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As you might know, the AGE system (Dragon Age RPG, Fantasy Age RPG, etc) has a mechanic of generating stunt points based on the player rolling doubles on any of the 3d6.

If you are not familiar with the concept, the system has a mechanic where one of its dice is called "The Dragon Die" or "The Stunt Die" (which is just a normal d6 in a different color). When you roll doubles you can then use the number on the off-color die as points to buy stunts, which are special moves you can perform (eg.: [6],[6],[3] or [4],[2],[4] or even [3],[3],[3]).

So, without necessarily changing dice colors or using any other dice than just vanilla Fudge/Fate ones, how could I reproduce this type of mechanic? (For now, just ignore the point-buy mechanic since the Fudge/Fate die is limited. Let's assume when doubles happens it will generate just one single point).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 17 at 3:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean logically within the mechanics of the game or probabilistically? \$\endgroup\$ – okeefe Aug 17 at 4:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @okeefe I don't know exactly what is the distinction you're making between the two. So, why don't you present your take and I'll try to follow the rationale. \$\endgroup\$ – Thiago M Aug 17 at 5:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd assume the distinction @okeefe is trying to make is something like between "provides a similar play experience" and "generates stunt points with (approximately) the same frequency". One reason for making the distinction is that the latter question can (and likely will) be answered by someone who's never played any Fate/Fudge or AGE games whatsoever, as long as they know the dice mechanics and can do the math. Answering the former question, meanwhile, requires one to have played both systems, and providing a non-speculative answer may require actually playtesting such a house rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Aug 17 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, assuming that you're not looking for just a pure math answer, I think you should probably add some more details of what you like about the AGE system (e.g. what kinds of cool or interesting gameplay does it enable, in what situations do you find it to work really well, etc.), how you'd like it to tie into the Fate/Fudge system and what kinds of games you'd like to run with it. Basically, provide some context so that readers and potential answerers can actually judge how well a particular idea might fit your needs. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Aug 17 at 11:20
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Boosts.

The odds don't entirely line up, of course, but if you wanted something that occasionally happens on a Fate roll, boosts are right there for you, often on a success with style, sometimes on a tie too.

Most Fate advice suggests that you don't really have to name boosts or assign specific fictional effects to them, but "create a boost and call it X" fits a decent number of the AGE stunts.

...and trading in boosts.

Boosts are meant to be single one-off events that are quickly capitalized on. Some AGE stunts don't quite fit that, like tracking someone or knocking someone down in combat. In those cases you can probably just convert a boost into a supplemental action, where in addition to the action you took to get the boost, you can do something else on your turn, probably some kind of Create an Advantage. The concept of supplemental actions documented in the SRD but it's generally dropped out of Fate because mostly it just imposed penalties on your actions. If you like the feeling of getting the opportunity to do something tangential now and again, cashing in a boost to take a supplemental action without penalty seems like a good fit for it.

Neither of these things needs any special resources to activate; you can just say anyone can do them. If there's a particular family of advanced AGE stunts that you want to model, taking a FATE stunt to get access to that pool with boosts seems a fair price to pay.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I think the concept of stunts in the AGE system is something too powerful to be used freely like that. In AGE, the chance factor is the thing that defines when and how you can use stunts, and not knowing if you will get lucky enough is part of the feeling - akin to critical rolls. \$\endgroup\$ – Thiago M Aug 18 at 5:00
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Since you explicitly state in the comments above that you don't feel you can "separate the gameplay experience from its mechanic" and that you expect to get "answers from different backgrounds", let me provide the (almost) purely mechanical answer I was alluding to in my own comments. I'll start by noting that I've never played a game using either Fate/Fudge or the AGE system, but I believe that your question, as phrased, is technically answerable without such experience. All it takes is some math and creativity.

(I'm not saying that this is necessarily a good answer — although I did honestly try to make it as good as it could be, given what it is — or that it necessarily solves the OP's actual problem. But I believe it does technically answer the question.)

So, without necessarily changing dice colors or using any other dice than just vanilla Fudge/Fate ones, how could I reproduce this type of mechanic? (For now, just ignore the point-buy mechanic since the Fudge/Fate die is limited. Let's assume when doubles happens it will generate just one single point).

So you want something that, using a 4dF roll as in Fate/Fudge, generates "bonus points" with a similar frequency as the AGE stunts mechanic using a 3d6 roll generates (groups of 1–6) stunt points. So what are the key features of the AGE stunts generation system? Let me list a few that I'd consider relevant:

  1. It requires a successful attack. That's something that carries over to Fate easily enough, but it's worth keeping in mind.

  2. When an attack does succeed, it triggers pretty often. Ignoring the success requirement, the probability of rolling a double (or a triple) on 3d6 is exactly 4 / 9 ≈ 44.4%. The success requirement changes this a bit, since the probability of a double varies depending on the total sum rolled (in particular, it's 100% for rolls less than 6 = 1 + 2 + 3 or greater than 15 = 4 + 5 + 6), but it never goes below 40%:

    Bar chart of the probability of rolling a double on 3d6 when the sum is over a given target

  3. Except for the success requirement, it's not strongly correlated with the sum of the roll. In fact, the AGE mechanic is symmetric in the sense that the probability of getting a double on a roll of 3 + X is exactly the same as on a roll of 18 − X:

    Bar chart of the probability of rolling a double on 3d6 when the sum is exactly equal to a given target

  4. ...but it always triggers when you roll really high. As the chart above shows, you always get one or more (in fact, four or more) stunts when you roll 16 or higher, as long as that counts as a success (which it usually should). You do also always get at least one stunt point when you roll 5 or lower, but such rolls rarely succeed against any meaningful opposition.

With that in mind, let's see what kind of mechanic might recreate those features using a 4dF roll instead of 3d6.

  • As a quick first attempt, rolling two or more zeros on 4dF has an average probability of 40.7% (ignoring the success requirement) which is pretty close to 44.4%, and the probabilities are symmetric like in the Dragon Age mechanic. But it fails criterion 4 above, since you can never roll a double zero when the sum is +3 or more (or −3 or less).

  • Playing around a bit more, it turns out that we can get an exact 44.4% occurrence rate by marking one of the 4dF as special (just like in Dragon Age!) and awarding a "bonus point" whenever exactly one of the normal dice matches the special die. This trigger rule is also symmetric with respect to the sum of the roll, but it also turns out to have the same problem as the previous rule: you can never get a bonus point on a roll of +3 or more (or −3 or less).

However, approaching the problem from the opposite angle and starting with the requirement that a natural +4 roll should always earn a bonus point, it turns out that awarding bonus points on every successful attack roll with three or more matching dice fits all the criteria fairly well:

  • Ignoring the success requirement, triples occur with a probability of 1 / 3 ≈ 33.3%. This is noticeably less than in the original Dragon Age mechanic, but perhaps not unreasonably so.

  • As with the original mechanic, the conditional probabilities are symmetric with respect to the sum of the roll and are highest for very high (and very low) rolls:

    Bar chart of the probability of rolling a triple on 4dF when the sum is exactly equal to a given target

  • The graph of the probability of getting a "bonus point" on a successful roll for various target thresholds looks quite similar to the original. In particular, the probability of getting a bonus point on a success is always at least 27%:

    Bar chart of the probability of rolling a triple on 4dF when the sum is over a given target

So, assuming that the somewhat lower average frequency isn't a showstopper, I feel like this triple-on-4dF mechanic provides a fairly close match the the original double-on-3d6 trigger mechanic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ps. As for what these "bonus points" should be, I'm tempted to agree with Glazius that a lot of the Dragon Age stunts do feel very much like boosts. If you wanted, you could always have a precompiled list of special boosts to choose from for this purpose. It could perhaps even include some non-boost options like, say, "you have full defense until next turn" or "add one shift to the attack". \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Aug 20 at 0:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, don't forget that in Fate an attack is typically an opposed roll. What should happen if the defender rolls a triple..? \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Aug 20 at 0:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ First of all, thanks for the thorough answer. I think your answer is as complete as it can get. I think triples seems reasonable, even though would be rarer. Regarding the 'boosts' suggestion I should've been more clear about not actually using other mechanics from Fate other than the Fudge dice, but I'm glad I left this aside to receive more mechanical suggestions. My main problem with 'boosts' as I stated before is that it's too free-flowing for my taste and stunts as in AGE are game-changers, so I think it would introduce an unbalanced concept. \$\endgroup\$ – Thiago M Aug 20 at 2:42

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