Over at Intwischa they’ve come up with a really cool idea for tracking consumables. I’ve talked about this before with tracking food saying the players can carry either 4, 8 or 12 days of food depending on how much of their pack the characters use for other things. This is a cool system for food, ammo, water, whatever you don’t want to bother tracking but know it would make your game more interesting if you did.
Their system consists of rolling a die each time you use the consumable. If you roll a one on that die, you drop down a die size. For example a d20 represents about 61 of the consumable, a d10 is about 29. If I roll a d20 and get a 1 then I’d go down to a d12, if I got a one after that I drop to a d10. For a more complete description, check out their post and the playtest post they did.
The players mark their character sheet with the die they have left, not the actual number. This makes tracking simple with almost no math while playing. Very nice! I can’t say how amazing an idea this is!
What About Big Numbers?
In The Artifact there are some big numbers for consumables like ammo. An ASO Footsoldier starts with 300 rounds for the G-82. Fortunately there’s a simple solution to this. Those 300 rounds are broken up into 10 clips of 30. Now there’s something interesting about clips, I’ve never had a hard time getting players to track what’s in their clips, just how many clips they have. So this is where this gets really useful, the character has d6 for clips. When they use up a clip, they roll. If they roll a 1 it goes down to a d4. The idea here is that when the character uses groups of a consumable, track the groups.
EDIT: Oops, looks like they already had tracking clips in the optional rules. Sorry, got too excited.
Now the Scimrahn Laser Gun is a different story. It starts out with 100 shots in a clip, so many that we’ve never bothered to count them off. It’s functionally inexhaustible. Even worse, the backpack power supply gives the laser 500 shots. So how can the Die Roll Ammo Tracking system work here? I have two thoughts on how to do this.
Each d20 adds about 20 to the number of shots the character gets so for the energy clip the character gets a 3x1d20 meaning they get to roll a one on a d20 three times before they move to a d12 etcetera.
For the 500 rounds we don’t want to write down 23x1d20. Thats just going back to tracking ammo again. Instead 4x1d100 should work as long as we remember that the last d100 drops to 3x1d20. I readily admit, even this is a little silly. The numbers are so big that it’s effectively infinite. I doubt that any character we’ve ever played fired a laser 500 times. Still, I like having an answer to how to handle that.
Is there a more elegant way of handling larger numbers with Die Roll Ammo Tracking? Is there a better way than writing 3x1d20? I thought that 3d20 would be confusing, making people think you would roll 3 d20s at a time. It’s possible to have the players record 100 of something as a d20 and a d12. Once the d20 is used up (as in dropping all the way to a d4 and then rolling a 1) then you go to a d12. That almost sounds more complicated for some reason. The only other option would be to break out the exotic d30 and d40s. If you’ve got a better idea, let me know in the comments.