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Skill Dice option: custom dice to add strategy and danger


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#1 Tibs

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 04:27 PM

 
The aim of this variant is to give each of the investigators some strategic variety without sacrificing the simplicity of Elder Sign. Instead of using the six green dice included with the core game, each investigator now has a personal pool of seven dice, assembled from a combination of any of seven new and unique die types.
 
These dice make each investigator more or less likely to roll certain results, and also cause the investigators to randomly suffer harm, which adds difficulty and uncertainty to each roll.
 
The Dice
There are seven new die types—each is represented by a unique color and symbol.

 

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Three of the seven new dice types, summarized thematically.
 
 
There are new results that the dice can produce, each of which harms the investigator or advances the clock:
 

oElH3ic.jpg

Some of the new dangerous results.
 
 
Investigator Skill Cards
Each of the 24 official investigators has a corresponding skill card that is placed near his investigator card. The skill card depicts the specific combination of dice that form the investigator's base pool instead of the six familiar green dice.

 

MHUGAHv.jpg
Mandy Thompson's skill card depicts the seven dice that Mandy gets for completing tasks. Note that the green die is new and is different from the base game's green die. Also depicted are relative chances for certain die results, including certain penalty rolls.
 
 
Lock Tokens
Since the green dice are no longer used for completing tasks, a new mechanic is used to lock dice in the investigator pool.

 

qx8QJiX.jpg

 

 

Monster Stickers
Included in the file are optional stickers to place on existing monster tokens. These stickers make some trophy values more fair and change some die requirements.

 

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Some of the modified monsters.

 
 
New and replacement Ancient One and Investigator cards
Both Arkham Nights Ancient One cards are included, as well as two slightly modified investigator cards and one slightly modified Daoloth card:

 

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Some unofficially modified cards. Sister Mary starts with a blessing; Daoloth's Elder Sign limit is 12.

 
 
Here is a picture of some of the beta components after I printed and mounted them:

 

s1NrOJZ.jpg

 

It can be printed on either Tabloid (11"×17") or A3 paper at 100% scale.

 


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#2 Julia

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 04:54 PM

Chris, I went to the rules of this variant, and I must confess, I really like it. It's thematic and cute, it adds complexity to the game and a lot of variability. Some more specific comments:

 

a) monster tokens to be fixed: finally. I agree on all your points, but I don't understand the Warlock / Mi.go issue. Aren't odds the same to roll Lore/Terror or Peril/Lore? Or is this choice related to the "new" dice? I believe the latter, correct?

 

b) the way dice are locked by using lock tokens on the different characters is brilliant

 

c) additionally, the "thematic dice approach" encourages certain tactical choices that should enrich the game experience

 

d) the only point I'm a little skeptical about is that you have to resolve the "new results" before committing dice to tasks. This could be really tough on the distance; wouldn't it be more balanced if the "price to pay" is applied only to the dice you choose to use to complete a task / assist / focus / use on spells?

 

apart from d) the game seems lots of fun!


Edited by Julia, 30 August 2013 - 05:49 PM.

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#3 Tibs

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 05:23 PM

Thanks! And I have some things to admit...

 

a) Firstly, the monster token adjustments were motivated by you actually, when you questioned why the Byakhee was worth 2 points and the Ghost had 1. Secondly, when you make the Warlock/Mi-Go adjustments, you now have a situation where, considering every ordinary monster: Lore, Peril, and Terror results show up a total of 7 times, while half/half results show up 5 times each. So, it's not truly related to the new dice.

 

b) Thank you! It might surprise you to know that of all the work I put into this variant, choosing the order that dice get locked for all the investigators took up about half of the total time. It was truly a maddening puzzle to ensure that every die was locked with equal preference (except the Focus die which is a bit different than the rest).

 

c) The tactical approach is truly there, as I have found my given character selecting certain adventures and avoiding others based on probabilities, or adding yellow or red dice in certain situations where they might have trouble naturally producing a given result.

 

d) It's not as bad as you might think. In fact, before submitting the file, I was on the fence about whether or not the RAW were hard enough. Originally my plan was that you had to suffer the penalty for each die that showed one: in 100% of my play-tests with this interpretation, I lost the game. In only one game did I consider myself "close" to winning. Spacing it out so that you only suffer one penalty per roll means that, yes, an investigator can suffer penalties multiple times per adventure—but the probability drops as dice are removed from the pool (including completing tasks). Additionally, being allowed to choose which penalty to suffer each roll means that the investigator often choose the least harmful option under his circumstances. Of course, fittingly, as dice are removed from the pool, the chances that the investigator can choose his penalty diminishes.

Good news to take away from this is that Cthulhu is disproportionately boosted by the random stamina and sanity loss. Considering that, as of this post, he's the weakest Ancient One, I'd say he could use the help.


Edited by Tibs, 30 August 2013 - 05:25 PM.


#4 Julia

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:38 AM

a) Firstly, the monster token adjustments were motivated by you actually, when you questioned why the Byakhee was worth 2 points and the Ghost had 1. Secondly, when you make the Warlock/Mi-Go adjustments, you now have a situation where, considering every ordinary monster: Lore, Peril, and Terror results show up a total of 7 times, while half/half results show up 5 times each. So, it's not truly related to the new dice.

 

Glad I helped spotting out one of these issues. You did something great while going through the whole monsters cup and spotting out the remaining issues (Elder thing, Dark Young = Shoggoth and so on). And ok, now I get the point about Warlock / Mi-Go, thanks for the clarification

 

b) Thank you! It might surprise you to know that of all the work I put into this variant, choosing the order that dice get locked for all the investigators took up about half of the total time. It was truly a maddening puzzle to ensure that every die was locked with equal preference (except the Focus die which is a bit different than the rest).

 

Actually, I'd have been surprised by the opposite (I mean, that was an easy task). Additionally, everything is thematically consistent (it's like a thematic starting possession variant tranferred to dice), and seems like a lot of fun to play.

 

d) It's not as bad as you might think. In fact, before submitting the file, I was on the fence about whether or not the RAW were hard enough. Originally my plan was that you had to suffer the penalty for each die that showed one: in 100% of my play-tests with this interpretation, I lost the game. In only one game did I consider myself "close" to winning. Spacing it out so that you only suffer one penalty per roll means that, yes, an investigator can suffer penalties multiple times per adventure—but the probability drops as dice are removed from the pool (including completing tasks). Additionally, being allowed to choose which penalty to suffer each roll means that the investigator often choose the least harmful option under his circumstances. Of course, fittingly, as dice are removed from the pool, the chances that the investigator can choose his penalty diminishes.

 

Uh, ok, I guess I have to try and see! As soon as I finish my "testing" of UF (still one complete rotation with Master Mythos in to go, and one game against Shub without Master Mythos) and I'll try some games with this variant. Mmmh. Need a lot of dice, and good paper


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#5 ObsessiveGamer

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:46 PM

I have what may be a dumb question.  What do you do with the blank side on the focus and speed dice?  Do you just have nothing for that die in that roll?



#6 Tibs

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:05 PM

Correct: that roll is a "nothing" result.

 

It can technically be focused or assisted or saved on a spell, just like any result. It would be a rare situation indeed that you would choose to do something like that.



#7 ObsessiveGamer

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:12 PM

Another thought: spells become even more powerful in this variant, as the die locked may not affect your dice pool.  Is this interpretation correct, or are dice on spells considered "locked" and therefore your card would have a lock token for each spell-secured die?



#8 Tibs

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:16 PM

Good catch. Technically you are correct in your first interpretation. The dice supply is much larger, so "Spelled" dice will be extras kicking around.


Edited by Tibs, 28 April 2014 - 09:16 PM.


#9 ObsessiveGamer

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:34 PM

Interesting...



#10 ObsessiveGamer

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 02:44 PM

Okay, I've played two games with the skill dice, and am partway through the third.  I think I like it - it unquestionably adds complexity to the game.

 

For whatever it's worth, I think it makes the game significantly easier when there are 7 or 8 investigators.  (Those are the first two games I played - I've been trying to get some data for those numbers of investigators since that's so lacking in the statistics right now.  I'm also playing with Unseen Forces and Master Mythos cards.)  Between having a wealth of investigators to choose from for each adventure and the fact that there are 7 dice in the dice pool as opposed to the six the game is clearly designed to have, I don't think I failed a single adventure in those two games.  (I might have and forgot, but if I did, it didn't happen very often.)  The pain suffered from the new die results was minimal because each investigator is used so infrequently in such large games.  Nyarlathotep and Yig were beaten easily by collecting elder signs.

 

I'm playing a 3 investigator game right now, and the difficulty has definitely ramped up.  Now, this may be because I'm playing against Ithaqua and randomly drew three investigators that only start with 4 stamina each, but the fact that the random harm from the new die results is only spread among three investigators rather than 7 or 8 is what I think is making all the difference.  Two of them have since been devoured and one of the new investigators I drew is Vincent, so things are starting to look up.

 

I would imagine the difficulty ramps up even higher when playing with only one investigator.

 

I've been bothered practically the whole time I've been playing by the following two paragraphs in the skill dice rules, though:

 

"Whenever any of the following results are rolled, the investigator first resolves the black curse die from Unseen Forces (if applicable), and then may use re-roll effects (including on the new result).

 
Then, before committing any dice (even onto a Spell), the investigator resolves any of the following effects that appear. Since an investigator rolls dice multiple times per turn, he may suffer the effect from a particular die multiple times."
 
First of all, this is a distinct change from the Unseen Forces rules' handling of the curse die:
 
"After each roll (and after all rerolls, abilities, or terror effects have been resolved), if the investigator’s black die result matches the result of any other die in his dice pool, he discards the black die and the matching die from his dice pool."
 
Is this intentional to balance the fact that 7 is a significantly higher number of dice to have in the dice pool, due to the drastic increase in likeliness of successfully completing tasks with the addition of this extra die, or an oversight?
 
Also, why, if the curse die is removed first in the skill dice rules, is it mentioned in each description of each new die result?  ("Afterward, the die result becomes a ____ result and can be committed, focused, assisted, eliminated by the curse die,
or placed onto a spell as though it were only a ____ result."  (emphasis mine))  Can only the traditional die results be canceled with the curse die initially, and these new ones would only be canceled after suffering the negative effects?
 
This is a small issue that rarely comes up, but it's driving me nuts, as it's so specifically mentioned in the skill dice rules in such a vague (to me) way.
 
I've also come up with a situation that I'm unsure how to handle given the skill dice rules.  What's considered a "re-roll effect?"  If I want to use the shotgun to change a new die result to a peril result, or any other of the similar items that change a die to a different result, do I suffer the penalty before changing the die, or no?  These items become, like spells, that much more powerful to me if they help you avoid the new die result dangers, especially as it comes down to the wire in task completion and you're only rolling one, two, or three dice.
 
I am enjoying this variant - just thinking I'll enjoy it even more if these questions I have can be cleared up!


#11 Tibs

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 07:12 PM

I see your point about the high-investigator-count concerns. I'm interested to see your thoughts on a dynamic range of investigators, to help beat down the possibility that sheer luck caused these discrepancies.
 
Yes, I see where your confusion is. The curse die rules apply as normal, but note that only when you've "committed" to the results that you've rolled—you're done re-rolling or whatever and are about to commit dice to tasks and the like—do you then suffer the rolled penalties (such as losing stamina from Injury). At that point, dice like Injury "transmute" and become precisely a "normal" result (Injury will become Peril). If, at that point, you still have the Curse die and its result now matches one of those transmuted dice, does it eliminate one.
 
To answer your last question, penalties are only suffered once you've fully "decided" the particular roll. However, cards like Shotgun change your decided results—it does not "roll" any dice. So you would say, "I like these results; I won't use a clue token." Then you would suffer penalties. Then you would use the Shotgun to change one of your results. ("Change," not, "re-roll")!
 
I hope that didn't further confuse things.


#12 ObsessiveGamer

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:43 PM

Okay, with that clarification, I think I see your point in this paragraph that confused me regarding the curse die.  The idea is that, if the curse die could take away the only die that has a punishment, you suffer the punishment before it goes away.  Is that correct?

 

I still think a wording change might be beneficial.  It seems to me that the current wording in your rule book implies that you cannot reroll (with a clue token or ability) a die that a curse die would cancel, whereas the Unseen Forces rule book seems to imply the exact opposite.  If this is not an intentional change, it should maybe be worded so that it doesn't seem to work that way?  Or maybe I'm just reading into things more than your average player would.

 

Also, your clarification regarding the shotgun makes perfect sense.  :)

 

I'll play some more and keep posting my data using the existing form.  Would you like me to be nutty and go further by actually tracking my adventure success rate for games of different investigator counts, or are my vague "this is how it seems to be playing out" comments enough?  :P



#13 Tibs

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:11 PM

Yes, that is a better way of putting it. You will suffer some penalty before the die becomes a valid removal.

 

Oh... you are an ObsessiveGamer so I wouldn't put it past you to record a teamsize breakdown of win rate. If you do I'd be really interested in how it compares to the "natural" win rate.



#14 ObsessiveGamer

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 04:40 AM

Question related to this post I just made in the FAQ thread:

 

"Okay, here's another one.  On adventures that have tasks that consist solely of subtracting sanity and/or stamina, are you supposed to roll to complete this task?  (An example is the first task of Dreaming of a Stranger, which requires -1 Stamina and -1 Sanity.)  This would frequently be meaningless (unless you're playing Tibs' skill dice variant, but that's for another thread).  A couple of situations in which rolling could help:

 

1) If you're seeking something to secure on a spell, could you roll, since you're technically completing a task, decide if you want any of the results you rolled for your spell, and then take away the sanity and stamina and complete the task?

2) Or Jim Culver could be searching for something to focus or assist with, since he can do this on successful tasks, and then the sanity and stamina could be taken away and the task completed.

 

There might be other situations in which this would be helpful, but those are the only two I can think of right now..."

 

Should you roll in these cases with the skill dice to determine if any of the bad stuff happens?  Or are you not at risk in this case (unless you want to be for the sake of spell searching or if you are or are with Jim), since your task already hurts?



#15 Tibs

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 05:54 AM

Yes, absolutely. I used to be adamantly of the mind that you should not roll for those results because it was both simpler and to the player's disadvantage (for spells, as you say) to do so. However, the development of Skill Dice makes it a lot easier to swallow the official ruling that you should roll, because now it can be a danger!

 

Yes, you should roll for these. The investigators are never truly safe from harm when having adventures.


Edited by Tibs, 05 May 2014 - 05:54 AM.

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