star Wars dice are fun to interpret and incorporate into a session. At the start, the players were not used to contributing directly to the narrative, but we got better as the game went on.

Have yet to play Savage Worlds...
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Emperors Grace
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sos1 wrote:
mb


Didn't know this existed. I just found a use for my last coupon.


I'm a bit fond of percentile systems (although I tend to allow partial successes with them - need 83 to hit but got 79? you winged him) but also the good old mixed set.

Dicepools tend to annoy me if they get huge (as sometimes in Shadowrun) just from a practical standpoint. When I have to drop 18 dice to figure something out, it's gone too far.
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pdzoch wrote:
I wonder how much everyone's prior gaming experience influences dice mechanic preferences.

Designer background tells me icon dice don't get used enough because when people complain about them it's about readability. Fudge dice are often suspiciously left out of icon dice discussionsninja...

Game designer influence tells me diversity for the win, to explore possibilities, I even try things I don't like.

I like % fine but would go further with d000 for example...
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Emperors Grace wrote:
sos1 wrote:
mb


Didn't know this existed. I just found a use for my last coupon.


Until I did the mouseover, I thought that was a pair of fuzzy dice to hang from a rear view mirror.
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Douglas Bailey
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I'm all over the map.

I like percentile roll-under systems because they make it easy to determine the odds, and I like dice-pool systems because they make it difficult to determine the odds. I generally prefer bell curves… but my favourite system is probably percentile dice, with a probability curve that's as flat as they come (though they do at least allow for very fine-grained distinctions of odds, unlike most flat 1dX systems).

2d6 systems put me off a bit; I think it's because I associate that particular curve with wargames. That may not be fair. And honestly, I'm not all that nuts about either 3d6 roll-under (GURPS) or 3d6 roll-and-add (AGE System), either. Maybe d6s just don't feel exotically polyhedral enough for me? No, it can't be that, because I like them in the D6 System and in Burning Wheel's dice-pool mechanism.

Not generally fond of custom dice, such as those from WFRP 3rd edition or the newer Star Wars games… but this hasn't stopped me buying the 5th edition of Legend of the Five Rings. My objection isn't just to the cost of the specialty dice, but also to their use of symbols which I find hard to remember and to assess quickly. Perhaps that's why L5R 5e doesn't bother me as much; it only has a small number of symbols (though even those are far too similar for ease of play).

I don't mind systems which encourage use of custom dice but are perfectly playable without them, like The One Ring or the Year Zero Engine and 2d20 System games.

Beyond that… I'm not keen on any system that requires huge fistfuls of dice for task resolution: I don't mind rolling 20d6 for fireball damage once in a while, but if I need to roll 10 dice to spot something or jump a pit I suspect I'll go off the game pretty quickly. (Inevitable exception: the One Roll Engine, which is a modified dice-pool and doesn't require me to actually add up that many dice.)

"Roll and keep" is a clever mechanic, but not one that I've optimized my brain for. I do really like the variant used in the One Roll Engine games, which still involves rolling and choosing which results to keep, but based on matches in the result set rather than a fixed number of kept dice.

Did I mention all over the map?
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Douglas Bailey
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“I would have made this instrumental, but the words got in the way...” —XTC, “No Language in Our Lungs”
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Jackal2k wrote:
I think we've had this question (or something similar) before? Although it was like a year or two ago, so... whatever.

Someone at that time mentioned something about their friend making a golf ball a die, using all the dimples of the ball as numbers. That is so nuts, I love it, I'm going with that.

1d338! Or whatever it was.

Pretty certain that was me; certainly one of my gamers did that during our freshman year of college (and I still game with him today!).

I don't remember the exact number of "faces" that ball had, but it was somewhere in the 320+ range; Google suggests that 336 is the most common number.
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Chuck Dee
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My favorite as of late is actually diceless. Strictly by the narrative and the other factors involved, especially when they also involve resource management that the player controls.

But as far as actual dice mechanics, the ones I favor are d6 based because you can always raid any boardgame box for more in a pinch.

In order of preference, using 2d6 (either add or subtract), dF, 3d6, and dice pool.

I have a soft spot for % after many years of RoleMaster and WFRP, and that tends to carry over to other d0 based systems also (storyteller and ORE)
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Caroline Berg
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I'm not particularly picky - I love dice mechanics of almost all types.

I find d6s boring, but you can't beat the ease of everyone having them on hand.

I like the simplicity of d%.

I love exploding dice and stepped dice (d4 -> d6 -> d8), because they are fun, not because of the probabilities involved!

I enjoy dice pools, though I do find rolling 20+ dice ridiculous. Not to mention it bogs down the game.

Roll and keep is nice, which mitigates bad rolls (unless they are truly atrocious).
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Club Squirrel
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I really don't mind.

Just let me roll them dice. cool
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Benj Davis
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Favourite: Cortex Plus' dice pools of different sizes of dice, adding up only the best two.

Honourable mention: Unknown Armies' Blackjack-style d100 rules.

Least favourite: anything where you need to roll serially.
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Peter Robben
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Favourite : Bell curves (Gurps) or bucket 'o' dice (Shadowrun)

The pack: d100, 2D6, 2D20, exploding dice with bennie rerolls

Least : D20

I like reliable results...
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Jamie Hardy
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Favorite: Percentile roll under system. It is natural because we are used to dealing with percents. It is easy to calculate and apply modifiers. It is easy to know if you succeed.

Least: Dice pool systems. This is because it is time consuming to count dice, large dice pools go everywhere, it is often difficult to understand how the odds are changed with the addition/subtraction of dice, and many systems I do not think properly compute the probabilities before creating the system.
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