Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Suppose Dungeon Crawl Classics had 15 ability scores

A long time ago I posted about using D&D ability scores as a sort of skill system, like so:

Str+Dex: leap, somersault
Str+Con: withstand
Str+Wis: grapple
Str+Int: lift or bend
Str+Chr: flex or flaunt
Dex+Con: run
Dex+Wis: dodge
Dex+Int: throw
Dex+Chr: dance, sing, act
Con+Wis: abstain
Con+Int: persevere
Con+Chr: seduce
Wis+Int: strategize
Wis+Chr: lead
Int+Chr: impress
(My friend Tommy also suggested that they ability scores be added to themselves, but it was on Facebook and I guess I deleted it. Oops. I remember Str+Str: push)

At the time I wanted to use them with a Risus resolution mechanic, but now I want to use them in DCC, with a d20 roll-type resolution.

First, the skills with DCC ability scores. I'm leaving out Luck since it's not a physical or mental ability and I haven't realized yet how it fits my scheme.

Str+Agl: leap
Str+Sta: withstand
Str+Per: bluster
Str+Int: lift bars or bend gates (I'm not sure I like this. It should be "fight.")
Str+Str: push
Agl+Sta: run
Agl+Per: dance
Agl+Int: throw and climb
Agl+Agl: dodge
Sta+Per: filibuster?
Sta+Int: elude
Sta+Sta: endure
Per+Int: impress, seduce
Per+Per: charm
Int+Int: solve, remember (since "solve" is the province of the player)

The different names lead me to different ideas about what the combinations should be used for, and we can see that the DCC ability scores (without integrating Luck) offer a smaller range of skills.

My question today is, what is the proper size die to use to test the resulting range of 6-36? The totals give the obvious answer of 6d6, but that's inconvenient to add up, plus it's too on-the-nose and dice pool-y. Risus is a dice pool, though, so I guess it's cool.

D&D uses d20 to test ability scores in the 3-18 range but we don't have a d40. 2d20 would work fine, but I can't be the only one who doesn't respond to 2d20 positively. That's no reason at all not to use it, except that it is.

The question of how to test these skills becomes more important to me as I consider making this the core mechanic for my games. The ability scores become the center of the game (and Str+Int probably does become "fight" though that doesn't seem quite right for fighter.

I don't want to divide the totals by 2 (and make it a d20 test) because that adds busy work on the front end (I think the kids call it "chargen" but they should get their own language to wreck).

What would you do?

(Thanks to everybody who directed me to tenfootpole.org yesterday. It's the bee's knees.)


Lum said...

Roll D% but use a D4 for the 'tens' and a D10 for the 'ones'

1 is 1-10
2 is 11-20
3 is 21-30
4 is 31-40

Aaron Nuttall said...

Thanks, Lum. I notice that I have probably done the tens-digit wrong every time I've used a d10 + tens-digit roll. I may never have done it.

My latest idea is d16 + d24, since it's not important for the result to go all the way down to one. Except for fumbles. And it probably won't work well at all with DCC's Dice Chain and variable Action Dice. Perhaps not, then.

mondbuchstaben said...

That is basically the skill system of the French simplified 3.x variant, Lanfeust de Troy.

French reviews:

Character sheet available here:

Btw, Lanfeust did away with the 3d6 abilities and shifted the ability bonuses to positive numbers. So stats are listed only as a bonus, ranging from 0 to +5.

Aaron Nuttall said...

Thank you, Mondbuchstaben. I can't currently read French, but I happen to be studying it. Maybe by this time next year I'll be able to understand Aventures Fantastiques, aided by my knowledge of the OD&D old testament.

I'm interested in these Lanfeust de Troy comics too. I hadn't heard of them before--and they will likely still be quite enjoyable even if I can't undrstand the language.

mondbuchstaben said...

I thought that Lanfeust was available in English...

In France the Lanfeust system has become some kind of generic OGL game that has seen many spin-offs - like the historical fantasy Khaos 1795.

It's even used as a simpler generic fantasy variant to D&D3, and adapted to a lot of settings (Eberron, Wilderlands of High Fantasy).

Here is a glimpse at a Wilderlands character sheet.

Aaron Nuttall said...

Sorry to leave your comment in moderation limbo, mondbuchstaben.

I guess I didn't search long enough to discover if Lanfeust was available in English--I just located some comics at a low price and waited for them to arrive.

Thanks for the information, though.