Thinking about a d5 system

In the game I made recently (Battlestreets), I used a dice pool mechanic, a basic “count 4-5 as successes, and 6s as double” with the idea that you build a power bar from the successes you accrue.

I still like that basic idea of using 6s as something special, then it occured to me, you could have a d5 system by rolling, say, 4d6, but remove the 6s – they count as 0 for the total but are kept as “power results” to build a resource bank. What’s left is a result from 0 - 20. What a sweet DnD-ish result with a nice bell curve!

I also like that 10 is the basic target number with a 55% chance a nice tier of difficulties at 12, 14, and 16,. (My attempt at Anydice here.) Unfortunately, if you use stat bonuses, you can only really get up to +3, as +4s will yeild almost a 90% chance rate, so it’s not as granular as I’d like it to be.

Still, I got excited enough about it that I wanted to share. :blush: Is it unrealistic to think that this might be a thing? Even if the 6s removed got to be a cool resource, for stunts, etc., I think a lot of people might balk at it being a bit unconventional.


I like it, in theory. I’m not sure what it’s for, necessarily, but adding together d6s while taking away 6s is a solid way to fool around with some probabilities.

Depending on how many dice you “remove”, you can do all kinds of fun dice tricks… I’ll leave those as an exercise to the reader for now. :slight_smile:


Haha well for now, it’s just “for” fun as I let the idea percolate. I like magical realism kind of stories and that intersects with supers and sci fi stuff, so I’m thinking this could be a kind of “build up your misfortunes until you unleash” kind of things. Taking away a 6 would more often than not lead to results below a target, so maybe call them “Danger” dice. In a player-facing game, this gives the GM a trigger (or allows a GM-less game), plus there’s an incentive to bank up the Danger to spend on stunts and special moves.

I also like the the concept. I see two problems though:

  1. I can add four numbers together, but I really do not enjoy doing it. I assume that most role-players are the same.
  2. Another disadvantage is that some of the players might hate the idea that rolling a six adds 0 to the outcome. I can hear some of my players: “The highest roll is the worst result plus some long-term bonus. Ah, man, that is demotivating!” It blame this on some weird evolutionary trait :slight_smile:

Both problem disappear in a dice roller application.

I think this idea worths and needs some player-experience testing :slight_smile:

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I agree that adding four dice is not ideal, but fine for many/some groups.

It was bugging me that I know of a game that does a thing like this, but couldn’t remember.

It’s a bit of an obscure OSR game, called Five Ancient Kingdoms.

It’s less elegant than this idea, I think, but similar:

A basic roll is 2d6, but dropping any 1s (they’re counted as a zero, effectively). Roll two 1s, and you “zero out”, which is presumably quite terrible.

Finally, if you do make this a system, you can play with the 6s in all kinds of ways.

For instance, for a temporary advantage that makes a relatively little difference but will feel very dramatic, allow a single ‘6’ to be kept and added to the other dice. A small change, in terms of probabilities, but will feel like a big deal if it comes up.

Allowing all 6s to be kept and scored would be a powerful “advantage”-type mechanic, which you could use to underscore some important themes in the game.

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This feels vaguely like a slight inversion of the dice rules for The One Ring.

In The One Ring, you roll a d12 (the “fate die” or something IIRC), and d6s equal to your skill. You sum them all (Okay, fine, the d12 is really 1-10, zero and auto-success but we’re not talking about the d12 here I promise) and use the total to see IF you succeed… but then the number of 6’s rolled on the d6s are what tells you how WELL you succeed.

You’ve obviously gone for different maths, but I feel like the core conceit here is pretty similar.