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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Why not simplify the math and use a d20?

I am sorry if this subject has been brought up elsewhere and i missed it.

So one of the biggest complaints about the old system is the fiddliness of the double digit math.  Its not hard math... but for the mathematically challenged (which includes me when I have had too much beer) it is a put off.

It seems really simple to base the game on a d20, especially as all skills and stats seem to be in multiples of 5 anyway.  Using d20+9 is gentler on most brains than d100+45.  This is similar to what Pendragon did with BRP long long ago - same system, smaller more manageable numbers.  Darkmaster seems to be streamlining in general, and I don't see a strong reason for keeping the d100 other than nostalgia.

So on day 1 of my discovery of this project, I am going to ask:

Why not simplify the math, divide the skills and stats and modifiers by 5, and use the d20?

Great question. This is a topic we actually discussed among us right at the beginning of development. In short, there are several reasons that convinced us to keep the d100.

First one is that we like it. While this might seem a silly reason, the truth is that we don't want to design just any game, but a game we enjoy playing (as well as writing for).

Then you should consider that there already are quite a lot of d20 based games out there (and one of them in particular seems to be quite popular ^_^). There's nothing wrong with them, but using the d100 sets us apart, and let us take different approaches with more ease.

Also, conversion it's not really that simple. Skill progression isn't linear, so you can't simply divide the bonuses by 5, and the same goes with most of the tables. Believe me, there have been moments during development when we were crunching the numbers, calculating probabilities and distributions, during which we were almost tempted to go with a simper system. But we decided to stick with the d100, as it gives us a greater granularity and allows us to use mechanics that would be difficult to implement with a d20.

There are other reasons, but I think you get the idea, in the end we think that double-digit math isn't that of a big deal, but we understand that others could prefer smaller numbers. And, who knows, maybe we'll even see a fan-made d20 version of Against the Darkmaster in the future!

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Well, I can't argue with those answers.

In the past, when I tinkered with this old game system I considered switching to d20, and in the end simply decided that a) it was too much effort, and b) it altered the feel of the game, so I left it.

Every now and then though, in the middle of play, I think that I should some day make the conversion... either that or invest in a handful of dollar store calculators for my players!

Howdy. FWIW I feel that decision to go with d100 was correct. There's a lot that goes into dice selection. Some are a matter of taste but many are quantifiable. There's a different feel to, say, 2d6, d20 and d100 or a pool of dice. It also feels different whether you have to roll high, or low; you have bonuses to rolls or advantages that affect target; rolls done by players or GM; existence of counter rolls or lack thereof.

At the end of the day math can lead to the same (or close) results but you get a completely different feeling when you have a particular randomization mechanics. I feel that using d20 would make it feel very much like that-other-game. 😉 For me using d100 feels very much like MERP did and that's something I've been looking for for a long time. 🙂

I’m like you, dominik. D20 or d100? I usually just stick with the d100. For VsD, though, I think I might rewrite the tables to d20. There isn’t a lot of granularity present outside of the d100 roll (everything is in increments of 5)—and this is good! My table struggles with the complexity of the system already. I’ll have players roll a d10 along with their 20s to check for Fumbles, doubles on Spell Rolls, etc. The d20 VsD can be called VsD20. 😁