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Author Topic: Removing separate damage rolls?  (Read 1142 times)

Manic Modron

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2021, 04:41:09 PM »
So far Soulbound is working out well as a dice pool game with the roll to hit and the roll to damage being the same roll.

You have your pool of D6's.  Your target number varies from two to six, depending on how good of a fighter you are vs how good of a fighter your opponent is.  It isn't a contested roll, you compare values and it is basically just a 1-6 set of values you are comparing.  Equal odds means a 4+ on each die.  The side that is one better rolls 3+ and the side that is one worse rolls 5+.  Better than that is a 2+ and worse than that is a 6+. 

One success is a hit.  Extra successes buy extra damage.  Armor reduces damage.

I only have a couple actual play sessions under my belt, but it has been pretty smooth so far.

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2021, 07:10:29 PM »
Looking at the above posts, I suspect the difficulty has to do with how much math is involved.

I generally think the hardest mental arithmetic anyone should have to do while actually playing a game is a maximum of double-digit addition and subtraction (for percentile systems), or single-digit multiplication. Anything harder than this breaks my immersion because I have to think about it too much. (I don't mind character design systems that require more complicated math or formulae than this, as long as it's all "front loaded" to be done before play starts.)

I'd be curious to get input from others about whether they think this tolerance is on the low or high side for gamers in general.
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Chris24601

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2021, 08:07:10 PM »
Looking at the above posts, I suspect the difficulty has to do with how much math is involved.

I generally think the hardest mental arithmetic anyone should have to do while actually playing a game is a maximum of double-digit addition and subtraction (for percentile systems), or single-digit multiplication. Anything harder than this breaks my immersion because I have to think about it too much. (I don't mind character design systems that require more complicated math or formulae than this, as long as it's all "front loaded" to be done before play starts.)

I'd be curious to get input from others about whether they think this tolerance is on the low or high side for gamers in general.
I’d say pretty on target. I’ll note though that some multipliers are easier than others; x10 is pretty much easier than even x2, and x25 is pretty easy too given the way change works.

I’ll also note that many of the systems that use multipliers tend to use rather small dice; Silhouette (Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronicles) uses opposed checks where a check is the best result of 1-4 six-siders (so a 5, 5, 3, 2 is a 5) + a modifier of about +/-3.

That puts a rare high end result of maybe 12 (each 6 after the first on the dice adds 1... so 6, 6, 6, 6 is 9 plus a 3 modifier), but 8-10 being more typical. Then subtract a similar result to get a margin of success of probably 1-4 and weapon multipliers for the mecha of x5 to about x15 for a really big gun. Those are relatively easy numbers to work with.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2021, 07:23:40 AM »
Looking at the above posts, I suspect the difficulty has to do with how much math is involved.

I generally think the hardest mental arithmetic anyone should have to do while actually playing a game is a maximum of double-digit addition and subtraction (for percentile systems), or single-digit multiplication. Anything harder than this breaks my immersion because I have to think about it too much. (I don't mind character design systems that require more complicated math or formulae than this, as long as it's all "front loaded" to be done before play starts.)

I'd be curious to get input from others about whether they think this tolerance is on the low or high side for gamers in general.

I'm naturally inclined to push the envelope on such things.  Math is not something that slows me down much, usually, until it gets into things no sane person would put in a game (and even then, it was because I'm rusty on some of the advanced stuff).  My group varies from "generally good at basic math" to considerably better than that.  Occasionally, I've had a person try to play that struggled even with basic addition (due to youth or lack of math interests), but for whatever reason either the player doesn't last or they get better at basic math really fast when playing.  The latter aspect of slightly challenging math improving the audience shouldn't be underestimated, even if it is a tertiary consideration.

Yet, I push hard now for simple as I can get, scraping out every little edge of simplicity while still meeting the goals of the design or the mechanic, rule, or house rule.  The reasons are primarily two things:

1. Accounting.  Almost everyone can balance their checkbook.  Almost no one enjoys it.  It's a chore.  When advancing your character or designing a monster feels like accounting, it's draining some of the fun out of it.  Then you get the distinction between what can be done out of the play session versus what will be done out of the play session.   Fantasy Hero is still as fun to run and play for me as it ever was.  Preparing?  Freaking nightmare of tedium.  That's coming from someone with so much system mastery that I could design 250 point monsters to the decimal point without opening the book.  High level D&D 3.* pushes the same buttons on prep (though I don't enjoy playing it, either, for related and unrelated reasons). 

2. As I have gotten older (and along with me, some of the players, though we keep having younger ones join), it has become apparent that the math handling we can do automatically at the start of the session can be a bottleneck at the end.  It's notable at the end of a 3-4 hour session, if you pay attention to such things.  It's inescapable to even the most clueless observer at the end of a 7-8 hour session, even with plenty of breaks.  Which can be a problem when you are ending an exciting fight.  Given busy lives, some people show up tired.  There's an obvious hit when that happens, too.

Lunamancer

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2021, 01:33:03 PM »
I generally think the hardest mental arithmetic anyone should have to do while actually playing a game is a maximum of double-digit addition and subtraction (for percentile systems), or single-digit multiplication. Anything harder than this breaks my immersion because I have to think about it too much. (I don't mind character design systems that require more complicated math or formulae than this, as long as it's all "front loaded" to be done before play starts.)

I'd be curious to get input from others about whether they think this tolerance is on the low or high side for gamers in general.

In general, I don't like broad characterizations like these at all. It depends on exactly the numbers we're talking about.

I fucking LOVE division. "Make your skulduggery check at one half" is a perfectly quick and doable mathematical operation to make even in the heat of play. For me personally, I can do that more quickly than adding two digit numbers. And it's a great sit mod for something that should be very challenging for a highly skilled character without excluding low skilled characters by sending their chances negative.

But speaking of adding two digit numbers in percentile systems, are you REALLY doing that? Like if the modifier is a +10 or +20 modifier. I only really have to add the leading digit. Even though I may technically have two 2-digit numbers I'm adding, it really only requires 1-digit addition, and it can be done just as quickly as single digit addition in actual play.

This would be as opposed to WotC D&D where a high level character might have a 2-digit attack bonus to be added to a potentially two-digit die roll. That would involve actual 2-digit math. Which brings me to the next point. Apart from the exact numbers, I have to ask how often is this coming up? Roughly half the time for high level WotC D&D is way too much for my liking. But if one roll in ten calls for adding two 2-digit numbers? That's fine. Hell, it could be adding 2 3-digit numbers if it doesn't come up too often.

Chris24601

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2021, 01:56:11 PM »
This would be as opposed to WotC D&D where a high level character might have a 2-digit attack bonus to be added to a potentially two-digit die roll. That would involve actual 2-digit math. Which brings me to the next point. Apart from the exact numbers, I have to ask how often is this coming up? Roughly half the time for high level WotC D&D is way too much for my liking. But if one roll in ten calls for adding two 2-digit numbers? That's fine. Hell, it could be adding 2 3-digit numbers if it doesn't come up too often.
In connection with the thread about CR, this is the specific reason why, when moving my system from quadratic to linear advancement I decided to flatten the attack/defense portion instead of the damage/hit points portion and keep the attack bonuses almost entirely in the single digits with defense values in the teens.

Damage can be recorded and totaled after the fact until the numbers look like they might be getting close (sidebar: I also find it easier to just add up damage dealt instead of subtracting it from the starting hit points; there's mechanically zero difference between a monster dropping when damage dealt equals its hit points and a monster dropped because you've reduced its hit points to 0).

Similarly, I deliberately kept the variable portion of damage rolls to a single die precisely so the biggest bit of math will be adding 12 to your bonus from a maxed result on a d12 (so 1-in-6 rolls of a d12 require a tiny bit of double digit math and even then its just as easy to do +10, then +1 or +2).

The result is to keep the math from getting overwhelming, even for my pre-teen niece and godkids who served as some of my earliest playtesters.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2021, 02:02:30 PM »
Damage can be recorded and totaled after the fact until the numbers look like they might be getting close (sidebar: I also find it easier to just add up damage dealt instead of subtracting it from the starting hit points; there's mechanically zero difference between a monster dropping when damage dealt equals its hit points and a monster dropped because you've reduced its hit points to 0).

I also do this with my system.  I've found a curious artifact in limited play testing so far.  We'll see if it holds up in a wider audience:  Doing it this way is harder to get players to do, but once they get it, they not only handle the operation slightly faster, they also are less likely to make mistakes.  As just one example with marking down problems, I had a dreadful time with a bunch of new 5E players not retaining their original hit point total on their sheet.  I suppose part of that is down to character sheet design. 

It took me some time to break old habits when recording damage on monsters, but once I got through that readjustment, I handle that more easily, too. 

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2021, 02:36:31 PM »
"Make your skulduggery check at one half" is a perfectly quick and doable mathematical operation to make even in the heat of play. For me personally, I can do that more quickly than adding two digit numbers. And it's a great sit mod for something that should be very challenging for a highly skilled character without excluding low skilled characters by sending their chances negative.

Fair point, although this tends to imply a roll-under system, which is not personally one of my preferences.

It also doesn't allow for much of a range of modifiers without bringing in divisions that I think are a little harder to do on the fly. In general, most people I find can do 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10 pretty easily, but that's only three levels of difficulty above "standard", the last of which is really difficult.  When you add in factors like 3/4, 2/3 or 1/6 to try to fill in and smooth out that slope, immersion-breaking gets more common, I think.

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Like if the modifier is a +10 or +20 modifier. I only really have to add the leading digit.

This is also true, but it produces an effect I've occasionally seen which I'm also not all that fond of: To make the math easier on the players, percentile-system modifiers are often standardized in increments of +5 or +10, and at that point my simplification instinct kicks in and says: "If modifiers don't matter until they're at least this increment, then your increment should be your +1 and your scores should be lowered to match."  A percentile table, for example, which only increments in steps of 5% can be replaced by a d20 without any change in probability.

Of course, if the point is simply to roll percentile dice because one likes percentiles, then the group's tolerance for the math required is likely to be higher anyway.
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Mishihari

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2021, 04:36:21 PM »
Damage can be recorded and totaled after the fact until the numbers look like they might be getting close (sidebar: I also find it easier to just add up damage dealt instead of subtracting it from the starting hit points; there's mechanically zero difference between a monster dropping when damage dealt equals its hit points and a monster dropped because you've reduced its hit points to 0).

I'm doing the same thing with my game, and found there are small mechanical differences, in that you can add slightly different mechanics on top of damage.  As an example, when a PC's damage reaches his health he gets the disabled status.  There's a physician skill that can restore some health, and the difficulty check is based on the damage, which I like for several reasons.  You can do something similar with standard damage mechanic, but it's a lot clumsier, meaning it's too complicated to be fun in play.

Similarly, I deliberately kept the variable portion of damage rolls to a single die precisely so the biggest bit of math will be adding 12 to your bonus from a maxed result on a d12 (so 1-in-6 rolls of a d12 require a tiny bit of double digit math and even then its just as easy to do +10, then +1 or +2).

The result is to keep the math from getting overwhelming, even for my pre-teen niece and godkids who served as some of my earliest playtesters.

I'm using 1d6 as the only roll in the game, because it's primarily aimed at kids who have never played before.

Lunamancer

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2021, 05:43:10 PM »
Fair point, although this tends to imply a roll-under system, which is not personally one of my preferences.

False. And your language "tends to imply" suggest to me you don't believe what you're saying either.

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It also doesn't allow for much of a range of modifiers without bringing in divisions that I think are a little harder to do on the fly.

False. Using one example of division as a simple and effective modifier does not:
1) indicate I envision some grand masturbatory RPG that uses division as its primary means of adjusting for situational difficulty,
2) imply the total exclusion of other means of adjudicating difficulty.
3) preclude other means of simulating the precise probability without any math at all; Example: 3/4 the probability? Simple. Roll a d4 at the same time as the skill roll. A "1" negates a result of "success" on the skill check.

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This is also true, but it produces an effect I've occasionally seen which I'm also not all that fond of:

False. Nothing I said indicates all modifiers I use are divisible by 5 or 10.


Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2021, 08:23:36 PM »
False. And your language "tends to imply" suggest to me you don't believe what you're saying either.

"Tends to imply" means exactly what it means: that in most of the systems I've seen where difficulty modifiers are applied as dividers of the base chance, it's a roll-under system, whereas in most roll-over systems modifiers are almost always straight pluses or minuses, but that of course there may be exceptions. (I haven't seen every game, but I've seen a lot of them.) Allowing for exceptions doesn't mean the general tendency isn't true.

Likewise, pointing out potential pitfalls and issues that I see with a given mechanic, as part of an explanation for why I don't prefer it, does not amount to an assertion that your game specifically may suffer from them or lacks options to address them. Nothing here is intended as specific direct criticism, only discussion of comparative perspectives.
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Sable Wyvern

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2021, 08:14:41 AM »
If you're willing to use 3d6, the system from ICE's Silent Death (also found in Polyversal) is pretty elegant. Damage ratings are Low, Medium-Low, Medium-High and High.

Low: damage is the lowest die.
Medium-Low or -High: damage is the middle die.
High: damage is the highest die.

If there's a pair, and it's low (eg, 2, 2, 5), L and M-L add the pair together.

If there's a pair and it's high (eg, 2, 5, 5) H and M-H add the pair together.

On triples, you always get to add all three.

Alternately, do nothing special with doubles and triples, just have Low, Medium and High, and keep damage in a 1 - 6 range.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 08:22:35 AM by Sable Wyvern »

Mishihari

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2021, 04:16:18 PM »
If you're willing to use 3d6, the system from ICE's Silent Death (also found in Polyversal) is pretty elegant. Damage ratings are Low, Medium-Low, Medium-High and High.

Low: damage is the lowest die.
Medium-Low or -High: damage is the middle die.
High: damage is the highest die.

I was interested enough to run the distribution on this.  Here it is, for anyone who may be interested



                                  Distribution                                       
                 Mean          1                    2                 3                  4                   5                  6
Low           2.04          42.1%        28.2%         17.1%           8.8%            3.2%            0.5%
Medium     3.50          7.4%          18.5%          24.1%          24.1%          18.5%          7.4%
High          4.96          0.5%          3.2%            8.8%            17.1%          28.2%          42.1%

« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 04:43:27 PM by Mishihari »

Lunamancer

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2021, 01:20:05 AM »
"Tends to imply" means exactly what it means:

What it means is you get to intimate something that you full well know isn't true while providing yourself cover from being called on it. That's not conducive to good faith discourse.

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that in most of the systems I've seen where difficulty modifiers are applied as dividers of the base chance, it's a roll-under system, whereas in most roll-over systems modifiers are almost always straight pluses or minuses, but that of course there may be exceptions. (I haven't seen every game, but I've seen a lot of them.) Allowing for exceptions doesn't mean the general tendency isn't true.

I can't speak to what games you have or haven't seen. Near as I can tell, games you've played isn't the topic of the thread. And I know with absolute certainty games you've played was not the subject of anything in my comment. I would like to point out, though, that one need look no further than D&D to find multiple instances where halfsies are used, and not in a roll-under context. So it's not even some rare or obscure thing.

But, whatever. I can't speak to your experience. I can speak to what I was actually saying, though. Is I think calling for half is quick and easy math that really nails what I'm sometimes looking for. That is a completely system agnostic statement, which is how it was intended, and so to suggest that it implies any "tendency" of the underlying game system is simply untrue, no matter how many wishy-washy qualifiers you want to tack onto it. My choice to adjudicate with a one-half modifier does not suddenly change the underlying game system. There is no "tendency" to speak of.

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Likewise, pointing out potential pitfalls and issues that I see with a given mechanic, as part of an explanation for why I don't prefer it, does not amount to an assertion that your game specifically may suffer from them or lacks options to address them. Nothing here is intended as specific direct criticism, only discussion of comparative perspectives.

I replied to a comment you made regarding what sort of math is simple and practical for play, and I said it has less to do with broad categories and more to do with the actual numbers we're working with, citing some examples. You cited examples of inconvenient division. Please explain how inconvenient numbers is a "potential pitfall" of using convenient numbers. You started with dishonest language, moved to clutching at straws, and now are resorting to straight out lying to re-frame the discussion. It's just a game. It's not worth sacrificing your integrity over just because you disagree with me.

Sable Wyvern

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Re: Removing separate damage rolls?
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2021, 04:23:07 AM »
I was interested enough to run the distribution on this.  Here it is, for anyone who may be interested

Of course, it's worth noting that the actual results will skew higher once you remove the 3d6 rolls that don't result in a hit (assuming you're looking to roll high to hit, of course ... if it's a roll-under system, they'll skew lower).