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What’s wrong with the Wild Die?
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Bren
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:50 pm    Post subject: What’s wrong with the Wild Die? Reply with quote

I'm always just a little bit surprised when I see posts where people say that they don't like the Wild Die. I love it and I think it nicely explains things seen in the movies (on the 1 on the wild die side) Han's really, really lame Con in ANH or the time he steps on the twig when sneaking up on the Biker Scout in RotJ. And it’s always exciting when the players get a few sixes on the wild die at a dramatic moment.

This isn’t an argument about which is better, but I'm curious why people dislike the wild die.

1. So want makes you dislike the wild die?

2. And is your dislike from a GM or a player perspective?
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: What’s wrong with the Wild Die? Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
I'm always just a little bit surprised when I see posts where people say that they don't like the Wild Die. I love it and I think it nicely explains things seen in the movies (on the 1 on the wild die side) Han's really, really lame Con in ANH or the time he steps on the twig when sneaking up on the Biker Scout in RotJ. And it’s always exciting when the players get a few sixes on the wild die at a dramatic moment.

This isn’t an argument about which is better, but I'm curious why people dislike the wild die.

1. So want makes you dislike the wild die?

2. And is your dislike from a GM or a player perspective?


For my own perspective, as someone new to the entire system, it seems like it introduces an element of randomness beyond the already random nature of die rolls. Although, admittedly, in practice, I'm not sure how it'd play out.

Like, let's say you're rolling 4D on your blaster to make a shot that requires at least a 15 to succeed. You roll above that amount...but the wild die rolls a one. So...you succeed your shot but your gun blows up in your hand? You hit the target squarely between the eyes, but he drops the data cylinder you were trying to get into the sewer system?

I dunno. I just think that'd get kinda annoying. Maybe if I played 1E for a while and found it too predictable, I'd appreciate the wild die concept, but just on its face it seems like it'd introduce the possibility of drastically undercutting success.

As a GM, it would seem like it could, I dunno, maybe get in the way of the game you're trying to run? Maybe not. I might just be overthinking it.

Mechanically, it's different (I gather?) from, say, a critical failure/hit in something like AD&D, where a 1 on the D20 gets you a failure, and a 20 is a critical hit. But even then, that's just your to-hit roll. You roll your D20, a 1 is a catastrophic failure, a 20 is a critical hit, and that's that. One die, one roll, nothing else needed. With the wild die, you add in more rolls on top of just the basic roll you need to do. Just seems like it introduces more complexity for what I can't (for now) see as a whole lot of benefit.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:14 pm    Post subject: Re: What’s wrong with the Wild Die? Reply with quote

Solo4114 wrote:
For my own perspective, as someone new to the entire system, it seems like it introduces an element of randomness beyond the already random nature of die rolls. Although, admittedly, in practice, I'm not sure how it'd play out.

Like, let's say you're rolling 4D on your blaster to make a shot that requires at least a 15 to succeed. You roll above that amount...but the wild die rolls a one. So...you succeed your shot but your gun blows up in your hand? You hit the target squarely between the eyes, but he drops the data cylinder you were trying to get into the sewer system?

I dunno. I just think that'd get kinda annoying. Maybe if I played 1E for a while and found it too predictable, I'd appreciate the wild die concept, but just on its face it seems like it'd introduce the possibility of drastically undercutting success.

As a GM, it would seem like it could, I dunno, maybe get in the way of the game you're trying to run? Maybe not. I might just be overthinking it.

Mechanically, it's different (I gather?) from, say, a critical failure/hit in something like AD&D, where a 1 on the D20 gets you a failure, and a 20 is a critical hit. But even then, that's just your to-hit roll. You roll your D20, a 1 is a catastrophic failure, a 20 is a critical hit, and that's that. One die, one roll, nothing else needed. With the wild die, you add in more rolls on top of just the basic roll you need to do. Just seems like it introduces more complexity for what I can't (for now) see as a whole lot of benefit.

For the initial roll, one of the dice you are already rolling is the wild die (usually a different color).

The number of dice rolled don't change unless the wild die is a 6, and then you keep rolling the wild die, adding to your total, only until you stop getting 6s. The odds of getting the first wild die 6 are 16.7%, but the odds of continual 6s decrease exponentially (2 wild die 6s is 1/36, 3 wild die sixes is 1/216, and so on.) So odds are, when you are lucky enough to get a 6 on the wild die that you won't get the second 6 so it stops there. A little boost, but the second wild die could be a 1 so it could be a tiny boost.

For 2-4 on the wild die, they always add up normally.

For 1 on the wild die, there are no extra rolls. If a 1 is rolled on the wild die, there are three possibilities:
    1) The highest die result and the 1 are subtracted from the total. Otherwise nothing special happens and the result may still succeed or fail.
    2) The dice are added up normally (which may still be a success or failure), but a complication occurs.
    3) The dice add up normally (which may still be a success or failure) and nothing special happens.
The GM chooses which of the three it is. Most of of the time, I choose nothing special happens. It would be too much to have a complication every single time the 1 is rolled. And even when you do have a complication, it doesn't have to be a drastic one like your blaster exploding. They can be very minor complications, and could even not be obvious to the players that it even was a complication until later in the adventure.

I certainly wouldn't let the wild die make the decision as to which edition you play. If you don't want that level of randomness then don't include it. It is not instrumental to the game and 2e can easily work without it. I hope this at least helps clarify it.
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That does, yeah. Thanks, Whill. Like I said, I hadn't really looked into the system in much detail. Only skimmed the 2E book. I'm still iffy on it, and would probably want to see it in action. Which, really, is my ultimate issue. I need time and a group to play with to figure this stuff out! Smile
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: What’s wrong with the Wild Die? Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
I'm always just a little bit surprised when I see posts where people say that they don't like the Wild Die. I love it and I think it nicely explains things seen in the movies (on the 1 on the wild die side) Han's really, really lame Con in ANH or the time he steps on the twig when sneaking up on the Biker Scout in RotJ. And it’s always exciting when the players get a few sixes on the wild die at a dramatic moment.

This isn’t an argument about which is better, but I'm curious why people dislike the wild die.

1. So want makes you dislike the wild die?



I don't dislike the Wild Die, but I don't miss them with 1E rules.

The Wild Die is useful in that it always allows a possiblilty of success, even if you're just rolling 1D and need a 30+ to succeed at the task. It's a very slim chance--a zero percent chance for all practical purposes--but still possible.

On the other hand, the Wild Die can be unwieldy in a slam-bam, quick action game. The act of re-rolling takes some time, and it happens quite often (1 in 6 rolls). Summing the dice takes a bit longer. And, you end up just throwing more dice.

It can be much easier to just throw 2D or 4D and be done with it.
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The Brain
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still it's infinitely superior to having multiple goofy symbols to interpret, and forcing the GM to come up with little silver linings and hidden snags almost constently.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brain wrote:
Still it's infinitely superior to having multiple goofy symbols to interpret, and forcing the GM to come up with little silver linings and hidden snags almost constently.


Absolutely.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brain wrote:
Still it's infinitely superior to having multiple goofy symbols to interpret, and forcing the GM to come up with little silver linings and hidden snags almost constently.

Amen!
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what I do:

- Every six on a wild die is rerolled.

- Every 1 on a wild die, subtract that and highest die from your total.

Then I look at the resultant roll and decide on what happened. This comes from years of playing and trying different things. It applies to every player and NPC. It works out, for me, better than anything else I've tried.

If the die roll becomes very high from multiple sixes on the wild die I will give the player a great exposition for their success. If the wild die destroys their roll I will give them a catastrophic failure exposition, like the blaster blowing up in their hand.

On average this will increase your roll by one level of success on a 6 or decrease it one level on a 1. So a moderate roll will become a difficult success on a 6 or a moderate roll will become an easy roll on a 1.

It has an impact and the joy your players feel from rolling a six tends to exceed their disappointment from rolling a 1. Especially since you can negate a 1 on the wild die by using a character die.

The other thing to note is that as your players skills increase the impact of the wild die is diminished. It still impacts critical moments, when making heroic level rolls, but moderate rolls will barely be impacted by the wild die.

For instance, You have a player character with 4D dex (Like a farghul), +2D in Blaster bringing it to 6D and a specialization in blaster pistol, bringing the total to 7D, with an average roll of 24.5 (7 * 3.5), which is a very difficult roll. The group is trying to hit a npc at a moderate difficulty roll of 15. The PC is likely to succeed even if they roll a 1 on the wild die, which would bring their average very difficult roll down to a difficult roll. They are likely to exceed the moderate damage roll even if they don't explode with a 6 on the wild die.

I highly recommend keeping the wild die. The successes your characters get from that wild 6 makes them happy, and the failures from the wild 1 makes the game more memorable.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my games I used a slightly modified version of what appears in the rules.

1. The Wild die explodes as a 6 as normal.

2. When a 1 is rolled on the Wild die I look at the situation. If its not a high pressure situation or one in which the outcome being doubtful adds nothing to the story, then I do not really bother, even ignoring Crushing Defeats (missing the difficulty number by 10 or more). In fact, if a character is doing something that really does not move the story forward or is side story fluff, I won't even require a roll, and assume the player was successful at what they were attempting.

3. If a 1 is rolled on the Wild die and the outcome could be in question or a failure could add to the drama of a given scene, I will ask the player, opening floor for suggestions from the other players as well, to narrate out a complication related to the use of the skill. The complication can have an immediate affect, take place in the scene soon, or leads into the next scene. It must make things more difficult for the players and add drama to the scene.

4. Critical Success and Crushing Defeat are times in which the player rolls 10 over or under the difficulty number. When doing so I ask the player, and open the table to the other players to make suggestion, on narrating a short term positive or negative modifier related to the skill used that gives the player or group an advantage or hindrance for that scene and possible another.

I have thought about doing away with the mechanic of subtracting the Wild die and the highest die as a penalty, since normally, a 1 on a die is already a penalty.

One quick point I would make about complications per the rules, a complication may happen if the player rolls a 1 on the Wild die and the total would be normally be a success. No mention is made of removing the Wild Die and the highest die, or the expenditure of character points, only that the roll would normally be a success.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My rule of thumb is to always subtract the highest die, then consider the results:

If "minus highest" is still a success, then they get a "Yes, but"... a success but a complication. Luke figuring out how to lock the door, but missing that it will also prevent them from extending the bridge.

If minus highest is a failure, but would've succeeded with that die? Simple failure.

If the full value wouldn't have succeeded anyway, then you get a failure plus a complication... Han trying to hotwire the door on Endor's moon, but accidentally closing the door that's already opened.
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brain wrote:
Still it's infinitely superior to having multiple goofy symbols to interpret, and forcing the GM to come up with little silver linings and hidden snags almost constently.


Yeah, I listened to an Actual Play podcast of the FFG Star Wars RPG, and I was baffled.

I mean, I get the underlying concept, but it seems really unwieldy. In theory, a descriptive GM using traditional dice is just going to describe what happens in a narrative sense anyway (e.g., you roll a miss, "Your blaster bolt sears past the stormtrooper's head, narrowly missing him"). But in practice, it sounds like it's more complicated than that.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just a traditionalist. Or maybe I don't like the idea of having to buy proprietary dice.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shootingwomprats wrote:
I have thought about doing away with the mechanic of subtracting the Wild die and the highest die as a penalty, since normally, a 1 on a die is already a penalty.

A 1 on any die is a "penalty" in the same way. For that option, I did institute a minor change of only subtracting the highest die and not also subtracting the wild die 1 with it. Taking the highest roll is already bad, and the 1 is already bad so I just leave it there.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience the most effective way to avoid disastrous results from 1s on the wild die is the occasional offerings of free beverages and the occasional food item to the GM.

As to that other version and its means of boon/bane resolution my dislike of it is not only is it tediousness but that it usurps the control of the narrative from the GM the person in the best position to judge the needs of the game to be entertaining for the group to the whims of an absent game designer with not clue as to how a particular game has developed.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My original group got rid of the "wild die" concept, and replaced it with the "lucky die" concept. The only reason to have a die of a different color was in case that die rolled a 6, at which point, it exploded. There was no penalty for rolling a 1 on the wild die.

It worked well for us: I feel that a ~17% chance of a mishap (depending on the GM--some I know are "all or nothing" types) is way to common; and if it is merely at the GM's discretion whether to assess a penalty or not, it can feel rather arbitrary when the GM decides to let the bad guy escape this time, when your last 1-on-the-wild-die had no effect.
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