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Site Owner
Posts: 71

Development Update: DRnDs Combat System Revision

"As mentioned on previous entries, DR&D´s combat system is undergoing a serious revision.  After the release of DR&D Advanced1.0 more atention has been given to playtest and tuning, few sessions were enough to note some expected glitches and tweaks I need to implement, the main issue overall is that I might have given players too many Life Points, I had a moderately hard time killing enemy adventurers because of the defense dice scoring too many blocks, other than that (and considering I’m still working on spells and abilities) the system is playable enough.  I’m not entirely satisfied with the results nevertheless, although fairly consistent they´re still rough; I believe they can be fine-tuned a little further.

Having already started the project, the main and most important design decisions I faced were:

- Target DC or Dice Pool system? 

- Linear or Non-Linear Dice Pool?

I’m inclined towards the dice pool mechanic for a game like DR&D. I believe it´s more engaging for the players, allows a wide range of design options and varied results, which in turn could be counter-productive if not worked properly...tell me about it! :|

I always liked HeroQuest´s dice pool mechanic for a light dungeon crawl, I believe it to be simple, more engaging as the attacked player gets a defense roll and “fairer” as more dice represent a greater chance just like in real life.  I’m not going through all the details about these mechanics as plenty of information is available online, besides I’m sure many people will know what I’m typing about, however some revealing articles have been posted on our FB page, in case you´re interested.

After doing some research and playing around with a dice pool calculator (great tool btw) I have to admit two facts: statistics isn´t that boring after all, and the actual chances and probabilities in the current advanced version of DR&D are not quite the ones I was looking for. Even though our current combat system is customizable enough and tends to be consistent, since it´s D6 based and using a single type of dice the results and improvement options are limited.

I want the Warrior to hit harder but less accurately than the Elf for example. I want the defense ratings to be partly random by adding either a fixed +1 bonus or a 4/6 defense die for instance, and so on.

I´ve figured that increasing the number of dice in the pool just alters the probabilities in a disproportionately manner, also that a small and limited pool provides more manageable results and works well with slight bonuses and penalties. Also that DR&D is intended to be a beer and pretzels game after all, so combat must be fair, fast and lethal from my perspective, just a simple mechanism to resolve attacks with some certainty…..and some cool spells of course ;)

Further analysis revealed that a limited pool with varied target numbers on each die combined with bonuses and penalties could be the option I was looking for. I soon realized that the system I was seeking could be described as a mixture between HeroQuest, D&D Fantasy Adventure Board Game and Descent 2.0.

As far as I know, D&D FABG introduced this interesting yet simple system of using a limited pool with variations in target number. Assigning different custom results to the dice allows fine tuning and a wide range of customization. I have to point out that this system is originally a target DC pool system, so instead of comparing hits against defense dice results like in HQ, the attacking player must sum all his “swords” and compare against a  DC, the difference between the swords rolled and the DC is the damaged inflicted. There’re no defense dice rolled.

I´ve never played Descent 2.0 but thanks to FFG I was able to download the rules. Apparently it uses a similar system though just one (blue) “to-hit” die is used, it has an "X" on one of its sides, so if it´s rolled the attack is considered ineffective and the damage result is ignored. Maybe I’m missing something but, even though the game looks very promising, I’m not quite convinced by this mechanic. I believe some characters should have less to-Hit chance than others.

Taking the above into account, I want to share the first update on DR&D´s new combat system:

The combat mechanics remain almost exactly the same as in the previous version, though now the dice pool is limited to a maximum of three Attack and Defense dice respectively, plus the Special Action die. Dice come in different colors as shown in the following table:

According to this table, the maximum possible Hits with three purple dice are twelve (though very unlikely), while a maximum of six Blocks are possible rolling three blue dice. Of course we have to leave room for magical and ability bonuses. I believe the attacker should have a slight advantage, like in HQ where the attack dice have 3/6 chance of hitting and the defense dice have only 2/6 chance of blocking.

I’m trying to adjust the whole thing taking the Warrior as a basis, considering a 50/50 to-hit chance as standard and work from there, scaling accordingly. Let´s take the Warrior and Elf for example:

We can see that, while the Warrior has a better chance of delivering more powerful blows, the Elf has a higher chance of hitting, though with less damaging attacks.

Let´s now take a look at the Displacer Beast, a medium (yellow) level monster:

We can see that this monster may inflict a minimum of one and a maximum of five Hits and may block up to two. This way one can tweak the game and figure how monsters stack against adventurers and other monsters, considering the minimum and maximum hits they may inflict.

I have not yet worked a formula for obtaining the exact probabilities resulting from this system as I believe it involves more complex calculations. I ignore the exact probabilites resulting from the Warrior attacking the Displacer Beast for example, though close estimations are possible. I have to admit that my geekiness reaches alarming levels in some fields, but math never was my type of deal. In absence of a proper formula I´ve been working with approximations.

However, using a dice pool calculator I´ve been able to determine some of the average probabilities involved, which gives us a general idea of how the system works:

For example, rolling 3 white dice, the attacker faces the following probabilities:
1 Hit: 87.50%
2 Hits: 50%
3 Hits: 12.50%

Rolling 3 white dice, the defender has the following chances:
Block 1 hit: 70.37%
Block 2 hits: 25.93%
Block 3 hits: 3.70%

Rolling 2 white dice:
Block 1 hit: 55.56%
Block 2 hits: 11.11%

Those are the average white dice, same with HQ odds. I don’t need to be Einstein to interpret what the above mean. The pool is limited to three attack and defense dice respectively, which I believe keeps the results more consistent with the odds I’m looking for.

As you could see, those are pretty much the results you´d get under our current advanced version. I´ve decided to keep those standards as a base model and start tweaking from there.

Rolling 2 green dice:
Block 1 hit: 75.00%
Block 2 hits: 25.00%
(Almost the same as rolling 3 white dice)

Rolling 3 green dice:
Block 1 hit: 87.50%
Block 2 hits: 50%
Block 3 hits: 12.50%

The results are not that jumpy and tend to be predictable. However, I’m still looking for a formula to calculate the probabilities with combined target numbers in the pool, but the above gives us a general idea of the possible outcomes, and also a solid base to start from. Any help with the formula will be much appreciated and rewarded 8)

Besides, another novelty are the special attacks, characters and new weapons will be given more powerful but risky special attacks, fumbles and negative effects will have a greater chance of occurring during these special attacks. They will be the subject of our next update.

That´s where we´re at right now. Any help, advice or suggestion will be much appreciated.

DR&D Project"


RECIVS' Boardgame Projects

September 22, 2013 at 1:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 71

"DR&D may be categorized as a semi-coop or competitive multi-team adventure board game. It´s intended as a beer and pretzels game and is based on a Mexican version of Dungeon! Perhaps the sole multi-team specimen of its type.

It´s about two (or more) teams of fantasy adventurers delving into the dungeon to retrieve 4 (out of 6) rings to win. The game is played on any of the game boards from the commercial versions of Dungeon! More info is available on our site in case someone is interested.

Combat is resolved using a non-linear dice pool system, very similar to HeroQuest and D&D The Fantasy Adventure BG:

There´s only one (and always one) roll by the attacker and one by the defender. The pool is limited to a maximum of three attack and defense dice respectively, plus one Special Action or “wild” die. The attacker rolls his dice, sums the hits rolled and compares the result against the defender´s roll, all unblocked hits inflict 1 wound each. Additional dice and bonuses resulting from Abilities, Weapons or Potions are possible.

Different dice are used according to the following table:

As we can see, the maximum possible Hits rolling three purple dice are twelve (though very unlikely), while a maximum of six Blocks are possible rolling three blue dice. Of course we have to leave room for magical and ability bonuses.

I believe the above information provides us with the foundations to build upon. The whole system depends on dice to resolve combat, so I believe it should be designed upon the analysis of the possible results.

According to the dice table above, I believe we can establish three levels of attack and defense proficiency, which in turn may serve as levels of character development and Monster balance:

This table is used for design purposes only so it doesn´t matter how cumbersome it looks, it´s not used for playing. According to it, all the possible attack and defense results may be divided into Levels. Each level has 3 sub-levels: Low, Medium and High, these will serve as a map for graduating the strengths of physical attacks and spell effects and for balancing the adventurers and monsters; they will also provide more variety to the game as a finer customization is possible for adventurers and monsters, as well as equipment and magic. For example: multiple options are possible within each level combining Low, Medium and High Attack with Defense, respectively.

Level 1 is intended for starting (unequipped) adventurers, Level 2 attacks and defense ratings will be achieved upon equipping a special weapon or amour or using a spell or potion. Level 3 attacks and blocks will be achieved only to adventurers equipped with a special weapon or amour and a powerful spell or potion.

By looking at the table above it will be possible to determine the level of every Adventurer or Monster at any given moment. Every Adventurer and Monster has a minimum and maximum amount of Hits and Blocks possible for every roll. The Warrior for example, at Level 1 may score a maximum of 4 Hits and may Block up to 2 each roll; meaning that this adventurer has a Level 1 (High) Attack and a Level 1(High) Defense.

As seen on the dice color table above, while two monsters or adventurers from the same level may have the same amount of possible maximum hits and blocks, the chances of hitting or blocking will be different depending on the color of the dice rolled.

Let´s take the Warrior and Elf for example:

These have both the same amount of maximum Hits and Blocks possible, while the warrior has a greater chance of delivering more powerful blows, the Elf has a greater chance of hitting with less damaging attacks; same happens with defense, while both may block up to 2 hits every roll, the Elf has a slightly greater chance of blocking, and so on.

So far we have established the possible dice results and the categorization of those results, now let´s take a look at some “principles” I have set as the baseline for scale and balance, things like “Ok, blah, blah, but…how many Life Points should the Warrior start with?” or “How much damage does the Warrior should do at Level 1?”.

These “principles” or premises (I don´t know the technical name in BGD´s slang) are projected to constitute the “engine” of the system:

-The Warrior at Level 1 will be the “baseline” so all the tweaking and balancing will have the Warrior as reference. Monsters and other Classes will be adjusted accordingly.

- Adventurers and monsters will be scaled according to the same table above.

- Adventurers and monsters are sorted in 3 Levels: Level 1, 2 and 3 (See table above) Blue and Green monsters will be Level 1. Yellow monsters will be Level 2 and Red monsters Level 3.

-The Average Attack (first Medium number of each level) is considered as a reference for balance:

-The average attack of the Warrior at Level 1 may take up to 2/3 of a L1 Monster LPs, up to ½ of a L2 Monster LPs, and up to ¼ of a Level 3 Monster LPs.

-The average attack of a Level 1 Monster may take up to 1/3 of a L1 Warrior LPs. Level 1 Monsters start with up to ½ the Warrior´s LPs at the same level.

-The average attack of a Level 2 Monster may take up to ½ of a L1 Warrior LPs. Level 2 Monsters start with up to 2/3 the Warrior´s LPs at Level 1.

-The average attack of a Level 3 Monster may take up to 2/3 of a L1 Warrior LPs. Level 3 Monsters start with up to 3/4 of the Warrior´s LPs at Level 1.

-The Warrior should start with the strongest attack of all adventurers, be moderately elusive and weakest against magic.

-The dwarf should have a moderate attack and be the most resilient, weak against magic.

-The Elf should have a weaker attack but higher to-hit chance and be the most hard to hit at Level 1. Moderately weak against magic.

-The Wizard is the weakest melee attacker and the easiest to hit, but with the greatest magic resistance.

Using these “principles” or rules we can deduce the number of wounds the Warrior should start with. If we already know that the average attack of a Level 1 Monster may take up to 1/3 of the Warrior´s LPs at the same level, and that the average attack of a Level 1 Monster is 2 according to the first table above, then we can say the Warrior should start with at least 6 LPs plus any bonus that his class might grant.

This way I think we can fine tune the game just by giving or taking Life Points, less complicated than reworking the whole thing all over again.

Taking the Warrior as a baseline, and considering the rules above, we can now determine the attributes of each Class:

Also, we can now determine how many Life Points each Monster should have, here´s an example taking one monster of each color:

There are still things to be decided like the effect of the “wild” die and other details, as well as some ideas I´ve been considering lately:

-Random abilities, weaknesses and events: Before each game players will determine one random ability and one random weakness for their adventurers, as well as one random event for the game. More powerful abilities or severe weaknesses will be harder to get of course. I'm thinking in abilities and weaknesses like, -/+ hit points against a monster of specific color, increased speed, increased defense, and so on, also random events like, all monsters of certain color get a +1 white dice defense, and so on.

-Power Attacks: Different classes will be provided with PAs as Abilities. These will be moderately more powerful and free to use, but will have a greater fumble chance.

-More potions, armor and weapons scattered as treasures: These should provide more variety and sense of improvement, I'm thinking that maybe the treasure deck will have more than 80 cards. These items and weapons will be more powerful in combat, but will have a greater chance of breaking or producing negative effects upon the bearer.

-Just realized the game has also some humorous potential: Being a beer and pretzels board game, it could be fun to explore the option of ridiculously powerful but balanced weapons, spells and powers. At least an irreverent setting could be fun.

-Design my own game board: I'm tempted, maybe later.

That´s where we are at right now. Any help, advice or suggestion will be much appreciated."


RECIVS' Boardgame Projects

October 7, 2013 at 1:01 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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