Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Icons: Split Dice

We had an Icons session on Monday (I'll post a recap shortly) and we quickly decided to "split the dice".

I have to say that it made combat move much quicker. I don't think anyone had an issue with rolling only one die as opposed to two - more dice equals more power. Anyway, the original ICONS method of the positive and negative die + ability/power + modifiers then compare for outcome always seemed to slow combat down while the numbers were worked out. With the Split Die roll, add and compare moved things along much quicker. I think we'll be using this from now on.

One other point is that when players have to make a general ability test we were still rolling the positive and negative. Though that worked fine, I thought it was a bit jarring to have the Players roll one die for combat and two dice for general tests. I'm thinking of moving general tests to split dice as well. The GM will then be rolling the 'negative' die in combat and in general tests ('negative' die meaning GM rolls the opposing die and adds the result to the difficulty).

The split dice bring up an interesting element. Since the GM is now rolling all oppositions to the PCs, maybe, just maybe when the GM rolls, his roll will be the 'attack' roll against which the players defense is compared. In other words, outcome switches depending on who is the 'attacker'; the zero no longer
always goes with the hero. The tables turn from giving the heroes the constant advantage to splitting the advantage between the hero and the villain. Not sure how this will play out. Maybe the heroes will become less 'heroic' as they loose that zero goes with the hero advantage. It's a minor thought but it could change the dynamic of the game quite a bit.

Beyond that, we're still a bit stuck on keeping stuns and slams within the flow of the combat. I'm going to re-read the optional rules in the Villainomicon to get some more clarification.

Anyway, the split dice definitely moved the combat forward more quickly.


  1. Cool - I've been wanting to try the split dice method in one of my games soon as well. I like how it keeps the subtraction (and dealing with negative numbers) to a minimum since you are adding the die roll to both the player's ability (after modifiers) and the Difficulty. Was there any reason you didn't use it with non-combat general tests this time out? And did you use it with slams and stuns?

  2. If you try out the idea of making the GM's roll the "attack" roll for NPCs, let us know how that works out. I'm curious.

  3. Jaerdaph - We didn't use it with General Tests for no particular reason except that it didn't cross our minds at the time. We were just focused on speeding up the combat. But after the session, and like I mentioned in my post, you can remove the positive and negative dice rolling completely by letting the GM make the 'Negative' rolls for everything. I planning on doing that in the next session.

    I'm still debating the GM 'attack' rolls as it does level the playing field between hero and villain. Right now we still had the GM roll the opposing roll against the hero but it was still against the Heroes' defense so the outcome results were still the same, favoring the hero. I do like the concept of having the hero be the basis for all the results, after all, you ARE a hero.