Mezzo Update: Randomizers

Alright folks, today’s going to be a fairly short update.  The rules outline for Mezzo is almost ready.  I’m just working out exactly what randomizer I want to use.  You might think that would be one of the earliest elements to pin down.  However, I intentionally decided to leave that for later so the randomizer could be chosen the fit the rest of the rules, rather than vice versa.

For this game, I’ll be sticking with dice.  I did consider using cards but the ability to build up a hand does seem like a particular strong match to the gameplay or feel I’m going for.

So that leaves the question of what kind of dice mechanic to use.  I admit as I was designing this I did catch myself thinking of a step die mechanics (start with d4, update once to d6, twice to d8, ect..).  It seem to work fairly well with what I need from the system.

The minimum requirements are the dice mechanics needs to able to handle multiple competing outcomes and provide a margin for how much the best value beat the next best one. I’d also like a system that resolve fairly quickly, where underdog have at least a chance to triumph, and where thees a kind of cap or point of diminishing returns on the difference between high skilled character and less skilled ones.

The dice step mechanic does a decent job on this. However, it does lend it self to a certain amount of “rocket dueling”. By that I mean that with higher skill there’s a greater chance of getting enough points to one shot a character in one go. For example, lets say it takes 10 point to drop a character. At d6, that’s going to take 2 shots at best (assuming max success twice in a row). By d12, dropping in one shot becomes a definite possibility. Another issue to consider is that requiring a full range of dice is an extra restriction on my target audience. Not a huge one for gamers, but the issue is there.

I am looking at a d6 alternative that looks interesting. Basically, you roll 1d6 and if that initial roll is at or below a triggering value, you can add an extra d6 to the total once. So it starts with gaining the bonus dice of a roll of one, upgrades to getting the bonus on a one or two, and caps out at always getting the bonus (effectively 2d6). This does have some potential for “rocket dueling” but the probability curve is a bit stronger with those extra dice, making those one shots less likely.

I have also toyed with a similar approach that works with “roll twice, keep highest” instead of adding. That does tone down high skill duels, but it also caps how effective a high skill character can be against a low skill one.

Right now I’m leaning away form basic roll and add systems or dice pool systems, but I may look into them a bit more before I finalize things.

That should be it for this weekend and it’s certainly more than I expected to write. Next post should swing back to Delver ideas and combat pacing. See you then.

Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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