If the total rolled on the dice is greater than the difficulty, the attempt was a success. Ties generally go to the initiator of the action, but certain circumstances dictate otherwise (such as the use of some special abilities or determining the amount of damage done). The description of the ability, challenge, or activity explains the results.
Result points refer to the difference between the skill roll and the difﬁculty. The Game Master can use the result points to decide how well the character completed the task; the “Result Points and Success” sidebar for suggestions. The Game Master may allow a player to add one-half of the result points (rounded up) as a bonus to another skill roll or Extranormal or special ability effect. One-ﬁfth of the result points from an attack roll can be included as bonus to damage. (Round fractions up.)
Result Points and Success
Here are some guidelines for describing different levels of success. Use the result points of the roll — the difference between the skill total and the difficulty — to decide on the exact level.
Minimal (0): The total was just barely enough. The character hardly succeeded at all, and only the most minimal effects apply. If “minimal effects” are not an option, then maybe the action took longer than normal to succeed.
Solid (1–4): The action was performed completely, but without frills.
Good (5–8): The results were better than necessary and there may be added beneﬁts.
Superior (9–12): There are almost certainly additional beneﬁts to doing an action this well. The character performed the action better, faster, or more adeptly than expected.
Spectacular (13–16): The character performed the action deftly and expertly. Observers would notice the ease or grace with which the action was performed (if applicable).
Incredible (16 or more): The character performed the skill with such dazzling quality that, if appropriate to the task, it could become the subject of conversation for some time — it’s at least worth writing home about. Game Masters should dole out some signiﬁcant bonuses for getting this large of a roll.
Example: A character who trying to use the survival skill to forage for food gets a minimal success — she ﬁnds “subsistence level” food; it’s barely better than garbage. The next day she gets a spectacular result — not only does she ﬁnd good, wholesome food, but she ﬁnds enough for two days instead of one.
As characters tackle obstacles, they’ll ﬁnd ones that they can’t overcome initially. Game Masters must rely on their judgment to decide whether and when a character may try an action again. For some actions, such as marksmanship or running, the character may try the action again the next turn, even if she failed. For other actions, such as repair or con, failing the roll should have serious consequences, depending on how bad the failure was. A small difference between the difficulty number and the success total means the character may try again next round at a higher difficulty. A large difference means that the character has made the situation signiﬁcantly worse. She will need to spend more time thinking through the problem or ﬁnd someone or something to assist her in her endeavor. A large difference plus a Critical Failure could mean that the character has created a disaster. She can’t try that speciﬁc task for a long time — perhaps ever. This is especially true with locks and computer programs.
Game Master’s Fiat
The rules are a framework upon which the Game Masters and their friends build stories set in fantastic and dynamic worlds. As with most frameworks, the rules work best when they show the least, and when they can bend under stress. Keeping to the letter of the rules is almost certainly counterproductive to the whole idea of making an engaging story and having fun. To keep a story ﬂowing with a nice dramatic beat, Game Masters might need to bend the rules, such as reducing the signiﬁcance of a modiﬁer in this situation but not in another one, or allowing a character to travel a meter or two beyond what the movement rules suggest.