Monday, July 27, 2009

The most fundemental rule (important to all rules heavy systems)

The first flaw I will discuss is the simple aspect of rolling dice. We all know the problems that occur in RPG's when dice rolling gets involved. Game play can grind to crawl as players try and figure out all their minor modifiers. This gets worse when a roll is narrowly failed and players huddle around spending 5 minutes counting and recounting modifiers to try and pass, thinking up new reasons and justifications for a bonus.

Sometimes this gets worse and occurs after the fact when players bring up a failed roll from 2 encounters ago that should have succeeded and wish to then return the broken shield to their inventory or any number of other problems. Other problems also come up time and time again.When I wrote piecemeal this was one of the first things I addressed, how to actually create rules to dictate how dice are rolled.

It works as such.First:The player rolling the die announces all the positive bonuses, and any constantly occurring negative penalties (not situational or temporary ones).Second:Those opposing (usually the GM) announce all the negative penalties to the die roll (such as a curse, or an injured limb or it being pouring rain).Finally:The Die is rolled by the player with the end modifier. The result stands. If the player forgot his sword is +5 not +4, or the GM forgot the player was blinded two rounds ago, it doesn't matter.Why? This speeds up the game a lot, you do not even realise how much until a few games using this style of rolling. Its also a great mechanic for getting players involved in a new RPG. Rules knowledge is no longer so immediatly required (and if a new player is forgetting a lot of bonuses, a GM could balance by not "remembering" all the penalties).This means sometimes actions will succeed where they should have failed, that isn't an issue. Consider it cheating fate, and enjoy the smoother game play.

Reposted as part of my "Phone it in" series..
original post

Note that I had originally planned a second post to point out how this rule applies to all other rules. If no one remembers the rules for grappling when they occur, then it obviously wasn't that essential to anyones plan for handling the current situation. Note this means that the incorrect rules may often be used, but if no one interjects with the right rules then who really cares?

Needless to say there wasn't enough for this second post.


  1. I'm not getting your point here.

  2. I'm not entirely sure either, but my guess is his point is that you shouldn't be wasting time going back and checking on the modifiers of a roll AFTER you've already rolled... everything should be out in the open beforehand.

    I do disagree that a GM should ever forget a rule on purpose though. I would also think that such a rule wouldn't diminish the need for rules knowledge, but invigorate it so you don't ever miss out on a bonus.

  3. This is a good point and I like it. Rules lawyering is a menace.

  4. I have no problem with rules lawyering if its a rule you know and had planned on. If you based your actions on knowing the rules for grappling and that you would be fairly safe against it then you should have the right to use those rules.

    If you just don't like that you are going to lose whatever simple grappling ruling occurs and are just hoping the listed rules will give you a shot at a do-over without even knowing what they are, thats different. Now you are just wasting time. If you object, do it before the dice are rolled (since you get an input to that phase)

  5. That's what all that was about?

    Why should the players need to know all the rules just to play?

    I get the feeling I'm still missing something here.