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Jay Talks Dice

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Great article. Very thorough. Just PLEASE make enough of them this time!

I can’t find any for Warhammer Fantasy, and It would be disheartening to have the same situation for EotE. Very excited for the game itself, though. Cheers.

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That was a great article!

A good example I liken it to is Indiana Jones. Indy jumps across the chasm. Does he succeed? No, he fails! BUT, he's able to to grab onto some vegetation. BUT the vegetation starts pulling out of the floor! Can he climb it before it pulls out completely? Yes, he can! BUT, a stone doorway is going to seal him in! Can he get through it in time? And if he does, can he retrieve his whip before it closes? Awesome. :)

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Ceodryn said:

Is the website up? I get an access blocked message, that my ip has been identified as spam…

Cheers

Ceodryn

 

It's up.  We have a pretty tight set of spam filtering software in place and your IP has apparently been caught in it (not saying you have spammed or anything, just that some spam, at some point has come from your ISPs direction.) With the shear number of spoofed IPs in use in certain countries in the world, it's not surprising.  I could clear yours out if I knew your location or IP address, but I don't expect you to send that along to me nor would I recommend it on these boards.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

 

 

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As someone who prefers the way WH 40K was done (and kept) when FFG picked it up, I can say I disliked the dice and cards with their 'new' edition of Warhammer Fantasy. (Stuck with 2nd ed)

While I'm dissapointed Star Wars from FFG is using the same…odd dice system, I'm glad they didn't use the lame-cards as well. I might actually be able to get into it this time.After reading this article and seeing the dice used more in the begginer game-set, I'm starting to see how they actually make rolls…interesting, and not entirely numbers crunching. And I see it better without the cards that don't really go with pencil and paper games, so I have to say thank you for that at least.

Still keen on Saga Edition (and even the old West End games version) over this type of dice system, but I truely hope that FFG can get me out that mindset, with this version of the SW universe RPG and its books and materials covered.

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Solardream said:

 

As someone who prefers the way WH 40K was done (and kept) when FFG picked it up, I can say I disliked the dice and cards with their 'new' edition of Warhammer Fantasy. (Stuck with 2nd ed)

While I'm dissapointed Star Wars from FFG is using the same…odd dice system, I'm glad they didn't use the lame-cards as well. I might actually be able to get into it this time.After reading this article and seeing the dice used more in the begginer game-set, I'm starting to see how they actually make rolls…interesting, and not entirely numbers crunching. And I see it better without the cards that don't really go with pencil and paper games, so I have to say thank you for that at least.

Still keen on Saga Edition (and even the old West End games version) over this type of dice system, but I truely hope that FFG can get me out that mindset, with this version of the SW universe RPG and its books and materials covered.

 

 

Saga Edition had a great streamlined skill list, but the umbrella Use the Force check was totally broken. I liked how the game used the same kind of Talent tree system as d20 Modern, but the REF, FORT, and WILL Defense was nothing but 4th Edition tripe. I’m glad FFG gave us back our Saves.

You really don’t like the cards and stuff in WFRP? I mean, over the years I’ve found that nothing brings a battle to a screeching halt faster than when a player has to pause and scan endlessly over book after book looking for some obscure rule or spell. So annoying (and they never seem to write it down). But with the cards, each player has everything right there. No need to rummage. Plus then I, as the GM, don’t have to stop and search either. The player can just tell me. Nothing wrong with a “quick reference” right?

I thought the dice were strange at first, too. But they really do allow for some great RP moments.

I.J. Thompson’s earlier post captures the idea very well:

I. J. Thompson said:

 

A good example I liken it to is Indiana Jones. Indy jumps across the chasm. Does he succeed? No, he fails! BUT, he's able to to grab onto some vegetation. BUT the vegetation starts pulling out of the floor! Can he climb it before it pulls out completely? Yes, he can! BUT, a stone doorway is going to seal him in! Can he get through it in time? And if he does, can he retrieve his whip before it closes? Awesome. :)

 

 

 

As a GM I’ve found that I get rather discouraged when an encounter turns into a bland assembly line “ok, roll. Hit. Now you roll. Hit. Your turn. Miss. Next player. Hit” That’s not fun, its monotonous. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion—and that’s great—but there are some really cool possibilities that could be explored in this new system that might be worth checking out.

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Locrious said:

As a GM I’ve found that I get rather discouraged when an encounter turns into a bland assembly line “ok, roll. Hit. Now you roll. Hit. Your turn. Miss. Next player. Hit” That’s not fun, its monotonous. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion—and that’s great—but there are some really cool possibilities that could be explored in this new system that might be worth checking out.

Agreed. I find it much more interesting and entertaining with this system. As the players learned how to read the dice, it was fun to watch thier expressions change from "yeah, I hit!" to "Oh crap, what'd I do!" as they discerned the threat. I tried to be nice with my threats to begin, as they're all barely or totally unexperienced with RPGs.  Threats mostly meant them falling down, giving anyone attacking them a boost die until they spent a manuveur to get up. I'll have to get more creative in the future. *rubs hands togehter and cackles evily*

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It would have been nice if he actually said something concrete about the dice affected design outlook.  The most he said about it's impact on design was that that:

"[Having dice mechanic that leads to a huge number of terminal outcomes is] pretty exciting to me as a designer, creating a way to offer a huge variety of outcomes within […] a tidy package."

So, its exciting, but "excited" isn't a design outlook.  It would have been nice to see what decisions were affected by dice pool mechanic.

And the follow-up didn't really address any of this, either. I'm glad "A lot of time research and playtesting went into the dice.  A lot." but again, no specifics.

Just my thoughts on it.

-WJL

 

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Since I share your curiosity, if not as thorough an understanding of probabilities and statistics, you could always ask your questions in the article's comment section. Heck, join the chatroom of the O66 live broadcast the next time Jay is scheduled to be on. :) Worst case he'll have to answer "off the air" for the details you're after.

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Glacialis said:

 

Since I share your curiosity, if not as thorough an understanding of probabilities and statistics, you could always ask your questions in the article's comment section. Heck, join the chatroom of the O66 live broadcast the next time Jay is scheduled to be on. :) Worst case he'll have to answer "off the air" for the details you're after.

 

 

I did ask the questions there; I'm the same "LethalDose" in both locations.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read those comments so you can see what I'm paraphrasing, but his first response summarized that his article was on how the dice affected "design outlook", and when asked about that, he responded that he uses his 'gut feeling' about design more than he uses math.  There was also substantial implication that he didn't think it was particularly important to understand the math behind the dice as long as it feels okay.  The issue is that my players and I don't think it "feels okay" and did the math to figure out what was going.

-WJL

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LethalDose said:

I did ask the questions there; I'm the same "LethalDose" in both locations.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read those comments so you can see what I'm paraphrasing, but his first response summarized that his article was on how the dice affected "design outlook", and when asked about that, he responded that he uses his 'gut feeling' about design more than he uses math.  There was also substantial implication that he didn't think it was particularly important to understand the math behind the dice as long as it feels okay.  The issue is that my players and I don't think it "feels okay" and did the math to figure out what was going.

-WJL

Here's a novel concept… maybe this isn't the game for you and your players.

Jay was kind enough to express his thoughts and experiences about how this dice system came together, and he was equally considerate enough to respond to your questions.  Maybe they weren't the answers you were looking/hoping for, but they were answers.  This might be a bitter pill for you to swallow, but not everyone holds mathematical equations to be the final, or even most important factor in how a game's dice mechanics works.  Jay and his team of developers did a lot of playtesting (more than you seem to want to give them credit for), as evidenced by Sterling Hershey (one of those developers), who said that there were some definite changes about the symbols and arrangements during the post-show talk of Order 66's 2nd episode of tehir Celebrity EotE Game.  Rather than sticking with cold formulas, they went for what provided the most satisfying play experience.

The developers have pretty much said, generally by omission, that they are perfectly happy with how the dice work, a lot of folks that have sat down and played the game have said the same.  So maybe the root problem isn't with the dice pool mechanics and distrubtion of numbers, but rather with your group and what they want/expect out of an RPG's task resolution mechanics.

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Having finally got to play, I can say that while my group is still learning the ropes of dealing with the results of the dice, they are enjoying them. And by that I mean learning to deal with results that are not all pass/fail and integrating them into the narrative. I like this dice mechanic because it results in encouraging you to use your imagination. It's awesome. It would work well in every genre of game.

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mouthymerc said:

Having finally got to play, I can say that while my group is still learning the ropes of dealing with the results of the dice, they are enjoying them. And by that I mean learning to deal with results that are not all pass/fail and integrating them into the narrative. I like this dice mechanic because it results in encouraging you to use your imagination. It's awesome. It would work well in every genre of game.

Over in the Beta forum, I expressed the notion that EotE's dice pool system requires a paradigm shift and a leap of faith from the players, and Jay's articles simply re-inforce that notion.

We as a gaming culture have had the "you pass or you fail" mindset instilled and drilled into us for more than 30 years, starting with ye olde D&D White Box.  Only rarely were there games where failure could provide an mechanical advantage or success could have tangible drawbacks.

And quite frankly, there are some gamers that simpy can't or won't make the jump from the old tried & true "pass/fail" mindset of dice mechanics.  That's not to say they're in the wrong; one of GM Chris' players in his Celebrity EotE game (Dominic) even said that he's got gaming friends (including his wife) that simply won't be able to wrap their heads around EotE's more open-ended system, but that doesn't mean they're simpletons.  Just means this game might very well not be for them.

But that's the neat thing about this hobby… there are a metric crap load of other game systems that suit those folks, and even if it's not official, someone's bound to have come up with a system hack to let you play Star Wars.  I've seen qutie a few for Savage Worlds, at least one for Green Ronin's AGE system (what they used for their Dragon Age RPG), as well as GURPS, World of Darkness (old & new), D&D 4e, and even Palladium.

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Donovan Morningfire said:

LethalDose said:

 

I did ask the questions there; I'm the same "LethalDose" in both locations.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read those comments so you can see what I'm paraphrasing, but his first response summarized that his article was on how the dice affected "design outlook", and when asked about that, he responded that he uses his 'gut feeling' about design more than he uses math.  There was also substantial implication that he didn't think it was particularly important to understand the math behind the dice as long as it feels okay.  The issue is that my players and I don't think it "feels okay" and did the math to figure out what was going.

-WJL

 

 

Here's a novel concept… maybe this isn't the game for you and your players.

Jay was kind enough to express his thoughts and experiences about how this dice system came together, and he was equally considerate enough to respond to your questions.  Maybe they weren't the answers you were looking/hoping for, but they were answers.  This might be a bitter pill for you to swallow, but not everyone holds mathematical equations to be the final, or even most important factor in how a game's dice mechanics works.  Jay and his team of developers did a lot of playtesting (more than you seem to want to give them credit for), as evidenced by Sterling Hershey (one of those developers), who said that there were some definite changes about the symbols and arrangements during the post-show talk of Order 66's 2nd episode of tehir Celebrity EotE Game.  Rather than sticking with cold formulas, they went for what provided the most satisfying play experience.

The developers have pretty much said, generally by omission, that they are perfectly happy with how the dice work, a lot of folks that have sat down and played the game have said the same.  So maybe the root problem isn't with the dice pool mechanics and distrubtion of numbers, but rather with your group and what they want/expect out of an RPG's task resolution mechanics.

No, it's not novel.  You've been telling me I shouldn't read/post/comment on these forums for practically as long as I've been posting, so you telling me I shouldn't play the game either isn't exactly a fresh idea.  

Futher, you don't know me or my players so saying the game isn't for us seems presumptuous.  We like the game and enjoy playing it.  

We also understand its appropriate to critically discuss games and media we like, especially with the creators.  In fact, its neccesary since critical challenge is how media gets moved foward.  If you think that there's no room for improvement, and that EotE as it stands is simply the perfect game, then that's great.  But other people who like the game but have questions about how it works or see problems with it shouldn't be told to shove off and not to play the game.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Little, I love WFRPG and X-Wing.  In the general sense, I appreciate designers writing about their designs, but if they're going to talk about game balance, then they should talk about game balance.  If they're going to talk about how the dice influence design decsions, then there should be talk about design decisions.  If designers post something that doesn't make sense or is wrong and all the community does is post shallow comments like "Oh gee whiz, that's neat Mr. Designer.  We're so greatful you deign to post for us!" then the games are not going to get any better.  And I think they can be better. Much better, and so I will continue to discuss and challenge the design decisions that didn't make sense.  

Maybe its because my players are lawyers and academics that we think like this, but we understand that to put a fine egde on a model or concept, it has to get intellectually battered around until the crap gets knocked out.  That's what my questions designers are.

Finally, if I'm not starting another round of mutually antagonistic $h!#-slinging with you.  I'm not posting here to talk to you.

-WJL

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For once, I agree with LethalDose… The articles are interesting, but hardly go far enough. I'm curious as to the design decisions influenced as well - I can guess at some of them. Some are a result of the statistics of the dice, no doubt… but having written proof of this goes a long way.

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LethalDose said:

aramis said:

 

For once, I agree with LethalDose… 

 

 

Uh, thanks?

You're welcome. It's nothing personal; I find myself disagrring with your posts quite often. 

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LethalDose,

There's a difference between disagreeing and badgering.  Jay Little took time out of his (quite likely) very busy schedule to give folks a peek behind the screen as to what goes in developing a game.  I read your replies on the GSA website, and from their tone I give Jay plenty of credit for taking the time to respond to them with as much depth as he did.  But quite frankly, you came across as a needy, ungrateful internet troll.  And that's not me talking, that's several other folks, most of whom have never seen any of your posts here and thus had no preconcieved notions about what sort of person you were.

You're a math nerd.  Your group are math nerds. You've got a giant collective hard-on for math and analyzing things down to the most minute detail.  Fine, we get it.

But at the end of the day, FFG has decided the dice system they have in place works just fine and in accordance to what their objectives are, and in spite of all your protests and Skywalker-level whining about how the math doesn't work according to your extensive calculations, they aren't going to change it anytime soon.  And from the tone of many of your posts, both in the Beta forum before you decided to take a leave of absence (quite convienently on the same day the Beta feedback submission period ended), there's been little to suggest that you and your group actually enjoyed the game.

As for the lack of full disclosure that seems to be your latest sticking point, there is such a thing as trade secrets, something even Paizo and Evil Hat and WotC have.  Perhaps Jay isn't quite ready to pull the curtain all the way back just yet, if ever.  And given some of your responses when he did decide to offer up some insight, I wouldn't blame him if he choose to remain quiet on the subject going forward.

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It is rare I ever post on our own threads, but I wanted to implore everyone to please keep this conversation and thread civil -- all around.

I was happy to share everything I have been able to share up to this point, especially to spend as much time as I have talking about EotE through various outlets like Order 66 and the GSA.

Unfortunately, the reality is I simply cannot talk about certain topics, or go into a level of detail many readers would like. For all the readers / fans / posters out there who have been disappointed or have wanted to learn more about Topic X over Topic Y, I really am sorry. I can (and generally do) share as much as I am able to, because I love the fan community and share the same passion for gaming that many of you do. 

And with that, let's please steer this discussion back on course lest we find ourselves in an asteroid field. And you know how slim the odds are for succesfully navigating one of those.

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ynnen said:

Unfortunately, the reality is I simply cannot talk about certain topics, or go into a level of detail many readers would like. For all the readers / fans / posters out there who have been disappointed or have wanted to learn more about Topic X over Topic Y, I really am sorry. I can (and generally do) share as much as I am able to, because I love the fan community and share the same passion for gaming that many of you do. 

And with that, let's please steer this discussion back on course lest we find ourselves in an asteroid field. And you know how slim the odds are for succesfully navigating one of those.

"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!"

Appreciate the insight on what you can talk about.. Having been on both sides of the fence it is totally understandable that you may not be able to talk about everything. Doesn't stop me from wanting to pull that knowledge out though. Now if only I can get those pesky telepathic abilities working consistantly. Only been able to read my mind up to this point. And boy do I feel dirty now.

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ynnen said:

It is rare I ever post on our own threads, but I wanted to implore everyone to please keep this conversation and thread civil -- all around.

And with that, let's please steer this discussion back on course lest we find ourselves in an asteroid field. And you know how slim the odds are for succesfully navigating one of those.

Duly noted.

Especially as I seem to have left my tricked-out YT-1300 back at Anchorhead… something about needing to reverse the nuetron flow of the jelly baby or some-such reir

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Personally, I'm glad Lethal Dose posts his thoughts on the game. I find them very interesting. I don't typically agree with his conclusions, but to date I have never once seen anyone prove him wrong regarding the math or the facts supporting his arguments. It really is just a difference in opinion regarding what conclusions to draw. For instance, one of the things I find most fascinating about the system is something that LD brings up. LD describes it as problematic  For me, the fact that net success and net advantage are inversely correlated strengthens story telling, in the way I like to tell tell stories. 

Success with advantage = Yes, and …

Success with threat = Yes, but …

Failure with advantage = No, but …

Failure with threat = No, and …

For my Star Wars games, I want to live mostly in the "Yes, but… " and "No, but …" space. For me personally, that's where drama lies, especially space opera drama like Star Wars. Yes, you blast the door, but you sabotaged the bridge controls … No,you aren't able to make it to safety,but a vision of old Ben suddenly appears …

So, Lethal Dose please do keep posting your ideas and comments. 

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