Help support TMP

"Need to pick your brains: dice idea for combat..." Topic

18 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Dice Message Board

Back to the Game Design Message Board

985 hits since 29 Nov 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

soulman29 Nov 2015 5:01 a.m. PST

Hi Boys and Girls….

I`m just putting together some rules and wanted to ask what in your own game experiences would be a better option…


Lets say 2 people are "fighting" in melee and there basic fighting skill is a D6 (Range is from D4 to D12 ). Both roll there skill and the highest roller hits the other. Then you move on to see if you have hurt them.

But I was adding in a Success number, which is what you need to roll also. So a hit it higher rolled number and a 4+ also.

If we add this to a horror setting with zombies which fight with a D4 only… So if a zombie was to fight in melee it would be
Human D6
Zombie D4

Do you feel that higher roller wins the fight, which means the zombie have a good chance…
Adding the 4+ rule, means the zombie has to roll a 4 on his D4 and still beat the human ?
This reflects the poor agility of the zombie and makes good sense. If I had a nice sword on my back my mean arse fighting skill may be a good D10.

Well just wanted your own thoughts on your knowledge in this field.

Thanks all

Griefbringer29 Nov 2015 5:30 a.m. PST

What happens if both sides roll under their success number? Is it a draw?

What happens if both sides roll the same, and also beat their success number? Is it a draw?

What if side A rolls higher, but fails to achieve success number, while side B beats success number but rolls lower than side A? Does side B win, or is it a draw?

What if there are multiple zombies attacking a single human?

Overall, do you want fights to produce quick results, or do you want there to be a chance for draws, resulting in a prolonged fight (with a chance for both sides to throw in reinforcements)?

bobspruster29 Nov 2015 6:17 a.m. PST

Both roll a d6. Human gets a knock down on 4, a kill on 5 or 6. Zombie inflicts a wound on 5, kill on 6. Modifiers to the human for weapon used. If both don't score, reinforce and go again next turn, or give human a chance to flee.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member29 Nov 2015 7:28 a.m. PST

Zombies dont fight. They grab and try to eat you.
The human tries to prevent this.
Id have something particularly nasty happen if the die rolls match.

soulman29 Nov 2015 7:59 a.m. PST

Hi Grief B…. highest wins, but you still have to roll the 4+, draws is a stand off.
Also thinking about types of attacks on 3+ and tough ones on 5+. so D4 fighting cannot make tough attacks….

Cheers all

BuckeyeBob29 Nov 2015 10:12 a.m. PST

I kind of like Ravens' idea. Just off the top of my head… Zombie gets a bite if die rolls are tied. Z rolls 1D4 and human 1D8 if fairly good fighter, 1D6 if inexperienced and 1D4 if some sniveling weakling. A 1D10 or higher die type for much more experienced fighters????
Human wins if DR is higher than the Z. If not, Z grabs the human which continues the melee to the next turn and affects the human's die (next die type lower) if fighting or reduces their chance to run away.
You'd have to figure out what to do if multiple Z's are in melee with 1 human and how that works (human can fight off 2 Z's but others get a free grab (-1 die type per grab) and then next turn can try to bite????)

Zephyr129 Nov 2015 3:42 p.m. PST

Highest number wins, and winner makes a number of hits equal to the difference in scores. (e.g. D6 = 2, D4 = 4, D4 makes 2 hits, works out weapon damage for each hit.)

Adjust with modifers to taste… ;-)

Great War Ace Inactive Member29 Nov 2015 7:10 p.m. PST

D6s rule. Other dice are for "utilitarian" purposes….

jwebster30 Nov 2015 12:06 a.m. PST


I suggest that you calculate the probabilities that the two different systems give and see if that is actually what you wanted, particularly when someone gets a D8 or more. If you can get the same probabilities from simple D6 rolls, then that is going to be easier to play.

The ideas from Raven and Bob are also really important. It's zombies – make it fun and weird. Give the zombies grab attacks. Let the human do large amounts of damage but only the hit to the brain will stop the zombie. Or some other idea.


Mark RedLinePS Inactive Member30 Nov 2015 1:05 a.m. PST

I like highest wins. In Piquet some units will roll a d4 versus a d12 but you always gave that outside chance of winning. You can then factor in the difference between the dice rolls and wether the winning five rolled even or odd for the damage effects of the winning hit.

soulman30 Nov 2015 3:07 a.m. PST

Morning all…well it is in grey and wet England….!

Many thanks for the time for people to get back to me. My maths skills are really poor so any chance to calculate probabilities would make my own brain explode… any Apps for that ?

Thanks BBob on the draw idea as well.

Once a hit is scored then a damage test is made. I have two tables, one for stun damage, which heals in time with rest in the game and Kill damage which does not.

So human hands would be a D4 Stun Vs the Body of the target, which is a D6 for a standard human. Pick up a weapon and it may have Kill damage and be rated like Kitchen knife D8 Kill, or a D12 Chainsaw…

I also wanted to add a minimum Rating to some weapons, maybe just Kill types..

IE/ D4 1
D6 2
D8 3
D10 4
D12 5
so the Knife would roll a D8 but lowest score is a 3 and the chainsaws D12 is a 5. Nobody gets a small cut from a chainsaw. :-)
The difference in the rolls is looked on a simple damage table for effects.. But at the moment a 6 point damage difference is a Kill, or a K/O for a stun type weapon.

You cam design a damage table for each creature so for the zombies it would have the grabbing, pulling and bites Etc…

Zombie damage table – D6 Kill Damage
Result Injury Effects
same Held back – Nothing
1-2 Pulled – Cannot flee
3-4 Grabbed – – future damage is D8 Kill
5 Bitten – Alive but poisoned
6 ripped to bits – DEAD

So If the zombie hit the human, the zombie would roll D6 damage and the Humans Body score is a D6

Take care today all….

RudyNelson30 Nov 2015 8:23 a.m. PST

We used the different types of dice for different races in out fantasy tactical games. It works well. So I do not see why it should not work for you.

Griefbringer30 Nov 2015 12:35 p.m. PST

For the mathematically challenged designers, I would be a bit vary about using opposed dice rolls with different kinds of dice (or even same kind of dice, but with modifiers), since the probability distribution might not be exactly what you expected.

Anyway, I will try to give a somewhat visual example. Let's assume that you have a poor combatant (D4) facing an average combatant (D6). When these two dice are rolled together, there are 4*6=24 different combinations. These combinations can be also shown in 4*6 table, showing also the winning side in each scenario. The table in question looks something like this:


Where Z indicates the poor combatant wins (6 chances out of 24), X indicates draw (4 chances out of 24) and Y indicates the average combatant wins (14 chances out of 24).

Drawing similar tables for the other scenarios would then help you to figure out the probability distributions in those case. That said, if the largest dice you are using is D12, then you actually need to draw a single 12*12 table and you can then calculate all of the cases from that one (just cover the not needed parts).

BuckeyeBob01 Dec 2015 12:14 p.m. PST

Thanks Griefbringer for the clear explanation and example.
That really helps me see how the math works in this kind of situation. Probability calcs never were a strong suit of mine.
So in the example, the Z gets 10 chances of 24 to either hold or bite and the Human 14/24's of winning.

How would I show the probability if 2 1d4 Z's were attacking a 1d6 human at the same time? Thus both Z's roll their die but the human only rolls their die once (a win means both Z's are taken out)?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Dec 2015 7:36 a.m. PST

2d4 v 1d6 can handled with a two-tier approach. Work out the 2d4 odds as a single, 16 sided die, then cross it with the d6:

1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4 5
2 3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6 7
4 5 6 7 8

So, laying all the outcomes on one big d16 is:

2 3 4 5 3 4 5 6 4 5 6 7 5 6 7 8

and resorting them, just 'coz:

2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 8

Now, second iteration against the d6:

2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 8
1 Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z
2 Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z
3 H – Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z
4 H H H – Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z
5 H H H H H H – – Z Z Z Z Z Z
6 H H H H H H H H H H – Z Z Z

Human wins (H) 20/96
Ties (-) 13/96
Zed wins (Z) 63/96


With the opposed die rolls, you might want to consider having the margin of victory dictate the damage rather than a separate die roll. In most cases, this skews the outcomes to make "low end" outcomes more common and "high end" ones rarer.

Griefbringer02 Dec 2015 9:17 a.m. PST

BuckeyeBob, you really need to be more specific about how the rules for two D4 zombies attacking one D6 human work, before the probabilities can be calculated.

If the rolls of the two zombies are counted together, then they effectively become a single 2D4 zombie, and the calculations that etotheipi gave above apply.

However, if you are instead after the scenario where the two zombies roll their D4 separately, and the better one of these is compared against the human, then the results will change significantly. You will again get a 4*4 matrix of 16 possible results for the two zombies jointly, but the scores will instead be:

1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

To calculate the probabilities, draw again a 6*16 matrix as etotheipi gave above. This should give the following probabilities:

- Human wins: 46/96
- Ties: 16/96
- Zombies win: 34/96

And if you want to further complicate things, you could also write the rules in such a way that both of the zombies are compared separately against the human, so you might get results where one zombie loses to the human and other one wins. This would result in yet another probability distribution (depending on how exaclty you would handle various combinations of win/draw/lose for the two zombies).

BuckeyeBob02 Dec 2015 8:40 p.m. PST

oh wow! I never would have thought the probabilities would have been anywhere near what they are actually.
thanks again etot and grief for the explanations and samples.

Griefbringer03 Dec 2015 1:10 p.m. PST

Notice that if the combat works the way I counted in my example (roll D4 for every zombie and pick the best), ganging up with even more zombies on the poor human will bring only limited benefits, because the best score that the zombies can ever get is 4 (though with sufficiently many zombies they are very likely to score it).

So even if you throw very big pile of zombies on the poor human and roll a bucket of D4 for them, the best probabilities that the zombies are going to get are:

- Zombies win: 3/6
- Draw: 1/6
- Human wins: 2/6

These correspond to the probabilities of the human rolling 1-3, 4 or 5-6.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.