The Basic Mechanics of Adventurer Conqueror King System: Throws and Rolls
Jul 14, 2011 06:21 PM
ACKS does not have a core mechanic in the sense that systems such as GURPS, D6, or Marvel Superheroes have a core mechanic, which is to say, one all-purpose die roll + modifiers that handles all actions in the game. What it does have is a series of similar game mechanics that are applied to similar situations. Our philosophy is that "similar situations should be similarly simulated, but different situations should be simulated differently." One very common game mechanic is called a throw. A throw occurs whenever a character or monster is taking an action that will either succeed or fail. For instance, when a character tries to avoid a catastrophic event, his player makes a saving throw. When a character attempts to strike an opponent in combat, his player makes an attack throw. When a character attempts to open a lock, bash down a door, or sneak down a hallway, his player makes a proficiency throw. To make a throw:
- Throw the appropriate die for the action chosen.
- Add any relevant modifiers to the number generated by the die.
- Compare the total to the character's target number for the action, usually expressed as #+ (such as 12+).
- The throw mechanic directly, rather than indirectly, informs the player of the information he needs to know, i.e. "what number do I need to roll on the die." This number can be listed directly on the character sheet: "Hear noise 14+" "Save v. Death 11+" "Attack with sword 9+".
- The throw mechanic puts the emphasis on the character, rather than the situation. A player understands that if he has "Hear Noise 14+" in most circumstances his character can eavesdrop on a roll of 14-20. If there is a modifier to this chance, it's transparent to the player: "A penalty of -4 to your roll due to the loud noise". In contrast, systems such as 3.5 or 4e, which use a fixed bonus against a variable Difficulty, put the emphasis on the GM's decision as to the situation. Very often the GM is actually encouraged to calculate what chance he wants for success, and to then 'customize' the Difficulty accordingly (this is explicit in 4e). These sort of accounting illusions are unnecessary in ACKS. Where we believed a task should be equally challenging for characters of varying level, we simply either use a type of throw that doesn't change with level (such as the proficiency throw to find secret doors), or we use a roll (see below).
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