Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chances of Success

I was thinking today on probability of success for a die system that uses multiple of the same die. Similar to Shadowrun, World of Darkness, 7th Sea, etc, I wondered what the actual percentages were for the various polyhedrons used in gaming. So I sat down at my computer and drafted up the following chart.

I am leaning towards a multi d10 system with a 9 or 10 qualify for a success. I'm curious, based on the chart, what other people like (please no d20 requests).

# dice 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
d4 Chance of Success
4 25.00% 43.75% 57.81% 68.36% 76.27% 82.20% 86.65% 89.99% 92.49% 94.37%
d6 chance of success
5,6 33.33% 55.56% 70.37% 80.25% 86.83% 91.22% 94.15% 96.10% 97.40% 98.27%
6 16.67% 30.56% 42.13% 51.77% 59.81% 66.51% 72.09% 76.74% 80.62% 83.85%
d8 Chance of success
6,7,8 37.50% 60.94% 75.59% 84.74% 90.46% 94.04% 96.27% 97.67% 98.54% 99.09%
7,8 25.00% 43.75% 57.81% 68.36% 76.27% 82.20% 86.65% 89.99% 92.49% 94.37%
8 12.50% 23.44% 33.01% 41.38% 48.71% 55.12% 60.73% 65.64% 69.93% 73.69%
d10 Chance of Success
7,8,9,10 40.00% 64.00% 78.40% 87.04% 92.22% 95.33% 97.20% 98.32% 98.99% 99.40%
8,9,10 30.00% 51.00% 65.70% 75.99% 83.19% 88.24% 91.76% 94.24% 95.96% 97.18%
9,10 20.00% 36.00% 48.80% 59.04% 67.23% 73.79% 79.03% 83.22% 86.58% 89.26%
10 10.00% 19.00% 27.10% 34.39% 40.95% 46.86% 52.17% 56.95% 61.26% 65.13%
d12 Chance of Success
8,9,10,11,12 41.67% 65.97% 80.15% 88.42% 93.25% 96.06% 97.70% 98.66% 99.22% 99.54%
9,10,11,12 33.33% 55.56% 70.37% 80.25% 86.83% 91.22% 94.15% 96.10% 97.40% 98.27%
10,11,12 25.00% 43.75% 57.81% 68.36% 76.27% 82.20% 86.65% 89.99% 92.49% 94.37%
11,12 16.67% 30.56% 42.13% 51.77% 59.81% 66.51% 72.09% 76.74% 80.62% 83.85%
12 8.33% 15.97% 22.97% 29.39% 35.28% 40.67% 45.61% 50.15% 54.30% 58.11%

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sherwood Forest Faire

Last week was a long and difficult week. I kept meaning to post something, but was unable to keep my thoughts straight long enough to focus on a topic. I am at the end of my three-day weekend and I am still not ready to head back. I am hoping that I will be able to make some posts this week as I have a plethora of ideas floating through my head.

I would like to start the week off with my trip to the Sherwood Forest Faire. This is only the second season for this Festival and still has a small renfest feeling. I was lucky enough to win a belt from the good people at Armory Art which made the day all the more enjoyable.

If you have never been out to a renaissance festival, I highly encourage everyone to visit. The show I enjoyed most was Paolo Garbonzo, Jester of Muncaster Castle. Paolo does a fire/knife juggling comedy act with some crowd participation. My wife decided to participate and hurl (ok, she tossed) one of the flaming torches at Paolo (my wife is in green).

I have to say that the person/creature of the day goes to the ent. This costume must be a pain to put on, but this lumbering tree was most gracious (and complimentary) in regards to taking pictures. Their was an inquisitive fairy that made me laugh as she stole a child's wagon when he wasn't looking and then was confounded when she couldn't figure out how he made it go. I also liked the minotaur just because I like minotaurs, but I think he should have been hanging out by the maze (maybe it's just me).

The wind was up and there was a lot of dust being blown around, but all and all it was a good time. My final thought is from Ben Stiller in Something About Mary; for all those people who think there isn't enough meat on sticks, head down to a renfest sometime.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Azamar by Wicked North Games

Ever wanted to be part of the creation of a new game? Now here is your chance; Wicked North Games is nearing the final segment to produce their first role-playing game, Azamar. They are asking the role-playing community to help support their first effort by making a pledge in the production run of the game. For more information see their kickstart page here:

How does it work? Well you make pledge any where from $1 to how ever much you desire to contribute. If they reach their goal, then you will be charged your pledge amount. If the project does not meet the goal, no one gets charged. Kickstarter uses Amazon payment services so you are pretty safe concerning your pledge.

What do you get out of it? There are a number of levels you can donate. Along with a heart felt "thank you" with any amount you donate, you can gain a limited edition hardback book, a special edition "wild" die, to the inclusion of your very own Elder God (c'mon you Cthulhu fans, you know you've always wanted your own Elder God) in the Azamar mythos, to a lifetime membership to Wicked North Games.

How cool do I think this is? Well, I've already made my pledge. Anyone who knows me, can say that a'm a sucker for a flaming sword. I was sold when they included one in the cover art.

How good is the game? Well you have to go on a little faith here. The artwork for the game is first rate and from the parts that I have seen, the game does look promising. I will be reviewing the game once I get a copy, but I would not pass up the chance to say "I stormed the Wicked North and made sure those Wild Northmen knew they had my support".

Thursday, February 10, 2011

RPG Miniatures and Tokens

Combat in a roleplaying game can be a difficult beast to manage. As I was cleaning the multitude of old links in my browser, I stumbled across this video for a gaming table. I thought initially, "Wow, this is awesome." The clip gives a good demonstration oh how it is used.

Reviewing the video, I started to think that this appears to be a lot of pre-game work for the DM to have the adventure map loaded and pre-populated. And what happens when they party does the unthinkable, like go off in a completely opposite direction. I am familiar with techniques on how to bring the party back to the story line, but I have recently had some issues with a player 'testing' his character's free will in the game. While I still think this table is pretty cool, I'll wait for the iTable to become cost effective [holding breath].

This has lead to the thought, how do most people utilize character and monster representation in combat. Aside from power sinking hundreds in prepainted/unpainted/partially-painted miniatures, here are a couple techniques that we've employed. The first one is the use of glass gems to represent creatures. We generally try to use miniatures to represent are own characters, but hunting for the right monster to represent one you didn't have could be time consuming, especially if you are playing a game that does not have its own miniature line. We found glass gems did the trick nicely, with different colors representing different types of creatures. One group I played with did the exact opposite, they still used the D&D prepainted miniatures for the monsters, but each player had their own gem stone with a symbol painted on top of it.

At some point, my wife had bought a number of extra Scrabble tiles and I thought that these would be perfect to represent monsters. Not only are they the perfect size for maps, but the letters make it easy to determine which monster you want to attack, "I'm going to attack skeleton 'G'." I tried purchasing some off ebay, but I came to find that Scrabble tiles are highly prized among the scrap-booking community. As a result, I found it was just as cheap to buy a new Scrabble game. So then I started looking for Scrabble games at thrift stores. Due to the popularity of Scrabble, used Scrabble games is pretty easy to find. Since I only wanted 26 letters from a set, I kept searching until I found two different sets of Scrabble tiles. The common lighter color ones pictured here, and a darker set from a 'Deluxe Scrabble Edition'.

Amongst my searches, I found a small set of tiles from a travel edition, a game of banangrams that also use tiles, and a rare "Alfred's Other Game" from the creator of Scrabble; the last two do not have numbers along side the letters, which is nice if the numbers annoy you. All in all, I'm pretty happy using the tiles. Characters are able to articulate their battle plans easier and I am able to keep track of the opponents more efficiently. It may not be as efficient as having the monsters preset into a computer program, but I think using tiles and a dry erase map is quicker when you have to create something on the fly.

What does your group use to represent monster and player character's on the battlefield?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Secret War of Gnomes and Leprechauns

Unbeknownst to most gamers, there has been gnomish conspiracy to keep leprechauns out of fantasy roleplaying games. The INLA, Irish National Leprechaun Army, has been suspected of retaliating by slandering the gnomish image. Many historical documents depicting gnomes have been modified by adding conical, and comical, hats to traditional pictures of gnomes. The dunce-like gnome hat has been a debilitating image that gnomes have had a hard time breaking away from. To this day, gamers do not take gnomes as a serious race in most fantasy role-playing games. This concept has been exacerbated by human garden enthusiast who happily place the offensive, to gnomes, statuettes of the cheery hat wearing gnomes in their gardens. Anyone familiar with gnomish society knows that a true gnome would never don such headgear. This has cost many gnome illusionists from attaining advanced wizardly status because humans have no qualms about wearing a hat that was once reserved for misbehaving children.

This has lead to the creation of the GLF, Gnome Liberation Front, whose main goal is the removal of as many garden gnomes from front lawns as possible. While many are familiar with GLF's existence, many are still unaware of their role in limiting the leprechauns playability. When roleplaying games were still in their infancy, gnomes and leprechauns vied for a place in the rule book. Initially overlooked as a stock race, they became more acceptable when the humans were looking to include halflings and hobbits. After initial studies concluded that a game with so many of the 'wee folk' would not do well, auditions between the races became quite competitive. For a long time, the bigger races, particularly humans, were very indecisive about which of the smaller races to include. Gnomes, being just as crafty as their fey cousins, opted for a different tactic to get them recognized as a player race. Instead of boasting of their own qualities as a playable race, the gnomes chose to highlight the leprechauns far superior abilities to themselves. The leprechauns mistakenly took the chance to enhance their own image as well as sell the big folk on additional abilities they did not have (Leprechauns have no affinity with rainbows and it will not lead you to their hidden cache of gold).

This did not have the effect that the leprechauns anticipated; the bigger races unanimously came to the conclusions that leprechauns were too powerful to be used as a player race. This has stemmed a growing war between the gnomes and leprechauns that does not appear to end any time soon. After the dunce-cap campaign, the gnomes attempted to ridicule leprechauns by distributed propaganda with pictures of leprechauns on chamberpots. Luckily, the leprechauns, be able to turn invisible at will, were able to modify the pictures to depict pots of gold instead of chamberpots. Leprechauns retaliated by influencing the Brothers Grimme, for whom they owed a favor, by changing the story of "Snow White and the Seven Gnomes"; everyone knows dwarfs live underground. Because this was a treasured historical event in gnome history, the gnomes took this as a personal affront. The gnomes tricked leprechauns by inventing the story of the 'four leaf clover' and many ignorant leprechauns still spend their days in clover fields hunting the fictitious plant.
The list of infractions on either side go on and on, but neither side is willing swallow their three feet of pride and turn the other cheek. Maybe one day both gnomes and leprechauns can have a place in the same fantasy game side by side as playable races. Until then, try to be a little more understanding of each of these races and what they have had to go through to be recognized in the RPG society.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dresden Files RPG

For the first new years resolution, I would like to inform everyone that I will be play testing The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. I don't know much about the game other than it is a dark fantasy in a contemporary setting. The system uses the Fate version of the Fudge system. A system I have never tried so it will be interesting to play.

Our particular game will be set in Pittsburgh amidst the declining steel industry and the current economic recession. We are still in the preliminary stages as we are learning the rules and this will be the game masters first foray into running a game.

I have watched two of the episodes of the Dresden Files TV Show, and I have been informed they do not do justice to the series; which is probably why the show was cancelled in the first season. The game master ensures me that the game will have a much darker and grittier feel.

My character will be an vampire infected human, conflicted with the blood lust urges of becoming a full vampire and deprecating desire to retain his humanity. I find the character concept intriguing as well as the creators take on the different vampire 'courts'. Ironically (or maybe not), I have never really been interested in playing Vampire, the Masquerade. After a few sessions, I will try to revisit the entry and give my opinion of the Fudge system.