Dice roll system

A world of adventure in an age of sorcery and steam. Join the fight against the enemies of Queen and Empire. Battle ancient evils, uncover sinister plots, and root out predators stalking the cobble-stoned streets. Your tools are arcane magics, steam-driven marvels, and a stiff upper lip. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/victoriana/
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Posts: 160
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 10:09 pm

Dice roll system

Post by rulandor » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:19 pm

Recently, my Victoriana players demanded to change our campaign to another rules system.

We had a 2nd ed campaign going for about a year, and in the course of the games the players found it increasingly difficult to put up with the black dice rule.

Now, I read quite a little bit about Victoriana on the internet, and this problem seems rather unique to our group. Therefore I mention it here, expecting to perhaps get some feedback about things I did wrong in that campaign, if at all.

So, how do other Victoriana gamers find the dice roll system? Is it a problem or is it not a problem that with dice pools, the success or failure of rolls change rather randomly? I mean, with, say, 10 dice you may very well have not a single success, without the player character having done anything wrong to deserve such a disaster.

Another difficulty: my gamers found it hard, after having achieved some successes with the normal dice, to see them melt in the sun by rolling the black dice afterward. A flat pool penalty (dice taken away) could be mathematically harsher, but emotionally rolling away your successes with black dice is the harder option.

How is this in other gaming groups? How was this in playtest? Is our group so unique?

Walt Ciechanowski
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 11:29 am

Re: Dice roll system

Post by Walt Ciechanowski » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:47 pm

In playtest we found that, on balance, players liked the black dice pools better than static modifiers, but there were certainly some that wanted something simpler.

One variant that I've playtested and works well (it almost made it into the core rulebook as an option) is to apply the automatic success rule to black dice. Every 3 black dice simply add 1 to the difficulty, so you'd need 2 successes for an Average roll, 3 successes for a Difficult roll, 4 successes for a Very Difficult roll, and so on.

A feature of this is that your players can go dice-less more often, since a combined attribute/skill pool of 6 is always enough to automatically make average rolls, a pool of 9 is enough to automatically make difficult rolls, etc. With the black dice system, there's always a chance a roll will fail so players are less likely to settle for the automatic successes.

Does that help?

Edit: This will affect the bonus dice for common skills - in my playtest I allowed the players to take 2 extra dice in return for increasing the difficulty by 1 (or effectively adding 1 to the successes needed)
Walt Ciechanowski
Victoriana Line Developer
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

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