Actions are adjudicated by rolls. A roll is the roll of two six-sided dice (for those of you familiar with more exotic number-generating polyhedra). A roll is taken whenever a character attempts an action that might fail, or whose failure or success has an impact on another character or the plot. When rolling, the number to beat is eight. An action succeeds on a roll of nine or better.
An action that is being actively opposed by another entity is adjudicated by the character taking the action taking a roll to succeed, and the target of the action taking a roll to prevent the success of the action, in a head-to-head roll-off. In these cases, the higher number wins. A tie always goes to the target of an action, not the character initiating the action. If an attack and a dodge both roll sevens, the attack is dodged. If a parry is attempted against the attacker’s arm speed and both parties roll sevens, the parry fails and the attack vs. dodge is rolled to determine if the target is hit.
All rolls are modified by other things going on, and by training and preparation as seen in later sections. Every roll has the character’s most applicable malleable trait applied as a positive modifier (see Malleable Traits) then has other modifiers added or subtracted from the roll based on difficulty of the action, training, and other factors.
The Narrator determines the difficulty modifiers of rolls. A general set of guidelines follows for situations without an expressly listed difficulty modifier. Not every possible modifier and situation is listed, but use these values and descriptions as benchmarks for your judgment.
+3: Laughably easy, such as attempting to jump over a foot-high shrubbery.
+1: Position of advantage, like trying to impress someone who is already attracted to you.
0: Normal action. Neutral starting point.
-1: Position of disadvantage, such as doing math with a headache.
-3: Position of great disadvantage, like trying to jump onto a moving target while inebriated.
-5: Ridiculously difficult, but possible with skill, such as shooting the center out of a coin flipped into the air at the peak of its arc.
-7: Practically impossible. The only way you can possibly succeed is extreme luck or ridiculous skill, and even than it is a toss-up as to whether it will work, such as attempting to flip a moving truck off of a bridge with your bare hands. Impossible Actions -7 is the maximum difficulty possible for a roll. If a narrator wishes to make something more difficult than -7, it must either be -7 or impossible.
Impossibility is to be reserved for clear violations of core rules and game breaking actions only. A player has a right to attempt anything, however ludicrous it may seem, and it is up to the narrator to deal with the repercussions of that attempt.
Multitasking also applies a negative modifier. When a character wishes to do more than one thing as part of a single action, such as attacking with two weapons or carrying on a conversation while balancing on a ledge, a -2 modifier is applied to all rolls that are part of the multitasking for each action after the first. For this reason, 2 actions is a -2 to each, 3 actions is a -4 to each, 4 actions is a -6 to each, etc. These negatives can potentially drive the difficulty modifier to a value below -7. The value of the multitasking modifier is added to the difficulty modifier, which is added to the result of the initial roll of the dice + most relevant malleable trait to determine success or failure.
Snake-Eyes and Double Sixes
Snake-eyes are always a failure, and double sixes are always a success.
Snake-eyes represent an unlucky or clumsy attempt, and result in further detriment to the character as seen fit by the Narrator. A snake-eyes dodge puts the character right in front of the attack, a snake-eyes attack not only misses but hits the wrong target or puts the attacker off balance, a snake-eyes speech accidentally offends the audience.
Double sixes, on the other hand, are a lucky and serendipitous success. Double six attacks may target a specific area as though a manipulation check was passed, double six dodges are effortless and allow the character to take another free dodge in that round, and so on.
The Rolling Formula Summarized
dice +/- difficulty + trait + abilities – multitask = result
dice + trait + abilities – multitask VS dice + trait + abilities – multitask