Monday, April 16, 2007

Funky Mechanics, revisited

A simplified summary of this Funky Mechanic System that I was obsessing on last week, which I hereby dub the FM system:

Each skill/ability/whatever has one or more pools of dice (d6s). Each pool of dice represents an additional level of mastery of that skill.

When you roll the skill, you roll each of your pools. You take the highest result from each pool and add those results together.

With one level of mastery, you get a result between 1 and 6, with two you get a result between 2 and 12, and with three you get a result between 3 and 18. A result of 18 is the highest that you can ever expect to achieve as a normal human being who has mastered the skill, though there will be more than three possible levels of mastery if the game includes rules for things with abilities beyond those of humans.

How to interpret the results?

I'm leaning away from a Difficulty Class or Target Number based system. Instead, I'm inclined toward a system that allows you to roll and then spend the results of your roll on relevant effects. Why? As I noted in my second-ever post in this blog (exactly 14 months ago today), I don't trust the dice when it comes to depending upon them for things like story outcome or character integrity.

What about attributes or ability scores or whatever you want to call them?

Read the comments on my last post for a possible method (or three) of dealing with such things. I'm actually considering doing away with them, though. I've noted before that I think these things are superfluous most of the time.


longcoat000 said...

Now I think I have a better handle on what you were getting at with FM. I'm intrigued by your idea of spending points on results. I don't think I've ever seen a game mechanic that was built around anything but the basic pass/fail system. I'd love to see the system behind it.

szilard said...

Here's a d20-esque near-equivalent:

Armor class 18? I roll a 20... for a total of 27. Nine successes. I spend of those to trip him and put the rest toward damage.

The rest? Tripping costs two plus his strength bonus plus his dex bonus. That's nine right there.

Ah, but I am using a kama - that makes it an eight, and I have the Improved Trip feat, which further reduces the cost by two (to a minimum of two)... so that reduces it to six, leaving me three points to put towards damage...

longcoat000 said...

Ah. Gotcha. Sounds much more elegant than that glop that we were arguing about before.

szilard said...

It isn't incompatible with the FM system at all. In fact, the FM system might handle this sort of thing very nicely insofar as people with different levels of ability will have differing ranges of possible results.

So, to extend the analogy back to FM (using a hypothetical and not-thought-out-example):

A trip attack that causes no damage might cost 5 points - within the reach of someone with only a single level of Mastery.

A normal attack that causes half damage might cost 3 points.

A trip attack that causes half damage might cost 7 points - a one point saving over buying the two effects individually, and not an option for someone with only one level of mastery.