Players make decisions and take actions in the game. When a player makes a decision, he describes his decision and the Game Master narrates the results. If there is no element of uncertainty, if the dice do not need to be rolled, or if the decision is not dramatically important, the Game Master simply adjudicates the results of the decision and the game moves on.
When the players take actions that are dramatically important, tactically interesting, or which have an element of uncertainty, the Game Master will call for an ability check. If only a single check is made, or if a series of unrelated checks are made, this is a quick check. If a series of related checks are made, it is a dramatic scene. If the check is part of an extended conflict with an active opponent, it is a tactical scene. If two or more characters are working on the same task, but not making separate ability checks, it is a combined action.
When the purpose of rolling the dice is to determine the effect or value of an ability, it is a quick check. The Game Master will call for an ability check, the player rolls the dice, and the Game Master describes the results based on the roll of the dice. A quick check may stand on its own, it may be opposed by a difficulty number, or it may be opposed by a resistance value. The final value of a check, whether standing or opposed, is the result points. A quick check may also be used as part of a dramatic scene or a tactical scene.
A standing check compares the value rolled to a benchmark table as a guide for the Game Master to describe the results. The higher the value of the check, the greater the effect of the action. The Result Points table describes the effectiveness of the result.
Effective in the smallest possible quantity or degree.
Effective enough to provide measurable results.
Effective enough to provide a range of results.
Effective enough that there is no deficiency.
So effective that additional results occur.
So effective that the results are not easily undone.
A quick check against a difficulty uses the difference between the roll of the dice and the difficulty value to determine the result points. The difficulty is determined by using a benchmark guide to find a value.
This task does not require preparation.
This task does not require training.
This task requires some training or skill.
This task requires specialized training or skill.
This task requires extensive and specialized training.
This task requires unusual and specific training.
A quick check against a resistance uses the difference between the roll of the dice and the resistance value to determine the result points. A resistance value is determined by the rank of the opposing ability. The resistance is either fixed or active. Fixed resistance uses the table to find the resistance value; it is determined by multiplying the dice value by 3 and adding the pips. Active resistance is determined by rolling the die code to find the value.
Examples of a Quick Check
- Picking a lock on a chest.
- Shooting a target.
- Bluffing your way past a guard.
- Hacking into a computer system.
- Walking on a tightrope.
When an action calls for a series of related ability checks, the characters are in a dramatic scene. A dramatic scene allows the characters to accomplish an extended task where a quick check is not sufficient or not appropriate to determine the outcome. A dramatic scene is any scene 1) in which the characters face fixed opposition and in which success is not determined by a quick check, or 2) in which the characters face active opposition but in which the order of action is not tactically determined.
Order of Action
Action in a dramatic scene happens in order of relevance. Initiative is not used to determined the order of action. Action does not occur in rounds. Characters and elements do not act in a strictly determined order, but in the sequence that is most natural.
Players declare their intentions at the beginning of the scene. If a player wishes to change their intention, they may do so at any time during the scene. The Game Master determines the order of events and calls for decisions and actions from the characters involved as they become relevant to the scene.
Duration of the Scene
A dramatic scene lasts until there is no more opposition or until the Game Master determines the scene has expired. The characters may be acting upon a condition track, attempting to complete a series of quick checks, or performing any set of actions that contribute to the overall action of the scene.
At the minimum, a dramatic scene consists of a goal that cannot be accomplished with a single action, a limit on the time or number attempts available to accomplish the goal, and fixed or active opposition. Any type of action or ability check may be part of a dramatic scene.
Examples of a Dramatic Scene
- Infiltrating a secure location, while partners provide a distraction.
- Prepping a set of traps and gear before raiders arrive.
- Talking a merchant into selling to you instead of a rival.
- Luring a target into a trap.
- Escaping from a collapsing building.
When the characters are facing active opposition and the order of events is important, the characters are in a tactical scene. Tactical scenes allow the characters to face down opponents in an extended game with important tactical choices and take them out of action. Tactical scenes last until there in no more opposition.
Order of Action
In a tactical scene, action is ordered by initiative, action is divided into rounds, and characters are limited in their action selection.
Initiative determines the order in which characters act. The type of tactical scene determines the initiative order. In a melee combat, initiative order is determined by the fixed value of an ability. In a chase, initiative is determined by relative position. In a debate, initiative is determined by an ability check.
In a normal round of action, each character in the scene takes one or more actions in initiative order. After each character has finished acting, the round resets and begins again.
During the round of action, characters are limited in their action selection. A character may perform one full action and one bonus action during a round. A character may take a reasonable number of free actions during a round. A full action usually calls for a dice roll and consumes most a character’s focus during the round. A bonus action usually does not require a dice roll, and does not require a character’s full attention. A free action does not require a dice roll or distract a character. The type of conflict determines what actions are full, bonus, or free.
Duration of the Scene
A tactical scene lasts until there is no more active opposition. Usually, one side or another will take all of the opponents out of action by acting on their condition track. The scene also ends if all of the opponents concede defeat, even if they have not been taken out of action.
When an opponent concedes a scene, they can no longer take any actions in the scene, even if other members of their group are still acting. Even if the situation changes, the conceding opponent cannot rejoin the action. If a character acts against an opponent who has conceded, that opponent can only use fixed resistance values.
Players have the option of conceding a scene before their character is taken out of action. When a player concedes a scene, their character may take no more actions, even if the situation changes or an opponent acts against them. They may only use fixed resistance values. In exchange for placing their character at the mercy of their opponents, a player receives an action point at the end of the scene.
Examples of a Tactical Scene
- Melee combat.
- Courtroom debate.
- Hot pursuit.
- Crossing an obstacle course.
Combined actions allow a character to use their abilities to directly enhance or blunt another character’s actions. By using multiple actions or acting over multiple turns, a character may enhance or blunt their own actions.
When a character attempts to enhance another character’s primary action, the enhancing character makes an ability check and applies the result to the primary action check in the same turn as if they were boost dice. When a character attempts to enhance their own actions, they first make the enhancing check, and on their next turn, make their primary check.
When a character attempts to blunt another character’s primary action, the blunting character makes an ability check and applies the result to the primary action check in the same turn as if they were penalty dice. When a character attempts to blunt their own actions, they first make the blunting check, and on their next turn, make their primary check.