How to create dice rolls for multi-attacks in a custom tabletop RPG system

I’m working on a simple tabletop RPG based in a sci-fi universe. The rule set is very basic, since I’ll be playing with players with little experience and general tabletop know-how.

Most of it appears to be working fine, based on a test session. The only problem I’m having are attacks that hit multiple times.

Unlike most fantasy RPGs, you can wield weapons that fire e.g. 10 bullets in a single attack. For example, with an assault rifle, you can do a single shot, a short burst or hold down the trigger for fully automatic fire. Single shot is of course the most accurate, burst is less accurate and fully automatic is only accurate for the first few bullets.

I want to know how many bullets hit before calculating the damage. A normal attack roll is a normal 1d20 roll with modifiers against a DC (default 20), e.g. 1d20 + x has to be higher than 20. Afterwards, a damage dice is added for every bullet that hits, e.g. 1d6 for a single bullet, 2d6 for 2 hits, and so on. Characters can wear bullet proof vests that reduce the damage of every bullet, not for the full attack.

On one hand, I could add a "burst damage" and a "full auto damage" stat to the weapons, e.g. a weapon does 1d6 damage single shot, 2d6 burst or 5d6 full auto, but that makes full auto always the superior option, outside of the ammunition/reload mechanics.

I could roll every bullet separately, but that would result in a lot of rolls and/or calculations if I add modifiers to every roll. I thought about reversing it and making the DC DC - modifiers, and just rolling a d20 for every bullet, then counting all that are above the modified DC, but that also favors attacks with lots of bullets, unless I increase the DC for attacks with more bullets by some amount, though what should be the modifiers to achieve the expected result?

My current solution is to have players make a normal attack roll with the weapon specific maximum amount of bullets shot per attack type as negative modifier, and for every point above the DC, one bullet hits, up to the weapon specific number of bullets per attack type. For example, with a normal attack modifier of 10, a roll of 15 and a maximum of 3 bullets to hit with, the player could roll 2d6 for damage (15 (1d20 roll) + 10 (modifier) - 3 (max burst bullets) - 20 (DC) = 2 hits). This works, but it’s fairly clumsy and still favors full auto. I thought about increasing the DC of burst to 21 and full auto to 22, to reduce the effectiveness, but it still feels clumsy.

My intention is for single shot to be a safe and reliable choice, burst to be common and full auto to be high risk, high reward. How can I transform that into dice roll rules with a small amount of individual rolls?


  • With a high modifier (>15), full auto should have the highest expected damage per attack.
  • With a medium modifier (10-15), burst should have the highest expected damage per attack.
  • With a low modifier (<10), single shot should have the highest expected damage per attack.

Answers that use math to model the expected damage would be preferred. You can use 1d6 as damage per bullet, 3 bullets per burst and 6 bullets per full auto attack.

What was the point of CD-augmented tabletop RPGs?

While reading an old article in White Wolf Magazine I learned about cd-augmented tabletop RPGs. Issue #43 had a brief describing what seems to be the first example, First Quest:

First Quest features a 50-track audio CD that guides you through four adventures …

What was the purpose of this CD? What was the content and what did it add to the gameplay experience that a more traditional book-and-mortar approach didn’t offer?

The wikipedia article on First Quest mentions the CD, but doesn’t say what is really on it. Apparently the CD helped guide players through a couple of adventures, but I’m not sure what that means.

Though I’m using First Quest as an example, the White Wolf brief also mentioned that TSR was planning on releasing similar products for the Mystara campaign setting. Ideally I’d like to know broadly what CD-augmented games added over other existing RPG products in terms of functionality, game play experience, or something else.

What challenges might I expect from switching to online DMing from exclusively tabletop?

Because of COVID-19 our exclusively in-person sessions are going entirely online. We have downloaded roll 20, and we have voice chat, but beyond that we are fish out of water in the new medium.

What challenges might I expect from switching to online DMing from exclusively tabletop?

How do I pick a location to play a tabletop RPG?

A group of friends and I have recently purchased a rulebook and pre-made adventure for a fun looking game. None of us have played a tabletop RPG before. We have all the material objects we need – except space. I’m in charge of finding a location.

What are the key traits that make a location suitable for a tabletop RPG? Let’s assume that we are going to be using a map, miniature figures, and that we have 4-6 people in total.

I know many people play at home or in game stores. For various reasons, none of our homes are available for this game. We have some game stores with different kinds of gaming areas, but aren’t entirely sure why we would want to play there instead of a coffee shop, internet cafe, library, or some other location.

A new Science Fantasy tabletop RPG!

I made a post last week for our new Science Fantasy tabletop RPG – Magic Vs Machines. This week we have been updating the website, working on a FREE PDF version of the rulebook (v0.01 is available for download on the downloads page), have spent some time play-testing the combat system and we have found the combat feels quick and fluid. We will continue to update the website over the next week. With the material listed on the website you should be able to make level 0 characters and play. (We played up to level 2 with no major issues.) If anyone saw our post last week and has feedback please, let us know.

Tools/techniques/options to allow remote interaction with physical tabletop?

Part of our in-person tabletop group moved six hours away mid-campaign. We’ve been dealing with the distance by having multiple laptops set up, one with the players on the screen and the camera pointed at the DM; another with a webcam pointed at the grid board. However, this is awkward and results in a lot of “I move three squares left. No, the other left. No, one more square that way,” or “Can you move the webcam so we can see?”, etc.

We’d like to find a way for our remote players to reliably see the entire table at once, and to be able to point to specific squares on the board.

We’re aware of online/virtual tabletops like Roll20, but we don’t want to use them for various reasons. For the purposes of this question, we are only looking for real-world, meatspace solutions.

How can we allow our remote players to have:

  1. A top-down, or otherwise all-encompassing, view of a physical tabletop combat grid, such as one drawn on dry-erase dungeon tiles;
  2. The ability to indicate individual squares or other features on the grid?

Note: While my question is similar to this question, that one accepts virtual tabletop solutions and does not solve our problem.