I am unsure if this fits RPG.se well enough, so I am asking it on meta to check before I do post it. If this is not quite a good fit, that's fine. Does this belong on RPG.se? Why? What changes are needed?

The initial question is as follows:


I am making an RPG that uses poker/Yahtzee like hands from die rolls instead of the normal "dice+mods vs target number" paradigm for determining effects of character actions.

The Problem

Hitting a particular hand can have vanishingly small chances. The solution I am toying with implements partial successes to modify the target hand. Said another way: what other RPGS use modifiers for, this one would temporarily downgrade a defense. What normally requires a full house would require a straight, triple, or even 2 doubles, depending on the strength of the effect.

The issue is that this should also apply to the players. For example, they need to track (for their character) that a straight is now their upper limit instead of a full house, and the lower limit is now doubles instead of two doubles.

The Question

Are there any RPGs (or mechanics) out there that have a simple method for tracking a frequently-changing ranges of numbers or values?

The ideal solution:

  • has a low mental burden: these bounds may shift over a few combat exchanges!
  • should be "nice" to a character sheet: it shouldn't involve anything significantly larger than a 8"x11.5" or A4 sheet of paper and be storable in a notebook or file folder.
  • allows for multiple shifts in the range to track.

Some Research

The best solution I am considering right now is side-of-sheet trackers and paperclips. The paperclips would mark the boundaries and it would be up to the players to move them up/down. Players would need to know what intervals to cover (like... "the distance between lower and upper bounds is three spaces.")

Another solution would be to simply have common alternate states stored on character sheet, much like AC, Flat-footed AC, and Touch AC from D&D 3.5! That forces some design choices, like limiting the number of alternate states.

Another is to simply not modify the range on paper at all, but include something like "act as if your resulting hand is actually of the next-most-unlikely (or next-most-likely) hand."


1 Answer 1


This seems adequately on-topic

The tag contains several questions related to alternative options for the classic "roll dice to determine success" formula, including questions about the statistical consequences and ease of use for systems more complicated than than "add up the numbers". They're not tremendously common, but some of them have been quite well received.

Some feedback

I think in order to answer this question people will need a little more information about how "target hands" work. In particular you mention "upper bounds" and "lower bounds", as well as "upper limits" and "lower limits". Are those actually the same thing, just with different words? What do they mean? Are certain hands "too good" and start missing for some reason? I think it would be difficult to judge a good solution without understanding what the ranges mean.

Additionally, I'm less confident on this one because it goes against what I expect out of Stack Exchange sites, but the well-received questions I can find largely ask for suggestions rather than examples, such as here, here, and here. I usually see indications that "Idea generating" questions are off-topic, but for this type of game/system design topic a clear list of what problems you have and what criteria you have for good solutions seems to be accepted. If you go this direction, you would definitely want more information about how the system works and why it doesn't seem adequate so far.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Than you! I was worried this would be seen as too subjective or an idea generation question. These are, as far as I can tell, mostly forbidden on SE sites! \$\endgroup\$
    – PipperChip
    Oct 14, 2022 at 20:57

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