Group Rolls

Dice can give unexpected results when groups of people roll.

When a group of 5 players need to roll to sneak past a guard, you already know someone will fail, because they have 5 chances to fail. If everyone rolls for Alertness, they will succeed every time, because they have five chances to succeed.

The Alertness roll seems like it should get better by having more sharp-eyed and open-eared people on the team, whereas the Stealth roll does not (getting a group of kids to sneak out of somewhere won't be helped by adding a super-ninja to the team).

Many solutions present themselves, but so many seem like nasty hacks. If Stealth rolls have a low Target Number, then anyone trying to sneak alone gains a massive advantage, and a group of ten still cannot sneak anywhere.

Thinking about this in the abstract, it seems each person adds a diminishing return to a roll's adjustment. Having a second person with you will lower your ability to stealthily move through an area, but a third person will lower it less. After all - any roll should represent environmental factors as much as player ability. If a high roll indicates that a guard has taken a nap then everyone should benefit from this, not just the players.

Of course, 'diminishing returns' suggests come complex Mathematical venture, which all RPGs must seek to avoid. For BIND, I went two directions at once. This certainly adds to the complexity, but I feel like the results justify the work.

Firstly, there are 'group rolls'. One person rolls (literally any player), and everyone generates their own score. If two people have a +2 bonus, and a third has -1, then we roll the dice, hit '4', and the results are 6,6,3. If one gets spotted, they all get spotted. Essentially, only the lowest roll counts.

The second roll is a 'team roll' (I really could put better names on these things). In a team roll, a second character can add half their score (rounded up - always), the next adds 1/4, then 1/8, and so on. Eventually, more characters add nothing at all.

I've tried to justify the complexity of what will always be a subsystem by reusing it. Carrying a big item as a group? - add half, then a quarter, and so on. Building a boat together, and want to combine your Intelligence + Crafts rolls? Half, quarter, et c. Casting a massive ritual spell, with four priests of Qualme, praying together? Again, add half, then a quarter, and so on.

It has its limitations - three people building a raft is the same as four, or ten people together (unless the DM splits the task into separate rolls) - but it worked well in play. Now if only I could think of clearer names for the different types of rolls...