Damage rules using 2d6 rolls

  • 28 Replies
Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« on: November 21, 2012, 03:20:16 PM »
So, what's the intention behind this idea? To use a single type of roll to all kinds of tests in the game was one of the mains reasons. But the other one is the idea behind the 2d6 roll, where a 6- is a miss, a 7 to 9 a weak and a 10+ a strong hit: the idea of the roll creating fiction.

The coldness of the Damage x Hit Points system was always awry to me. This is an idea and that has worked pretty well in my group, although with some problems. Maybe you guys can help, ey?

So, here is it:

When you cause damage to someone, roll+ Damage of your weapon. If 6-, you weapon didn't cause significant damage. On a 7 to 9, it scratches, stuns or back off the enemy. On a 10+, it mangles, mutilates, kills or cause grievous damage.

Notes on the move: The Damage is the value of the weapon (-1 for fists, 0 for improvised weapons such as chairs, +1 for small weapons, +2 for medium and +3 for big weapons). You could argue that 'When I attack a full plate knight and a stray dog, the damage roll is the same?'.

Yes. It might seem strange, the same way that it must have felt strange when you played Apocalypse World for the first time and realised that, when you attack a master fighter or a sick beggar, you roll the same Go Aggro+Hard. The game is about narrative.

The damage roll, like any other roll, is only made when there is risk. If your sword WILL hurt the armourless man when it hits him, then you don't need to roll. Accept a 10+ automactically. The same thing, if you are fighting a titanium dragon, you won't hurt him. Use the fiction to make this decisions, not the rolls.

Then, the roll for Protection:

When you are hurt, roll + Protection (the value of the armour). 6-, you are seriously hurt. 7 to 9, you are stunned, pushed back or wounded. On a 10+, you are fine.

Again, so a goblin with his bare hands will have the same 'damage' of a giant with a battle axe? No, but the Protection move is the same. Just use the fiction and common sense, and there will be no problem.

But, what about HP? We use a system similar to the Monsterhearts hack, using conditions. So, if you roll a 8 in your protection roll and you strain a muscle, or hurt your leg, or get nauseated from a blow, you just receive that condition, like 'stunned', 'nauseated', 'sick', 'pushed back', 'afraid'. If you get a more serious damage (6- in protection), the same thing: 'broken ribs', 'smashed arm', 'gaping stomach wound'.

The thing with healing is that it 'erases' a condition. If it is a minor healing spell or potion, it erases a minor wound (nauseated, stunned, scratched etc). If the wound is major, it needs a major healing spell or item. So, how do you die? If you receive a grievous wound and cannot heal, you die. Simple as that. Your arm was mutilated by a Gorgon and you have no healling scroll, cleric or whatev's? You dead.

One thing that might be asked is: 'Would rolling for defense make the game slower?'. The answer, at least from my table's experience, is no. It's kind of strange, but changing the concept of damage and HP to a more narritive oriented mechanic, the rolls became very, very fluid.  The flow of a 'simple attack' woud be as follows:

1. Player say his intention with the attack and make the move
2.  If the player hurt the monster, he rolls for damage and the MC narrates the consequences.
3.  If the monster also hurt the player, the player now rolls his protection. The MC narrates the consequences.

This is very direct:
MC: A giant vulture man descends upon your back, pinning you to the ground. What do you do?
Warrior: I thrust my swrod into the monster (rolls for Hack and Slash, gets 8)
MC: Your strike hit right in it's leg. Roll the damage (warrior rolls 2d6+2 from his long sword, getting 11). You swing your sword and cleaves through the creature's leg, with it's thick, black blood splashing in your chest. While you were swiging, the monster pecked you violently. Roll protection (warrior rolls 2d6+1 from his leather armour and get 8). The pecking hurts your arm (now, in the fiction, the warrior is with his arm hurt)

So, that's the idea behind it: Make damage rolling just as the other rolls of the game, a mechanic into fiction without abstract concepts of HP. Just roll and get conditions, simple as that.

What do you think? It seems to work in my tables, with a few of hiccups with healing. What do you think that could be done to improve it? Or why do you hate it?

I would like to hear your opinions,




  • 777
Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 06:11:24 PM »
I think its too many rolls per narrative action (but that's just me). I like one per move. The older rule set had a Saving Throw (damage move) and it just slowed everything down. It would seem to take away from the narrative potential of the Damage causing move in the first place, and if it wasn't a move that caused the damage? We just inflict however much damage the player likes within their potential 'range'. Heck, most of the time we don't bother to roll damage and take the mean anyways.

The damage roll, like any other roll, is only made when there is risk... Use the fiction to make this decisions, not the rolls.

Yeah, but you are setting up an expectation that in conflict where physical hurt is metered out there will be usually a 'to hit' move, a 'harm move' and a 'protection move' per player 'turn'. So really the more rolls you have, the less focus on the narration.

I find that when the players have more mechanical bonuses, or ordering of actions or 'fitting' their intent to moves, the less good story comes from the scene.

My advice would be to retain the moves as in the rules, and just do away with the damage roll. Have fixed damage, or use your condition system, having three levels of armour that reduce the conditions by one step.

Thanks for sharing though! Its just too 'crunchy' for my taste.

DW works with conditions and health clocks and healing as you've described, but I don't think its better or worse. Just different.

Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 06:52:13 PM »
So really the more rolls you have, the less focus on the narration.

Strangely, how things have turned is the opposite, at least in my table. The thing is that the Damage and Protection rolls function as a narrative implement when the mechanical part of the damage and HP system is left out.

As mentioned in APs and in the book, not only by damage are comprised the monsters' moves. So, in a combat situation where a character deals damage, he would not necessarly be hurt back.

Even so, being realistic, you are only changing the Damage roll for the monster by the Protection roll from the PC. In raw 'number of rolls' terms, the total sum is the same. Of course, the MC doesn't need to roll for damage, and even the characters might used fixated damage. The thing is, the feel is strange, at least for me.

The idea behind the 2d6 damage is to make damage completely narrative, not anymore closed in things like '9 damage - 2 armor = 7 hp lost'. Now, it's just 'You rolled 9 in your damage, you stunned him' or 'you rolle 6 in your protection, your arm is ripped apart'.

The rolls for damage and protection open up for a more direct narrative aspect than 'roll 1d8+2 for damage'.

I would like to know if others would like to try those rules and see if it goes well at their sessions too. I was very curious about it, because it seemed interesting and I wanted to share.



  • 378
Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 09:44:51 PM »
It's an interesting idea, for sure. I'm with noofy, though: that's a lot of rolls for each action. I can see what you're going for with the increased narrative thing, but to my eyes it puts the narrative at the mercy of the dice. Like, we're gonna roll three times and then describe what happened afterward, based on those rolls. Under the normal rules, we're narrating based on action alone, and pausing in the middle to roll at the pivotal moment. Something feels kinda off, rolling first and then stringing it into a narrated sequence, like it subverts the "fiction-first" attitude of the rest of the game, y'know?

Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 02:34:32 PM »
So I dont know, maybe I was playing DW wrong? First, for me, you should roll damage and then narrate the effect. ONly after the damage is done you can narrate how much you destroyed, ain't that right?

I dont get how using 2d6 would differ from it.And I also dont get the thing about more things to roll, because, if you roll for damage for the monsters would be the same of rolling for 'Protection'. Instead of rolling the monter's damage, you are rolling  your armor.

I see some problems with other stufs, but I'm really not getting those ones. Could you explain better for me so I can get it?



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Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2012, 03:16:26 PM »
Afte re-reading it carefully, you're totally right about the number of rolls. I was thinking that you'd roll player damage and then roll Protection for the monster, but that's not the case. So yeah, dice are hitting the table the same number of times and my comment about the dice narrating the fiction is wrong; I was thinking you were making three rolls per attack but I misunderstood totally.

Still, it feels clunky to me compared to the simplicity of the hit points. And it raises more issues than it solves, from my point of view: do classes benefit from their damage die or is the damage roll determined by weapon alone? With only three tiers of possible damage, how do wounds stack? How many "you are wounded" results can a character take? What level of healing is required for each wound tier? What if the characters never roll a 10+ damage for the big bad guy, how long will it take to kill him? 

Don't get me wrong, it's a really interesting idea! But I also think it's a deeper hack than presented here. I think a lot of things in the game would need to change to make this fit properly, like class damage, healing powers, and monster damage, armor, and abilities.

Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2012, 03:47:34 PM »
I am also looking for a way to use an alternative to hit points. My idea is to make use of the "At your option, you may choose to do +1d6 damage but expose yourself to the enemy's attack" option for dealing with armor vs. unarmored.

On a 10+, you choose between dealing minor damage to an unarmored enemy or a non-damaging effect such as stun, distract or push back. At your option, you may deal either major damage by striking an unprotected body part (if fictionally reasonable) or minor damage by penetrating the armor (useful for full armor enemys like iron golems), but expose yourself to the enemy's attack.
On a 7-9, you choose between minor damage to an unarmored enemy or non-damaging effect as above, but expose yourself to an attack (without the option for dealing major damage or minor damage penetrating armor).

As a GM, I wouldn't differentiate between light, medium and heavy armor. Follow the fiction. If you use a knife against a thick leather jacket, the enemy may be considered armored. If you use a mace instead, the leather jacket isn't really protective. To make such a simplistic system work, you may want to get rid of weapon bonus and class damage dies as well. If required, determine an overall modifier which sums up the advantages/disadvantages between all involved factors.

With regard to PC armor and damage that is inflicted by monsters, I would keep the Hit Point and armor protection system, because most players just love it and don't mind book-keeping so much.

Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2012, 06:23:15 PM »
I think a lot of things in the game would need to change to make this fit properly, like class damage, healing powers, and monster damage, armor, and abilities.

Yes, this idea is directed more to the World of Dungeons. But it can be adapted. Use these values: 1d4 damage = -1, 1d6 = 0 and 1d8 = +1. Add the bonus of weapons and armors.

Monster damage and armor becames purely fictional. In the end, at least in my tables, it doesnt really matter the statistics of the monsters, just what it does. Rolling damage and book keeping the values of hp are really enervating for me and some of my players (although some, the DeD veterans, like it).

The only true hard thing to change would be HP and Healing. The healing powers would have to be changed, because there is no middle terms here. The way I do is that healing powers heals the damage conditions. The more powerfull the healing power is, the more grievous wound it can heal.

And HP would be intuitive. All damage would be described, not 'loss of hp'. If you are hurt by the goblin, he 'scratches your hand', 'bashes your head', 'bites your knee' and that stuff. What I do in my table is having 3 main kinds of damage: Scratches, Wounds and Lethal.

Scratches are like that, minor wounds. Wounds are, just the same, normal dangerous wounds, the ones that makes someone weak (broken bones, big slashes etc). Lethal damage is a damage that will kill you in instants if not treated.

The thing is: how much of X kind of damage relates to Y? In no way, as a matter of fact. You can have 32 slashes and 14 wounds. It doesn't matter. What matter is the fiction. You can have a wound for each broken bone, I don't know. The idea is that scratches will be a problem, but will heal with time. Wounds won't heal nor get worse and Lethal will get worse. Just it.

Even so, the conditional damage of every wound be a narrative effect is very interesting and we use that too. Would someone try these rules on their table and see if they can happen elsewhere too?



  • 777
Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2012, 08:51:22 PM »
Maybe just rename HP? Call them 'mistake potential'. Once you reach 0 you have run out of options to avoid a deathly blow. Otherwise you can narrate all the things you are suggesting in addition to the normal flow of things. We do this in our games. In fact the monster's moves effects are far more narratively satisfying than simply inflicting damage on an attack.

Heck, just make player damage and monster damage fixed at the mean+1. Thus there is no 'damage roll' (2d6 or otherwise) and narrate all the cool effects you want to author as suggest above. (But players DO like rolling for damage).



  • 378
Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2012, 10:03:30 PM »
The biggest problem I can see is that death might feel arbitrary, for monsters and PCs alike. My players like having their HP totals in front of them so they know how dangerous the situation is for them. If a single roll might result in death (for them or a monster), it might feel like total DM fiat when the monster goes down... or when they do. If there's a concrete way to judge when a creaturendies, this would avoid the problem. Sounds like you've got an alternative system in place, with the scratches/wounds/lethal thing, which wasn't mentioned in the OP but definitely seems necessary. I wonder, though, if you aren't just replacing HP with a new system of measurement.

Do you find this system more lethal, less lethal, or about the same? I'm super curious; I've never found a fully satisfying health measurement in an RPG so I'm on the lookout.

Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 04:46:42 AM »
First, adressing the 'Mistake Potential', it's not like that. The Harm rolls are still harm, both the Protection and Damage. So, when you fail in a Protection roll, you will receive some kind of physical, concrete damage. You may be pushed back, grabbed, desarmed, asfixiated, mutilated, scratched, but it will be damage. So, HP could be renamed, but it should be something like 'Life', 'Fortitude', 'Energy' or something like that. HP is so common in rpgs that it's automatically related to life, so I see no use for changing it. Even so, as it's the nature of Aw, you can change the name with no problem. You can make it just like what you want, no worries about that.

Now, in regards to the 'lethality' of the system, just like in DW you can make things last as long or as little as you want, here you can make the damage be brutal or not. For me, even more than the normal damage rolls, this proves to be more related to story. A narrative damage works better for me than a mechancial one.

So, how to adress the problem? One thing you can do is having special moves for the damage roll. So, for example, for tough monsters you could say they only are damages in a 10+, instead of a 7 to 9, while weak monsters are scratched in a 6-, mutilated in a 7 to 9 and completely obliterated in a 10+.

I, personally, dislike that. I prefere the 'one table to rule them all' way. A 6- is no damage, a 7 to 9 is a fleshwound, a dizzyng blow, and a 10+ is a serious wound. What I do, instead of having different effects for different monsters, I use the idea of critical damage, which I explained in the Dark Souls hack of mine. The idea is: Every damage may have a special tag (like Sharp, Fire, Cold, Acid, Poison, Curse, Demon, Radiant, Cold Iron) and, if you are hurt with a special tag and your armor doesn't have that tag in it's protection, so you will receive critical damage.

When you receive critical damage, if you take 10+ in your protection, you count as taking 7 to 9. That means that you will get hurt no matter what you roll. That, in the fiction, is the elemental magical damage going through your armor. It's the breath of the dragon going through the armor, or the bilefull nature of the otyugh poisoning you. This works the same for players! When they do critical damage, if they roll 6-, they count as 7 to 9.

And what about death? Well, what I do with the narrated damage, instead of the marks of Scratches, Wounds and Lethal, is just to consider a soft damage (7 to 9) be a preapartion for a hard damage (6-). In other words, it's just like the idea of Soft and Hard moves. When the monster hits you and you roll your protection with an 8, you may be grabed, pushed back, scratched and, in the next action, if you do not recover from it, the damage becames Hard. It's like having one extra Hard move for the MC, which titles:

. Escalate a soft damage to a hard damage.

And how could you deal with a hard damage? There are some interesting ways. In the Monster of the Week rpg, there is a box that you can check when you are 'unstabilized'. You can have that in the game. When you roll 6-, or, by other means, receive a hard damage, you mark the box. That means that the damage you received is lethal and, if not stabilized, it will kill you (it's only getting worst).

One new idea I had is to use similar moves as the Madness moves for Dark Worlds (the Cthulhu Dark AW hack from Thievves of time). When you get mad in that game, you can make 'mad moves' so you can reverse back to 'sane'. Well, when your are hurt, you could make a 'Heal move' to be back in active.

I think that could work with Soft Damage. It could be like this:

When you receive Soft damage and want to recover, you can:
. Try to push away or problems or strenghten your musculature (roll+Str); Try to roll away from danger (roll+Dex); Try to recompose yourself (roll+Con); Try to ignore pain and focus (roll+Int); Try to have faith and tune in your instincts (roll+Wis); Try to have courage and good will (roll+Cha).

. On a 10+, you are recovered. On a 7 to 9, you are recovered, but a complication arises (like in the move Defy Danger).

The idea is, when you receive soft damage, you are in a hard spot and, if you do not recover, you will be getting damaged hard. And to heal from hard damage, you will have to get medical or magical treatment.

What do you think?



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Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 08:20:40 AM »
No No, you mistake me. What I meant is that HP as they are presented in the rules are a measure of mistake potential (not your re-iteration of AW's health clocks). I was just suggesting that it might be helpful to you to use the rules as written and institute a name change to make the system feel less stymied as you suggest in the OP.

I'm all for narrative tags or 'conditions' as you like to call them, and have been using them all the time with the rules as written. There is nothing to stop you from never 'dealing damage' to the players and simply narratively applying monster's attack moves as written.

You now avoid 'types' of damage: hard damage, soft damage, critical damage, infernal damage..... and the specific protection to counter them and particular healing to fix them and then rolling another move.

We just give a tag (with fictional consequences) and then deal with it narratively. You have a broken arm? Well you need to have that splinted to heal. Poisoned? you need an antidote. Bleeding? Better stem the flow.

I get that you like having extra 'crunch' in your game, and that your ideas will probably make the game the way you want, which is awesome! But you asked for some feedback, and I find it just a little convoluted and unnecessary , given the potential within the rules as they are.



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Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 10:56:25 AM »
I'm not sure it's for my group, but this is a really, really interesting idea. Now that you've fully explained it, it's got me thinking. There are still some "GM fiat" issues but you're laying a cool groundwork.

Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 12:46:24 PM »
Scrape, you've pointed before that you've been searching for a way to deal with narrative damage. What ideas have you had? I would like to know. The thing is that a middle point between the mechanics and the fiction.

Noofy, I would like to know exactly where it is crunchy, for I don't see it. I would like to know the specifics so I can ponderate about new ways. The many rolls are crunchy? Or the ideas of the conditions? I would like to know exactly, to pin point it, if possible.

The cern, the core of the question is: Dealing with narrativistic damage without changing the rolling. I find the Result table in AWE (apocalypse world engine) the best thing for resolution in games. It's simples, for it doesn't have too many results, and direct. You fail, you tie (a weak hit) and you suceed (strong hit). Just it. The damage, even in AW and Monterhearts (MH), is very 'mechanical' by nature. Even MH, that has a much more freeform of damage, is mechanical, 'cold, in comparison with the 2d6 roll.

The idea with Damage and Protection rolls are just that: to use de 2d6 with narrative damage. To make the damage just another move. I'm still confused about the crunchy side of it, and would like to ask you to explain me and my dumbself, ^^.

While with Scrape, what do you think would be the complain with your group about this methode of resolution? Why do you say that it's not for your group? I'm not trying to say something like 'they should like it'. No, I just would like to know what would be the complains. Maybe this system can be improved. That's what I want to do, and for that, I need to know about what would be the problems with it.



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Re: Damage rules using 2d6 rolls
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2012, 01:38:59 PM »
I see where you're coming from on this, Gaigaia.  You're basically exchanging "Roll Monster Damage" for "roll 2d6+protection" and "Roll Class Damage" for "roll 2d6+Damage".  And then making the outcome of that 2d6+x result have a narrative, fiction-first result rather than just a numeric result.

The advantage of this approach is that it requires returning to the fiction when you inflict or take damage.  With the standard DW's HP mechanic, it's easy--very easy--to say "it stabs you with it's spear! 6 damage!" and never really reference that stab wound again, or even establish where the stab happened.

Your approach would take more time to resolve than the standard DW damage rolls, because now you'd be tracking conditions & specific wounds where you wouldn't necessarily be doing so with HP (you could be, but the game design doesn't force you to).

The biggest issue I'd foresee with implementing this approach is that it tinkers with the game near the core of its mechanics.  All of the game's rules pertaining to taking & healing damage are based on HP.  You'd have to convert class damage, monster damage, armor, spell damage, weapon tags like "piercing 1" or "+1 damage," the effects of Make Camp and Recover, and an undetermined number of advanced class moves.  That's a lot of work, and a lot unknowns, and a lot to communicate to your players.

If you want to tinker less with the core rules, but still want to create a narrative approach to damage, you could have the Damage Roll itself determine the results.  Keep the damage rolls as they currently exist, but map them to one or two tables that give narrative outcomes.  For example, a damage roll of 1-2 can wound  a horde or group creature or scratch something tougher.  A 3-5 can kill a horde creature outright, or pick from the 1-2 list. A 6-11 can kill a group creature or wound a solitary creature, or something from the 3-5 list.

You could handle the effects of those wounds and scratches narratively, based on a creature's physiology, instinct, moves, and motivations. 

For PCs, you'd probably want a different table resulting in scratches, costs (gear, armor, etc.), wounds, and Last Breath.  Limit how many scratches and wounds each class can take (possibly affected by their Constitution score?).  Say, a fighter can take 6 scratches and 3 wounds; the 7th scratch is a wound and the 4th wound triggers his Last Breath.  A wizard might take 3 scratches and 2 wounds.  Etc.

You'd probably want to establish guidelines regarding scratches & wounds on PCs.  Like "you must Defy Danger to act despite a wound" or "if a scratch would directly affect a roll, make that roll at -1."
You could make healing effects do the same thing as damage, but in reverse.  So with Cure Light Wounds, you'd roll 1d8 and see how much damage you healed.  If you rolled 2, that'd heal a wound on a group or horde creature or a scratch on a tougher foe.

I'm not sure this work would be worth it, but it'd be a way to handle it without retooling so much of the system.