Exploding Dice and Critical Hits

Been a While
First of all, way to (yet again) drop off the face of the earth for a while. I was going to say for a year, but really it was just winter that I went away. Dinosaur Cowboys is often on my mind, and I’m slowly working away at the skirmish changes.

Recent Motivation
As to my current motivation for posting, you have Advanced Heroquest to thank for that. I play D&D Encounters fairly regularly, but wanted a lighter RPG for some of my friends. Advanced Heroquest was actually my first game, and I played it a ton and added a bunch of wild, custom rules way back.

But while browsing through that rulebook today I was reminiscing about Dinosaur Cowboys (this project has been going on for so long that I can reminisce about it!), because who doesn’t love rolling a handful of D12s? I think subconsciously I may have been trying to mirror the AHQ D12 mechanism…that and get away from the rash of D20 style games.

Possible Mechanic
Anyways related to all this (yes, I am getting to a point eventually…I used to be far less likely to ramble on): Exploding Dice. In the case of AHQ, critical hits while wounding Explode. What is Exploding? Well, the basic mechanic is described here.

How would it apply to Dinosaur Cowboys? Instead of a Critical Hit (unmodified roll of 12 on any of your Attacks) counting as 2 Hits, you would instead count it as 1 Hit and re-roll the dice (“explode” it), whereby the second Exploded roll could hit. Plus, in rare cases, that second roll could ALSO Explode, wherein you’d get a THIRD roll.

There are plenty of discussions on whether this mechanic is good or not. Normally it’s used with D6s instead of D12s, so that’s a factor. But in my view, and in the case of this game, it boils down to:

  • Non-Exploding (current mechanic): Faster and guaranteed extra damage from Criticals
  • Exploding: Statistically less likely to do much more on Critical Hits, but every so often it would be terrific

Arguably that was a pointless list, and this post has gone on for far too long for such a simple choice. I might leave the mechanic as is, but maybe have Exploding Dice as a variant, or at least playtest it and see.

Hopeful Playtest
Speaking of playtests, I’d like to print out two blank Posse sheets, pretty much randomly fill them in, and then give the current rules a shot. I did this way back when I was originally designing the game, but since the document is so formatted now it’s harder to make drastic changes like going from an RPG to a skirmish game.

Anyways I do fluctuate in my interest in the genre of this game, but I certainly am always a fan of the rules I’ve done so far, and definitely want to get a finished system around that. The base Attack/Damage/Critical/Reload system is great in my opinion, it’s more just the extra rules around it that take forever (like “How to Create a Posse”, “List of Traits”, etc.).

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