ASL Game Mechanics - Dice Roll Modifiers (DRM)
by, 28 Sep 09 at 16:35 (2031 Views)
Ok, short intro for the non ASL readers. In ASL, drm and DRM are two different things, as are dr and DR (die roll v DICE ROLL). For a very few mechanics, the DR is modified by a dr, usually to the colored die in the pair. (Glider landings come to mind, because I'm just starting a Pegasus Bridge Campaign Game...)
Some mechanics in ASL are on the original roll, be it DR, dr or cdr (colored dr in a DR), or wdr (white dr in a DR). For mechanics based on the original roll, the odds are very straightforward, even for DR.
For all the other mechanics, drm/DRM have varying effectiveness.
The Basics of drm
Since a single die has even chances for each result, any drm will shift the result by a fixed amount of chances. Most instances of drm are looking for a final dr of <, >, <=, >=. Very seldom is a dr looking for a specific result such as '3' and only a '3'.
Taking concealment gain when not in concealment terrain and out of LOS. The simple drm are unit size (how many silhouettes on the counter), leadership, TEM/Hindrance of your hex, and a few others. The goal is to score a 5 or less to gain concealment. Unit size is a detriment, +3 for a full squad, leadership is usually good, -1 or -2 (rarely -3). A full squad in open terrain and not having any of the other modifiers I haven't mentioned is a base 1-2 initial dr to gain concealment (so 33% chance). A half-squad has 1 better chance in 6, for 50%; and a single man counter (leader or hero) has a 4 in 6 chance for 66%.
For drm, the adjustments are fairly straightforward.
The Basics of DRM
Because of the stair step nature of the 2d6 DR, with a 7 result having the most odds of occurring, then decreasing odds as you follow down to 2 or up to 12.
Because of the stair step nature, a total DRM of +-1 will alter the final odds of getting a specific number, even a range of numbers or something using the comparison operators; by 1:36 (about 2.8%).
It's when you compound (or earn outright) DRM to get a +-2, or +-3 (or more) that the swing in odds stops being a direct 1:36 improvement or penalty.
For example to Bog a vehicle, you need a final DR >=12. Different terrain has different DRM, some are mild at +1; but a woods hex, entered at half of your movement points is a whopping +3. This takes an initial roll of 12 (1:36 ~2.8%) required to bog, down to an initial roll of 9 or more (10:36 ~27.8%). So the woods makes it 10 times more likely to bog that vehicle. That's a serious DRM, throw in another +1 for normal ground pressure, and now you're looking at 15:36 chances to Bog (~41.7%). Heavy ground pressure (+2 instead of +1 for normal) moves the odds to a 7 or more to bog when entering those woods (21:36 ~58.3%).
Hint: High ground pressure, use the ALL cost to enter if you really have to go for a cruise in the woods...
Morale and task checks are taken against the units Morale Level (ML), usually ranging from 6 (conscripts) to 8 (elites), with some leaders having 9 or 10 ML. Some leaders can raise the ML of a unit stacked with them (Commissars and Japanese leaders), and Fanaticism can also increase the base ML of a unit. No unit can have its basic ML increased above 10.
Leaders and DRM adjust the DR needed to pass the Check in question. Each case has to be looked at separately, since the original ML ranges from 6 to 10 (usually rare, but in some CG, can be frequent), some DRM are more powerful than others.
Take for instance the lowly conscript squad at 6ML (or a 1st line US Squad...). They are already below the half way point in the DR "curve". Any + DRM is just going to make the situation worse. The mere +1 DRM to the DR to pass a 1MC result takes the odds from DR6 or less (15:36 ~41.7%) down to DR5 or less (10:36 ~27.8%). A loss of 1/3rd of your chances to pass an NMC result.
For the 10 ML (Fanatic Elite with Commissar type leader) a 1MC is still not all that tough to pass compared to an NMC. The 1MC is passed on DR9 or less (30:36 ~83.3%), and the NMC on 10 or less (33:36 ~91.7%).
The biggest loss for a 1MC over an NMC (just a mere +1 DRM) is for a 7ML unit. Since this 7ML unit is right on the peak of the DR "curve", any loss will take 6 chances in 36 away from remaining unbroken. The biggest x:36 swing for any one base ML vs a 1MC.
The higher DRM associated with the #MC results just make things worse. A 2MC result for a 6ML unit is almost a sure fire way to get them broken, really good odds for the 7ML, tips an 8ML unit "over the edge", etc. Rinse and repeat for the 3MC and 4MC results.
IFT v IIFT
Alert blog readers will have seen this section coming a mile away... this is the part where I bash the IIFT some more.
Similar to my previous blog on Cowering, there are instances on the IFT where a +-1 DRM may or may not have an alteration to the outcome of the attack. This happens on every column when there is a chance of rolling a 1MC, since every column has a stacked pair of 1MC results, even with a -1 DRM (in the shooters favor) or a +1 DRM (the targets favor) there are odds of rolling something that basically ignores the DRM. When the second 2MC is introduced at the 8FP column, there is that chance at +-1 DRM to still net the 2MC, rather than alter the outcome.
That being said, there is no instance on the IFT where a +-2 or greater DRM will ever result in the same thing (ok, other than - for no effect, duh...). For all other results, PTC, NMC, 2MC (when alone), 3MC, 4MC, K/#, and #KIAs, any DRM will alter the result to some other result.
Until you get into the upper reaches of FP, or have some incredible - DRM, those stacked 1MC and 2MC results take up the middle of the chart (or lower at lower FP). This tempers the overall effectiveness of fire by keeping the followup MC DRM to a minimum.
The IIFT ignores this particular mechanic when it takes away from the stacked 1MC or 2MC results in a column, and/or when it inserts stacked results other than the 1MC or 2MC (i.e. second NMC or third 1MC, etc.).
The 1.5 column has stacked K/1 results.
The 2.5 column has only 1 1MC result, and an early 2MC result.
The 3 column has none of the normal stacked results, but has a CTC (Conditional Task Check, essentially a stacked PTC if the target is unconcealed).
The 4.5 column is missing a 1MC, with the early promotion of a second 2MC (which oddly enough goes away at the 6 column...)
The 5 column is like the 4.5 column, extra 2MC, missing 1MC, and has the added bonus CTC.
Etc. etc. etc.
In order to shoehorn in the IIFT columns, the mechanics inherent to the original IFT columns were ignored. That's not a good thing.
Conditional Task Checks
For those who don't agree with me about the problems with the IIFT, I return to the CTC mentioned above.
Shortly after it's introduction, it was noticed that the stacked PTC results on the original incarnation of the IIFT tended to cause concealment loss more often than a game played on the IFT. One or two moments of thought, looking at basically doubling your chances of getting a PTC result (when stacked). Or alternately looking that most columns with the stacked PTC results were equivalent to the next higher IFT column, in terms of "odds to get any result that strips concealment". It should have been obvious from the start that concealment was easier to remove with the IIFT.
The solution was to make those "stacked PTC" results conditional, if the target is unconcealed they take the PTC, if the target is concealed, no effect.
So on one hand, IIFT proponents acknowledge there was a problem with stacked PTC results, yet claim stacked K/# or 4MC results, or early conversion to an improved #MC, aren't just as inappropriate???
All the while accepting that the "fix" for CTCs being overpowered, makes IIFT columns only as effective at stripping concealment as their "normal IFT" column. So much for demanding "improved effectiveness for every firepower".