ORE/LotW Poker Dice

How exactly does LotW's and ORE's poker dice resolution system work out in practice?
I like to look at systems and work out their kinks and strengths, but the poker dice resolution mechanic seems weird to me. In roll-off situations between characters not so much, but moreso against static difficulties. Increasing the difficulty by just one step crashes the probability of success by 50-70% and adding/removing a single die from a pool yields similar results.
With wiggle dice from ORE or the Skills from LotW, you pretty much have a range of difficulties where characters will succeed 90-100% of a time and then, one or two steps up, practically never. It just seems like 99% of rolls would absolutely have to range within a very narrow range of difficulties and there's very little variance for the GM on that front. I'm curious how it actually works out in practice though, so could somebody with experience with the systems enlighten me here?

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I play a lot of LotW, and in general it works great.

I guess the thing to realise is that the dice variance isn't actually that important. You've got the stuff you can very regularly achieve, and the occasional super high roll, but it does tend very strongly to give you a regular, reliable set of low to middle results.

The real game of the system isn't in the dicerolls but in bonuses, what you're getting them from, utilising your techniques, your styles laughs and fears, your conditions and other things to your advantage.

The dice still matter, they can do a lot to help or hinder you, but it's a mistake to think of the dice as the most significant part of whether you succeed or fail.

You're also overlooking the other side of it, that with LotW's dice system rolling multiple low sets effectively gives you bonus action economy, or the ability to manipulate results via the River system.

I, too, am interested in the probabilities for Wulin's dice. Shit looks complicated as fuck to calculate.


It is, but just using ORE calculations, of which there are a shitton, is good enough.


Factoring shit like the river in boils down to "A bit higher", but this is good enough for approximation most of the time.

Thanks for the links.

So a wide range of difficulties is still used?
I've heard the digging for bonuses is also one of the system's biggest weaknesses, because it can slow the game down tremendously.

I've also heard it's bad at handling more than a select few of characters in a conflict. How does it work out when you have, say, Bruce Lee and is three PC buddies against a whole noodle shop of opponents?

Just making sure I understand the ORE table for Wulin right: Say I'm rolling three dice. I have a 72% chance of getting no sets, 27% of rolling two matching numbers, and 1% chance of rolling three?

For example: X Y Z is 72% likely, X X Y is 27% likely, and X X X is 1% likely?

When you're new to the system, remembering and making use of all of the various sources of bonuses can take some time, but once you get the hang of it it happens as a natural part of gameplay.

The thing about LotW is that, unlike most systems, how you fluff your actions has a real, mechanical effect on how potent they are. Remembering your Laughs, Fears and Chi Conditions, and keeping track of your opponents, guides how you'll narrate and describe your actions, and usually it's a quick bit of GM arbitration to okay or deny one +5 or another.

LotW is at it's best in duels or all vs one boss fights. You can still do larger engagements, but the system does slow down considerably and having to manage an equal number of full characters as opponents, as a GM, is somewhat draining and hard to manage. They can still be fun and present an interesting tactical challenge, but they're once in a while things rather than something I'd use every session.

Something I tend to do, to stop duels just being 'one player plays and everyone else is bored' is to have players pair off, one player taking an antagonist sheet and running it against a PC, with rewards for doing well while running the antagonist. It takes a certain type of group to enjoy it, I think, but mine have responded very well to it.

Pretty much, yes.

Alright, thanks. This'll help me immensely.

That's too bad. I was hoping the system could run your typical 3 main characters beating up ten, fifteen goons well.
One player taking control of a powerful foe and reaping rewards for doing well sounds like a great idea though. Might steal it for unrelated games.

Oh, it can totally do fighting mobs of goons. You just use Minions and Lesser Legends.

It's equal numbers of equally powerful people it's difficult with, specifically.

>That's too bad. I was hoping the system could run your typical 3 main characters beating up ten, fifteen goons well.
If they're just mooks then the system does have the option to treat a mob as one enemy which speeds things up a lot.

So where is the cutoff-line here? I've read through parts of the book, but the layout isn't the greatest. From what I can gather, being on 5 dice is the absolute weakest level you can be, when and how do you start pooling enemies? And how exactly does it work?

they're treated as one guy. So you just have a 5-die pool being used for combat in the same way as the PCs except it represents the actions of a large number of weaklings, instead of a single competent person

the section for it in the rulebook is near the back

Minions and Lesser Legends are distinct from Xia. The lowest value a Xia can have is 6 dice, since it's 5+Rank Value.

Minions and Lesser Legends are detailed in the back of the book. Minions are super simple, they have a single bonus to their rolls based on rank, make area attacks and are destroyed after taking a certain number of ripples. Lesser Legends are individual martial artists who don't have Chi. They have External styles, weapons and can make more actions than Minions, but they suffer ripples in the same way, destroyed by a certain number rather than suffering rippling rolls.

Run ORE a bit and never had any real issues.
Master/wiggle dice seem as though they'd make a huge difference being a die you set to whatever, but in practice, in any of the single M/W dice systems it never seemed that crazy overpowered. They either make nothing into a slow set, or just make an existing set a bit faster/more damaging. How well you do/location hit is still pretty mostly random, just a slightly higher chance of a set of one sort or another being the number you want to see.
In ORE with multiple M/W dice or hard dice (always 10s) it does get real crazy, but it is also assumed anyone you rumble with also has them. Then again this is only really used in Supers style games.
When it come to raising the difficulty of a roll rather than a roll off then yes a single point difference is kind of nasty but you also only need a single set of two to pass, I can't recall a situation where you need to beat a target number AND roll a large set outside of rare ones, like in Reign for example, your opponent has learnt the monkey dodge or something like that where their feet are unhittable so you need a set higher than 1 or 2 and also want to hit hard.

I'm also curious, what's the typical difficulty range used?

The difficulty ladder in the LotW books is-

Trivial 10
Moderate 20
Hard 30
Memorable 40
Fantastic 60
Legendary 80
Impossible 100

So, if you can scrounge up a fixed +1 or +2 you can nearly always pull off a Hard or Memorable?

Starting PC skills are capped at +10, with specialities adding another +5. A relevant Chi Condition can add another +5/10 on top of that, and there are a few secondary skill boosts in the system, from Loresheets or External styles.

A PC with a modest expertise in a skill, +10, has good odds of always beating a Hard DC. One who goes hard on it, pushing up to a total modifier of +20 or more, can crack Memorable with ease.

So basically a lot of variance comes from the situation itself and trying to glean bonuses lor getting slapped with negative modifiers?

Yeah. In LotW figuring out how to leverage your advantages is key to success. You have a lot of potential power on your sheet, but a good amount of it requires you to go out of your way to leverage it, which can be an interesting part of the dynamic, various people trying to manipulate the situation to their benefit.

One thing I do wish LotW or a system like it would figure out how to do is make extra actions a bigger part of the game.

I feel like the ability to make multiple actions on a single roll is one of the key strengths of the system, something that no other system really does, and yet it's entirely reliant on your rolls and river to accomplish since extra actions take sets.

While letting you take actions on every set would just get ridiculous, I'd love more mechanics that enabled you to take those extra actions even with a bad roll, through some resource spending or investment of XP etc ahead of time