In my first post on this topic, I talked about 2d10 as a variant for Dungeons and Dragons, and focused on the ways it interacted with its existing systems. Because of that, I limited how far I used things such as degrees of success. Now that I'm considering, because of the OGL mess, how I would build a system around 2d10, I'm rethinking how I did things in that post, and the subsequent Weal and Woe pools.
First, let's take a step back and consider how much effect do you get from rolling an extra die (3d10), and then selecting the best or worst two. Let's revisit this table from my Abilities and Skills post:
|Odds of rolling different targets with 2d10 at different levels of ability.|
|Odds of rolling different targets with 3d10 keeping the two best at different levels of ability.|
|Odds of rolling different targets with 3d10 keeping the two worst at different levels of ability.|
Weal and Woe, Mostly Woe
Degrees and Doubles
- A failure with no additional consequence. You don't convince the king, but you don't offend him either. You don't find the evidence you were looking for, but you can keep looking. You miss the enemy, but assuming he doesn't kill you in the meantime, you can try again next round.
- A partial success. You try to grab the gold, but only get a few coins. You try to catch the falling potions, but only rescue one. In these cases you did part of what you were trying to do, but not all.
- A success, but it takes ten times as long. This is particularly useful in a situation where the character can simply try again. It's less interesting to have the player roll multiple attempts than it is for the GM to just declare that they succeed, but it takes a while. Especially when the GM uses this to increase tension. What would have taken a round on a success instead takes a minute. What would have taken a minute takes ten minutes. What would have taken an hour takes all day. GMs should always present it as a choice: "After a minute of poking at the lock, it's clear this is going to take a while. Are you going to keep at it, knowing that a patrol may come by at any minute?" Then the GM uses a random roll to determine whether the patrol arrives, using their favorite method to determine if a random encounter happens.
- A success with a consequence. You succeed, but something bad happens as well. You get the lock open, but made enough noise to attract a guard in the meantime. You convinced the king that there's a problem, but his solution is not one you like. You avoid the pit trap, but now your party is separated by it with no way to reconnect. In general, you don't want the consequence to be worse than what would have happened with a degree of failure. GMs don't usually need to give the players a choice to use this option.
- A success at a price. You succeed, if you're willing to pay the price. That price may be gold to pay the guard, or a level of Stress, or a valuable item falling from your pack to the jagged rocks below the cliff you're climbing. In this case, the GM should present this as a choice.