Static Checks vs Dice Rolls

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by Atomic Postman, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    Fallout simply limits success to maximum of 95%, and a minimum of 5%. —IIRC; combat though, does drop the chance of aimed shots to zero at some point.
     
  2. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Mojave Express Employee of the Month

    Mar 16, 2013
    Yes in reference to DnD since in 1d20 a 1 correlates to 5% in percentile 1d100. I was aware but for various reasons I did away with that during the rules translation.
     
  3. eissa

    eissa Altáriel, Lady of Radiant Garland

    Jan 7, 2016
    Static check but let SPECIAL stats have huge say wether the options ever appeared and radically influence the success factor. Still thinking what ways to make Luck powerful than just making you earn caps faster.
     
  4. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Mojave Express Employee of the Month

    Mar 16, 2013
    I think having it dictate Critical Chance and then conversely reducing/increasing your Critical Failure gives it good utility. Considering how vital Criticals can be.

    In 3D games you could put more Luck checks in place too
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  5. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Fossil

    Apr 7, 2017
    Having checks between 1 and 4 would have solved this. I think every check in New Vegas is either a 0 or 5.

    Another thing i don't like about dice rolls is failing check even when you max out the skill. Maxing out speech only to fail due to a minimum 5% chance to fail makes the entire investment feel pointless a lot of the time.
     
  6. SquidVan

    SquidVan Pirate and Bankrobber Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    There are obviously pros and cons to both. Truly though, the real devil is the flagged dialogue that tells you the threshold of the dialogue option and whether it passes or not already.

    Why wouldn't players click that Speech 70 option when they have above 70 speech? They know they'll pass and make the part easier. Usually even without that marker letting you know, you can easily discern normal options from unlocked speech ones but still, make the player at least think about it for two seconds rather than instinctually press the win button.
     
  7. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Fossil

    Apr 7, 2017
    I already talked about this in a post in this thread but the issue isn't that it shows the threshold, it's that it's a win button. If the game teaches that passing a check isn't always a good thing, meaning they actually have to read it and be aware how the conversation is going, the threshold being shown is not a problem.
     
  8. SquidVan

    SquidVan Pirate and Bankrobber Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    I mean that could work too. But they don't do either. I'd rather see all of it gone but if it were to stay, they could at least do that.
     
  9. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    Except that that's life, and to prevent that makes for infallible characters; no body is infallible. A professional locksmith [maxed skill] can fail to open his own door with his own keys——it's called dropping one's keys. A circus acrobat could fail at doing a cartwheel—for any number of reasons... it's just very unlikely; for instance, their hand lands on a pebble in just the worst way and bends their wrist.

    The roll accounts for accidents too, not just PC competence. Accidents are a feature of circumstance. Sometimes rote tasks go wrong.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  10. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Fossil

    Apr 7, 2017
    I'm repeating myself since i mentioned this already, but New Vegas had the Dean Domino Barter check where passing it would hurt his ego, meaning he would try to kill you later on. The problem here is that New Vegas should have way more of these.

    I do remember that Underrail has several checks where passing them leads to negative consequences.

    Still don't like it regardless if it's like life or not. I like being rewarded for investment.
     
  11. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    The reward is that 19 times out of 20 your character can execute the skill quickly and flawlessly upon demand; that's pretty amazing, and a lot better than 3 out of 20.

    *I once played Fallout, and somehow got locked in the cathedral at the time when the Master tells you to run for your life. My PC goes up the steps and has to fight a nightkin, then the door is locked—with the countdown still ticking away every second; skill use takes time. The PC had to pick the lock with no picking tools.

    *I think this happens if Morpheus escorts the PC to the Master from conversation.

    Times like this are when being an expert matters, and being a novice can get them killed. IIRC... My PC was a novice, and jammed the lock; had no explosives either. Long time ago. They might have had the crowbar though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  12. SquidVan

    SquidVan Pirate and Bankrobber Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    Yeah I've had it happen once or twice to me and I started being more considerate about what I was saying.
     
  13. Risewild

    Risewild Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Wait, if you like being rewarded by investing in a skill, how come you also want to fail even when passing the skill check? :scratch:
    Isn't failing by passing the check, even less rewarding than failing by failing the check? :shock:

    I mean, why would I invest in a skill, know I have enough to pass the check and then fail anyway? Sounds worse than failing the check because I got 1 on the dice.
    Sounds like I'm being penalized by investing in a skill.
     
  14. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Fossil

    Apr 7, 2017
    The passing the check and get negative consequences was more of a solution to the win button for static checks problem i have and it doesn't have anything to do with % chance based checks. So i don't mind passing a static check and get negative consequence if the context is right, and it also teaches me that passing a static check isn't always a good thing.

    And to clarify the negative consequences of passing a static check, i just don't want to be locked out of something or forced into a fight like when you fail a % chance based check. I want something like Dean Domino wanting to kill you because you hurt his ego (which granted it's similar to being forced into a fight, but given that it only happens near the end of the DLC, i'd say the context is different than just failing to convince someone since you technically convinced him with the barter check), or get a different part of quest that you can only get with the negative check and going that route will make your reputation worse or something like that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  15. Risewild

    Risewild Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Thanks for the clarification. :-D
    This can be avoided when using a % check, if the system takes into account by how much you failed the check.
    For example, you have a skill check with a difficulty of 30, you have a skill of 20 and roll a d20. You get 9 on the dice and fail by 1 point. You get a near miss and so the consequences of failing are not as severe, for example, you were trying to convince "Jack" to hire you, you failed but "Jack" asked you to clarify what you meant. You get a second chance and maybe the difficulty check will be a bit lower now, because some of your message got across already.
    If you get a roll of 7, then "Jack" is not inclined to hire you at all, but could change his mind if you "grease his palms" with something of value, if you get a roll of 5 or less, he will not want to hire you and you will have to think of some other way of advancing whatever plans you had that involved getting hired by Jack.

    This is something that's used by veteran/good game masters during PnP games, but it's a pity computer games don't use it much... or at all.

    That is why PnP is always the best way of playing RPGs, because there's always many possible ways of dealing with a problem (it's very rare to get locked out of relevant content), good cRPGs usually offer several ways of doing it, but due to the means available for the medium, they can never offer as many as in PnP.
     
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  16. TomJ

    TomJ Still Mildly Glowing

    214
    Jul 12, 2015
    One thought I am having on this is whether or not it is possible to have faction reputation factor into skill checks. It makes sense to have a static check if you have the requisite skills, but have someone not trust you if your faction rep is too low. Cause even if I am a medical genius, the Followers or who ever shouldn't just take my word for things if I haven't proven myself.
     
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  17. Octavian

    Octavian It Wandered In From the Wastes

    119
    Jun 16, 2018
    If you're a tabletop purist who just prefers rolls, thats understandable. However, I do think that a lot of criticisms of static checks in new vegas are missing the forest for the trees. New Vegas had issues as a result of static checks, but these issues were more representative of failures to design around static checks than issues with static checks.

    Here are a few requirements of design needed for static checks to work:

    1. Hide them in conversation. Players invest in speech and other civics skills because they actually want to read the dialogue and think about how to respond. An issue of New Vegas was that speech characters were incentivized to read less dialogue and pick responses less carefully than low speech characters because the favorable options are highlighted. More dialogue checks with negative outcomes would add to this.

    2. Add more gameplay requirements. Make the player gather evidence/information/leverage/bargaining chips/good reputations/credability/etc through other actions before using a dialogue check to resolve an issue. (examples: needing to know mutants are sterile to talk down the master, needing benny's lighter+cigarettes to convince swank)

    3. Don't use checks as a way to bypass gameplay. Instead, solving speech checks should reward the player with extra options/assistance/information/methods, not just complete a quest. (example: the speech option that lets you fight lanius 1 on 1 instead of the one that makes him fuck off entirely)

    4. Have a more interesting failure spectrum, and create interesting and fun outcomes from failed checks. (a game that does this well is disco elysium).

    If New Vegas actually followed all of these rules, static checks would not be a "win button" as described by a few users in a thread. Poorly designed game ≠ inherently flawed mechanic.
     
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  18. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    The problem with static checks is that the PC is guaranteed to succeed.

    Put it this way... This is like a maximum skilled sharpshooter being guaranteed to hit the bullseye every time, regardless of wind, pain, fear, temporary semi-blindness, a bug up their nose, sweaty hands, sudden cramps, dirt in the gun, or general misfire of the round....to name but a few.

    This applies to any skill or action. The best expert in the world can slip (or sneeze) while disarming a bomb. The best opera singer can get hiccups on stage... or shockingly draw a blank on the next verse, or have their voice crack.

    (But it's very--very unlikely; with static skill checks impossible.)
    _________

    Dice represent the situational difficulty, and their skill level indicates their measure of confidence and ability to control the situation... but it never guarantees their success.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  19. Octavian

    Octavian It Wandered In From the Wastes

    119
    Jun 16, 2018
    Although I respect your opinion, I think this argument is a bit flawed.

    Lets say a new RPG releases tomorrow. In this hypothetical RPG, the devs don't make it clear to the playerbase whether skill checks are rolls or static. There is no number or % chance of succeeding next to any of the checks. In this scenario, how is it possible for players to tell the difference between rolls and static checks without abusing savescumming to investigate?

    It's almost impossible. Assuming the player has no meta-game knowledge, failing/succeeding in a static system because your investment wasn't high enough its no different from failing/succeeding in a check based system on bad luck. Unless a stat is either max or at 0, its impossible for the player to know if they succeeded because they put in enough points to cross the threshold or because they got lucky with a check that was unlikely. The same goes with failure. You don't know you failed because you're not good enough at something or you failed because you're unlucky.
    Without any sort of extra knowledge or indication, the player really has no idea what system is in play. All they know is that they succeed at some checks and fail others. The element of situational difficulty is still there. Checks will fail in either system, and the player still has to contend with the consequences.

    This hypothetical could even be extrapolated to tabletop. Lets say you play a hypothetical tabletop game where, instead of rolling the dice yourself, the DM rolls the dice for you in a hidden room, so you don't see the outcome. The DM doesn't tell you the required roll you need, and only tells you your degree of failure/success and the outcome after you say what you want to your character to do. If the DM wasn't actually rolling dice at all and planned a predetermined outcome based on your stats instead, you would have no idea he's not actually rolling the dice. You would succeed sometime and fail sometime. You would still have to deal with the consequences of your actions.
     
  20. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    It's possible, but never done (AFAIK). Savescumming IMO should be ignored by the developer, as a character flaw not worth designing around.

    It's bad design to keep a player in the dark about how their character development will affect the game. The game should (at minimum) explicitly state that adding more points to a skill will increase the likelihood of success with that skill; IMO that is enough.

    I consider it just as bad a design for a single point to significantly tip the balance, as it is for having every five points do it; where the interim four are useless until the fifth. With thresholds these individual [tipping] points suddenly guarantee ever-flawless success.

    As for notification of cause for failure or success... It is not impossible to include illustrative detail for action tasks. A failure can be described as pure luck, or a surprisingly easy success, just by comparing the roll to the difficulty. In Fallout, the enemies are described as 'almost dead', or "barely/severely/... injured", and they can stay that way even after several attacks; the player doesn't know. It is very telling of the design that players ONLY know what their PCs know; this is further reflected in the awareness perk, which indicates a more detail oriented character who pays attention to enemy equipment and a more precisely interpreted apparent health.

    As you say.
    A skill roll of 6 could be described as an unexpectedly easy success, while a successful roll of 90 could be described as a difficult challenge. These descriptions could be handled any way the developer likes. They could be a line of text in a status menu (like Fallout's), or could be a PC vocal comment, "Piece of cake!", or fully animated... (PC drops the lock pick, or snaps it, as in FO3), or combinations of any.

    Fallout did this. There were some predetermined outcomes where necessary for the mechanics, or plot. This was used to ensure viable character paths. For instance AFAIK/IIRC, you cannot fail to pickpocket the supermutant guard at Mariposa, to get the lock combination. These are special exceptions to the rule.

    *In Fallout, you cannot fail to pickpocket your companions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020