Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Thoughts on "Roll All the Dice"

I've been working on a Spur for Hireling Traits and in doing so noticing some features about designing for Roll All the Dice charts.

First, the d4 and d20 are useful bookends; whichever category has the most options needs to fit within 20 and the d4 helps you think of the overall theme in the most abstract way: what four chunks can it be broken down into?

Second, the middle dice are all nicely within 2 of each other. What this meant for me is that I would often have to bump a category up a die and then rack my brain for two more listings. It could work the other way too; if you have to bump down a die, really strain your brain to consolidate two of the entries. Here the format becomes a generating tool.

Finally and most interesting to me, some features of the dice can really aid the DM in reading the results quickly. I noticed this when I changed the distance category in my Encounters spur away from a simple die result x 100 feet. So, I consciously tried to keep this in mind with the Hirelings Traits spur-- for example the d6 is age in decades, and, in general, lower numbers mean less, higher more.


  1. Very timely, as I'm working on a RATD character generator and yes, it's the d8-d10 range that I keep moving and adjusting.

    One thing I tried was to make the results mean more than one thing on my S&W Robot Generator - d4 gave the type of power source, HD and how much damage spikes and darts do. The table isn't the easiest to read though !

  2. I was thinking of that as well. But I decided to stay with one meaning per die to keep it as streamlined as possible. With practice, I hope to start memorizing the die meanings to speed up use in play.

  3. If the d16 gives age in decades what happens if you end up with a 9? Or worst of all a 16?