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> Stupid idea about the core rules in SR, Messing with dice pools and the entire dice mechanic
Juca Bala
post Jul 31 2014, 12:58 AM
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Hi guys, maybe I'm having too much free time, but I was thinking about the underlying mechanic in Shadowrun. I really despise the amount of dice rolled everytime anyone tries to do anything, and, at the same time, don't like the importance given to attributes on determining the dice pools and the wild variability of results.
So, thinking about it, what can be the complications in using only the skills as the dice pool, the associated attribute as the limit for the test... AND lowering the target number on the dice from 5 to 4, raising the success chances of each die from 1/3 to 1/2? This will result in lower dice pools without lowering that much the amount the success and will make the results less wildly variable.
As I said before, I only began to tinker with it on my head, but what do you guys think? Doable? Any problems, bugs or things like it? One thing that I already noted is that the probability of at least 1 success will be very high, so maybe 1 success is only a marginal success (a grazing hit in combat), and, effectively, all tests are at least threshold 2, also, probably transform some dice penalty in threshold increases, like range in ranged combat.

Thanks and sorry for the broken english.
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DeathStrobe
post Jul 31 2014, 04:08 AM
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Sounds interesting.

How would you handle characters that have no points in a skill for default tests?
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CaptRory
post Jul 31 2014, 07:37 AM
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How does this interact with the Edge mechanic?
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Erik Baird
post Jul 31 2014, 07:52 AM
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Sounds like you want to reinvent the 1st/2nd/3rd ed. mechanics. Just look up the 3rd ed. rules. They probably do what you want already.
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Blade
post Jul 31 2014, 09:20 AM
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I've done something a bit similar for my (short lived) HK campaign, that was played with mahjong tiles instead of dice.
Since the mahjong tiles were used (more or less) as d2 (draw a tile from your pool, depending on the type of tile it's either a hit or a fail), I divided the pools by two.

It looks like your idea leads to more or less the same case: pools divided by two and use of "d2" dice.

Normally this leads to a probability curve that isn't very different from the one in the base rules, with less granularity. I can't tell you much about my own experience, first because we only played two games with these rules, and second because I also had some special rules for combat (that took into account the value of the tile)

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Juca Bala
post Jul 31 2014, 10:57 AM
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Erik, actually 3rd edition still are my favored rules for Shadowrun, its only for the sake of exercising the rules mongering in me. Also, 3rd edition variable TN can be a pain sometimes.
Yes, I don't know how well the edge rules and non-trained skill use can interact with this, maybe like 3rd edition did, but with raised threshold instead of raised TNs.
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nezumi
post Jul 31 2014, 01:04 PM
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QUOTE (Erik Baird @ Jul 31 2014, 03:52 AM) *
Sounds like you want to reinvent the 1st/2nd/3rd ed. mechanics. Just look up the 3rd ed. rules. They probably do what you want already.


No, he's just trying to reduce the number of dice in his cup.

When you're statting a character, everything is about the number of successes you can get, not the number of failures. So the failure dice are effectively 'empty', however you're still rolling, throwing, and counting them. By reducing how many dice are failures, you reduce the number of dice you have to throw in order to get stuff done.

The issue arises that you're reducing the value by 1/6. It's difficult if not impossible to rework the current mechanics using the new rules and still get the same probability curve. However, that probably isn't desirable in the first place, so not the biggest issue. The easiest fix is to reduce all caps by 1/6, and increase all costs by 1/6.

But then, that begs the question; if reducing the number of dice thrown is your goal, why not reduce the TN to 2? Reduce all costs and caps by 1/3, so your max skill is 4 instead of 6.
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Juca Bala
post Jul 31 2014, 01:52 PM
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Nezumi, because that way I'm getting a 50% chance in each dice, with is more streamlined from a probability point of view and also enables me to use any dice that I might have.
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nezumi
post Jul 31 2014, 03:27 PM
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Okay, I have to say, you are the first person I've ever met who complained about having dice, but not the right ones for Shadowrun!!

But you're right. 50% probability is easier to replicate. Other dice, coins, buttons, anything.

You could also represent that with fewer, larger dice. For example, 2 of your coin flips is equal to a single d4 roll: 1=failure, 2 or 3=1 Success, 4=2 Successes. Probably moving in the direction of more complexity which isn't what you want, but it's available.
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killstring
post Jul 31 2014, 03:51 PM
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I think it's doable, though any time you enact a change of this scale, you're likely introducing a number of bugs as well. I think you'd probably want to playtest it extensively, see what comes up.

Another approach could be skills as dice escalation -- this is pretty much cribbed from Cortex and Fantasy Flight's Star Wars line (which is flawed, but utterly delightful) -- but what if instead of additive dice pools, your dice staged up in size, i.e. d6's become d8's, and so on?

Here's what I mean.

Sally the Sammy has Agility 6 and Automatics 6: she rolls 12 dice, succeeding on 5's and 6's, which averages out to ~ 3d6=1 success. Sally can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hits on average. So, that's our baseline.

With the revised proposal, instead of rolling 12 d6, Sally rolls 6 d8. Now, this is slightly worse for Sally, she should expect 1 less hit on average, but it illustrates what this might look like.

Now, if Sally has a smartlink, maybe that adds more dice, or maybe it stages dice up instead. I like the idea of capping your dicepool size at your attribute, so maybe instead of +2 to her dicepool, it upgrades her 2 highest dice again, which would give her a dicepool of 4d8+2d12. That's an average of 2 hits from the 4d8, and 1.33 hits from the d12s which is... not super impressive.

*Shrug* Doing it this way reduces net expected successes, and keeps things more constrained in terms of escalation, which may or may not be desirable depending on your table. Also, getting too fiddly with which dice to use may exacerbate the original issue. I like this idea, I like the original idea. I like ideas, generally. I wouldn't use either of these in my games, but it's fun to think about. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

TL:DRI like your idea! Here's another idea! Ideas!
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jul 31 2014, 04:24 PM
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How about just not escalating Dice Pools to the Ludicrous stage? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
Of course, what one considers Ludicrous others may see as a baseline competence. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)
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nezumi
post Jul 31 2014, 04:56 PM
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Dice escalation as such is pretty terrible from a statistics point of view. While your average success goes up, the standard deviation does too. What this means is more skilled characters find their skill is less consistent.

However, like most of the problems in our lives, Math has a solution!

The answer is to adjust the value of fail/success as the dice gets higher. So for example:

Skill 1--d2, 1=Fail, 2=Success
Skill 2--d4, 1=Fail, 2, 3=Success, 4=2 successes
Skill 3--d8, 1=Fail, 2, 3, 4=Success, 5, 6, 7=2 success, 8=3 successes
...

Easy!
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killstring
post Jul 31 2014, 05:44 PM
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I do like the "higher numbers = more successes" thing you've got going there.

I'm not actually particularly enthused about dice escalation in Shadowrun, it does make things feel far too swingy for what it's supposed to be representing.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jul 31 2014, 06:08 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 31 2014, 09:56 AM) *
Dice escalation as such is pretty terrible from a statistics point of view. While your average success goes up, the standard deviation does too. What this means is more skilled characters find their skill is less consistent.

However, like most of the problems in our lives, Math has a solution!

The answer is to adjust the value of fail/success as the dice gets higher. So for example:

Skill 1--d2, 1=Fail, 2=Success
Skill 2--d4, 1=Fail, 2, 3=Success, 4=2 successes
Skill 3--d8, 1=Fail, 2, 3, 4=Success, 5, 6, 7=2 success, 8=3 successes
...

Easy!


No so easy. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
That is Tedious.
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nezumi
post Jul 31 2014, 06:14 PM
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I don't find it especially tedious, but finding a d16, a d32, and a d64 MAY be a little tough.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jul 31 2014, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 31 2014, 11:14 AM) *
I don't find it especially tedious, but finding a d16, a d32, and a d64 MAY be a little tough.


D2 to D4 to D6 to D8 to D12 to D20 to D100... Why you need anything else? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
Keeping in mind it is somewhat like Earthdawn dice progressions (which I truly do not like, though I know others love it).
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nezumi
post Jul 31 2014, 10:20 PM
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Because only a handful of those are powers of two. Since OP went with a .5 probability, mapping it to powers of two is trivial. A set of d2/4/8/16/32/64 lets you mimic the dice system he originally suggested, without the use of d6s.

(Realistically, I don't know why anyone would use a d10 or, ugh, a d20. The probability curves for numbers with 5s get quickly not-fun.)
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jul 31 2014, 11:10 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 31 2014, 03:20 PM) *
Because only a handful of those are powers of two. Since OP went with a .5 probability, mapping it to powers of two is trivial. A set of d2/4/8/16/32/64 lets you mimic the dice system he originally suggested, without the use of d6s.

(Realistically, I don't know why anyone would use a d10 or, ugh, a d20. The probability curves for numbers with 5s get quickly not-fun.)


(IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) Well then, good luck with finding those dice.
Me, I just keep my DP's somewhat sane. Always worked for me. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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SpellBinder
post Aug 1 2014, 01:21 AM
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Related to the OP, in the SR4/a core book there were options for more cinematic game play where the target number was changed from 5 to 4.

And if you want smaller dice pools and better chances of success, make Attributes relevant again but with a twist. Take the higher of the relevant Attribute or skill and that's how many dice you get for the test, but the lower number represents how many are d8 instead of d6.
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Sendaz
post Aug 1 2014, 02:15 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jul 31 2014, 05:26 PM) *
D2 to D4 to D6 to D8 to D12 to D20 to D100... Why you need anything else? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
Keeping in mind it is somewhat like Earthdawn dice progressions (which I truly do not like, though I know others love it).

Heh, try Mindscape sometime with cycles of d6, d8 and d10 plus a special d16 doubling die thrown in as a wild card.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 1 2014, 04:23 PM
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QUOTE (Sendaz @ Aug 1 2014, 08:15 AM) *
Heh, try Mindscape sometime with cycles of d6, d8 and d10 plus a special d16 doubling die thrown in as a wild card.


No thanks...
I will stick with my FATE, nWOD, and Shadowrun games... with an occasional DnD3.5 Black Company or L5R game thrown in for good measure... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Sengir
post Aug 2 2014, 12:38 AM
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Assuming somebody with attribute X and skill X, the increased success probability would not quite offset the loss of half the dice pool. Also, since it's unlikely to get 5 hits even with skill 5 or 6, high attributes would become somewhat pointless unless aiming for a longer campaign (in other words, players must guess how long the campaign will run and build their chars accordingly).

Possible solution for both: Give players 1 or 2 "default dice" on every skill in addition to their rating.
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Draco18s
post Aug 2 2014, 04:25 AM
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You want weird, I'll give you weird.

Higher your skill, the SMALLER the die you use.

Prime numbers are a "success"
1 is considered prime.

(And yes, this works statistically, its kind of cool)
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Juca Bala
post Aug 2 2014, 11:24 AM
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QUOTE (Sengir @ Aug 1 2014, 07:38 PM) *
Assuming somebody with attribute X and skill X, the increased success probability would not quite offset the loss of half the dice pool. Also, since it's unlikely to get 5 hits even with skill 5 or 6, high attributes would become somewhat pointless unless aiming for a longer campaign (in other words, players must guess how long the campaign will run and build their chars accordingly).

Possible solution for both: Give players 1 or 2 "default dice" on every skill in addition to their rating.


Sengir, I was thinking about Shadowrun 5th edition, where the skill rating can go up to 12. Also, I don't know what to do with firearms bursts, as -9 to a already reduced skill pool is overkill (and I don't like the fact that shooting bullets like there is no tomorrow don't increase your chance to hit with at least one of them...). Maybe increase the dice pool by +1 for short bursts, +2 for long and +3 for full auto, to represent the fact that there is a lot of lead flying, making easier to hit the target with at least some of them.
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nezumi
post Aug 2 2014, 12:10 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Aug 2 2014, 12:25 AM) *
You want weird, I'll give you weird.

Higher your skill, the SMALLER the die you use.

Prime numbers are a "success"
1 is considered prime.

(And yes, this works statistically, its kind of cool)


Which dice would you use to represent your skills? It seems like most dice 'steps' don't have a huge change. d2 (100%) d3 (66%) d4(75%) d5(80%) d6(66% d7(72%) d8(63%) d9(56%) d10(50%).
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