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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 4:52 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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I've recently been going baxk and foth on whether I want to run DCC or B/X as the primary game for my group, and finally settled on DCC. That being said, mechanically there are a couple of things I would really like to adapt from basic, specifically skill/ability checks and saving throws.

Basically, I want to do away with DCs for these and have them be entirely level/ability based. Skill checks will function as old-school ability checks, and as luck checks already do in dcc, rolling a d20 equal to or under your score. I would either do away with the trained/untrained distinction, or have untrained function at ability score-5.

Thief skills and saving throws would both function by effectively using a universal DC of 15 and lowering it based on ability modifiers and class bonuses. Categories and rate of scaling would remain unchanged.

I really like this method of doing things for several reasons. It feels cleaner to me, you just calculate your number ahead of time, adjusting it if you level up or gain/lose abilities, and all you ever have to do while playing is roll a d20. No need for me as the DM too look up or come up with a dc, just make your check/save and move on. It gives a better sense of progression, as you are always more likely to save as you level up, and helps control the potentially insane scaling of casters, dragon breath weapons, etc. Also, in the case of skill/ability checks, it basically does away with opposed checks, which is nice considering monsters in DCC or adapted by me from my old 1ed Monster Manuals generally don't have ability scores, and also allows every point of an ability to have an impact without losing control of the scaling on modifiers.

Has anyone tried a similar system for DCC? If so, what were your results? Did it work reasonably well, did it horribly break some aspect of the game I am not anticipating, etc. Any feedback would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 10:23 pm 
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Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer
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EyvindHaraldsen wrote:
I would either do away with the trained/untrained distinction, or have untrained function at ability score-5.

Or to keep the spirit of DCC, how about using d30 for untrained, and d20 for trained checks?

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 2:31 am 
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I think that your ideas are solid enough, and clearly they have worked for B/X D&D for a couple of decades so they are mechanically sound. Also, since B/X and DCC all derive from the same rules set (OD&D) there should be a lot of rules overlap where features from one rules set work well with those from the other.

Having said that, the thing to keep in mind is that the DC numbers are designed to assign difficulty to things, and doing away with them entirely can change a certain challenge found in the game. As long as your B/X attribute checks can simulate this effect, they should function as you desire. I think that the tricky thing might be coming up with a conversion chart to bridge the two methods together.

For example, if a lock has a DC number of 25 how will you deal with it with an attribute check? What if the DC number is only 20? Ideally, not all locks would be treated the same so making them all set at 15 seems to remove some of the fun of certain encounters.

Using a standard 15 number might also tend to make all encounters a lot more generic. (Dunno if that is good or bad. Good for mechanics, perhaps bad for story.) Again citing the lock example, the rogue encounters "yet another lock" instead of easy or hard locks. Finding a particularly hard lock sets the tone for perhaps greater treasure on the other side.

I wonder if 3E's "take 10" or "take 20" rule applied to the DC check might do a better job than the B/X model, but I haven't played enough 3E to really have a feel for it. This would at least mimimize the number of dice rolls made.

Anyway, if you try your idea I'd like to hear about the results.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 6:26 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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The more I think about it, the less happy I am with the ability/skill changes, I think I'll hold off on that. Not only for the reasons you guys stated, but for other issues of needlessly complicating the games with additional mechanics, the removal of opposed checks being more problematic than I originally thought, and the needless separation of thieving skills from normal skill checks and subsequent potential inability for non-thieves to even try to, say, pick a lock.

The big one I do still want to try to implement is also the one that I notice neither of you commented on, and that is level based saves. My big issue there is that not only does it reduce the number of calculations that need to be made on the fly, but it also solves an issue of scaling. Simply put, I like characters to make their saves more often as they level up, but in DCC like most d20 systems DCs scale up faster than saving bonuses, so the opposite is often true. I feel it is fair to mention that I also take a more old-school view that saving throws don't just represent a character's reflexes, fortitude, and will personally, thought I do like the simplified categories. Rather, it is a representation of a sort of divine protection they accumulate as they level up and begin to draw the notice of powerful beings both malevolent and benign, granting them a moderate amount of protection form the ordinary hazards of adventuring. What are your thoughts on this system?


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 5:02 am 
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The saving throws are somewhat balanced by burning luck. I had the option for my players in my Terminus campaign to join elite classes and earn promotions or extra training, thus the warrior becoming paladin, the thief becoming an acrobat, and so on. Several of these included bonuses like rolling with +1d against some effects. Eg. the paladin of Mitra rolled against disease with d24 instead of d20. Some magic items and amulets might also help. For example:

Amulet of Fast Metabolism: A gold amulet with a small piece emerald in it's center. Those who wear it gain +4 to saving throws against poison and disease, but must eat and drink twice as much.

Deflecting Bracelet: This shiny bronze bracelet is like a mirror. The wearer gains +4 to saving throws against ray attacks. On a successful save the ray bounces off in random direction. Roll 1d5 for direction: 1=90 degrees left, 2=45 degrees left, 3=forward, 4=45 degrees right, 5=90 degrees right. Naturally, those who are in the way of the bounced ray must roll a saving throw against it.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:52 am 
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Gongfarmer

Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:44 am
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finarvyn wrote:
I think that your ideas are solid enough, and clearly they have worked for B/X D&D for a couple of decades so they are mechanically sound. Also, since B/X and DCC all derive from the same rules set (OD&D) there should be a lot of rules overlap where features from one rules set work well with those from the other.

Having said that, the thing to keep in mind is that the DC numbers are designed to assign difficulty to things, and doing away with them entirely can change a certain challenge found in the game. As long as your B/X attribute checks can simulate this effect, they should function as you desire. I think that the tricky thing might be coming up with a conversion chart to bridge the two methods together.

For example, if a lock has a DC number of 25 how will you deal with it with an attribute check? What if the DC number is only 20? Ideally, not all locks would be treated the same so making them all set at 15 seems to remove some of the fun of certain encounters.

Using a standard 15 number might also tend to make all encounters a lot more generic. (Dunno if that is good or bad. Good for mechanics, perhaps bad for story.) Again citing the lock example, the rogue encounters "yet another lock" instead of easy or hard locks. Finding a particularly hard lock sets the tone for perhaps greater treasure on the other side.

I wonder if 3E's "take 10" or "take 20" rule applied to the DC check might do a better job than the B/X model, but I haven't played enough 3E to really have a feel for it. This would at least mimimize the number of dice rolls made.

Anyway, if you try your idea I'd like to hear about the results.


I know this is an old thread, but I am responding in case anyone else's search leads them here in the future (as mine did).
To address your concern specifically, B/X D&D addresses varying difficulties for ability checks under the "SAVING VS ABILITIES" heading on page 51 of the Expert Book.
to quote, it says "SAVING VS. ABILITIES (OPTIONAL): The DM may want to base a character's chance of doing something on his or her ability ratings (Strength, etc.). The player must roll the ability rating or less on a d20. The DM may give a bonus or penalty to the roll, depending on the difficulty of the action (-4 for a simple task, + 4 for a difficult one, etc.). It is suggested that a roll of 1 always succeed and a roll of 20 always fail."

I never cease to be amazed by the number of players that have a perception that the older versions of the game are lacking in some way, when in fact, they address most issues gamers find important in simple, but elegant ways.

Now go roll some dice!


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