April 06, 2011

Handling difficulty modifiers in a 2dx based die rolling approach (part I)

Yesterday I introduced the 2dx die rolling method I intend to use for Gaia Gamma. This method provides a numerical range of 1 to 36 with quite a few holes inbetween. Below you find the probability distribution once more:

The problem of the holes is that constant difficulty modifiers become hard to apply in a "roll under or equal to" system (my system of choice of Gaia Gamma).

My solution approach #1 is actually pretty simple:

Gaia Gamma will not use any difficulty modifiers for most tests.

The basic idea is:
  1. Don't care for realism too much. We are talking about mutants and stuff here.
  2. Die rolls will only be necessary in difficult and challenging situations. The distribution above ensures that for almost every score there is a tangible chance of success or failure - which should be sufficient for most games.
  3. If you really feel the need to apply difficulty modifiers, change the target score by -5 (extremely hard), -10 (almost impossible) or +5 (not too difficult, but some serious disadvantages in the case of failure). A score of 1 always succeeds, a score of 36 always fails.
That's it. Done.

What do you think? Does a game of mutant fun really require anything more difficult? Is this too simple as an approach?

The implications might be manyfold:

  • Mutant Masters (aka GMs) will not need to waste time on calculating difficulty levels.
  • Many combat modifiers (e.g. range brackets for firearms, flanking, etc.) become mostly irrelevant.
  • Combat probably would need to use something like (one half skill or attribute score) as a base line in order to model the inherent imprecision of shots aimed under stress.
  • The absence of modifiers might foster an atmosphere of "Go for it!" as you mostly can rely on your inherent ability - which might be nice for a wild and wahoo game.
  • Fans of simulation and reality definitely won't like the game - but as I said: How much simulation do you need in a game of talking plants and spontaneous mutation?

I'm really curious for feedback.

Tomorrow I will blog about solution approach #2 for handling difficulty modifiers (far more traditional and make sure that you read revision 1 of the rules downloadable from the sidebar to the right in order understand the background).

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