|Here, have a Russ Nicholson Rhinoman|
Russ Nicholson Rhinoman.
It's either that or no pics.
Get over it.
Expected Ability Score Ranges for OSR-Style GamesSo, in ACKS, I've had it pop up a few times where a player wanted to know what someone's particular stats were but, since they hadn't been important before, I didn't know them. Often, I've been using ye olde "3d6 straight" for all these stats, particularly for things like henchmen or NPCs, but there comes a time when "3d6 straight" misses the fact that 5 Wisdom you rolled doesn't quite match up with the village cleric; we know he's probably a little wiser than average. And so, when I want an NPC to particular strengths and weaknesses, here's my go to rule for the exact numbers.
Weak Stat: d6+2 (3-8; Ability Score mod -3 to -1)
Average Stat: d4+8 (9-12; no Ability Score mod)
Strong Stat: d6+12 (13-18; Ability Score mod +1 to +3)
This isn't the sort of thing that I use to generate a planned set of stats for my NPCs, but rather to fill in specific stats that I feel are supposed to be higher than average, lower than average or just plain average. When +Scott Cambers asks me what his henchmen Ranulf's Strength score is, this is how I'll generate it (Average) and his Wisdom (Weak), but not the rest of his stats, since I don't know anything about them already. Before we gave him any stats, Ranulf was just a random result from Meatshields that told us a little bit about who he was and these values just give me a little better ability than "3d6 straight" to make his stats reflect how I interpret the Meatshield.
Random DCs In DCCMy last experiment in skill checks for DCC didn't pan out very well, mostly because no one else could follow what was going on. I felt like I was trying to cram a system down everyone's throats and it didn't feel terribly useful. So, I'm scrapping that one. Live and learn, I guess. Furthermore, at GenCon, I saw +Jobe Bittman & +Doug Kovacs running DCC using the actual Difficulty Classes mentioned in the DCC rulebook. Holy crap. I didn't think anyone actually did that. As a refresher, here are the basic DCs in DCC:
- DC 5 - Child's play
- DC 10 - "A man's deed"
- DC 15 - Feats of derring-do
- DC 20 - Heroic deeds
As it stands, these are pretty solid, descriptive benchmarks. You could also think of them as "hard to fail," "50/50 ish for an average guy," "unlikely without skill" and "pretty damn unlikely without a bunch of luck and ability." Or whatever you want to call them. When you look at published DCC adventures, though, you see a lot of deviation from these normative Difficulty Classes and lots of things coming in at, say DC 8 or 12 or what have you. Given the appropriate descriptor above, we can give ranges to these numbers and then figure out dice expressions that fit them, treating each benchmark DC as the median for their particular distribution. Here we go:
- Child's play - (Median 5), 3-7, 1d5+2
- "A man's deed" - (Median 10), 8-12, 1d5+7
- Feats of derring-do - (Median 15), 13-17, 1d5+12
- Heroic deeds - (Median 20), 18-20, 1d3+17
A few notes: I get to use my funky dice! This value distribution really worked out well for the funky dice, so more d5s and d3s can get rolled at my table. Second, note that the Heroic deeds category tops out at 20. I'm never going to make something in DCC require a player to roll something higher than a 20 (except maybe on a to-hit roll, but AC is a different beast than a DC) because, in my book, a 20 always spells out success.