VDS - Alternative Test



@Nimlouth brought up a good point about dice pool systems like VDS. For some, the act of adding a pool of dice slows the game and breaks immersion. Below is a potential solution.

Category Test

Roll a Test and compare the dice. Highest wins. The results are split into three categories: 6, 4/5, and 123.

  1. Roll Dice
  2. Compare highest dice.
  3. Highest wins. Tie goes to most Dice in the winning category or next category down. Critical on a roll which includes a 6 and the opponent has no 6s or 4/5s.


  • essentially the same mathematically (feel free to correct me/see below for caveat). Roll high to win.
  • quickly separate die into categories and compare. In test rolls it takes less than 10 secs to roll GM and Player then compare.
  • fulfills my dream of using mouse guard dice.
  • matches the SKILL rolls. looking for those 6s and 4/5s. 123s are scoundrels relegated to dust.
  • if you wish, you can “read the runes.” Lots of 123s on both sides? the one who fought dirtiest won. dust in the eyes. knee to the groin. knife to the back. Good spread with a player win? Parry, dodge, thrust the small gap between armor.
  • Can add more complexity/potential with multiple hits. Count the dice between winning die and the highest of the opponent. Player: 654 vs GM: 43 = 2 hits (6 and 5 are higher than 4).


  • rolling more dice is not necessarily guaranteed. a lucky 6 beats 5 5s. Might be a simple way to address this?

GEAR ,SPELLs, etc. can have a POTENT I/II/II tag: reroll a die/reroll any 2 dice/reroll any 3 dice.
SKILLs also avoid this issue, making them more potent

  • Not as exciting to roll big numbers, but rolling 666 is even more epic now
  • not math which will be counterintuitive those coming from 5e, ICME, PF, etc.


I actually brewed a VERY similar dice mechanic for a maze rats hack I have:

Roll a d6 dice pool vs GM d6 dice pool. Compare highest.

  • If higher than GM, you get a full success.
  • If equal to GM, you get a partial success.
  • If lower than GM you get a fail.
  • Success/fail vs doubles is a crit/fumble.

I was using it before I even knew what VDS was all about so I was eager to kind of shove it into it when I saw it was also a roll vs GM d6 pool system. But I digress.

Yours is actually better for compatibility with VDS. I like the tie breaker quirk so bigger dice pools can defeat those lucky 6 that a way smaller dice pool might roll.

A quicker middle-ground hack would be to just count successes vs GM successes ala mouseguard, but that’s not super quicker than just adding them up so not really worth it imho.

I’ll chew it up a bit and see what I can spit back here


Great minds think alike! I keep wavering between count successes and making 6 feel special. I keep the mash brewing. see what comes up.


Or just count a 6 (or a 5,6) as a success (ie. like in YZE). Opposed rolls, who scores the most successes win. Goal now is based on number of successes you need (Normal- one, Challeging- two, Difficult- three). Extra successes can be spent to “augument” the action or used by the GM as an indicator of how well you succeded.