“Apparata Kitbash is a tabletop RPG work-in-progress. It’s sort of a side-project right now, using the same setting as my PC game (OBSCURON). Over time, I will document the homebrew rules, design and materials that I’ve felt compelled to add to a game I DM on a regular basis. With the encouragement of my players, we will playtest these. Eventually I hope to accumulate enough suitable rules + content so that others can play this game too.”

Combat Rolls with Modifier Dice

I’m taking my Mixed-Success combat rolls for 5E and expanding them further for Apparata Kitbash.

For reference, here’s the related chart for the 5E version, rendered via AnyDice. Slightly more illustrative than my hand-drawn whiteboard chart (in that previous article). The math is linear, not complex: Each modifier just moves the numbers 5%, a side of the d20:

It’s been put through a few paces with my weekly group: Speeding up combat rounds, even as players are learning how it works.

The chart now changes for Apparata Kitbash, with dice-as-modifiers. I’ll discuss that whole concept in a later post, but basically it means rolling additional dice with the d20, rather than adding numeric modifiers after the roll. Anywhere from a d4 up to 2d8. Here’s the AnyDice chart:

Note: the Success range expanded (to 11-19). That was necessary: random die rolls aren’t nearly as beneficial as guaranteed modifiers. It makes the failure range (1-10) easier for players to track as well.

The mixed-success shaves off some percentage at the higher modifiers. I suppose that shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did. High level characters get a big jump from the d12 to 2d8 as well, which I feel is appropriate: I wouldn’t expect players to use a d14 or d16, those dice are too uncommon. I don’t use a d20 modifier-dice because that would be confusing with the primary d20, especially for Advantage / Disadvantage rolls.

I like the variance of dice. I’ve never been comfortable with high-level players achieving “I can never miss” godlike powers to hit or make skill tests. I would rather give them amazing things to do without avoiding the chance of failure.

I have not made up my mind whether this same method will be used towards skill tests, but I am leaning in that direction. This dice-modifier variation has not been tested in combat or otherwise yet, so it’s bound to need some tuning either way.

It’s less granular than 5E’s “bound accuracy” modifiers, but I’m okay with that. I still need to determine the stats / ability numbers that will feed which dice get rolled. I had to determine the system first and now I can work backwards to those numbers from here. So far I assume modifiers will range from 1-to-16 to line up nicely with the dice.

I’m keen on trying this out.

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Mixed-Success Combat Rolls for 5E

Last week I cryptically posted a whiteboard chart to my social media. Here’s an update to that chart, with an explanation of how I’m using it for 5th Edition (and will adapt it to Apparata Kitbash later):

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Descending Dice, Ascending Dice, Countdown Dice, Boost Dice, Exploding Dice!

“Here, take these exploding dice.” Dice mechanics have some nifty, ominous names. What the hell do all these mean and why do I bring them up?

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Physical Materials

I like games with physical, tangible elements: rolling dice, playing cards, tracking with tokens or coins, and moving minis around a map. When I started DMing I found myself crafting maps, handouts of various notes / signs, potion jars, my own style of spell cards– I felt compelled towards homebrew rules using dice in place of other calculations– That led to my core design principle for Apparata Kitbash: Making a game with the complexity and depth of a classic tabletop RPG, but with as many physical interactions as possible to resolve actions.

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Apparata Kitbash

What’s in a name? Kitbash makes me chuckle in this context: This RPG project started with homebrew mods I’ve made for 5E. In many ways, homebrew rules are a kitbash.

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