Help with a system similar to Hero Kids & Silhouette

valgunn's picture

First post!

I’m dabbling with a simple system which requires very little math. You roll xd6 and keep the highest single result. Similar in respect to Silhouette/Silcore and Hero Kids. I’m not sure if any board games use this dice mechanic (let me know if you’ve heard of any).

Here is what I’ve got so far:

To succeed you need to roll higher than the nominal difficulty (from 1 easy to 5 extreme) set by the GM. If rolling against an opponent compare the highest single die roll. If tied, discard and compare the next highest die roll. Repeat until one player succeeds or runs out of dice. If it's still tied, default to the player. Sometimes circumstances may make a task easier or more difficult than usual. If advantageous, roll an extra die (to a maximum of 6d6) keeping the highest result. With any disadvantages, roll an extra die and keep the lowest result (to a maximum of 6d6).

When making an action, roll a number of six-sided dice (d6) equal to your attribute. The highest die is your result. If the character has a score of 0 in an attribute they roll 2d6 and keep the lowest result. The maximum number of dice a player can roll is 6d6 (the rule of six).

Dice rolls are only made when attempting actions where there is a chance of failure. You wouldn't need make a roll to open an unlocked door, climb over a low wall or run across flat ground. On the other hand, you would make a roll if you were trying to kick down a locked door, shoot someone, or run across broken or treacherous ground without losing your footing.

Thoughts so far?

Tod's picture

These days I like simplicity in mechanics. This system is similar in some basic ways to DayTrippers, where you roll Xd6 and take the highest (where X = your governing stat), and if you have a skill you add +Y (Y being your skill level, which gets logarithmically more expensive each level). After that it gets different, because DT uses YES/NO & AND/BUT for fiction resolution. But anyway...

The original version of the game used a Difficulty Scale of 1-6, just like all the other scales in the game. But when I produced the commercial version I expanded that to 1-10, because I felt I needed to make hard things harder. Here's a chart I made while working all this out:

XD6 Odds

In your game there aren't any mods, so you only need to look at the leftmost column in each grid. And you only need to consider the Difficulty Levels I called "No-Brainer" (1) to "Very Hard" (6).

The number shown is the percentage change of beating (rolling higher than) the DL. For example: If the DL is 5 and you're rolling 1 die, your chance of beating the DL is 16%. If you're rolling 2 dice and taking the highest, your chance is 30%. Etc.

Bright Green is "Certain or Almost Certain".
Pale Green is "Good Odds (50:50 or Better)".
Yellow is "Poor Odds (Worse than 50:50)".
Pink is "Really Poor Odds (Worse than 25:75)".
Red is "Impossible".

valgunn's picture

@Tod Thanks for this, awesome!

A couple of thoughts. I was thinking 3-5 points you can spend at character creation for attributes (there are 4, you can have a max of 2 in an attribute). With only 1-5 range, this means moving up is a really big deal.

Tod's picture

I came to a similar conclusion in my design process. In DayTrippers there are 6 stats, it's a point-buy system, and the best a starting character can reasonably afford is a 3 in one or maybe two stats. Starting with a single stat at 4 is so expensive it cripples the rest of your build. Almost impossible until you've gone out and gained a bunch of experience. Or gone into serious Debt (but that's a whole other thing).

In short, yes, increasing a stat (especially beyond 3) should be ridiculously expensive, and probably not available at all to rookie PCs. In a system this small, each added die yields a truly significant (and exponentially increasing) benefit.

Emmett's picture

I have two systems that are moving in this direction but with variations.

In my Energy System you get a number of dice that say how much energy you have, your traits say what size of die you roll. The current edition adds the dice you roll together. I'm moving this toward a pick highest. It changes the probability of the rolls a bit and it can make a higher skilled character nearly untouchable by a lower skilled character (there are some rules that allow for +1s that I'm debating).

In The Artifact, I'm going from 1d100 with normal +/- modifiers to d20 with what I'm calling boosts and drains. The attribute roll can yeald 0-4 successes on the d20 but then things like skills are boosts that give you a d10 to roll with your d20. There can be multiple boosts but it's usually 1-2 and sometimes 3. Boosts can give you one success. Drains negate successes. If you have just drains you roll for them like you would a boost. If you have a boost and a drain you roll one die if it's under the boost you get a success, if you roll under the drain it subtracts a success. Naturally if it under the lower of the two, you get nothing because they cancel each other out.

Emmett's picture

I'm working on trying to formalize the concept of "when do you roll?" This is what I have so far.

If the narration is enough to resolve the plan of action, the character performs their intended plan without any test needed. Characters should be able to walk around, speak their native language, perceive their surroundings without any resolution needed. When there’s a question about if they can do what has been talked about, ask the following questions to see if a resolution using dice rolls is needed.

Is there a step that the player unintentionally skipped in the discussion? If so, completing the missing step requires a resolution. An example of this could be if the player describes talking to a supplier for materials but then realizes they forgot an item. They could roll to see if their character would have remembered that item.

Is there a hidden factor that the player is not aware of in their discussion? If so reacting to the hidden information requires a resolution. For example, a player describes piloting their vehicle an ruined city. The Game Master knows that there are people watching from high up in buildings the player gets to roll to see if they notice they’re being watched.

Is the outcome of a narration uncertain because it is opposed? If so the effort to oppose requires the player to roll for a resolution. Examples, opposition does not have to be by a character per-se. Things like a lock on a door can mean opposition if they're trying to pick it. Firing a weapon is considered easy but hitting a target requires a resolution.

Is the character trying to do something that would normally be easy but they are trying to do it faster than normal? If so acting quicker than is comfortable requires a resolution. For example, searching a room with no time limit would not require a test. If the characters have only a few moments to search, then a test against the character’s ability to notice things is appropriate.

When the needed resolution can be handled in a single action, the player rolls and failure or successes are applied to the narration.

When the needed resolution is more complicated, something that would consist of an exchange of efforts by characters or series of attempts to overcome a complicated task, the order of play is established through the initiative process.

valgunn's picture

@ Emmett Thanks for the response. Looks like you’ve got a lot going on with your designs—good luck with them!

One of the things I want to accomplish with my design is to really limit the math. Using a single highest die result, and dice as modifiers is critical in the design.

valgunn's picture

Now another thought is what if the difficulty scale of 1-5 isn’t a number, it’s the dice you’ve got to beat. You could have the GM roll the dice (or player’s if you wanted). For example: You are a thief trying to pick a lock and there is a chance of failure. It’s a routine lock, so the difficulty is 1. The GM rolls 1d6 and gets a 3. Your thief has a 1 in the relevant attribute and a set of tools that gives them another d6. So you roll, 2d6 and try to beat 3. Perhaps you could also waste a d6 to make the GM re-roll the difficulty.

Emmett's picture

The big issue there is a difficulty of 2 is potentially much harder than a 1. In your example, if the thief is trying to unlock a special lock with a difficulty of 2 and the GM rolls a 5 or a 6 that could be a very difficult task. Maybe that's desirable as the characters get better through advancement but I think there could be a jump in between difficulty ratings where accomplishing them is very hard.

Tod's picture

I know you said you wanted to stick with D6s, but maybe...
Burn a point of something to roll a bigger die?
(i.e., burn 1 point to roll a d8, burn another for a d10, another for a d12).