I was going to do Castle Falkenstein second however that is bogged down in technical issues… (there is a reason why in this case and I assure you this is interesting). However I decided that it would be interesting to look at a system that shows your skill as something that really matters.
FATE is one of the systems that uses the Fudge Dice (+/0/-). In fact it purely uses 4 of them providing a result of between 4 and -4.
It is the combination of these 4 dice that makes an interesting way of allowing the player to know who they are within the story.
For this exercise I will need a comparison, the trouble is there are 9 results and there are very few odd number dice and a d18 doesn’t exist with a single die. I will for this example use rare d9’s (google “D9 dice” they do exist.
So the maths… zzzz … dozed out from the thought.
OK so lets assume that the d9 is numbered differently so you can get 4 to -4. The probability of rolling any value is 1/9… OK so a skill of 4 can have a result of 0 to 8.
Now look at 4dF; the same range (4 to -4) but if you look at the spread it is completely different.
You have roughly a 62.96% chance of getting 1, 0 or -1 compared to a “standard” die of 33.33% and the probability of getting 4 is 1.23% compared to a “standard” of 11.11%.
OK so boring stuff OVER…. why this 4dF mechanic (apart from the idea that it can’t be called Fate without Fate Dice).
Let’s take a different example, suppose you’re about to jump over a deep gap; you’ll make the jump by stretching out and grabbing it by your finger tips. However there are a variety of options where you just miss or you wind yourself on the edge of the gap.
You may also get eaten by Cthulhu as you jump the gap… really unlikely but it could happen, or he could knock you clean onto the other side (just as rare).
Think about it though you know what you can do, you know that you can tie your shoe laces but you can have a rare off day or your shoes are tied in such a way you don’t need to untie them.
Because it is harder to get the higher or lower values, the focus is placed on your skills; if you don’t have the skills in the first place it will be rare that you’ll be able to pull off things that require the skill.
At the same time if you have the skill it’s very difficult for it to go wrong if you are already have the skills to do it.
Like Maid’s “Superpowered” high skilled players, Fate’s dice system tells a narrative; effectively an ordinary person in magical worlds.
I’m going to leave 1 final link for this one… this is actually the best example I can think of for dice being more than just a value.