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[Forge-main] Re: Mechanics

From: Sisyphus D
Subject: [Forge-main] Re: Mechanics
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 17:25:52 -0800 (PST)

Greetings once again!  Duncan here...

First, let me apologize to you, Enrique: I don't think
that I once said "Hello!" to you after you introduced
yourself on the message board, and that was rude of
me.  I mean, I knew Ricardo before I posted, but I
didn't meet you until we began this exchange;
therefore, sorry for my negligence.  I'm pleased to
see that you didn't take it personally.  Nice to meet
you, and I look forward to working with you on FORGE!

That said, I thank you both for the kind words
regarding my previous posts.  I will truly attempt to
help out, if I can; then again, never hesitate to
discard any of my ideas.  I won't take offense.  As I
mentioned once before, I have very little experience
in mainstream gaming (e.g., with d20 and the
Storyteller system)), so I'll probably make inane,
obsolete suggestions from time to time.

Finally, allow me to say that I'm one of those ancient
oddballs who doesn't use "snippets" in his replies.  I
write messages from the ground up.  If you find any of
my points confusing, therefore, just ask me to
clarify, and I'll attempt to do so.  And just as I
don't use "snippets," neither do I use "smilies"; I
have no problem with people who do use "smilies," but
I never got into the practice myself.  On the bright
side, I'm almost always serious, but only very (very,
very, very) rarely angry, and in the years that I've
been online I've never been angry with an individual
on the other end of the Internet; thus, if you see an
odd message, know that I meant it in the best of ways
-- even without "smilies"!

Now getting to the subject of mechanics...

Well, we seem to becoming one mind with regards to a
system of task resolution.  I believe that both you,
Ricardo, and you, Enrique, have suggested "ability +
skill + 2d6 vs. difficulty" as a possible mechanic,
which is cool with me.  2d6, as has been noted, has a
bell curve (with bell curves more accurately
reflecting reality, of course), and uses easy-to-find
and practical dice.  It's true that we'd have to drop
the 1d10, which is a shame, because I confess to
liking d10's and the decimal system that they provide;
conversely, d6's are more practical, and I feel that
we may wish to stick with them after all.*

That said, we might consider increasing ability and
skill ratings from 0-10 (as opposed to 0-5) if we
decide to use 2d6 after all.  Why?  Well, I've always
felt that chance should be a minor element in skill
resolution -- I mean, it should exist, but first
ability and skill themselves should be taken into
account.  If we aim for a 2-12 chance result, the
equation becomes

[0-5, average 2.5] + [0-5, average 2.5] + [2-12,
average 7] vs. [#]

which lends too much weight to the die roll, in my
opinion -- roughly +/-140%, in fact.  In contrast, if
we went for

[0-10, average 5] + [0-10, average 5] + [2-12, average
7] vs. [#]

the die roll would be given half the weight of the
former example.

On the flip side: Ricardo, you are completely correct
when you state that realistic results aren't a
necessity -- this is a role-playing game, after all,
not a procedure for distributing educational funds. 
As I had no problem with 2d6, I'm also cool with a
single die being rolled to account for chance.  If
we'd prefer to go with a "single die" resolution,
which is admittedly sleek and straightforward, I
suggest that we go with quite a low value for that
die.  Flat distribution doesn't have the same adverse
effects if the span of possible results is small; I
mean, 1d100 will most certainly yield different
results when compared to 10d10, for example, but I
think that 1d6 and 2d4-2 won't give widely varying
result in the long run.

Whether we go with a single die or a pair of dice (or
380 dice), though, one issue remains: the ratio of
[ability + skill] to the results of the die roll.  I
firmly believe that the [ability + skill] portion of
the equation should amount to about two-thirds or
three-quarters of the total mass, and definitely more
than half of it.  If we go with 1d6, for instance, we
should have scores in the 0-5 range; if we go with
1d10 or 2d6, we should have scores in the 0-10 range.

To summarize my perspective, 1d6, 1d10, and 2d6 are
all O.K. with me (you guys can wrestle with that
situation, heh), but once the method of randomization
has been established, we should follow some guidelines
for skill and ability levels in relation to the
element of chance.

On to other things...

We should probably tackle the topic of opposed rolls
and unopposed rolls only after we've figured out the
dice that we'll be using... I mean, one thing at a
time.  To throw in a word or two now, however, I've
never been a fan of two different techniques used in
one system -- that is to say, I prefer it when all
rolls are opposed, or all are unopposed.  (And
personally, I prefer the latter.)  Both systems would
be relatively simple to construct, so I'm not too
worried about it.  In much the same way, we can
develop a system of experience at a later date --
realistic options will become clearer to us once we've
established the basic mechanics.

Oh, and thanks very much for the excellent ideas
regarding the "Ancient Greeks in space" concept.  I
myself had a wholly different idea of how it would be
arranged; it's funny how one premise can produce so
many varying storylines!  Essentially, my background
was this:


At some time in the near future, Herakles / Hercules,
who's been living in Olympus since his run-in with the
poisoned robe, begins to get ambitious.  He looks at
his father, Zeus.  Now, the king of the gods has
become lazy: in the last few thousand years, he has
drifted further and further away from humanity, and
allowed them to do as they please.  Herakles decides
to change this, and, just as his own father overthrew
Kronos and Kronos himself overthrew Uranus, he
overthrows Zeus, becoming the new king.  He heads back
to Earth with some of his supporters, and returns
humans to the "right path" by every means necessary. 
Humanity all over the world has Ancient Greek culture
forced upon them, and Herakles demands that they
spread his name across the universe.

Five hundred years later, Hekacles' plan is working
out, even if he himself is now becoming lazy. 
Spacecraft exist, but so do dueling heroes with blood
in their veins.  Lasers and other forms of advanced
weaponry are prevalent, but said weaponry consists
mostly of swords, spears, and the like rather than
cowardly guns.  Magic swirls alongside technology;
gods visit men.


Yeah, there's a bit more to it than that (e.g.,
mythological character races, such as centaurs and
satyrs), but you get the general idea.

Blah, blah, blah... I'm out of here.  Looking forward
to your next posts!

-- Duncan

* On the other hand, we can't ignore the fact that
some players just love dice -- the more, the better. 
I am not one of those people myself, but...

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