Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PA - How to make checks

We'll start with the basic resolution system.

Whenever a character wants to try something significant, she needs to make a check. First, the GM determines the appropriate Stat and Skill to be applied. For instance, to see if a sharpshooter hits a target, use Agility and Firearms. To see if the sharpshooter can gauge the quality of an arms merchant's wares, use Sense and Firearms. To see if the sharpshooter can modify a weapon, use Brains and Firearms.

Second, the GM should assign a TN (Target Number) to establish the difficulty. A TN of 5 is routine, a TN of 10 is probable, a TN of 15 is possible, a TN of 20 is damned unlikely, and a TN of 25 is all but impossible.

The player then rolls 2 d10s, declaring before the roll which is Stat and which is Skill. Each die is added to the relevant Stat or Skill, then any bonuses from tricks are applied. Each total is compared to the TN separately.

If both totals are below the TN, the result is a failure.

If both totals are equal to or above the TN, the result is a full success.

If one total is equal to or above and one below, the result is a partial success. Note first and foremost that this is still a success. However, the success either comes at an additional cost, has an unfortunate side effect, or in some other way is not quite everything you'd want it to be. For instance, suppose you are jumping across a chasm. With a partial success, you may have cleared almost the entire distance, but land clinging to the edge and have to pull yourself up. Or you may have landed badly and twisted your ankle. It is encouraged to narrate the effects of a partial success based on which roll failed. In the above instances, the first result may have been because the Muscle roll was not up to par. The second may have been because the Athletics roll was too low.

If the two dice roll doubles, it is called a threat. A threat may be activated by spending a fate die. If the roll itself is a failure, then an activated threat becomes a catastrophic falure (e.g., a gun jams). If the roll is a full success, then the threat becomes a critical success (e.g., not only is the car repaired, it is improved). If the roll is a partial success, the threat becomes a wild card, often with very unexpected results (in the jumping example above, the lip of the chasm crumbles under the foot of the jumper. He has to grab onto something to keep from falling, but the TN for pursuers to follow him across has been raised by one).

What is described above is referred to as a simple check. This will be used for the majority of your actions. There are two other types of checks.

The first is a contested check. This is a case where two characters are vying against one another. Simply compare the totals of the two characters, Stat versus Stat and Skill versus Skill. The character with the higher total succeeds. Note that partial successes are quite common in contested checks, in which both contestants make some form of headway.

The second is a complex check. This is a check in which a character is more concerned with how long it takes to be successful, rather than simply whether or not it happens. Common examples include research, repairs, or feats of endurance. In addition to setting a TN for the task, the GM will set a number of successes, and a period (e.g., one check per hour of work). Each period, the character will make a check. Partial successes count as one success towards the total, full successes count as two. Once the requisite number of successes has been achieved, the character is considered to have completed the check. A catastrophic failure will reset the number of successes to zero. A critical success will add one additional success per fate die spent. A wild card will generally provide some random benefit not directly connected to the task at hand (e.g., discovering that the problem with the engine happens to be a keycard that fell into it, a keycard which is still good).

[I still need to work out how I want cooperative checks to work. I haven't found many instances of it that I like.]

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