On the use of dice/rolling mechanics in RP

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On the use of dice/rolling mechanics in RP

#1 Post by Nomine » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:11 pm

Imagine how boring it would be if your character could not fail, no matter how challenging the situation, no matter how big the enemy was. Without risk, there can be no feeling of success.
To create risk, we use a roll/dice mechanics. So the character can potentially fail and suffer the consequences for this, as well as the sweet success of being victorious.

This is a tried and true tradition from most tabletop roleplaying games.
However, in a tabletop game there has been a long trend towards reducing dice rolling mechanics, making the “game” flow more smoothly, and focused on storytelling. Because rolling the dice also breaks immersion.
Also a tabletop game typically will have a character with skills that impact their chance of success at any given roll. - Something most MMO RP lacks.

Rolling “dice” should be used to enhance the roleplaying experience.
As few rolls as possible, to reduce immersion breaks

Questions to solve:
When there are no character skills, how to make a roll “to hit” feel fair both for the scribe and the warrior?
How to make a roll system feel both fair and simple enough to drive RP forward.

OBS: All below are sample suggestions, while all can be used. They are not intended to be “A” system. Rather more than of a pick and mix that you can choose from.

Some suggestions on making it flow:

Introduce the rules in advance:
For a series of events/night. Post your rules in the event description. Give people a 5-minute overview, with time to ask questions before the actual event starts.

Separate channel
Where you have dice rolls plus Game Master (GM)/Event arrangers communication, vs one in character communication + emotes. When people are going to remain close, this can easily be handled by party chat vs Say/Emote

GM to start all requests for a roll, with name of the player needing to roll.
Making it easier for others to ignore Out Of Character (OOC) not intended for them, and less immersion breaks.

Players own their action.
E.g Player describes outcome of the action and how the character does it.

Include both attack and defence in one roll.
(See below for example), this reduces number of rolls that needs to be made.

GM being clear on result of success and failure when asking for a roll to be made:
“Player X, roll above 60% to incapacitate the enemy, get below 20% and the enemy will manage to hurt you”.

Simple percentages and modifications.
Giving bonuses/increasing difficulty is one way of showing that player actions/planning/skills have effect. But it should be kept simple, for easy numbers to remember. So deal in 5%s or 10%s. 10% for major impact, 5% for slight impact
Avoid stacking too many of these.
Use of a good tool for the situation. Like Elune lightstones vs demons: +10%
Skilled fighter vs unskilled fighter. +10% for skilled fighter, -10% for unskilled fighter
Several players assist, up to 3. +10% for each assisting player

Some suggestions on mechanics

Easy to use/implement

Static values:
Having a static number as success helps facilitate understanding, and speeds up the process. Also makes it easier to implement modifications. Examples:
20%: Below - Failure with negative consequences: You get hurt/lose footing.
60%: Above - Positive outcome for player:
80% Above - Major positive outcome for player/Really hard action to be successful with.
Worth noting: If using the modification system, this means a skilled character would be successful about 50% of the times they try to do something - which makes sense as they should only have to roll in challenging situations. But they would only have a really bad outcome in 10% of the situations.

Ranked rolls: Having several outcomes in one roll.
For example. “Player Y, roll to defend yourself: Above 80% Enemy is killed, Above 50% and you get the upper hand (= +10% next roll). Below 20% and you get hurt.”

Grouping players: Only asking for one roll of the whole group. In my experience this works best if players are physically grouped, and no larger than 3 people.
You can also give the people a chance to contribute, so they feel like they have an impact, even when not rolling. “Player X, Y and Z, The big demon is attacking, you can roll as individuals: above 70% needed to incapacitate it. Or you can roll as a team - only one roll needed, but the group gets +10% on the roll for each member who helps - state who helps before rolling.”

Hard to use/implement

Static bonus for character types: (Requires understanding of player's character) - Give +10% for anything the character would be skilled at, this could be given as something the player “owns”.
Examples: “GM - Player Y (A rogue) To sneak past the guards without being seen, roll above 60%”. Player Y rolls, getting 54%: “54, but my character is a thief and skilled at sneaking, so that makes it a success.”
By giving the control to the players, of what is natural for them to be skilled at. It speeds up play, reduces number of things GM need to keep track off. Also gives a greater feeling of fairness for players.

What you see is what you get: Choose who needs to roll, based on where they are placed on the “screen”. Examples:
“GM: The three players the furthest up the hill - roll above 60% to avoid getting hit by falling rocks, below 20% and you lose your footing”
“GM: The first row of players - five enemy soldiers charges you, roll above 60% to avoid their charge, over 80% and you manage to take one of them out”

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Re: On the use of dice/rolling mechanics in RP

#2 Post by Nomine » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:32 pm

These days I prefer to be using this dice rolling system/approach.

The core idea here is that the GM should be focused on telling the story, so never have to roll a dice. E.g all is rolled by players.
If it is a normal success, the Gm describes what happens, if it is a failure the player is encourage to describe what happens, then the GM works with that and builds upon it. So, things should run faster and smother.
A roll should only happen, if the outcome matters, so for normal actions, there is no need to roll.

As a GM your job is to be a fan of the players and the storyteller.

Simple roll system: You roll for what you try to do if you get above a number (10, 20 or 30 depending on the situation), you succeed. If you get below - bad things happen to you (Players choice) Nomine will give you the target number.
If there is a group action, choose one person to act/roll for the group. Any bad consequences will then happen to all.

Modifiers can be given, but should be kept to the +/-5 range.
If you want a crit system, anything over 90 is a crit.
This is a Controlled Situation, if you get below 10, bad things happen to your character
This is a Risky Situation, if you get below 20, bad things happen to your character
This is a Desperate Situation, if you get below 30, bad things happen to your character.
You choose what sort of bad thing that happens, but it should have a consequence and fit "What could go wrong, in what you tried to do now"

Ps. The system is inspired by the RPG "Blades in the Dark"

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