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Thursday, July 3, 2014

2d6 vs. 1d6

Erik at Tenkar’s Tavern has something to say about 2d6 thief skills. I’m OK with the basic idea, although I’d use different numbers, plus in general I use 5+ on just 1d6, since among other things it means I can roll dice for multiple thieves (or other skill users) all at once.

But more importantly, for simple binary questions, I prefer 1d6. I use the 2d6 with its not-quite-a-bell-curve when I want multiple levels of result, such as in reaction rolls. You have five possible results:

2d6 Result
2 Very Bad
3-5 Bad
6-8 Normal
9-11 Good
12 Very Good

I use all five possible results for reactions. For turn undead or requests for divine aid, I mainly use the first four: Good or better always works, Normal works the very first time that day and fails thereafter, Bad
always fails, and Very Bad fails but also “angers the gods”, causing all future requests to fail until the supplicant atones.

Now, the interesting thing to consider is: could thief skills be adapting to a concept like that? Not just “You climbed the wall/You didn’t climb the wall”, but something more like:
  • Climb successfully on Good result or better;
  • Climb rate halved on Normal result;
  • Almost slipped, have to stop halfway up on Bad result;
  • Slip and fall on Very Bad result.
In my mind, the extra possible results make a 2d6 roll worth it.

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  1. Without doing the math, which I basically have not done, 2d6 just feels right for a lot of things. I also utilize the 2d6 reaction table heavily. And don't forget turning the un-dead.

  2. I like the d6 roll high method because you can do a bunch of actions at once, or for experts and master roll multiple dice but 2d6 situational bellcurvian resolution is pretty sweet.