Dice that Work Like Water

By gradeschool standards, I’m a huge nerd. So much that I’ve decided to learn a brand-old roleplaying system from the 80’s called GURPS (thanks Film Reroll) and run my own games. Yes, this is what this blog is about.

GURPS is looking good to me because its nature is to be applicable to literally any setting at all, complete modularity. Whereas DND has a built in magic system, Shdowrun has an incredibly unfriendly-to-customization structure, GURPS acts strictly as a foundation for a GM to build a world that players can interact inside of. This appeals to me, I NEED that level of customization, now that I know it exists. Gone are the days of trying to devise my own systems.

One thing I wondered on the offset that suddenly came clear to me this morning was the use of dice. Why 3 D6 instead of one regular Nerd dice of 20 sides or something? At first I figured that it made the system more accessible to new folks and this may well be so, but there’s an elegant mechanical reason that made me swoon with awe.

In DnD (just referring to all roleplaying systems this way for simplicity, bear with me) you generally roll different count-sided die to determine success or failure, and at the extreme ends of the rolls, there are critical successes and failures, which have extreme consequences. How exciting!

 The big difference between using, say, a D20 instead of 3 D6 is the probability that a critical result will come up. The probability of a critical roll on that D20 is 1/20, while a critical roll on 3 D6es is something like 1/50. I guess this adds like dynamics to the whole thing, and more interesting when a crit comes up. It’s just a great example of letting the materials do the work for you, I love that kind of thing.

I promise I won’t do this often.


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