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2d10 Dice
 

Design: Jasyn Jones
Commentary and Inspiration: Travis Hall

Download a .pdf of this article.PDF

Introduction
 

Torg uses an idiosyncratic die rolling method: roll a 1d20 (possibly rerolling), compare the roll to a Bonus Number chart to determine the Bonus Number, then add the Bonus Number to the skill or attribute.

The mathematical reasons for this are several and varied, even so the mechanic is clumsy and time consuming. Players usually get the hang of it, most even memorizing the chart, but for most it’s something tolerated, not something loved: a wart on the system they put up with in order to play the game.

This article replaces the cumbersome d20 & chart method with a simple, elegant method that generates Bonus Numbers quickly and easily (and that, while closely matching the probabilities of the old Torg method).

2d10 Dice
 

The 2d10 Dice method uses, oddly enough, 2 10-sided dice, one colored blue and one colored red. (The blue dice is the cold dice, the red dice the hot dice.)

Skills and attribute totals operate the same way as in regular Torg: To generate a skill or attribute total, the player generates a Bonus Number and adds that to their attribute or skill value (attribute + skill adds).

To generate a Bonus Number, the player rolls the two colored dice. Whichever die rolls the highest is discarded. If the dice are equal, both are discarded.

Example: If the hot die is a 5, and the cold die a 1, the hot die is discarded. If the hot die is a 3, and the cold a 4, the cold is discarded. If both roll 10, use neither.

Hot Die
Cold Die
Result
Bonus
5
1
Use cold die
-1
3
4
Use red die
+3
10
10
Discard both
0

The hot die is the “positive” die, the cold the “negative” die. A positive die is a positive Bonus Number, and the rolled value is added to the skill or attribute value. The cold die generates negative Bonus Numbers, which are subtracted from the attribute or skill value. The chart to the right summarizes how this works, using the same example rolls.

The benefit to this method is that nearly all players will be able to tell, at a glance, which die is higher. Then, by the color of the die, whether it’s a positive or negative Bonus Number. The time and effort this takes is negligible.

Quick. Easy. Simple. Painless.

Maxing a Die

The maximum positive or negative Bonus Number is +9 or -9. When a roll results in either of these, the player has Maxed a Die.

Maxing a Die allows the character to gain a reroll (similar to rolling a 10 or 20 using the old method). To reroll, they roll an additional d10 and add it to the +9 or subtract it from the -9.

If the additional die rolls a 10, the player has Maxed the Die again (with a +19 or -19). This allows them another reroll, which they add to a positive total or subtract from a negative total.

Rerolls are “progressive”: so long as the player Maxes each additional die (by rolling a 10), the player can continue rerolling indefinitely.

It is possible for the player to get +18, +28, +38 or more as a result of Maxing a Die. (Of course, it is also possible to get a -18, -28, -38 or less from Maxing the negative die.)

Stymie

During the game, special conditions can apply which modify the die rolling mechanic. One of these is a Stymie. Characters who are Stymied do not gain an additional roll if they Max the positive die. If they roll a +9, they add that to their attribute/skill and do not reroll.

(If the character is Up, or spends a Possibility, they gain a reroll from those conditions, just not Maxing the positive die.)

Note that Stymied characters do gain a reroll from Maxing the negative die. A Stymie caps their potential for success, but doesn’t limit the potential for disaster.

A Stymie most often occurs when a character is attempting to use a skill while Unskilled (lacking adds in that skill). Other circumstances can cause a single character or a whole party to become Stymied as well.

A Stymie limits the potential for success, but doesn't limit the potential for disaster.

Up

When a character or party is Up, they gain an automatic positive reroll. Once the final roll has been computed (positive or negative), they roll another d10, re-rolling on 10’s, and add it to that total.

Possibilities

Reality-rated characters (whether a PC or an NPC) have a revervoir of Possibilities that can be used to “buy off” damage and to gain additional rerolls. Reality-rated characters can spend a Possibility at any time, not just when they Max a Die.

When they spend a PE, they roll a positive d10 and add it to the total roll (no matter what the roll was). This roll is progressive: if the player Maxes the Die, they gain a reroll.

Canceling Possibilities

If a character expends a Possibility to gain a reroll, any other reality-rated character can cancel that Possibility by expending a Possibility of their own. Both characters mark off one Possibility, and no reroll is gained.

Characters cannot cancel rerolls gained from Maxing a Die, an Up, or any condition or event other than an opponent choosing to expend a Possibility to buy a reroll.

Disconnection

Because the 2d10 dice are not a d20, 1-case and 4-case disconnections are handled differently. Any time the final Bonus Number is -7 or worse, that can trigger a 1-case disconnection (assuming the player is using a tool that causes a contradiction). A 4-case contradiction causes disconnection on any roll of -4 or lower.

These two values closely approximate the probabilities of the original d20 roll: disconnection doesn’t occur noticeably more or less often when using these rolls.

Ords

The easiest way implement this system is to treat ords the same as possibility-rated individuals. They reroll on the same results, they are treated the same for Stymies.

Gamemasters who wish can eliminate their positive reroll (i.e. they don’t gain a reroll from Maxing the positive die). This is an individual choice, but it eliminates the opportunity for ords to roll really high, surprising their stormer or Storm Knight opponents.

This isn’t recommended, however: ords face enough difficulties without sabotaging their chance to shine.

Probabilities
 

The preceding is all the gamemaster will need to utilize the rule in play. For those wishing to delve further into the probabilities of the 2d10 Dice mechanic, the following should sate your curiosity.

d20 vs. 2d10
Result
% Chance
0
10%
1
9%
2
8%
3
7%
4
6%
5
5%
6
4%
7
3%
8
2%
9
1%

A d20 generates a “flat” probability curve, where each number has an equal chance of occurring, 1 out of 20 times (or 5%). Torg modified this by using the Bonus Number chart, which made some results more frequent, such as 0, occurring on an 11 or 12, which is 2 out of 20 times or 10% of the time. This changed the probabilities in unique ways.

In contrast, the 2d10 dice method gives us results ranging from -9 to +9, arranged in a pyramidal bell curve around 0 (summarized in the table right). Note that the results are mirrored, so both +9 and -9 have a 1% chance of occurring.

Using Torg’s d20, a 0 occurred 10% of the time. As the table shows, using 2d10 a 0 occurs 10% of the time.

In fact, the probabilities for this method and Torg’s track quite closely, from -2 through +9, always differing by less than 5%.

Most of the time, the 2d10 Dice method will produce results indistinguishable from those of regular Torg. No sudden changes in gauging character power, no odd side effects of rolling different dice.

2d10 Dice is easier and quicker, it eliminates the cumbersome rolling and chart lookup, but leaves the rest of the game alone.

Updated: Jan. 5, 2012
The Storm Knights website and its contents are copyright © 2001-2010 by Jasyn Jones.