Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Roll High. Roll Low. Which Way Do You Go?

Instinctively I prefer game systems that are based on rolling high. Just how I'm wired I guess.

The thing is, even the system I cut my teeth on wasn't all "Roll High". AD&D is roll high for attacks, saving throws and damage, but it's low roll for thief skills, general hear noise skill and opening doors.

Of the percentile based systems, Runequest is pretty much roll low, WFRP is roll low if I recall correctly but RoleMaster is roll high. Actually, I think RM is more of a "Roll High" system than AD&D is. I should like it more than I do, but that might be tempered by the the shitload of charts in RM.

I'm wondering why I personally have an issue with "Roll Low" systems and subsystems when I've been using them for the last 30+ years.

So, roll high or roll low?


  1. Well, as long as the mechanic works afaic

    But my favorite system (GURPS) is roll low

  2. I personally like roll low. It allows for attribute scores that aren't just stepping stones with modifiers to some target number. Want to see if you pass a test of strength: roll under your strength score. Want to match wits with someone else? Two characters roll under their intelligence score. BRP is a little strange after this with the roll low, but if both roll under, then whomever is closest to the number wins, but it works.

  3. My younger self used to be uncomfortable with the "roll low" mechanic, but accepted them as "ruls as written".
    Then, as I grew older and started to grasp the basic notions of probability, I realised it was the simplest way to transform a probability into some form of dice check.

  4. PS: besides, rolling alternatively "high is better" or "low is better" dice checks is a good way to prevent players to take adventage of an un-evenly weighted dice...

  5. "Price is Right"

    Roll under-but as high as possible.

    e.g Tn is 15 you want to a roll a 15 which is better than a 14 which is better than a 13...

  6. I know this is going to sound bad, but. I go both ways. Only in dice. Just clarifying.

  7. I'm not really concerned with it. I have a slight preference for games which include both for the reason that porphyre77 gave: it reduces reliance on possibly unevenly weighted dice.

  8. I have a preference for roll-low when the roll is supposed to represent a probability of success, eg, BRP percentages, or HeroQuest D20 rolls.


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