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Rolls are too easy?

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  • Rolls are too easy?

    Am I the only one concerned that having success at almost any roll in this game is too easy?

    The probability that any dice shows a success is a 0.3, which means that rolling 3 dice you can expect to have a success on a roll. But the standard minimum reserve any character has is 2-3, which means that they will succeed in any normal roll, or in any difficult roll spending willpower... And the problem only worsens with the abilities where the characters are good: the player rolls usually 6-8 dice for them, leading to almost 0 probabilities of failing.

    Should I be giving penalizations constantly to their rolls to avoid this? Or maybe it's better to consider that a single success is a marginal success (or success with consequences) while the normal success is obtained with two successes?

    What do you think here?

  • #2
    Why do you want people to fail?


    • #3
      That's not how dice work.

      Just because the average probability of success on a single die is 30% — and therefore the average number of successes on a given number of dice with 10-Again is a third of the pool size — doesn't mean that success is guaranteed on every roll for any number of dice above three.

      The odds of getting a single success on a roll of N dice isn't 0.3N, it's 1 - (0.7^N) — the odds of failure on every die in the pool multiplied together and subtracted from 1.

      Three dice isn't a ninety percent chance, it's just under sixty-six percent.* Would you get in a car that had a sixty-six percent chance of getting you to your destination? Would you do so if your life depended on it?

      A character rolling six to eight dice is operating with some combination of above-average base talent, professional-level skill, narrowed specialization, and quality equipment in circumstances where the accomplishment of the task isn't being made actively harder.

      By a similar token, Willpower is a limited resource that is valuable in the base game precisely because one point is enough to bump a 1-in-3 roll up to a 3-in-4. It's why high-stakes combat in ChroD is so draining for characters that aren't built for it.

      Definitely apply penalties to rolls that are supposed to be difficult, but characters acting within their sphere of competence and pushing themselves are supposed to have a good chance of success at normal rolls representing actions with dramatic stakes.

      * 1 - (0.7 x 0.7 x 0.7) = 1 - (0.49 x 0.7) = 1 - 0.343 = 0.657
      Last edited by Satchel; 02-25-2019, 11:48 AM.

      Resident Lore-Hound
      Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


      • #4
        Also, some things take more than one success. Extended actions are your friend if there's any sort of time pressure. "Getting this lock open requires three successes on a Dex+Larceny roll, but each roll takes one minute…how long are you willing to risk taking?"


        • #5
          What they said. Adding to Draconis, certain systems have effects where success isn't enough on its own. Clue systems and social maneuvering are both systems with extended actions and that require repeated success over time, since each roll generally only gives one asset at a time (i.e. door or clue). And some mechanics affect that - Untouchable means the PC needs an Exceptional to get a usable clue.

          And just because the odds favor them doesn't mean failure isnt an option. Through a series of events, my CoD crossover larp (part of a national game so I didn't have unilateral control over things) has pcs regularly rolling double digit dice. My own character in a different game under the same rules set can swing a laser sword with 47 dice, 9-again in gauru form. But a pc specced for investigation rolled 16 8-again rote and needing 3 successes for exceptional during an investigation and only got two hits - vs. An npc with untouchable. That is the second time he did that in 8 months (ok, first time was "just" 13 dice).

          And like Michael said - why do you want them to fail? Serious question - is it throwing encounter design out of whack, is it hard to plan for, what?


          • #6
            To add to the math side of things:

            An important factor to remember when dealing with the statistics of dice is variance; and the related deviation. Dice-pools tend to have very small variances (that is, results tend to cluster around the mean result), but counting successes systems tend to increase the impact of variance despite that.

            The standard deviation on 3 dice in the CofD system is 0.94 successes. 95% of rolls of 3 dice (captured by two SDs) means the expected range of results for 3 dice is {0 to 2.88} successes. This means failing on 3 dice, while not the most common result, is a statistically normal result to get.

            If you do the math out, it takes getting to ~15 dice before failing becomes a statistical anomaly (that is, 2 SDs lower range is greater or equal to 0.5 successes) instead of something that will come up relatively frequently if you're rolling often enough.

            So yeah if you have ~90% success rate, you succeed more than you fail by a very large margin. But if you're rolling a few times... expect to fail because a 10% fail rate has really good odds of coming up over a few rolls.


            • #7
              Next to statistics, there's also a psychology matter of things.
              A normal human needs to succeed at something 70% of the time to THINK that they succeed around half of the attempts.

              if anything, the system tends to break a little around the high end of skill/attribute numbers, someone having a base dice pool of 9-10, or even more. However, at that point, we're usually talking about supernatural beings who break rules anyways, or for people near the peak of human capability.

              Anyways, if you decide that this is a bit too easy, and you want everything to be harder, you can always try (re)introducing the 1s subtract from successes rule or applying penalties more liberally.

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