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Hello chaps,

 

I was walking the dogs the other day and I had this idea.  That happens a lot.  Here it is.  Too long, probably, but this is more about getting it off my chest than anything else 😊

I’ve never been entirely satisfied with the skill system in Hero.  Story of my life.

 

The basic idea: So one of the real stand out mechanics of Hero is the damage roll, specifically how a single roll yields a Stun and a Body total.  We can use that as an alternative skill resolution method.

When you buy a skill you get CHAR/5 d6 in that skill.  Skill levels add 1d6 per skill level.

Roll the total as if you are rolling damage and compare to a Difficulty.

A standard difficulty take would be Difficulty 10.  3d6 will get you to 10 or more 62.5% of the time, same as 11- on 3d6.

More difficult tasks have a higher difficulty.  They should probably go up in increments of 3 or 4, but any number can be used.

Bonuses are added to your dice pool.  Penalties form their own dice pool and are rolled separately then subtracted.

 

Complications: So the ‘damage’ roll also yields a Body result.  This can be used in two ways.  First the task may require a Body total as well as a Stun total.  I would suggest that everyman skills are ‘Stun only’, meaning there are some things you can not do with knowledge that you have not paid points for.

Second, Body points can be used to give you bonuses.  For example, if the task you are trying to accomplish normally takes a minute and is Difficulty 15/1 (meaning more difficult than usual and can only be accomplished with trained skills) and you have 5d6 to roll, and get (say) 17/5, you accomplish the task (exceed the difficulty of both the ‘Stun’ and ‘Body’) – the excess Stun is wasted, but the excess Body (5-1=4) can be used as a bonus.  The typical bonus would be reduced time.  Each point reduces the time taken by 1 unit of the next point in the time chart.  So, if the task normally took a minute, the next time point is a turn.  You have 4 Body excess so can reduce the time the task takes by 4 turns, or 48 seconds, meaning it only takes you 1 turn.

If you had managed to roll 7 Body (6 excess), 4 Body reduce total time to 1 Turn then the extra 2 reduce the time taken by 1 segment each, so instead of a minute, it takes you 10 seconds.

You can use the excess Body for other bonuses too.  Off the top of my head, if you are rolling Persuasion and get extra Body, you get the target as a single use favour or contact, each excess point translating to 1d6 of effect to see how affected they are.

You can also use Body for penalties.

Tasks are either Repeatable or All Or Nothing, either Cumulatively or not and may attract Penalties.

 

So, a Repeatable task example might be Research: you have to comb through a lot of material to find out what you want to.  This is not an enormously difficult task and you will find what you need eventually but there is a lot of stuff to go through.

The task difficulty might be 40/3 (1 hour).  Basically you can keep rolling and adding Stun until you get to 50: the number of times x the time the task takes for one iteration tells you how long it takes.  Body is NOT cumulative.

Say you have a Research skill of 4d6 (or just Research/4).  You roll 14/4 and you have 14 points to your total and it took 55 minutes (as you had one extra Body).

Next you roll 19/5, your total is now 31 and that took an additional 50 minutes.

Next you do badly and roll 10/2.  The Stun should take you to 41, so you should complete the task, but because you did not roll 3 Body, that hour is wasted and the Stun does not add.  Finally, you roll 12/3 and get to 43 points.  That took another hour, but now you have your answer.

That took 3 hours 45 minutes in total.

 

A repeatable task that is not cumulative might be lockpicking.  That might have a difficulty of 12/3.  You can keep going until you succeed in rolling at least 12/3 in a single go.

 

An example of a repeatable roll with a penalty might be Persuasion.  That might have a difficulty of 16/5.  You have Persuasion/6 so you are confident. If you roll 16/5 or more, you succeed but if you fail then you can have another go, but with a penalty.  The penalty is whatever you failed the Body roll by, so if you rolled (1, 5, 2, 3, 1, 5) 17/4, for example, then you do not succeed and any subsequent attempts are made at a penalty of (5-4)=1.

Penalties are rolled separately and subtracted from your total.  Next time you roll (4,3,5,2,5,3).  That is a total of 22/6, which is great and would easily pass, but you have a penalty of 1d6.  If it comes up 6 you fail as your total is now (22-6)=16/(6-2)=4.  Next time you have 2 penalty dice if you try again.

 

Penalties also apply to others trying the same thing on the same target, usually, and they usually reset after a time, in the discretion of the GM.  Someone you have failed to persuade might always see you as a pest, however.

Some tasks might START with a penalty, if they are particularly tricky.

Some tasks, for example bomb disposal, might not be repeatable: they are all or nothing.  Fail and BOOM!

Skill vs skill just compares totals.  The ‘attacker’ has to equal or beat the ‘Stun’ and ‘Body’ of the ‘defender’s total.  If the attacker fails at both they fail.  If they fail at one the GM might declare a draw and allow another attempt.

Alternatively, Characteristics can be used as difficulties.  If you are trying to use Stealth to get past a character with 14 INT, the difficulty is 14/3 (to get the Body total, divide by 5 and round).

 

Finally, you could rule that if you roll all '1's (or if you have a zero or less Body total after penalties) that is a fumble and something horrible happens.  It is less likely as you become more skilled, unless you are doing something really tricky, which seems realistic.  If you roll all '6's then you get lots of Body which will give you some sort of bonus anyway, so a 'critical' rule is not needed.

 

Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, Sean Waters said:

I’ve never been entirely satisfied with the skill system in Hero.  Story of my life.

 

The basic idea: So one of the real stand out mechanics of Hero is the damage roll, specifically how a single roll yields a Stun and a Body total.  We can use that as an alternative skill resolution method.

When you buy a skill you get CHAR/5 d6 in that skill.  Skill levels add 1d6 per skill level.

Roll the total as if you are rolling damage and compare to a Difficulty.

A standard difficulty take would be Difficulty 10.  3d6 will get you to 10 or more 62.5% of the time, same as 11- on 3d6.

More difficult tasks have a higher difficulty.  They should probably go up in increments of 3 or 4, but any number can be used.

Bonuses are added to your dice pool.  Penalties form their own dice pool and are rolled separately then subtracted.

 

First thought:  what do you get for a Familiarity, or that other category that's a straight 11- roll?  2d6 and 3d6?  That would mean the full skill for someone with a 10 characteristic is only a Familiarity,  but if we drop Familiarity to 1d6, you can never roll a 10.  Maybe Familiarity is 2d6, that unmodified 11- is 3d6 and a Skill is CHAR/5 d6 + 1d6.

 

Second thought:  why not treat a more difficult task as a penalty, that adds to the opposed dice pool.  That's one less modifier.

 

I like using the BOD for required training and bonuses, although what bonuses, specifically, needs to be fleshed out (along with BOD of tasks).  If you needed 15 and 1, you're pretty much guaranteed a bonus, for example.

 

1 hour ago, Sean Waters said:

Tasks are either Repeatable or All Or Nothing, either Cumulatively or not and may attract Penalties.

 

So, a Repeatable task example might be Research: you have to comb through a lot of material to find out what you want to.  This is not an enormously difficult task and you will find what you need eventually but there is a lot of stuff to go through.

The task difficulty might be 40/3 (1 hour).  Basically you can keep rolling and adding Stun until you get to 50: the number of times x the time the task takes for one iteration tells you how long it takes.  Body is NOT cumulative.

Say you have a Research skill of 4d6 (or just Research/4).  You roll 14/4 and you have 14 points to your total and it took 55 minutes (as you had one extra Body).

Next you roll 19/5, your total is now 31 and that took an additional 50 minutes.

Next you do badly and roll 10/2.  The Stun should take you to 41, so you should complete the task, but because you did not roll 3 Body, that hour is wasted and the Stun does not add.  Finally, you roll 12/3 and get to 43 points.  That took another hour, but now you have your answer.

That took 3 hours 45 minutes in total.

 

Seems like this needs to be dovetailed with "taking extra time".  I'd be more inclined to allow you to make the base roll first, so you rolled 14/4 and have accumulated 14 STUN (again, we have that guarantee you will massively exceed the BOD; I am going to stick to STUN for now).  Nowhere near enough.  Spending extra time gets you extra dice based on the bonus it adds.  So you can research for another four hours and roll the extra dice.  Not enough?  Research for longer.

 

Oh, but my note above suggests you don't need to roll 40.  You need to roll 10.  40 is 10 + 30, so based on 3 point increments, there is a 10d6 "opposing pool".  Hmmm...what if that opposing pool also counts BOD?  Any task requiring training likely now does have BOD.  That 10d6 comes up 35 and 10, so you need to accumulate 45 and 10.  Now, if we used Standard Effect for the opposing pool, each penalty would add 3 STUN and 1 BOD.  That would be more consistent with combat - static defenses and opposing STUN/BOD, and rolled damage.

 

It probably should not be a 10d6 penalty pool (a -10 penalty) if we change the Extra Time rule, though. 

 

1 hour ago, Sean Waters said:

A repeatable task that is not cumulative might be lockpicking.  That might have a difficulty of 12/3.  You can keep going until you succeed in rolling at least 12/3 in a single go.

 

An example of a repeatable roll with a penalty might be Persuasion.  That might have a difficulty of 16/5.  You have Persuasion/6 so you are confident. If you roll 16/5 or more, you succeed but if you fail then you can have another go, but with a penalty.  The penalty is whatever you failed the Body roll by, so if you rolled (1, 5, 2, 3, 1, 5) 17/4, for example, then you do not succeed and any subsequent attempts are made at a penalty of (5-4)=1.

Penalties are rolled separately and subtracted from your total.  Next time you roll (4,3,5,2,5,3).  That is a total of 22/6, which is great and would easily pass, but you have a penalty of 1d6.  If it comes up 6 you fail as your total is now (22-6)=16/(6-2)=4.  Next time you have 2 penalty dice if you try again.

 

Non-cumulative seems like it's just a task where Extra Time cannot help.  Not sure that is Lockpicking, though.

 

I like the "repeatable with penalty" option.  From my mods above, that 16/5 is instead a 2d6 opposing pool.  If, on the next attempt, you have a further -2 penalty, now the opposing pool is 4d6.  We could add in a "BOD only" dice mechanic, so that this guy is not more difficult to persuade, but once you fail once, he's more locked in to his initial response.

 

1 hour ago, Sean Waters said:

Some tasks, for example bomb disposal, might not be repeatable: they are all or nothing.  Fail and BOOM!

 

Depending on the scenario, it could also be "repeatable" by adding extra time, but the timer is ticking.  Or a fail by enough BOD sets the bomb off.  Or maybe it advances the timer.  How much?  How many BOD did you fail by?

 

1 hour ago, Sean Waters said:

Skill vs skill just compares totals.  The ‘attacker’ has to equal or beat the ‘Stun’ and ‘Body’ of the ‘defender’s total.  If the attacker fails at both they fail.  If they fail at one the GM might declare a draw and allow another attempt.

Alternatively, Characteristics can be used as difficulties.  If you are trying to use Stealth to get past a character with 14 INT, the difficulty is 14/3 (to get the Body total, divide by 5 and round).

 

Skill vs Skill could be rolled or static.  That 14 INT is a 12- PER roll, so he would be rolling 4d6.  That could simply be a 1d6 penalty (a normal PER roll is the 10 base difficulty).

 

I'm not sure why Skill vs Skill would resolve differently than rolling against the lock.  Maybe "succeed with STUN but fail with BOD" means success, but not total success, in some manner.  He's persuaded, but still suspicious, so future rolls are subject to that BOD penalty.  You found only some of what he concealed.  You snuck by him, but something attracted his attention, so he's looking around and more alert against further stealth rolls.

 

Sean, in the past I've questioned whether we could modify the system to make combat a simple "skill vs skill" roll,  but create a more robust task resolution system for, say, social interaction (a King's Court drama where a duel is just an opposed skill roll, because physical combat is not the focus of the game) or medical treatment (a hospital drama).  Your approach could be used for moving any non-combat task resolution into a more granular, robust resolution system.  The "main thrust" of the game can use this robust methodology and ancillary checks can be that simple current skill model.

 

Of course, using the more robust mechanic for all task resolution works as well.

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6 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

First thought:  what do you get for a Familiarity, or that other category that's a straight 11- roll?  2d6 and 3d6?  That would mean the full skill for someone with a 10 characteristic is only a Familiarity,  but if we drop Familiarity to 1d6, you can never roll a 10.  Maybe Familiarity is 2d6, that unmodified 11- is 3d6 and a Skill is CHAR/5 d6 + 1d6.

 

Second thought:  why not treat a more difficult task as a penalty, that adds to the opposed dice pool.  That's one less modifier.

 

I like using the BOD for required training and bonuses, although what bonuses, specifically, needs to be fleshed out (along with BOD of tasks).  If you needed 15 and 1, you're pretty much guaranteed a bonus, for example.

 

 

I'll do this a bit at a time :)

 

Also, hi, Hugh!  Been a while.

 

We probably ought to make it CHAR/3.  Gives more granularity and that way a 1- characteristic gets you 3 dice., which is how we should probably start OR buying the skill gets you 1d6+CHAR/5.   Good catch.

 

Penalties work a little differently to increased difficulty, although I take your point.  With increased difficulty you can fail and only fumble if you roll all '1's, which is unlikely if you are skilled.  With penalties you can fail and fumble even if you are skilled, but the task is tricky even for you.  Penalties are also more volatile than a higher Difficulty, which might be appropriate in some situations.  Increased difficulty also works well with Cumulative Tasks (although it would be easy enough to ONLY use it with Cumulative Tasks.

 

The bonuses do need to be fleshed out - it all does - this is a newborn staring in wonder at the world :)

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20 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Seems like this needs to be dovetailed with "taking extra time".  I'd be more inclined to allow you to make the base roll first, so you rolled 14/4 and have accumulated 14 STUN (again, we have that guarantee you will massively exceed the BOD; I am going to stick to STUN for now).  Nowhere near enough.  Spending extra time gets you extra dice based on the bonus it adds.  So you can research for another four hours and roll the extra dice.  Not enough?  Research for longer.

 

Oh, but my note above suggests you don't need to roll 40.  You need to roll 10.  40 is 10 + 30, so based on 3 point increments, there is a 10d6 "opposing pool".  Hmmm...what if that opposing pool also counts BOD?  Any task requiring training likely now does have BOD.  That 10d6 comes up 35 and 10, so you need to accumulate 45 and 10.  Now, if we used Standard Effect for the opposing pool, each penalty would add 3 STUN and 1 BOD.  That would be more consistent with combat - static defenses and opposing STUN/BOD, and rolled damage.

 

It probably should not be a 10d6 penalty pool (a -10 penalty) if we change the Extra Time rule, though. 

 

 

Non-cumulative seems like it's just a task where Extra Time cannot help.  Not sure that is Lockpicking, though.

 

 

 

This definitely needs work, but extra time does not seem terribly granular: you go up and down the time chart.  Using research as an example, you do not know when you start, how long it is going to take.  A few good rolls and you could have your answer in a couple of hours, a few bad ones and it will take more than twice as long.  I prefer that to being able to say, "Right I'll blow a day on this and nail it'".

 

I thought of adding in 'defences' but decided it was not necessary as the 'Body' was not ever going to be cumulative but worked as a threshold value, and you could just up the Stun bit to whatever you wanted for the task.  It does not work precisely like combat, although now you bring it up, that might not be a bad model to think about.

 

The way it is written though a 10d6 Penalty pool would be a nightmare (or any large Penalty pool) because a 'good' Penalty Roll makes a catastrophic result more likely.  I'm not sure extra time should be a penalty as such, although I will ponder that one (i.e. give it some extra time :))

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30 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Non-cumulative seems like it's just a task where Extra Time cannot help.  Not sure that is Lockpicking, though.

 

I like the "repeatable with penalty" option.  From my mods above, that 16/5 is instead a 2d6 opposing pool.  If, on the next attempt, you have a further -2 penalty, now the opposing pool is 4d6.  We could add in a "BOD only" dice mechanic, so that this guy is not more difficult to persuade, but once you fail once, he's more locked in to his initial response.

 

 

Depending on the scenario, it could also be "repeatable" by adding extra time, but the timer is ticking.  Or a fail by enough BOD sets the bomb off.  Or maybe it advances the timer.  How much?  How many BOD did you fail by?

 

 

The idea of non-cumulative is that your past efforts do not really help your future endeavours.  The extra time in Lockpicking comes from not knowing how many attempts you are going to need to succeed.  If the base time to pick a lock is 1 minute then a high Body roll could shorten that or we could reduce the body requirement and allow you to reduce the attempt time (see above) or gain a bonus on future rolls (assuming that a failed attempt at least teaches you SOMETHING about how the lock works).

 

Repeatable with penalty - I get the feeling that this (or something along these lines perhaps) could be used to create quite a lot of nuance in results.  I like the idea of the Body having a separate effect.

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39 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Skill vs Skill could be rolled or static.  That 14 INT is a 12- PER roll, so he would be rolling 4d6.  That could simply be a 1d6 penalty (a normal PER roll is the 10 base difficulty).

 

I'm not sure why Skill vs Skill would resolve differently than rolling against the lock.  Maybe "succeed with STUN but fail with BOD" means success, but not total success, in some manner.  He's persuaded, but still suspicious, so future rolls are subject to that BOD penalty.  You found only some of what he concealed.  You snuck by him, but something attracted his attention, so he's looking around and more alert against further stealth rolls.

 

Sean, in the past I've questioned whether we could modify the system to make combat a simple "skill vs skill" roll,  but create a more robust task resolution system for, say, social interaction (a King's Court drama where a duel is just an opposed skill roll, because physical combat is not the focus of the game) or medical treatment (a hospital drama).  Your approach could be used for moving any non-combat task resolution into a more granular, robust resolution system.  The "main thrust" of the game can use this robust methodology and ancillary checks can be that simple current skill model.

 

Of course, using the more robust mechanic for all task resolution works as well.

 

The trick is making the game flow.  I particularly like the Hero damage roll system because you get multiple results from a single roll and that means you can possibly use the results to accomplish different things.  For example, in Social Interaction you might be able to 'trade' skill levels, so, for example, you trade in 1d6 or 'normal' damage for 2d6 'Stun only': that means you are likely to get what you are after quicker but at the risk of accumulating long term penalties.  Thinking about it, you could even differentiate between, say Persuasion and Intimidation in this sort of way: Persuasion may be a bit slower but leaves everyone reasonably happy.  Intimidation could be quicker there and then but leaves brooding resentment.

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I like the basic premise, but the amount of pip counting at the table could get obnoxious and the tracking of two different numbers adds more crunch to a system that is famous for excessive crunch.

 

Perhaps, something along the lines of just using the BOD pips to determine success/failure and the amount of leftover pips could reduce the time increment.

Maybe failing by a small amount could be a partial success (you succeed, but only if you increase the time increment).

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It will completely and utterly destroy any chance of accomplishing a difficult task, because an Nd6 pool scales very differently from a 3d6 roll under.  https://anydice.com/program/1958f.  I can't see any way of making difficulty not a "Do you have at least 45 in your characteristic?  Oh, don't bother trying then." in the same way everyone knows a 6d6 Blast is useless in a 12d6 game.  Right now if 12- Tim, 14- Frank, and 17- Sam walk into a difficulty -6 roll, Tim and Frank get to try with a low but meaningful chance of success, but under a dice pool model if Sam has a credible chance of failure then Tim and Frank have no credible chance of success. 

 

Also, using both STUN and BODY to generate results will not be particularly interesting, since STUN correlates so heavily with BODY.  Low BODY high STUN and vice versa are very uncommon rolls. 

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10 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

We probably ought to make it CHAR/3.  Gives more granularity and that way a 1- characteristic gets you 3 dice., which is how we should probably start OR buying the skill gets you 1d6+CHAR/5.   Good catch.

 

Penalties work a little differently to increased difficulty, although I take your point.  With increased difficulty you can fail and only fumble if you roll all '1's, which is unlikely if you are skilled.  With penalties you can fail and fumble even if you are skilled, but the task is tricky even for you.  Penalties are also more volatile than a higher Difficulty, which might be appropriate in some situations.  Increased difficulty also works well with Cumulative Tasks (although it would be easy enough to ONLY use it with Cumulative Tasks.

 

The bonuses do need to be fleshed out - it all does - this is a newborn staring in wonder at the world :)

 

I think you've been away, Sean - maybe we just have not been on the same threads.

 

I think I'd go with 1d6 + CHAR/5, if only to keep the numbers inflating too rapidly. 

 

Given there is only a 1 in 216 chance to roll 3 1's, I'm not sure fumbles are worth retaining on this basis.  I'll leave those for a bit.

 

To me, penalties make the task more difficult, so treating them the same way makes sense.  I am, however, leaning to a standard effect model for penalties, including increased difficulty.  This creates less volatility, and less dice adding.

 

10 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

 

This definitely needs work, but extra time does not seem terribly granular: you go up and down the time chart.  Using research as an example, you do not know when you start, how long it is going to take.  A few good rolls and you could have your answer in a couple of hours, a few bad ones and it will take more than twice as long.  I prefer that to being able to say, "Right I'll blow a day on this and nail it'".

 

I was thinking "first roll is not enough, so he did not find it in a couple of hours; he takes extra time to roll more dice for the extra time bonus and add that roll in".

 

I'm actually thinking Extra Time is problematic, as it is under the present rules.  Consider, for example, a character with Pick Locks 14-, up against a lock with a -8 penalty due to craftsmanship and magic.  He doesn't like that 6-, so he takes an hour to get a +4 bonus, and now has a 10-, or a 50% chance of success (taken from 6e v1 p59).  But if he had just rolled once a turn, he would get 300 rolls in an hour.  If he rolled 25 times, he would have almost a 70% chance of succeeding once.

 

Under this model, he gets 6d6, so an average roll of 21 STUN, 6 BOD.  If we impose standard effect on the difficulty, he needs to accumulate 34.  He can roll twice and get there.  Why take extra time moving up the time chart to get another 1d6?

 

At the same time, cumulative becomes problematic. If I have a, 11- roll, and this incredibly difficult task will take a total of 100 STUN, I will be there in ten rolls.  Someone with a 21- roll gets 13d6, he needs three rolls.  Feels like any cumulative task can be achieved by those of average skill pretty easily.  Perhaps those truly difficult tasks do need some form of "defense".

 

4 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It will completely and utterly destroy any chance of accomplishing a difficult task, because an Nd6 pool scales very differently from a 3d6 roll under.  https://anydice.com/program/1958f.  I can't see any way of making difficulty not a "Do you have at least 45 in your characteristic?  Oh, don't bother trying then." in the same way everyone knows a 6d6 Blast is useless in a 12d6 game.  Right now if 12- Tim, 14- Frank, and 17- Sam walk into a difficulty -6 roll, Tim and Frank get to try with a low but meaningful chance of success, but under a dice pool model if Sam has a credible chance of failure then Tim and Frank have no credible chance of success. 

 

Also, using both STUN and BODY to generate results will not be particularly interesting, since STUN correlates so heavily with BODY.  Low BODY high STUN and vice versa are very uncommon rolls. 

 

Tim rolls 4d6, Frank rolls 6d6 and Sam rolls 9d6.  They need 28 to succeed.  Sam averages 30.5, so he should succeed unless he rolls a bit below average.  That seems a lot like 11-, a 62.5% chance of success.  Frank needs a super roll to succeed, versus needing 8- (25.93% chance).  If the roll accumulates, he should get there in two rolls, though.  Tim has no hope of a first roll success, but a 6- was only 4.63% likely.  If the rolls accumulate, though, he also gets there in two. 

 

It feels like cumulative is too easy for lower skill levels.

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16 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I'm actually thinking Extra Time is problematic, as it is under the present rules.  Consider, for example, a character with Pick Locks 14-, up against a lock with a -8 penalty due to craftsmanship and magic.  He doesn't like that 6-, so he takes an hour to get a +4 bonus, and now has a 10-, or a 50% chance of success (taken from 6e v1 p59).  But if he had just rolled once a turn, he would get 300 rolls in an hour.  If he rolled 25 times, he would have almost a 70% chance of succeeding once.

 

Under this model, he gets 6d6, so an average roll of 21 STUN, 6 BOD.  If we impose standard effect on the difficulty, he needs to accumulate 34.  He can roll twice and get there.  Why take extra time moving up the time chart to get another 1d6?

Why even bother rolling if the character can try again and again for an entire hour?  If the only consequence of a failed roll is that you have to roll again, then what's the point of rolling in the first place? 

 

Digression aside, I feel that the problem of Extra Time being worthless compared to adding a second roll would be best solved by making a "retry" be a choice of replacing the first roll or spending enough time to have retroactively spent Extra Time and thus rolling that additional die. 

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I think the answer, for things that can be retried, is that extra time moves it into "mundane use of skill" territory - it simply succeeds.  Only if there is actual time pressure is there a need to make the rolls ("OK, you can hear heavy bootsteps getting closer, down the corridor - do you want to try to pick the lock again, or escape?")  But that's also the case for Extra Time - if you can just hang around trying to pick the lock for a whole day, how important is the roll, really?

 

Lockpicking is a good example. What happens if he fails the roll?  If he can just try again, Extra Time is useless.  Trying again raises his chance of success more than the Extra Time bonus - don't bother with one extra roll at +1 when you can try five times without that +1.  If you cannot just try again - failure means you simply cannot pick that lock (or cannot pick it under these conditions), but you can try again if you can improve your roll (with better lockpicks; by taking extra time; whatever), now there is a reason to take that extra time.

 

How realistic is it to say "well, you tried to pick the lock in a single phase and failed, so now it does not matter if you keep trying all day - the lock is unbeatable for you"?  I'm pretty sure that is not how it works for a professional locksmith.  And I don't think the time needed scales up as fast as the Extra Time rules suggest.

 

I'd also note that the difficulty -6 roll is a lock so good that trying to pick it is beyond "sheer folly".  By RAW, the penalty generally caps out at -5.  Maybe a magical lock SHOULD be beyond the skills of someone with basic locksmith training (base skill) and a bit of natural aptitude (DEX 13).

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Hello, Sean! 

 

Welcome back! 

 

I'm still at work, so I don't have much time to read the thread at the moment,  but it reminded me of something we tried for an espionage-type game: if you botched a Skill Roll, the Body of the dice were counted to determine how many Phases before you could try again. 

 

I know this is not at all what you are discussing here, but the reminder was nice, and it really added something to the idea of having to try a different approach for the hack, or diagnose and swap out another component in your repair, or switch to a more specialized set of lockpicks- whatever.  It was a fun thing we tried once, and I wanted to share it before I forgot it for another twenty years. 

 

:D

 

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I thought about this before too.  (Great mind think alike?) But I agree with Gnome's assessment in that the variance was not enough, at least using the BODY pips for success.  My idea was 2d6 + CHAR/5.  Familiarity = 1d6.  Proficency = 2d6. +1 = +1d6.  The idea I had was to use the BODY pip to determine success and the STUN pips as the quality of the success/failure, but the higher the number of dice, the more certain the end value will be using the HERO Normal Dice calculations. This starts to show at the 6d6 level.  It works well on a skill vs skill scenario, but not in normal skill rolls.

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I like the idea of having a way to build in tasks taking longer for less skilled people, and to make it effectively impossible for those who lack the relevant skills.

 

Now, I don't think it works as written, I don't think it effectively achieves the things that make me like it.

 

Our current system, roll 3D6, is pretty much binary in pass/fail and provides no threshold for expert knowledge.  The social combat elements (persuasion, intimidation, etc) make that even more unsatisfying.  I think Sean's idea could provide us with something more satisfying.

 

So, thresholds.  I think there is real potential in being able to label tasks as mundane, skilled and specialist.  To test whether a character knows enough to even undertake the task might require enough BODY on the first roll.  You then need enough effect to finish the task (represented by STUN).  Not enough effect?  Then you need to work longer (more rolls).  I like the option this opens for a simple (low threshold) but fiddly task which could be represented by a defence against the STUN damage (though I think you should do a minimum of 1STUN per dice). 

 

That also opens up real potential for social combat where your persuasion roll provides "damage" in the STUN and temporary defence for the next roll in the BODY.

 

The more I think about it, the more I think that, for a skill-heavy game, this would provide real mechanical heft.

 

Sean, I think there is a foundation for a submission to the Hall of Champions here.

 

Doc

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21 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

The social combat elements (persuasion, intimidation, etc) make that even more unsatisfying.  I think Sean's idea could provide us with something more satisfying.

 

So, thresholds.  I think there is real potential in being able to label tasks as mundane, skilled and specialist.  To test whether a character knows enough to even undertake the task might require enough BODY on the first roll.  You then need enough effect to finish the task (represented by STUN).  Not enough effect?  Then you need to work longer (more rolls).  I like the option this opens for a simple (low threshold) but fiddly task which could be represented by a defence against the STUN damage (though I think you should do a minimum of 1STUN per dice). 

 

That also opens up real potential for social combat where your persuasion roll provides "damage" in the STUN and temporary defence for the next roll in the BODY.

A fancy dice mechanic isn't going to solve the underlying issue of HERO's social system. Namely, that it doesn't have a social system. 

Also what I said upthread RE BODY/STUN correlation. 

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I think you are wrong.  HERO does have a social system, it is simply hugely narrative as compared to the immense detail applied to the rest of the system.  There is huge potential in the interplay between complications, social skills and INT, PRE, EGO.  It just cuts across the grain of the rest of the system.

 

As for the correlation, it only matters if you are applying the numbers to states that should not correlate. We don't complain that STUN and BODY have the exact same correlation.

 

As for things in a game not being fixed by a fancy dice mechanic, well I think this is exactly how games designers approach these issues. 🙂

 

Doc

 

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Anyone interested in adding Hero mechanics for social interaction to their games should check out Advanced Players Guide II. It presents not one, but three detailed optional Social Combat systems: One Skills-based, one Talents-based, and one Combat Maneuvers-based. As well as much other cool stuff. ;)

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For extended tests, I will usually GM the roll to adding extra time.  For instance, if someone is a physics professor with a 13- science roll: Physics happens to roll a 16.  I generally won't let him fail if as a physics professor he should know the answer.  Instead, I tell the character that will need to think about it for a minute before getting the answer.  This also works well with social skills.  You fail with a charm roll by 5, you don't hit it off immediately.  Instead you need to work on charming the target.  If the character has enough time, they will still charm the target but the question is will they have enough time to successfully charm them or will they have to rudely run off in the middle of an awkward spot in the conversation to deal with a crisis.

 

The reason I like this solution:

1) The major mechanics aren't changed and it uses an existing mechanic (the time chart) in a new way.

2) Character concepts that say they are "X" aren't dis-satisfyingly ruined due to a bad die roll.  IE: Your sneaky ninja is still sneaky, they just have to move slower and more cautiously.

 

These reasons are why I abandoned the skill as a normal attack mechanic back then rather than trying to kludge more fixes.  The more fixes it required, the more major changes to the system and more learning it would require to keep the game portable to beyond just my own gaming group.  Also, usually, the time aspect was enough to be disappointing without being discouraging on a roll.

 

 

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On 1/9/2020 at 8:19 PM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It will completely and utterly destroy any chance of accomplishing a difficult task, because an Nd6 pool scales very differently from a 3d6 roll under.  https://anydice.com/program/1958f.  I can't see any way of making difficulty not a "Do you have at least 45 in your characteristic?  Oh, don't bother trying then." in the same way everyone knows a 6d6 Blast is useless in a 12d6 game.  Right now if 12- Tim, 14- Frank, and 17- Sam walk into a difficulty -6 roll, Tim and Frank get to try with a low but meaningful chance of success, but under a dice pool model if Sam has a credible chance of failure then Tim and Frank have no credible chance of success. 

 

Also, using both STUN and BODY to generate results will not be particularly interesting, since STUN correlates so heavily with BODY.  Low BODY high STUN and vice versa are very uncommon rolls. 

 

I think some tasks should be so difficult they can only be accomplished by the very skilled.  I think that other tasks should be difficult to accomplish quickly unless you are very skilled.  We have a GM to set the levels of difficulty, and I think that this (or something like it) allows for a great deal of tweaking.  I like the idea of thresholds in skills, and I think it is intuitive and realistic.  If Tim, Frank and Sam are using their 12/14/17 skills to decode a really hard (-6) computer programme, it seems odd that they could all roll a 6 and succeed in the same time and with the same result.  That does not seem intuitive or realistic.  I've got sufficient imagination to explain it (they all attended the same symposium where something similar was discussed), but even so it seems odd they all got the result at the same time and garnered the same amount and type of knowledge.

 

Using the damage dice system you can set multiple targets and thresholds, so the less skilled characters might make some progress before they are stymied and, even if they all succeed, eventually, the most skilled character is likely to get there first.  If there is only one dice difference, maybe two, the less skilled character could (with luck) still 'win' the skill contest, but a much wider margin and it seems very unlikely - which is how it should be.  Take a game of Pool - you'd expect the 17- player to beat the 14- player pretty much every time.  Using standard Hero skill tests you COULD test for every shot, and that would give a consistent win to the significantly more experienced and skilled character - but that seems overly complicated.  The damage dice system would emulate that but in the abstract.

 

I take the point about STUN and BODY being (usually) relatively proportional, BUT that does not matter: a low roll (Body and STUN) might have a catastrophic effect if you are, for example, defusing a bomb.  It is not just counting two totals (Body is never cumulative, Stun can be) - the results mean different things.

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On 1/11/2020 at 11:21 AM, Doc Democracy said:

I like the idea of having a way to build in tasks taking longer for less skilled people, and to make it effectively impossible for those who lack the relevant skills.

 

Now, I don't think it works as written, I don't think it effectively achieves the things that make me like it.

 

...

 

Doc

 

I considered but rejected using Defences other than the Body threshold as I figured that:

 

1. If you want to have a task that will take anyone a long time, increase the STUN (we need a better name for that for skills).  Skilled people will still accomplish it quicker almost always.  It also allows for collaborative work: potentially more than one character can contribute to the dice total.

2. If you want the task to be open only to the very skilled, increase the Body threshold.

 

So, for example, you might want to get some information from an NPC.

 

The task is as follows (these tasks have to be completed in order, but where there is an 'a', 'b', etc. you can take one branch).  l:

1. 14/0 Cumulative Repeatable - 5 minutes per roll - The NPC knows Claire (anyone chatting to him for long enough will learn the information)

2. 10/1 Cumulative Repeatable - 5 minutes per roll - The NPC knows where Claire lives (you have to have some skill with Persuasion or Conversation to get this information)

3. a. Persuasion 20/4 Cumulative, Repeatable with penalty - 5 minutes per roll - The NPC supplies Claire's address (if you use Persuasion it will take a while to talk the NPC round, it requires some skill and, if you say the wrong thing, you will anger him and he will clam up or give you false information, depending on how badly you blew it.)

3. b. Bribery 12/2 Cumulative, Repeatable with Penalty - 5 minutes per roll - The NPC supplies Claire's address (the NPC is particularly susceptible to bribery.  You have to know what you are doing, but the chances of it going wrong are low, and if it does the NPC becomes suspicious that you are a cop (or whatever), he makes his excuses and leaves)

3. c. Intimidation 10/5 All or Nothing - 1 turn - The NPC supplies Claire's address (the NPC is pretty tough and is hard to intimidate, but if you are able to he will crack quickly.  If you fail he will not provide information and may, on a very low Body roll, attack you.  The Stun roll is irrelevant - if you get 5 Body you are bound to have at least 10 Stun)

 

Obviously you won't have such detailed information for all interactions but for the important ones it recognises both PC skill and player choice.  For most unanticipated skill attempts you would probably just have a 'easy/normal/hard/impossible' standard result and wind the outcome depending on the roll.

 

You COULD do something similar with the existing 3d6 skill system, but:

1. you'd be making up new systems anyway and,

2. I think this better recognises skill over luck, without removing luck entirely from the equation.

 

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Here's another system I have thought about similar to the damage system (blame Silicon Valley rush hours):

 

Instead of modeling skills after damage, why not treat it like combat.  You stat/3 gives you a SV similar to an OCV.  To make a skill roll, you target a value set by the GM or the opposing SV.  If you make the roll by half, you score a critical success of the skill.

  1. While this does eliminate a method of rolling from the game and increase granularity of the stats in a skill, it doesn't really add anything else.
  2. It offers little advantages over the current system along with changing a system the current players might have problems digesting without sufficient impetus.

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On 1/15/2020 at 10:12 PM, dsatow said:

Here's another system I have thought about similar to the damage system (blame Silicon Valley rush hours):

 

Instead of modeling skills after damage, why not treat it like combat.  You stat/3 gives you a SV similar to an OCV.  To make a skill roll, you target a value set by the GM or the opposing SV.  If you make the roll by half, you score a critical success of the skill.

  1. While this does eliminate a method of rolling from the game and increase granularity of the stats in a skill, it doesn't really add anything else.
  2. It offers little advantages over the current system along with changing a system the current players might have problems digesting without sufficient impetus.

 

Funnily enough the original version of the OP included an analysis of something very like that, but I figured we are already far too good at chasing rabbits down rabbit holes to start with more than one.

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