Friday, September 17, 2021

Why I chose rerolls over bonuses

 Hello all! I'm sorry I'm late again. I keep forgetting how much work I get at the end of the school year and the beginning of the school year are way busier than I remember.

I wanted to write about one aspect of SCRAWL. SCRAWL changed a lot over the years, but there was one aspect of it that never changed and that was when the characters did ability tests, if they were good at them, they get an extra die to roll rather than a bonus to the roll. Then they use the best roll.

An ability test in SCRAWL has a number between 3 and 6. To succeed at an ability test, you need to roll equal to or more than that number on 1d6. 

There are certain abilities, items or codewords that help with each ability test. For each ability, item or codeword you have that helps, you may roll an additional 1d6. You only need 1 die to roll equal to or over the difficulty to succeed at the test.

I could have changed it. I could have said that each ability, item or codeword gives a +1 bonus, but I never did want to. I wanted to go into why.

The main reason stems from a problem that may occur in Fabled Lands or Tunnels and Trolls solos, which uses a level system. That is that if I gave bonuses out that add to the die roll, it will prevent anyone who didn't have those bonuses from succeeding. Fabled Lands and Tunnels and Trolls are great, but the books are suitable for characters of a certain level. If you attempt Lords of the Rising Sun as a lowly level 1, you will be splatted. And if you attempt the War Torn Kingdom as a level 6, it might be such a cake walk that you might find it boring. The same is with Tunnels and Trolls solos. Get the wrong level and it will either be too easy or too hard.

I just went out for some milk

Part of the reason is that the tests in those books, where you roll dice and add a stat, will be impossible to reach because your character's stat will not be high enough.

The answer is rerolls. If you give someone a reroll, they will have a higher chance at success, but the range of numbers they roll will still be the same as the range that someone without the reroll could have. For that reason, it will be harder, but not impossible, for a beginner character.

SCRAWL is intended to be a gamebook where anyone can do any quest in any order, adding to the openness of the system, which is why nothing gives bonuses. They only give rerolls. If I wanted to give a minor bonus, I gave it the bonus of rerolling all 1s that are rolled.

I'll be going into SCRAWL design more as the weeks go on (though not every week, that could get a little boring).

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