Looking at Dead Simple game mechanics

I have been doing some thinking about some of the mechanics in the Dead Simple range of games. I would be interested in your thoughts on the matter.

Core mechanic

The Core Mechanic of Dead Simple is add the Aptitude in a skill (derived from the core attributes) and the Training level in that skill, then try to roll less than that on 1D20. Other modifiers may apply such as initial bonuses from race and profession. This is a limited system in that eventually, as your character progresses, you are going to get an Aptitude + Training + others of 21. Then what?

In SOE21 I have proposed using a more open system. In this you roll 1D20 and add both Aptitude and Training level to the score. The objective is to score 15 or more. With a system like this it is easier to apply negative situational modifiers such as an opponent’s DEX in combat.


In our current system Fighter with STR 3, INT 1 who is trained in Fighting gets 2+3+1+1 = 8. There is a 35% chance the player can roll less than this. If the Opponent’s DEX is +2 this reduces to 25%.

In the alternative system the same Fighter would roll 1D20 and add +8 to his roll meaning he has to roll 7 or better to get a score of 15 and succeed. Which means he has a 65% chance, which goes down to 55% if the opponent’s DEX is +2 (and see modifiers below).

Combat modifiers

The limited space on a Dead Simple rules page does not really lend itself to having a table of combat modifiers. Here are some I commonly use:


  • Point Blank range: +1
  • Beyond Effective Range: -2
  • Poor Visibility:  -2
  • Target in soft cover:  -1
  • Target in hard cover: -2
  • Zero-g (most weapons): -4
  • Zero-g (laser weapons): -2


  • Outnumber opponent: +2
  • Unstable footing: -1
  • Zero-g: -4

About Craig

For those who need to know these things: - I'll never see 50 again. - I'm tall enough to see well in crowds and fat enough to leave a wake. - I'm well married to a woman with twice my smarts, three delightful and challenging children (er-hem), and one cat overlord. - I am Welsh. - I have to work for a living, but do nothing that makes me perspire.
This entry was posted in Announcements. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Looking at Dead Simple game mechanics

  1. Joe says:

    Yep, I think I prefer the new rule of 15. I just seems to work better all the way around. But until I get a better play test in, I can’t make any major comments.

  2. Sean Jensen says:

    One more question, Craig, on your above combat example for SOE21 you indicate that the TRAINED fighter with 3 STR and 1 INT would receive a +8 on his roll. Should this be a +5 (aptitude is STR+INT=4+Training=1)? Thanks.

  3. Craig says:

    Hmm… nobody ever said that I was a genius, but this is new low, even for me 😀
    2+3+1+1 = 8 roflmao!
    Thanks Sean, I really should check my work before I post it on the blog.

  4. Ernie says:

    Hey how are you all handling the healing issue of the Priest healing the same guy several times, event if you place once per encounter limit on heals per person this still can overpower a group for a long dungeon crawl. I really like the roll 15 new rules. very nice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s