Divided Multi-Axis Fate Rolls

I'll spend this post chasing down a few stray thoughts spinning off from the multi-axial Fate Dice discussion in Rob Donoghue's Tally Dice post. You've been warned.

Rob indicated he has more to go in fleshing out uses for Tally Dice. Stay tuned to his blog The Walking Mind to read more as it comes out.

If you don't have a set yet,
go buy Fate Dice at Amazon
or directly from Evil Hat.
Also this multi-axis dice hack needs a better short name. Or notation. Maybe #Q and #q? QT and QF? Hrm. Ideas welcome.

Intro to Tally Dice
Rolling 4 Fate/Fudge dice (4dF) gives you a range from +4 (++++) to -4 (----) with a curve that peaks at 0 (+00-, for example). Tally dice (4dT) changes the way you read each die (into 1d3-1) by counting lines. 0 is still 0, but - is 1 and + is 2. It gives a range of 0 to 8. It's fundamentally the same as 4dF+4, or XdF+X.

NOTE: I'm basing all the numbers in this article on 4 dice, but you could certainly change the pool size if needed.

Adding a Second Axis
Here's the thing: you can read the same dice as Fate or Tally dice. If you do both, you can squeeze more information out of each roll in the form of a result on a second axis. If you read a roll with Tally dice as Quantity and Fate dice as Quality, you can easily get (on average) 4 things of Quality 0. So we're talking about a single roll giving results on 2 different axes (as in the multiple of axis, not Battle Axes and Waraxes).

After a quick look at some multi-axial cases, reading the entire dice pool on each axis limits the possibilities too much for my tastes. For instance, the only way to get a Quantity of 8 means their Quality is +4. And you can only get 4 things of Quality -4. It's a little chunkier than I'd like it.

Dividing the Dice Pool
I thought about an old Car Wars-based RPG I started, roughly based on Cyberpunk's Friday Night Firefight, and a related variation on the One Roll Engine (ORE) that powers the Godlike RPG: Take a subset of dice of a different color and read those as one axis of the roll's results.

Reading both pairs of black/gold dice
with the gold dice as the smaller axis
gives either 5/+0 or 3/-2.
One die is probably too small a range, though workable if you're only looking for 0-2 of a thing or a Quality of -1 to +1. I'd go with 2 dice, which gives either a Quantity of 0 to 4 or a Quality of -2 to +2. You can define which die roll maps to which axis on the fly, so if you want a larger Quantity of more boring Quality for one roll and a smaller Quantity of more varying Quality the next, that's totally up to you.

Funky Math
Yes, there's still some funky math in this system. It still skews higher on positive results, but I think it smooths things out considerably. You can get a maximum of Quantity 8/Quality +2 (abbreviated 8/+2 from here on), but only 7/+0, 6/+1 or -2, and 5/-1. If you flip the axis mapping, you can get a maximum of 4/+0 through +4, but only 3/-1 or -2, and 2/-3 or -4.

I'm sure working out every possible roll and totaling the probability for each result would show how skewed the results of this system are, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

One Hack Beyond
If you really want to go crazy and introduce the D&D 5e concepts of Advantage and Disadvantage into the mix, you can look at both pairs of dice for the smaller spread and use the better/worse result.

As Rob stated in his original post, Tally Dice are most useful for accruing resources. His example of gathering units of soldiers for an army fits really well. I can see this hack used for scavenging equipment, summoning critters, or even a Travelleresque speculative trading system. And if you want to add limits or backlash to a magic caster, you can read Quantity on the smaller axis to vary mana cost or accrue Paradox points that you'll need to burn off later.

Huh. I came up with a few more uses than I thought I would. And now I need to flesh out a simple trading system using this #Q hack. Like I need another gaming project to occupy my thoughts. *grin*

So yeah, have a dice hack to get a second axis of results out of a single 4dF roll.

What do you think? Would you use a hack like this? If so, in what situations does this make sense to use?

Thanks for reading!

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