One of the rules that I've been mulling over for a while now is the special re-roll you get in certain situations, namely when using two weapons or when using automatic fire. Normally in T&B, you roll 2d6 and add your skill value (or whatever static mod you're using), and compare it to a Break Point. Under re-roll circumstances, you roll your 2d6, but if it's not a double result (2/2, 3/3, etc.), you re-roll the lower die and keep the new roll. So for example, say you roll a 2 and a 5. That's normally a seven. But with the re-roll, you roll the 2 again and keep whatever comes up, even if it's a 1 or a 2 again.
So my big question was...does it actually do anything for you? What I wanted was a mechanic that could give you a better result, and on average will give better results, but does not guarantee a better result.
This is where those ol' Java programming skills come in oh so handy. First, thanks to my good friend and Java guru Masakari for whipping up something on his own that proved my theory correct; on average the most common roll shifted from a 7 to 8, and there is a corresponding shift in the bell curve, with 12's showing up 2-3 times more frequently than 2's (2's averaged between 2.5 and 3%, while 12's were between 7.5 and 8%).
So this morning I whipped up my own little program, and ran some numbers. Here's a good representative spread from a cycle of 10,000 dice rolls:
While on the other hand, here's a pretty representative spread of 10,000 rolls using a straight 2d6 die-throw:
Twos Rolled: 300.0, or 3.0%
Threes Rolled: 100.0, or 1.0%
Fours Rolled: 560.0, or 5.6%
Fives Rolled: 555.0, or 5.55%
Sixes Rolled: 1197.0, or 11.97%
Sevens Rolled: 1350.0, or 13.5%
Eights Rolled: 1702.0, or 17.02%
Nines Rolled: 1224.0, or 12.24%
Tens Rolled: 1415.0, or 14.15%
Elevens Rolled: 848.0, or 8.48%
Twelves Rolled: 749.0, or 7.49%
Twos Rolled: 272.0, or 2.72%Of course, if you're good at math, you could have probably worked this out on your own. However, having a little skill at programming in something fairly simple like Java means you can whip up a little testing program in a few minutes and generate some good data that supports whatever theories you might have about the mechanics of your RPG.
Threes Rolled: 591.0, or 5.91%
Fours Rolled: 836.0, or 8.36%
Fives Rolled: 1072.0, or 10.72%
Sixes Rolled: 1334.0, or 13.34%
Sevens Rolled: 1740.0, or 17.4%
Eights Rolled: 1390.0, or 13.9%
Nines Rolled: 1101.0, or 11.01%
Tens Rolled: 837.0, or 8.37%
Elevens Rolled: 539.0, or 5.39%
Twelves Rolled: 288.0, or 2.88%
I've also found it useful for feeding in character data and testing various theories about the progression of lethality as you add skill and / or better weapons to a character. For example, I learned that a PC with a Melee of 0 (unskilled), using a Light weapon (+0 damage modifier), rolling against a dead average unskilled defense roll of 7, will take about 10 combat rounds to kill another PC with a health of 24 (which all PCs start out with). On the other hand, a PC with maximum Melee skill plus skill focus bonus, wielding a Heavy weapon, can do the same job in 2-3 combat rounds.
Of course, this is no substitute for actual playtesting; putting the rules in the hands of real players is the only way to make sure your game "works". But being able to try out the mechanics of your rules and make sure that something does what you want it to do is very nice, and can solve a lot of headaches down the road.