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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Resolution Options: 2d6 Rolls

Another set of options to replace attack rolls would be those based on 2d6. There are several, each with unique quirks.

You could roll 2d6 and add bonuses to roll over a target, much like the Target 3:18 or Target 4:20 methods I described in the last post. The problem here would be that you'd have to set the target above the maximum roll to keep the probabilities close to the original. Target 3:18 is easy to remember because 18 is the max result on three dice, and Target 4:20 uses 20, the same target number as Target 20 or a critical hit in many d20 variants, but the target for 2d6 roll high over fixed target should probably be 13, which is not as memorable.

On the other hand, you could change the way armor is described and merge the attack roll with the reaction roll/turn undead mechanics. A Good reaction is a 9+ on 2d6. If you say, "you need a Good or better roll to turn undead of equal power or to damage an enemy in basic armor (leather and shield,)" then you can drop armor class and set these cumulative modifiers:

  • Shield, No Armor -2
  • No Shield -1
  • Metal Armor +2 (double for Heavy)

That's not too hard to remember.

Of course, you could stick to the ACs as written and roll under AC. This is very easy to remember, but it does shift the probabilities a lot. Light or no armor becomes a bit easier to hit, plate becomes a lot harder. But I'm wondering if that might actually be desirable, to make unarmored combat much more deadly and full armor much more significant. I imagine those concerned about the balance of fighter vs. magic-user would especially love this, if the "no spells while wearing armor" rule is strictly enforced.

The bigger problem with all of these is that a 1-point bonus per level seems a bit extreme. You might have to switch to a "1-point bonus if attacker is a higher level than defender" rule instead.


  1. I've tried out a few variations with 2d6 also, because a similar "roll to cast" scheme works out so well. Basically, if you look at the last table on this post:


    -1 for each spell level, +1 for each rank of spell capability (which is basically character level divided by 2 rounded up; example: 5th level characters can cast 3rd level spells).

    If doing a similar thing for martial combat, penalty to the 2d6 roll should be opponent's armor, but a full 7 point spread is too much for 2d6 to handle nicely, so maybe it's just -1, -2, -3 for light, medium, and heavy armor, and shields do something like a saving throw parry (or maybe one more -1 is okay; haven't run the probabilities). Then, the attack bonus is the attack rank (that is, the number of the column in the MEN ATTACKING matrix). So first level fighter gets +1, fourth level (hero) gets +2, etc.

    The five fold hit reaction could be fumble, miss, grazing hit, hit, and critical.

  2. I'm working a CHAINMAIL derived game that does exactly this.

    Basically 9+ to hit an opponent of your troop type. Heroes score 1 hit on a 7+ and 4 hits on 9+. Superheroes score 1 hit on 5+, 2 hits on 7+ and 8 hits on 9+

  3. You should have a look at Nicolas "snorri" Desseaux' Epées & Sorcellerie

    1. I DLed it a while ago, mostly to practice my French, but I didn't get around to actually reading it. I did skim it and vaguely remember that it switches to a 2d6 system, but I don't recall any details.

    2. Ther is an english version now.
      Sorry if I cannot develop: my own grasp of English is not good enough to express myself correctly.