Feb. 22nd, 2012

kent_allard_jr: (Dungeon Master)
Like many old roleplayers I fell in love with RuneQuest after playing AD&D. The mechanics were elegant and consistent, and its combat system had a verisimilitude that D&D lacked with its clunky abstractions.

One problem with RuneQuest was its basic combat mechanic: In order to damage an opponent, you had to make a successful attack roll and your opponent had to fail a parry roll (or some other defense roll). Rolls were made with percentile dice, and attack and parry skills ranged (more or less) from 5-95, starting at the low range. This meant fights could go on a looooong time. If two folks had skill ratings of 10%, only 9% of their blows would land; and if they had skills of 95% then less than 5% would. Combat was only resolved quickly when skills were in the 50% range. A number of solutions had been suggested over the years, but all of them seemed a bit clunky.

My suggestion is to use other dice, as well as D100s, for skill checks. Use D20s for easy tasks, D40s for somewhat easy, D100 for standard, D200 for hard tasks, and D400 (or higher!) for extremely difficult skill checks. (A D40, in case you wondered, would just be a 4-sided and a 10-sided die rolled simultaneously, and a D200 would be a D20 and a D10.) Criticals and Specials would skill occur if you rolled less than 5% of your skill or 20% of your skill, respectively, so they'd come up more often with easier tasks; while fumbles would occur if you rolled within the die's "threat range" (shown below) and then failed a D100 skill check.

Die Type Threat Range
D20 20
D40 39-40
D100 96-100
D200 191-200
D400 381-400
D1000 951-1000


In combat, attackers would choose which dice to roll, and defenders would (in most cases) use the same dice for their parry or dodge rolls. So a crude, obvious attack would use a D20 roll, and would likely crit if it made contact, but could easily be swatted away, while a super-duper-ninja-mindfuck attack might require D400, but would be nearly impossible to defend against.

I know the subject matter is a bit obscure, but comments are welcome.

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kent_allard_jr

August 2012

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