341 Symbaroum

Have you seen the Variable Defense rules for Dragon 425. That basically replaced every attack with a saving throw!

It’s a bit after the fact, but if you ever crack open some 4e again, there was a good summary on how to keep all the rolls player facing on the 4e Reddit. It’s described here:


I really liked that part of 4e, it kept the mechanics the same (roll and add your attack modifier vs differing defenses) rather than having a saving throw modifier and finding your saving throw DC.

It took one of my players (who joined in the 4e ERA) awhile to realize where his saving throw DC was and what it was for.

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That is something I enjoyed about 4e as well.


Alright, so it’s been a bit since I’ve found the time to visit the GBS forums, it seems! Catching up here.

@Spook408 – I think we’re talking about different things? The player-facing mechanics I’m referencing, popularized in PbtA games, in The Black Hack (TBH), in Into the Odd (ItO), Blades in the Dark and a number of other smaller press games… are exactly as @Gabe describes. They just put the focus on the player for rolling dice, freeing the GM up. If a foe attacks a PC, the PC defends, rather than the foe rolling to hit. In games like ItO and TBH, where damage to a PC is randomized, well, the player rolls that too – just like @LaramieWall’s ruling in his DCC game. Make your save, if you fail, roll1d6 to see what damage you take type thing.

Symbaroum follows this pattern, but it uses static damage values. What seems a little off to me is that there are conditions that trigger when certain damage thresholds are exceeded… and that means low-damage opponents will have no chance of pegging a PC solidly enough to trigger the condition if the PC has decent defense. It might work just fine – I just haven’t seen it in play. About to fix that, though, firing up a quick PbP game… mostly to test the mechanics.

And Gabe – you say it at the end of your post, but there’s no reason why the GM can’t just ask the players to roll the right die for their random tables. And, there are lots of examples of games that have mostly player-facing rolls, but the GM can still roll a randomizer (“The Die of Fate” type stuff). But even then – in the Rad-Hack game I ran last year for my home group, I just had them roll the bones in those situations of pure chance. The other thing it does, other than lighten the GM’s cognitive load, is mellow the sometimes adversarial relationship that can exist when the GM is really meting out punishment. In my experience, the players react quite differently when the GM tells them to “roll a d8 and take that much damage” vs. rolling and saying, “Oh! Eight damage!”

If I had to guess, I think what Spook408 doesn’t like about blades is the way the GM dynamically comes up with the position and effect for each roll, then interprets the results from there, factoring in partial success vs. full failure, the type and severity of harm suffered, etc. I love doing it that way, being a Fate guy, but it’s definitely a different way of modeling damage and consequences, and it’s not for everyone.

Weird, I thought I replied to Harrigan, but it’s not here so i did not send it or it’s in another thread. Sigh.

Two thing can be true at the same time. Blades is both brilliant and lacking for me at the same time. Brilliantly designed system, but I’d rather there be set damages rather than interpreting what position, effect and magnitude everything has. While it has authored many great scenes that would not happen in other games it still ways on me. First world gaming problems for sure.