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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default [dice mechanic, PEACH] As long as I don't roll a nat 1... crap

    I get somewhat tired of hearing my players say constantly describing their actions by blandly saying. "I attack. *roll* does a 17 hit?"

    On the other end if the spectrum, I get tired of a player describing an impressive attack routine that ends with snapping the enemy's neck like a twig (usually at level 1), then hearing myself say "You're not cool enough to do that, now roll your attack like everyone else."

    To encourage effective roleplaying and reward players, I've combined Edivad's Reliable Attack ability with Wushu's "describe the action to do it" play mechanic. It rewards players for vividly describing their actions without really making them more powerful. It's mostly just botch-proofing.

    Reliable rolls
    As characters become more skilled at flamboyant displays of ability, they also become better at avoiding gross mishaps.

    A player may take advantage of this mechanic by vividly and succinctly describing their character’s actions. For every detail the player provides, the character gains a “buffer” that reduces the chances of horrible failure. Reliable rolls may be used on the following die rolls, but it may never apply to more than one roll per round (making excessively lengthy descriptions useless)

    • Attack rolls
    • D20 rolls made as a part of a combat maneuver such as a trip or grapple
    • Trained skill checks
    • Saving throws
    • Ability checks
    • Caster level checks

    At level 9, a player who provides at least 2 details regarding a specific action may chose to treat one die roll made as part of the described actions as a 2 regardless of the original roll (chosen after the roll is made, but before success or failure is declared).

    At level 13, a player who provides at least 3 details regarding a specific action may chose to treat one die roll made as part of the described actions as a 3 regardless of the original roll.

    At level 17, a player who provides at least 4 details regarding a specific action may chose to treat one die roll made as part of the described actions as a 4 regardless of the original roll.

    The descriptions should be approximate to what the character is doing and not be exceptionally impressive or advantageous (you can’t describe yourself as decapitating the BBEG, just swinging at him). Naturally, this should be a matter of DM discretion and good roleplaying from the players. This probably shouldn’t be used with new or excessively immature players.

    Example descriptions:
    A character is attempting to tumble past an opponent (through their square)
    “I dash toward him/ and move as though I’m going to go low/ then at the last second I jump over his head/ and do a somersault in midair.”
    This player provided 4 details, so they may use the highest level of reliable roll they have access to. If the character is only level 10 and they roll a natural 1 on their tumble check, they may choose to treat it as a natural 2 (not quite as bad…). If the character was level 17 however, they may choose to treat a roll of 1 as a 4.

    Let’s say a high level fighter is making a full attack…
    “I start with a horizontal slice,/ then quickly reverse the motion/ to attack from the other side./ I finish with a quick thrusting attack to his body/ and a vertical slice.
    This player has provided 5 details. The last one doesn’t give him any benefits, but it’s still fun and not excessively lengthy. Let’s say this character rolls a natural 1 on his first attack. He doesn’t want to miss with his best attack, so he uses his reliable roll for the round to make the roll count as a natural 4. If he makes another low roll this round, he can’t improve that also because he can only make one reliable roll per round.

    If you use reliable roll during someone else’s turn (such as during an attack of opportunity or a saving throw) it counts as your use of reliable roll for your next turn (similar to immediate actions using your next action’s swift action).


    This makes some high modifier rolls impossible to fail as long as the player provides an acceptable description to the DM (and hasn't used this ability already). This might not be a bad thing if you want to reward RPing. I really don't think that avoiding botches is a game breaking thing, but if you feel this needs a balancing force, you can add it in a variety of ways.
    • Make characters take a feat to gain this ability
    • Using reliable roll requires the expenditure of an action point/battle it's used in. (I like this one best)
    • Make it a skill trick (reliable casting—you may improve one caster level check by providing a description, reliable attacks—you may one improve attack roll by…)

    There are probably some other methods too. I’m not sure why I seem to like action points… Really, most of the homebrew stuff I come up with doesn’t involve them. I’ll post some of it when I finish polishing it.

    I also think it would be appropriate to limiting this ability to situations where your characters wouldn’t be allowed to take 10. Taking 10 should be better than this ability in just about every circumstance anyway. I might allow it if I really like a description though.
    Would this be enough to make people elaborate their action a little more? Would it slow play too much as people describe their actions? Are there any more action types it should apply to?
    Last edited by Joltz; 2007-08-05 at 05:07 PM. Reason: *tweak tweak*
    hmmm... wonder if I'll ever get a siggy

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
    nerulean's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    London, England

    Default Re: [dice mechanic, PEACH] As long as I don't roll a nat 1... crap

    I'm thinking of implementing something like this myself, although I'll probably go about it a much less formal way based entirely upon my own fickle whims as a DM (okay, that was cool. Roll a d4 and if it's not a 1 as well you can add it to the fumble you just rolled).

    Your way looks good if you want to make it a little more structured. If you're worried about it slowing things down, then you could suggest to your players that they use it mostly on important rolls, or if they get a really good, cinematic idea. When you're just standing in melee and hacking and slashing to try and chip the HP off a goon it's not worth it, but if you're in combat with the BBEG, and just happen to be on a balcony, and there just happens to be a huge, swingable chandelier nearby-- well, that's another story.
    de·fen·es·tra·tion (dē-fĕn'ĭ-strā'shən)

    An act of throwing someone or something out of a window.

    [From DE– + Latin fenestra, window.]

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
    Matthew's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Kanagawa, Japan

    Default Re: [dice mechanic, PEACH] As long as I don't roll a nat 1... crap

    I think I would just grant a Circumstance Bonus of +1 or +2 AB to Players who described what they were doing innovatively, if I was to institute such a rule.
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

    – Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Demented's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    In search of cheese

    Default Re: [dice mechanic, PEACH] As long as I don't roll a nat 1... crap

    It's obviously Roy's evil twin brother, Yor.
    Belkar's Bad to the Bone.
    Dispossible a fetter hein and bemay kine a sinder's tock.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: [dice mechanic, PEACH] As long as I don't roll a nat 1... crap

    This could work well if your players were good enough at describing their actions in details...

    However... (this is an evil smile) can also use it against your players when you describe in detail the actions of their enemies :-)

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