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d100 vs pool dice

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#1 Allavandrel



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Posted 26 August 2009 - 12:20 AM

One of major changes in 3rd edition seem to be the introduction of pool dice into the WFRP system. This topic may need some discussion.

Traditionally, WFRP has relied on the percentage (d100) system. This system has the advantage that the difficulty ratings are obvious for both GMs and players. Also, the statistical rating increments are constant (1%). On the other hand, one of the disadvantages is that the d100 system is close-ended. This becomes a major issue when PCs get very experienced (more than 5000 to 10000 EPs).

The pool dice system has increased in popularity in the past 10 years or so. This system is open-ended which avoids PCs to become cooler than the fiercest Greater Deamons. However, the actual chance to succeed in a task is often not very obvious to the GM and players during the play, and the statistical rating increments are not constant. Thus, the chance of succeed is actual often very easy (>95%) or very difficult (<5%) because of the bell-shaped statistical result curve, and the increments within the interval 25-75% are large when a character receives an advance.

I am not sure the dice pool system is the best system for WFRP, although I look forward to see the dice signs are invoked on the results!

What is your opinion on this topic?


Best wishes,

Allavandrel Fanmaris


#2 Cynical Cat

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 12:46 AM

The bell curve produces realistic results, which suits Warhammer's setting and tone.  The d100 system works reasonably well in combat, but really fails when you have skilled people doing routine tasks and they end up having a 20-40% chance of failure.  Realistically a hunter will be fairly good at tracking game and moving quietly, but even with bonuses for routine tasks he's going to fail a lot more than he should.  Same thing for tailors, blacksmiths, routine sewing up of wounds, a scholar's check for common academic knowledge, etcetera. 


As to how the new system works, so far it seems fairly straightforward what results counts and how to form the pool, but since I haven't used it in play I can't say how well it works.  The concept is sound though.

#3 DagobahDave


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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:03 AM

I think the idea for V3's dice system might've started with V2's magic system, which is a dice pool. I'd thought about developing V2's magic system as the system-wide task resolver, and my thought process went like this:

I want each 10-sided die rolled in this pool to have a 40% chance of success, so ignore all results of 5-0 (which is very much like a roll-under version of Exalted's system).

I want 1s to be the weakest sort of successes, while 4s are the strongest (just like V2's degrees of success, blackjack style).

I want doubles and triples to provide certain special effects (which is a classic V1 trick).

Since 60% of my D10's sides have no effect, if I create custom dice I can leave those faces blank. That'll same time and confusion, and it'll be easier to spot them if you're rolling a handful.

Since the other four faces on my D10 are on a scale of 1okay-2good-3better-4best -- I could just leave the numbers on them.

V3 seems to have taken things a few steps further. They have lots of different dice -- with different distributions and different effects. These are capable of providing much more information than just my 1okay-2good-3better-4best scale. They can also better control the distribution of those effects. Because they're using so many dice with so many different effects, you can end up with more than 10 symbols in your set.

Somewhere out in the internet I have another one of these monologues that explains my thought process on why cards are a neat idea in RPGs. Matching the dice effects to cards makes a lot of sense. Rather than the whole thing being one big gimmick, it actually works together really elegantly. The dice help the story by giving lots of information beyond simply numbers or 'how well' -- now it helps you tell 'why'. The cards provide a quick-reference so you can match your symbols to the 'how and why' effects. This is no different than using a skill or talent in V2. It's just on a card. The dice just have a different way of telling you how well you did, and suggestions for why it turned out that way.

It's actually kinda brilliant. It's gimmicky and expensive. It's a bit excessive, and the game might be fatally flawed in other ways. But the ideas behind the dice system are good ones, and I hope other RPGs pick up on it.

You don't need this many dice to get the benefits of using symbols and dice in this way, that's for sure. I have some ideas for custom D12s that will do most of the heavy lifting, and story-influencing D6 with a word printed on each side, but no numbers at all, just Faith, Senses, Material, Time, Fear and Chance.

But V3's method might be really fun, though. I'm willing to check it out if only to adapt to something I like better.

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#4 Uziel



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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:14 AM

I personally love pools of dice with symbols.  I like pools because you get a less wild distribution because of the bell curve.  I like symbols because for me it is faster to sort symbols and count successes than it is to add a pool of numbers.  I love the concept of all the possible added detail that having the different types of dice seems to give a result in this proposed system.  I am slightly concerned that the number of different symbols is reasonably high with these dice which might lead to a learning curve to recognize good and bad results quickly.  I think I will speed this learning process by repainting the good symbols green and the bad symbols red for added quick recognition.

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