3d6 is not less swingy than d20

With tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) systems, sometimes I hear a claim that bell curve dice rolls, e.g. 3d6, are “less swingy” (less variance) than a linear based dice roll such as d20 or d%.

This is, however, incorrect.

While the distribution of dice rolls are different, the distribution of outcomes – success or failure – are the same, and for equivalent circumstances have the same statistical variance / standard deviation.

Although the outcomes have equivalent distributions, the underlying type of dice system is important for analysis of modifiers and skill progression.

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Firefly RPG rules summary and characters

Following on from my Mouse Guard summary, here is some similar material I created for my 2017 Go Play game, running the What’s Mine scenario from the Firefly RPG.

I prepared a Firefly RPG rules summary, with a summary of how to build dice pools and various game rules, how plot points work, a summary of skills and attributes, and then some notes on Game Master dice pools and plot points.

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Mouse Guard RPG rules summary and character sheets

When running convention games, I often prepare a 1-2 page rules summary for players, particularly for those unfamiliar with the game. There are also usually a bunch of pre-generated characters for the game.

Here are the Mouse Guard – Summary Rules that I made for my Go Play X game last year, where I ran the Dam Beaver introductory scenario.
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Go Play – Mouse Guard RPG playtest

So, I will be running some Mouse Guard quick shot (90 minute) sessions at the Go Play Brisbane 2018 gaming convention in September this year.

To test out the system I ran a bunch of young (pre-teen) children through it: my daughter and the kids of a few friends. I figured if it can survive them, then it will survive any players.

I played the introductory scenario “Find the Grain Peddler”.

Here are their character sheets; I let the players pick their own cloak colour:

mouse-guard-playtest-sheets

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