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[Rule Variant] 10-Dice Darkness

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  • amechra
    started a topic [Rule Variant] 10-Dice Darkness

    [Rule Variant] 10-Dice Darkness

    Here's a simple rule variant that warms my hard, cold, large-dice-pool hating heart.

    You roll a maximum of 10 dice. Nothing pushes past this cap (with the exception of dice from 8-, 9-, or 10-again). You've exceeded the point where do I succeed is really an interesting question. Now, we care about how much you succeed.

    If you exceed the limit by two dice, put a die on the table showing an 8. If you have any number of successes in your actual roll, add that 8 to the pool and be happy - it's an extra success!

    If you exceed the limit by two more dice, replace that 8 with a 9. Two more dice give you a 10, with all the delicious, lovely exploding action that entails.

    You hit 18+ dice? Add another die showing an 8, and start the process all over again.

    For example:

    If you'd be rolling 22 dice, you instead roll 10 dice, and get to add two 10s to your pool if you succeed.

    You're a vamp with Strength 3, Vigor 1, and Brawl 2. That's 6 dice for punching people! If you burned 3 Vitae on Blood Buffing, you'd roll 10 dice and get an automatic 8 added to a (successful) roll.

    The Man Your Man Could Talk Like, a mortal with a 5 in Presence, 5 in Persuasion, and Persuasion speciality in "While Shirtless" would be rolling 10 dice to persuade people, with or without a shirt. If he burns Willpower on the roll, he adds a 9 to the roll if it's successful.


    • Yeah, you really aren't trading out dice for successes efficiently. You're essentially trading 6 dice for a free success and a die that slinks past the limit. I did it this way to prevent people with 20-dice pools from rocking automatic Exceptional Successes on appropriate actions. Now you have to be rocking a 30-die pool, which is still doable, just not as easy to get.

    • Want to go whole-hog? Anything that gives you bonus Successes on successful rolls instead counts as twice that number of past-the-cap dice... even if you haven't reached the cap. So Strength Performance •••• (which normally gives two bonus Successes) would instead give you an automatic 9 on any successful Strength roll... making 9-Again always useful for such rolls.

    • Similarly, you can do this with stuff that gives you an Exceptional Success with three successes instead of five - they count as four dice past the cap regardless of whether you've hit the cap. This and the previous bullet-point exist mostly so you can stick the two onto one roll and not get an automatic Exceptional Success on a successful roll.

    • Hell, want to go too far? All weapons now have a Weapon Bonus of +0 - instead, they count as adding twice their weapon bonus in past-the-cap dice. This reduces damage by a lot, but makes damage a bit more variable. If you go with this, I suggest comboing it with the Conditions as Health variant spoiled for Hurt Locker.

  • amechra
    replied
    Just as a random aside:

    Sufficiently Advanced (a transhumanist rpg) has an interesting limitation on skill ratings. To summarise:

    You normally only get up to a 3 (a lifetime of experience).
    If you're especially long-lived, or entirely obsessed with something, you can rate it at 4.
    If you've got both of those, you can get a 5 in a skill. That requires that you have essentially been obsessing over, say, baking for the last millennia.

    That level of obsession? Literally stronger than your own self-preservation.


    Anyway: another way to shrink down large dice pools: cap skills at 5 for everyone, and have Attributes not give dice after 5 dots.

    Instead, each dot of attributes after the fifth gives you two post-cap dice instead (need a better term for this.)

    So someone with Strength 8 and Brawl 3 (Speciality in Punching) who punches someone would be rolling 8 dice and would get an automatic 10 if they connect.

    More extremely, if that same guy was a BP 10 Vampire with Strength 10, Vigor 5, and Brawl 5, they'd be rolling 9 dice for the punch, but would have three 10s and an 8 added directly to their successes if they do hit you. So in other words, they get an automatic Exceptional Success.

    If they felt like it, they could burn Vitae on Vigor to replace their "automatic" extra successes with five 10s.

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    It's mostly the character sheet thing.

    It doesn't have to 8- or 9-again - that was just a quick choice. The main benefit, of course, being that you get it constantly and consistently.

    An alternate idea, that wouldn't run into the "doesn't stack" issue:
    • Drop Area of Expertise and Interdisciplinary Speciality as merits.
    • You can apply a maximum of two specialities to a roll.
    • At two dots, you get an extra speciality, and can apply a speciality that belongs to that skill to valid rolls belonging to other skills.
    • At four dots, you get an extra speciality, and you get +1 to the roll whenever you apply a speciality that belongs to the skill.

    So, what does this mean?

    • If I have one dot in Athletics, with Running, Swimming, and Jumping as specialities. I can apply at most two of those.
    • If I have two dots of Streetwise and a Streetwise speciality in New York City, I could apply that New York City speciality to my Athletics rolls if I really felt like it.
    • If I had four dots in Athletics, I'd get +1 to the roll if I applied that New York City speciality, +2 if I applied my Running speciality, and +3 if I applied two specialities to the roll (since at least one of them would have to be an Athletics speciality.)

    You still have an incentive to diversify (since each speciality you pick up is a broad diversification of what you can do), and it keeps die-pools down. Normally, the "best" pool is going to be something like 11-13 dice (Attribute + Skill + Specialities) before Willpower; now it's going to be 11 dice before Willpower.


    I'm debating working out a comprehensive house-rules document, which would combine this kinda thing with some stuff I've found elsewhere and have co-opted (like this). If I combined the two, it's interesting to note that you'd have exactly 10 specialities at chargen, split between 6 to 9 skills.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by amechra View Post
    So someone with Science 3 has a +2 when dealing with Science stuff, has at least one Science Speciality, and 9-agains with all of their Science Specialities. Only problem with this is that everyone is going to have a lot of Specialities.
    Other than eating up character sheet space, what is the problem with that?

    Also: this really makes Specialities useful. As it stands now, they are an occasional +1 in a narrow field. Increasing the Skill dots, though more costly, is almost always better. With this, once you hit 2 or 4, all of your Specialities (in that category) grant 9- or 8-again to the roll, encouraging you to branch out to more to confer the bonus to more rolls.

    Only problem I can see is that there are already a preponderance of ways to get 9- and 8-again already, which obviates the bonuses here.

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    Well, I went with 10 dice as the cap since that's Attribute cap + Ability cap for the grand majority of characters.

    You could drop the cap down to 6 or 8, which would have some... changes. Below 5 dice is inadvisable, since below that point getting at least one success becomes much less consistent.

    At 8, the people hit the cap with much less effort (Attribute 4 and Skill 4 doesn't require as much focus as Attribute 5/Skill 5 at character creation, ya know?), so players are going to be hitting the cap with much more of what they do. It willprobably result in characters seeming a bit more competent.

    At 6, you're looking at people passing the cap with any dice pool they actually care about. Put an Attribute at 3, a Skill at 2, and grab a speciality, and you've hit the cap. Rolling 12 dice consistently for the thing you're "good at" isn't all that hard, so you're going to see a lot of people running around who effectively roll 7 dice and get Exceptional Successes with 4 successes.

    Another idea would be reducing the raw bonus from skills - I could see the following:

    • At the first, third, and fifth dots, your Skill bonus increases by +1.
    • At the second dot, get a speciality and 9-again on rolls with that Skill covered by specialities.
    • At the fourth dot, get a speciality and 8-again on rolls with that Skill covered by specialities.

    So someone with Science 3 has a +2 when dealing with Science stuff, has at least one Science Speciality, and 9-agains with all of their Science Specialities. Only problem with this is that everyone is going to have a lot of Specialities.

    Leave a comment:


  • lnodiv
    replied
    Originally posted by amechra View Post

    Well, the reason I hate large die pools isn't speed. It's just a straight aesthetics issue.

    Some people go "Yay, I get to roll all the dice!" - I go "Damn it, I have to roll all the dice - stupid diminishing returns, and not having room on my coffee table, and..."

    It doesn't solve the problem - it's just me fiddling around.
    Fair enough.

    Any ideas that would let you take the pool even lower?

    Leave a comment:


  • xenoterracide
    replied
    Conditions as Health is available in VtR2...

    I kinda like this idea, too much success going on at my table...

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
    This seems like it would bog the game down more than large dice pools do.

    What's the intent/goal of this system?

    Edit: By that I mean, what problem do large dicepools cause that this rule variant solves?
    Well, the reason I hate large die pools isn't speed. It's just a straight aesthetics issue.

    Some people go "Yay, I get to roll all the dice!" - I go "Damn it, I have to roll all the dice - stupid diminishing returns, and not having room on my coffee table, and..."

    It doesn't solve the problem - it's just me fiddling around.

    Leave a comment:


  • lnodiv
    replied
    This seems like it would bog the game down more than large dice pools do.

    What's the intent/goal of this system?

    Edit: By that I mean, what problem do large dicepools cause that this rule variant solves?

    Leave a comment:


  • GibberingEloquence
    replied
    Originally posted by amechra View Post
    Routine would apply to the capped 10-die pool as well as any dice you get from 8-, 9-, or 10-Again.

    And that's a correct application of the houserule - of note, though, is that the same Beast with Lair 1 would only have a post hoc 8. which is less helpful unless they pick up a weapon and you're using the last bulletpoint - they'd tip a machete from a post hoc 9 to a 10, along with getting that automatic 8 on other Strength actions (which is great for stuff like a Strength+Stamina roll to lift something).

    Is it weaker than the RAW? Yes - which I'm fine with.

    And yeah, sure, call it what you want.
    Thanks for the answers. By the way, I just realized how the previously mentioned Beast could make the most of Boundary Dice: Strength Performance 4 + Cyclopean Strength with Satiety Expenditure. They wouldn't even need a machete or Limb From Limb, they could just swing with or throw cars. Objects have a Damage Bonus equal to [lowest between Durability and Size] per RAW. Most cars would have a Damage Bonus of +3L, which would become 6 excess dice, which in turn becomes a post hoc 10.

    Leave a comment:


  • amechra
    replied
    Routine would apply to the capped 10-die pool as well as any dice you get from 8-, 9-, or 10-Again.

    And that's a correct application of the houserule - of note, though, is that the same Beast with Lair 1 would only have a post hoc 8. which is less helpful unless they pick up a weapon and you're using the last bulletpoint - they'd tip a machete from a post hoc 9 to a 10, along with getting that automatic 8 on other Strength actions (which is great for stuff like a Strength+Stamina roll to lift something).

    Is it weaker than the RAW? Yes - which I'm fine with.

    And yeah, sure, call it what you want.

    Leave a comment:


  • GibberingEloquence
    replied
    This is quite unusual, but it seems to do what you're proposing. How would your Routine Action house rule interact with these rules? I assume it would only apply to the actual roll capped at 10, and leave the post hoc Successes alone.

    Let's suppose that a Beast in Horror form has a Power + Brawl dice pool of 16 after subtracting the opponent's Defense. They have Cyclopean Strength, Lair 6 and spend 1 Satiety for that Atavism. That means they get 6 bonus Successes on all Strength rolls for the scene.

    The Beast would roll 10 dice, and since they have 6 excess dice, they add a post hoc 10. Those bonus Successes from Cyclopean Strength would become 12 excess dice, which in turn would become two post hoc 10s. This means the Beast would deal lethal damage equal to [Successes on the actual roll + 3 + Successful re-rolls], correct? I like the sound of that. The Beast is still very deadly, and the 9 or 8 Again advantages remain just as useful.

    EDIT: Do you think this could be renamed to something like Boundary Dice?
    Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 05-15-2016, 03:58 PM.

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