# What's Great about Dice-Pools

What's great about dice-pools is meaningful results, all the time. You'll struggle to get that with a D20.

Listen...

## Example 1: Good Chances

The party ranger wants to navigate through the forest. Forests are dangerous, and he might fail, but his bonuses mean he succeeds on the roll of 3 or more.

A 90% chance of success makes the roll a little less interesting, unless the party stand a lot to lose. Even then, this roll will produce the result of 'business as usual' 90% of the time.

The dice-pool mechanic works differently. Let's assume White Wolf's D10 system is in play.

- successes: the party are waylaid, and lost.
- success: the party make their destination after a day of detours.
- successes: the party make their destination in four days - not great, not bad.
- successes: the party arrive after three days, as expected.
- successes: the ranger notes a particular area floods this time of year, so the party can travel half the distance by boat, and make it in two days.
- successes: the ranger organises the boat-trip, while finding a short-cut, and waking everyone early. The trip takes one and a half days.

If we assume that same ranger has a dice-pool of seven, we can be pretty sure they succeed in their roll.
But now we know *how well* they succeed, and the result becomes interesting again.

## Example 2: Bad Chances

The wagon's wheel has fallen off, and the floorboards are rotten. None of them understand woodwork very well, so they succeed on the roll of 18 or more.

A 15% chance of success sounds pretty bad - we can be fairly sure they won't make it.

But the dice-pool mechanic works differently.
The best person at crafting might only have a dice-pool of 2, and they might need to roll 9+ to succeed, but they still stand a reasonable chance of *something* happening.

- successes: the cart does not work, as expected.
- success: they can get the cart moving enough to get it to the next village, with someone holding the wheels on whenever it turns left.
- successes: the cart will go for a few miles before breaking down again.

None of these results are really a 'success', and the top result isn't very likely. But just having two different types of failure once again makes the roll interesting.

## Example 3: Sideways Chances

The bandits chase you onto the icy lake. Everyone suddenly feels a little less sure of their footing.

In a D20 system, you might get a penalty for ice, and so do the enemy. Not much has changed, since you both get the same penalty.

But (and I'm sure you can see what's coming) the dice-pool allows you to shift the number you need to roll to successfully attack (or talk, or plot, or anything else).
That affects *consistency*.

If the dice start by succeeding on the roll of 4+, then the results will match the ability scores - the person with the most dice wins. But if the difficulty shifts, and the dice succeed on 9+, then the results become less predictable. The weaker can defeat the stronger when the situation becomes unstable.