We tried a few different approaches at scaling beyond D20 which is as good as it gets in Chronica Feudalis. D20 perfectly fits the natural world but like I said we're modeling fire breathing creatures here.
We tried rolling an extra die with multiple ways of influencing the skills/tools/traits but it didn't feel right so we ditched it for a couple of reasons. First it always felt like we didn't have enough dice. Second and most important, it hurt the clean elegance of the core system. Keeping track of the different types of dice caused undue confusion. What was a fast clean resolution system became cluttered. The next idea was to add flat bonus to anything that was higher in scale than D20. This is what we went with.
The next step was to determine how large the bonuses should be. Bonus equal to the highest die face: +4, +6, +8, +10, +12, +20? Or the means for each die: +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +10? After some play testing we decided to go with +1 through +5. This decision was reached because of the way the system works. A very powerful ability equates to a single die which translates into at best a single success. This means that increasingly higher bonuses give diminishing returns. Succeed by 1 or by 20 it's a single success. Something to keep in mind is that depending on the style of game any of these bonus patterns could be used and the wheels won't fly off the CF cart.
Okay, now we had the bonus pattern that felt right but we didn't want to just say D20+1. Not that it wouldn't work. It was just a matter of feel and congruity with the rest of the game. Instead went with D21, D22, and so on:
- D21 = D20+1
- D22 = D20+2
- D23 = D20+3
- D24 = D20+4
- D25 = D20+5
This approach helps keep the "rule space" clean and folks from wondering why they can't get D4+1 in Riding.
For play test we didn't go with a pure agent nor a pure antagonist when writing up the dragon. Instead we went with a hybrid to get the right amount of knobs to tweak for the design phase. Here's what we came up with:
- Vigor: 4
- Ardor: 3
- Chase D20
- Combat D12
- Parley D12
- Subterfuge D12
- Ultra-Vision D21
- Scales (Armor) D21
- Claws D12
- Breath D23
- Maw D20
More than once the small +1 to +3 bonus seriously gave the dragon great advantage. The bonuses were most effective when setting conditions. I knew that I could spend an action setting up a maneuver condition because of his scale.
Ticking up the D20 a couple of points after rolling really tests the bravest would-be dragon killer's resolve.