OOC: Rules Discussion.   Posted by Narrator.Group: 0
Ta-Suil
 player, 49 posts
Mon 18 Jun 2018
at 01:11
Rules Discussion
Why is there a maximum of five dice rolled?


OOC: Posted by GM, moved from Character Creation thread.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:11, Mon 18 June 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 103 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 18 Jun 2018
at 01:12
Rules Discussion
In reply to Ta-Suil (msg # 81):

You had to go and ask, didn't ya?!?!?! Haha, I deleted like four paragraphs musing on exactly that, went, "nah, they get enough of my walls o' text, they won't wanna whole essay on dice and statistics crap", and deleted the whole thing. XD

So, five dice. The one thing that could constitute a "critical failure" (even though the system doesn't really have rules for that) is rolling too many 1s. 1s can't be used for total or effect, and the more dice you roll, the more ones get rolled, but they're less likely to put pressure on your decisions.

Considering just d6es, 1/6th of the Y dice you roll will be ones, but the odds of rolling X number of ones in a given roll of Y dice is (1/6)^X*(5/6)^(Y-X), so as you increase the number of dice, rolling, say two ones out of the lot increases, but if you already have enough to make your total and Effect, they don't really act as a restriction in the moment, (i.e. y-x is greater than 3, the 3 dice you need for total and effect) so "critical failures" become more rare. Five dice, (Y=5) in essence, gives you two "backups" that could roll a one (X=2) before you start feeling "squeezed" at all, which for d6, is less than a 1 in 36 chance (less than the odds of a crit fail in d20 systems), in a system that doesn't have crit-fail rules. This situation would still result in leaving three eligible dice to fill the total and Effect.

Adding dice only increases the odds of never feeling "squeezed", and increases the amount of PP floating around, as well as flooding the Doom Pool. Not that we're strapped for dice here in PbP-land, but the bookkeeping for all that kinda turns the game into rocket tag, where nobody "flubs a roll", PP and Doom Dice are plentiful, and for not much gain. There ends up being no such thing as "bad luck" or "upsets", and becomes something like a diceless game, because it becomes a matter of how many PP or Doom Dice either side wants to commit to any given roll.

Now, consider larger dice. These roll ones less often, so reducing the chances of crit-fails. D4s roll 1 more often, but if they do, you get 2 PP for that roll (1 for just rolling the d4, and another to buy a d4 for the Doom Pool). So larger dice become fodder for the higher totals and larger Effect dice coming from the larger dice pools, again, resulting in rocket-tag.

Rocket tag means one hit tends to win a fight, no need to build up tactical advantage by rolling for Assets against a tough target, less strategy needed, and shorter fights overall. Considering out-of-combat rolls can still fill the Doom Pool, it's possible that NPCs could be flush with Doom Dice to spend when the pressure of combat comes on. Rolling against the Doom Pool also becomes something of a moot point, as rolls with huge pools will possibly fill the Doom Pool as much as they empty.

Basically, five gives players room to throw that D4 in and not care too much about rolling too many ones, except for those still-rare occasions when the planets align and a couple ones show up all at once. Four doesn't give quite as much leeway, and six+ makes those unlucky rolls vanishingly rare, and start things heading toward that rocket-tag pseudo-diceless territory outlined above. I'm actually kinda surprised how the odds work out to balance on that fine a point, but that's my reasoning. I miiiiight go make a spreadsheet now, just to make double-sure.

I'm still open to everyone's opinions and questions, of course!!!

OOC: Posted by GM, moved from Character Creation thread.
Ta-Suil
 player, 49 posts
Mon 18 Jun 2018
at 01:13
Rules Discussion
One thing I really rather like about Cortex is the ability to use Plot Points and Doom Points to alter things. To make the limitation you described work, we would need to ensure that there are never more than 5 Doom dice. Are you going to do that as well?

OOC: Posted by GM, moved from Character Creation thread.

This message was last updated by the GM at 01:13, Mon 18 June 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 105 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 18 Jun 2018
at 01:14
Rules Discussion
In reply to Ta-Suil (msg # 84):

Yes, more or less. Not to give away too much in the way of GM secrets, I intend to make opposition pools "on the fly" whenever there isn't a built NPC to "oppose" the roll, so the Doom Dice operate more strictly as PP equivalents than as a "default" opposition pool. Keeping a lid on the Doom Pool is still advisable for players, and wearing it down won't become impossible, even if it gets large.

OOC: Posted by GM, moved from Character Creation thread.
Ta-Suil
 player, 50 posts
Mon 18 Jun 2018
at 01:14
Rules Discussion
Well, let's try it and see if it works. I have some concerns about balance with that approach, but I may be worrying too much. If I see some issues, I'll bring it up!

OOC: Posted by GM, moved from Character Creation thread.
Narrator
 GM, 106 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 18 Jun 2018
at 01:15
Rules Discussion
In reply to Ta-Suil (msg # 8):

That's the spirit!!
Ta-Suil
 player, 54 posts
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 01:01
Rules Discussion
Okay, so I was pulling together my first roll. In the versions of Cortex I've played, there is a minimum number of dice rolled of 4. In this game, for example, it would be Attribute + Distinction + Specialty + Power.

Now, the way I played it before, if you did not have an item that fit a slot, you substituted a d6. So, for example, for my roll:

19:39, Tue 19 June: Ta-Suil rolled 7,4,4,5 using d8,d6,d6,d8, unique dice.  Messenger Adept d8, no Distinction d6, no Specialty, Enhanced Presence d8.

I somehow forgot about my d8 Social attribute, so that was a simple mistake. (I also said no Distinction after using Messenger Adept. I must have been tired at the time. :-)) But since I didn't have a relevant Specialty, would I just roll a d6 there? Or just not roll a die?
Narrator
 GM, 111 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 01:19
Rules Discussion
In reply to Ta-Suil (msg # 10):

I see. For this game, there is an effective minimum of two dice. For this game, Attribute and Distinction are currently the only guaranteed dice, you should have whatever's closest to being relevant thrown in.

If it's difficult to believe or you think including a particular die is a stretch, narrate how it's relevant. Doing that will add some nice flavor to your post, and help convince your doddering GM that the die is both relevant and worth the effort of flavoring your post.

Personally, I'd also have given you your Diplomacy or Empathy Specialties. You're still negotiating for information, even if it's not between city-states or nations. Interpersonal skills like that would be highly useful making discreet inquiries. Enhanced Presence is spot-on for social stuff, too.



All that being said, since the minimum die rating being bought for this game is a d6, I'd be willing to have a minimum dice pool discussion, maybe padding out with d4s, probably with a maximum of 2 PP earned per roll, so you can still get a PP from a d4 Distinction, and rolling a fistful of d4s won't get you a ton of PP all at once, but might still be a "roll of last resort".

This is, of course, if people are for it. It might pad the Doom Pool a bit, but it'd also give everyone some incentive to attempt things in general, even if they're not well-prepared. Thoughts?
Ta-Suil
 player, 56 posts
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 01:39
Re: Rules Discussion
Narrator:
Personally, I'd also have given you your Diplomacy or Empathy Specialties. You're still negotiating for information, even if it's not between city-states or nations. Interpersonal skills like that would be highly useful making discreet inquiries. Enhanced Presence is spot-on for social stuff, too.


Fair enough. I'll ask first next time to see if you think something applies.

quote:
All that being said, since the minimum die rating being bought for this game is a d6, I'd be willing to have a minimum dice pool discussion, maybe padding out with d4s, probably with a maximum of 2 PP earned per roll, so you can still get a PP from a d4 Distinction, and rolling a fistful of d4s won't get you a ton of PP all at once, but might still be a "roll of last resort".


Given your maximum of 5 dice, I would argue against it. I would argue that, given your dice pool maximum, we should only roll for items where something applies. If we have to do something we're terrible at, we roll two d6s.

quote:
This is, of course, if people are for it. It might pad the Doom Pool a bit, but it'd also give everyone some incentive to attempt things in general, even if they're not well-prepared. Thoughts?


This is EXACTLY WHAT I DON'T WANT. You getting to pad the Doom Pool = Very Bad For Game Balance. I am very, very strongly against manipulating with the Doom Pool without a good reason.
Narrator
 GM, 114 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 01:55
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Ta-Suil (msg # 12):

Valid enough, though the emphatic tone made me laugh a bit. I feel that offering d6es for padding out pools somewhat invalidates buying them in the first place, that nobody would bother paying 5XP for a broader skillset if it's just as well that they didn't until they could afford the upgrade to d8, at least, or some SFX that'd make the d6 worthwhile.

The other route, even with the current rules, is doing things "your way". So if you're in combat and you wanna wallop some NPC, but you're a Social character, you hit 'em with something distracting, even if it's a Yo Mama joke. Roll Social for a distraction-flavored Asset, then bring those Assets to the party for your next roll. Or make the Asset available to anyone, tossing them to some other PC who's been lining up their shot.

...I don't think I mentioned anything about Assets in the rolling rules. I'm making a Dice Pool Rules post, ASAP. Beyond PDQ. RDQ. VDQ. Ugh. No rules hack survives first contact with the PCs, let alone my plotted schemes and schemed plots.
Ta-Suil
 player, 59 posts
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 02:28
Re: Rules Discussion
Narrator:
Valid enough, though the emphatic tone made me laugh a bit. I feel that offering d6es for padding out pools somewhat invalidates buying them in the first place, that nobody would bother paying 5XP for a broader skillset if it's just as well that they didn't until they could afford the upgrade to d8, at least, or some SFX that'd make the d6 worthwhile.


Well, I aim to amuse :-) I am completely lost as to what you were trying to say in this paragraph. Could you re-phrase?
Narrator
 GM, 116 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 02:40
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Ta-Suil (msg # 14):

Sure. Suppose you have XP. You pad out your dice pool to four dice with d6es, assuming you don't have larger, more relevant dice. Why would you buy a lone power at d6, when you were rolling a d6 without it? Nobody would, there's no incentive, so you hang on to your XP until you can afford the d6 AND either an upgrade to a d8 (making it better than the d6 that'd be used to pad your pool out otherwise), or an SFX (which gives you some other advantage for rolling the purchased d6 over the padded-out freebie). Either way, there's no point to buying just the d6 die to broaden their Specialties/Charms/Gear or whatever else.

Such a dynamic also makes the d6 freebies given during character creation similarly pointless, just flavoring, really.
Saegar
 player, 21 posts
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 03:00
Re: Rules Discussion
If the maximum 2 PP earned per roll means that you can not buy excess 1 to build the dice pool, would that balance thing a little?



You all seem to forgot about using a PP to add a dice (either a trait or a push d6) that Narrator put in the rule ;) Which padding dice would also renders moot.




About the dice pool, I played with Marvel Cortex, and it kind of look similar to what you are going for, Narrator. But in Marvel, there aren't really a limit on the number of dice in the dice pool, but as character are limited to 2 power sets, an ordinary unopposed dice pool would be effectively limited at 5 dice.

For me, a hard limit on the dice pool instead of on the character sheet, would mean that PP (to add dice), Cypher, asset, opposition's stress would be less useful.


How to build a dice pool, Marvel book, p. OM7:
  • One Afliation die
  • One Distinction, either as a d8 or a d4
  • One power from each of your Power Sets
  • One Specialty
  • One of your opposition’s stress or complication dice, if any
  • One asset, if any
  • One push die, stunt, or resource, if any





On a related note, the Marvel's resource could be our Cypher. For a PP in a Transition Scene, you would get a Resource Dice (a d6 if the Skill was Expert, 8 for Master) that would last until the end of the next Action Scene.

Or, you can pay a PP to activate one of the Narrator opportunities to gain a Resource Dice until the end of the current Action Scene.



On another related note ;) , in addition of what you had put in the rules, In Marvel you could also use a PP to keep an extra effect dice, representing multi-attacks. It could be interesting for us too :)
Narrator
 GM, 117 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 03:11
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Saegar (msg # 16):

Ooh! Yes! Paying a PP would allow adding more relevant dice to the pool. Cyphers are considered Gear, ditto Artifacts. The other categories of dice you listed should also be considered in the rules. I was focusing a bit too much on "baseline, no costs, assets, Stress, or SFX" when writing. I definitely need to re-phrase the wording to include Assets and Opponent Stress.

I did start from Marvel Heroic, though the rules for this game are a few hacks removed. Marvel Heroic is kinda the umpty-times-great-grandparent, along with the Exalted:Blood and Fire ruleset.

Paying a PP for extra attack targets miiight be a bit much, I'm not sure one way or the other. Can we table that discussion until this dice pool thing's settled? I'd like to make an informed decision, if it's something you folks would like to see.

Man, you lot are just amazing. Editing the rules post!!!

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:22, Fri 22 June 2018.

Ta-Suil
 player, 106 posts
 PP 4
Fri 24 Aug 2018
at 23:38
Re: Rules Discussion
So...about a maximum number of dice for PCs and the Doom Pool :-)

I've noticed the remarkable heights that the Doom Pool has grown to and marvel. And a bit concerned.

If we're capped at 5 dice, but the Doom Pool is able to have an infinite number of dice, even trivial tasks are soon insurmountable. That seems really unbalanced to me. Is it possible to limit the Doom Pool to 5 dice, too? 5d12 or the like?
Narrator
 GM, 191 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Sat 25 Aug 2018
at 00:02
Re: Rules Discussion
The Doom Pool is meant to be a default source of opposition to all players simultaneously. It is a resource for NPCs to use, akin to the PCs' PP resource. It also serves as a default difficulty rating for rolls for which the GM does not have anything prepared (I have not been using it for this purpose so far). I recognize that the Doom Pool rolling a large number of dice is intimidating, but that many of the dice are small when added (as they roll 1's more often than larger dice). The Doom Pool also does not have access to Assets or SFX as the PCs do, as spending the "NPC resource" in a roll would still require the Doom Pool to spend off bits of itself, which would still entail a PC victory (to some degree).

Additionally, if the Doom Pool rolls any 1s, they may be bought as Asset dice by any PC for a PP, as well as removed from the Doom Pool. With more dice, the Doom Pool will roll 1s in general more often than smaller pools, again offering an opening for PC-controlled Doom Pool shrinkage.

Consider, with the above rule in play: PC rolls a d4 with their Distinction, gets a PP, maybe rolls a 1 and gets another, or buys off the 1 immediately. That d4, if it gets to the Pool either adds a d6 to the Doom Pool (minimal effective die size), or steps up a d6 to a d8 in the Pool. If any of the Doom Pool dice roll a 1, that player is probably "up" at least 1 PP, and is now able to buy an arguably larger die out of the Doom Pool than the one they sent there to begin with. This takes away from the PCs' questing, of course, but resource management is meant to be part of the system.

Should the Pool get too large, (probably a bit larger than it has been so far), I will spend dice out to empower other things off-stage.

The Doom Pool is not insurmountable, it is just another monster. In this case, at times exceedingly large and/or powerful, but always dull-witted and open to being out-played by PCs who have access to better tools than the Doom Pool can ever muster.

This is only the first time the leviathan has been challenged. To be perfectly honest, it dodged conventional harm by just 2 on the total. Even so, it still rolled a 1 on a d10, which opens that d10 up to be bought as an Asset for a PP to players in the relevant thread. Should someone purchase it, they will be up a d10 Asset, and the Doom Pool, despite succeeding at it's defensive roll, with all the dice at its disposal, would still be down a d10, one of the largest dice currently in the Doom Pool.

Sure, the Doom Pool may not be completely drained (kind of a degenerate state for the system that the GM is supposed to avoid), but it can be kept at bay. The hydra may regrow its heads, but lop off enough of the biggest, toothiest ones, and it's less of a threat.
Saegar
 player, 39 posts
Sat 25 Aug 2018
at 20:01
Re: Rules Discussion
I feel that the doom pool should be by thread and not globally. I would be weird that suddenly we are facing a much more stronger threat than expected because those in the other thread (that we don't have much information about, except public dice rolls) created many opportunities (they are faster, more numerous, so generally they roll more dice). More so because we won't have the PP to defend against the bigger Doom Pool. And the reverse is also true, you will have fewer dice to affect them in return. To me, it feel like one thread would succeed and the other would be doom (pun intended) by using a global Doom pool.


Isn't suppose to be that when the GM buy opportunities, it is a d6 regardless of the die it come from. And there is 2 way to get bigger dice, either paying for an opportunity to step up the lowest dice, or when multiple opportunities happened in the same roll, the GM could pay only a single PP, but use more opportunities to get a bigger dice.

Marvel Heroic RPG, OM15 (21 in a pdf):
Cyclops’ player rolls three 1s on his dice in a battle with the Hellfre Guards. As the Watcher, I could choose to hand over three Plot Points and add 3d6 to the doom pool, or two Plot Points for a d8 and a d6, or one Plot Point for a d10



I've never heard of the buying dice off the Doom Pool. I've heard that it can create push for the players (at a d8 instead of a d6) or to step up a recently created asset.
Ta-Suil
 player, 108 posts
 PP 4
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 01:17
Re: Rules Discussion
Saegar:
I feel that the doom pool should be by thread and not globally.


I second this idea. This would be far more balanced and reasonable.
Saegar
 player, 40 posts
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 01:33
Re: Rules Discussion
Ta-Suil:
If we're capped at 5 dice[...]


We aren't really cap at 5 dice. It is only the number of dice we can get from our character sheet (including Cyphers). If you pay PP, use Asset, Stress, Stunt, then your actual roll would be more than 5 dice.

Narrator:
Paying a PP would allow adding more relevant dice to the pool. Cyphers are considered Gear, ditto Artifacts. The other categories of dice you listed should also be considered in the rules. I was focusing a bit too much on "baseline, no costs, assets, Stress, or SFX" when writing.

Narrator
 GM, 194 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 03:10
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Saegar (msg # 22):

I am leaving the Doom Pool rules as-is. It seems to me there are system tactics that are not yet understood or have not been attempted, and one very tight and competitive interaction, even if it's a loss, does not indicate an imbalanced system overall.

If one thread is more capable of rolling & feeding the Doom Pool, are they not also probably more equipped to fight it? This strikes me as a learning experience with the system, balancing "cleaning up one's own mess" with completing group quests and addressing individual goals.

PCs are not guaranteed to always succeed, certainly not in this system nor this game. But there IS always a chance to do so.

As for Doom Pool purchases, these are experimental rules, but they are working fine so far. The roll causing this kerfuffle was decided by 2 points on a total that could have been supplied by spending 1PP to add a third die to the total. Extremely close, considering that it was a single PC, not using any SFX or Assets, against a "massive", "unfair-looking" Doom Pool.

There are strategies for dealing with this, and more dice start to have diminishing returns, when you factor in rolling 1s and the Doom Pool's effective two-die Total limit. For the moment, I am playing the Doom Pool fairly dumb. As people learn strategies in this system, the Doom Pool could very well become easy to manage, and I may have to come up with something more.

For the moment, we have a sample size of one, with relatively few rolls to each player's name, and legal options in the rules that have yet to be tapped. For the time being, I would rather encourage you all to try other tactics and strategies to handle this meta-challenge, than assume things are imbalanced off of one roll.
Saegar
 player, 41 posts
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 03:27
Re: Rules Discussion
Narrator:
In reply to Saegar (msg # 22):
If one thread is more capable of rolling & feeding the Doom Pool, are they not also probably more equipped to fight it?

The problem isn't that thread (let call them the Experts), it is the other, the one (calling them the Newbies) not capable of rolling and feeding the Doom Pool. The Newbies aren't receiving PP to balance the larger doom pool. They won't stand a chance against 5d10.

Then, after using your dice pool against the Newbies, the Experts are breezing through the small 2d10 that linger in the Doom Pool.

Exaggerated examples
Narrator
 GM, 195 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 03:34
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Saegar (msg # 24):

The Newbies aren't able to roll their Distinctions for a d4 instead of a D8 and get a PP in the process?
Saegar
 player, 42 posts
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 03:45
Re: Rules Discussion
My feeling is that boosting the doom pool by paying a PP to activate opportunities is a balancing factor: the player receive a small boost in exchange for the GM getting a longer term boost (but he had to wait until an opportunity show up).
Narrator
 GM, 196 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Sun 26 Aug 2018
at 04:29
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Saegar (msg # 26):

I'm not sure I'm understanding, but as I see it, that's a slightly pessimistic way of putting it. The GM's "longer term boost" is only there for Doom Pool rolls, which are generally initiated by the PCs. Otherwise, the Doom Pool is spent out as the GM's parallel for PP, powering NPC abilities and other stuff (off-screen). I have not been using it as a "default opposition" pool, and do not plan to, because clearly, it can be intimidating at times, possibly making even routine tasks impossible. I think this difference is crucial in comparing the Doom Pool mechanics for this game against those in games like MHRPG.

I don't pretend to know all the long-term ramifications of this difference, either. Only that there isn't much history to use to support a judgment.
Narrator
 GM, 218 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Wed 10 Oct 2018
at 00:28
Re: Rules Discussion
In reply to Narrator (msg # 27):

I've updated the Rules thread to clarify PC Stress, particularly to elaborate my rules and opinions regarding PC death. I'm certainly open to discussion now and always about my rulings, and for any given PC on the borderline, if their player has a great idea for some horrible way for the PC to survive that meshes well with the story, I'm happy to work something out.

As an example, if a PC is heavily wounded and trying to escape a ruin (present company excepted, naturally, wink), and one last trap would normally kill the PC, I would accept some sort of permanent wound, perhaps a change in their Distinctions and Milestones (foregoing the 10XP "completion"), reflecting their sudden, dramatic change in character. So a fighter-type character might become a "One-Armed Master of the Dao" and their mission might shift from whatever their previous goal was to become a quest for a replacement limb at least as capable as the one they've lost. Some other change or reasonable penalty would be worth consideration, especially if the trap or NPC is somehow "compensated" for sparing the PC's life.

There's a balance to be struck here, but I am well-motivated to keep PC death more in the hands of the player than some GMs and systems might otherwise offer by the rules. I'm here for epic stories, not for win/loss conditions.