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Roll Low, Sweet Chariot

Sean Waters

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There have been discussions over the years of the roll low mechanic for combat.  Many, and I have been one of them, have espoused the view that we would be far better off starting over and rolling high because that tends to make more sense to more people: high = good.  Not only that, but the target number would be a 10, which is a much friendlier number than an 11.


Now whilst I have seen the argument made for combat, it does not seem to apply to skill rolls: people seem perfectly happy with them because the high = good is already built in – you just look at the skill roll you need to roll under.


The mechanic for combat and skills is in fact exactly the same but they feel very different, at least to me.


Now I’m sure this has been kicked around the park before, but why not treat combat rolls like skill rolls?  Here is a tweak on that concept:


You have a combat skill roll based on your OCV and DCV.  The Attack skill  is 11+OCV, and you have to roll under that to hit: this is slightly different from how combat works at present in that you can roll high and hit a very low DCV, but in practice this rule change will usually only affect characters without increased combat stats (usually NPCs) and speed overall combat.  It also gives a ‘miss’ mechanic if you want it, and is more in line with the way skill rolls often work.  If you do not like it, skip that bit.


Roll 3d6 and work out how much you succeeded by i.e. your skill less your roll and that is the DCV you can hit.


Example: You have and OCV of 5 so your combat skill is 11+5 = 16.  You need to roll a 16 or less to potentially hit anything.


If you roll a 13 you can hit a DCV of 16-3 = 3 or less


One nice thing about this approach is that you can also switch it around easily and use Defensive Combat Skill (DCS) or Defence Skill.  This would be 10+DCV (yes, 10, because there is an advantage in Hero to being the attacker).  The same mechanic then applies.


Roll 3d6 and work out how much you succeeded by i.e. your skill less your roll and that is the OCV that can hit you.


Example: You have a DCV of 4 so your combat skill is 11+4 = 15.  You need to roll a 15 or less to potentially avoid a hit.


If you roll a 10 the difference is 15-10 so an OCV of at least 5 is required to hit you.  (You can turn this around using the same numbers: if you had an OCV of 5 then you have a combat skill of 16, and a roll of 12 means you can hit 16-12 = 4 DCV or worse.  I use 12 because we are ‘reversing the burden’ – a good DCS roll is the same as a bad OCS roll)


You can use defence rather than attack to reduce the burden on the DM or you could use both in a climactic duel: each party rolls their OCS when attacking and the defender has to match the success with their DCS roll to avoid damage.


Mechanically this is exactly what we are doing at present but it feels cleaner to me, just presenting it that way, and it feels like more of a unification of skill and combat mechanics.




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