The Core Dice Mechanic
This is the underlying dice mechanic and foundation for all the rules of the game. All outcomes of note are determined by rolling dice, the basics of which are outlined below.
When to Roll
- You roll dice when you are uncertain of the outcome and stakes are involved.
- Almost always, the Judge will prompt you, the player, when a dice roll is necessary.
- Moments of tension, combat, and using wits to change the course of a key moment are all times when dice would be rolled to determine the outcome.
What to Roll
- Every roll consists of a pool of six-sided dice. No other types of dice are used.
- The pool of dice is calculated in all situations with the following formula:
- Dice pool = [Relevant Derived Stat in dice] + [Bonuses in dice] – [Penalties in dice]
- Bonuses come from abilities, sorcery, and circumstances.
- Penalties from unfavorable situations, typically.
- When to use which Derived Stat is outlined in the stats section below. Based on the circumstance, the Judge will determine which stat to Roll as appropriate.
- Typically, if you are the defender, you will defend with the same roll the attacker is using by default.
- The judge may allow a player to defend with a different stat based on the situation.
Ok, we rolled, now what?
- Once you have rolled, you spend a Set to try and succeed at your task.
- Sets are groups of matching dice (doubles, triples, etc).
- Your opponent or the Judge will spend a set as well (from their own pool of dice they rolled) and you’ll both reveal at the same time.
- Compare the Sets and Determine the Winner.
- The amount of dice in a Set is called the Size.
- The Set with the biggest Size (most dice) always wins.
- If two sets have the same Size, the highest face value on the set determines the winner. This is called the Face.
- If the bid set is identical, winner goes to the “attacker.” Who the attacker could be in a more ambiguous situation is up to the Judge.
- Sometimes no other characters are opposing you and it's more of a challenge of you vs. the environment, also known as an Uncontested Roll.
- In this case, the Judge may just set a Bar at a specific Size and Face depending on how difficult this challenge should be.
- The Player must roll above or match this Bar to be successful. The three levels of difficulty and what rolls are needed to pass each are listed below:
- Apprentice - Size 2, Any Face (Judge’s Choice or rolled randomly)
- Things you would expect a normal person of little to some training to be able to accomplish depending on the Face.
- Journeyman - Size 3, Any Face (Judge’s Choice or rolled randomly)
- Things you would expect a highly trained person to be able to accomplish depending on the Face
- Master - Size 4, Any Face (Judge’s Choice or rolled randomly)
- Heroic feats of almost peerless skill and luck. The best of the best are challenged by Master Rolls.
Wilcott must make an Apprentice Insight Roll to find clues at the scene of a murder. He rolls Insight and spends a pair of 3’s, the only Set he rolled. The Judge rolls a single die to set the Face of the roll randomly. It’s a 3. Wilcott succeeds since he at least matches the Face and he has the requisite Size, which was 2 (Apprentice). Alternatively, the Judge could have assigned a number for Wilcott to match.
- Sometimes you will get multiple smaller Sets when what you want is one bigger Set.
- You can bid multiple sets, with each additional Set increasing the Size by 1.
- The new Face is always the lowest of all the dice bid (so bidding 3,3,5,5 will count as Size 3, Face 3)
- For example, John rolls: 4,5,3,4,5. He can bid the pair of 4s and the pair of 5s together, allowing it to count as a trio of 4s instead.
- After any roll, you can spend additional Sets to gain advantages to the roll called Criticals
- Criticals do one of two things:
- Improve a Success – Spend a set and pick one of the outcomes below:
- Critical Hit – When attacking, you can spend and compare additional sets to do additional damage.
- Critical Effect – An organic effect is added onto the success, like knocking an opponent down or picking the locks silently, or kicking loose some rubble that impedes people chasing you.
- Critical Effects may grant a 1 die Bonus or Penalty as a part of the narrative control.
- Minimize a Failure – Spend a set and pick one of the outcomes below.
- Defy Death – You avoid death or other dire consequences, at the cost of maims or other severe problems at the Judge’s discretion.
- Flinch – reduce incoming damage by 1.
- Clean Break – Your failure doesn’t produce any consequences and while you failed, the situation didn’t evolve into something worse.
These are random little rules that make the game easier, but aren’t part of the major philosophy.
- Ties always favor the attackers. In more ambiguous situations, the Judge will determine who the attacker is.
- You can bid parts of a set if you like. Such as bidding two pairs instead of one quadruple.
- Sets always consist of at least 2 dice. You cannot spend a set of 1 die.
- The Winner gets the chance to bid additional sets first if order is important.
- Assisting - A character can assist another character's roll by simply describing the way they are helping. This will confer a +1 Bonus at the Judge's discretion, if they way they are helping is significant.
- 3 Characters helping in ways not effective enough to be considered significant on their own can confer a +1 bonus as well.