Use of Dice in my OSR-ish project


Players use dice are used for three primary purposes: to determine damage, to determine success at a task, or for combat resolution.

d4 - Used to determine damage for smaller weapons like daggers, caltrops, brass knuckles, etc.

d6 - Used to determine damage for simple weapons, arrows, bolts and other hazards (like falling)

d8 - Used to determine damage for crafted weapons like swords. It is also used to determine success for tasks not covered in the rules.

d10 - Used to determine damage for large crafted weapons like halberds and two-handed swords.

d% - This refers to using two 10-sided die to determine success with certain tasks, usually special abilities such as Pick Locks or Catch Object. One die is treated as a tens-digit, the other as a ones digit. Results range from 01 - 99.

d12 - Used to determine damage for unusual monster attacks and for psionic combat.

dB% - This refers to using two 12-sided die to determine success with certain tasks for higher-level players for advanced abilities. The result of one die is multiplied by 10 and added to the other die. Results range from 11 - 132.

d20 - This die is used specifically for melee, missile, projectile and magic attacks.

The GM uses these die for mostly the same uses. At his or her discretion, other die may also be used. These other die are predominantly used for random generation purposes, for example, generating a random monster, etc. These include, but are not limited to:

d66 - Using two six-sided dice, multiply the result of one die by 10 and add the result of the other die.

Others include d3, d14, d16, d24, d30 and d100.


dB% is something I used to do for Thieves with high ability scores or for thieves at high levels. I added a bunch of abilities available only at level 12 and above like ventriloquism, throw voice, climb sheer surfaces, etc. I think Mr. Gygax himself suggested an arrangement like this at some point, but I don't recall seeing anything more concrete.

Since special abilities are open to any class generated, I plan on using dB% to represent characters that have high ability to perform one of these tasks - a 16 or above. Since the core mechanic of the system will consistently be a roll-over mechanism, some of the scores will be listed as >100.

Next post, I should include the Skill Tables.

A Project Begins that Probably Shouldn’t

The ill-advised retro-clone is under development. Unlike the misfire with combining the Fantasy Trip and M20, this project is actually gaining steam. I've developed my own "Appendix N" of influences on the game.


The main reason is that I house-rule just about every retro-clone I try. It's not that I don't like the system at all, it's just that I have a 'kitchen sink' mentality to what is included in games I run. For example, I love Spelljammer and Mystara. Both have flying airships and interplanetary travel. (Granted, you can only get to the moon in Mystara.) Looking at rules for aerial combat in various games, I rarely find any that are really straightforward that allow the player some diverse options. This generates a set of house rules for aerial combat. Once the rules for it are generated, I think about a class that specialized in it. That generates more house rules. Then I think about aerial travel over long distances, life on an aerial craft, fresh air for interplanetary travels, etc. More house rules and bolt-ons.

This is the way my first group played and I've never gotten far from it. You want lasers? Okay. Flintlocks and Aliens? No problem. A class of adventurers that use origami creatures to do its bidding? Sure, here's the XP chart.

I came this close to calling the system "Pocket Dragons & Pomegranates"

I abhor combat that takes 30 minutes for an encounter. I value combat, but not the feeling that a group of me and my friends are wading through layers of rules and charts. It's an element of the story. It could even be the focus of the story. Still, I award XP for good role-playing, treasure, innovative tactics, etc. Players wringing the rules for every ounce of advantage is just not for me, though I don't penalize for it. I have to admit that a couple times, this type of play generated some very unusual play that was funĀ  for everyone.

The real reason, though, is that I want to put together all the things my first group and I did into one cohesive whole. It's not easy, due in part to a lack of concern for contradiction. We just called it "gamer's paradox" and let conflicting rules lie. This time, I don't want a paradox, but I want largely cohesive system.

Having said all that, here's an sketch of what I imagine the system to be:

  • B/X and BECMI based with a mixture of M20, 1e and 2e.
  • Simple mechanics with lots of charts.
  • Build systems for new and existing classes, monsters, and races.
  • Race and class are separated.
  • Rules for adventuring in any locale (air, water, planes, ether, planets)

That says a lot, so here's a few specifics in no particular order. No THAC0 despite my love for it. No 2e style kits, at least not intentionally. I hope to achieve so-called game balance by XP, not by making everyone equal in power. I don't want to re-create a HERO system style build process for everything. I'll use BAB like Basic Fantasy does. There will be an optional silver-based economy set of rules. Lots of creatures, but not at the cost of making them look like they were created in a random generator. Yes, psionics, but using what I believe to be a non-traditional system.

In short, it will be a kit and a rudimentary setting ready for use. Folks will be able to pick and choose what rules they want to use, and what rules they want to discard.

As an added bonus, I hope to use Dokuwiki and the bookcreator plugin to allow individual players to download a customized ruleset. The layout may not be perfect and there may be a couple odd page-breaks, but it should work.

The class generator is complete. The monster generator only creates low-level creatures so far. True to my old school roots, they live as spreadsheets at the moment.

Otherwise, I can only say that I am fully aware that this is largely a vanity project. I have no illusions of 'energizing the OSR market' or being the next LL. More than anything, it's a labor of love for something I loved as a kid.

Stay tuned!