why doesn't pbta use d6-d6 instead of 2d6

 hear me out, this is just like a user experience thing

d6-d6 is equal to 2d6-7, which is really handy. pictured below.

we can convert the usual pbta conditions:

  • success (3+): you succeed and do really well
  • partial success (0-2): you succeed at a cost
  • failure(-0): something bad happens
idk this seems more intuitive? i guess subtraction is always a little more funky, but not with numbers that itty bitty. plus, 3 is a really nice round number, and that negative numbers are the worst seems really intuitive.


  1. I really like that. Gonna try it next time I run a PbtA.

  2. Addition is commutative, so it doesn't matter which of two dice was rolled first, the sum of both values will be the same, and you can just grab two of them and roll. You can also use two similar-looking dice, no problem.

    Subtraction, however, is anticommutative: exchanging the order of rolled dice leads to a sign change. So you'd need to roll one first, then the other, then subtract the second from the first. Using similar-looking dice can be confusing, too, so you'd need differently-colored dice to help avoid it.

    I do like d6-d6 in principle, but it's not without the practical problems I outlined above. Of course, this is more about rolling physical dice; for rolls on online games, they certainly could be minimized.


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