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Subject: How to explain or simplify dice pool skill success mechanic? rss

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Metäl Warrior
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I've run into a problem of how to explain the skill system of my early stage dungeon crawler design while playtesting it with friends.

The skill and combat system is dice pool based. You throw six-sided die, the more the better you are; typically 2-6 dice, but up to 12. Every die roll higher than difficulty (e.g. enemy defense) is a HIT.

1 HIT is a success, 3 HITS are a good success, 6 HITS are an excellent success.

So far so good.

Wound system:
- Success (1-2 HITs) yields +1 STAGGER (enemy is easier to hit next time around)
- Good Success (3-5 HITs) yields +2 STAGGER
- Excellent Success (6 or more HITs) yields MORTAL WOUND

For example, a Goblin Anklebiter has defense of 2, and Barbie the Brutalizer (player) rolls 134566, for 5 HITs (in bold), which yields +2 STAGGER.

Now, the testers have a problem mapping the HITs to STAGGERs/MORTAL WOUND. For example, going from 5 HITS to 2 STAGGERS is counter-intuitive. I get that.

I'm having hard time figuring out how to simplify or communicate this. The purpose of using three levels of wounds is to simplify things, so that there's no need to track six levels of wounds for every monster and player: you can use one two-sided token for STAGGERs, and MORTAL WOUND is dead for normal monsters. But perhaps tracking six levels is needed if the simple version is counter-intuitive and confusing?

Or should I change the HITs or levels of success descriptions? Or use a wound tracker on the character sheet with six levels, and the STAGGER/MORTAL WOUND next to it? Problem with that is how to track every enemy similarly...

I considered custom dice. But I can't use them to denote STAGGERs or MORTAL WOUNDs since the enemies have different difficulty levels which would mean up to five different custom dice (defense 1 through 5), with up to 12 dice for each difficulty level. Also the nature of the dice pool makes custom dice impossible: the # of successes determines how many STAGGERs are received, not the value on the face of the die.

Any ideas?
 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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I cant even tell what they are being confused by; it seems really really easy. Maybe pick names other than "good/excellent success?" either just level 1, e, or 3 success, or maybe totally separate names?
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Art Parry
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STAGGER +1 and STAGGER +2 mean something to you but I find them confusing. Perhaps your playtesters are confused, too.

Would STAGGERED and WOUNDED better communicate what you want? They could still be on the same flip counter.

Not sure about MORTAL WOUND since it only kills "normal" monsters. Maybe another flip counter with MORTAL WOUND and DEAD?

 
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Metäl Warrior
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Statalyzer wrote:
I cant even tell what they are being confused by; it seems really really easy. Maybe pick names other than "good/excellent success?" either just level 1, e, or 3 success, or maybe totally separate names?


It seems easy to me, but two different groups have taken a while to grasp the system. Granted, they get it after first round or two, but it's not immediately intuitive.

CommandoBob wrote:
STAGGER +1 and STAGGER +2 mean something to you but I find them confusing. Perhaps your playtesters are confused, too.

Would STAGGERED and WOUNDED better communicate what you want? They could still be on the same flip counter.

Not sure about MORTAL WOUND since it only kills "normal" monsters. Maybe another flip counter with MORTAL WOUND and DEAD?


I'm using the the same term for success and good success as they stack: four cumulative STAGGERs is another way to get a MORTAL WOUND, in addition to one "excellent" success (6 or more HITs).

MORTAL WOUND kills normal monsters so no need for counter for them. Elites get a MORTAL WOUND counter with penalty to their defense. After that they die after another four cumulative STAGGERs, or another MORTAL WOUND.
 
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Jeff Warrender
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Have you tried adding a card onto which hits are placed? It could have three bins, labelled with the three possible results, with 2/3/1 spaces for dice in each bin. Fill the bins left to right.

This will be slightly fiddly but the act of physically placing dice onto this result card may help players to internalize this slightly quirky rule, and once they've done so they won't need it any more.

The question is really how long it takes until they've internalized it. If it's more than half of a single game, the rule may be too complicated.
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Jeremy Lennert
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Jaffeli wrote:
Wound system:
- Success (1-2 HITs) yields +1 STAGGER (enemy is easier to hit next time around)
- Good Success (3-5 HITs) yields +2 STAGGER
- Excellent Success (6 or more HITs) yields MORTAL WOUND
...
The purpose of using three levels of wounds is to simplify things, so that there's no need to track six levels of wounds for every monster and player: you can use one two-sided token for STAGGERs, and MORTAL WOUND is dead for normal monsters.

I'm a bit confused here. If I attack once and get "+1 STAGGER", then I attack again and get "+2 STAGGER", does that mean the monster now has a total of 3 STAGGER?

If so, then I don't see how your 2-sided tracking token is going to cope with that.

If not, then I think you should probably go into more detail on what "STAGGER" actually does. Does 3 stagger mean the monster is dead? (Then that sounds like hit points, in which case describing 2 damage as "+2 STAGGER" is probably unnecessarily confusing.) Do you apply only the largest single result? (In which case you probably shouldn't be using a plus sign in describing a non-stacking effect.)

This reminds me of one combat system I designed where you compared your die roll to a monster's defense to categorize your attack at one of four success levels (glancing/miss, light, heavy, or fatal), and then each weapon card had a table indicating what happened at those levels, something like:

Sword:
Glancing: No effect
Light: Bleeding
Heavy: Wounded
Fatal: Dead (Exanguinated)

Medusa Head:
Glancing: Lose 1 movement point
Light: Slowed
Heavy: Immobilized
Fatal: Dead (Petrified)

(In this particular game, you could survive any number of light/heavy hits, but the conditions they inflicted gave bonuses to future attacks against you, increasing the odds that they would be fatal.)

Maybe you could do something similar, where a weapon card (or some other reference material) has a small table listing results for different numbers of hits?

0 hits: Miss
1-2 hits: Staggered
3-5 hits: Stunned
6+ hits: Dead

If it's always the same, then it's just a quick reference, and maybe flavor text (e.g. you could replace "dead" with a more-specific description of how that weapon or ability removes a foe from combat). But lots of games rely on player aids for stuff like this, so I don't think that's a bad thing.

On the other hand, it might give you the opportunity to give different effects to different weapons (or change the number of hits required), if that's something you'd like to do.
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If I'm reading this right, "staggers" are cumulative, but only the highest counts for some sort of penalty? So, two +1 Stagger and one +2 Stagger are both halfway dead but the +2 Stagger gives a higher penalty? Unless it's an elite monster and then there is no penalty until it has accumulated 4 "staggers" or a MW?

Using a positive number for a penalty is confusing. Simply renaming them Staggered(-1)/Staggered(-2) would probably be less confusing.

Do the two levels of "staggers" penalize the same things? If not, they should have different names. If +1 Stagger gives -1 defense and +2 Stagger gives -2 defense, no problem. If +1 Stagger gives -1 defense and +2 Stagger gives -2 defense and -2 attack, this is confusing.

 
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Metäl Warrior
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Antistone wrote:
I'm a bit confused here. If I attack once and get "+1 STAGGER", then I attack again and get "+2 STAGGER", does that mean the monster now has a total of 3 STAGGER?


Correct. The STAGGERs stack. When the monster gets 4 STAGGERs delivered across two or more attacks, it gets a MORTAL WOUND, and the STAGGERs are discarded.

Quote:
If so, then I don't see how your 2-sided tracking token is going to cope with that.


You just add a second token

Quote:
(Then that sounds like hit points, in which case describing 2 damage as "+2 STAGGER" is probably unnecessarily confusing.) Do you apply only the largest single result? (In which case you probably shouldn't be using a plus sign in describing a non-stacking effect.)


The reason I'm calling them STAGGER instead of damage or hit points is that the staggers can be traded to higher chance of hitting in a subsequent attack. Trading damage or recovering HP without healing doesn't make sense thematically, IMO, but an enemy who is staggered/shaken/stunned can recover fairly easily.

For example, next time Barbie attacks the Goblin, she can trade any number of STAGGERs to as many additional dice in her dice pool, thus increasing her chances of hitting the Goblin. If she elects to do that, the STAGGERs would be discarded, and new STAGGERs applied based on the new attack's success.

Therefore there is a decision when you attack a STAGGERed monster: whether I should trade the STAGGERs for a higher chance of hitting, but risking that I lose said STAGGERs if I fail, or whether to use my base chance which will not reduce the STAGGER count even if I fail. Former is often attractive if you think you would be able to one-hit the monster; this is typically the way to go for easy monsters such as Goblins. The latter is a good choice if you are only able to chip away at the monster's health/stability one point at a time, which is typical for elites or bosses.

Combined with the two tiers (normal monsters die on 4 STAGGERs or 1 MORTAL WOUND, elites require 8 or 2), the game design goal here is that easy normal monsters are wiped out in one or two attacks, while elites and especially bosses take multiple rounds, and require planning and tactics.

STAGGERs do stack. But in any single attack you either add one or two STAGGERs, or if you get six or more HITs you deliver a MORTAL WOUND.

Quote:
This reminds me of one combat system I designed where you compared your die roll to a monster's defense to categorize your attack at one of four success levels (glancing/miss, light, heavy, or fatal), and then each weapon card had a table indicating what happened at those levels, something like:

Sword:
Glancing: No effect
Light: Bleeding
Heavy: Wounded
Fatal: Dead (Exanguinated)

Medusa Head:
Glancing: Lose 1 movement point
Light: Slowed
Heavy: Immobilized
Fatal: Dead (Petrified)

(In this particular game, you could survive any number of light/heavy hits, but the conditions they inflicted gave bonuses to future attacks against you, increasing the odds that they would be fatal.)

Maybe you could do something similar, where a weapon card (or some other reference material) has a small table listing results for different numbers of hits?

0 hits: Miss
1-2 hits: Staggered
3-5 hits: Stunned
6+ hits: Dead

If it's always the same, then it's just a quick reference, and maybe flavor text (e.g. you could replace "dead" with a more-specific description of how that weapon or ability removes a foe from combat). But lots of games rely on player aids for stuff like this, so I don't think that's a bad thing.

On the other hand, it might give you the opportunity to give different effects to different weapons (or change the number of hits required), if that's something you'd like to do.


That's a very good suggestion, thank you! It would allow for a lot of variety in the weapons and their effects, which would be thematically appropriate as the game is combat focused. I already have plans for a critical/fumble system, so I could combine that in this card as well.
 
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Metäl Warrior
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jwarrend wrote:
Have you tried adding a card onto which hits are placed? It could have three bins, labelled with the three possible results, with 2/3/1 spaces for dice in each bin. Fill the bins left to right.

This will be slightly fiddly but the act of physically placing dice onto this result card may help players to internalize this slightly quirky rule, and once they've done so they won't need it any more.

The question is really how long it takes until they've internalized it. If it's more than half of a single game, the rule may be too complicated.


That's an intuitive way to show how it works. The other side of the card could include other play aids, so it wouldn't be wasted when it's internalized.

It seems to be internalized within a round or two, so I'm not too concerned about the viability of the mechanic in general.
 
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Metäl Warrior
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HaNd_SoLo wrote:
If I'm reading this right, "staggers" are cumulative, but only the highest counts for some sort of penalty? So, two +1 Stagger and one +2 Stagger are both halfway dead but the +2 Stagger gives a higher penalty? Unless it's an elite monster and then there is no penalty until it has accumulated 4 "staggers" or a MW?


Pretty much, but there's no penalty per se. STAGGERs can be traded into higher chance of hitting, but in and of themselves they do nothing. This is to keep the penalties/bonuses from getting too complicated - I already have them from character class, skills, and weapons.

For elites there is a defense penalty when it has one MW. That can be accummulated by receiving a total of four STAGGERs, or one excellent successful hit.

Quote:
Using a positive number for a penalty is confusing. Simply renaming them Staggered(-1)/Staggered(-2) would probably be less confusing.


As they are not penalties, and they actually may be traded for a TO HIT bonus later on, so the + sign makes sense?

As a design principle, I'm avoiding negative numbers as much as I can, as I feel they have more mental overhead than positive numbers.

Quote:
Do the two levels of "staggers" penalize the same things? If not, they should have different names. If +1 Stagger gives -1 defense and +2 Stagger gives -2 defense, no problem. If +1 Stagger gives -1 defense and +2 Stagger gives -2 defense and -2 attack, this is confusing.


As implied above, I did consider such penalties, but I think it would get too complicated. Thus the choice of trading them for a higher chance to hit.

And from a design perspective, I'm trying to limit the "death spiral" which is a common criticism against wound systems vs hit point systems. By that I mean a player who gets a wound will be less efficient at killing things or defending herself, thus getting increasingly more likely to become useless or die with each wound. That can be demoralizing, even in a game which is designed to have brutal and unforgiving combat.

I have another idea where the death spiral is an explicit game mechanic, and in some cases it would be something the player group wants, but that's for another time
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Jaffeli wrote:
For example, next time Barbie attacks the Goblin, she can trade any number of STAGGERs to as many additional dice in her dice pool, thus increasing her chances of hitting the Goblin. If she elects to do that, the STAGGERs would be discarded, and new STAGGERs applied based on the new attack's success.

Based on your description of how it works, trading the STAGGERS would almost always be a huge tactical mistake.

If 1 STAGGER = 1 extra die, and each die can only roll a maximum of 1 hit, then trading the STAGGER is only potentially a net benefit to the attacker if that 1 hit translates into more than 1 extra STAGGER on that attack. According to your results table, 1 extra hit normally gives 0 or 1 extra STAGGER, and the only time you get more is when you go from 5 total hits to 6 (which turns your 2 STAGGER into a MORTAL WOUND, which you say is the equivalent of 4 STAGGER, so a +2 benefit).

So if the target currently has exactly 1 STAGGER, and you convert that into a die, and that die is a hit, and that hit brings your total from 5 to 6, then it was a good trade.

In ALL OTHER CASES, it's bad or neutral (you either spend the STAGGER and get no benefit, or the benefit merely gives back the same amount of STAGGER that you spent).

Even if you're attacking a foe who happens to have exactly 1 STAGGER right now, the probability it will help you is only

(probability that 1 die rolls a hit) * (probability that the rest of your dice roll exactly 5 hits)

which I'm guessing is a pretty small probability even in favorable circumstances.
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Jaffeli wrote:
Pretty much, but there's no penalty per se. STAGGERs can be traded into higher chance of hitting, but in and of themselves they do nothing. This is to keep the penalties/bonuses from getting too complicated - I already have them from character class, skills, and weapons.

For elites there is a defense penalty when it has one MW. That can be accummulated by receiving a total of four STAGGERs, or one excellent successful hit.


The confusion is probably from the way you are notating the staggers. Saying "+2 Stagger" implies there will be some effect. Saying "add 2 Stagger tokens" would be cleaner.
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Metäl Warrior
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Antistone wrote:
Jaffeli wrote:
For example, next time Barbie attacks the Goblin, she can trade any number of STAGGERs to as many additional dice in her dice pool, thus increasing her chances of hitting the Goblin. If she elects to do that, the STAGGERs would be discarded, and new STAGGERs applied based on the new attack's success.

Based on your description of how it works, trading the STAGGERS would almost always be a huge tactical mistake.

If 1 STAGGER = 1 extra die, and each die can only roll a maximum of 1 hit, then trading the STAGGER is only potentially a net benefit to the attacker if that 1 hit translates into more than 1 extra STAGGER on that attack. According to your results table, 1 extra hit normally gives 0 or 1 extra STAGGER, and the only time you get more is when you go from 5 total hits to 6 (which turns your 2 STAGGER into a MORTAL WOUND, which you say is the equivalent of 4 STAGGER, so a +2 benefit).

So if the target currently has exactly 1 STAGGER, and you convert that into a die, and that die is a hit, and that hit brings your total from 5 to 6, then it was a good trade.

In ALL OTHER CASES, it's bad or neutral (you either spend the STAGGER and get no benefit, or the benefit merely gives back the same amount of STAGGER that you spent).

Even if you're attacking a foe who happens to have exactly 1 STAGGER right now, the probability it will help you is only

(probability that 1 die rolls a hit) * (probability that the rest of your dice roll exactly 5 hits)

which I'm guessing is a pretty small probability even in favorable circumstances.


I didn't mention that every d6 explodes on 6. So an extra die has 1 in 6 chance of turning into two (or even more) dice; something which would never happen if that STAGGER wasn't traded.

But I appreciate the benefit of trading the STAGGERs is difficult to gauge for the player. Therefore I am considering changing the trade mechanic into a more simpler and direct way, such as a bonus to hit, or penalty to defend.

Good analysis, made me look into this closer, thanks!
 
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Metäl Warrior
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HaNd_SoLo wrote:
The confusion is probably from the way you are notating the staggers. Saying "+2 Stagger" implies there will be some effect. Saying "add 2 Stagger tokens" would be cleaner.


Yes, that is clearer. I'll change the wording on the cards!
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Jaffeli wrote:
I didn't mention that every d6 explodes on 6.

That complicates the analysis but probably doesn't change the high-level tactical picture at all. My expectation is still that trading stagger for dice is only a good move if you're really in a hurry (the tactical difference between killing him in 1 attack vs 2 is way bigger than the difference between 2 and 3), AND it currently has exactly 1 stagger on it.
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Kristian Järventaus
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Quick suggestion:

* Do away with the the two stagger tiers
* Each success gives one STAGGER token
* Adjust the cost of a Mortal Wound to 8 (or 9) Stagger tokens
* Either keep the cost of buying a die with Stagger token at 1:1 or adjust to 1:2 Die:Stagger
* Rename Mortal Wound to Wound

So:

- Each success gives you one Stagger token on the monster
- Rolling 6 successes gives you a Wound, which is usually enough to kill a normal monster
- If you gather 8 Stagger tokens on a monster, replace with a Wound
- Buy an extra die by discarding (1 or 2) Stagger tokens on the enemy

Further suggestion:

* Remove Mortal Wounds because afaict they're just equivalent to Stagger.

- Each success gives you one Stagger token on the monster
- Rolling 6 successes gives you 8 Stagger tokens, each successive success gives you +1 Stagger tokens
- Normal monsters have 8 HP, elites have 16 HP
- Buy an extra die by discarding (1 or 2) Stagger tokens on the enemy
 
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Metäl Warrior
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Naeddyr wrote:
Quick suggestion:

* Do away with the the two stagger tiers
* Each success gives one STAGGER token
* Adjust the cost of a Mortal Wound to 8 (or 9) Stagger tokens
* Either keep the cost of buying a die with Stagger token at 1:1 or adjust to 1:2 Die:Stagger
* Rename Mortal Wound to Wound

So:

- Each success gives you one Stagger token on the monster
- Rolling 6 successes gives you a Wound, which is usually enough to kill a normal monster
- If you gather 8 Stagger tokens on a monster, replace with a Wound
- Buy an extra die by discarding (1 or 2) Stagger tokens on the enemy

Further suggestion:

* Remove Mortal Wounds because afaict they're just equivalent to Stagger.

- Each success gives you one Stagger token on the monster
- Rolling 6 successes gives you 8 Stagger tokens, each successive success gives you +1 Stagger tokens
- Normal monsters have 8 HP, elites have 16 HP
- Buy an extra die by discarding (1 or 2) Stagger tokens on the enemy


The purpose of the STAGGER tiers is to avoid flooding the table with dozens of tokens. Counting so many of them is time-consuming and fiddly.

Good suggestion to get two dice per stagger token, but I'll see if I want to keep that mechanic. I might do away with counting STAGGERs altogether, and just have one and a MW.

Mortal Wound is equivalent to death for normal monsters, and are different than STAGGERs, as former is -2 to defense, and the latter by themselves don't do anything.

Kiitti!
 
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Magnus Carlsson
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Some thoughts:
What if you replace the stagger tokens with the actual dice? Each monster have a defense and a Kill value.

Defense is how hard it is to hit it, Kill value is how many hits you need in one roll. But if you don't kill a monster in one blow, your hits will stay as bonus dice for the next attack.

Barbie attacks Orc, defense 3, Kill value 3.
Rolls 6 dice, 122345 => two hits, Orc is not killed so the hits stays until next attack.
Next attack Barbie rolls her original 6 dice + the 2 from the monster totaling in 8 dice.

You could add extra stuff like a 6 is always a critical hit and will lower the kill value. Or if you want have dynamic critical values for each enemy. So An orc has defense 3, Crit 6 (hits on 4-5, permanent on 6)

By this you remove the extra step of exchange rates making the game easier to grasp.
 
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Metäl Warrior
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grimmymail wrote:
Some thoughts:
What if you replace the stagger tokens with the actual dice? Each monster have a defense and a Kill value.

Defense is how hard it is to hit it, Kill value is how many hits you need in one roll. But if you don't kill a monster in one blow, your hits will stay as bonus dice for the next attack.

Barbie attacks Orc, defense 3, Kill value 3.
Rolls 6 dice, 122345 => two hits, Orc is not killed so the hits stays until next attack.
Next attack Barbie rolls her original 6 dice + the 2 from the monster totaling in 8 dice.

You could add extra stuff like a 6 is always a critical hit and will lower the kill value. Or if you want have dynamic critical values for each enemy. So An orc has defense 3, Crit 6 (hits on 4-5, permanent on 6)

By this you remove the extra step of exchange rates making the game easier to grasp.


Funnily, I had dice instead of tokens originally, but I went the token way for the ability to scale the damage and to keep the # of dice on the table manageable. Having a fixed # of wounds required for a kill is also simple.

There's another problem with using dice, as Antistone raised earlier: adding the dice to a the next dice pool would be a tactical mistake, as it is beneficial in only some rare situations. Of course I could make it mandatory, but that could result in a zig zag of almost killing the monster, going back to zero, rinse repeat.

But I like the Kill Value suggestion, even if it makes things a bit more complicated. To simplify things I could set Defense and Kill Value as the same thing: the harder something is to hit, the harder it is to kill. If I separate Defense from KV, I could of course have the equivalent of an armored mouse: hard to hit, but easy to kill.
 
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Magnus Carlsson
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Jaffeli wrote:

Funnily, I had dice instead of tokens originally, but I went the token way for the ability to scale the damage and to keep the # of dice on the table manageable. Having a fixed # of wounds required for a kill is also simple.

There's another problem with using dice, as Antistone raised earlier: adding the dice to a the next dice pool would be a tactical mistake, as it is beneficial in only some rare situations. Of course I could make it mandatory, but that could result in a zig zag of almost killing the monster, going back to zero, rinse repeat.


I am actually fond of the mandatory approach, yes it could be zig-zag but I don't know if that is bad! If you add something like permanent hits for 6:s I think it would be an interesting system.

If I only hit the monster it will be temporarily more vulnerable to the next attack but it might recover unless I actually do some real damage.

And it might be interesting feature on the players as well, you been hit and have dice on you, but if you take a step back and rest you can remove 2 dice unless a monster attacking.
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Jo Bartok
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Antistone wrote:
Jaffeli wrote:

0 hits: Miss
1-2 hits: Staggered
3-5 hits: Stunned
6+ hits: Dead


0 hits: Miss
1-2 hits: Glancing
3-5 hits: Hit
6+ hits: Crit

I'd out of stomach also suggest something like:
Miss: 0% Damage
Glancing: 50% Damage
Hit: 100% Damage
Crit: 200% Damage

So to scale it to absolute hit points
Miss: 0 Hit Wounds
Glancing: 1 Wounds
Hit: 2 Wounds
Crit: 4 Wounds
... Now you can do the math if it makes sense

So you can have monsters that only require a glancing blow (like "critters" or "weenies") normal monsters, that just take a hit, elite monsters that take 4 glancing, 2 hits or 1 crit or master monsters that take 2 crits or equivalent..., e.g. 8 wounds (16x glancing .

IMHO: You should make sure you have a natural distribution and that skills push its median/maximum or do tradeoffs like no miss but no crit or extrem luck abilities like no glancing and no hit.

Influencing luck is really fun.
Rolling an x in Decent is no fun.

However what I like about recent card based resolvement is that it usually includes initiative + ability + damage.

However it can be slow...

May I know how you resolve initiative? (between players, between monsters?) and how the "enemies" (e.g. monsters) move?
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Jo Bartok
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To add onto that... you could say that stun abilities require at least a hit. Blast abilities require at least a crit. Pierce abilities upgrade glancings->normals and normals->crits (and don't help with crits). Etc.
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Jo Bartok
Germany
Zwingenberg
Hessen
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And what interests me also quite a lot is how you do movement and LOS?
Is it a grid? Or hex? Or bigger tiles? How do you do movement and LOS resolvement on those?
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Metäl Warrior
Netherlands
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grimmymail wrote:
I am actually fond of the mandatory approach, yes it could be zig-zag but I don't know if that is bad! If you add something like permanent hits for 6:s I think it would be an interesting system.

If I only hit the monster it will be temporarily more vulnerable to the next attack but it might recover unless I actually do some real damage.

And it might be interesting feature on the players as well, you been hit and have dice on you, but if you take a step back and rest you can remove 2 dice unless a monster attacking.


That's how I explained trading STAGGERs for dice thematically to the players: if you fail your second attack, it gets a morale boost.

I like the idea of having sixes be untradable, fixed ones.
 
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ionas wrote:

However what I like about recent card based resolvement is that it usually includes initiative + ability + damage.

However it can be slow...

May I know how you resolve initiative? (between players, between monsters?) and how the "enemies" (e.g. monsters) move?


Initiative is a value by character class (Rogue 3, Mage 2, Warrior 1), and you get bonuses and penalties based on gear (e.g. +3 dagger, -4 plate armor). I'm envisioning Initiative to be a track, as there are skills which allow a player to manipulate Initiative, or even switch places on the Initiative track.

I haven't set myself on the exact movement system, yet. I'm currently playing with a very simple abstracted system, roughly similar to how Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game does it: each player/monster can engage an enemy in their round at either melee or ranged attack.

I'm considering taking it a bit further when I have the damage system finessed, by having a 5x5 or larger grid where the players and monsters are placed. Each encounter would start essentially like a chess match, with a pre-set formation for each group of monsters. Players can choose their formation, or if ambushed, are stuck with a fixed formation. It's also abstract, but gives good opportunities for positioning and using tactics, especially when there are melee, ranged, and area of effect attacks, and when taking facing and perhaps LOS into account.

Outside of that, I don't have plans for using a map per se for the encounter. Perhaps for the dungeon crawl itself, though. So the map would consist of rooms, and a room might have an encounter. Each encounter would be played on the same 5x5 grid. That grid might have environmental hazards on it, but it would not be meant as a true-to-life presentation of the room.

I have stuns in the game already; e.g. a 2H War Hammer causes a STUN on 3 or more HITs, or with special abilities. Similar approach with bleed. Problem with stunds and bleeds is that they're tedious to track and require another two-sided token, but they do deepen the available tactics quite a bit so the trade-off seems to be worth it. Stun the heavy hitter, but a bleed on the boss.

I have considered various types of damage - piercing, slashing, crushing - but that bogs down the action with little benefit to fun. This is a board game, after all, not a pen and paper RPG!
 
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