A Different Order

When someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of Ars Magica asks about an idea and invites you to submit it, you need to write it down. This idea lives in a spreadsheet now, but will live here when I am finished with this post.

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Five dice showing 4, 5, 5, 2, 6

Doubles and Lonely Dice

This is the description I found on the troll dice roller website about a novel dice mechanic. An anonymous person was experimenting with an idea for a GURPS magic system using the site. The mechanic was documented this way:

Experiment with a custom magic-system in GURPS using HP as blood sacrifice, using 2-10 d6.
Doubles, triplets and above count as their value, lonely dice only add +1 per dice.
a roll with 5 dice [4,5,5,2,6] will make 1+5+5+1+1=13.

I immediately played with various numbers of dice and wrote scripts for d8s, d10s, and d12s. Yet after all that, I was drawn to 5d6. It reminded me of Dice Throne and ultimately Yahtzee. I had to admit that I was drawn to this idea using 5d6 because of the endless games of Yahtzee and Kismet I played as a kid. That shared memory makes this dice mechanic feel intuitive through repetition.

This is the point where my co-worker would say that my Nerd is showing.

When I began looking at the probabilities, however, it inspired me for possibilities in my home game with the kids, retroclones, and various other games. For the curious, here's a handy table.

At this point, my co-worker would use their teacher voice and talk about all the work they need to do.

The next few posts are going to explore how this dice mechanic can be used in 5e and other role-playing games. It not only provides an interesting sub-system, but it can be a part of the world-building. Specifically, I'm going to look at using this to build a bolt-on and hopefully simple way to make magic different.

Yellow and brown butterlfy on grass

Third of Wri

Today begins my thirty days of writing project. I keep writing game notes and vignettes, so I decided to polish them a bit and share. I am sure that the end result is still 5e because of its roots, but there are a number of rules changes big enough that it feels different to me. My kids don't know that much different. My brother-in-law runs a game that is more like Dungeon World. (That's a compliment.)

Moreover, Thanksgiving this year will be at home and on Zoom, so I have time to run the family campaign. To prepare for it, though, I need to collect the information into a different format than the Joplin notebooks I have. So may I present the list in progress. (I will update this post with links as the posts are written.)

The Topics Thus Far

The topics are: (in no particular order)

  • Naming things
  • Ancestries and Cultures
  • The Woodsmith
  • Bahidi (ancestry)
  • Canavarii (Paladins)
  • Emissaries (ancestry)
  • Stone of the Giants (artifact)
  • Sword of the Titans (artifact)
  • Staff of the eXo (artifiact)
  • Rogues are Different
  • The Eleven and One (Oxl, Benoxaheen, Axoheem, & Exoheen)
  • Worship of the Saints
  • Usage dice
  • Salt Magic (Wizard Tradition)
  • Gematria (Wizard Tradition)
  • Dragon Magic (Wizard Tradition)
  • Pella's Column Cultures (Old Ways & Assimilated)
  • Porta Nile
  • Portan orthography and script
  • Rune Magic (Sorcerer)
  • Portan Cultures (Hlong Khagee & Portan in a Suit)
  • Trading Companies
  • Firearms
  • Sidekicks
  • Ars Magica Style adventuring
  • Positive Conditions
  • Vampires (Titans)
  • Emouwon (ancestry)
  • Nations in the region

This will likely have a couple of clarifications and additions, but I am going to fight hard to prevent deletions. All of this things (and more) are a part of the campaign notebook for my kids' games, so I need to get them more finished than they are now.