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Lee Torres

The Wild Die

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More options is always good, in any case. No one has to unanimously agree on them, but if a few people like a Wild Die option and want to use it in their game, that's part of the beauty of Open D6.

 

This.

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"When I use the Wild Die I used it SPECFICALLY for the minus or addition of dice. A 1 always takes away itself and the highest die. A 6 always "explodes", adding to the total. I never use it to add a difficulty or a spectacular bonus. I use the rolls to determine that. If a player rolls 6D and gets a 4 when the difficulty was 15, I'll have something bad happen because of how poorly they failed. If a player rolls 3D and gets 36 when the difficulty was 20, I'll have their success be a little more spectacular or beneficial because of how well they rolled. But I don't automatically make bad things happen on a 1. If a player rolls a 1 on the Wild Die and still gets enough to succeed based on the difficulty, then it's a success. If a player gets a 6 on the Wild Die but still manages to not make their required difficulty, they'll still fail. So it all comes out in the wash.

 

So when you're looking at "gritty", you have to look at whether you want "gritty cinematic" or "gritty realism". The for the former, keep the Wild Die but require an additional roll to "verify" the occurrence. So a 1 is rolled, roll it again. Another 1 means bad stuff. Anything else and it's just a 1. A 6 is rolled, roll it again. Another 6 means you add a D to the total. Anything else and it's just a 6. Still "gritty", but also has an element of cinematic, just not so rare as "all dice coming up 1 or 6". If you want the latter, then just completely remove the Wild Die. Expect no variances, work specifically on a well established bell curve and tell people "them's the breaks" when they simply can never get a 19 on 3D, no matter how many times they roll...it'll always be an infinity away."

 

This is how I roll.

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I'm pretty sure that I once read a rule, which I paraphrase here:

 

If you roll a 1 on the Wild Die, one of the following things can happen:

  • Something Bad happens;
  • Remove the 1 AND the highest die you rolled; or
  • *Shrug* A one. Too Bad, So Sad. Total 'em up.

GM's choice.

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In our games we never use the wild die, we just don't care for it.

 

Dr. Rotwang!

 

That was the case in star wars and previous D6 version, but in the newest version there are only two options:

(cut and pasted right from the OGL version of D6 Adventure)

 

If the player rolls a 1 on the initial toss of the Wild Die, this is called

a Critical Failure, and the gamemaster may chose one of two options

for the result, depending on the gravity of the situation.

1. The Critical Failure cancels out the highest roll. Then the player

adds the remaining values, and the roll is determined normally.

2. Add the dice results normally, but a complication occurs. The

gamemaster gauges the significance of the complication by the total

generated — from a funny, “nearly didn’t do it” result for a high total

to a serious, “we have a problem” obstacle for a low total.

 

Obviously, if you don't like the wild die, just ignore it like my group does.

 

I am working on a version of D6 Legend which does not include the wild die at all, but I figure i will put in an appendix for those who cannot live without it...

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I never used the Wild Die because I never saw a reason to. I started running SW 1e when it first came out and neither I nor any of my players felt deprived by not having critical success/failure mechanics. When I picked up SW 2e (several years after it came out) I decided not to use the Wild Die in future games: if 1 in 3 rolls are special, they are no longer special.

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I posted this over on RPG.net but thought I'd share it here too.

 

Given the popularity of its use in Cubicle 7's Doctor Who RPG and in Nathan Russell's FU RPG, what about this as a way of handling the Wild Die:

 

Success + 6 on the Wild Die = "Yes, And..."

Success + neither 1 nor 6 on the Wild Die = "Yes"

Success + 1 on the Wild Die = "Yes, But..."

Failure + 6 on the Wild Die = "No, But..."

Failure + neither 1 nor 6 on the Wild Die = "No"

Failure + 1 on the Wild Die = "No, And..."

 

No rolling up, no removing dice, just use the Wild Die to add complications or benefits to the roll.

Edited by Lee Torres

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I just don't like the "But" that's included. It leaves it way too open to random interpretation by a vindictive and/or inexperienced GM. I guess if you want that, feel free to use it. It is pretty "simple" in that regards.

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The "But" is just a tag for a complication - In the case of a successful roll with a one on the Wild Die it might mean that it took longer than you thought, or your partner down the corridor has just signaled that a guard is coming. Not a critical disaster, just a wrinkle. I think a vindictive GM is going to take any chance and run with it, but with examples in a finished rules-set it should make it clear that the complication can be trivial; you've bypassed the electronic surveillance, but as you're cutting the audio you have to stifle a sneeze. In the case of a failed roll, "But" can be a good thing. You didn't make the leap across the chasm, but you've grabbed a thick vine mere inches from the edge that you can use to pull yourself up. So the two modifiers switch based on success or failure.

 

I was mainly adding it to this thread because it seems to work into the desire for a system that doesn't alter the overall dice mechanic (exploding dice, taking dice out) that most existing Wild Die variants use. To your point, it is very open to GM interpretation, yes.

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It's funny people would complain about bonusing or "exploding" a die or removing a die but not bat an eye at a GM being able to decide with impunity some completely random thing to throw on to a typical action. "I'm going to run." "I'm going to drive the car." Do you really want a GM to go "You run, but..." or "You fail running, and..." Or "You drive the car, but..." Literally 33% of every die roll made with the Wild Die would have some completely random thing.

 

I've heard way, way too many horror stories about how people tried D6 Star Wars, ended up under some GM who took the opportunity to screw over the players with every single 1 rolled on the Wild Die, and never wanted to play D6 again. Something like this basically puts that to the very forefront of the random GM interpretation. Even with examples, having to come up with a "but" or "and" for every 1 out of 3 rolls (on average) is a little excessive. I think this would only go to perpetuate and exacerbate the problems I've heard so much about in the past with the Wild Die.

 

My how the pendulum has swung the other way...

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What is so dramatically compelling in running or driving a car? That is, I'm questioning the simplicity of your example. Do you make players roll if they're going to run to a door with no need to roll to dodge gunfire, or outrun a speeding car? Do you make them roll to drive if they're going to 7-11 for a cup of coffee, or only when they're trying to catch up to the car the kidnappers are escaping in? Why have them roll for things that don't matter?

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Those were random examples, but indicative of something that could be relatively benign, such as picking a lock or searching for information on a computer terminal. I can see where if you were running from something there could be an "and" or "but", same with driving a vehicle (racing to or from something or racing another vehicle).

 

Basically, my point is that this particular option seems to put entirely too much randomness in the power of the GM. If I want randomness, I want it with my die rolls, not with the GM deciding 1 out of every 3 rolls. Way too much potential for abuse on the part of bad GMs.

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I reserve the right to add amusing things based on the wild die, but usually I find adding/subtracting to be fine. Adding things every third roll? Ugh . . . . that would add up to LOTS of things over the course of a single fight! Im not THAT creative

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Lee, I like your new idea as an option. And it does address some complaints out there about the wild die. I agree with Kal that this method would take a creative GM (like yourself) to be successful at always coming up with a bonus/complication effect for every Wild Die 1 or 6. I don't know if I could do that consistently. A complication occasionally on a 1 result is a lot easiler to manage.

 

I don't think we should limit the options for Open D6 mechanics based on the concern for how bad GMs may possibly abuse their players with it. There is no way to stop bad GMs from being bad GMs. If this mechanic isn't used then some other mechanic will be. And bad GMs don't need rules that are easily abused anyway. There are many ways for bad GMs to ruin games for players.

 

My suggestion of how better to deal with bad GMs? Simply don't play their games. If I had experienced some of the horror stories I have read about online I would have just walked. Playing nothing is better than playing in a bad GM's game. And if everyone walks then maybe the bad GM will get the hint.

 

Don't blame the rules for the bad GMs that abuse them. The GMs are bad, not the rules themselves. Not providing rule options based on how easy it is to abuse is punishing good GMs who might like the idea and won't abuse it.

 

Lee, I think the rule is just fine for those of us that are good GMs who wouldn't abuse it (and can easliy think of bonus effects and complications). It addresses concerns some have about the Wild Die, while maintaing the spirit of the wild die.

 

And regarding the whole critique of something "special" happening so frequently (1/3 of the time), think about how "special" that really is to the outcome. The most likely outcome to getting a 6 on the wild die is rollling it again and not getting another 6. So you get a little boost to your roll. Sometimes that boost isn't enough and the roll fails anyway. Was that "special"? When you get a 1 on the Wild Die, sometimes nothing happens. Not special. Sometimes you have to subtract from your roll, and often the roll was so easy it still succeeds anyay. Not special. Sometimes a complication occurs, but complications aren't supposed to be anything drastic. They are usually minor glitches, and in my game they are often for entertainment value (something that annoys the character as the player plays him but doesn't affect him mechanically, something just to heighten the drama a bit, etc.).

 

And if you still want to make it less common than the simplest solution that I have read has suggested that you simply have two Wild Dice for every roll. The explosion is only when both Wild Dice are 6, which would happen much less frequently. The same for whatever bad effect you have happen, now only when both Wild Dice are 1. And another solution is for the GM to simply not have every roll even include a Wild Die - Just when the GM feels that randomness should be greater.

 

I like the Wild Die the way it works in Star Wars R&E RAW, but if I'm feeling creative I might try Lee's new option.

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I don't think we should limit the options for Open D6 mechanics based on the concern for how bad GMs may possibly abuse their players with it. There is no way to stop bad GMs from being bad GMs. If this mechanic isn't used then some other mechanic will be. And bad GMs don't need rules that are easily abused anyway. There are many ways for bad GMs to ruin games for players.

 

My suggestion of how better to deal with bad GMs? Simply don't play their games. If I had experienced some of the horror stories I have read about online I would have just walked. Playing nothing is better than playing in a bad GM's game. And if everyone walks then maybe the bad GM will get the hint.

 

Don't blame the rules for the bad GMs that abuse them. The GMs are bad, not the rules themselves. Not providing rule options based on how easy it is to abuse is punishing good GMs who might like the idea and won't abuse it.

 

Whill, you know that the rules aren't to blame for a bad GM, I know that they aren't to blame for a bad GM. Probably half the people here know that. But a new player doesn't know that. A new player, or an avid gamer in a gamer-limited town doesn't have the liberty to be real picky about their GMs, so some don't have the immediate option to "not play in their games".

 

I'm not saying the proposed rule is flat out wrong. What I'm saying is that it requires (as mentioned by you and Kalzazz, that it's going to be a stretch to use the option for every Wild Die roll. I'm also saying that this has the potential to bring back a fairly big problem that existed many years ago with D6 and has only diminished because so few people actually play using the D6 system anymore.

 

For an experienced GM, one who doesn't consider the Wild Die to be a "let's screw the players over" mechanic, and who (oddly) doesn't want as much randomness with a die roll, then this is a perfect option to use. But if the GM can't come up with an "and" or "but" random thing for every third roll, all night long, or if the GM isn't experienced enough to realize that "complication" doesn't mean that it's time to maim or kill a PC for simply rolling a 1, then this option might want to be put on the "Advanced Options" section. Heck, I'm 3 years away from having 30 years of GMing experience and *I* don't know if I could handle adding a random "and/but" every time the Wild Die came up with a 1 or 6.

 

The suggestion you made, Whill, of throwing 2 Wild Die and only doing an "and/but" if both come up as 6 or 1 would make it a lot more tolerable, IMO, but some may consider it (not me, but some people) to be too much of a variance from traditional D6. As optional rules, though, Lee's idea and your addition to the idea have plenty of merit. I'm just offering caution and trying to remind people of what scared away so many people back when D6 was being played by thousands of gamers.

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I use a "confirmation roll" on the Wild Die to lower how often 1's become a problem. 1-in-36 vs. 1-in-6

 

For the confirmation roll: If it comes up a 1, take away it and the highest die. If it's 2-5, no special failure, you've just rolled a 1. If it comes up a 6, complication.

 

In 10 years of use, I have never heard a complaint. And many players have said that they like it because the second roll adds a lot of tension.

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For a critical success, I let the amount over the roll determine how good it is. If you roll over the difficulty by 15 or more points, then you do something spectacular. Shooting someone? Well, over 15 on the roll is an instant kill. Damage? Well, over 15 means a splash shot and you roll damage against the nearest target. Piloting? Well, over 15 on the roll gives you an extra turn or something...

 

For a critical fail, I have the player drop the highest die. Even if they succeed, something happens. If they are shooting, no matter what their blaster overheats. Astrogation roll? Well, you jumped... but you entered in the destination wrong. Etc.

 

For a crit fail that still fails... Well... Sorry, you not only missed, but you ended up with damage to your blaster (or my favorite... you just snapped off the trigger). Astrogation fail? Well, congrats buttercup, you keyed in the wrong sequence and sent the astronav computer into a reboot... it will be another minute.

 

Yeah, players both love and hate me.

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Astrogation fail? Well, congrats buttercup, you keyed in the wrong sequence and sent the astronav computer into a reboot... it will be another minute.

 

Yeah, players both love and hate me.

 

This is beautiful! Love it!

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I've been slowly going through this thread from the beginning because I have quite a bit of interest in the mechanic. In my mind I have a mix of how Mongoose Traveller handles success/failure and the degree of the result, and merged that with the wild die and spending points on the roll from D6.

 

 

The total roll, the margin between the roll and the target number determines - success (roll equals/over) and failure (under) as well as magnitude of that success failure (miss/make by 1 and you just succeeded/barely failed VS a large margin is a great success/significant failure).

 

The wild die (so far) merely nudges the result in a certain direction (a little better if a '6' and a little worse if a '1'), the specific effect is at the GM's discretion.

 

I don't like the idea of a '1' taking things away from players, but I've been tossing around that the wild die doesn't explode on a '6'... unless the player has spent a point (fate or character) to get an extra d6 to increase the roll. Then the Wild Die can explode normally in addition to the d6. Makes spending the point even more beneficial, but you have to spend the point.

 

My thinking is "shit happens, both good and bad" but this is an RPG so anything that is excessive (yet plausible) typically doesn't have the reward to justify using it, yet at the same time if there is no risk there is no point.

 

Al B.

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The suggestion you made, Whill, of throwing 2 Wild Die and only doing an "and/but" if both come up as 6 or 1 would make it a lot more tolerable, IMO, but some may consider it (not me, but some people) to be too much of a variance from traditional D6. As optional rules, though, Lee's idea and your addition to the idea have plenty of merit. I'm just offering caution and trying to remind people of what scared away so many people back when D6 was being played by thousands of gamers.

 

I thought of this while reading page 2 or so of this thread only to skip here and find that Whill beat me to the punch.

 

In particular, I like that it adds precisely no additional "confirmation" rolls to the wild die determination (except, obv., the exploding die).

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