[MUD-Dev] Re: Systems you use

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Thu Apr 23 09:36:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On 01:17 PM 4/23/98 +0100, I personally witnessed Ling jumping up to say:
>Out of interest, what system do people use for their randomness and why?
>Linear probability, percentile, 1D100, 1D20:

I like using this for most of the actual game-play systems in tabletop, but...

>Combinational dice, nDm + c (eg: 3D6 + 1):

The bell curve on this sort of roll is good for generating character

>Strange multiple D6 only:

I'm also fond of this system, although it's a pain in the butt to do
success/fail implementations in online games; I like the White Wolf
version, which is very much like Shadowrun's except that it uses d10
instead of d6 and there are several options for what to do on the 'Rule of
Ten' (similar to the 'Rule of Six'): my personal favorite of the options is
that the ten counts as a success, and the same die can be rerolled for a
possible additional success. That option neatly solves the paradoxical
concept of both the 'Rule of One' and the 'Rule of Ten' applying to the
same die. The Shadowrun style 'add the six to a reroll of the same die'
tends to get ludicrous on occasion.

>Combat Resolution Table (CRT):

I detest these. Really, I do. They're better in MUDs than on paper, but
still! They're either almost random or woefully predictable -- see 'Wooden
Ships and Iron Men', where the 'Wave Hat' action was either a waste of
time, an effective block against most attacks, or an instant knockout for
your opponent. What a no-brainer! There's no risk! I saw game after game
where people would 'Wave Hat' four and five turns in a row!

>Cards and chits:

These are good for really strange probability curves, if you ask me, or for
'unique' results. They're also good for presenting appropriate fixes to the
'luck' aspect -- a deck of cards containing the numbers 1-20 which is
shuffled and dealt in order until they run out, then being reshuffled, can
substitute for a d20. However, there's no chance of rolling multiple 20s or
multiple 1s, because once you get the 20 or the 1 out, it's gone. 

>Random numbers are dependent upon stats.  Eg: Strength of 200 will allow
>rolls of 1-200 or variation of.

You can get really weird with randomising, but I prefer to use things that
represent real-world game constructs to make the game more accessible to
gamers. Sometimes this sort of thing is useful, but I'm not overly fond of it.

>When it comes down to it, some of the systems listed can emulate the others
>so it is all down to a matter of preference.

Not entirely. A 3d6 roll is very, very different from a 2d8+2 roll, and TSR
has had difficulty with drilling into people's heads that random encounter
rolls are on 1d12+1d8, NOT 2d10. The probability breakdown is significantly
different. Linear probability is very simple, but multiple dice have a very
different probability curve, and systems based on success/failure on *each*
die have yet another completely different curve. Cards and chits can
effectively emulate dice to some degree, creating an artificial probability
curve, and combat resolution tables just... blech.

The Alternity dice system is interesting. A bonus or penalty in Alternity
changes the linear nature of the roll; everything is on 1d20, but you
generally start at a flat d20 (low is better) and each point of bonus or
penalty moves you along a table of modifiers which uses more dice; a -1
bonus, for example, is 1d20-1d4, while a -2 bonus is 1d20-1d6. It uses no
d10, so you have a table that runs like this:

-5: 1d20-1d20
-4: 1d20-1d12
-3: 1d20-1d8
-2: 1d20-1d6
-1: 1d20-1d4
 0: 1d20
+1: 1d20+1d4
+2: 1d20+1d6
+3: 1d20+1d8
+4: 1d20+1d12
+5: 2d20
+6: 3d20
+7: 4d20

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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