STR modifiers | Precise Strike -vs- Bludgeon Attack (options)

I was listening to the Wandering DMs podcast the other day. They were talking about STAT modifiers and how most STATs often have two associated (main) benefits. For example CHR stat might give a reaction adjustment and limit the number of henchman a PC can have etc.

It made me think about (in AD&D at least) how STR gives a ‘To Hit’ modifier and a ‘To Damage’ modifier, i.e.:

It made me wonder if there should be an option for a fighter to also have a precise strike option and a bludgeon attack option.  The idea is that the PC sacrifices power for precision or the other way round.

So the PC can use both bonuses in the above table, or they can choose to (i) double the To Hit bonus (and sacrifice the To Damage bonus) or (ii) add the To Hit bonus to the To Damage bonus (and sacrifice the To Hit bonus).

Example: a Fighter with 18/51 STR gets the above bonuses, or they can do a precise strike at +4 (with no damage bonus) or a bludgeon attack with no to hit bonus but at +5 damage.

So, if fighting something really stealthy/armoured a precise strike might be a good option; but fighting a huge slow moving blob, maybe maxing out the damage on an easy hit might be the way to go.

That’s it. Nothing special here, but these options might give the fighter a few more tricks to draw on.

– – –

InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

‘D20/D21 bell curve’ | … strange things excite me!

… is it just me, or is this ‘D20 bell curve’ a thing of beauty:

D20 bell use output ((d4+d8)-(d6+d6))+10

Made from: (D4+D8)-(2D6) +10 = range 0 to 20
Could also use 2D62D6+10 (view; but you need to colour code your dice, or something).
Edit: … or perhaps better still:  4D6-4

Yes, it really runs from 0 to 20, not 1 to 20 … but I still like it. So, it’s more of a ‘D21 bell curve’ really, but don’t spoil my day!

Is this something that everyone knows? If so, please tell me this kind of stuff already !!!

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

Die from Two Dice | continued …

A while ago I wrote this post ‘Die from Two Dice‘. Basically it’s a method to make a new ‘die’ by rolling two dice (think D100 but instead of rolling two D10s, rolling two other kinds of dice e.g. a D4 and D6 to make a D24).

At one point in the post, I mentioned that like ‘percentile dice’ where one dice has 10, 20, 30 etc. on it and the other has 1, 2, 3 etc. on it, you could do the same thing but with other kinds of dice. You’d then simply need to sum the faces.

I had a go at drawing out what a set of these ‘composite dice’ might look like:

Composite Dice image

Method: In each case the white face tells you what ‘normal’ dice you roll this die with to make the composite dice; and to figure what kind of composite dice you are making simply multiply the white face number against the type of die you are rolling.


  • the top left option is: Roll this with a D20 and you’ll make 2×20 = D40
  • The next black option is: Roll this with a D20 and you’ll make 3×20 = D60
  • the first red option is: Roll this with a D12 and you’ll make 2×12 = D24.

Incidentally, the last two options could give you a time in minutes and hours.

Theming the colours should aid people to use them, so the black dice above are always used with a D20 etc. Taking this further, the complete set of dice might also include the ‘normal’ dice, so: normal D20 (in black), normal red D12, normal orange D10, normal yellow D8, normal green D6, normal blue D4 and a normal purple D3. The bolded ‘normal’ options need some thought, as they could get muddled with the dice above. Perhaps the normal dice are all white except for the maximum number which is the set colour e.g. white D10 with the 10 face being orange … or something.

In the above I stuck with D4s, D6s and D10 polyhedrals as they are common and the faces are not too small to print on. But in theory any two dice could be combined e.g. D12xD20 to give a D240 etc.

Kickstarter anyone …. ?

– – –

Me on DriveThruRPG; if you liked this, perhaps purchase one of my PWYW products, as a sort of ‘tip jar’ … perhaps In the Heart of the Unknown.

Monopoly Hex Flower Game Engine | PART 2

This follows on from my thought experiment of  – can you Hex Flower up the game Monopoly? Link

image_preview  A complete PDF version can be found here.

These a tarted up UK/US versions. The first set are probably closer to the long term stats in Monopoly,


Nav hex

… but I can’t help liking the look of this second set (again UK/US versions):


This work is not affiliated or endorsed in any way by the owners of the board game Monopoly.

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

Monopoly Hex Flower Game Engine

A little thought experiment … can you Hex Flower up the game Monopoly?

Roughed this out – and I’m not sure about the split hexes yet (and the train stations need work). I would fancy this whole thing up, but there is something else I should be doing … better get back to that then! 

Alternative Monopoly game board:  

Monopoly Hex Flower Game Engine Concept

Colours came out a bit funny so here’s a key:
Left column: Yellow; Free Parking; Orange
Second column: C.Chest; Visiting Jail; Chance; Taxes
Middle column: Pink; Brown; Go; Light Blue; Dark Blue
Third column: Utilities; C.Chest; Train Stations; Chance;
Right column: Green; Go to Jail; Red 

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

Large D6 dice pools | adding more swing with ‘harmonic’ equivalents

A while ago I posted this: Non-Homogenous Random Table and this on ‘split-dice‘ and even more here. The below builds on some of these ideas.

Content warning
If you are a mathematician the words I use below are bound to be formally inaccurate, sorry!  If you are sane, the below content is more than likely to be extraordinarily unnecessary, and probably useless, except perhaps in the most specific kinds of circumstances, sorry!

Thank you for making this lunacy possible (<– please consider donating to this great resource).

I did this thinking, and I decided to post it here in case anyone ever wonders about the same, at some point, and finds this post, however unlikely that might be …

Never to be deterred by a hopeless cause, I began to wonder about D6 bell curves using lots of D6s.

I think this began because I supposed that dice pool games using large dice pools sum all of these D6s, but upon reflection, I suspect that is not the case.

Anyway … I began to think that the result of summing lots of D6s would be boring because it’s bound to return mostly the same number, i.e. the peak area of the curve. So, how to add more ‘swing’ to the curve, but to retain the same overall range?

To cut a long story short, there are sort of “harmonics”, where you can (i) roll the same number of dice and (ii) the overall result range is the same, but (iii) where different groups of dice are rolled … these different sets give different probability profiles.

For example:

(i) Homogeneous D6 dice set (ii) ‘Harmonic’ equivalent  set Result range:
2D6 D8+D4 both give 2-12 and use 2 dice
3D6 D10+2D4 both give 3-18 and use 3 dice
4D6 D12+3D4 both give 4-24 and use 4 dice
8D6 D20+7D4 both give 8-48 and use 8 dice

The rub here is that using split dice (i.e. “harmonic” dice sets) give bell curves with more swing than a regular homogenous dice sets. The bigger the gap between the dice sizes in the non-homogeneous dice, the more swing there is. Below compares (i) D6 sets and (ii) their ‘harmonic’ dice set equivalents and (iii) overlapping the ends of (i) and (ii) for ease of comparison:


(i) Anydice: output 2d6 output 3d6 output 4d6 output 8d6


(ii) Anydice: output d8+d4 output d10+2d4 output d12+3d4  output d20+7d4


(iii) Anydice: output 2d6 output 8d6 output d8+d4 output d20+7d4

So, if you want to flatten a D6 bell curve, simply replace the number of dice with one of the non‑homogenous equivalents above.  I won’t bore you with more graphs (at least for now), but take my word for it, the biggest D-number you can introduce in the ‘harmonic dice set’,  the bigger the flattening effect. So, if you want to replace 8d6 with a ‘harmonic set’ equivalent you are better off using D20+7D4 rather than two sets of D12+3D4 (see table above for these ‘harmonic’ equivalents).

So, we have 2D6, 3D6, 4D6 and 8D6 covered (i.e. the rolls where there are ‘harmonic’ equivalents) – but what to do with 7D6? Good question. You could use D12+3D4 plus 3D6 (i.e. replacing the biggest harmonic set). You could even go on to replace the 3D6 part of D12+3D4 plus 3D6 with the harmonic set D10+2D4 (but this extra tweak adds little benefit).

But, there is an even stronger way to flatten the curve: use D20+7D4 and subtract D6. What we are doing here is going to the next largest ‘harmonic’ (equivalent to 8D6) – but to bring the dice range back into alignment with 7D6, we are subtracting a D6. Below shows this:  the top line is 7D6, the middle line is D12+3D4+3D6 (and D12+3D4+D10+2D4) and the bottom line is using this subtraction method:


Anydice: output 7d6 output d12+3d4+3d6 output d12+3d4+d10+2d4  output d20+7d4-d6.

In fact, this ‘subtraction’ method can be used even a few steps further backwards,  before it starts to give ‘wayward’ results. Here’s (i) homogeneous D6’s (ii) non-homogenous dice to replace the largest D6 set (iii) the D20+7D4 plus/minus D6s to give/restore the appropriate dice number:


(i) Anydice: output 2d6 output 3d6 output 4d6 output 5d6 output 6d6 output 7d6 output 8d6 output 9d6 output 10d6


(ii) Anydice: output d8+d4  output d10+2d4 output d12+3d4 output d12+3d4+d6 output d12+3d4+2d6 output d12+3d4+3d6 output 1d20+7d4 output 1d20+7d4+d6 output 1d20+7d4+2d6


(iii) Anydice: output d20+7d4-6d6 output d20+7d4-5d6 output d20+7d4-4d6 output d20+7d4-3d6 output d20+7d4-2d6 output d20+7d4-d6  output 1d20+7d4 output 1d20+7d4+d6  output 1d20+7d4+2d6

Basically, the D20+7D4 plus/minus D6s is the strongest way to flatten the curve, but (obviously) is quite complex, and after subtracting more than 2 or 3 D6s starts to give results that extend beyond the normal range and/or can give a negative number, i.e.:

d20+7d4 plus/minus D6s method In place of: % Exceeds end ranges
(doubled to cover both ends)
% which is Zero or less  
output d20+7d4-6d6

output d20+7d4-5d6

output d20+7d4-4d6

output d20+7d4-3d6

output d20+7d4-2d6

output d20+7d4-d6

output 1d20+7d4

output 1d20+7d4+d6

output 1d20+7d4+2d6










25.16    (50.32)

15.46    (30.92)

7.84      (15.68)

2.89      (5.78)

0.6        (1.2)

0.04      (0.08)






So you can subtract about 3D6s before the subtraction method gives an appreciable chance that a result will extend beyond the normal range, or give a number zero or less

The big picture is you can start from a bigger ‘harmonic’ set and subtract one or more D6s, as opposed to starting from a smaller harmonic and adding one or more D6s … if you can tolerate all the mathematical jiggery-pokery that is!  Phew.

A final piece of craziness, sort of building on this idea – if you’ve ever wanted a D100 bell curve, well you could try 5D20-20D10+108!


Anydice: output (5d20-20d10)+108

This curve is centred between 50 and 51 and the chance of exceeding 100 or being below 0 is 0.25% each way.

Did you really read all that? Well take a Chuffty Badge you lunatic!

One day, this might be of interest to someone!

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

Random Social Interaction Hex Flower Generator

Download a (readable)  image_preview .pdf version

I’ve been interested in making a random social interaction generator for a little while, perhaps part of a random mystery generator. Lot’s of ideas but nothing concrete. So, recently, I saw a few things that made me think of this … it might need some work, but I figured I’d put it out there and get some feedback.

The main idea is to use a Hex Flower (HF) as a frame to hold NPCs in place and then use rules to link them. So, in this case the HF is doing something a little different to my ‘normal’ HFs.

I had a go at typing this idea up in WordPress’s ‘WYSIWYG’ editor, but life is too short for that. So, here is an example of a social Interaction HF generated using this method, taken from the pdf document:

Random Social Interaction Hex Flower dt

Of course, people are free to create social interaction types that fit their game.

So, could this be done just using normal random tables – sure. But, I quite like that the information is presented visually as a sort of flow/information diagram.

If you want to see how this is done here’s a screen clip of the template, but a more readable and fuller  image_preview .pdf version is PWYW on DriveThruRPG.

Random Social Interaction Hex Flower Generator Cover page

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru.

What’s a Hex Flower Game Engines anyway ?

I’ve had quite a few new visitors to my blog recently (probably related to the Planar Compass: Issue 2 Kickstarter for Zine Quest 3), looking at my Hex Flower Game Engines (HFGE).

Hex Flower Game Engines are like a random table but with a ‘memory’ (well sort of). You can see some HFGE examples here and here.

TL:DR = Basically, in a HFGE the next random event is guided by the last event (AKA this is the ‘memory’). This can lead to continuity in the random events (think transitioning weather). Navigation rules can also be used to skew the events in a preferred direction (e.g. towards mild weather) but still allowing for some chaos in the system (e.g. a sudden thunderstorm).

I decided to bring together a lot of what I’ve learnt about Hex Flower Game Engines and their design in one place, in a downloadable .pdf document.

This ‘pay what you want’ metal best seller can be downloaded from here: image_preview  Link

This document is not intended to be prescriptive, but it might be a good jumping off point if you are interested in the topic and/or want to make your own Hex Flowers.

Screen clipping:
Here’s an outline image of the document:

Overview image.png

I have also prepared a 12 part YouTube ‘talk through‘ video, where I talk through the PDF document page-by-page.

Cover image:

Hex Flower Game Engines Cover

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping, well this ^

What floats your Astral boat ? | Planar Compass 2

This is now Live on Kickstarter

I’m excited to let people know that I’m collaborating on Issue 2 of Planar Compass for Zine Quest 3, which is written for OSE.

PC I2 ZQ3e

I’m working on some Hex Flower goodness to navigate/traverse the astral sea and on a living dungeon.



See Issue 1 (where it all began with Zine Quest 2)

PC issue 1

For a video review of Issue 1, please see Questing Beast
– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

1980’s Dungeon Map (never played)| Old Map in old binder

Found this old map (and dungeon notes) in my old 1980’s binder. It never got played (reasons), but I thought the map would be fun to share here:

Dungeon Map late 80s

(The penciled map was a bit hard to see, so I added a darkening filter)


PiscodaemonThis dude (a Piscodaemon; MM2 page 30) wants the PCs to teleport into the dungeon (hidden in a well) and retrieve a guarded magic item/artifact and return it to him. Promises PCs ‘rewards’.

He plans to use the item/artifact to start a rebellion in the Hellish planes. 


1988 Dungeon | I have previous
If the above map is of interest you, then perhaps check out my fully ‘restored’ AD&D (1e) 1988 dungeon:

1998 Original map

Link to video review and discussion

image_preview Link to PDF of the fully stocked ‘1988 Dungeon’.

– – –

More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG:

Face Folio | the 180 concept sketches are now all in …

This is just a little preview of all 180 concept sketches for the ‘Face Folio‘ Kickstarter (100 PC/NPC portraits for your RPG game), which funded last year as part of Zine Quest 2:

FF sketches all in

This set of sketches has now been narrowed to 100 portraits (a difficult job), and Marcin is working on the full art version.

Our priority is the KS backers, but the longer term plan is to have this product available as a PDF and in hard copy form (perhaps a limited print run). 

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Wrong doubles | using 2D6 ‘side double’

Sometimes I see a 2D6 random table which includes a rule about doubles; usually if the two top faces are a double (i.e. the same number) then something unusual happens, e.g. a wildcard event.


What I don’t especially like about these ‘double’ rules is that these ‘doubles’ don’t feel independent of the main result. For example, ‘snake eyes’ or a double 6 are usually the worst and best result and always a double. So, you can’t get a ‘snake eyes’ without triggering the wildcard event. And maybe that’s OK.

… but, here’s a suggestion … roll the 2D6 (as normal) but also pinch the dice together so two faces kiss. Then look at the two faces that are opposite the kissing faces. If those opposite faces are a double, then trigger the wild card.

These ‘side doubles’ are more or less independent of the main result on the top faces, i.e. about 1 in 6* (although if the top faces are a double, then the probability rises (I believe) to 1 in 4, which seems app to my mind).

* For reference, in case it is not obvious, ignoring the side faces, getting a double on the top faces is 1 in 6.

‘Side double’ example:
If the below 2D6 are brought together (along the yellow arrows) such that the two faces are kissing. Then, the faces opposite the kissing faces are a ‘side double’, i.e. a ‘double 2’ (pink arrows). In this case it is just happenstance that the top faces are also a double (snake eyes).

kissing 2D6

This idea has its roots in this blog post:

More on the maths
Please see:

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

Grimbo Grotto | Christmas Farcical Horror Adventure

It twas the night before a crisp mass snowfall and nothing was stirring,
except a drunken ‘potty-mouthed’ were-reindeer high on psychedelic mushrooms

A system neutral 4 page one-shot adventure with a farcical X-Mas horror vibe


'Rude Olf' by  James V West

‘Rude Olf’ – thanks to James V West  for letting me use this image –

:: Were-reindeer cult

:: Evil gnomes running a clandestine psychedelic mushroom harvesting operation

:: Candy Cane Golem

:: Gift Wrapping Monster

:: Mimic Presents

:: Giant Putrid Gravy-Spewing Undead Turkey

:: Tree Ent Christmas Tree hostage



Adventure Preview:

It’s PWYW and can be downloaded from here: image_preview  Grimbo Grotto

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping this ^ and my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Hear of the Unknown.

Hexing that alignment grid

More on Hex Flower design – please see my Hex Flower Cookbook

Related to a side project (out next year …); but also mainly for fun:


Blocks of good and evil and the yin-yangs of law and chaos …

– – –

Me on DriveThru. At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural dungeon generator using Hex Flower game engines: In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous. It’s PWYW and close to being ‘Silver Best Seller’ on DriveThru.

Face Folio | just an update

Just a little preview of some concept sketches for the ‘Face Folio‘ Kickstarter (100 PC/NPC portraits for your RPG game):

FF concept sketches sm

Funded last year as part of Zine Quest 2.

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Simple-ish Chase Mechanic | 2D6 race to a target

TL:DR: A simple-ish chase mechanic using 2D6 / 3D6. Not fully thought through, and I suspect something like this has been done before … ?


Relative separation of parties
Determine the initial relative separation separating the parties (between 2 to 12):  if this is a random encounter, roll 2D6 to set the relative separation. The ‘separation’ could be nautical miles, 10s of feet or perhaps even bar stools in a tavern! 

The two outcomes

:: 2 (or less) = caught / on top of each other
:: 12 (+) = escaped / far away

The chase
Each turn determine if the relative separation between the parties increases or decreases. To do this, roll 2D6:

:: if the roll is below the current relative separation, the separation increases by 2 units;
:: else the current relative separation decreases by 2 units (i.e. the parties get closer);
:: optionally, a tied roll means the relative separation stays the same

Repeat until the ‘caught’ or ‘escaped’ result is obtained.

One party might be faster than the other, if so roll 3D6 (instead of the 2D6 above):

:: if the pursuer is faster, select the highest 2 rolls;
:: if the fleer is faster, select the lowest 2 rolls

This is effectively an ‘advantage/disadvantage’ mechanic.

Conditions, like wind speed, could come into play (e.g. a row ship chasing a sail ship). If so, perhaps add a +/- 1 modifier.

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

More on: Non-Homogenous Random Tables

A while ago I posted this: Non-Homogenous Random Table and this on ‘split-dice‘. The below post, is in a similar vein (… and I would not be completely surprised if this idea has been covered before by someone else).

Progressive dice array (not sure what to call it?)
One day I’d like to make use of this array of bell curves (well that’s not quite true as I did use it in my Mythic Hex Flower emulator; but the maths is so buried in the engine you’d probably never notice it!):


Basically, you start with 3xD10 and downscale one die at a time to get this array of bell curves. So the first set is 3D10 (the broadest black curve) the next set is 2D10+D8, next D10+2D8 etc … until you get to 3D4 (pointiest orange curve on the left).

Hexcrawl | monsters and distance from base
What might be nice is to generate 27 encounters i.e. corresponding to 3 to 30.
Each time you get one hex further from ‘town’ you upscale the dice set from 3xD4. So, encounters 3 to 9 are the sort of humdrum stuff seen nearer ‘town’. Encounters beyond 12 become possible as you move away from ‘town’. Encounters like 29 and 30 are still rare even when in the deepest wilderness (at least 9 hexes from ‘town’) but only possible there.
I suppose terrain type could have an influence in up/down-scaling the dice set (I’ve not thought this all through).

Mega-dungeon | zone and threats 
A mega-dungeon could be run like the above. Each time you go deeper into the dungeon (e.g. lower levels) the more diabolical become the possible encounters.

However, of course you could run the dice progression in reverse. The super threat/boss monsters are nearer 3 (e.g. lich); next up are the threats/brutes e.g. 6-13;  the ‘dungeon fodder’ (e.g. orcs, gnolls) could be next e.g. between 14 and 20; perhaps the empty rooms and curiosities are between 21 and 27; and the novelty ‘stay at home fools’ traps and things etc are nearer 30.

That way, on level 1 you could get a lich (e.g. by rolling ‘Aboleth Eyes‘ on 3D10), but mostly it’s going to be fodder monsters. As you delve deeper the fodder and empty rooms drop away and it trends towards the real threats, and at some point there’s a good chance of triggering the boss-grade monster.

Again, I’ve not thought this through, but I can see the bones of an idea here!

Something else?
Of course there is bound to be other possible uses  – random treasure table, freaky mutations based on failed spell level, etc.

I’m really posting this up in case someone finds it useful for one of their projects (who knows?!)
Anydice is really great for this kind of guff. You have probably heard of it. I’ll give it a plug anyway.

If you want to generate these curves put the below in the text box and select the graph option:

output d10+d10+d10 named “3D10” output d10+d10+d8 named “2D10+D8” output d10+d8+d8 named “D10+2D8” output d8+d8+d8 named “3D8” output d8+d8+d6 named “2D8+D6” output d8+d6+d6 named “D8+2D6” output d6+d6+d6 named “3D6” output d6+d6+d4 named “2D6+D4” output d6+d4+d4 named “D6+2D4” output d4+d4+d4 named “3D4”

You can also do “at least” and “at most” plots etc. like this:

At leastAt most

– – –

Me on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Mythic-Style Hex Flower Chaos Emulator (tweaked)

Mythic-Style Hex Flower Chaos Emulator (tweaked)

I made this post (LINK) for use with the Mythic Game Master Emulator (MGME).

The idea is that it is a new way to track the Chaos Factor (CF) using a Hex Flower; and a different option for the YES / NO engine.

I recently ‘tweaked’ it, and added a flow chart:

It can be downloaded from here: image_preview  MsHFCE

More on Hex Flowers
You can read more about these Hex Flowers here

Some Hex Flower Examples here

– – –

InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Hear of the Unknown.