That dice chain

Are you new to DCC? Are you loaded down with questions to ask before you begin play? Explore this section for answers and insights -- and ask your own questions -- about getting started with the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game...

Moderators: DJ LaBoss, finarvyn, michaelcurtis, Harley Stroh

Post Reply
UniversalHead
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:47 am

That dice chain

Post by UniversalHead » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:27 pm

I really enjoy the DCC game rules, but I find the dice chain really annoying. Not only do I think it turns off new potential DCC players, because of the difficulty of getting the dice, but it seems a complex and convoluted system that doesn't seem to even crop up very often. We've played several sessions now and haven't used the dice chain once. Is it even used that often? When?

Since there are so many similar-looking dice, does anyone find they're constantly hunting for the right one, thus slowing down play?

I personally think the game would be much more popular if they chucked the dice chain, which is possibly a controversial opinion. Or am I just completely missing how wonderful and useful this system is?

Jim Skach
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: Crystal Lake, IL

Re: That dice chain

Post by Jim Skach » Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:05 pm

UniversalHead wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:27 pm
I really enjoy the DCC game rules, but I find the dice chain really annoying. Not only do I think it turns off new potential DCC players, because of the difficulty of getting the dice, but it seems a complex and convoluted system that doesn't seem to even crop up very often. We've played several sessions now and haven't used the dice chain once. Is it even used that often? When?

Since there are so many similar-looking dice, does anyone find they're constantly hunting for the right one, thus slowing down play?

I personally think the game would be much more popular if they chucked the dice chain, which is possibly a controversial opinion. Or am I just completely missing how wonderful and useful this system is?
Yeah...the last thing.

Fourth wave "approach an innovation with a high degree of skepticism"

Who cares about popularity?

Having said that - chuck it if you don't like it. It's your game when it's at your table. But I personally think you're missing a piece of the puzzle that makes DCC its own thing.

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3813
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: That dice chain

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:12 am

I started off not particularly seeing the point of the "Dice Chain" as a thing, but had no strong opinion about it either way.

Years later, I see it as an essential tool for resolving things quickly and easily. Got a weird situation that no rule in any rulebook for any game is ever going to specifically cover? Moving along the Dice Chain is probably going to factor into my solution, giving the game an elegant, consistent quality and an unbeatable speed of resolving such things.

Can't imagine DCC without a Dice Chain.
...
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com - The Home of Inner Ham

User avatar
Raven_Crowking
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 2990
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:41 am

Re: That dice chain

Post by Raven_Crowking » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:18 am

Another vote for the dice chain. The utility of this mechanic cannot be underestimated. The more you use it, the easier it becomes, and also the more powerful a tool.
  • PCs starving in the wilderness? Use the dice chain on their rolls, and suddenly they care about food!
  • Freezing to death? Once the dice chain is involved, the players stop trying to figure out how much Stamina they can afford to loose and start building a fire!
  • Don't want that monster to be able to crit? Drop its Action Dice down the dice chain!
  • Trying to make a roll-under Luck check that should be easier? Use 1d16. Harder? Try to roll under on 1d24!
  • That non-magical short sword that is just well made? It rolls 1d7 for damage.
Etc.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

UniversalHead
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:47 am

Re: That dice chain

Post by UniversalHead » Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:45 pm

Thanks, it's very useful to get some actual examples of using the dice chain effectively; the rulebook is pretty light on them.

"Who cares about popularity?" Well, the company making a living out of selling the game probably does! :)

I can see now that the dice chain has its uses - whether it's worth the tradeoff of having to buy and manage all those dice, well, not sure if I agree with that. But I'll try to use it a bit more.

Pipeline
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:25 pm
FLGS: The Internet

Re: That dice chain

Post by Pipeline » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:02 pm

Here's a good one from reddit suggesting a 1d reduction to monster action dice when running a funnel for fewer players.

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3813
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: That dice chain

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:47 pm

UniversalHead wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:45 pm
buy and manage all those dice
The only one that's tricky to simulate with "regular" dice, and it's barely tricky, is the d7 (and by extension, the d14). The simplest way is to roll a d8, but re-roll anytime an 8 comes up.

Simulating a d3 is easy, a d5 likewise. A d14 is using the d7 method above, but rolling a second die to tell you it that result is "low" (1-7) or "high" (8-14). Not any harder to roll than percentiles (it's the same basic principle even)...

A d16 is a d8 with a high/low roll alongside. A d24 is a d12, with a high/low roll.

A d30 is a 1d10, with a d6 alongside: 1-2 is "low" (1-10, just what the die says), 3-4 is "mid" (add 10 to the die roll, to get 11-20), 5-6 is "high" (add 20, to get 21-30).
...
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com - The Home of Inner Ham

Jim Skach
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: Crystal Lake, IL

Re: That dice chain

Post by Jim Skach » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:48 am

GnomeBoy wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:47 pm
UniversalHead wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:45 pm
buy and manage all those dice
The only one that's tricky to simulate with "regular" dice, and it's barely tricky, is the d7 (and by extension, the d14). The simplest way is to roll a d8, but re-roll anytime an 8 comes up.

Simulating a d3 is easy, a d5 likewise. A d14 is using the d7 method above, but rolling a second die to tell you it that result is "low" (1-7) or "high" (8-14). Not any harder to roll than percentiles (it's the same basic principle even)...

A d16 is a d8 with a high/low roll alongside. A d24 is a d12, with a high/low roll.

A d30 is a 1d10, with a d6 alongside: 1-2 is "low" (1-10, just what the die says), 3-4 is "mid" (add 10 to the die roll, to get 11-20), 5-6 is "high" (add 20, to get 21-30).
Yeah...GnomeBoy has it. The only die that is difficult to mimic is the d7/d14. Other than that, every other one is buried in your standard 7 dice set.

Man I wish there was a platonic solid for 7...I mean, d5/d10 isn't one, but it works ok. But once you take that barrel shape and go past 6 sides per hemisphere, it gets...difficult.

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3813
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: That dice chain

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:18 am

Jim Skach wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:48 am
I wish there was a platonic solid for 7...
My original d7 has 14 sides, so it's very similar to a d10, having that mirrored/equator type of shape. I trust the Impact one, and it makes a conversation piece, but I don't really know why they didn't go with something symmetrical from the get-go. Not platonic, but based on existing, functional shapes...
...
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com - The Home of Inner Ham

Jim Skach
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: Crystal Lake, IL

Re: That dice chain

Post by Jim Skach » Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:16 pm

GnomeBoy wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:18 am
Jim Skach wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:48 am
I wish there was a platonic solid for 7...
My original d7 has 14 sides, so it's very similar to a d10, having that mirrored/equator type of shape. I trust the Impact one, and it makes a conversation piece, but I don't really know why they didn't go with something symmetrical from the get-go. Not platonic, but based on existing, functional shapes...
Agreed. My d7s/d14s are those "barrel" or "equator" style but they're enormous...I had to get it at GenCon from Kaplow because in 2011, nobody knew what DCC was or why anyone would want a d7. Turns out Koplow does all kinds of educational dice, and had a d7 for the continents and seas. Each face had a little image of each continent/sea. You can imagine how large the die had to be to accommodate an image on each face. They didn't want to make a different mold, so they took these huge continent/sea dice and numbered some of them as d7/d14.

A year or two later they had the "who knew?" sets that had the rest of the dice chain dice.

User avatar
Raven_Crowking
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 2990
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:41 am

Re: That dice chain

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:09 pm

My favorite d7s are still the casino style dice.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

User avatar
catseye yellow
Cold-Blooded Diabolist
Posts: 445
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:23 am

Re: That dice chain

Post by catseye yellow » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:14 am

UniversalHead wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:27 pm
I really enjoy the DCC game rules, but I find the dice chain really annoying. Not only do I think it turns off new potential DCC players, because of the difficulty of getting the dice, but it seems a complex and convoluted system that doesn't seem to even crop up very often. We've played several sessions now and haven't used the dice chain once. Is it even used that often? When?

Since there are so many similar-looking dice, does anyone find they're constantly hunting for the right one, thus slowing down play?

I personally think the game would be much more popular if they chucked the dice chain, which is possibly a controversial opinion. Or am I just completely missing how wonderful and useful this system is?
when we started playing DCC i wasn't particularly keen on weird dice. but once i got into them they also became a test for my players. you know if someone is bitching about those weird, beautiful, sezrekan's ioun stones i become immediately suspicious. you know colonel kurtz style... the dice... the dice...

User avatar
herecomethejudge
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:52 am

Re: That dice chain

Post by herecomethejudge » Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:42 pm

GnomeBoy wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:47 pm
UniversalHead wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:45 pm
buy and manage all those dice
The only one that's tricky to simulate with "regular" dice, and it's barely tricky, is the d7 (and by extension, the d14). The simplest way is to roll a d8, but re-roll anytime an 8 comes up.

Simulating a d3 is easy, a d5 likewise. A d14 is using the d7 method above, but rolling a second die to tell you it that result is "low" (1-7) or "high" (8-14). Not any harder to roll than percentiles (it's the same basic principle even)...

A d16 is a d8 with a high/low roll alongside. A d24 is a d12, with a high/low roll.

A d30 is a 1d10, with a d6 alongside: 1-2 is "low" (1-10, just what the die says), 3-4 is "mid" (add 10 to the die roll, to get 11-20), 5-6 is "high" (add 20, to get 21-30).
I second this. You can easily do all the weird rolls using standard gaming dice, and the mechanic is as useful as you find it! If you don't like it, don't use it, but OTOH, try forcing yourself to use it for a while and see what you come up with. It can add flavor sometimes.

serendipitous
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:56 pm

Re: That dice chain

Post by serendipitous » Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:36 am

Am newbie, and have players who have done DCC before so they're unfussed generally, but am -- I don't know at this point, seconding or thirding or maybe fourthing? -- gnomeboy's ordinary dice approach. This what we're doing. I think that the only player with the actual DCC dice is my also-a-judge player who's been DCCing for years. The rest of us adapt.

I'm just getting the hang of it myself, but I'm seeing how it fits in to the unique DCC flavor: to the elements that make folks really cotton to DCC. The player agency and unpredictability of the game are central and scootching along the dice chain allows a lot of responsiveness to all the crazy $#% that the players come up with.
"... and also: the willingness to stand firm, and also: where does one learn to stand firm? in what kind of school or university?" -- Bolano, 2666

Tabulazero II
Ill-Fated Peasant
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:11 am
FLGS: Xenomorph

Re: That dice chain

Post by Tabulazero II » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:15 am

I guess this question must have been asked a 100 times but as a new Judge, could you give me a pointer as to when you give players a fixed bonus to resoltuion for a good idea and when do you upgrade their dice ?

What is the difference between a +1 vs. a +1d and when do you utilise one and the other ?

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3813
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: That dice chain

Post by GnomeBoy » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:04 am

I think I rarely give out numerical bonuses or penalties. Sure, the book has some listed on page 78 for combat, but I rarely reference that chart, and when I have done so, I sometimes still go with my gut and not what the chart says.

I do bump people up and down the Dice Chain for situational stuff.

I don't know if you're asking about the 'difference' between a +1 and a +1d in a mathematical sense, or just in a "how do I know when to use one and not the other" sense...

Mathematically, the shift in the Chain from a d16 to a d20 to a d24 is about the same in terms of average results as a +/-2, i.e., the average on a d16 is 8.5, while the average for the d20 is 10.5 (a difference of 2).

So one way to think about it is, if you think a small bonus/penalty is appropriate, give them a +/-1.

But if you think something more significant is called for use +/-1d. This is actually functionally the same as +/-1 when you're talking about the lower dice, like for weapon damage and stuff like that.

The practical difference however is fairly negligible, which is why I tend to just go with the Dice Chain for situational things.
...
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com - The Home of Inner Ham

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3813
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

Re: That dice chain

Post by GnomeBoy » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:07 am

Oh, and when it comes to attacks and the Dice Chain, when you go up, the Officially Unofficial Official Rule is that your previous crit numbers remain in place and the new top number is also a crit. So if you crit on a 19-20 on a d20, you'll crit on 19-20 and 24 on a d24, and on 19-20 and 24 and 30 on a d30.

That gives you a bit better chance to crit as you go up the Dice Chain, rather than a lesser chance to crit as you go up...
...
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com - The Home of Inner Ham

User avatar
zathras1974
Ill-Fated Peasant
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:46 am
FLGS: Breakpoint Games

Re: That dice chain

Post by zathras1974 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:17 am

GnomeBoy wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:07 am
Oh, and when it comes to attacks and the Dice Chain, when you go up, the Officially Unofficial Official Rule is that your previous crit numbers remain in place and the new top number is also a crit. So if you crit on a 19-20 on a d20, you'll crit on 19-20 and 24 on a d24, and on 19-20 and 24 and 30 on a d30.

That gives you a bit better chance to crit as you go up the Dice Chain, rather than a lesser chance to crit as you go up...
I don't think I would have thought of that, but it makes incredible sense. Thank you! :)

ScoobyThulu
Ill-Fated Peasant
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:02 am
FLGS: Gamer Loot

Re: That dice chain

Post by ScoobyThulu » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:32 am

Being new to DCC but a LONG time gamer, I'm 48 and have been playing since 6th grade, I find the Dice Chainrefreshing. I have PLENTY of games with standard polyhedrals, d6s (I'm looking at you WEG Star Wars) and d10/percentile; so to have anything that puts a new twist on dice is welcome.
And really gamers and dice, do we NEED a reason for more?

Mat Mobile
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 1:46 pm
FLGS: L'abyss

Re: That dice chain

Post by Mat Mobile » Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:18 am

The practical difference however is fairly negligible, which is why I tend to just go with the Dice Chain for situational things.
Agreed but don't forget that there is an important psychological difference. It's way more fun rolling a bigger dice! :D

In a way, the dice chain is the equivalent of Advantage/Disadvantage in 5E. Not mathematically of course, but it a similar boon vs. bane mechanism.

I like the dice chain because it's easy. You don't need to do additional math. Here's an example:

Hugh the warrior wants to jump over a chasm but his shoelace is untied (pesky invisible imps!). It's a DC10 to jump over the chasm. Obviously Hugh has a strength of 18 so a +3 modifier.

The Judge, rather than deciding if he should subtract 1, 2 or 3 (depending on shoe lace length, height of boot, etc.) he simply says roll a dice under on the dice chain (the equivalent of "-1d" in DCC technical writing).

So the player simply rolls a D16 (one dice under D20), adds +3 and that's it, no additional math.

User avatar
finarvyn
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 2499
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:42 am
FLGS: Fair Game
Location: Chicago suburbs
Contact:

Re: That dice chain

Post by finarvyn » Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:14 pm

Further thoughts on the dice chain:

(1) I own several sets of DCC dice, but find that simulating the dice chain with traditional polyhedral dice isn’t a real chore. When I did playtesting back in the day those dice weren’t for sale yet and the game ran just fine by using regular dice to simulate the funky ones. Six of the 13 dice are standard and the others are pretty easy to simulate with a “control die” that is either +0 or plus “half whatever the dice type is.” Easy to do.

D2 = d6; 1-3 is “1” and 4-6 is “2”
D3 = d6; 1-2 is “1” and 3-4 is “2” and 5-6 is “3”
D4 = Standard polyhedral
D5 = d10; 1-2 is “1” and 3-4 is “2” and 5-6 is “3” and 7-8 is “4” and 9-10 is “5”
D6 = Standard polyhedral
D7 = d8, re-roll 8’s
D8 = Standard polyhedral
D10 = Standard polyhedral
D12 = Standard polyhedral
D14 = d7 + d6 control; 1-3 is +0, 4-6 is +7
D16 = d8 + d6 control; 1-3 is +0, 4-6 is +8
D20 = Standard polyhedral
D24 = D12 + d6 control; 1-3 is +0, 4-6 is +12

(2) If you don’t like dice, you could substitute a +/- number.

D2 = average 1, so use +1
D3 = average 1.5, so use +2
D4 = average 2.5, so use +3
D5 = average 3, so use +3
D6 = average 3.5, so use +4
D7 = average 4, so use +4
D8 = average 4.5, so use +5
D10 = average 5.5, so use +6
D12 = average 6.5, so use +7
D14 = average = 7.5, so use +8
D16 = average 8.5, so use +9
D20 = average 10.5, so use +11
D24 = average = 12.5, so use +13

I prefer the dice simulation over the +/- method but have tried both. Both work just fine.
Marv / Finarvyn
DCC Minister of Propaganda; Deputized 6/8/11
DCC RPG playtester 2011, DCC Lankhmar trivia contest winner 2015; 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

Post Reply

Return to “DCC College - New Judges Start Here”