Category Archives: Game Design

Ask The Readers: Fancy dice? Yay or nay?

fancy diceA lot of players shy away from certain games because they use “fancy” dice like Fudge dice, non-standard polyhedral dice, dice with funny symbols instead of regular numbers or something like that.

In a way, I can understand that. Usually roleplaying game players just need a set of the most common polyhedral dice and they can play almost everything. It’s like a basic tool you can use all your life. But then there are these games that need you to buy these fancy dice, or even worse, only one set came with the game itself and you have to share these dice with your GM and the other players! Yuck! Nobody touches my dice!

Roleplaying games that use fancy dice exclusively or even utilize cards for task resolution are usually hard to sell to the average gamer. Or is this just a common misconception? That’s why I am asking my readers today: do you like fancy dice or do you hate them? And why?

I am curious because I have pondered using fancy dice for my own game designs from time to time. I totally love Fudge dice and recently I picked up a set of dice with six-sided dice numbered from 0 to 5 as seen in the image above. Rolling 4 of those and adding the results together generates a number between 0 and 20 in a nice bell curve. My friend Andrew called them z5 (analogous to d6). The results are basically the same as if you rolled 4d6 and subtracted 4, but rolling 4z5 is just easier and nicer.

So, what do you think about fancy dice? Yay or nay? Please post your comments below.

Crafting at the Tabletop

skyrim_smithingA lot of computer roleplaying games and especially MMOs often feature crafting. In games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim or World of Warcraft players can craft a plethora of items from raw materials. Yesterday I was playing Skyrim again and I noticed that I basically spent all day disenchanting magic items, mining ore and crafting armor pieces and weapons, which I then enchanted with the effects I wanted.

Curiously not many tabletop RPGs feature player-created items. One of these few games is D&D. Especially when the Eberron campaign setting came out I hoped someone would run an Eberron campaign for me so that I could play an Artificer. Artificers are a special kind of magic users that instead of throwing fancy spells around, they create wands, scrolls, rings, etc. or put enchantments on items. Usually characters had to pay item creation with experience points and was not that popular because of that, but the Artificer actually got a certain pool of points every level that he could use to create items without having to pay from his experience points directly. I thought this could be a fun character class and I definitely wanted to play one.

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Tactical combat in WR&M (or any other Wyrm System game)

Earlier today Christopher Brind contacted me today and let me know about a cool ruleset for tactical games he has designed for WR&M. It’s modeled loosely after the system from the classic Games Workshop game Space Hulk and you may also know similar systems from turn-based computer games like Jagged Alliance or Ufo: Enemy Unknown.

If you are interested in a more tactical combat in WR&M and any other Wyrm System game, check out Christopher’s blog post on the subject. He is currently planning to do some playtesting. If you like the idea, why not head to his site and leave some feedback?