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SG2/DS2 dice with more than six sides.

From: Thomas Barclay of the Clan Barclay <kaladorn@h...>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 22:24:53 -0500
Subject: SG2/DS2 dice with more than six sides.

Just a momentary <harmless good natured> personal rant
<tune out if you are smart!> (BTW, not a personal attack on anyone - to
each his own!)

What's the problem with dice with many sides? I've heard several folks
mention a strange peccadillo against polyhydral dice in a game. A game
system using only 6 sided dice has to work MUCH harder to generate a
variety of game mechanics and to produce certain kinds of probabalistic
curves. The advantage of using polyhydra dice (something extremely
familiar to the RPGing players who also wargame) is, among other things,
the ability to generate additional types of results without having to
perform wierd acrobatics while trying to fit them to six sided dice.

Does it make the game harder? Well, I suppose if you'd never played an
RPG that ingrained them into your head, yes. It is a tad more complex.
But that complexity is more than counterbalanced (IMO admittedly) by the
much broader range of results curves you get from using the extra die
types. And most of the FMA family have some pretty keen ways to help you
along - for example, they've colour coded. One of the easy things to do
(I found) when playing SG2 was to break down and go to our local dice
source (Fandom II) and pickup all the dice I needed (two to six of each
kind) in the appropriate colours - yellow d4s, green d6s, blue d8s,
orange d10s, red d12s. Once you've done this, your quality chits match
up (in SG2) nicely with your die types. It makes administration fairly
straightforward. I can't recall if DS2 is this clean and straightforward
or not.

Anyway, I'll keep my rant brief. I've just seen too many games do one of
two things, neither of which is pretty, to stay with a six-sided dice
1) Use an ungodly NUMBER of dice - more of a pox than using different
die types if I had to guess (IMO). Charlie Company seems to do this
(from my limited experience).
2) Have some pretty outrageous results as they try to fit certain
probability results to dice not ever meant to generate that kind of
result set - which leaves one with a vaguely sour taste.... I hate to
see game mechanics and probabilities distorted just to fit a die type
when their are other die types easily available. (of course, I own d2,
d3, d4, d5, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, d30, d100, etc plus lots of more
specialized dice).

You shouldn't have to distort your game probabilities (allowing freaky
results to occur 1 time in 6 for example) nor should you have to resort
to coming up with insane ways of rolling 6 siders to get a particular
result distribution. (Roll d6. If you roll a 6, roll another D6, if you
roll 5 or 6 on the second dice, roll an additional D6, and if it is a
one... *you get the idea!*)

Rant mode deactivated.

Anyway, The GZGverse has a wide enough dimension to allow almost any
personal deviance from a standard ruleset, so everyone can (and will!)
just do what suits them, and we're all happy with that. I just
(personally) don't get the big problem with polyhydral dice. They're
ubiquitious (not quite as much as d6, but still not hard to find), give
a wide variety of results to correspond to a variety of types of action
or event, and save you hurting your head trying to make d6s do all your

Of course, to quote loosely Dennis Miller, that's just my opinion. I
could be wrong.


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