Dice Rolls in EpicTable

Posted in EpicTable Development on September 25, 2008 at 2:49 am

Dice rolls are a key feature of any virtual tabletop. Dice mechanics can vary quite a bit across game systems, so I’ve been reading just about everything I can get my hands on, in an effort to compile a list of the kinds of rolls that are important.

Dice rolls already implemented in EpicTable

Simple rolls
For example, d4, 2d8, etc. EpicTable supports rolling any number of the following dice: d2 (maybe more properly called a coin), d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, d30, d100, and dF (a Fudge die)
Rolls with modifiers
Example: 1d20+5 or 2d4-1
Drop highest or lowest die
I actually don’t have an example of dropping the highest die, but dropping the lowest is fairly common. For instance, in d20 character creation, you sometimes roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die.
Drop specific values
In My Life with Master, you roll d4s and drop any 4s that come up.

Dice rolls still to-be-implemented in EpicTable

“Open-ended” dice rolls
In Savage Worlds, when you roll the highest number on the die (e.g., a 6 on a d6, an 8 on a d8, and so on), you can roll that die again and add it to the original roll.
“Mixed” dice
For instance, you might roll a d4 and a d6 together.
Specific die rolls
Sometimes a roll calls for a specific die. For instance, My Life with Master uses a different colored die for certain bonuses, and In a Wicked Age distinguishes between the d6 with numbers and the d6 with pips.

Die Selection and Dice Roll Evaluation

I use the term “die selection” to denote the process of selecting those dice that are applicable to the roll. For instance, dropping 4s for a My Life with Master roll and dropping the lowest d6 during d20 character creation are instances of what I’m calling “die selection”.

Dice roll evaluation is the term I use for applying any type of function to the results of the roll. For instance, many games simply sum the dice and add any modifiers to come up with a total. I’ve already implemented this behavior for EpicTable. Other games, like Sorcerer and In a Wicked Age, don’t sum their dice but compare them to other players’ rolls. To make this easier, EpicTable will provide a sort evaluator as an alternative to the sum evaluator.

What about resolution mechanics?

Resolution mechanics are the rules by which the success or failure of the dice roll is determined. For instance, the total might be compared against a target or against another player’s roll, or there might be a die-by-die comparison with another player’s roll. EpicTable is unlikely to include resolution mechanics. There are just so many dice mechanics out there, and so many variables that can go into resolving a roll, that it’s a job best left to the GM.

Where do the dice rolls go?

At this moment, EpicTable sends all dice rolls to the chat window. However, for the sake of secret rolls and for games with unusual dice mechanics, such as Dogs in the Vineyard, I’m likely to implement a dice table–a surface on which the dice can be placed and moved around.

How are dice rolled?

It’s possible to enter a dice roll directly from the chat window by typing “/roll 2d8“, for instance. However, I believe it will be more common for you to roll dice from predefined “dice cups” on your character sheet or by selecting dice on the tabletop and using a key or mouse gesture to roll them.

Call for feedback

That pretty much sums up where things stand with respect to EpicTable and dice. I’d love to hear your feedback. What have I forgotten? What other dice functionality do you need to play your game with EpicTable?

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