Wanted to kick off a little game design discussion.
In your mind, what are some of the advantages or disadvantages to introducing random elements to MURPG?
For example: When performing an action, a player decides how many stones they want to invest from their pool, then roll a six-sided die. Add the 2 numbers and the result will be used to determine how the player's action resolves.
You could reduce or enlarge the size of the die to make the result more or less random. Or allow modifiers that decrease or increase the randomness.
Adding randomness, obviously, would decrease certainty in combats - do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing overall?
The balance between unpredictability and player agency tends to be a delicate one, and the answers to the eternal question on the weight of random elements varies from group to group. I tend to favor multi dice systems that tend to offer a bell curve (WoD, L5R, Fudge...), allowing for quite the amount of safety but still having room for extreme results and the exciting moments that derive from them. Having extreme results too often tends to cheapen the experience and make the world feel as an utterly chaotic and unreliable place.
About the particular question presented: MURPG is a system that is incredibly versatile, lovely for play by post games and also utterly broken. That doesn't mean that there isn't room for a Marvel game with dice (Heroic does a nice job) but I don't think that MURPG would take well just "throwing some dice" on the end result of every action. Such a thing would mess with the effort/expenditure/energy management that it's supposed to be the core of the idea.
Here are some of the things I can see as advantages and disadvantages:
Some things can benefit from the randomness of a dice (for me and my group, most appealing here is Initiative and maybe a reworked Luck modifier)
Players have very little knowledge about what situational "modifiers" there might be. So with dice, if a player rolls that 20/10/ect, he knows there is a very likely chance off succeeding, taking some of the "control" away from the GM, which appeals to some players.
Dice can be a faster way to generate a random result compared to Pulling Stones from a bag (depending on how often it occurs).
The game is system is already "random" enough for the players point of view, so for some, this might add more uncertainty. This is one of the reasons I love MURPG. Not so much randomness. You can do what you can do (more or less). So it is easier for the players/GM to know what actually could be achieved. "8 in Technology? Well, then you can do this and that.." With dice, there is a chance you can't do it even with high numbers. Which I believe can be good for some settings.
It will mess up the energy/effort mechanics (Didn't think of that one to begin with So as Griss said, it is what the whole system i based on and may cause problems.)
It could slow the game down by spending stones, adding situational modifiers, rolling dice, totaling the numbers, compare them to the D/R; Result. But this would depend on how often the randomness would come up.
But in general when random numbers are needed (in our games, they don't really happen that often), I use the good old: pull stones out of a bag method.1-2�1-2�1-2�1-2mVh1tPYS
What if the dice were only used in specifically chaotic situations, like during combat and adrenaline-fueled action scenes? For non-supers, that would be more true to life than the MURPG system (see: "mother lifts car to save child" headlines).
You'd also navigate around the problem of inconsistency. Like your example, you have an 8 in technology and there's no pressure on you? This is what you can do, no dice involved. But if there is pressure, there's an added element of uncertainty when you're trying to do things that are hard. But not things that are easy, those are still guaranteed.
I'd appreciate it if you could elaborate on the system being random from a player's point of view.
Unrelated but curious: luck-based systems coupled with "X per day" powers/abilities/etc let the GM challenge the players over the long term. Players ask they should use their once per day "nuke" now or save it for a harder fight, for example. If you wanted to introduce those sorts of elements to a homebrew MURPG, how would you?
Last Edit: Jan 14, 2016 10:44:30 GMT -5 by jayholden
But if the "no pressure" situations are the kind of scenes where in a dice game the GM wouldn't ask a roll because it's routine, you wouldn't have to start to check for how many stones would people spend (or at least my group is pretty binary with those situations, but we verge on the narrative side) so the distinction may as well be moot.
The X per day, luck involved or not, can devolve into an attrition/resource management game (like some games of D&D can turn into) instead of roleplaying. I'm not saying that it's going to happen, but it certainly can ease it, so tend to not like it much.
Uh... in any meaningful sense of the term, roleplaying is ABOUT resource management. Do I use my limited time and effort to shoot lasers or use a force field? Do I use my remaining health to run away, stand down or fight to the death? Do I use my time and web shooters to save my girlfriend or the busload of passengers? Those are resources being managed. X per day powers simply stretch out the management over a longer stretch of time (a day).
EDIT: Risk is not a resource, I was being dumb. Point stands.
Last Edit: Jan 14, 2016 16:11:02 GMT -5 by jayholden
I think we greatly differ in what a roleplaying game is about. Not that I dislike such mechanics, I prefer things simple so they don't steal the focus from the history and the characters. If I want to let resource managing to grab my attention I go for a board gaming night and unleash something like Power Grid. Not that any different approach is wrong, but in my group the less rule noise the better (as long as you keep some "game" in and it's not just impromptu storytellng, since not everyone in the group feel at the same level of comfort with such approach).
Jayholden: In my experience, the less a player knows, the more uncertain they become. With game mechanics, that can hurt the roleplaying and the flow. Those "what do you do?"-moments when the player sits and has no idea.. That this whole thing is one big ball of rolling randomness, and the others want you to do somethin in it.. Exprience helps allot here though
But what I mean with MURPG is that the player can only guess at what situational modifiers there are. And adding dice would add to that guessing. Mind you, I don't think it would add "more" than other games like dnd or wod. I believe it would more bring murpg to their "level".
Post by lilithsboy on Jan 16, 2016 12:32:48 GMT -5
Honestly, I never have liked the random elements of dnd and other games which is why I prefer the murpg system. Such systems tend to create situations where the best in the world are miraculously beaten by the completely inexperienced novice and then you have to try and explain what happened in the situation that the dice made. I prefer to have a system where effort = reward.
I cannot tell you how often I have seen epic level battle hardened warriors drop weapons because of not having a firm enough grip. One would think after countless battles they would learn how to hold the weapon....
Murpg from a players standpoint... I need to conserve energy but I also need to do X I am fairly sure X has no problems but I am going to overspend just a little to make sure I can deal with it if there is.
No real dropping the weapons just expectation and being outwitted if you fail at a task it is not because in your overabundance of experience you made a mistake that should have been long ago beaten out of you but rather because someone outwitted you.
(Times when random will work)
Powers that by their very nature are uncertain.
Hexbolts, luck, witchcraft ect:
Ties Much better than player always wins
Initiative: sometimes they get the drop on you but are you faster anyway?
Adrinaline: I could see taking some damage and adding to a power or ability basicly overexerting yourself to add some random bonus. Though this would not be every day it is a good option
Last Edit: Jan 16, 2016 12:34:01 GMT -5 by lilithsboy
Post by 77odinson77 on Mar 31, 2018 2:17:02 GMT -5
I played around with something very similar, but with d10s. It wasn't a perfect system but we had fun and the game definitely had more of a D&D vibe to it. I enjoyed it and I like to think the rest of the group did as well.
If and when I do add a random element to MURPG, I do it like this:
For each stone, roll a D6. If a 1 is rolled, the stone is negated. 2-5, it functions normally. 6, it counts as 2 stones.
So sometimes the person can mess things up even though usually they might succeed, or they might succeed when usually they should fail, allowing even a less skilled person to sometimes land a lucky punch or a superhero to have a bad day. Yet the number of stones still usually yield the same result, making luck a minor yet flavorful factor.
Nothing is impossible, it just hasn't been done yet.
We did something like this for fun in one game, we just did roll 1 d6 for every 3 stones u put into an action. the roll would just be your stone count. it did not go well but was ok for a tried it thing.
It's funny, I don't know if this was your intent but Hero System uses almost that exact method for rolling damage/effect. Another great game system, I have always felt like it's Marvel with dice and a much thicker rulebook.