August 15th, 2002

  • perich

Interesting Systems of Action Resolution

(Or, How Do You Read Your Dice?)

Looking at the free sample rules for the small-press game, Sorcerer, I was struck by the intriguing nature of action resolution in their rules. For those who don't click on the link: you roll X number of d10 (X being some trait, skill or rating), and your opponent does the same. You don't total them, however, but instead arrange them from highest to lowest. You compare your highest roll with your opponent's highest; whoever's highest die is higher wins. If you want to see who won by how much, compare, in descending order, how many of your dice beat his.

So, if I roll a 10, 8, 6, 4 on four d10, and my opponent gets a 9, 7, 7, and 5, I win: my highest roll (10) beats her highest (9). If we're counting "victories," I have two (10 beats 9, and 8 beats 7).

This didn't leap down from the heavens and strike me as a remarkable solution to any problems I'd had for a while, but it inspired me with its originality. I've never seen a resolution system like that, except perhaps in the board-game RISK. It's a refreshing change from the standard "roll 3d6 / 1d20 and see if you beat a total," or even the mainstream "roll X dice and see how many beat some target number N."

So I poll the enlightened: what are some of the more interesting systems of action resolution you've seen?

Collapse )