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View Poll Results: Favorite Generic/Universal System

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  • d20 Modern

    16 11.35%
  • GURPS

    39 27.66%
  • Basic Role Playing or Mongoose RQ

    12 8.51%
  • Savage Worlds

    17 12.06%
  • Fudge/FATE

    10 7.09%
  • Omni System

    0 0%
  • Unisystem

    8 5.67%
  • Prose Descriptive Qualities

    1 0.71%
  • HERO

    18 12.77%
  • Something else (please explain)

    20 14.18%
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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Favorite Generic/Universal Systems

  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kane View Post
    GURPS just never clicked with me mostly due to needing to roll low. Goes against my grain!
    What about rolling low is against the grain? I'm just looking for insights to improve an experience, as my own Incarna (www.incarna.net) system uses a quasi % system and rolling low is the key. Is it just that most systems are about accumulated dice totals instead of % based?

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
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  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by templeorder View Post
    What about rolling low is against the grain? I'm just looking for insights to improve an experience, as my own Incarna (www.incarna.net) system uses a quasi % system and rolling low is the key. Is it just that most systems are about accumulated dice totals instead of % based?
    Every percentile system I can think of rolls low, so don't sweat it.

    Rolling high does have a few slight advantages over rolling low:
    • Adding or comparing numbers is a little faster than subtracting them, especially for the mathematically challenged. Penalties subtract from the die total in roll-low, whereas a penalty in roll high might add to the "target number" or opposing roll.
    • The GM can withhold the "target number" until the player rolls, allowing for more surprise. Theoretically, he could also ask players to give him a "margin of success" and then declare whether the action worked or not, but that's not quite as natural.
    • Once skills/attributes/whatever go over 100%, either progress stops or the rules must define what "over 100%" means. (In GURPS, skills over 20 face a similar problem: are there enough skill penalties that a 21 is more useful than 20?) By contrast, roll-over scales up naturally ... although at high enough skill levels the dice rolls become almost superfluous.

    Mathematically, there's no difference, and the relative advantages I listed above are debatable. (At least one thread here debated them.) Really, it depends on the assumptions and goals of the game's design. Do you want experts to "top out" at some point, or can they go "beyond the impossible"? How common are penalties to the die roll? (If every conflict is roll vs. roll, the game may not have skill penalties at all.) What about bonuses to the die roll? Are listening at a door or sneaking past a guard skill contests, straight rolls, or something else?
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    • Once skills/attributes/whatever go over 100%, either progress stops or the rules must define what "over 100%" means. (In GURPS, skills over 20 face a similar problem: are there enough skill penalties that a 21 is more useful than 20?) By contrast, roll-over scales up naturally ... although at high enough skill levels the dice rolls become almost superfluous.

    My method for handleing this is that no roll can be better than 90%. Failure is always an option. However skills higher than that are not useless. As they subtract from penalties.

    I.E. If you have a 98% in fall off a log for example, and due to low gravity there is a 15% penalty to falling. Maximum skill 90% You need to roll a 75% or less to fall off that log. However, your 98% skill reduces the penalty to 7%. You need only roll 83% or less.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  4. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    My method for handleing this is that no roll can be better than 90%. Failure is always an option. However skills higher than that are not useless. As they subtract from penalties.
    A 10% failure chance is kind of high. Basic Role-Playing, for example, only defines 00 as an automatic failure -- a fumble, actually. (Fumbles are rolls greater than {100 - chance-of-failure / 20}, or somewhere between 96-00.)

    And, as in the GURPS case, skills over 100% provide a safety margin against various penalties ... but what if there aren't enough penalties? Shouldn't a guy with an adjusted skill of 120% have some sort of edge over the guy with 99%?
    • In the descendants of RuneQuest, critical or special successes are a fraction of adjusted skill. (BRP defines "specials" as 1/5 of the skill and "criticals" as 1/20, while Mongoose RuneQuest, and some older games, have no "specials" but define "criticals" as 1/10 of skill.)
    • Optional rules in BRP let characters with combat skills over 100% make two attacks or parries, each at half their skill.
    • Mongoose's RQII, on the other hand, uses a character's skill in excess of 100% as a penalty to his opponents' skills in opposed skill rolls, including combat.

    Some designers question whether adding up little penalties isn't a drag on play. BRP defines "Easy" and "Difficult" rolls as double and half the base skill, respectively, and the rules encourage GMs to use this mechanic instead of adjustments over +/-20%. OTOH, Heroquest 2, on a 1-20 scale (sort of), considers any single adjustment less than +/-3 not worth the trouble.

    Which just goes to show that every design decision has its own problems. I prefer mechanics with a bell-curve, but since most rolls are close to average, bell curves magnify differences in skill.

    But this is way off topic ...
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  5. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by templeorder View Post
    What about rolling low is against the grain? I'm just looking for insights to improve an experience, as my own Incarna (www.incarna.net) system uses a quasi % system and rolling low is the key. Is it just that most systems are about accumulated dice totals instead of % based?
    See, with percentile systems I can understand it more, but it still bugs me. I think its just going back to all the games I played as a young child and all my early RPGs, higher was always better. Another way to approach it is that a roll of 100 is your goal. You roll the D100 and add your result to the appropriate skill/stat. Under fails, over succeeds. Too far under is a botch, far over a critical.

    ---------- Post added at 01:03 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:59 AM ----------

    Oh, and just to throw this out there, my system is a mish-mash of everything I have liked over the years. The core mechanic is similar to WoD, but target numbers are dependent on attributes and ALL rolls are contested. The action taker rolls their skill vs the opposing skill of the defender.

  6. #111
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    Speaking of dice mechanics, one system I've gained more respect for is D6, especially its Star Wars incarnation. (The later "generic" books were OK, but riddled with typos, repetitions, and questionable design decisions.) Here I'll just talk about SWD6 as a generic system.

    In it's "pure" form, everything in D6 is an attribute or skill roll: attack, defense, soaking damage, etc. The damage system tracks conditions (stunned, wounded, etc.), not hit points; damage is based on the difference between the damage roll and the "resistance" roll. What you end up with is a very lightweight, highly consistent system.

    The D6 mechanic also represents skill acquisition somewhat more accurately: as you learn, your performance gets less random and reaches greater heights, with a Wild Die to represent beginner's luck or a screw-up. Using the rule that a 1 on the wild die takes the highest other die away, more highly-skilled characters are slightly less inconvenienced. (The alternative is to give a nasty twist to the character's success or failure ... but some DMs take it too far, as an instant death. A 1 in 6 instant death.)

    Another design that interests me somewhat is Lamentations of the Flame Princess, an "old school" game that resolved the problem of elves and thieves having abilities that other classes could not hope to attain. In his version, all special abilities like Detect Shifting Passage, (finding) Secret Doors, or Find Traps is a d6 roll, with every character having a default chance. A class called the Specialist, replacing the Thief, gets "skill points" to improve its chances as it gains levels. I haven't read too far in yet, but it looks like Fighters, Magic Users and Clerics are stuck at default numbers, as are the "classes" for Elves and Dwarves. On the other hand, only Fighters, Elves, and Dwarves improve combat abilities at each level, and naturally only Wizards, Clerics, or Elves can gain spells. (Those damn elves.)
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  7. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    A 10% failure chance is kind of high. Basic Role-Playing, for example, only defines 00 as an automatic failure -- a fumble, actually. (Fumbles are rolls greater than {100 - chance-of-failure / 20}, or somewhere between 96-00.)
    In retrospect I agree. But at that time that is what i used. Accurate reporting.


    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    And, as in the GURPS case, skills over 100% provide a safety margin against various penalties ... but what if there aren't enough penalties? Shouldn't a guy with an adjusted skill of 120% have some sort of edge over the guy with 99%?
    Good examples. Some cases however how do you exceed success? I can see using >100% in opposed rolls. But, for example, lock picking? One could translate it into speed perhaps. The better past perfect the quicker you open the lock. One could also build the margin of success into that as well. Success by the critical factor (mentioned in your post) and you do the task in less time, for time critical tasks.


    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Some designers question whether adding up little penalties isn't a drag on play. BRP defines "Easy" and "Difficult" rolls as double and half the base skill, respectively, and the rules encourage GMs to use this mechanic instead of adjustments over +/-20%. OTOH, Heroquest 2, on a 1-20 scale (sort of), considers any single adjustment less than +/-3 not worth the trouble.
    There is a point to that. However bieing a avid d20 player every little increment you can get is a help. A +/-1 is a 5% increment. Not something to sneeze at. In bell curve systems it means even more.


    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Which just goes to show that every design decision has its own problems. I prefer mechanics with a bell-curve, but since most rolls are close to average, bell curves magnify differences in skill..
    Ayup.
    Last edited by tesral; 09-18-2011 at 09:32 AM.

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  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    I can see using >100% in opposed rolls. But, for example, lock picking?
    Perhaps everything should be an opposed roll: the thief's Lockpicking vs. the lock's Thief-thwarting. A few games I'm familiar with take that tack. But yes, in an unopposed test any extra over 100% makes no difference, except by increasing the critical success chance.

    BTW, HeroQuest 2, which has free-form abilities, introduced the "more than 2 or don't bother" rule because in any contest the system allows players to gain a bonus from abilities related to the primary ability (e.g. "Warrior of Sartar", aided by the "Sword of My Forefathers", "Catlike Reflexes", etc.) in play many players would scan their character sheets for any and all additional abilities that might give them a bonus, slowing down the game.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  9. #114
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    I don't see an opposed roll on a lock myself. The lock is, it doesn't change. A lock cannot make an "extra effort" to not be picked.

    The later bit is simply bad organization on the part of the players. There is a least one in every game that no matter how many times they do it they can't remember how to do combat or some other critical skill. I would grind my teeth is frustration watching the other side of the table paw through books at every melee. JHC guys, learn the rules that pertain to you PCs. Use your freaking computers to print cheat sheets if you must.
    Last edited by tesral; 09-18-2011 at 09:33 AM.

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  10. #115
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    So i prefer skill levels reflecting a learning curve and increased chances of success resolved using a % check. Then i can add in "opposed" values... but you learn to pick a base line lock, which as stated before does not change. Some can be easier or harder... but most are not. And I dont think there is always a chance of failure (or success) - sometimes with the right tools, time and skill its a no brainer. If i want to throw randomness in, i do it for story.. someone who worked to get 100% should reap the rewards.

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
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  11. #116
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    You can find locks you can't pick. However the Alexandrian solution usually works. Becasue one method did not succeed does not preclude bashing the thing in.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  12. #117
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    Ahh yes, the great dwarven lock opener. Raise shield, pound repeatedly, lower shield, see if open. Right up there with the great dwarven trap detecter... "heavy armor.. check, gauntlets... check, shield.... check, waddling humorous run... check" - hold shield above head and RUUUUUUUN!

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
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  13. #118
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    Alternity

  14. #119
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    Alternity? TSR's lost child?

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  15. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Alternity? TSR's lost child?
    That it is. Too bad too, it's a really great system that just came out at a really bad time.

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