Dice and Rolling

Dice and Rolling

Whenever your characters wants to accomplish something, whether physical, mental or social, you may sometimes need to roll dice. It is the nature of pen and paper roleplaying.

Some tasks are so simple that simple narration will suffice and indeed most of the time this should be the case. When something could be challenging or is surrounded by difficult or dangerous circumstances, dice come into play.

The typical dice pools might include Attributes, Skills, Superpowers or combinations or variations thereof. Specific rolls are explained in their relevant sections.

Types of Dice

d6s are used for all “normal human” dice rolls. You achieve a Mark if you roll a 5 or above on a give dice. If you roll a 1, it cancels out one of your 5s or 6s. If you roll a 6, you achieve a Roll-Again. This allows you to keep that 6 and have the possibility of adding another Mark to your tally.

d10s are used for all “super human” dice rolls. You once achieve a Mark if you roll a 5 or above, giving Super Attributes and Skills a much great chance for success. If you roll a 9 or a 10, you achieve a “Roll-Again” and the same rules apply for adding Marks to your tally as above.

Always Average Normal Attributes

With the one notable exception of Tempo (see Combat), every dice roll is made with two Attributes which are averaged. Always round down when averaging (see Attributes for details).

Super Attributes Are Added, Not Averaged

Unlike regular Attributes, Super Attributes are added rather than averaged. So, if a roll calls for Agility and Cunning, you would average the standard Attributes but if you had Super Agility for instance, that would be added in whole.

For example, Marshall has Agility 4, Cunning 2 and Super Agility 3. His equation would be 3d6 (average of Agility and Cunning) plus 3d10 since Super Attributes remain whole.

Keep Your Attribute Dice and Superpower Dice Only

Your character’s dice pools are usually made up of Attributes and Skills or Attributes and Styles, regardless of whether these are normal or Super. Dice pools may also contain Superpower ranks.

When making a roll, you choose only the best dice in an amount equal to your Attributes + Superpowers. This is because no matter how much a character trains at a given Skill or Combat Style, he will always be somewhat limited by his natural abilities. Training helps immensely by adding to the initial pool rolled but natural ability dictates the ultimate ceiling.

==> Keep: Number of dice rolled equal to Attributes + ranks in Superpower used
==> Drop: Number of dice rolled equal to the Skill or Combat Style used

For example, Adam is making an Intimidation roll with a dice pool of 3d6 for his averaged Attributes (see Skills for more information) and 3d6 for his Intimidation skill. After rolling 6d6, Adam may only keep his 3 best dice since that is equal to the Attribute dice pool. Adam may then re-roll those 6s from his 3 best dice and keep them even if he eventually ends up with more than 3 Marks.

In this manner, Marks are theoretically unlimited. The downside is that, even if Adam rolled 5 Marks on his original 6 dice, he must lose 2 of those by default before re-rolling his 6s from his maximum Attribute pool of 3.

Super Skills are treated in the same manner, but with d10s.

Types of Rolls

Contested Rolls are those in which your character is pitted directly against another being. In this case, he who has more Marks wins. Additional Marks provide greater success as shown below.

Static Rolls are those in which you are trying to achieve an objective against something that is not directly acting back against your character. In this scenario 1 Mark indicates success where additional Marks indicate greater degrees of success as indicated below.

Extended Rolls are those in which a character may need to collect many marks over a given period of time. When an extended roll is indicated for a Skill or Super Power a duration minimum and maximum will be set. A number of Marks must be achieved before the maximum period expires (the Mark Plateau) but the action may not be completed before the minimum period regardless of reaching the Mark Plateau before that time.

1 Mark: Basic. Your character succeeds on a basic level. The car drives where it should, the computer hack reveals basic information, etc.
3 Marks: Competent. This level of success gives additional rewards. The hacker gets some extra bits of information, the acrobat adds flourish and balance to their tumble.
5 Marks: Mastery. The character completes the task in a fashion befitting a master. The hacker covers his tracks and finds that hidden file, the dancer gives a virtuoso performance.
7 Marks: Super Human. You don’t actually need Super Powers to achieve this level of success but it is rare indeed for a normal human. Einstein, Leonardo, Barry Sanders have lived here.

Trying Again

Sometimes your character will fail a roll and want to try again. Maybe she tried to grab a firefly and missed. After each failure, the character’s dice pool is reduced by one, starting with Human Attributes or Skill, then proceeding to Super Skill and Super Attributes.

There are some cases where a waiting period must occur before trying again. Maybe your character guessed the wrong password 3 times and now the account is locked for 5 minutes. The Game Master will let you know when this happens and in some cases a Skill or Super Power will specify.

There are also times when your character may not try again at all. For instance, perhaps he failed his Stealth roll and therefore was discovered by a roving patrol. Obviously another Stealth roll will not be helpful until the character has escaped and hidden once again.

Modifiers

There will cases where accomplishing a task has some sort of hindrance which justifies a penalty to the character’s dice pool. It is within the Game Master’s discretion to assign these penalties in some cases whereas others such as cover in Combat are specifically assigned.

Modifiers can also be used to replace contested rolls where appropriate. This may occur, for example, in situations where there is active NPC resistance but not at the level where a Contested Roll would be justified. This mechanic allows Game Masters to streamline and speed up play. The Game Master merely assigns a reasonable number of Marks for the non-player character.

-1 Dice: Challenging. Examples of this sort of penalty would be ice roads while driving, guard dogs watching a perimeter that needs to be breached, etc.

-2 Dice: Difficult. Maybe the road is icy as above but also on a slope or perhaps the guard dogs have been highly trained to detect explosives like the type in your character’s possession.

-3 Dice: Expert. You are trying to hack into a system being actively monitored by a security professional, or perhaps you are solving an enigma created by a top flight CIA cryptographer.

-4 or more Dice: Super. You are facing measures created by a genius, or maybe dealing with technology so alien as to be unrecognizable to you. The obstacles are severe.

Dice and Rolling

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