When Things Blow Up – Magic Edition

  1. The Rules
  2. When Things Blow Up:

Magic in fiction is mysterious, fantastic, and often fickle. When I make games, magic is both incredibly powerful and incredibly dangerous.

To aid me at the gaming table when things inevitably blow up, I have created these foibles to emphasize the “glass” of magic-slinging, ability-wielding “glass cannons:”

The Rules

When rolling to see if an ability or spell goes off as expected, a natural 1 (on a D20, doubles under target with 2D6) is a critical failure. The character’s ability to use these powers ceases until they take a short rest and fulfill the requirements of whatever foible they roll a D20 for.

A guideline for D20 D&D-like spell levels/slots to see if they fire:

Roll AboveSpell / Ability Level
10Cantrips, 0
151, 2, 3
204, 5, 6
257, 8
D20 Guidelines to Magic

Roll at or less than the target? No magic – it sputters out.

Want to negate the critical failure so as not to lose powers and gain other ills? Immediately sacrifice a worn or wielded magic item – this foci destroys itself to protect you.

Think these difficulties are too, well, difficult? Get magic items that improve stats or automatically cast the power (scrolls, some wands), commit to rituals (i.e. take a lot of time) to gain advantage on the ability’s use, and get magic-minded friends to help (gaining +1 up to the spell’s level).*

* The idea of blood magic is a fine one to introduce to your tables: when below die target and the roll isn’t a critical failure, spent 1 hit point to improve the roll’s value by 1!

When Things Blow Up:

Putting it all here, but feel free to print the two-pager from Google Drive where any updates go first: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13hq0SjMo_zpYLEpxmFGXVG_bWrKd8arqEzo2t9sBUOQ/edit?usp=sharing


01. The powers turn upon their master. You are the target of the power, it doing only harm.

02. The works you wrought run wild. You and all within 15 ft of you (the room) are targets for harm.

03. This… is too much. Gain +1 exhaustion.

04. Agony wracks through your mind and body as something inside breaks. -1 to a random ability bonus.

05. Something has gone terribly wrong. Develop +1 corruption.

06. This burden has taken its toll. Disadvantage on all actions for D6 game minutes.

07. Your actions weigh heavily. Have no rest for D6 days.

08. It could be worse. Take the short rest before using your talents again.

09. Somehow you are unharmed? Against all odds, your mistakes have not cost you.

10. You blank. Immediately fall unconscious, needing another to wake you.

Wild (random / created / pure chaos)

11. You are known. Your foes will know where you are, always, along with your weaknesses for D6 days.

12. You are gone. You disappear for 24 hours.

13. You teleport. You switch physical space with your nearest foe.

14. You are another. You switch souls with your nearest foe, using their abilities and such while they use yours.

15. You fall. You immediately drop to 0 HP and must start saving throws next turn.

16. You are hobbled from being your best. You do not have surprise or advantage until after a long rest.

17. You are slowed. 10 ft moving speed, cannot fly, and last in initiative order until after a long rest.

18. You are luckless. Find that up to D6 * 100 gold or its equivalent in treasure is missing.

19. You are struck ill. Gain a curse that does not allow for you to add bonuses to your HP, such as level.

20. Chaos births onto your plane of existence. 30 ft away, a monster of impossibility blooms (D66 HP, 2D6 harm, Tier 6 25+ DOOM, 2D6 meters tall, exists D6 turns).

Sponsored (Uses Charisma) Warlocks, Clerics, Paladins

11. Silence is your only answer. (Secret:) Any intervention by the Giver is declined without notice for D6 days.

12. Meet your maker. Invoke a dialogue to know how you must improve your standing.

13. Confess and all is forgiven. Tell a different secret to each friend so that all may hear.

14. Your gratitude for these gifts is found wanting. Make a gold offering of 100 multiplied by your level and the spell level.

15. Your hubris is offending the Sponsor. Make a blood sacrifice, yours or anothers in the name of your Lord.

16. You must prove yourself. Deal D4 critical successes to those unoathed to your Bestower.

17. “I? I am a jealous one.” Only the blessings and methods of your Giver can benefit you for D6 days.

18. This is a blessing and a curse. Your nearest foe becomes endowed with the powers of your Host, increasing a tier of difficulty, restoring full health, and gaining advantage through their conflict now or upcoming.

19. Take penance for your sins. Magic and alchemical methods cannot benefit you for D6 days.

20. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?” An avatar of your Bestower, and agent of vengeance, steps through a portal 30 ft away (Tier 6 25+ DESTROYER).

Learned (Uses Intelligence) Wizards, Artificers, scrolls

11. That’s not right… Roll more than 10 + your level after a day of dedicated study to be able to use your talents again.

12. Is that what you remember? All carried food and drink, alchemical, natural, and otherwise, spoils to mold and sludge.

13. Your work has been for not. Any magic you have bestowed, enchanted, attuned to, or otherwise evoked ends.

14. A backlash of the power freezes your very nerves. Take your level in damage.

15. Well, this is embarrassing. All mundane equipment carried teleports to where you last took a short rest.

16. The lesson sears into your mind. Take 1 psychic hit automatically for D6 turns, starting now.

17. What is known becomes unknown. You are cursed to not be able to use this spell again.

18. This failure has your whole attention. Efforts to harm you count as having surprise until after a short rest.

19. Failure compounds on failure. Roll twice more on these tables.

20. The uncontrollable aspect of magic makes itself known. Roll D10 on the Wild table. 

Inherited (Uses Wisdom) Druids, Monks, Sorcerers

11. Perhaps it is for the best. You must take a long rest to regain your abilities.

12. Pushed to the edge, your wares push back. You are unattuned with all your magic items.

13. The strain has been too much. Lose a random sense until after a short rest.

14. You are nothing but a monster, it seems. All who see you break morale and gain Fear of you, friend and foe alike.

15. The thought of your unnatural destruction is the only joy. All foes in the area will not break morale and yearn to take your life immediately.

16. It is the thought that counts. For D6 days, nothing willingly accepts your influence, making all tests of your powers a difficulty higher than they would be.

17. Self-doubt consumes you. Disadvantage to use your extraordinary abilities until after a long rest.

18. Your powers are deeply disturbing to those in your presence. Disadvantage on all social tests for D6 days.

19. Your presence has not gone unnoticed. Something, somewhere, comes for you.

20. Oh… oh no. You injure yourself fundamentally, preventing use of this ability again.

You made it! Will your magic users when you bring these foibles to the table for their fumbles?

Had a lot of fun putting this list together of when things blow up with magic. Will consider a list of martial and tool use fumble tables in the future.

What would you add to these magic lists? To a martial fumble list? What has not worked in your experience and should be avoided?

In advance, thank you for the help – I appreciate your insights! Cheers to avoiding those low rolls 🎲🎲

The Final Day Art Release

The Final Day‘s grimdark end of the world has a makeover!

Page 1 of “Ink Killer”
(For the sake of your printer, please refrain from printing 😅)

This roleplaying game generator has 36 unique cataclysms to ring-in your fantasy game’s apocalypse. While made under license for Mörk Borg, the descriptions are general enough to apply to any game needing a conclusion 🔥

The Final Day comes in ‘friendly’ and ‘ink bane’ versions. The addon is available now on sale over here.

Cheers to your (fictional) ruin! 💀

Today Is the End – RPG Tool for a Present Day Apocalypse

Warning ⚠ Linked, unaffiliated content has mature themes of violence, blood, and everything “Nano-infested doomsday RPG about cybernetic misfits and punks raging against a relentless corporate hell” would imply 💀

Dark-fantasy Mörk Borg is all about the end-times. From the set of Miseries to the seventh and final obliteration, the end is nigh.

The ending is also abrupt – slam book closed, burn your game sheets. To eek out a bit more play, I created an awarded module The Final Hours of the Final Day (read about it in the post).

Problem: That set of fictional cataclysms depend heavily on the lore, setting, and rules of Mörk Borg. Prophesies, grim fantasy, monster rules.

So it struck me: what would a present day apocalypse look like? Thus this new system-agnostic modern module Today Is the End.

Let’s discuss:

Today Is the End

A grimdark, modern-themed list of 36 terrible ends to the world. Rolling D66 (one six-sided die is the first value, a second D6 the second value) selects a tragedy to bring into the game to send a one-shot night of play or a whole campaign off with a bang.

From the rules:

The seventh seal is broken, the final war begins, the bombs drop, the world burns, and the enemy calls upon society and soul. These are your final hours. Every 15 to 30 real-minutes (or 1 hour game time), roll D66 twice on the below. If the same number has been used before, use the next highest that is unused.

The curtain falls for the last and final time when:

  1. all characters the players have or could play as (such as friendly NPCs) are dead and gone,
  2. all six of a section have been enacted (crumple and burn the pages here – existence snuffs out without warning),
  3. actions have miraculously stopped the machinations of the End Times.

Meant to come at the end of what already may be a long gaming session, Today Is the End careens headlong into chaos and cataclysm at a literally-breakneck pace.

To cater to any game system set in the modern world, Today Is the End relies on random trait selection and ‘qualitative’ difficulties (is it easy, moderate, or hard to do?).

Find Today Is the End here on Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1akgCDW6yAVIEOThIfabPMF9tDJTlG26i_tTOPUj2P7w/edit?usp=sharing

Calling Artists From the Rubble

Like The Final Hours, I am looking for an artist open for commissions! Whether in a Mörk Borg style or its cyberpunk sibling CY_BORG, I want to talk business 😁

Finally, the legal stuff:


Today Is the End is an independent production by Jimmy Chattin and is not affiliated with Stockholm Kartell. It is published under the CY_BORG Third Party License.

Ready to play? Keep an eye out for a CB-related list of ruin next year along with a space-faring sci-fi rapture too.

In the meanwhile, shoot me your artist recommendations and suggestions on changes / replacements to Today Is the End. Cheers to your much-less-eventful end of year!

Any Dice for Any Game

I have written before on converting D100 and D20 dice systems to 2D6, but never have I ever brought all these dice into one place.

For your and my convenience, a table to convert any dice for any game rolls you may encounter, percentages of that outcome and at (>=) or over (>) the number specified:

QualityD100 >%D20 >=%D10 >=%2D6 >=%
Very Hard9552051010118
D# Conversions

Do the percentages match? No. Is it worth it to be exact? Also no – these are for use in games of fun and non-monetary chance, each no more than ~10% from one another. As I once heard from a lead game designer (in paraphrase): “If a change isn’t 10% or more, it doesn’t matter.”

Note: Some games start the player’s characters strong, or the goals are to instill a dire feel in play. That just means to up the tiers of quality by 1, e.g. easy rolls as if medium, medium becomes hard, etc.

What About Other Dice?

Anything smaller than a single D10 or two D6 is really hard to make work intuitively.

Going back to the ~10% difference, look at a D6 -> a ‘very hard’ roll would be a 6 or more on a D6, a 17% chance of happening with a single die. We violate the ~10%-or-less rule. Could we make it happen? … Yes, if a roll requires a final number greater than the faces of the die (e.g. a 25 on D20), but now we are getting into some severe nitty-grittiness.

Don’t Forget the Stats!

If using a system specifically designed for a ‘DX’ roll but a player brings a ‘DY’ to the party, make sure to convert the stats any fictional character uses from ‘X’ to ‘Y’.

Example: A D10 is used for a D20 system – stats for the D20 system need to be cut in half in how they would add or subtract from the D10 roll.

An example for the example: A +4 Toughness stat would add to a normal D20 roll in the game. However, since using a D10, only +2 (half of +4) would be used when D10 is rolled.

Here is another: A D6 is brought to a D20 system. Stats would thereby be about one-third as applicable (+3 becomes a +1).

Hope this helps if needing to get people playing quickly at your table with any dice for any game. Might put this into something printable for an index card – let me know if I ought get that going sooner than later 👍

Cheers to you rolling what you need to 🎲🎲

The Final Day – RPG Tool for the End Times

Warning ⚠ Linked content has mature themes of violence, blood, and everything “a spiked flail to the face” of “a pitch-black apocalyptic fantasy RPG about lost souls” would imply 💀

Available now for purchase from the Store! Read about the release.

October had the goal to make a Mörk Borg moduleThe Final Hours of the Final Day is it, the perfect RPG tool for your own game’s end times 🔥

What Is The Final Day?

A grimdark, fantasy-themed list of 36 terrible ends to the world. Rolling D66 (one six-sided die is the first value, a second D6 the second value), select a tragedy to bring into the game to send a one-shot game or a whole campaign off with a bang.

From the rules:

The seventh seal is broken, the onslaught of the seventh Misery begins. These are your final hours. Every 15 to 30 real-minutes (or 1 hour game time), roll D66 twice on the below. If the same number has been used before, use the next highest that is unused.

The curtain falls for the last and final time when:

  1. all characters the players have or could play as (such as friendly NPCs) are dead and gone,
  2. all six of a section have been enacted (close and burn the book – existence snuffs out without warning),
  3. actions have miraculously stopped the machinations prophesied by Verhu of HE so long ago.

Meant to come at the end of what already may be a long gaming session, The Final Day careens headlong into chaos and cataclysm at a literally-breakneck pace.

While catering to the stats, lore, and ‘weird’ of Mörk Borg, The Final Day can be brought into any fantasy setting – stat effects can be either random stats or a best-call for the system in question, monsters are monsters or their near counterparts, and difficulties are generic enough for any system (minimum 10% change in probabilities).

Find the original The Final Hours of the Final Day here on Google Docs (again, the most updated can be purchased through the Store!): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dnWZciEVZwBLRh73qAV9NG6b1JzwydF1gc2lvCPF3m8/edit?usp=sharing

While Your World Burns:

I seek out a graphic artist open for paid commissions who would put together The Final Day in the style of other Mörk Borg content. Send your recommendations my way!

Finally, the legal stuff:


Compatible with Mörk Borg. MÖRK BORG is copyright Ockult Örtmästare Games and Stockholm Kartell.

The Final Day is an independent production by Jimmy Chattin and is not affiliated with Ockult Örtmästare Games or Stockholm Kartell. It is published under the MÖRK BORG Third Party License.

That’s it! Working on a modern day, system agnostic version of The Final Day – expect a post on that soon.

In the meantime, shoot me your suggestions and artists who are open for work! Cheers to your gaming ~

A Thousand Rolls of the Dice

A thousand rolls of the dice? More like 7,752.

I like my games simple, but not all games are so. Some require more dice than the d6s the BITS System uses – this can be a problem if a player doesn’t want to carry around a dice bag 🎲🎲 Or a new player isn’t sure they are ready to invest. Yet other times a die just cannot be found!

Instead, I want to share with you different dice each with 1292 random rolls that are ready for print to distribute alongside any other piece of gaming material – physical dice not included 😉

d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and d100 are all included in the DICE ROLLS – Essential doc on Google Drive.

Each page has labels for your convenience. All sheets have a normal distribution of probability, so the rolls are as accurate (or more) than physical math rocks.

A person can start from any corner and go in any direction so long as it is consistent (I would suggest the ol’ left-to-right, top-to-bottom approach). As you go along, mark off which numbers have been used.

Some dice are missing – with a little imagination, all the sheets can be more than they seem:

  • All sheets are also d2s.
  • d6 becomes a d3, d66 (first number x10, add second), or 2d6 (first + second).
  • d8 into a d4.
  • d10 replaces d100.

These are convenient sheets, though beware! Anyone who uses them may feel influenced to “meta game” – giving in to the temptation to look forward at what the next rolls might be and choose to act or not in certain unsporting fashion.

You can also make your own like I did:

  • In a spreadsheet, resize columns and rows to be square.
  • Use this formula: =RANDBETWEEN(1,6) (replace ‘6’ with your die size)
  • Copy, paste!

Or you can skip all that to make a copy from my sheets in Google Drive 😉

Enjoy your games and your play, now made easier with a thousand some-odd rolls of the dice. Cheers~

Mork Borg – Part 4: A Reckoning

Start at the beginning, or jump to what’s been missed:

Part 1: Murder and Worms – Three from death-row scour the rooms and horrors of the buried den of the addictive Rotblack Sludge.

Part 2: Meat and Statues – The trio meet the ruler of the underground complex.

Part 3: Eyes and Ash – Lesdy inadvertently provides the last clue.

Endgame Summary

Over 4 hours of actual play, 3 well-powered characters controlled by 1 player survived by lucky rolls and ingenuity but barely.

There were 15 rooms, 9 Tier 2 enemies (guards and Lesdy; 2 damage, 2 HP, roll 9+ to attack or defend against them), 6 Tier 1 enemies (Lesdy’s aids and the strangling plants), 1 Tier 4 (Fletcher), and 1 uber-Tier Worm that was, sadly, never given the chance to eat a character 😢

Riches and weapons and some Rotblack Sludge were acquired too, but these things may not last long.

BITS Mechanic Changes

I will leave the details to be included in other posts as I continue to develop BITS.

Suffice to say:

    • I combined MB‘s attributes into BITS: Strength and Toughness (Body), Agility (Interaction), and Presence (Thought).
    • Enemies came in the 1-4 difficulty tiers of BITS which also account for their HP and damage.
    • Weapons fit into the BITS categories.
    • HP was limited to 10 for Cat, 6 for Bubble Guy, and 4 for Invisible. (Aiming for about 6.)
    • All random encounters and findings were either rolled for before the game or were pared down to a d6 roll table that fit on half a notecard.
      • Random tables:
        • Bookshelf (in the Library, if searched)
          1. Random Unclean Scroll
          2. Cloud of Dust, +1 IT tests of 30 minutes
          3. Incomprehensible Gibberish Book
          4. Uncontrollable Scream From Characters, -1 T tests until sleep
          5. T1 Knife “Nib”. Leaks ink.
          6. d6 Bag of Coin
        • Junk Search (lots of rubbish in the complex)
          1. Bony Dog Remains, ration for a day
          2. Black Stone Bracelet
          3. d3 Bag of Coin
          4. Urn w/ Fine Powder (roll 9+B or lose d6 HP)
          5. d6: 1-3 Sacred Scroll, 4-6 Small, Nipping Beetle
          6. T3 Crossbow w/ d6 Bolts
        • Corpse Search
          1. Nothing
          2. Bloody Agent Letter (Fletcher knows the characters are coming)
          3. Necklace of Teeth
          4. Hopeless Number of Spiders
          5. Rotblack
          6. d6 Bags of Coin
        • Encounters (only in 3 of the rooms)
          1. 4 T2 Guards
          2. T3 Bone Spider, Surprise, DAdv for 1 hr on successful attacks
          3. 2 T1 Starving Dogs
          4. Agent, starving, tortured. Can tell of the worm.
            (…the below happen only once each if at all…)
          5. T1 Lesdy Spy, gives ‘gift’ that teleports party to Lesdy
          6. Sagsobuth, sells poisons (6 damage, d4 uses), and tube of living wood (rewriting scroll inside); 10 damage split if attacked at all
    • Armor would reduce by 1 point to negate all damage of an attack. 0 for Armor sundered beyond use or as clothing.
    • Critical successes gave an extra action and were more likely on lower-difficulty obstacles.
    • Less of a mechanic, more of an ethic: Don’t include ‘children’ in the game. If someone or something is young, call it that: “youth.” There is virtually no need to ever include children in a game of violence and horror when other means to leave it to player imagination will do.

Impressions and What I Would Change

The game was great! I had so much fun being a first-time full-blown GM. Player C had a great time too, with special compliments to including low-key background music (sad violins) and rockin’ boss-fight beats (Smells Blood on loop).

The biggest piece of improvement feedback came for picking lowest rolls with disadvantage. Player C really did not like that, as even after the first roll all hope could be lost. A real heartbreaker, those!

I understand now that the characters were overpowered as they were able to proceed without caution and given lots of chances for lucky rolls. Further, I took a lot of time drawing the rooms on notecards that would then be a visual indication of what was happening; the map was invaluable, but the time spent certainly had its own value perhaps better spent.

After careful consideration, here is what I would change:

    1. Find a way to lessen or get away from map making without completely relying on the Theater of the Mind (everyone has to imagine where they are and what they see from the GM’s descriptions).
    2. Set player hit points to 2d6, or a generic human to default 6. Too much life allows carelessness and for games to drag on. That, and rebalance some natural weapons and powers (less damage and/or limited use, such as on the magical power Blink).
    3. Leave clues and keys out in a way that all but screams to a player “use me.”
    4. Make Specialties more prevalent. (They give advantage to certain actions and are used to replace ‘class’ in BITS.)
    5. Try something different with advantage and disadvantage. Instead of rolling twice and picking the highest/lowest value, other options: Pure +/- 2 to the roll value; lower/raise the difficulty of the roll; use the highest/lowest die of 2d6 twice; double the effect of any critical rolls; etc.

That’s about it!

Closing Thoughts

Mork Borg is a solid game system. However, I have my doubts about its world and definitely about its first adventure.

I turned what Fletcher was doing into a kingdom-wide problem (Rotblack as a drug) and made ash fall from the sky. How the mission is given to the characters and how Aldor gets handed off also got clarified. The world begins its end at the end of the first mission, not randomly on some day down the line.

As for BITS, I truly feel BITS made the system more straight forward, faster, and no less deadly (ignoring the extra powers I gave the player’s characters). Every conflict of interest is resolved with no more than 2d6, tables are reduced to a d6, random effects and character sheets exist on notecards, and the rest is left to improv.

Bam! First time as an established-game-system GM! First time with Mork Borg! First time giving BITS a full flex as a system and conversion!

I couldn’t be happier for all the fun had and all that was discovered along the way.

Now is the time to take these learnings for application to other BITS games and notes. (And to see if player C will continue their adventures in the current game’s ash-eaten world 😁)

What did you find when you played Mork Borg? Who survived the first dungeon delve? How have you improved your own TT RPG sessions after experiencing them firsthand?

Let me know all that and if you’d like to play in a game using BITS in near-literally any game world you have in mind. I am sure we could whip something up 😉 Cheers to your dice rolls! 🎲🎲

Bringing d100 to 2d6

With the conversion of d20 table-top roleplaying game systems into BITS’s 2d6, I figured we should follow up with another incredibly popular system of d100.

About d100

In d100, two 10-sided dice are rolled, one being the 10s spot on a number, the other being the 1s spot.

A player’s character has stats or attributes that represent how good they are at certain things. These could be numbers from 1 to 99, 0 and 100 reserved for critical failure or success on rolls.

There are two kinds of d100 system: roll target or under, and, roll target or over. Because the latter requires a lot more math for reasons I’ll leave out here, the rest of this post only deals with rolling at a target number or under 🙂

When a roll needs to happen, the rolling player picks their best applicable attribute. When rolling, the value of the roll must be at or under that target. So while the attributes of the character increase as they experience the game, so too do rolls get easier!

That’s d100 at a glance.

Roll %s

To get from d100 to 2d6, we need to talk percentages.

A d100 has an average value of 50.5, or that ~51 and above will happen half the time. Makes sense. 2d6 averages at 7, where any number at or above that comes out 58.33% of the time.

But 58.33% is a significant departure from 50.5%! However, if we consider percentages are rounded down, that 58.33% can become 50%. With that bit of fudging, percentages are back in safe waters.

Ability Score to BITS

This is where the conversion happens.

How can a player know what their d100 stat is in BITS 2d6?

Easy: consider everything below average is a 0 in BITS while dividing everything above into decreasing proportions.

A simple use of the 1-2-3-4 nature of BITS is we invert how much weight is put on each element. A 1 should have 40% ownership of anything next above average, 2 30% after that, 3 20%, and 4 10%.

Starting at the lowest percentage of 10%, 10% of the 2d6 average percent of 58.33 is 5.833. Since it has already been decided rounding down is key here, the value of 4 in BITS will own the last 5% of all scores and 1 will get 20% of the total.

That’s a bit wordy. Here’s a chart:

d100 Value RangeBITS Value
Give or take 1 on the d100 Value Range.

Easy, right?

And, depending on what’s available for a given game, group skills and abilities equally under each BIT (Body, Interaction, Thought) to get that BIT’s value. Average together the values there, round down (if needed), compare with the chart above.


Other Considerations

Now I know some d100 systems use additional scores that aren’t based on 100. Some systems use poly-dice.

For those numbers in those systems, I refer you back to my d20 poly-dice conversion post. That can convert Dungeons & Dragons and it can convert here too.

Applicable Games

Any game that uses a d100 system!

(Though I must admit my exposure to d100 systems is much lacking compared to d20s and polyhedrals.)

If it is a weird one with a roll-over mechanic, there shouldn’t be too much fiddling with the values to get things back on track. Set everything below-average to 0, then divide-up the remainder with 40%-30%-20%-10%.

Some games using the d100 system:

Missteps Along the Way

That’s the end of the d100 conversion so you may move on to another article on this site.

If you’d like to know what was was reviewed before the above was settled on, keep reading ~

Don’t think that I had all of the formulas and math pop into my head at once. I looked up dice probabilities and ran multiple graphs to confirm what was both mathematically sound and friendly (i.e. easy) for player use.

However, starting off with the wrong premise can make any outcome moot.

The first failure was looking at the value of 1 as a percentage of 2d6. That’s 14.3% (1/7, the average value). Because it handles better, say 15%. 15% per point of BITS value (best calculated starting at 4 and going down to 1 at 60%.

This looked fine to start:

    • BIT Value – d100 Conversion
    • 0 – top 100%, nothing special.
    • 1 – top 60%, a 40 and above in d100 gets 1, OK.
    • 2 – top 45%, 55+, good.
    • 3 – top 30%, 70+, great.
    • 4 – top 15%, 85+, excellent.

But you can see already that a value of 1 allows below-average performance to attain above-average results. Further, the progression is linear, whereas 2d6 is inherently parabolic (lines and curves don’t mix).

Scrap that.

Next I figured out the value of 1 in 2d6 for above-average values. I.e., what is 14.3% of 41.67% (difference of 58.33% average)?

The answer is 6, but already the premise is wrong – I was using the below-average range to affect the above-average allocation of BITS values.


But that didn’t stop me from using 42% with the 40%-30%-20%-10% conversion. This actually got really close to the final result, but I rounded down first (i.e. I stepped by 4% of the total):

    • 0 – >0
    • 1 – >60
    • 2 – >76
    • 3 – >88
    • 4 – >96

Ignoring that these numbers look kind of ugly, if we round up (4.2% is 10% of 42%, rounding up to 5%), we get what turns out to be the final conversion:

    • 0 – >0
    • 1 – >50
    • 2 – >70
    • 3 – >85
    • 4 – >95

So despite starting from the wrong place, we got to the correct answer 🤷‍♂️ Wild how that works!

Anyway, I caught these mistakes before and during writing, so now you can see some of the method that goes into the consideration of BITS and other systems 🙂

The End

Appreciate you getting this far, reader.

For the d100 games you’ve played, what considerations are missing from the above? Did they get handled in last week’s d20 poly-dice blog? How could this all be improved?

Will be writing more on BITS for a while yet, so stick around! Cheers ~

Bringing d20 Poly-Dice to 2d6

My favorite game system BITS uses at its core 2d6 (two six-sided dice). With 2d6, monsters are slayed, gold plundered, and crowds wooed.

2d6 is virtually unseen in the most popular roleplaying games (i.e. the Don and uncontested king of roleplay, Dungeons & Dragons), only showing up in well received though still pretty niche engines like Powered By the Apocalypse.

Yet, where 2d6 does show up, the dice are used in mechanics that are nearly untranslatable to the bread-and-butter d20 and poly-dice systems in use by mainstream games a la D&D.

BITS fixes that by using similar modification and resolutions to D&D (the crunchier part) while using only 2d6 instead of an entire rock-quarry of *d* rolls.

Here’s how:

Roll %s

First, a comparison of percentages in rolls between D&D (which uses a d20 at its core) and BITS 2d6.

D&D uses various difficulty levels that a player has to roll at or above to succeed depending on context. The player can add different modifiers to their rolls to help them get the number they want. However, as a general guideline, challenges can be divided into the following:

    • Roll at or above.
    • 5 – Very easy, 80% success rate.
    • 10 – Easy, 55% success.
    • 15 – Moderate, 30%.
    • 20 – Hard, 5%.
    • 25 – Very hard, cannot be accomplished without some value boost.
    • 30 – Godly, cannot be accomplished without major value boosts.

The percentages above seem really low. That is, until you consider they take into account adding everything from -5 to +10 to the rolls based off the the six abilities a game character has.

Further, “natural” criticals are when a player rolls either a 1 or a 20 (ignoring all modifiers). These crits have a 5% each to give a player something especially harmful or helpful, relatively.

Now 2d6, both with and without D&D‘s heavy use of modifiers.

    • Roll at or above.
    • 5 – BITS has this as easy, 83.3% success chance. D&D would have this as very easy.
    • 7 – BITS moderate, 58.3%. D&D easy.
    • 9 – BITS hard, 27.8%. D&D moderate.
    • 11 – BITS very hard, 8.3%. D&D hard.
    • 13 – BITS very, very hard, and can’t be done without some help. D&D very hard.
    • 15 – D&D‘s god-tier difficulty needing top-level characters and lots of luck.

BITS also has criticals when “natural” doubles are rolled (1-1, 2-2, etc.) above or below the target difficulty number. This means criticals scale with the difficulty of the challenge encountered: easier targets offer more opportunities to really wallop ’em.

However, if the linear scale of D&D roll probability needs to be kept, natural 1-1 and 6-6 (both a 2.8% chance) can be adopted for BITS, no problem. But why? 2.8% does not equal 5%…

Take a look again at those percentages. 55% and 58.3%, 30% and 27.8%, even the 5% and 2.8% for criticals! The conversion from d20 to using 2d6 as a core mechanic is never more than 4%, a sneeze of a difference in gameplay. Fundamentally, swapping 2d6 for d20 has no noticeable effect on outcomes.

Therefore, as a core mechanic, 2d6 can substitute for D&D-like d20. Though, there are still modifiers to add 🙂


D&D has six abilities that have both a base number and a modifier that slowly scales with the base. These six abilities are Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom. Each ability’s modifier applies to challenges that are primarily in those abilities’ wheelhouse.

BITS has three abilities that are the modifiers added to the kinds of challenges that best fit their use. They are Body, Interaction, and Thought.

Now, the BIT of BITS has a 1:1 correlation with D&D: Body (Strength and Constitution), Interaction (Dexterity and Charisma), Thought (Intelligence and Wisdom).

If given a D&D character, the modifiers of that character’s abilities translate into a BIT value. By adding together the D&D modifiers, dividing by 2, and rounding down, new BIT values are found.

For example, let’s use the level 1 Fighter, Mage, Rogue, and Cleric starting characters for D&D.

Their stats (including health, aka HP, for later discussion):

Fighter+3+2+1-1+0+113 (d10)
(BITS value)B =+2I =+0T =+05 / 7
Mage-1+2+2+0+3+18 (d6)
B =+0I =+1T =+23 / 3
Rogue-1+2+3+2+1+08 (d6)
B =+0I =+2T =+03 / 3
Cleric+2+2-1+1+0+310 (d8)
B =+2I =+0T =+14 / 6

BITS expects starting characters to have no more than 1 or 2 in any given BIT, so the numbers above for abilities work brilliantly. Not all classes in D&D are created equal, so in exchange for a BIT value perhaps a BITS specialty (the S in BITS; describes history or role and gives advantage when that context applies to a challenge) is gained, or unique equipment acquired, or HP gained (more on these things next).

Since some ability modifiers can be negative, thus resulting in a negative BITS value, what should be done?

Well, BITS could flatline the BIT value as “-“, meaning whenever a challenge would be solved by that particular BIT, the roll has disadvantage. Or maybe a “anti-specialty” where if certain situations come up, all failures are critical failures.

Even though BITS on principle refrains from using negative numbers, a conversion of d20 to 2d6 doesn’t need to use that tenet of BITS, maybe in this one case negative modifiers can remain 🙂


Health, the lifeblood of player characters, the timer of how long a fight can possibly last.

The chart in the previous section has two numbers for BITS HP: the average of the die used in D&D (specified by class; d6, d8, d10, etc.) divided by 2, and that die average with the Body BITS value added.

That’s done because in D&D, HP is a certain die roll (d6, d8, d10, etc.) plus the Constitution modifier. For BITS, Body can be added to the average of the die for a class to achieve the same result.

Including the Body value in HP calculation can lead to HP bloat. While this may give more a feeling of heroic superiority to the player characters, it also leads to longer fights, less caution, and more flippant actions when the consequences aren’t that, well, consequential.

Depending if the Body value is added or not, and if there is any cap on HP (BITS typically likes to aim to cap at 12 HP), that changes the way combat and the use of equipment as a mechanic occur in the 2d6 conversion.


BITS divides both fictional beings and their equipment into six tiers:

    • BITS Fantasy Weapon Tiers
    • 0 – Fists, unarmed combat.
    • 1 – Knives, small swords, cudgels, sticks, brass knuckles, hatchets, throwing spears.
    • 2 – Swords, axes, clubs, maces, short bows, light crossbows.
    • 3 – 2-handed mauls and bastard swords, pikes, longbows, flails, heavy crossbows.
    • 4 – Ballistae, claymores, halberds, tree-trunks.
    • 6 – Especially heroic or magical devices, such as Excalibur or Hercules’ club.
    • BITS Armor Tiers
    • 0 – No armor, clothing, robes, a buckler used as a shield in hand.
    • 1 – Leathers, round shields.
    • 2 – Mails, full-body shields.
    • 3 – Partial plates (a mix of mail and plate), 2-handed massive shields.
    • 4 – Full plate, a rolling barricade of treated wood used as a shield.
    • 6 – Heroic suits that are probably enchanted.

Gear can play into the BITS 2d6 conversion two ways. Either A) gear does nothing to a roll and gives its value as damage or reduced by 1 to negate damage, or B) gear adds to the roll value and the difference between the roll value and the target value is the damage given to a target (in the case of armor, it increases the chances of deflecting damage).

Let’s call option A the realism option, and B the heroic option.

Realism ought apply when a character’s HP is limited, either capped or very slow growing. Some characters ought die in a hit or two from a sharp object (just like real life!).

Heroic damage comes into play when characters feel overpowered. They smite small threats and can weather harsher punishment because their HP grows to accommodate.

Non-Player Characters

Whichever equipment mechanic is used to match the HP mechanic, non-player characters (NPCs; beasts, town guards, etc.) have their own tiers 0 to 6.

I personally am a =huge= fan of reducing enemy complexity in simulators games like D&D. Thereby in BITS, NPCs have HP equal to their tier and do damage equal to their tier. Players have to roll at or above the tier equivalent if wanting to either act against or defend against an NPC (e.g. a tier 1 may require a 7+ roll).

No rolling extra damage, no having to calculate HP, no having to figure out what every goon is wearing and carrying!

Keeping it simple like this should remain balanced between d20 and 2d6 implementations. Since I can’t vouch completely for it, if taking a D&D NPC into 2d6 territory, determine its abilities, HP, and equipment the same way done for characters detailed above.

(It does help that there are a plethora of NPC creation and balancing tools for D&D available, each ripe for conversion to BITS!)

And that’s it! Just about all that’s needed to convert a poly-dice d20 system into a 2d6 BITS-like.

The joy of having the tools to do this means a lot of games can be converted into a concise system shared between multiple fictions and titles for faster-yet-still-hefty play.

What’s your take? Any sections of d20 and poly-dice mechanics from games like D&D missing here?

Hit me up and let me know! If you’ve any other suggestions or would like to see a test IP get converted into 2d6 and BITS (even if the IP doesn’t have a widely-recognized game with it!), I’d be happy to walk through the challenge of the conversion.

In any case, do well! Cheers ~

Riskier Risk

It has been a minute since I last wrote about the game of Risk, the classic table-top wargame.

Now I’m back with a new take on the game: Catastrophic dice rolls.


In the game of Risk, commanders (the players) know immediately and iteratively how well their armies are doing in combat. Using dice, no more than two units at a time can be removed from either side, while the math tends towards a 1:1 loss of units on both sides (slight advantage to the attacker). Between losses, an attacker can choose to preserve their forces at any time, stopping the wanton destruction of armies.

If only real war were so charming.

After reading military histories by author Rick Atkinson, it came to my attention how quickly even the most advantageous of battles can devolve into a debacle of incredible losses before commanders and generals are aware of what’s happening. Risk hardly lives up to its namesake, as while single army groups tend towards dozens of units, only two are at risk at any time.

A Problem

Losing one or two units over and over again is, well, tedious. Dice need to be rolled, compared, units removed, and dice rolled again until someone gives up or is eliminated.

Speaking from experience, a problem with Risk is how long it takes to play. (I don’t seem to be alone in this regard.) The dice rolling and one-two unit removal certainly plays a part in exacerbating the situation.

Thereby Risk is neither very accurate historically or quick.

Let’s stab at a fix to both those problems.

Riskier Rolls

In place of capping losses at one or two units, the dice themselves offer a way to increase the variance of the battles.

Normal Risk rules have the attacker rolling up to three dice against up to two defender dice. The highest dice are compared (up to two), any others discarded. Whichever player has the lower die in each comparison loses a unit (attacker loses ties).

It first came to mind that all values might be added together then compared, the difference being applied as losses to the lower-valued player. This is bad because it involves addition and subtraction. (More mental math in games is a hard no-go.)

Math is also a problem if the difference between individual dice is used. (Say, rolls of 6 and 4 are compared; 6-4=2, or 2 units lost, but that is still too much math from the original game.)

A method without extra math, and the most satisfying of our criteria of historical accuracy and fewer, faster rolls, is this:

Compare dice normally for the rules of Risk. Remove a number of units from the lower-value-die player equal to the value of the higher-die player.

So say an attacker rolls a 6-2-1 and a defender rolls a 5-4. The dice comparisons are 6v5 and 2v4 (the attacker’s 1 is discarded). Using the risker rolls rule, the first comparison requires the defender to remove six units; the second has the attacker remove four.

With all removals of units for a roll happening at the same time, an attacker’s advantage can quickly evaporate or a defender’s line be broken in but a single roll.

With riskier rolls, units are removed at pace, battles become decided in a fraction of the time, math remains minimal, only a single rule is changed from the base game, and more accurate swings of fortune get injected into the base experience that is Risk.

I’d count that as a positive 😉

Riskier rolls rules! Gosh, I’m a sucker for alliteration ~

I’ve given these a swing with friends, and the feel is *French kiss*. More playing is required though, so give these rules a chance in your own games of Risk.

Let me know how your games go! Here’s to all the games you’ll enjoy ~ Cheers.