A ‘One Roll Engine’ Tutorial

“We are, all of us, living in a new age, clearly deliniated from the old by the sudden reality of the impossible.” Dr. Daniel L. Talbot, 23 June 1936.

The Basics

In GODLIKE, the success or failure of an action is determined by throwing a number of 10-sided dice and looking for matches among them.

The number of dice thrown is determined by adding together the values of a stat (a score which measures innate ability) and a skill (a score which measures learned ability).

Let’s say you have a Body stat of 3 and you have a Brawling skill of 2. This would give you 5 dice (5d) to roll when trying to hit someone. This is called a dice pool. No dice pool in GODLIKE may be higher than 10 dice.

When you roll, no matching numbers means no success, but more matching dice or matches of higher value indicate faster or more exceptional success.

For example, if you rolled your 5d Body + Brawling dice pool to determine whether you succesfully punched a Nazi spy and got:

5, 1, 3, 4, 2

this would be a failure, since none of the dice values match.

But if you rolled:

1, 1, 3, 2, 5

this would be a success, since two of your dice matched (two 1s.) This is the minimum success possible.

If you rolled:

10, 9, 4, 10, 10

this would indicate an exceptional success, since the matching dice are of the highest value possible (10) and there are three of them.

Height and Width

Matching sets have two values which measure their success: Widthand Height.

Height is the matches’ value, while Width is the number of matches in the set. The GODLIKE shorthand for Width and Height is “WxH”.

Height represents the degree of success, while Width represents how fast the action is accomplished in game time. Higher values are always better.

For example, if you rolled 6 ten-sided dice and got:

5, 1, 5, 2, 5, 10

your roll would have a Height of 5, since you matched 5s, and your Width would be 3, since you matched three 5s. It would be written as 3×5 (since you rolled three 5s).

Who Goes First?

Now the interesting question, of the above examples, which would occur first in game time? Since Width determines what happens when, these rolls would play out in this order:

4×5 (Width of 4 goes first)

3×10 (Width of 3 goes second)

2×2 (Width of 2 goes last)

Now, while Width indicates when an action occurs, Height represents how successful that action is.

Sometimes one is more important than the other. For example, in a foot race, Width would be more important (since the highest Width finishes the race first), while in target shooting Height would be more important (since the highest Height hits more accurately).

Multiple Sets and Multiple Actions

Astute readers will notice that sometimes it’s possible to get multiple sets of matches in a single roll. For example:

2, 1, 2, 9, 9, 2

could be said to have two matching sets: 3×2 and 2×9. Which do you use?

When completeing a normal action, you can choose which one you use, but the other is discarded. So, if you wanted your action to occur faster in game-time, you’d pick the 3×2 (since it’s Wider,) or if you wanted to complete the task with skill and aplomb, you would choose the 2×9 (since it’s Higher.)

When you want to try to accomplish two difficult things at once in the game, you determine the dice pools normally, pick the smaller one, discard a die for the difficulty, roll that pool and look for a set to assign to each action.

Let’s say you want to shoot a gun at an opponent and drive a car at the same time. You have a Coordination + Drive dice pool of 7d and a Coordination + Pistol dice pool of 8d. Since the Coordination + Drive is lower, that’s the dice pool you roll, and since you’re doing two things at once you drop a die out of that pool, giving you only 6d to roll.

If you rolled

3, 3, 1, 2, 10, 9

you could choose to succeed at one, but not both of your actions, since you only got one success.

Or, if you rolled

3, 3, 10, 2, 10, 9

you could succeed at both actions, since you could assign 2×3 to Driving and a 2×10 to shooting (or, of course, vice versa.)

Hit Location, Damage and Aiming

The friendly silhouette below is the hit location table. As you can see, it’s like a person, with a head, legs, arms and torso.

Simply put, in GODLIKE the Height of an attack roll indicates where the attack hits, while the Width indicates the damage.

So, if I rolled a 3×5, I would hit the target in the right arm (the 5) for 3 points (the Width of 3.)

There are two types of damage: Shock and Killing.

If you get hit for a point of Shock damage, drop a slash in the appropriate box.

If you get hit for a point of Killing and put an X in the appropriate box.

If your head (hit location 10) is filled with Shock damage, your character is unconscious. If your head or torso (hit location 7-9) is filled with Killing damage, the character is dead.

Weapons modify the amount and type of damage done. For example, just punching causes Width in Shock damage, while shooting a pistol does Width in Killing and Width in Shock damage.

Aiming

Want to hit someone in a particular hit location? Simple. Drop a die out of your attacking set, place another die at the appropriate hit location number, roll the remaining dice and look for matches.

Say, for example, you have 7d in Coordination+Rifle and you want to shoot the enemy machine gunner in the head. You place one of your dice at 10 (the hit location of the head), drop a die for difficulty, and roll the remaining 5 dice, hoping to get another 10 to make a succesful match. If you fail to get another 10, you miss the head-shot.

Learn More

That, in a nutshell, is the GODLIKE system.

Please feel free to download the free quick-play rules for the game here for a much more in-depth examination of the rules.

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About Arc Dream Publishing

Arc Dream Publishing creates roleplaying games and fiction including Delta Green, Godlike, Wild Talents, Monsters and Other Childish Things, Better Angels, The Kerberos Club, The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man, and the award-winning magazine of Cthulhu Mythos gaming, The Unspeakable Oath.