Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Revisiting Damage

So a while ago -- almost two months ago -- Fred Hicks posted about his and Rob Donoghue's ideas on damage rolls in FATE. Lenny Balsera and Ryan Macklin chimed in in the comments with some interesting related ideas. Cool stuff all around.

A while back, in February of last year, I posted on the same topic, albeit from a different angle (in a post titled, appropriately enough, "Hey, Let's Overcomplicate Weapons!"). And now, prompted by Fred's post and long after the fact, I'm going to post about it again.

Part of Rob's idea involves using different-colored dice on the damage roll, with results (+, -, or 0) varying depending on each die's color. I dig that a lot, probably because, like a lot of people who own Fudge Dice, I own several colors' worth of Fudge Dice, and the prospect of making use of them -- beyond "Okay, the blue dice are mine" -- is attractive.

But I figure if I'm already going to be making use of different dice colors, there's no real reason to have a separate damage roll. Just take the 4dF I'm already rolling for my attack and swap in the right colors for the weapon I'm using. The total stress I deal is equal to the shifts I get on the attack roll, plus modifiers from those dice of mine.

Fred posits three degrees of weapons: Bruising (fists), Wounding (blunt weapons), and Killing (edged/stabbing weapons). Let's keep those distinctions. They're good distinctions, plus it's a group of three, and that's hard not to like.

If I'm attacking with a Bruising weapon, all of my dFs are White (WdF). Wounding weapons replace some or all of those White dice with Blue (BdF). Killing weapons replace some or all White or Blue dice with Red dice (RdF).

For example:

  • Fists: 4WdF
  • Brass Knuckles: 3WdF + 1BdF
  • Club: 2WdF + 2BdF
  • Knife: 2WdF + 1BdF + 1RdF
  • Sword: 1WdF + 1BdF + 2RdF
  • Pistol: 2BdF + 2RdF
  • Frickin' Big Explosion: 4RdF
Admittedly, this can get pretty complicated pretty quickly. An easier way to do it would be to replace WdFs with BdFs, then BdFs with RdFs. You're never rolling more than two colors of dice. But that's a refinement -- we're still just talking about the idea.

What do all of these colors mean?
  • White dice are just regular dice. They don't do anything special. FATE as we know it.
  • Each + rolled on a Blue die yields +1 stress.
  • Each + or 0 rolled on a Red die yields +1 stress.
You still have to hit with the attack, of course, and even hitting with a weapon that's rolling 4BdF or 4RdF isn't necessarily going to do any bonus stress. (Especially tough to pull off that trick with 4RdF, but theoretically possible.)

So I'm swingin' atcha with a sword and rolling 1WdF + 1BdF + 2RdF. I get 2 shifts on my roll. My Blue die is a zero, so no bonus there, but my Red dice come up 0 and +, so I'm doing another +2 stress on top of my shifts, for a total of 4 stress.

Seems to me like it'd work.

The corollary: Armor could work like this too, yes? If you're wearing armor, you replace some WdFs with BdFs or RdFs. You get the idea.


Unknown said...

I really like the idea. Especially when you consider how the mood around the table changes and how the gameplay is affected between "it's all fun and games when everyone's got the white dice" to, "Woah! Four RED dice??!!"

Unknown said...

One other thought regarding this and armor. I wonder if you could use the armor rating as a "dumbing down" effect on the dice color.

In other words, each Armor "+1" could be used to reduce a single Blue to being White, or a Red to being Blue.

So if you've got Armor +4, it would be similar to taking those 4 Red Dice and turn them to 4 Blue?

Or possibly turn 4 Red Dice into 2 White and 2 Red.

Unknown said...

Some other minutiae (sp?) came up as I was noodling this around:

When dealing with the "player confusion" of how colors of dice to roll, I believe that if you roll 4dF with a maximum of 2 different colors, you get 11 possible combinations that could result in extra damage.

If you roll 4dF allowing for the dice to be combinations of all 3 colors, I think you end up with 14 possible combinations that could result in extra damage.

As an aside, the AD&D weapon chart has 9 variations in damage (if you look at the Small and Medium size targets).

Additionally, when you cross-reference the possible extra damage (+1 to +4) amounts against the statistical chance of causing that damage, some interesting gradations occur (my stats might be off):

Would you rather roll dice that had a 99% chance of +2 damage but no chance at +4 damage...(1 White/Bruising and 3 Red/Killing dice)

...or would you rather roll dice that had only a 66% of +2 damage, but a 33% chance of +4 damage? (all 4 Blue/Wound dice)