Dice rolling Systems

First to get some understanding of dice rolls in general, read the following sections.

Dice Pools

When you roll dice, you roll one die for every dot your character possesses in the relevant traits. Usually, you’ll roll two traits, an Attribute and an Ability. For example, if the Storyteller tells you to roll Strength + Athletics, and you have Strength ••• and Athletics ••••, you’ll roll seven dice. These dice are called your dice pool for that single action.

Dice pools can change from action to action, as the Storyteller can modify the components of the roll or modify the dice pool to reflect challenges and advantages in the environment. Generally, more dice affords a better chance of success or the potential for an overwhelming performance.

Not all dice use Attribute + Ability combinations. Sometimes you’ll roll Willpower, your Road rating, or other dice pools.

As Storyteller, choose the Attribute + Ability combinations you best feel suit the actions in question. We’ve provided examples, but think outside the box and vary things to fit the immediate needs of the story.

Multiple Actions

Sometimes, you’ll want your character to perform multiple actions in a single turn. For example, if your character is attempting to listen in on a conversation at a salon while simultaneously going unnoticed by the patrons, that could be two actions.

If you wish to take multiple actions in a turn, you must decide before taking your first action. The first action is taken at +1 difficulty, and at -1 dice. Each additional action receives a cumulative +1 difficulty, and -1 dice. You cannot take an action as part of a multiple action if the difficulty would be increased to 10 or higher. dditionally, only one action per turn may be an attack action.

Johan faces two royal guards in his escape from the castle. He wishes to push through them and crash through the door, but he also wants to avoid their spears. In essence, he’s taking three actions.

First, he wants to avoid their spears. So his Dexterity + Athletics action is taken at -1 dice, and +1 difficulty. Second, he wants to slam through the guards. That’s a Strength + Brawl action, taken at -2 dice, +2 difficulty. Lastly, his effort to smash the door will be a Strength + Stamina feat of strength, taken at -3 dice, +3 difficulty.

The rest of the players at the table opt to take single actions, while Johan’s player blows on his dice for good luck.

The Storyteller is final arbiter on multiple actions. If a series of actions is not logical in the scope of the narrative, she may determine they cannot be performed as part of a multiple action.

Difficulties

When rolling dice, the difficulty determines what numbers you’re looking for on those dice. The difficulty is usually between 4 and 8, but can range anywhere from 2 and 9, depending on the circumstances. Only the rarest, most absurd actions should have a difficulty of 10. Any difficulty of 2-4 should be weighed for its value, since success is all but guaranteed. If the Storyteller doesn’t provide a difficulty, assume the default difficulty of 6.

Every die that rolls a result that meets or exceeds the set difficulty is a success. While you usually only need a single success to succeed on most actions, additional successes mean your character performs better, and will often have greater effect. Rolling three successes means your character has completely succeeded at her desired task. Use the below guidelines to build difficulties, and to reflect successes.

Failure

If you score no successes on your roll, the action is a failure. The sword misses its mark. The spy refuses to give up his secrets. The results are not inherently catastrophic (as with a botch), but the action does not go as intended.

Botches

Bad luck comes through despite any degree of talent or ability. Any die that comes up a 1 reflects bad fortune, and cancels out a single success. So if you roll five successes, but two dice come up as 1 the roll only achieves three successes.

Worse still, if the roll scores no successes and any of the dice come up with a 1, the action is considered a “botch”. A botch is much worse than a normal failure. Not only does the action fail, but something terrible happens in the heat of the moment. The Storyteller determines this event, and it should pertain directly to the action’s context. In a botched interrogation, for example, the interrogator might let slip her employer’s true identity.

Botches should be flukes and interesting story hooks. They should only rarely reflect direct injury against the character. Always favor the weird and unfortunate setback as opposed to the victimization of a character. A good botch should be fodder for entire stories to come.

Tens and Specialties

A character with four or more dots in an Attribute or Ability may choose a specialty. This is a refinement of that particular trait. For example, a character with five dots of Strength might choose “lifting” as a specialty, or a character with four dots of Archery may choose “longbows” as a specialty. Any time a specialty applies to a roll, any dice that come up as tens count as two successes, instead of one.

So with our lifting specialist above, if he rolls 2, 3, 8, 10, 10 on a difficulty 8 roll, he would normally have three successes. But if the roll was to lift, he’d have five successes.

Automatic Successes

As stated, sometimes the dice can get in the way of the action. Failure isn’t likely or won’t impact for the story. In these cases, the Storyteller should consider automatic successes. An automatic success is not rolled; the player proceeds as if they rolled a single success. As a suggestion, consider automatic success whenever the dice pool meets or exceeds the target difficulty.

Automatic successes should not be used when named characters are contesting one another or there’s injury at stake, such as in a fight scene. As well, always roll when Road ratings are involved; they should never be automatically successful.

However, automatic successes aren’t required. If the player wishes to make the roll anyway in hopes of scoring a greater success, she can.

One other way to guarantee success on an action is spending a point of Willpower before taking an action, which guarantees one success on the roll. This success cannot be canceled by a 1.

Trying Again

Many times, a failed action isn’t the end of the world and the character can reasonably try again. However, frustration and complexity make repeat attempts more difficult. Each successive attempt increases the action’s difficulty by 1. If this increases the difficulty to 10, the action is too difficult for the character and she may not attempt it.

As the Storyteller, consider the story ramifications of repeated attempts. Is time of the essence? Will failure have a cost? If the action didn’t have stakes for failure, why did it need a roll in the first place?

Degrees of Success

1 Success Marginal; you get what you want, but at a cost, with potential consequences or imperfections
2 Successes Moderate; you get what you want, but with a cost, consequence, or imperfection
3 Successes Complete; you get what you want within reason
4 Successes Exceptional; you get what you want, beyond expectations
5 Successes Phenomenal; you perform with perfection, or you’ve created lasting greatness

Extended Actions

Sometimes actions don’t fall into the purview of simple actions. Some actions take time and feature complexity that goes beyond a single roll. We call these extended actions. In an extended action, you roll your dice pool multiple times – each roll reflecting a set interval of time – in an attempt to accumulate a target number of successes.

For example, if your character tries to sway a village’s public opinion against its local duke, you might roll anipulation + Persuasion, requiring 10 total successes. The rolls represent weeks passed, during which your character seeds rumors and sows dissent against the ruler.

When taking an extended action, you usually receive as many turns as need be, unless mitigating factors limit the amount of time allowed. However, a botch during an extended action means you have to start over or possibly cannot proceed as planned.

As Storyteller, determine the interval of time required for an extended action, as well as its dice pool, difficulty, and required successes. Determine the interval by the very minimum amount of time the character could realistically finish the action in, under perfect circumstances. More required successes reflect more complicated actions. Most reasonable activities should not require more than 15 to 20 successes; only the most epic efforts should go above that.

Resisted Actions

If two characters work against each other, a simple action with a difficulty might not be sufficient. These cases call for resisted actions. In a resisted action, both players roll their dice pools; their difficulties are determined by the others’ dice pools or traits, up to a limit of difficulty 9. Whoever rolls the most successes succeeds. However, the number of successes the victor exceeds her opponent by determines the action’s degree of success. So if you roll five successes, and your opponent rolls two, your action succeeds as if you rolled three successes. In the case of a tie, neither character succeeds.

Actions can be both resisted and extended. In these cases, both players make repeated rolls until one reaches the target number of successes.

Teamwork

Sometimes, characters work together to the same ends. These efforts are called teamwork actions. When making a teamwork action, determine one character to act as the primary actor. All other players make their rolls first. Their successes add dice to the primary actor’s dice pool.

Their rolls might not share the same dice pools. For example, if one character acts as a distraction while another sneaks through a crowded hall and pickpockets a noble, the distracting character’s player might roll Charisma + Expression, while the sneaking character’s player might roll Dexterity + Larceny.

In these cases, the Storyteller might determine a limit to the number of characters that can reasonably aid in the action. For every character that exceeds that number, all players must roll at a cumulative +1 difficulty.

Examples of Rolls

Dramatic Systems (Goes over specific actions.)
Spending Willpower
Blood Pool
The Blood Oath
Combat Systems
Health
Derangements

Dice rolling Systems

Redemtion of the Lost Clans CandyVortex