I’m working on an RPG system that uses 2d6 roll under Skill for resolutions. On paper this system looks really good so far, but I have one major issue: Degrees of Success, especially when it comes to Contest (Skill vs Skill) resolutions.
Your character’s Attribute + Skill (e.g. Charisma + Persuasion) form a Target Number that’s between 2 and 12. You roll 2d6, sum them, and the sum has to be equal to or lower than the Target Number. Rolling a 1 has a special positive meaning, rolling a 6 has a special negative meaning. Additionally, 2 ones are always a success, 2 sixes are always a failure, regardless of Skill.
Imagine 2 parties contesting each other:
- Character A has a Target Number of 5 (pretty bad), and character B has a Target Number of 10 (pretty good).
- Character A rolls a 5 and succeeds. Character B and rolls a 6 and succeeds.
- Character B has the better Degree of Success, as the margin between the player’s roll and the character’s Skill is bigger than for Character A.
If you say that lower is better, a character with Target Number 2 (very, very bad), who rolled a 2, will always have a better Degree of Success over a character with a Target Number 12 (very, very good), who rolled a 3.
My approach was to subtract the rolled number from the character’s Skill. You have a Target Number of 6 and rolled a 4?
6-4=2. You have a Target Number of 11 and rolled a 3?
11-3=8. It works, but I’m worried that this resolution will be too slow for actual play – we all know these sessions that last for hours and nobody is able to count straight anymore.
The best solution would allow a player to determine the Degree of Success/Failure in the same step to see if the character succeeded or not.
Other systems that handle Degrees of Success for rolling under mechanics:
- Call of Cthulhu: You have certain threesholds (half your skill, 1/5 your skill) at which you score an increased Degree of Success. – very coarse when you only have 2d6 instead of a 1d100 (but could work)
- Unknown Armies: Basically like Black Jack–you roll under your Skill threshold, but as high as possible. Doubles (11, 22, 33) are criticals. – sadly doesn’t work, as ones and sixes have a special meaning. Flipping the meaning (6 is good, 1 is bad) also is iffy, as it’s flipping the understanding, that you have to roll under a threshold.
What other systems or resolution systems are there, that tackle this problem?