RPGaDAY 2018 Day Twenty-One

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I’m participating in the #RPGaDAY 2018 challenge, so August is going to be busy with posting. They’ve broken up the challenge into 5 themes, corresponding with the weeks. Week One focuses on the What, Week Two the How, Week Three is Describe, Week Four is Which, and Week Five brings it all home with Share. But for now let’s just settle in and focus on today’s question:

Day Twenty-One: Which Dice Mechanic Appeals To You?

When my brother and I played Marvel Super Heroes back in the day, without any rulebooks, we used two six-sided dice, or what we called them, a pair of dice. It’s what we knew! We didn’t have fancy polyhedral dice sets.. Fast forward to now, and the games I enjoy playing (Battletech, Traveller) or want to run in the future (Fantasy AGE, Shadowrun Anarchy) all use the basic six-sided die. It’s my favorite!

So in terms of a dice mechanic, I love the approach of Traveller. The blog Tales to Astound! has a great post on the Heart of Traveller rules, about the dice “throw” mechanic. It’s this:

2D6 +/- DM ≥ Throw Value equals success

And it’s an amazingly streamlined tool for gaming. I’ve even converted Battletech to use this rather than have modifiers add to subtract to the target number. It’s straightforward, it’s used throughout Traveller, not just in combat or resolution mechanics, but in character generation and the lifepath system. Because of how constrained modifiers can be in Traveller, it’s easier to eyeball difficulty than with the d20 systems, where the dice can become an afterthought to the DC50 challenge or +99 skill bonus. It keeps the action moving, which is exactly what you want from a dice mechanic.