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[Forge-main] Re: [freeroleplay] Re: The Ideal Mechanic

From: Ricardo Gladwell
Subject: [Forge-main] Re: [freeroleplay] Re: The Ideal Mechanic
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 16:04:40 +0000

On Sat, 2003-11-22 at 02:15, James Jensen wrote:
> On Fri, 2003-11-21 at 05:54, Ricardo Gladwell wrote:
> Now, to preempt any nit-pickers, I'd like to be the first to say that
> there is likely no "perfect" technique. I'm not saying this to nitpick.
> I'm saying this to keep us our feet firmly on the ground.

Thanks for clarifying this for me :) Actually, I believe the Ideal
Mechanic I wrote is totally impossible to create, and I set out writing
my 'objectives' with this in mind. Its nice to dream :)

> Then again, Emerson did say there was a right way to do anything.
> Nothing wrong with hoping.

I agree, if I can get something close to this ideal I'll be happy.
FRINGE comes close, but I'd like to cut it closer if at all possible.

> a straight 1-10 scale on _everything_ is monotonous and simplistic.

I agree that it is monotonous and simplistic, but I never set out with
the idea of creating a new and gimmicky dice mechanic with FRINGE. Quite
the reverse, I wanted to create something totally unoriginal that used
only those RPG design approaches that worked with other systems. The
1-10 scale may be un-exciting but it's simple, it's intuitive and it
does the bare minimum of getting in the way of actually running a game.

> > * Only roll only one dice per action participant to determine the outcome.
> When you say "dice", do you mean "die" or "set of dice"? I think the
> second might be more correct, since rolling 2d6 is so common from other
> dice games (like Craps or Monopoly, for instance) that it would hardly
> seem unnatural to anyone. But then again, you're probably looking for a
> linear curve.

Actually, I do mean dice although, more accurately, I should have said
'one roll' here. Ideally, I would like all tasks resolved using a single
dice only. In the case of FRINGE a 1d10. Obviously, the randomiser can
be any substitute for something that gives a 1-10 range, so a 2d6-2
would be perfectly satisfactory.

> > * Set difficulty and roll-over mechanic should be used.
> Maybe I'm just having a memory lapse, but could you please elaborate on
> "roll-over"? Do you mean "open-ended"? I agree with set difficulty
> levels, though. makes things much simpler.

Sorry, "roll-over" is a semantic from the RPG design community. There
are two types of task resolution mechanic, roll-over and roll-under.
Roll-over is where you have a target difficulty and you must roll over
that figure. Roll-under is where you have to roll under you trait to
succeed in an action.

> > So, my perfect mechanic for FRINGE would be:
> > 
> > All roll modifiers (Ability + Skill) should be in the 0-10 range. You 
> > then determine a difficulty 0-10 and roll a 1d10 over the difficulty to 
> > determine the outcome, giving result points in the 0-10 range.
> >
> > This may well be an impossible mechanic!
> Definitely better than the 1-5 range.

Actually, this would still use the 1-5 range... you would still add a
Ability + Skill together to create the "meta-trait" that affects the
roll. Of course, having the 1-10 range for the traits themselves would
also be a nice feature although even more impossible, mathematically.

> Two things, though. First, what if result points go above 10? Capping
> would probably be okay, but I question putting such limits on there just
> for the sake of keeping it to 0-10.

When I say, 0-10, I mean for the human-normal range. Super or non-human
range would be, hypothetically, 11-20.

> Second, this makes skill only as valuable as attributes!

This brings us onto more philosophical grounds. I think the idea that
learnt or acquired skill contributes as much as innate ability to the
outcome of an action seems like a fair approximation of reality. Of
course, skills are far more likely to increase than ability traits, so
overall skills will probably count more than abilities anyway.

> For this, you might think of making the skill level count as double on
> the task roll, or restricting attributes to 0-5, or expanding skills to
> 0-20.

Its a good idea, but I'm reluctant. It would irreversibly break the
intuitive ranges I've established in FRINGE.

> Oh, and sorry about all the nit-picking...

Not at all, thank-you for your comments and thoughts.

Ricardo Gladwell
President, Free Roleplaying Community

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