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I'm trying to design a system with a dice pool mechanic that looks at the highest roll in the pool as well as total number of successes? I want to show the quality of a success and it's extent.

Example: Jimmy has to roll profession(Programmer) to accomplish a task due in two days. A single check represents eight hours work. He needs to roll at least 5 success out of his 4d12 pool, needing an 8 to be successful. He rolls and gets 3 success, his highest being 9. He's not done too badly so far. For the next 8 hours of work he rolls again, and get another 3 successes, with his highest being 11. Much better!

His total number of success (6) is more than he needed (5) so his programme encompasses more than it needed to (great range of functionality), or will last longer (before becoming obsolete). His highest roll of and 11 means it's a very high quality programme, nearly the best?

Do any dice systems allow for this sort of result? Are they expanded in any more detail? Does this effect the probabilities of success (either kind) in anyway? What effect does this have on a game?

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It seems like there's some question surrounding this you intended to ask (and have asked in the comment to Jadasc's question) - consider adding the real question here, because this smells "listy." –  mxyzplk Jan 3 '12 at 22:36
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3 Answers 3

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The One-Roll Engine (ORE) is a die pool system that looks for strings of matched numbers. Both the value of the die and the number of dice matched are important for differing purposes, and certain subsystems look for the highest unpaired die and do things with it. The rules for the ORE can be found for free in the NEMESIS rules set.

The aim is to make the results of a single roll "richer" by allowing it to convey more information through "height" as well as "width." In combat, for example, the height (value) of the roll indicates the degree of damage and the hit location while the width (number of matched dice) indicates the initiative order. Defenses "gobble" dice, making sets into pairs or singles. Extraordinary powers allow you to set dice at certain numbers or choose one. It's really elegant when you dig deeply.

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Shadowrun 2nd Edition did this, with the complications of an exploding D6 (on a 6, obviously), and variable target numbers.

7th Sea used a similar mechanic (and I guess L5R still does), with the "roll and keep" system used: (skill + attribute)d10, and keep (attribute)dice. However, the success(es) would be added up to determine how well you succeeded.

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EvilHat Productions' Don't Rest Your Head has a dice pool mechanic that does essentially that. You roll a number of d6s that come from three different sources, and must be distnguishable. The total number of successes is determined (successes are 1-3), and then it is determined which pool dominates (domination has both mechanical and storytelling effects). Dominating is determined by which pool has the most 6s, and ties are broken with subsequent values. The players have three pools (Discipline, Madness, and Exhaustion) and the GM has one pool (Pain). Discpiline is the most inherent and limited pool. It's a good thing when it dominates (for the player). Exhaustion and madness ramp up a player's power, but at the cost of bad things happening when those pools dominate. Successes are tinged with bad effects, and you risk running into permanent trouble. Pain dominating means that you may succeed at what you set out to do, but something else goes horribly wrong.

It's a very dynamic system, that I haven't had too much chance to play with, since I've had a little trouble sculpting anything coherent from it. it's a great read, and a fun setting. Just not sure about how to scale encounters etc...

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