Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Die hard

So, in my D&D (actually Pathfinder) game the other night, someone had occasion to roll a D3 - a three-sided die - and it brought up an age-old discussion. Well, not age-old, but ongoing.

My buddy John, the DM, traditionally uses a D6 as a D3, and assigns the values this way:

So, a roll of one or two means a result of one, a roll of three or four means a result of two, and roll of five or six means a result of three. This doesn't make any sense to me. Not only do rolls outside the range of results represent a different number (seeing a four, I must interpret a two) but rolls within the range of results also represent a different number (a two does not mean two even though two is an acceptable result). Everything except a roll of one means something different from what is showing, and the relationship is not constant: six means three less than showing, but five means two less than showing.

It makes much more sense to me to do it this way:

So, rolls of one, two, and three mean results of one, two, and three - if they come up, no interpretation required. Any roll over three gets three subtracted and that's the result - a consistent modification. I just get my head around this better.

Now, my buddy John is a generous DM, so he has a house rule that we only use the "top half" of Hit Point ranges when leveling up. For example, if you were leveling up a wizard, you would use a D6, but calculate the results like this:

This is my method for the D3, only in reverse: the high numbers - four, five, and six - mean what they show; rolls of three or under all get three added to them. In addition to being generous, it is consistent and easy to calculate. If we did the HP the same we did the D3, it would look like this:

Again, only one roll - the six - would mean what it said. To reiterate, we don't do it this way.

I can't understand why the HP roll seems logical but applying the same method to the D3 roll seems counter-intuitive - not just to John, but to many players. Maybe it's a D&D tradition of which I am not aware?

Anyway, I try to avoid the while thing as often as possible by using one of these:

Yeah, an actual D3. Not with three sides, of course, just D6 with 1-2-3 repeated twice on the faces. No muss, no fuss. I also have a binary die, a D6 with 0-1 repeated three times. (That's just showing off, though.)

So all this thinking about using one die for another got me thinking: I could replace the standard D6 and D4 with modified D12s. Instead of going 1 to 12, repeat 1-6 twice and 1-4 three times on the faces:

Or maybe we just do a little telescoping: 
  • use a D20 for D20 and D10
  • use a D12 for D12 and D6
  • use a D8 for D8 and D4
  • use a D6 for D3 and D2

I think I smell a kickstarter....

Polyhedral dice trivia: people think D12 is the outcast because she is used so infrequently, 
but the D10 is the only one that is not a Platonic Solid and he gets a lot of grief from the other dice over that.

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