117 – Core Dice Mechanics, Part Two

The Mythcreant Podcast
We had so much to say about dice mechanics last week that we could have made it into two episodes. So, we did! Welcome to part two, where Chris describes a system so weird it sounds like an April Fools’ joke, Oren revels in rolling a bucket of dice, Wes relives the terror of Call of Cthulhu dice, and we all scratch our heads at THAC0. We talk about when an unconventional dice mechanic is actually justified and when you’re just confusing your players. Plus, the difference between Call of Cthulhu and the Basic Roleplaying System. Bet you’ve all been dying to know that one.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Fantasy Flight Star Wars

Mistborn Adventure Game

Full Light, Full Steam

Call of Cthulhu

Meta Currency

Basic Roleplaying System

RuneQuest, the fantasy version of BRP, but BRP actually came first.



Tenra Bansho Zero

Anima Prime

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  1. Reiksson

    If you like leveling a stat and the die type changes then Savage Worlds is game built completely around that. I am not saying the game system is great but it completes what is sets out to do, fast resolution.

  2. Adam

    While you didn’t mention Numenera, you pretty much hit the nail on the head with its metacurrency dice mechanic and put all my jumbled thoughts about it into an organized explanation. Excellent work!

    While I really want to love Numenera, I just plain hate its dice mechanic. And while Monte Cook claimed to have created a system that’s simpler than D&D, it simply isn’t. In fact, I think Numenera involves way more math! Like Wes, I just want to roll dice and know right away if I succeeded or failed, not have to do a bunch of math first.

  3. TopRamen

    Actually, I think GURPS makes a lot of sense. Though, I came from a D&D background, mostly 2nd edition via video games and 3rd edition via role-playing with other humans
    So, I apologize as I only really have one angle on this.

    I don’t like D&D’s d20 system because it’s totally flat and hence totally random, each number’s chance of being rolled is the same.

    So, the success rate in D&D feels totally random, and that does have some of it’s own benefits, but because GURPS makes you roll 3d6 and add those numbers together, the distribution is a bell curve and also more realistic in terms of difficulty.

    Also, screw THAC0!

  4. Venuil Dave

    I’m surprised that there is so little understanding of the GURPS dice system here. It’s far and away the simplest dice and roleplaying system out there, and it allows for as much or as little detail as you want with ease. I have taught many D&D players how to play GURPS and never have I had anyone who was confused. In your podcast you make it clear that only one person has played it, and since you’re all already on guard with bad systems, you immediately tune out to the system you haven’t played and just take her at her word that it’s confusing. She didn’t even explain the dice system well:

    Starting stat level is 10 (same as in D&D, how hard is that?). Roll 3d6 vs your stat/skill to succeed at something. A roll of 10 is exactly 50% likely (average); the rest of the results are on a bell curve, which allows for non-linear success/failure. Easy tasks are a bonus; difficult task are at a penalty. That’s like 80% of the system. How is this hard?

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