On core mechanics and rolling high instead of low

Discuss the mechanics of Dark Potential here.
Forum rules
Please understand that by posting anything in this area of the forum that you are acknowledging that MiniWarGaming has permission to use your ideas without compensation.
MiniWarGaming Beginner
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:38 am

On core mechanics and rolling high instead of low

Post by Lumipon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:04 am

Hello there!

As you can see, I'm a new face. But since it isn't really that relevant, I'll go straight to the point:

I think the mechanics would feel better if the dice were rolled over rather than under the desired value. And here's why:

1. It's easier to add than to subtract.

People don't need subtraction during their daily lives as much as they need addition.

2. It feels weird that rolling low is better than rolling high.

Just personal preference.

3. The numbers could be changed easily and not affect the core mechanics.

There is no real drawback from changing the system to roll high instead from low.

Let's have a duel between two solitary recruits in the current system.

Recruit #1:
RA 11
CC 10
Df 4

Equipment: A small arm.

Recruit #2:
RA 11
CC 10
Df 4

Equipment: A small arm.

Recruit #1 shoots Recruit#2 from 10". The calculation is as follows:

RA + Squad bonus - Df - Range penalty - cover penalty = Difficulty

= 11 + 1 - 4 - 1 - 0 = 7

Recruit#1 needs to roll 7 or lower to hit. Here is the cumulative distribution function for a roll of 2d6:

2 2,78 %
3 8,33 %
4 16,67 %
5 27,78 %
6 41,67 %
7 58,33 %
8 72,22 %
9 83,33 %
10 91,67 %
11 97,22 %
12 100,00 %

As we can see, Recruit #1 has 58% chance of causing damage.

The Addition mechanic works like this:

Convert the statlines to support the new system by adding 4 to the Df and subtractting 10 from both RA and CC.

New statlines:

Recruit #1
RA 1
CC 0
Df 8

Recruit #2
RA 1
CC 0
Df 8

Recruit #1 shoots at Recruit #2 from 10", exactly as before. But this time the calculation is:

Df + Range penalty + cover penalty = difficulty of the shot

8 + 1 = 9

The RA-value and squad bonus can be added when rolling the dice.

2d6 + RA + Squad Bonus

2d6 + 1 + 1 means Recruit #1 needs 7 or higher to hit his target, which are exactly the same chances as previously: 58%.

The only difference is that we are rolling high instead of low, which feels more satisfying to me, personally.

On a tangent, let's make a "civilian" statline to see how well the alternative mechanic describes the model:


Movement 6
Probably as fast a runner as your average bear.

Defence 6 (2 would be the correct value)
6 seems quite high, no? But every man, woman and child can duck, dodge and dive when bullets start flying. It means that the model actively trying to stay alive (to not get shot or stabbed). A zero would mean the model is immobile and the size of a horse.

Armor 0
Zero means no armor at all. Just clothes.

Strength 3
A strength 3 hit could punch your lights out, but not much else. This guy is probably a manual laborer.

Ranged Attack 0 (10)
Zero means no training in the use of firearms. The model knows how to pull the trigger, but little else.

Close Combat 0 (10)
Zero means no fighting experience. Can throw a punch, but no finesse at all.

Perception 6

Again, being aware of one's surroundings is natural.

Morale 4

Morale of 4 means bullets scare you.

Wounds 1

Speaking of bullets, if he takes one in the gut, he is out.

Command Points 0

Zero command points means the model cannot execute or form battlefield tactics.

As you can see, the value 0 means untrained ability. Defence, morale and perception are acquired naturally, unlike martial arts and gunplay.

Compare this with the Recruit:

Movement 6

As fast as the normal guy, though keep in mind he's equipped for combat.

Defence 8 (4

Defence is not much better than the civilian. The extra point comes from having more awareness in combat situations.

Armor 2

With a helmet and a kevlar vest you could take a hit or two.

Strength 3

Muscular, but not a brute. Same as the civilian.

Ranged attack 1 (11)

This guy knows how to aim! Probably the only requirement for a PMC recruit.

Close Combat 0 (10)

No close combat skills yet. Probably didn't cover that in the boot camp.

Perception 7

Again, more combat awareness means more likely to spot stealthed units.

Morale 6

This guy is as likely to flee as he is to fight. Still more balls than the civilian.

Wounds 1

If the armor fails, he's done for.

Command Points 1

In a squad, the recruits can execute tactics!

The only drawback in my system is negative values when dealing with the Reclaimers.

A reclaimer redeemer would have a CC of -3, which might be a bit annoying to calculate into the rolls, but it would demonstrate how they are worse than the normal civilian in close combat.

Any thoughts?

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2837
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:38 pm

Re: On core mechanics and rolling high instead of low

Post by miniwargaming » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:18 am

The main reason that we do rolling under instead of over is that it allows no upward cap on the requirement of the roll, and the Margin of Success is such an important factor.

If you do what you suggest, then to keep the same openness of having no cap you would need to use negative numbers, which will confuse many people.

Either way this has become a fundamental part of the core rules at this point, so it is highly unlikely that I will change it.

MiniWarGaming Beginner
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:38 am

Re: On core mechanics and rolling high instead of low

Post by Lumipon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:26 pm

I can understand that.

The reason why I think it's even a problem is that dice represent action.

In the d20 ruleset the 20-sided die simulated the success of any action or skill. The higher the roll, the better the result. We almost naturally assume higher numbers to be better than lower.

In warhammer it is the same way. The dice rolls represent the skill and strength of the power. The higher the better.

So what do the dice represent in DP? How could a lower dice roll indicate success? Well, I just answered my own question a minute ago:

They represent deviation from the ideal result. The skill score measures the window of success and the dice measure the human error or stress or a combination of different factors. This is why using 2d6 has meaning in mechanics. People perform average most of the time. Succeeding or failing spectacularly is rare. On a 2d6 the average result is also the most likely.

Morale could be justified the same way. It represents the literal breaking point of the character. If the random dice roll, now representing the fear for life, exceeds the breaking point, the unit flees.

So I guess there are meaning in the low dice rolls.

To put it simply, double ones represent a headshot, double sixes a jam.

Now we're getting somewhere...
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:36 am

Re: On core mechanics and rolling high instead of low

Post by hammerty10 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:34 pm

At least Warhammer 40k has a number of "roll under" tests. Any time you have to do a test against a characteristic you must roll "under" the value. Specific examples are leadership tests, psyker tests, initiative tests.

It is pretty common in Warhammer 40k.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests