The dice issue


General Discussion

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I was initially going to post this in questions, but was more curious as to the design choice behind this, and wanted to get opinions of other folks on this matter.

I feel like Starfinder uses waaaay too many dice for damage. Not necessarily at early levels, but especially so at late levels - and even mid-to-early levels.

Check this out: even at just level 10, an Operative using an Aphelion Laz. does 3d4+5d8+10 damage with trick attack. That's... A lot of dice to be rolling at once. That's 8 dice in and of itself.

And it gets worse on a Critical Hit: RAW, you roll all damage dice twice before adding ability mod twice, rather than multiplying the total (something I will be for-sure house ruling otherwise for). At this point, the Laz is doing 6d4+10d8+20 plus another 1d4 burn. At this point we're using 17 dice for damage! Some of my players don't even have that many dice, and even of those that do, it'll take a bit to add all that up. And that's not keeping in mind how much trouble physically rolling that would cause.

Now maybe that's not fair because it's Operative - but even long arms of comparable level start doing 3d6 and 3d8 damage, which can still be a hefty handful of 6d8 dice on a crit.

This problem gets worse at high levels where you're then having weapons that can deal upwards of 12d8. The best raw-damage Small-Arms an operative can use deals 5d12+10d8 - on a crit that's 10d12+20d8. Thirty dice!

Other games that use a lot of dice, like Shadowrun or Legend of the Five Rings, have methods around this. In Shadowrun, you just have a target number, and just use d6s with no other types of dice - meaning you just have to find dice of a certain number or higher, rather than adding everything up (a large problem here). In Legend of the Five Rings, dice condense into flat bonuses at higher dice pools, so that you're rolling less dice. Here, while, yes, it's certainly exciting to get a big pool of dice when you do a lot of damage, the trade of is that attacking then becomes a chore at high levels of counting every die you rolled of all dice types, and actually getting the dice to roll to begin with. It's not a big deal, but it's an extra time-consuming factor.

I'm thinking of homebrewing some stuff around this, but I wanted to see how other folks felt about the dice pools at higher levels. I understand not all games even reach that point, but this seems like implicit game design despite being physically clunky (higher level spells also gain large dice pools - looking at you Disintegrate! - and Solarion starts having its weapon scale very quickly at high level). Even in games that don't reach high levels, Starship weapons can start having their own larger dice pools as early as level 1, receiving 10d10 on a weapon that only costs 12 BP.

How's everyone else been seeing this? Honestly, as much as I disagree with parts of it, I'm on the fence between loving the fact that I get to use my whole dice collection, and dreading the amount of extra time and tedium a critical hit can cause.


I Have seen the alternative where you just scale up damage bonuses and the dice stop mattering. 1d8+82 who cares about the die roll?
It keeps luck more in the for front I think.
If you don't like it what I would do is take the average of the rolls and add them as a damage bonus instead. so 4d6 would instead add +14 to damage.

I think traditionally too gamer like rolling a lot of dice its part of the fun for some people.

Liberty's Edge

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Some people like rolling lots of dice. And it's no worse than a high level Wizard in Pathfinder. 20d6 damage, anyone? Or a Magus. Or even a Rogue.

I mean, yeah, crits will take a bit, but they're also pretty rare.

And the rest of the math is much simpler than Pathfinder, which will, IMO, save way more time than this takes up. It's just simple addition, after all.


*quietly wonders if Deadman is stalking him*

XD

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We're in the XXI century. If you don't like throwing a lot of dice or worry about the time spent counting the results, use a phone/tablet app like the excellent CritDice for Android.

Liberty's Edge

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Vidmaster7 wrote:

*quietly wonders if Deadman is stalking him*

XD

Not intentionally. I guess we have interests in common, or something like that.

Liberty's Edge

After playing an archer in WotR, who'd need 40-60 d6 rolls every round, more if there were critical hits, it seems almost reasonable.


Let's say you are fighting a Vesk Soldier who is also at lvl10. Let's say it has a CON mod of just 2. Your fighting him at 90 stamina points and 96 HP. The first trick attack you posted is only an average of 40 damage. Unless you are rolling d20s you are going to need a lot of dice to do any damage.

If people don't have enough dice they can buy more or use an app online. Dice are pretty cheap and nothing is cheaper than free.


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One benefit of rolling lots of dice and adding them up: the more dice in the pool, the more it trends toward the mean and the less swingy it gets. That's a feature I assume they're intentionally exploiting.


Crits are actually less rare than they use to be: now, it's a flat 5% chance. If a nat 20 doesn't crit an enemy, then you can't crit them at all. There's no confirmation roll or anything.

I actually do like the idea of having a big pool of dice and throwing them all at once - I love Shadowrun as a system for that very reason. My concern is less with the dice and more with the amount of time it'll take to run the numbers. I mean, my group has already had issues just with the barbarian getting 3 attacks per round with 2d6+20 per hit. Start throwing in a bunch of dice on top of that? I dunno...

Apps, as mentioned, are a good way around this, although most of my table swears by physical dice and don't trust virtual dice (for good reason).

It's one of those things that looks really fun on paper, but imagining it in play sounds like a nightmare.

I think I'll have to see - most of the issues do come up late level, so it may not even be a concern. I think at a point, tho, I'll start offering my players rolling or taking average on some dice. It's not the randomness that bugs me as much as the Mathfinding that would then take place. A lot of my players are excited about the math and mechanics being more simplified as compared to Pathfinder.


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Trick to quickly totaling large amounts of dice is to put them together in 10's put the 6 and 4 together the 3 3 3 and 1 etc. Makes it go super fast for me. then you can just go 10 20 30 and add up the remainder.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Trick to quickly totaling large amounts of dice is to put them together in 10's put the 6 and 4 together the 3 3 3 and 1 etc. Makes it go super fast for me. then you can just go 10 20 30 and add up the remainder.

Isn't that what people just do in general? I don't think that's that much of a special technique, that's just how tables I've played at do that.

Even doing this method, when you're making multiple attacks it still can take a bit of time. It may go faster than adding it all up one-by-one, but it still takes time - and the more it happens with the larger the die pool, the more time it takes.

The difference between this and, say, spells, is that spells with large damage dice pools would usually only be used once per battle or a couple times per day. But these are weapons... This is happening every single time you hit for all players around your table for every hit they land. And then for all enemies for all their hits and attacks and ongoing effects. That adds up.

I love picking up a big handful of dice and chucking it. I pack about 50 dice in my bag to every game and use about 10 of them - and that's not even my whole collection. I love dice and I love using a lot of them. But I've got 5 players at my table, and three of those players possess a single set of dice (or at least that's all they bring), and two of those players don't like mathing things out all the time.


Well that is the thing about changes some people like them and some people don't

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.”

― John Lydgate


https://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm

Liberty's Edge

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People clearly have a different experience with Pathfinder than I have. Adding all the conditional bonuses took at least as long as adding up dice will in this version. At least.

And don't even get me started on the Light Pick wielding Magus + Dual Kukri Butterfly Sting character pair. That regularly resulted in calculation of conditional bonuses followed by 40d6+4d4 damage rolled.

The dice stuff took less time than the conditional stuff.

Dark Archive

My 11th level Panther style monk routinely had to roll that many dice or more in a round. getting 6-10 attacks per round does that


Deadmanwalking wrote:

People clearly have a different experience with Pathfinder than I have. Adding all the conditional bonuses took at least as long as adding up dice will in this version. At least.

And don't even get me started on the Light Pick wielding Magus + Dual Kukri Butterfly Sting character pair. That regularly resulted in calculation of conditional bonuses followed by 40d6+4d4 damage rolled.

The dice stuff took less time than the conditional stuff.

No, that sounds about right. In one particular high level game, the archer paladin having to calculate all his bonuses against certain targets took almost as long as the dual wielding rogue rolling all her damage dice. And then my magus who regularly sized up, boosted her weapon with holy and some elemental, and channeled vampiric strike through it? Starfinder's damage dice and bonuses are pretty straightforward...


In Iron Gods my players end up having a ton if dice to roll too. Plasma cannons added up to 4d6 I think, but a high lvl gunslinger could hit 5 times or more.

We houseruled that you can take the average if you want.

Next to the 5d4+5d8+10 damage, write «45». Whenever you hit, do 45 damage if you want, or roll if you preffer. It makes things faster, and still allow those who have fun rolling dicevto enjoy it.


I'd actually recommend against turning crit into a blanket x2 instead of rolling. Easier, yes. But i think the rolling twice was intentional from a balance/design standpoint.
Using low level as an example: rolling a 1 on damage, crit seems like a waste if you're doing x2. rolling an 8, crit is super awesome with a x2. However, if you roll twice, you're normalizing the swinginess, so the crit would come closer to the mean. You don't really see the larger dice pools until around level 10-12 ish. So that's half a career with SUPER swingy crits (WOO HOO, I critted him for 6! with my 1d10 weapon...)

Now, a house rule I COULD see for crits...Max the dice and +1 per die. This would make things a LOT quicker on a crit, and also be fairly close to the expected result. (1d8 crit: 8+1 max vs 2d8(avg 9); or later on, 4d10 crit: 40+4 vs 8d10(avg 44)).

Also, yeah, as others have also mentioned, this isn't too different than I was doing in PF with some characters...3-7 attacks, 3-5 dice per attack, plus a large static bonus that changes every round...
(everything just seems to tedious no matter how you slice it at the higher levels :-p)


Bill Dunn wrote:
One benefit of rolling lots of dice and adding them up: the more dice in the pool, the more it trends toward the mean and the less swingy it gets. That's a feature I assume they're intentionally exploiting.

This is I think one reason they do it. The other way is the rifts way of throwing stuff like 2d4x10 but that in practice is going to have a lot more swing in outcome than throwing a boatload of dice.


IonutRO wrote:
https://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm

As IonutRO tacitly pointed out, dice generators are your friends.

And if speed is still your enemy, don't forget that some of us grew up in this genre with calculators in our front pockets, and we have the black eyes to prove it.

By the way, I love rolling dice.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Rolling a bunch of dice one time in Starfinder is better than rolling half as many dice several times in a round in Pathfinder.

If you started the game with enough dice on hand, I think you will find that it actually goes faster more often than not.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Get some Dice of Rolling and you're good to go. I ordered two sets so I should be well covered.


Ravingdork wrote:

Rolling a bunch of dice one time in Starfinder is better than rolling half as many dice several times in a round in Pathfinder.

If you started the game with enough dice on hand, I think you will find that it actually goes faster more often than not.

I think our experiences may differ, I have played in a few cons since 1980 as well as quite a few home games and often what I see is people that have trouble with math have more trouble the larger the dice pool is.

So the more dice you roll the slower and more issues there will be vs small dice pools more often.

Now I also know of a could of groups that play face to face that do everything electronically so no dice in the game. But take just as much pleasure in either their input device giving them the damage or the GM reading it or story'ing it out.

MDC


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm somewhat more concerned with having to bring so many die of so many different types with me. Reducing the number of different types of dice would be nice.


rook1138 wrote:

I'd actually recommend against turning crit into a blanket x2 instead of rolling. Easier, yes. But i think the rolling twice was intentional from a balance/design standpoint.

Using low level as an example: rolling a 1 on damage, crit seems like a waste if you're doing x2. rolling an 8, crit is super awesome with a x2. However, if you roll twice, you're normalizing the swinginess, so the crit would come closer to the mean. You don't really see the larger dice pools until around level 10-12 ish. So that's half a career with SUPER swingy crits (WOO HOO, I critted him for 6! with my 1d10 weapon...)

Now, a house rule I COULD see for crits...Max the dice and +1 per die. This would make things a LOT quicker on a crit, and also be fairly close to the expected result. (1d8 crit: 8+1 max vs 2d8(avg 9); or later on, 4d10 crit: 40+4 vs 8d10(avg 44)).

We tried the multiplier in Pathfinder and it was a major issue. Especially with Gunslingers with (1d12)x4. We changed back to rolling 4x.

4e had crits as maximized plus bonus dice based on the enchantment. That worked well. You always did better than the base damage, but one crit wouldn't end somebody.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

As long as they all fit in my Crown Royal bag, there's not too many.

And I still have handsful of tiny d6 dotted dice from my fireball wizard days.


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As someone who has been rolling 12d6-18d6 damage rolls in Champions/Hero for decades, I like it - nothing like having the weight of a double handful of dice to roll for your damage.

Sovereign Court

kaid wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
One benefit of rolling lots of dice and adding them up: the more dice in the pool, the more it trends toward the mean and the less swingy it gets. That's a feature I assume they're intentionally exploiting.
This is I think one reason they do it. The other way is the rifts way of throwing stuff like 2d4x10 but that in practice is going to have a lot more swing in outcome than throwing a boatload of dice.

This. I believe they added more damage per swing, instead of giving us a lot of swings.


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Hey, look on the bright side. We're not playing WH40K, here...


Finally, my kids get to roll ALL the dice when we play.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Some people like rolling lots of dice. And it's no worse than a high level Wizard in Pathfinder. 20d6 damage, anyone? Or a Magus. Or even a Rogue.

Eh. The rogue is pretty comparable, but I'd argue the wizard. SF is doing this for every single character multiple times per round, not just a once in a while blast spell.

The real mitigation is it doesn't matter for actual game play, as weapons don't really upgrade to ridiculous piles of dice until after most campaigns are over.

But i would have much rather seen static bonuses based on character skill rather than the diablo style gear treadmill. Or the weird hybrid with the treadmill and a linear specialization bonus.


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CrystalSeas wrote:

As long as they all fit in my Crown Royal bag, there's not too many.

And I still have handsful of tiny d6 dotted dice from my fireball wizard days.

So when I joined my current group, there were five other people there. I showed up with my Crown Royal bag full of dice, and found out every one of them (except one) had a crown royal bag used for dice.

Everyone at the table hated Crown Royal.

Why does this company keep making booze, clearly their target demographic is Table top gamers needing dice bags.


your not wrong. I know someone with a crown royal dice bag too.

Grand Lodge

I don't mind rolling dice... But when you are rolling 18d12 on 3 attacks per round, then factoring in crits... You could be rolling 50+ d12s in a single round.

I have been collecting dice for over 30 years, and even I don't have 50 d12s. If they are going to make people roll 50 dice in a single turn, at least make them d6s so people might actually be able to have enough to roll them all instead of rolling a small handful, adding them up, rolling them again, totaling both rolls, rolling again, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Uh...nothing results in more than 13d12, and 13d12 is only on unwieldy weapons and thus only once a round.

The highest damage you can roll with d12s more than once a round is 9d12.

And, for the record, ignoring unwieldy weapons the highest other options are 12d10, 14d8, and 18d6.

So...they've done as you requested, more or less. The only thing you wind up ever rolling more than 50 of a turn is d6s.


An option people haven't mentioned is using a small number of dice to represent a Scalar or similar.

F.E. Take the example of 45 earlier as the "average"; you could assign it as
1 - 13
2 - 26
3 - 39
4 - 52
5 - 65
6 - 78

While that's a little off and no longer shows the high propensity for average hits and the low propensity for high/low damage hits, it accomplishes the "I get to roll for damage" while making it nothing to deal with.

Heck, you can do it easily with D100s, D10s, or similar.
-----

In a similar vein, you could roll 1d6 to represent the D6s and 1d4 to represent the D4s.

-----
Personally I like rolling lots of dice in 40k, so I like me some orks/ig/etc. That said, I don't know if I'd like that in TT-RPGs since you have to add things up rather than trim dice based on set numbers.


People talk about how good it feels to roll a bunch of dice, but I think when every character is doing it on most rounds it'll lose its lustre.
Multiple attacks are resolved separately, so you can use the same few dice and not take up as much space, but one attack with a pile of dice uses all those dice at once.

Liberty's Edge

Bloodrealm wrote:
People talk about how good it feels to roll a bunch of dice, but I think when every character is doing it on most rounds it'll lose its lustre.

Everyone I've ever played with who enjoyed rolling buckets of dice kept doing so even if they got to do it several times a turn. And they did, since I've run Exalted games.

Grand Lodge

I guess everyone who wants to play Starfinder should just buy one of these sets of dice. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
People talk about how good it feels to roll a bunch of dice, but I think when every character is doing it on most rounds it'll lose its lustre.
Everyone I've ever played with who enjoyed rolling buckets of dice kept doing so even if they got to do it several times a turn. And they did, since I've run Exalted games.

I miss playing exalted. 35 dice on this attack roll 27 dice on this damage roll roll to parry with your 26 dice. good times.


Slyme wrote:
I guess everyone who wants to play Starfinder should just buy one of these sets of dice. :)

Holy cow only 22 bucks!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Slyme wrote:
I guess everyone who wants to play Starfinder should just buy one of these sets of dice. :)
Holy cow only 22 bucks!

...for Prime members.


I am!

Grand Lodge

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Plenty of similar sets on there for $25-ish for non-prime members. Though, why anyone would not be a prime member is beyond me :)


Only $20 (for Prime). https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MRXF468

I've been quite happy with this set. Had it for a couple weeks now.


Maybe the dice bundle should be included with the core book?
MDC


gigyas6 wrote:


most of my table swears by physical dice and don't trust virtual dice (for good reason).

May I ask why? If it is because they don't want people to cheat, there are several dice rooms where everyone sees the results of a roll (rolz.org is an example). If it's because computers don't have "true" randomness, some sites like random.org and roll20 use "true" randomness, with a split beam of light or something similar.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


And don't even get me started on the Light Pick wielding Magus + Dual Kukri Butterfly Sting character pair.

I'm...failing to see the advantage here over the magus himself having a rapier so there are more chances for that crit to fire, since Spell Strike can only double spell damage dice..?

Liberty's Edge

Aerotan wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


And don't even get me started on the Light Pick wielding Magus + Dual Kukri Butterfly Sting character pair.
I'm...failing to see the advantage here over the magus himself having a rapier so there are more chances for that crit to fire, since Spell Strike can only double spell damage dice..?

Well, first, with vastly more attacks (the Lore Warden Fighter doing the Butterfly Sting trick had seven attacks most turns by 11th level due to TWF to the Magus's four) that's more crits. And secondly, since you know the crit is sitting on them you can make it always be a spell enhanced attack that crits. That second one is really big.

Thirdly, and the reason for the light pick, Magus can add a whole lot of static damage bonuses, too, if they like. Sure, you only get 20d6 from Shocking Grasp...but 4d4+72 is a much better addition to that than 2d6+36 (assuming 11th level, 5 Enhancement from Arcane Pool + 6 Piranha Strike +7 Dex).

It also saved the Magus some Critical Feats, allowed the entire rest of the party to benefit from the Lore Warden's Crits (just about everyone in melee had x3 weapons), and encouraged everyone to take Outflank (which got ridiculous pretty quick).

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