I have an idea to flatten the upper end of the dice rolls. Rather than each bonus adding another die and you add them all up, each bonus adds another die and you just count the two highest dice. So at a certain point, you are just as good as you can possibly get (12), rather than rolling 3 or even 4 dice and getting absurdly high numbers.
I am also considering making “expertise” give a flat +3 bonus, rather than having the player re-roll 1s and 2s (although that seemed like a neat idea at the time). Or maybe drop it to re-rolling 1s.
That doesn’t address the “I added 6 and you added 12” issue. In THEORY, it is supposed to work like this:
1) Unless one of us has some kind of advantage, or one of us doesn’t have that particular skill, we both roll 2d6. Level playing field, as it were.
2) We both add our relevant attribute. You might have 8 and I might have 2, which really sucks for me, but in that case you are an Olympic medalist and I’m, well, me, so you really ought to have the edge over me in that case. But in general, I assume that we’ll both be in the ballpark. Still a (mostly) level playing field.
3) We each add the PL of our equipment (gun vs armor, knife vs armor) or our Power Level if we have the appropriate power (Blast vs Damage Resistance, Mind Blast vs Mental Resistance).
On paper, that all looks reasonable to me. And I think it works for attacks that have relatively common weapons and defenses. It’s the weird shit that breaks it. If the character with Mind Blast has even relatively modest 5 Presence and 5 Power Level, that would be 2d6 + 10 vs a typical target’s 1d6 + 5 (no Mental Combat skill and no Mental Resistance). My worst roll is better than your best roll.
And this is where I start to vapour lock, because on the one hand, I think mental powers should wipe up the floor with a normal person. But on the other hand, I think a person with Agility 5, Power Level 5, and Blast should be more or less on par with a person who has Presence 5, Power Level 5, and Mind Blast.
Champions used to balance that by making Ego Attack (or whatever it was called) do half of the damage of the same cost Energy Blast.
I am open to splitting “to hit” and “damage”. That would allow me to stick the normal attributes on the “to hit”, and stick the Power Level on the “damage”. That would drop the “to hit” of the hypothetical mental attack above to 2d6 + 5 vs 1d6 + 5, which is not quite so grievous. Then damage and defenses would be… I’m not sure what, but something based on [equipment or Power Level].
Maybe damage/defenses could be … 2d6 + PL? No, the swing of that is way too high (you shoot me with a Derringer, I roll 2, you roll 12, and I have a hole in my chest the size of a grapefruit). 1d6 + PL?