I’m sorry d20, it was a close fight. Several commenters expressed their preference for a 2d10 where results further away from the mean become less and less likely. The range of values for 2d10 is still pretty wide, so there’s room for the very unlikely to still occur, but because of the 2d10 probability curve, results of die rolls won’t be quite so random and swingy as to overcome the skill of the parties involved.
Another nice feature of using 2d10 is that we can use two different colored dice. I can hang some mechanics off the differences between the two dice. For example, we could use a “light” die and a “dark” die representing various dualities of the world, and I can trigger certain powers or results based on a specific type of roll based on either the sum total of the dice, or the results of one die or the other. For example, a Paladin might have a power called “Holy Smite” that occurs on any hit where the “light” die rolls a 10.
You could get complicated with similar mechanics, but I don’t know if we’d need to. Some other examples of how you might use or trigger powers might be:
- Barbarian’s “Great Cleave” ignores armor damage reduction when the sum total of the dice are 18+
- Chaos Wizard’s “Chaos Bolt” strikes additional targets if one die is even and the other is odd.
- Monk’s “Bend like a Reed” power lets you add +2 to AC on any miss where the white die is 2 or less.
- An Archer’s “Precise Strike” lets you add the difference between the dice to the die roll result.
- A thief may take an immediate extra attack for sneak damage any time they roll “doubles” on an attack.
As for criticals, the base roll of a 10 on both dice would be a 1% chance, which makes critical hits pretty rare and far between. I’m thinking of a rule where a roll of a 10 on the white die always hits, and does damage equal to the black die. A roll of 10 on the black die automatically bypasses luck and fatigue damage (really wounding someone) as long as the result of the roll was actually a hit. A roll of 10 on both dice would bypass luck and fatigue, and probably deal extra wound damage as well, or maybe stun the person being hit.
I’ll need to run the math on such a rule and make sure that doesn’t make combat overly dangerous, but an automatic hit 1 in 10 helps prevent high defense from completely ruling the day, even if the result is a low amount of damage (presumably, the black die rolled low or else the result would have been a hit anyway). A result of a 10 on the black die will result in a critical hit only on a hit, so a low white die roll will still negate it, meaning we’re still looking at something between 5-10% chance to go straight to wound damage. We’re looking at a clear 1% chance of a true critical hit.
I also like that it’s different from the mainstays of Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder, as I think it’ll help me reinforce some different philosophy into the game since even the core mechanic has changed. Still, I’ll miss that d20…