Random Determination

I've been reading old Dragon magazines. Part of the design of this current campaign was a more 'themed' Hackmaster game, along with the opportunity to use more 1st edition material printed from old Dragon magazines. So I've been reviewing the magazines for just that purpose.

In the very first article of Dragon, there is an article titled "How to use Non-Prime-Requisite Character Attributes" by a Wesley D. Ives which is a complicated method to determine the success of an action.

Here it is in a nutshell:
(Yes, caps are used in the article.)

You roll % which determines which dice you use (d4/d6/d8/d10/d12). It is a straight 20% chance per dice, you also add the statistic in question to the roll.

Then you roll that die and multiply it times the stat, giving you a percent chance of success.

i.e. Gronk wants to move a boulder, so you roll percentiles, 54, adding his strength of 19, giving you 73. 73 means you roll a 10 sided die. You get a 3x19, means he has a 57% chance of success.

The article then outlines the stats in vague terms of what they might be used for, and lists a selection of modifiers (Level, Class, Luckstones/Prayer, and 'everything else')

I find this interesting for several reasons.
First, this system is absurdly complex. This is June of 1976, so I imagine most people were playing Dungeons and Dragons at the time, rather than AD&D. It involves roll with addition, checked versus a table to give you what you need to make your second roll. Then you have to make your second roll and the multiply to give you your chance at success. Then you actually have to roll to succeed.
Secondly, this system depends entirely on your characters abilities, and has no bearing on the actual difficulty of the task. This makes me question many of the original design assumptions present in old school Dungeons and Dragons. Modern games (including Hackmaster) tend to universally qualify tasks by level of difficulty. This aesthetic seems to indicate that tasks were either trivial or not with no degree of difficulty, which seems to fit in with my understanding of the origins of the game.
Third, I find it strange that the third listed modifier is all about prayer and luckstones. These would seem to be a nod or mention of temporary buffs.

Feel free to use this resolution system if you'd like to truly have a complicated and random chance of success at a task that can't vary in difficulty! I'll post more of these items as I run across them in my research.

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