Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Redcap's Universal Table For Almost Everything

Longtime players of D&D will most certainly remember the original "Reaction Table", which was also used in the first edition of Gamma World, by the way. This table utilized the simplified mechanic of rolling two standard 6-sided dice, adding the total, and comparing to the chart. The beauty and simplicity of this minor table was never lost on me, and followed me throughout 39 years of gaming. Even when playing other game systems that didn't use a similar device, or have rules governing a particular circumstance, I would default to grabbing two dice and wing it. Not only has this kept the action moving along without interruption, but has kept my behind-the-screen decision making fairly consistent. Players can often sense when dice rolls are arbitrarily random, which does much to breed mistrust.

Back in July, I wrote an article on using Decision Dice ("Using The Dice to Improvise"), that touched on the subject of using random dice rolls during games, but only gave generic guidelines. The primary focus of that article was on showcasing Decision Dice. This article covers my personally preferred approach, using only two normal dice.

I prefer this method because rolling two dice allows for 36 random combinations, for 11 possible unmodified results, which I then further break down into 5 categories of severity. While this might appear very math intensive, it's actually quite simple in practice. The odds and percentages have only been included for those who are interested in how the system is derived.

2d6 Odds and Probabilities

My system uses five successive levels of possible outcome, ranging from the worst to best possible results. The Game Master may apply any bonuses or penalties depending on situational conditions, precautions being taken, quality of materials being used, a particularly favorable (or unfavorable) character trait the character might possess, etc.

Unfavorable, Complication
Favorable, Beneficial
  • 2 - Unfavorable, Complication - Not only don't things look good, but this result will further complicate the situation.
  • 3-5 - Unfavorable - Things don't go well, but aren't overly complicated by further misfortune.
  • 7-9 - Neutral - The situation is neither favorable, nor unfavorable.
  • 10-11 - Favorable - Things fall into place in favor of the situation.
  • 12 - Favorable, Beneficial - Not only are things good, but are further beneficial to the situation

Here are a few examples of possible outcomes, depending on the situation being determined:

Encounter Reaction:
  • Attacks immediately
  • Hostile, will probably attack unless the situation changes
  • Uncertain, guarded behavior, but willing to parley
  • Not hostile, possibly friendly
  • Peaceful, makes overtures of friendship in good faith
Daily Weather
  • The worst possible type of extreme weather for the climate, season, and region, be it a typhoon, massive blizzard, sand storm, whatever!
  • Bad weather, possibly dangerous depending on prevailing climate
  • Typical weather conditions
  • Favorable weather conditions
  • Best possible weather conditions
Character Attempting An Action:
  • Not only has the action failed, but the proverbial Fickle Middle Finger of Fate makes an appearance!
  • The action fails, possibly resulting in further problems (alarm goes off, etc)
  • The character succeeds, but only just
  • Clear success, fortune smiles upon the character
  • Outstanding! Not only does the character succeed, but gains an advantage or added benefit doing so
Success of A Project: (for example -  crafting a magic item)
  • Dismal failure! Not only are all materials ruined and wasted, but research notes may have been compromised (accidentally set on fire, etc)
  • Failure. Only the natural results of failing may occur as a result
  • Success. The item is crafted and functional
  • Well done. The item is well crafted as though by a master craftsman
  • Eureka! The item is an exceptional specimen of its kind, possibly with an unforeseen benefit

Optional Rule - Rolling Doubles:

Rolling doubles results in hard preset results that supersede any modifiers that may have been applied to the dice roll. This is done to ensure nothing is guaranteed to be an automatic success or failure.

The Jolly Roger!
1 in 36
1 in 36
Automatic Failure
1 in 36
Automatic Success
1 in 36
1 in 36
1 in 36

  • The Jolly Roger! - Named after a particular set of dice I had that replaced the 1 with a skull and crossbones.
  • Consequences - Unfavorable outcome, resulting in possible consequences (alarms, broken equipment, etc)
  • Automatic Failure - Despite your best efforts, you just fall short. You may attempt a re-do
  • Automatic Success - Yes! Well done
  • Beneficial/Excellent - You make this $@#! look good
  • Bonus! - You succeed beyond expectations, and may enjoy an additional unexpected bonus

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