[D&D] Things I would've done different than 5e

Intro

This is different than house rules because house rules are things that I have changed. Most of my house rules on the DM side, things that the game don’t really address such as “who does the monster attack?” or things that are unclearly written, and just a few things on the player side, such as removing a few of the skills and nerfing a few of the spells (Light, Goodberry, Dancing Lights).

No… this is for things that I have not changed, that I only dream about.
If a thing is on here, it’s because I think the cost of making the change is bigger than the value I gain from the change.

Changes that are so big that if I were to make them… at some point, I’m no longer playing 5e…?

No more “d20 + bonus vs target number”

What? It’s been that way since 3e and I want to rip it out?

Yeah. I’m not gonna, but this thread isn’t for things that I have or will change. It’s for things I would like to change, but won’t.

I just really really like the way ACKS does it better. You add your own “badness” (it descends as you go up in level) with the monster’s (ascending, but single digit) AC and you roll over it. It works similar to how saving throws worked in B/X, but for attacks.

No more differentiation between saves, checks and rolls

In 5e, there are saving throws, ability checks, and attack rolls. If you use the “players roll all dice” UA, and we do, there is also “defense rolls”. These four are the same, mechanically, but different abilities work on them. For example, bless works on saving throws and attack rolls, but not ability checks and defense rolls. Whereas guidance only work on ability checks. This is popular design in card games, like Netrunner has meat and net damage that work exactly the same way mechanically, except that some cards deal net damage and some cards prevent net damage and some cards deal meat damage and some cards prevent meat damage.

Yeees… it’s good that the SIS cares about which part of the character sheet it engages. Buuut… it is so confusing :bawling:

If I would’ve made my own game I would’ve just had the six abilities and that would’ve been fine. Saves, attacks, ability checks, all working the same way. Kinda like The Black Hack but roll over, not under.

No more polyhedral set

I’d use five dice. Four Fate dice (those are d3’s numbered plus, blank and minus. I used to be the last defender [you know I love you, SOS] of the name “fudge” dice for these but the word is just so overloaded b/c dice fudging exists) and one d20. It’s good if each player has these.

For ability mods

No more both having score and modifier.

To generate, roll 4dF drop the lowest six times and arrange in any order.
It gives pretty much exactly the same probabilities as 5e, I realized that today and that was what prompted me to do this writeup.

For damage rolls

A pre-written number +4dF, duh. And for henches, monsters etc, adding the 4dF is optional. (To convert weapons: average on die + your mod.)

I.e. a rapier in 5e is 1d8+3 if you have +3 dex.

In this proposed system, if you have +3 dex, it’d be 8+4dF. https://anydice.com/program/1499f And, nicely since HP loss is a scalar value, it’s less “swingy”. (I swear, if I hear one more time that the d20 boolean check is “swingy”, I’m gonna… sigh deeply, buckle up and write another rebuttal I guess.)

Allows a wide variety of damages with a bit of variety added.

Rename HP

“Death Clock!”

Wis should not be willpower – cha should

(Including for morale checks – it’s not “wise” to fight to the death, but it looks cool af, hence cha.)

I talked to Mearls about this one and he kinda agreed (or he was being polite).

No more classic six abilities

This one I’m actually not so sure I would change even if I were making my own game. Nostalgia is a powerful drug for me and I do like the orig six because it makes me feel like I’m playing D&D for real.

But, well…

If I’m keeping six:

  • Int → Book learning
  • Wis → Perception
  • Cha → Sense of self

I always thought wis and int should’ve swapped names. A wise old sage is learned and know a lot of spells. A hyper aware intelligent ranger can quickly put 2+2 together and spot the tracks through the undergrowth. IDK.

Also, I really want to be able to dump int wis cha without having to pretend to know the answers to puzzles etc.

Already implemented at our table – not renamed, but people know that wis is perception and int means how many books your character has crammed and you still need to use your own player skill to solve puzzles, figure out if an NPC is lying, or set out your strategy for handling the dungeon.

If I’m not keeping six

I loved Everway’s four categories – integrity, energy, soul, mind pretty much. Earth, fire, water, air.

Or, I loved 3:16’s two. Fighting ability and non-fighting ability. (Kinda where I went when I did the Searcher.)

Naw IDK I’m pretty happy with the six.

No more skills!

This is in the DMG page 263 as a suggested option so maybe it’s not that out there.

Maybe I should try to convince the players to let us go with it?

The skills I’ve kept are once that I thought had some specific meaning in the game.
Like, stealth and perception both have very specific uses when it comes to things like determining surprise, hiding in shadows etc.

When the DMG came out, half a year after we’d already been playing 5e af, I felt that the rules in it came in a few different categories.

  1. YES! We needed this since day one! This is going in! (Example: Targets in Areas of Effect, Lingering Injuries.)
  2. OK, this’ll be useful once we get to that situation. (Example: These weather rules are much better than 2e’s weather rules.)
  3. Eww, these were not what I expected (pro fudging advice, or the plot point rules which I was really looking forward to but ended up not working very well at all)
  4. Oh… if only we had the DMG earlier, I would’ve used this rule, or if it had been the default. As it is, it’s kinda too late to change to it.

And for me, the one rule that qualifies for that fourth category… is the rule to get rid of skills on p 263.

I actually never looked as closely at it, maybe this wouldn’t be such a hard sell. They still get to add their prof bonus, except to all rolls w/ the ability. And it would’ve simplified my life as DM a lot (except now I’ve already learned all the skills and wrote house rules for them etc).

Comments

  • OK I did pitch the "no more skills!" to the group!!!!!!! maybe dreams can come true♥
    here's hoping!
  • edited April 20
    I forgot one.

    I love the spell slot system. I do. (I think 5e got it from ACKS, right? It's similar af. Except the way ACKS had written it up was kinda incomprehensible.) But I would've wanted the magic system to work like a video game with MP that you're ticking down instead. A fireball? Oh, ok. It costs five MP.

    The spell point system in the DMG (p 288) for some reason has you buy slots for points and then use slots. Wait what?!?! Why not just have me buy the spells directly :bawling:
    (I mean the rule would work the exact same way; I'm complaining about the wording, not the restrictions such as only one level 9 spell per day etc.)
    Edit: I guess it's a bit too complicated for me. You'd still have to keep track of how many spells of each level you've cast etc. In other words—would rather use slots.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I would've wanted to cook up some MP system from the ground up. If JRPG's can do it…?
  • I forgot one.

    I love the spell slot system. I do. (I think 5e got it from ACKS, right? It's similar af. Except the way ACKS had written it up was kinda incomprehensible.) But I would've wanted the magic system to work like a video game with MP that you're ticking down instead. A fireball? Oh, ok. It costs five MP.
    I'm kind of curious why that appeals to you, is it aesthetics (I'm not sure what I'm trying to say with that word)? One of my players really enjoyed sorcery points from 5e in a way that I didn't really understand.

    I know you haven't designed this system yet or anything but what do you think the lowest denomination of MP would represent? Like is 1 MP enough to cast a lvl 1 spell? Or do you end up in a nickels and pennies situation where you have MP but just not enough to do anything with it... (actually I could imagine that having a sort of appeal)

    I would be pretty into a system where casting magic is very difficult (basically requiring a high roll) and you spend MP to modify your roll. Dungeon Crawl Classics basically has something like this where each spell is a table that you roll against with different tiers of effects. In that game you can burn off physical stats to modify your rolls (it's meant to represent blood sacrifice, or rapid aging as a cost for ensuring your spell succeeds).
  • edited April 21
    This is a great thread, Sandra. It's fun to see how people would do "their own D&D"!

    I have some questions for you:

    1. How does "players roll all the dice" work when it's PC vs. PC? Do you just return to the standard rules for that? (But doesn't that sometimes mean that you won't have the right numbers written down?)

    2. I don't own a DMG or have that anywhere near: what's the gist of "no skills" - how does it work? - and why do you prefer that to the game as written?

    3. Your musings on spell casting are... not exactly uncommon, as I'm sure you know. I've seen three approaches that I find pretty satisfying:

    The first is to make spells an interesting enough sub-system that having unique spells is fun in its own way (like that example from DCC). I'm doing a variation of that for my own house D&D: each spell has a variety of ways it can "go wrong" or be cast differently, and if you're not a good spellcaster, you can't control that. As a more experienced spellcaster, though, you get to have better control over this, so not only do your spells get more reliable, but they also get to be more versatile.

    The second is to remove spell levels: instead, a spell is a spell. Instead, the power of the spell depends on the level of the caster. So, for instance, anyone can cast a Fireball - it's just that the archmage's is a lot bigger. Your power as a wizard is now mostly based on your experience level and the size and variety of your spellbook.

    (A friend of mine introduced the idea here, for example:

    http://www.necropraxis.com/2013/09/22/spells-without-levels/)

    This simplifies some stuff about the rules, but also removes the need for spell slots (it's much easier to rig up whatever kind of system you want when 1 spell always equals one spell slot, without concern for level!).

    The third, which I think is pretty cool, kind of combines the two ideas. You get "spell casting dice". Maybe your wizard has 6 spell casting dice, for instance. They're kind of like hit dice, in that you get them back when you rest or pray or whatever the thing is that you do.

    When you cast a spell, you decide how many dice to use, and that determines how effective it is. For a damage spell, maybe you roll all the dice and the total is the damage you deal. For another, it might be the duration ("lasts one turn for each spell casting die used"), or intensity ("mage armor improves your armor class by 1 for each spell casting die used").

    Here's the fun part: for each die that rolls [some criteria], that die is lost. The others are retained. So, maybe dice that roll high (4-6) are "spent", but not dice that roll 1 through 3. This means that you might get a handful of really powerful spells one day, but more, weaker spells the next.

    Pretty neat, and doesn't need spell slots: so long as you have one die left, and you can always cast something (and maybe you'll lose it and maybe you won't!).


    EDIT: Another version of D&D spellcasting I think would work pretty well is if casting spells worked by spending either HP or points from physical stats (maybe just Str and Con), your choice. This would make for some interesting decisions, and casting in safety would be pretty comfortable (just spend your HP!), whereas casting spells under really dangerous circumstances might push your character to exhaust, sicken, or weaken him/herself (to save hit points in order to survive).
  • I just really really like the way ACKS does it better. You add your own “badness” (it descends as you go up in level) with the monster’s (ascending, but single digit) AC and you roll over it. It works similar to how saving throws worked in B/X, but for attacks.

    This is slick. My own D&D formulation is (I think) even more slick, but it does limit the range rather more drastically.

    I call it "Blackjack D&D".

    Basically, the higher you roll, the better. However, if you roll over your target number or controlling stat, you've "overshot", and it's considered a "miss".

    So, you roll and you say, "Oh, darn" (you missed), or you announce your number, "I rolled a [...]!"

    The number you roll is what matters - the higher the better. If you and are competing, and I "miss", you win. If we both 'miss', or neither of us does, the person rolling the higher number wins.

    A "natural 20" means you've surpassed your own limits, and is an automatic success.

    Enemies or obstacles have a rating, and you have to match or beat that rating to defeat them.

    So, for example, if you have to make a Strength check against a Bugbear:

    You have a Strength of 14.

    The Bugbear is strong, so it has a "challenge rating" or whatever we want to call it of 5. You have to roll at least a 5, or you "fail". If you roll higher than 14, you "miss". (Usually these are the same, but sometimes they could be different, to incorporate partial successes, for instance. In those cases, a fail is really bad, but a miss is only partially bad.)

    I like this because it includes and preserves all the math we normally do in d20 rolls, but... there's no actual math to do. I think that's pretty cool.
  • I’m kind of curious why that appeals to you, is it aesthetics (I’m not sure what I’m trying to say with that word)?

    I have a degree in aesthetics (split major with linguistics). I used to think it was the most useless degree of all time and I really regretted it – until I started DMing & designing games! Now I use that stuff all the time! (As you can probably tell from me turning predicate grammar into a fighting system.) (I also had gone to game design school earlier but I dropped out! But I worked as editor for GAPD for a while.)

    I really like the slot system and think that it works really well.

    One thing, and only one thing, appeals to me about MP for spells.

    It would match how video games like The Dark Spire, Gaudia Quest, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy does it. And, to some extent, how the card game Magic (although the latter has several types of mana/MP, like Red mana or Kozilek mana or Snow mana) or Hearthstone (only one type of mana – works like the aforementioned video games pretty much) does it. I think Ultima III was the first game with MP…? Anyone know?

    That’s all.

    I am not saying Larry Niven was a better author than Jack Vance (the obvious is true by a pretty big margin). Just that some of those video games are pretty good & influential.

    However, the research I did for writing this post (yeees… I do research for writing my rants on S-G – maybe I should start a patreon/liberapay. For the like 1 fan I have :bawling:) indicated that the granddaddy of these games—♥♥♥WIZARDRY!!!!♥♥♥—has… the exact same slot system as 5e has. Wow, I thought ACKS invented it (“neo-Vancian”) but I guess not! It’s called “spell points” which is a… slots are a dumb name OK?

    Yes, not only did Wizardry invent the front rank back rank system that I took (from The One Ring), it also invented the spell slot system!

    My love for spell slots rekindled #emo2097

    How does “players roll all the dice” work when it’s PC vs. PC? Do you just return to the standard rules for that? (But doesn’t that sometimes mean that you won’t have the right numbers written down?)

    Great Q!

    If the defender chooses not to roll they can get an AC by adding twelve to their defense roll bonus.

    If the attacker chooses not to roll they can get an AV by adding 10 to their to-hit bonus.

    That’s how we’ve been doing it, one of them rolls. Whoever rolls break ties
    That said, it is balanced if they just both rolls & compare the attack roll vs the defense roll. In that case, defender wins ties. Since the avg of a d20 is 10.5.
    That’s how a sleight of hand vs perception check worked already (yeees… they try to pick pocket each other. A lot. I love D&D).

    I don’t own a DMG or have that anywhere near: what’s the gist of “no skills” - how does it work? - and why do you prefer that to the game as written?

    You roll dex instead of stealth or sleight of hand or acrobatics. You roll wis instead of perception or survival. OSR style (like The Black Hack) except you don’t roll low. You roll high. (OK, afther this, I’m making a t-shirt with a d20 rolling up a jolly and the text “rolling high”.)

    Now, there’s a wrench in the gear and that’s “proficiency bonus”. Which, honestly, I would’ve scrapped if I was making the game from scratch and instead have AC and stuff balanced around just rolling the abilities. But I’m not making the game from scratch and proficiency bonus is a core part of the game’s math. Hence the rule in the DMG which is….

    You select two of your abilities [w/ some restrictions], let’s say you select dex and wis. Now you are proficient in all abiliity checsk with those two abilities. Note that it’s just ability checks, it doesn’t affect saving throws, attack rolls or defense rolls. It also doesn’t affect tools such as thieves’ tools.

    I call it “Blackjack D&D”.

    This mechanic is used all the time in Swedish games, where it’s called “Pendragon rolls”. Not sure if that’s an actual rule in actual Pendragon, which I’ve never read, or if it’s called that for some other weird reason!

    I don’t like it because… um… I don’t want to roll under. I want to see that bright shining ♫♥♫♥♫♥♫20♫♥♫♥♫♥♫

  • That said (re Blackjack D&D), a few days ago I was running the math for how to implement "hack and slash" a la Dungeon World into 5e and have the math work out. I mean, you're translating 2d20 (400 outcomes) into 1d20 (20 outcomes) so you lose some granularity.
    But… I could find numbers that on one roll approximated close enough the chances of only hero hitting, only monster hitting, both hitting & neither hitting.

    For example, you had to roll over 11 to hit. If you rolled between 6 and 15, the monster also hit. So you want to roll high as possible (over 15 means only you hit, which is good, under 11 means you don't hit, which is bad) but we don't have to make a separate roll for monsters.

    In the end I decided to not implement it, defense rolls & the 5e action econ I think I like better than DW's style.
  • Also I have good news re the ditching skills — so far only one player has replied but it was the guy who I thought would've been vehemently opposed to it and he wrote "Let's try it!"
    So maybe some dreams can come true♥
  • Oh, how did that work? Wouldn't rolling really low (under 6) still be better than rolling under 11 but ABOVE 6?

    (I understand the desire not to have rolling low be good... but the ACKS method means your abilities/scores are "lower is better" instead, which is also funny. In my mind, my method works because rolling higher IS better - especially for breaking ties - and a 20 is still the best possible result!)
  • Oh, how did that work? Wouldn’t rolling really low (under 6) still be better than rolling under 11 but ABOVE 6?

    Yes! I did think of this, but…

    There are four outcomes:

    • HHMM
    • HHMH -HMMH
    • HMMM

    HMMH (hero hit, monster miss) is always the worst and HHMM (hero hit monster miss) is always the best. Which is best of HHMH and HMMM is up for debate.

    That would suggest an order of either

    • HHMM
    • HHMH
    • HMMM -HMMH

    or

    • HHMM
    • HMMM
    • HHMH -HMMH

    But see the problem? With the first, the monster’s “hit” interval is split. With the second, the hero’s “hit” interval is split. (That’s even worse.)

    For a “high is good” system but with neither of the hit intervals are split, you need

    • HHMM
    • HHMH -HMMH
    • HMMM

    You could also work out numbers if you can accept the monster’s hit interval being split.

    Like you hit on an 11+, the monster hits on a 1-5 and a 10-15. (This accidentally very easy for this particular example, because you can look at the ones-digit on the d20, but doing it in a way that takes the monsters and heros skill both into account isn’t as easy. But… maybe this is the ticket. To avoid monster hit, roll over X [depends on the monster’s skill & your armor’s badness] on the ones-digit, and to hit the monster, roll over Y [again, depends on the monster’s armors goodness and your skills badness] on the d20.

    OK yes, I would go with something like that. If I were (which I’m not) making my own D&D from scratch and not be as tied to 5e as I am. Thank you Paul.

    I also started thinking about having the HMMM and the HHMH be the same dice interval and having some other mechanic (such as “the player chooses—-do you fight recklessly and both get hit, or do you fight cautiously and neither gets hit” or just do away with HMMM since nop rounds are just boring combat prolongers) but in the end I kinda like the “ones digit”-solution. Really sweet.

    Aaalso… it makes the math way possibler!

    [22 + monster’s to hit – your 5e RAW AC (i.e. not our “defense roll”)]/2, instead of me having to run a 400 iteration list comprehension for each hero v monster combo.

    (22 - AC can be pre-recorded and so can half of monster’s to hit and then you just have to add them.)

    I also ran the numbers and while it’s not an exact translation (again, translating four hundred outcomes to twenty outcomes) it’s much closer and much better than my old method! Awesome. The old one only worked really well with “normal number” whereas this gives a pretty good estimation even when the chances to hit are really high or low. Paul… this is brilliant!!!

    Again, I’m prob not gonna actually use it. I like when there are 18 skeletons that shoot you and not just one monster hit per one player hit.

    To summarize this rule (for future generations):

    To translate from 3e style math: hero ascending attack bonus vs monster ascending AC, and monster ascending attack bonus vs hero ascending AC, you do this:

    (22 + mAB - hAC)/2. That’s the number the hero has to roll (equal or higher [I checked]) on the ones-digit to avoid getting hit while simultaneously using the same roll to make a normal d20 + hAB vs mAC attack.

    (This system ofc presupposes HP being still in the game. In a one hit one kill system you can’t have so many MH results. It should be like… 0.2% chance for a PC being hit & killed. (Over 300 hits that ends up being around 45%.) OTOH the one hit one kill system has so many problems. No resource game, no meaningful rest mechanic, no healing potions etc.)

    I understand the desire not to have rolling low be good… but the ACKS method means your abilities/scores are “lower is better” instead, which is also funny.

    Just as how saving throws work in B/X. You work out the “rust” in your system as you get better. (In 2e, your THAC0 goes down, too.)

    There are two things that affect the die roll, right? Your BAB & the monster’s AC. In the 3e/4E/5e system, you want one of them to be high and the other to be low. This is illogical, captain, because it requires subtraction (bad) or post-roll math (worse – I love the feel of seeing right away when the die lands if it’s a hit or a miss. That’s also a strike against blackjack, you need to see if it slots in between the two values. With the ACKS system I know that if I roll over 8 [or w/e] it’s a hit!). In the ascending AC you want your THAC0 to be low and the monster’s AC to be high. Again requiring subtractions or post-roll math.

    In my mind, my method works because rolling higher IS better - especially for breaking ties - and a 20 is still the best possible result!

    You literally want to roll under, though? I apologize for missing that the 20 was special. But a 15 through 19 still is a whiffo.

  • edited April 21
    Oh, that's interesting. I'll have to review your solution here when I'm more awake. It sounds very interesting!

    For my Blackjack idea, it's rescued somewhat by the distinction between a "miss" and a "failure". I like using that for differentiation instead of seeing it as a bug. For instance, when defending against a monster, a low roll (a "failure") means you get hit with no defense, whereas on a high roll (a "miss") you are hit but your armour and shield reduce the damage.

    Ultimately a clean "roll high" system would be better, but in that case a modern d20+adds seems like an easy way to do it. (I don't like how it makes some ability score differences meaningless, though - in this version every point of an ability matters.)
    [1] There are two things that affect the die roll, right? Your BAB & the monster’s AC. In the 3e/4E/5e system, you want one of them to be high and the other to be low.

    [2] This is illogical, captain, because it requires subtraction (bad) or post-roll math (worse – I love the feel of seeing right away when the die lands if it’s a hit or a miss.

    That’s also a strike against blackjack, you need to see if it slots in between the two values. With the ACKS system I know that if I roll over 8 [or w/e] it’s a hit!).

    [3]You literally want to roll under, though? I apologize for missing that the 20 was special. But a 15 through 19 still is a whiffo.
    1. You mean it's weird for you that it's good for YOU when the monster's AC is low? That's interesting; I'd think that for most people understanding "more armour = higher numbers of AC" is fairly intuitive.

    2. Oh, I am 100% with you on this one. It's just almost impossible with D&D-esque d20 math. (I can generally achieve it in other designs, though. I have a solid resolution mechanic worked out with d6 pools, for example, that requires no math. But then opposed rolls can be difficult - it's hard to get it all to work! Fudge was pretty groundbreaking in this sense, but even there you didn't get that instant read off the dice.)

    I generally prefer comparison of numbers to addition or subtraction. For example, if I understood correctly, in the ACKS system you'd have to ask the GM for the monster's "number", add it to your own number, and then try to roll that number or higher, right?

    In "Blackjack D&D", though, you can just roll and call out the number right away. Your opponent (the GM in this case) just tells you whether that matches their number or not - "hit!" or "missed!", no math necessary. That appeals to me - you're just comparing numbers instead of adding or subtracting.

    For instance, the GM knows that you need an 8 to hit the ogre. You roll your d20 and call out your result: 5 misses, 9 hits, 12 hits, and so on (unfortunately, 19 misses too, of course, but you don't say that one out loud, you just say, "missed!" instead).

    (It also has the advantage of allowing you to keep the "target number" secret, if that's necessary or advantageous for your game. Can facilitate some mechanics!)

    3. Yes, mostly true. It's just a question of whether the player can do that mental "flip" in their mind (like how you spoke of seeing the diminishing number - like ThAC0 as a "reduced difficulty"). I'm hoping that the 20 being best and higher numbers being better so long as you don't roll a "miss" will be enough to make it "feel" right.

    It might also be possible to rearrange the game so that the PCs generally have much higher numbers, meaning most high rolls are good. (e.g. You must roll under 19 but over 8.)

    None of it is ideal, of course.
  • You mean it’s weird for you that it’s good for YOU when the monster’s AC is low? That’s interesting; I’d think that for most people understanding “more armour = higher numbers of AC” is fairly intuitive.

    I want monster AC to be single digit and ascending, and hero “badness” to be single digit and descending. The hero would want both to be low, the monster would want both to be high.

    The “weird” part is because if we want there to be two factors, hero offence and monster defense (which we might, so we don’t get into The Black Hack style fuckups where it’s just “you just roll under your stat, easy!… except you also subtract your HD from the monster’s and then add that to your roll post the roll, unless the difference is negative in which case you don’t add anything”. You just turned a one comparison operation to a subtraction, an additional comparison, and a post-roll addition and then the original comparison. :bawling:), and you want roll over, and you want to add them rather that get a bunch of subtraction in there [I, uh, I cut a lot of classes in second grade (I had to practice knife fighting) so subtraction is my worst arithmetic], that means you want each participant to want the two numbers to change in the same direction.

    I.e. dice-roller (the PC) wants both numbers to descend, non-dice-roller (the monster) wants both numbers to ascend.

    Fudge was pretty groundbreaking in this sense, but even there you didn’t get that instant read off the dice.

    Man, I loved Fudge… T_T

    I generally prefer comparison of numbers to addition or subtraction. For example, if I understood correctly, in the ACKS system you’d have to ask the GM for the monster’s “number”, add it to your own number, and then try to roll that number or higher, right?

    You do that once per monster. Then you know that you need to roll 8 or higher and can just call out “hit, for 3 damage”, “hit, for 8 damage” etc. Misses you don’t need to call out.

    In “Blackjack D&D”, though, you can just roll and call out the number right away. Your opponent (the GM in this case) just tells you whether that matches their number or not - “hit!” or “missed!”, no math necessary. That appeals to me - you’re just comparing numbers instead of adding or subtracting.

    So the operations in ACKS are:

    Once per monster type: 1. Ask DM for number (comms operation) 2. DM says number (comms operation) 3. Make an addition. That’s the target number. (addition operation)

    Then once per hit: 1. Roll d20. (dice roll operation) 2. Compare it to the target number. (comparison operation). If under, skip all follow steps. 3. Roll damage. (abstracted away subroutine; same for both systems, so…) 4. Say damage (comms operation).

    I’ve tried to teach them to roll the damage along with the initial d20 but they don’t want to do that.

    Comparison is easier than addition, addition is easier than subtraction&multiplication (I have them about tied), and subtraction&multiplication is easier than division.

    But the most expensive operation of all of these is communication, saying things. You interrupt the whole table with everything you say so you need to make it count. Obv we’re here to play a game you play with your voice so talking is fine. But when designing a game mechanic we want to take all costs into account. Using our voice for gross descriptions of skull fragmenst is more worthwhile than unnecessary “protocol overhead”.

    With your system:

    Once per monster type:

    1. Nothing

    Once per hit: 1. Roll d20. (dice roll operation) 2. Compare it to roll-under number. (comparison operation). If over, skip all following steps. 3. Say number (comms operation). 4. DM compares number to roll-over number. (comparison operation) 5. DM says hit or mis (comms operation). If miss, skip all following steps. 6. Roll damage. (abstracted away subroutine; same for both systems, so…) 7. Say damage (comms operation).

    So in the example of one attack per monster, you have the same amount of operations with one addition operation being replaced by a comparison operation (an improvement, but not worth the cost of having to roll under and then say number, for us ♥high rollers♥). You also have two conditionals as opposed to one (or three v two if you add in the “check for a 20” step, which both systems have) and those are also operations.

    But if there is at least two attacks on that monster type you have saved a lot of ops, especially of the most expensive op type, comms. But even if you consider comms free (I don’t), you’re also saving a lot of other operations as well.

    It also has the advantage of allowing you to keep the “target number” secret, if that’s necessary or advantageous for your game. Can facilitate some mechanics!

    That is a big honking negative.

    I want the target number to be open!

    It’s just a question of whether the player can do that mental “flip” in their mind (like how you spoke of seeing the diminishing number - like ThAC0 as a “reduced difficulty”).

    Calling it a roll-over number might help there.

  • Well, interesting! You make a case. I'm not sure I agree - something seems off about this (like, why can't we just invert values to have ascending numbers on both sides, for example?), but I'll ponder it further!
  • An inverted value is also known as a subtraction.

    So if you have an ascending goodness skill value and an ascending monster value,

    you can subtract the goodness skill value from the monster AC to find out your roll-over number.

    This is what 3e/4E/5e players already do.

    "Oh, I need +3 to hit 15? I'll note 12 here and all my dice over 12 are hits."

    Of course, what I like to do as a player when playing 3e/4E/5e is to note my, uh, THAC10 (ACKS style "attack throw" number). It's 10 - my normal to hit, a subtraction I only have to do once. Then I add that number to the last digit of the monster AC [or, strictly speaking, to the monster's AC - 10] and that's my roll over number.

    For example, I have +3 to hit. I note down 7.
    The DM says "OK the skeleton has AC thi–" (I add the 3 to 7 and note down 10) "–rteen" and then I know that all natural rolls of 10 or higher are hits.
  • I, kinda hate subtraction. Knife-fighting though♥
  • Not sure if that’s an actual rule in actual Pendragon, which I’ve never read, or if it’s called that for some other weird reason!
    What? Really?

  • Haha, wow♥
    One of the few
    but I was so afraid I'd be tempted to attempt The Great Pendragon Campaign

    But you're right it's a glaring af hole
  • Oh, I see. If you’re absolutely committed to a “clean” “roll over” mechanic with no modifiers, then you get stuck in that sense. Makes sense!

    Another somewhat interesting question:

    Does all this (this thread) mean that you like using D&D alignments as written?

    Or are you also bringing in some of the Dramasystem rules you used to talk about (or anything similar)?
  • edited April 21
    Does all this (this thread) mean that you like using D&D alignments as written?
    This thread is for things that I am not about to house rule or change in 5e because the cost of changing would be too big. (The exception being getting rid of skills completely which we are going to try now. I mean, I've used ACKS-style THAC10 on my end as a player, and before we went to Players Make All Rolls I used it as a DM, but I haven't instituted it as a table-wide policy, it was just my personal shortcut.)

    Alignment OTOH is something that I have changed for campaigns where custom alignment was appropriate. My homebrew Glitchworld had three alignments: Civilization, Nature and Glitch.

    My next homebrew-in-progress Bladen Faller uses the traditional 9-grid with a pantheon designed around it.
    AleoDjongOberon
    The CardinalDen OnämnbaraFirebride
    The man with blood on his handsThe DevilTitania
  • Oh, I see. If you’re absolutely committed to a “clean” “roll over” mechanic with no modifiers, then you get stuck in that sense. Makes sense!

    Another somewhat interesting question:

    Does all this (this thread) mean that you like using D&D alignments as written?

    Or are you also bringing in some of the Dramasystem rules you used to talk about (or anything similar)?
  • ?? See above.
  • edited April 22
    Ah! I see. Either we cross-posted or you edited that information in later, because I didn’t see it when I was making the post.

    That’s great, thanks!
  • No, you just posted the same thing twice, Paul.
  • Strange. Some internet glitch! Sorry.
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