Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Thoughts On The Dreamed Dice Mechanic

Brief thoughts for a Sunday night. Are they solid gold? Probably not.

If you're just joining us, we've been discussing a sort of competitive die mechanic that came to me in a dream. What this says about my subconscious, determine for yourself in this post.

I've been quietly mulling this over in my head all weekend. One conclusion that I've come to is that a single die roll should be made for both our damage soak/armor effectiveness effects that we discussed yesterday, but also for damage. I've also come to the realization, a simple fact that I had overlooked in my quest for defining the purpose for a rolling of the dice, is that weapons of sufficient strength will always cause damage, even through armor.

More crunchy gaming goodness, below the fold.

The control group

Let's get back to examples. In this case, a 4d6 weapon versus 3d6 armor.

Damage roll (4d6): 5, 3, 3, 1
Armor roll (3d6): 5, 5, 3

By the rules as established thus far, the armor has held up successfully, meeting or beating its three paired rolls, 5-5, 5-3, and 3-3. What has troubled me so far is what to do with that extra Damage roll of 1 tacked on at the end. Now I'm thinking that it should be the damage. While the armor survived, intact, this extra, unopposed die is damage from blunt impact, heat associated with an energy weapon, or damage just sneaking through chinks in the armor.

So, in another example of the same matchup, we have:

Damage roll (4d6): 5, 3, 3, 1
Armor roll (3d6): 6, 2, 2

In this case, two of the armor dice were defeated, and one damage die was unopposed. This makes the damage total to the character 3+3+1 = 7, plus the two defeated armor dice are removed and the next Armor roll will be only 1d6.

Mixing it up

This leads to another mechanic that I touched on in the previous post in the 2d8 Damage roll example. Different die codes correspond to different types of damage, with different effects. If 3d6 is a  simple "blaster" as we noted before, the 2d8 may be a focused laser weapon that, with its higher die code of d8 instead of d6, is designed to have more armor-defeating, penetrating power.

Likewise, we can now introduce the 4d4 explosive round, or other impact weapon. The total destructive force of this weapon (16) is equal to that of the 2d8 laser and slightly less than that of the 3d6 blaster (18). However, while it is less likely to penetrate the armor in our example (d4 Damage versus d6 Armor), it has more total dice (4 versus 3), and therefore will always deliver some limited damage by its blunt impact.

For example:

Damage roll (4d4): 1, 1, 1, 1
Armor roll (3d6): 6, 6, 6

Even in this worst-possible Damage roll against the best-possible Armor roll, the design of the weapon as represented by its die code will always deliver some limited amount of punch, in this case 1 point of damage.

As we continue this theoretical development, we see another example of developing the setting alongside the dice mechanics. This provides opportunities to develop and understand the technology of the gaming world, as well as ensuring that the "fluff" and the "crunch" get along with one another.

I'm off to bed, undoubtedly to dream up some major flaw in the system, if you don't point it out to me, first.


Stuart said...

Ah. That was what I just suggested in my comment in the previous post. We're thinking along the same lines.
Should I be scared?

Jason Richards said...

Absolutely, be scared. You're agreeing with my subconscious, which is always terrifying.

Stuart said...

One problem with the damage/armor system.

Attacker: 6-6-6-6-6
Defender: 1-1-1

Total: 20 points of damage.

Attacker: 6-6-6-6-6
Defender: 1
Total: 10 points of damage.

So wearing less armor can be an advantage. Now it sort of works if the assumption is that less armor lets you dodge the attack better, but I'm not sure if that is supposed to be represented by this mechanic.

Does justify the Chainmail Bikini though!

Jason Richards said...

I think those both do the same damage, Stuart. In both cases, all damage dice are either uncontested or defeated, for a total damage of 30.

Maybe I messed up an earlier example. I'll double check.

Jason Richards said...

Yep, looks like I had a typo before. 3+3+1 = 7, not 5 as I previously stated. Those engineering degrees are doing a lot of good, clearly.

Stuart said...

OK. My thinking was that you were giving 1 point for each uncontested die, not the score of the uncontested die.

So my point is no longer pointy.

Phlod said...

Left this in the other thread about this mechanic, but I'd like to see what you all think of it.

This is how I did it. It's eerie too, I just came up with this idea 3 days ago, also after playing some Risk. I've never been to yer site until yer article on Rifts Mega Damage hit the RPG page of Reddit, so I find this coincidence a little creepy. In a good way. :)

Anyway, this is how I broke it down.

First assuming both Attacker and Defender are rolling d6s.

Attack - 5 dice 6,5,5,3,1
Defense - 4 dice 4,2,2,1

First you do the cancellation step. Defender cancels attacker's 3,1 leaving 6,5,5. Now, add both Attacker and Defender's dice together, respectively. These are the Attack Score, and Defense Score for that round. Then, subtract the Attack score from the Defense score to get the Margin of Success or Failure. I.e. Attack 6+5+5 == 16 Defense 4+2+2+1 == 9. 16 - 9 == 7 Margin of Success. The MoS is called the Weapon Damage Bonus, and is added to the base Weapon Damage number based on the weapon wielded. Assuming a Sword has a WD of 4; 7 + 4 == 11 Damage to the Defender.
(Had the attack ended with a Margin of Failure, the Defender Parried, Dodged, or Blocked the Attack outright, and no damage is taken.)

I made it so each piece of armor and defensive enchantment has a Passive Defense score. Subtract the PD from the MoS of the attack (armor soaks damage). Subtract 1 from this score each time it gets hit, if you like, to model armor damage.
So, assuming Chainmail has a PD of 5, (and that yer wearing Chainmail), 11 - 5 == 6 Damage to HP Pool, or whatever yer system uses.

A significant MoF on an attack (over a certain threshold #), would qualify for a Riposte strike, which simply uses the MoF minus the Riposte Threshold as the Weapon Damage Bonus.

Phlod said...

The main difference here is that my mechanic is used as a To-Hit roll, from which we derive extra damage, based on how 'good' the hit was. Then, soak it with just a straight Passive Defense, which decreases as it takes hits. I'm mostly trying to model melee combat and damage though. Where parries, blocks, and dodges happen way more often than hits. (Think fencing.)

Other twiddlybits I've been adding the last day or so include extra damage to PD based on weapon type. (Heavy, or Crushing weapons reduce PD by 2 per hit, and Heavy Crushing weapons by 3.) And reducing the Defender's die pool by 1 each time they Defend until their next turn.

I like this system so far. I've been working on turning it into a CRPG system so I can scale the dice by 1 unit increments instead of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and then a huge jump to d20. Kinda messes up the smooth scaling, but I'd still play a P&P RPG *with* the d20 gap, I'd just have to be aware of it.

Jason Richards said...

Interesting take on the mechanic, Phlod. The only downside that I see to it is that it's pretty math-heavy, which in large battles could slow things down. However, throw that into a little spreadsheet or an app and it could really work out great.

Also, welcome to the blog! Come back often, reddit/stumble/facebook/etc. the articles, tell your friends, etc. This certainly won't be our last mechanics discussion.

Phlod said...

I'll admit, it's somewhat math heavy, but it's pretty simple math. Well, I suppose if the dice get big it'd be a pain, but no one's having to do fractions or anything. ;)

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