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 Post subject: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:23 am 
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This is an quote that was pointed out on Dragonsfoot in a thread about Holmes Basic D&D from 1979 or so. The thread was about the color of dice found in the boxed set, but a poster found an interesting passage about dice use and some other folks commented on the fact that they had friends who used a d20 (numbered 0-9 twice) and a d6 to create the results of a d20 (as if it was numbered 1-20).

Anyway, the quote from Holmes Basic:
Holmes wrote:
Players need not be confused by the special dice called for in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. By using the assortment of 4-, 6-, 8-, 12- and 20-sided dice, a wide range of random possibilities can be easily handled.

For a linear curve (equal probability of any number), simply roll the appropriate die for 1-4, 1-6, 1-8, 1-10, or 1-12. If some progress is called for, determine and use the appropriate die (for instance, 2-7 would call for a 6-sided die with a one spot addition). For extensions of the base numbers, roll a second die with the appropriately numbered die. For example, to generate 1-20, roll the 20-sided die and 6-sided die, and if the 6-sided die comes up 1-3, the number shown on the 20-sider is 1-10 (1-0), and if the 6-sider comes up 4-6, add 10 to the 20-sided die and its numbers become 11-20 (1-0). This application is used with the 12-sided die to get 1-24. If 1-30 or 1-36 are desired, read the 6-sided with the 20- or 12-sided die, with 1-2 equalling no addition, 3-4 adding 10, and 5-6 adding 20. This principle can be used to generate many other linear curves.
Interesting that Holmes' solution from "back in the day" is pretty much the same thing suggested recently for folks who want to play the DCC RPG but don't have the extra dice needed. (The solution that a lot of old timers scoffed at as being too complex or too unwieldy.)

Holmes even uses the d24 as an example!

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DCC Minister of Propaganda; Deputized 6/8/11
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ADRP Since 1993, OD&D player since 1975

"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:04 am 
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Creating results this way is certainly an option if one lacks the strange dice. However, for me, and I guess for many others this is not a very appeasing solution. I prefer to minimize maths during my sessions and focus on narrative and descriptions. I also tend to like very fast, non-complicated combat. One can say - it's not maths at all, these are really basic operations, but there must be remembered, that I as a GM have a lot of things on my mind during encounters like enemies tactic, checking if no other monsters will get alarmed, checking morale, movement rates, playing henchmen, adjudicating MDoAs, spells, critical hits and fumbles, using enemies special abilities, counting hits and damage, initiative, reminding my players about used arrows and consumables, etc. etc. It all adds up pretty fast, and I also must describe battles colorfully, not just by saying - you hit for 6 damage, you miss, so the less counting during it, the better. I often play with beginners so trusting them on this matter is not an option, usually they don't even know which dice is d10 and which one d8, and must be reminded constantly, so such operations are just impossible for them. The only option is just buying the weird dice, and I even buy special d3s and d5s, even though they are really simple to count, just to avoid unnecessary complications for new gamers.


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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:43 pm 
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Marv, thanks for pointing that out - I've had my Holmes Basic Set since 1980 or so and must've just glossed over that part all this time. It's on pg. 45 in case anyone else goes looking for it.

Jim Wampler frequently rolls the d20 + d6 combo at our games at Gateway Games & More.


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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:56 pm 
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I still use control dice from time to time. Did it back in '78 and never lost the knack -- it's not hard to get used to, IMPNSVHO, and gives you [i]so many options[i].

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:22 am 
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When we started, we only had the Holmes blue box...and the d20 numbered 0-9. We had no idea what inking dice was back then. So our only choice was to do what was instructed in the rules - use a d6 as a control dice and add 10 accordingly.

We played that way for a long...long time. Even when we could finally get our hands on a d20 numbered 1-20 (we bought D&D stuff at the hobby store as there was no "game" store - and they didn't always carry fancy dice!), we couldn't necessarily afford it...we were kids saving every penny for the PHB or a module. I actually can't recall when I finally had enough money to actually buy my own proper d20...but I'd have to guess it was years later.

Now all you kids get off my lawn and turn down that "music"!

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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:37 pm 
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Zenitii wrote:
Creating results this way is certainly an option if one lacks the strange dice. However, for me, and I guess for many others this is not a very appeasing solution.
I can't disagree with you at all on this -- I'd much rather use my funky dice than a combo of traditional dice. I remember from playtest before I found funky dice that I used a similar method to the one quoted and it wasn't ideal but wasn't impossible.

I just thought it was ironic that such a solution had been proposed more than 30 years before the DCC RPG, and that it was in Holmes Basic. 8)

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DCC Minister of Propaganda; Deputized 6/8/11
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DCC RPG playtester 2011, C&C playtester 2003,T&T since 2003,
ADRP Since 1993, OD&D player since 1975

"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
-- Dave Arneson


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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:04 am 
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Yeah, this is a funny and interesting fact for sure :) . It is still actual because, I think, it is probably the best method possible. I like it more than Zocchi on d%, as I dislike checking in charts.


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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:07 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
This is an quote that was pointed out on Dragonsfoot in a thread about Holmes Basic D&D from 1979 or so. The thread was about the color of dice found in the boxed set, but a poster found an interesting passage about dice use and some other folks commented on the fact that they had friends who used a d20 (numbered 0-9 twice) and a d6 to create the results of a d20 (as if it was numbered 1-20).

Anyway, the quote from Holmes Basic:
Holmes wrote:
Players need not be confused by the special dice called for in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. By using the assortment of 4-, 6-, 8-, 12- and 20-sided dice, a wide range of random possibilities can be easily handled.

For a linear curve (equal probability of any number), simply roll the appropriate die for 1-4, 1-6, 1-8, 1-10, or 1-12. If some progress is called for, determine and use the appropriate die (for instance, 2-7 would call for a 6-sided die with a one spot addition). For extensions of the base numbers, roll a second die with the appropriately numbered die. For example, to generate 1-20, roll the 20-sided die and 6-sided die, and if the 6-sided die comes up 1-3, the number shown on the 20-sider is 1-10 (1-0), and if the 6-sider comes up 4-6, add 10 to the 20-sided die and its numbers become 11-20 (1-0). This application is used with the 12-sided die to get 1-24. If 1-30 or 1-36 are desired, read the 6-sided with the 20- or 12-sided die, with 1-2 equalling no addition, 3-4 adding 10, and 5-6 adding 20. This principle can be used to generate many other linear curves.
Interesting that Holmes' solution from "back in the day" is pretty much the same thing suggested recently for folks who want to play the DCC RPG but don't have the extra dice needed. (The solution that a lot of old timers scoffed at as being too complex or too unwieldy.)

Holmes even uses the d24 as an example!


Do you have a page number for this?

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 Post subject: Re: Funky Dice a la Holmes Basic
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:58 pm 
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Clangador wrote:
Do you have a page number for this?

I have a third printing handy; it appears to be page 46 -- though the 3rd printing has some amendments, owing to the need to explain 'chits' as well.

Fin may likely be quoting a first printing.

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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