By Wade Dyer
The "core resolution mechanic" is a fundamental element of all TTRPGs, as they not only determine the outcome of in-game actions by both Players and Game Masters, but also influence the vibe of a game and will be its most frequently utilised game rule. They range from the well-known d20 of D&D to the removal of blocks from a not-Jenga tower in Dread.
Fragged Empire 2 makes use of a ‘3d6 vs Difficulty Target’ core resolution mechanic. This system was selected for its ease of use, reliability (embrace the glories of the bell curve!), spikes with each die roll of a “6” for special effects (known as a Strong Hit) and enough gradation to allow a wide range of interesting game options.
Not only are six-sided dice easy to find (raid your old board games if you need more), rolling 3d6 and adding a few modifiers is quick and simple. A Player making dozens of these rolls each game night will be no issue at all.
When rolling 3d6 your average roll is going to be 10.5 (25% chance), and there is a strong pull towards that central number (12% for 12, 10% for 13, 7% for 14, 5% for 15, 3% for 16, 1% for 17 and 0.5% for 18). This probability spread not only lends itself toward Fragged’s more tactical style (Player choice of randomness), but also greatly enhances role-playing as Players will have more reliable outcomes (i.e.: the mechanic can act with confidence when attempting to fix that hover car and know that the party doctor will not outshine them with a lucky roll... as often happens with a 1d20 system).
Spikes of Excitement
Single-die systems (like 1d20) have an advantage over multi-dice systems (like 3d6) for a peculiar reason that many are unaware of; everyone at the table will instantly know if you have rolled good or bad as no addition is required. This has the outcome of many subtle and overt communal “yay” or “darn” moments at the table, which help to amplify the gaming experience (especially if you are playing in person). How Fragged seeks to generate these moments is by having each die roll of a “6” do something special, such as triggering a unique power or allowing the re-roll of a low die roll. This all helps to generate those “yay” moments as everyone will react when you roll a “6” (and even more if you roll two 6s!!), and those “darn” moments when you roll no “6s”.
Array of Game Options
There exists a tension within the design of all game mechanics, we want them to be both ‘simple’ and ‘deep’. Game mechanics that are too basic are often easy to learn, but they quickly become dry as there is not enough room within them to build upon or connect to other game design elements. While game mechanics that are too complex are a pain to learn, they are easy to build upon and leave lots of room for additional game design elements. The goal is to hit that middle sweet spot that is right for the game that is being made... and to emphasize both simplicity and depth (the Holy Grail of game design is to maximize both!). Fragged’s core resolution mechanic is super simple, but there is enough going on to allow a HUGE number of optional plug-ins (such as Traits that allow for special effects on a roll of a “6”, weapons that trigger benefits or problems on a roll of a double, etc...).
Get your copy of Fragged Empire 2 at the following: