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> Shadowrun Dice Mechanic, with a Poll!
Dice Mechanic
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Draco18s
post Dec 31 2014, 03:13 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi @ Dec 30 2014, 03:59 PM) *
Serenity is literally one of the worst dice systems I have ever seen. The more skilled you are, the less dependable your skill is, as the statistical variability climbs as well. It is, literally, the reverse of a good system.


Dogs in the Vineyard is one of the "multisize" systems I've seen that I think works "pretty well." Because it's a bidding system. Rolling a 4 on a d4 is just as valuable as rolling a 4 on a d12 (that is to say: not very, but still better than a 1, 2, and 3). The larger die sizes give you access to those higher values, because you can't ever use more than two dice on the defense and one on the attack. But you roll everything first and get to use the results as you please.

The problem came from running out of sources of more dice and being stuck with the low numbers. The cinematic feeling of "I jump through the window (I get my d8 for doing physical stuff) and brandish my Excellent Bible (2d6 because that's the equipment's value) at the demon" goes away.
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Demonseed Elite
post Jan 1 2015, 05:18 PM
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Rolling multiple d6s (the infamous "bucket of d6s") just feels like Shadowrun to me and I wouldn't want to see it go away. In fact, I was at GenCon last year with two people who had never played Shadowrun before. They played a demo at the CGL booth and that night when we were all drinking at Scotty's Brewhouse, they could not stop talking about how cathartic it felt to be rolling so many d6s. It was a novel and fun concept to them that really became central to how they viewed Shadowrun.
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Method
post Jan 1 2015, 09:40 PM
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I don't particularly like the d100 roll under mechanic of EP. The way opposed tests work is just weird.

I've been running Dark Heresy using a d100 roll over system, wherein [skill+mods+d100] > 100 = success. This seems odd at first glance but it works because the d100 does not generate a probability curve, just a threshold so the probabliity is the same. For example, if your skill level is 70 your chances of rolling under on a d100 is 70/100. If your skill is 70 and you need a 30+ to sum to 100, there are 70/100 chances of rolling a number 30 or greater. This has three advantages: 1.) the goal is to roll higher numbers (which seems more intuitive especially to new players), 2.) almost all the math becomes addition (which is faster and easier for most people) and 3.) degrees of success are easy to calculate (every 10 points over 100 = 1 degree of success).

But I agree with most, that SR just doesn't feel right without d6 dice pools. I personally prefer the SR4 system.
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Cain
post Jan 2 2015, 07:09 AM
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QUOTE (Demonseed Elite @ Jan 1 2015, 09:18 AM) *
Rolling multiple d6s (the infamous "bucket of d6s") just feels like Shadowrun to me and I wouldn't want to see it go away. In fact, I was at GenCon last year with two people who had never played Shadowrun before. They played a demo at the CGL booth and that night when we were all drinking at Scotty's Brewhouse, they could not stop talking about how cathartic it felt to be rolling so many d6s. It was a novel and fun concept to them that really became central to how they viewed Shadowrun.

I don't know that it needs "buckets", but lots of d6's is part of the fun of Shadowrun. I also think exploding 6's is part of the fun: even when you don't actually need to roll that high, getting that insane result is a lot of fun. I understand, sort of, why they took it out for SR4-- makes the system really swingy-- but it also feels less exciting to me.

For example, I run a kid's game of Savage Worlds. All dice explode in that system, and while there's usually some reward for beating the TN by enough, it doesn't always scale-- often, the rewards cap out. Still, I saw a kid roll a d4 for a success test, and get a 46. Everyone was watching with baited breath as the dice kept exploding, and cheered when he topped out. It didn't matter that there wasn't any really big benefit to the roll, he got a huge roll and won, and that felt great to everyone.

That was part of the fun of early Shadowrun. Exploding dice systems have issues with swinginess, but they're a heck of a lot of fun too.
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Blade
post Jan 2 2015, 11:08 AM
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Fun story (don't remember where I read that so it might not be true): Shadowrun was designed with D10 in mind until someone told the team that using D6 would be better since people already know them and you can find them anywhere and it would set Shadowrun apart from other games. So the team had to update the rules to use D6, leading to the 6/7 problem (the 10/11 problem existed with D10 but was less common).

Personally I don't care. Shadowrun for me is about stories, it's about life in the Shadows, it's not about rolling buckets of D6. For my very short-lived HK campaign, I replaced dice with mahjong tiles, and it was better for the immersion than D6.
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Spielmeister
post Jan 3 2015, 04:00 AM
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QUOTE (Blade @ Jan 2 2015, 05:08 AM) *
For my very short-lived HK campaign, I replaced dice with mahjong tiles, and it was better for the immersion than D6.

How did that work? Sounds intriguing. And I've got a set of tiles.
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Blade
post Jan 5 2015, 09:44 AM
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I think I've already posted something about it...
It's here. But I'm currently working on a new (hopefully better) system, that can also use mahjong tiles (or regular playing cards).
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Siygess
post Jan 9 2015, 11:34 AM
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I'm firmly in the floating target numbers and exploding dice camp of 3rd Edition and I do link the ubiquitous d6 to Shadowrun instinctively. I do have gripes and of course no system is perfect, for example the mentioned fact that a roll of 6 is the same as 7, 12 is the same as 13 etc; and when a player rolls a crazy 46 for some test and thinks they've done brilliantly just for you to tell them "yeah but that's still just one success" (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

The whole buckets o' dice of 4th and 5th edition really put me off as does the Attribute + Skill system. Too far weighted towards attributes for my liking.
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tete
post Jan 14 2015, 10:15 PM
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Idk how to vote, while I like fixed tn with hits I dislike how they used it. I prefer the older style overall (similar to how Cain said when it all fits togeather) but as a general rule is prefer a fixed tn, just not the way it was done
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tete
post Jan 14 2015, 10:19 PM
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double post
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tete
post Jan 14 2015, 10:19 PM
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QUOTE (Blade @ Jan 2 2015, 12:08 PM) *
Fun story (don't remember where I read that so it might not be true): Shadowrun was designed with D10 in mind until someone told the team that using D6 would be better since people already know them and you can find them anywhere and it would set Shadowrun apart from other games. So the team had to update the rules to use D6, leading to the 6/7 problem (the 10/11 problem existed with D10 but was less common).

Personally I don't care. Shadowrun for me is about stories, it's about life in the Shadows, it's not about rolling buckets of D6. For my very short-lived HK campaign, I replaced dice with mahjong tiles, and it was better for the immersion than D6.


I think where you heard it got it wrong, both shadowrun and vampire mechanics were designed by Tom dowd. Shadowrun first, the Internet lore goes that vampire was him tweaking the shadowrun system (at least partially true)
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Cain
post Jan 15 2015, 11:29 AM
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Like I said, fixed TN can work, but not in a vacuum.

Classic Shadowrun's dice mechanic looked complex on paper, but in reality it was easy to deal with. Almost all the situational modifiers the GM had to deal with were TN modifiers: you just raised or lowered the TN, which was fairly easy to eyeball. The amount of dice rolled was on the player, they had to figure how many dice they needed-- usually an easy proposition, since base dice was always equal to skill. That meant the GM had fewer things to calculate, and there was less room for miscommunication.

SR4-onward, everything modifies the dice pool. In theory, this is simpler. In practice, the GM has to play the modifier counting game; but now, you can't eyeball it as neatly,because if you get it wrong by even one die, you might shift the outcome in the wrong fashion. Players are also more apt to argue, since it's right there in front of them-- they can see exactly what the modifiers are. On top of that, the player controls a fair number of modifiers on their part, and if they add wrong, they could swing from too easy to screwing themselves, depending on how everything comes together.

Basically, unless you have the player's sheet completely memorized, there's no way of tracking if they're rolling correctly. They might slip up by a die or two, or they might even be adding things together completely wrong. (I had this happen when I started running 4.0-- a player at Missions kept adding his Logic to his computer rolls, and I didn't catch it for a while.) Or, they might be cheating, and not adding in your modifiers properly. Unless you do a dice audit every single roll, you can't keep up.
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Siygess
post Jan 15 2015, 12:07 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 15 2015, 11:29 AM) *
Basically, unless you have the player's sheet completely memorized, there's no way of tracking if they're rolling correctly. They might slip up by a die or two, or they might even be adding things together completely wrong. (I had this happen when I started running 4.0-- a player at Missions kept adding his Logic to his computer rolls, and I didn't catch it for a while.) Or, they might be cheating, and not adding in your modifiers properly. Unless you do a dice audit every single roll, you can't keep up.


Fixed TN can have a similar degree of *coughs* fudging when it comes to dicerolls but I agree it's far easier to spot than with the humungous amounts of dice being dropped with SR4/5. I still have problems with my SR3 group and their dice pools though, so it's not just limited to the higher editions.
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nezumi
post Jan 15 2015, 02:06 PM
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Since I run mostly pbp or with newbies, I hadn't appreciated the value of separating the players' side from the GM's. Good thoughts, Cain.
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Cain
post Jan 16 2015, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE (Siygess @ Jan 15 2015, 04:07 AM) *
Fixed TN can have a similar degree of *coughs* fudging when it comes to dicerolls but I agree it's far easier to spot than with the humungous amounts of dice being dropped with SR4/5. I still have problems with my SR3 group and their dice pools though, so it's not just limited to the higher editions.

True, but the smaller overall dice pools make it easier to catch major gaffes, as well as fewer sources of dice.

For example, in 3e, I might say: "Why are you rolling 12 dice for that test?"

"Well, I have a skill of 6, and I'm spending 6 combat pool."

Versus:

"Why are you rolling twenty-six dice for that test? You're at a -3 penalty."

"Yes, but I also have the magical furby helping me for six extra dice, and I'm using the modifier on the social chart from p1411 in this book, and the one from the sidebar in that book for another +4, and I've got this piece of gear you've never heard of before for an extra two, and the moon is rising and the sun is in Venus. So, twenty-six!"
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Siygess
post Jan 16 2015, 09:50 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 16 2015, 01:46 AM) *
True, but the smaller overall dice pools make it easier to catch major gaffes, as well as fewer sources of dice.

For example, in 3e, I might say: "Why are you rolling 12 dice for that test?"

"Well, I have a skill of 6, and I'm spending 6 combat pool."

Versus:

"Why are you rolling twenty-six dice for that test? You're at a -3 penalty."

"Yes, but I also have the magical furby helping me for six extra dice, and I'm using the modifier on the social chart from p1411 in this book, and the one from the sidebar in that book for another +4, and I've got this piece of gear you've never heard of before for an extra two, and the moon is rising and the sun is in Venus. So, twenty-six!"


Oh I completely agree, your example and the complete setting reboot is the main reason I kept well away from Shadowrun 4 onwards.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 16 2015, 03:38 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 15 2015, 06:46 PM) *
True, but the smaller overall dice pools make it easier to catch major gaffes, as well as fewer sources of dice.

For example, in 3e, I might say: "Why are you rolling 12 dice for that test?"

"Well, I have a skill of 6, and I'm spending 6 combat pool."

Versus:

"Why are you rolling twenty-six dice for that test? You're at a -3 penalty."

"Yes, but I also have the magical furby helping me for six extra dice, and I'm using the modifier on the social chart from p1411 in this book, and the one from the sidebar in that book for another +4, and I've got this piece of gear you've never heard of before for an extra two, and the moon is rising and the sun is in Venus. So, twenty-six!"


Except that it is not as bad as you make it out to be... especially if your players are not actually throwing inordinate amounts of dice. And, Even if they are, it STILL isn't as bad as you make it out to be.

"What's your base Dice Pool?"
"16"
"Subtract 3"
"Okay, Rolling 13 Dice".

See, pretty damned simple, really. Works for any Initial DP. The calculation is trivial. If it does not go that fast, you are doing something wrong.
If, as a GM, you have to have a DP Breakdown/explanation for every roll, you are also probably doing something wrong. AS a GM, you SHOULD ALREADY know what the players high ands low pools are and for what - you approved the character after all. Everything else is gravy.
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Cain
post Jan 17 2015, 12:25 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jan 16 2015, 07:38 AM) *
Except that it is not as bad as you make it out to be... especially if your players are not actually throwing inordinate amounts of dice. And, Even if they are, it STILL isn't as bad as you make it out to be.

"What's your base Dice Pool?"
"16"
"Subtract 3"
"Okay, Rolling 13 Dice".

See, pretty damned simple, really. Works for any Initial DP. The calculation is trivial. If it does not go that fast, you are doing something wrong.
If, as a GM, you have to have a DP Breakdown/explanation for every roll, you are also probably doing something wrong. AS a GM, you SHOULD ALREADY know what the players high ands low pools are and for what - you approved the character after all. Everything else is gravy.

Well, first problem: define "base dice pool".

SR4.5 doesn't distinguish between dice sources. So, even though your base might be stat + skill, in practice there's a ton of modifiers that will consistently come into play. Like smartlinks-- technically, they're a modifier, and not an addition to the base pool. However, I've almost never seen a person not use it.

Second, if you think anybody can memorize all their dice pools, let alone the major ones, why on earth do they need character sheets? You can just tell them their dice pools every single time, right? I know your gaming group is apocryphical, but that's just silly.

Third, sometimes the player is tracking modifiers you're not aware of, or can't keep track of. Wound modifiers are a big one-- you might remember how many boxes of damage they have, but can you recall exactly how much High Pain Tolerance they took? Or social modifiers, especially since those change quickly. Or, in 5e, Adept Centering: they might be able to offset your penalties, which also doesn't affect the base dice pool.

Fourth, there is no way you can keep track of every applicable modifier at once. In SR4.5, the core book lists 38 possible social modifiers. Not all of them can be applied at once, but here's the question: without looking, can you recite them all from memory?

Obviously not. On top of that, that list only covers purely social modifiers, it doesn't include things like wound penalties, racial abilities, situational bonuses, etc. Which are even more things you have to keep in mind.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Jan 17 2015, 06:48 PM
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Whatever works best I guess. But I do like the shadowrun mechanic for the most part. I like levels of success. And I think the die roll plus modifier style systems or the roll under systems don't usually have a good balance of die roll to the characters ability. If I roll 1d20+9 almost everything is dependent on the d20. With the Shadowrun system that is technically still true but it feels different as each die gives you a shot to get a success.

Now I think shadowrun has issues. It's got a poor attribute to skill balance in 4e on the fixed TN while okay a 5 on a d6 is a really bad choice IMO. It forces a level of dice pool inflation I don't like to feel any level of difference between characters. It's not as bad vs thresholds as they do seem to make each hit a big difference but in opposed tests dude A with a 6 skill who is supposed to be a professional vs a 1 skill total just starter will have the 1 hit difference way too often and that feels like barely any difference as opposed to a massive skill difference that it's supposed to be. Also the variable dice pool is a bit slower than I like. There are just too many modifiers it's like a few rounds into a high level 4e game where you start tracking a dozen modifiers to figure out what to roll.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 18 2015, 01:39 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 17 2015, 05:25 AM) *
Well, first problem: define "base dice pool".


I get my total DP together before GM modified additions and subtractions. Done.

QUOTE
SR4.5 doesn't distinguish between dice sources. So, even though your base might be stat + skill, in practice there's a ton of modifiers that will consistently come into play. Like smartlinks-- technically, they're a modifier, and not an addition to the base pool. However, I've almost never seen a person not use it.


Doesn't need to... Most of those modifiers can already be accounted for. Have a Smartlink, +2 DP Modifier, accounted for right on the character sheet. Easy Peasy. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

QUOTE
Second, if you think anybody can memorize all their dice pools, let alone the major ones, why on earth do they need character sheets? You can just tell them their dice pools every single time, right? I know your gaming group is apocryphical, but that's just silly.


You don't need to... You have a character sheet. My Character sheet, for example, totals all my permanent adds to DP, so I have a Base DP before any situational mods. Again, basic math and notation makes this an easy proposition. Maybe your group has issues with math, I don't know.

QUOTE
Third, sometimes the player is tracking modifiers you're not aware of, or can't keep track of. Wound modifiers are a big one-- you might remember how many boxes of damage they have, but can you recall exactly how much High Pain Tolerance they took? Or social modifiers, especially since those change quickly. Or, in 5e, Adept Centering: they might be able to offset your penalties, which also doesn't affect the base dice pool.


Again, players SHOULD be in control of their DP's prior to GM mods. If they cannot perform basic math functions, maybe Shadowrun isn't for them. Making the GM responsible for everyone is ludicrous. The only data that need be passed on between them at dice roll time is the GM's DP modifiers and the Players roll result.

QUOTE
Fourth, there is no way you can keep track of every applicable modifier at once. In SR4.5, the core book lists 38 possible social modifiers. Not all of them can be applied at once, but here's the question: without looking, can you recite them all from memory?


That is why cheat sheets were invented. I have several sheets on hand to reference these things without having to go to the book. Don't you?

QUOTE
Obviously not. On top of that, that list only covers purely social modifiers, it doesn't include things like wound penalties, racial abilities, situational bonuses, etc. Which are even more things you have to keep in mind.


Which again is why the PLAYER should shoulder some of that burden.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 18 2015, 01:42 AM
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QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Jan 17 2015, 11:48 AM) *
Whatever works best I guess. But I do like the shadowrun mechanic for the most part. I like levels of success. And I think the die roll plus modifier style systems or the roll under systems don't usually have a good balance of die roll to the characters ability. If I roll 1d20+9 almost everything is dependent on the d20. With the Shadowrun system that is technically still true but it feels different as each die gives you a shot to get a success.

Now I think shadowrun has issues. It's got a poor attribute to skill balance in 4e on the fixed TN while okay a 5 on a d6 is a really bad choice IMO. It forces a level of dice pool inflation I don't like to feel any level of difference between characters. It's not as bad vs thresholds as they do seem to make each hit a big difference but in opposed tests dude A with a 6 skill who is supposed to be a professional vs a 1 skill total just starter will have the 1 hit difference way too often and that feels like barely any difference as opposed to a massive skill difference that it's supposed to be. Also the variable dice pool is a bit slower than I like. There are just too many modifiers it's like a few rounds into a high level 4e game where you start tracking a dozen modifiers to figure out what to roll.


A single net hit unopposed is a success, so why should the world's best whatever NEED to attain more than a single net hit unopposed? When they are opposed, the superior guy will still get that one net hit more often than not. Now, Inherent ability also plays a part in that. nd maybe the guy with more inherent ability (higher Stat) can still outperform the guy with higher skill but little inherent ability. And maybe some additional skills should not be defaultable with no skill, but that is another discussion entirely.

Maybe a better way to say it is: Why does someone with a Skill 6 need an exceptional success every time they roll the dice?
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tete
post Jan 18 2015, 01:58 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jan 18 2015, 01:42 AM) *
A single net hit unopposed is a success, so why should the world's best whatever NEED to attain more than a single net hit unopposed? When they are opposed, the superior guy will still get that one net hit more often than not. Now, Inherent ability also plays a part in that. nd maybe the guy with more inherent ability (higher Stat) can still outperform the guy with higher skill but little inherent ability. And maybe some additional skills should not be defaultable with no skill, but that is another discussion entirely.

Maybe a better way to say it is: Why does someone with a Skill 6 need an exceptional success every time they roll the dice?

There's alot of corner cases where that isn't true, anything that's an extended test for example, mostly dealing with building stuff but that the guys I usually play with tend toward the build a bomb/drug/mod a car crowd so maybe I see it more often than most. I'm not saying the old way is any better for these cases though just that there are many cases where you need more than a single hit
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Cain
post Jan 18 2015, 01:35 PM
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QUOTE
Making the GM responsible for everyone is ludicrous.


Really? But didn't you just say:
QUOTE
If, as a GM, you have to have a DP Breakdown/explanation for every roll, you are also probably doing something wrong. AS a GM, you SHOULD ALREADY know what the players high ands low pools are and for what - you approved the character after all. Everything else is gravy.


So, you should ALREADY KNOW what everyone's major dice pools are... but also, you shouldn't be responsible?

Which is it?

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Grinder
post Jan 18 2015, 02:23 PM
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Cain, TJ: move it to PMs.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 18 2015, 04:58 PM
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QUOTE (tete @ Jan 17 2015, 06:58 PM) *
There's alot of corner cases where that isn't true, anything that's an extended test for example, mostly dealing with building stuff but that the guys I usually play with tend toward the build a bomb/drug/mod a car crowd so maybe I see it more often than most. I'm not saying the old way is any better for these cases though just that there are many cases where you need more than a single hit


You are right that the corner cases need some attention, but in the grand scheme of things, I do not see an Olympic Level athlete always putting out exceptional successes no matter what he does, and I don't see someone who has the basic skill level to actually succeed failing all that much. The middle ground is where it does get interesting, and I don't think that I want a difference of 4 skill ranks to be all that glaring in that middle ground.
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