Update: Die Roll Ammo Tracking

Commentary Ammo Dice Followup House Rule

FletchingA while ago, Charlie came up with the idea of using dice to track ammunition. We ended up working it into our Swords & Wizardry game. I thought I’d update you all on how it went.

First of all, we worked out the probabilities for how many shots you’d get on average with each die type. Assuming a 50% recovery rate for arrows and bolts, that would work out to a certain number of starting arrows. From then on, we bought ammo in units of dice.

Arrows / BoltsSling stones
dMinAvgApprox
Number1
Cost2Approx
Number1
Cost2
20761303600
12641202400
10529151.41300
8419100.93200
631150.54100
42520.2450
  1. The quantity for arrows assumes a 50% recovery rate for each shot. The stones don’t, because if you missed, you’re never going to find it, and if you hit, you seriously don’t want it anymore.
  2. These costs are based on Swords & Wizardry prices

Update: Added an approximate quantity equivalent to the chart to illustrate the 50% recovery rate.

Speaking for myself, I’d say that the idea was a huge success. Most importantly, it saved a lot of ammo-tracking work. A d12 of arrows is about equivalent to 40. If my character shot all his arrows under the normal system, it would entail marking down each and every shot.

With the die system, though, you just need to roll an extra die. If you happen to roll a 1, you mark down the reduction in die size. That means instead of marking down 40 things, you mark down 5: d12, d10, d8, d6, d4.

The ammo die roll was very easy to integrate into combat. You just roll it with your attack. The vast majority of the time, you didn’t need to do anything else!

The other benefit was that it added a bit of chance to ammo. Even modern metal arrows need to be cared for, and suffer attrition. The arrows we’re talking about in D&D or Swords & Wizardry were literally wood sticks with a blade at one end and feathers glued on the other. They had to be kept dry, cool, and with a minimum of jostling, unless you wanted to lose all your fletchings. The ammo dice represent the rain that happened to get into your quiver and spoil some arrows.

All in all, I think Charlie came up with one of the best time-saving ideas I’ve seen in games in a long time. I highly encourage you to give it a try!

Do you have any great ideas for making our gaming lives easier? Have you given the Die-Roll Ammunition a try? Let us know in the comments!

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