To dice or not to dice?


  • Pitcrew

    What's the general consensus when it comes to having a TT-style system installed as code on a MU? If not an actual port of a TT system such as WoD, Hero System, M&M, etc.? I've played both free-form and coded combat system games, and i lean towards the coded game system, but how do others feel about it? Does it slow down actions and combat too much, in your opinion? Do you think more players are more interested in a vague stated system that involves no dice rolls or one that uses dice for task/combat? Or is it the theme and storylines of a game that matter more and dice/no dice is a secondary concern?



  • @Runescryer
    It's highly dependent on the game. I wouldn't expect a WoD freeform game, just like I wouldn't expect a Transformers game that didn't use some kind of coded combat/resolution system that is not, per se, an RPG dice system. I think there are weird points where things cross over (like, a Transformers game that uses both coded combat and a RPG-style dice system), but in general, the needs of the game end up defining the systems created.

    ETA: I am a fan of all types: using straight game system rules, freeform and coded combat/resolution.


  • Pitcrew

    What B said. I run a lot of online tabletop and it depends on the system. Amber no. Pathfinder yes.



  • I tend to prefer no dice and more freeform because I like the extra creativity that tends to allow, BUT! It really depends on who you're playing with, and what system. Not everyone can be a reasonable human being, and handle freeform type of things so... I'm with @Sunny and @Bobotron.

    All depends on the situation.

    Helpful, I'm sure =D


  • Pitcrew

    Dice prevent the "I hit you!","Nahuh I blocked it with my laser gauntlet!", "Nah uh I'm faster than you!" arguments.



  • Question and a note.
    It sounds like you are speaking about MUD level automated combat (which is the same as many MMORPG games, with complex many step resolutions and factors) either real time, or with a potentially complex turn system when referring to dice. Contrast with systems usually mean to be simple enough to play "quickly at the table" like your typical RPG e.g. Vampire, RuneQuest, ShadowRun. Is that what you mean?

    Also, so note that having ratings for things doesn't require dice. You just need a statement of how much better one rating is than another, to give you an idea of how the narration should go, and what is a concession, compromise etc. A simple example of this would be a proportion system, where your chance to win is rating A/(Rating A + Rating B). Anything outside about that rate of success should be paid for or discussed. So two matched opponents should discuss, and describe it as a close match. If someone clearly outmatched is posed as dominating, there should be a reason beyond "I didn't feel like losing despite being outmatched".


  • Coder

    RPG combat systems on-line can be a horrifying experience. It wasn't unusual to have a 8-person PvP scene in old WoD take more than a day, considering the vagueness of the rules and the tricky tricks that a lot of people like to do. Add all three of those things together and what you get is as much arguing as you do combat.


  • Pitcrew

    @DnvnQuinn said:

    Dice prevent the "I hit you!","Nahuh I blocked it with my laser gauntlet!", "Nah uh I'm faster than you!" arguments.

    Really? Thankfully, I don't have that problem amongst the people I tabletop with, either in person or online.



  • @Misadventure
    To me it sounds like he's talking about a 'combat system' in the form of what Trasformers and other games have. The characters will have stats, and there are back-end randomizers, but the code does everything for you. So you'd have attributes that represent attacks/weapons/what have you, and commands to attack and such, with the system doing everything for you such as apply damage, calculating hits and such. Can use RPG dice as a backbone, but often uses some mathematical formulas of original design and calculation.


  • Pitcrew

    Sorry for the vagueness. So, I'm talking about, specifically, superhero genre games. Now, as a long time TT player, I know how much Hero System slows down combat, with M&M being quite a bit quicker. And MSH being extremely fast for resolution.

    So, the real question I'm asking is: dice system for superhero games; yae or nae?


  • Pitcrew

    I am definitely in favor of dice to add randomness. I do play free form games but do like the random occurrences that dice can bring up. Oh my character who sis really good at this just messed up, ... On on the other side my utterly non-combat knocker just did five levels on damage with one punch because literally every die on both attack and damage succeeded and the npc baddie failed his soak. It was not something that would have every been posed free form but ended up having a major impact for that character.

    Sor superhero games in particular, I would love to see it but know going into it that you are going to be swimming upstream against the prevailing superhero mu culture if you go that route.


  • Pitcrew

    For an online superhero tabletop? Use dice.


  • Coder

    I'm a fan of dice. I like the structure and rules. The few times I've ever tried trait based superhero games, it just didn't work for me.



  • The problem is, how to do dice fairly in a superhero game. Especially if there are stupendous power discrepencies like, say, Superman vs. Green Arrow or Hulk vs. Hawkeye.


  • Pitcrew

    @Bobotron
    There's ways of dealing with power disparity; usually through tactics and good writing. For example, there's plenty of times that lower powered opponents have been able to fight more powerful ones, like Hawkeye and Black Widow tag teaming Hulk in the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series.And with advanced planning and some Kryptonite, Green Arrow can take on Superman.

    Mechanically, there's ways to deal with it too. Using Mutants & Masterminds as an example, Her Points can be used to alter the events and the situation. So, Green Arrow, say, could spend Hero Points to have that Kryptonite arrow on hand to shoo at Superman. or Hawkeye could have a more potent knockout gas arrow in his quiver to use on Hulk. Further, you could state that the lower Power Level character gets a number of bonus Hero Points when the fight starts equal to the difference in Power Level, (Superman's PL 15 compared to GA's PL 12 would give GA an extra 3 Hero Points to start off with, for example.) That would help level the playing field, so to speak.


  • Admin

    @Bobotron
    There's ways of dealing with power disparity; usually through tactics and good writing. For example, there's plenty of times that lower powered opponents have been able to fight more powerful ones, like Hawkeye and Black Widow tag teaming Hulk in the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series.

    It's easy in material where the writer defines the circumstances based on the story he wants to tell. If you're writing on behalf of Black Widow and Hawkeye you can have page upon page of them stalking the Hulk, dancing out of the way, sniping at his eyes and leading him through traps to slow him down. Then again if you're writing on behalf of the Hulk you can have him clap his hands and knock them both unconscious in one panel.

    In roleplay once dice get into it... things are far more predictable.



  • That's where games like Apocalypse World can define Moves that fit the fiction better.

    For example, in Magical Fury, a (admittedly dark) Magical Girl RPG, they wanted fighting to be quick, and as narrative or not as you wanted, so they defined not single actions, but entire strategies for the fight: Go On The Offense, Protect Someone Else, Run Away. The threefold possible results give you more resolution detail, and you can describe it how ever much you want. A well thought out version of this sort of approach could allow for the more cinematic/interesting/character-driven actions and results we might like to see. As is, Apocalypse Engine games tend to be intense, but with few truly clear victories.


  • Coder

    This thought just came to mind.

    Has anyone ever asked the comic book writers how they do it?

    No, they're not looking a PvP situations, but they are looking to tell a story with characters whose powers are limited not by statistics but by narrative.



  • Writer creates story, dialogue, fitting in immediate goals and perhaps larger scale elements for a larger arc, upcoming events, etc. They may be handed requirements, such as who can or can't show up.

    Artist storyboards it. Someone (writer, Editor) approves art or suggests changes. Art can carry significant tone that text will not. See the Watchmen comics where most panels look more like photos than action shots, everything is fairly mundane. This emphasizes the made of clay for the setting where the costumed folk read comics, but don't live that fancy four colored reality.

    As far as I know they pretty much spot some beats of tension, setbacks, and either typical (Spider-Man says annoying funny things) or atypical (Spider-Man beats someone mercilessly) characterization, set those up and go.



  • @Thenomain said:

    This thought just came to mind.

    Has anyone ever asked the comic book writers how they do it?

    No, they're not looking a PvP situations, but they are looking to tell a story with characters whose powers are limited not by statistics but by narrative.

    You see arguments and fights and articles about the inconsistencies and changes, too, from fans.

    What's interesting to me about that specific example, though? It is a genre in which many people may be writing about the same world and characters in it at any given time. It may be closer to something like Firan's 'roster and broad stroke sequence of planned events' than the average WoD MUX, but that is a closer comparison than a single author writing everything all the time for a setting in terms of 'who gets to do what'.

    There's someone I can ask about this in a few days who would probably have a good handle on the answer there, and now I'm too damn curious not to.


 

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