April 24, 2004

The Basics

Nuclear Beasts uses pools of dice to represent most game traits. Character attributes (ratings that all player characters start with) always consist of a single die and range from d4 to d12. Higher (or lower) ratings are simulated by adding a bonus or penalty to the rating.

Skills are also represented by pools of dice and will often consist of multiple dice. For example, a pool of 2 twelve-sided dice and a six-sided die could be written as (2d12,d6) or 2d12 & d6.

The "level" of a die is how big it is. A d4 is considered level 1, a d6 level 2, a d8 level 3, a d10 level 4 and a d12 level 5. The level of a skill or other pool of dice is the sum of the levels of all its dice. Thus a rating of (3d6) is level 6, the same as a rating of (d12,d4), (6d4), or (2d8). This isn't used much, but it's good to know.

When performing a task, it's common to roll a single attribute and a single skill together. All of these dice are pooled together and rolled at once. The largest number rolled is the result of the roll. Dice are never added together unless the rules specifically say so. You'll normally use the highest single die as your result.

If a bonus or penalty is applied, it modifies the final result accordingly. For example, (3d6)+2 would indicate that you roll 3d6 and add 2 to the highest result, giving you a possible range from 3 (all three dice rolled 1, plus 2) to 8 (at least one die rolled a 6). The +2 is called a bonus because it's a positive number. If it were (3d6)-2, then the -2 would be considered a penalty because it reduces the final result. The parentheses aren't really necessary (you always add the bonus to the final result, even if it would normally only apply to part of the roll), but are included for clarity.

Attributes and skills are often represented by just their name. For example, you might be called upon to roll Muscles & Speed. That means that you roll your Muscles die and your Speed die and take the highest number rolled. Any bonuses or penalties that apply to one rating in a test will always apply to the final result. For example, let's assume that you had a Muscles rating of d12, a +1 bonus to all Muscles rolls (due to some special trait such as being unnaturally strong) and a Speed rating of d6. If you were called upon to roll Muscles & Speed, you'd roll (d12,d6)+1. Even if the d6 ends up rolling the highest number, it'll still get the +1 bonus, despite the fact that the +1 was associated with your Muscles trait.

If there are multiple traits involved in a test that have bonuses or penalties attached to them, apply them all. If the same trait is being included in the test multiple times, you'll include any bonus or penalty associated with it multiple times, too.

Note that the more dice you have available to perform a given task, the more reliable your results will be. The larger those dice are, the more difficult the task that you can accomplish.

As you get more and more skilled, your average result will move up towards 12. It is possible to roll above 12 (see The Rule of Twelve below) but it's very rare and requires an extremely high skill.

Posted by Kiz at April 24, 2004 09:41 PM