My biggest bugbear with the current setup is that some rolls are roll-over, others are roll-under. This bothers me, as players get confused as to which way the rolls should go.
As it stands, attack rolls and saves are roll-over. Ability rolls and skills are roll-under. I'd like to align them all in the same direction:
Option A: Roll OverMove everything to a roll-over system. Attack rolls can stay the same (d20+AB vs AC). Saves would be the same (equal to or greater than your save number).
Ability Score would have to be roll 1d20+Ability. 21+ is success.
Skills would have to be 1d6+skill. 7 is success.
- Rolling high is by virtue of language and conditioning intuitively good. "Natural 20" automatically triggers something in most gamers.
- Ability Scores can be directly opposed, with each side rolling d20+Ability to determine the winner.
- Double digit+double digit math is something that will produce an "uhhhh" every time it is rolled.
- Defeats the point of recording skills in pips, as part of the charm was the visual representation on the sheet actually looking like the d6, and needing that or under.
- 21 and 7 sound arbitrary (even if they aren't), and begin to stray into TN/DC territory, which I'm not a fan of for this kind of game. The simplicity of roll-under is that what you see is what you need.
- Save numbers go down to improve instead of going up, which is slightly counter-intuitive.
Option B: Roll UnderAttribute and Skill rolls remain as they are now. Saves are easily converted to roll-under: you just take what they are now and subtract them from 20. A sheet could have the updated saves and no one would notice the difference.
Attack Bonus would need renamed (it's no longer a bonus), but is functionally the same. If you had +2 before, it would now just be a roll-under of 2. AC would go back to TSR era "lower is better."
Your attack roll would then be a d20 with the goal of rolling under your Attack Score+EnemyAC.
Bonuses can universally be assumed to apply to the score itself, rather than the roll, so a +1 bonus is still good.
At present, I'm liking B more than anything, but debating whether a return to a THAC0 style chart is better or worse than weird AC mechanics.
- No math required anywhere except the attack roll, but that always needs math unless you want to make a chart (Note to self: consider chart). What you see is what you need.
- Pips on dice retain their charm.
- All Stats go up to improve - except for AC? Hrm.
- AC listed in other retroclones/TSR material can be used more or less as-is.
- "Roll low to succeed" is inherently less intuitive. "Natural 1" doesn't hit the brain the same way as "Natural 20."
- Enemy AC now modifies your roll, instead of being the target you need to meet. Not sure if this is less intuitive. Could be fixed through a THAC0 style table, but that goes back into "is this more or less intuitive than the alternative? If you did go that route though, AC could be positive as well.