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Basic Mechanics

Tests
The system uses the whole gamut of standard dice, from d4 to d20, so pull out them dice bags! The dice are often rolled in odd combinations (see steps, below), but a handy chart is provided on the character sheet to tell you what you need to roll. No worries. Sometimes the dice roll is taken just as a number (damage, for example), and other times it is compared against what you needed to roll to determine a degree of success. The GM has a big chart for that. No need for you to worry. The dice rolling has two special rules.

1) The Rule of One: If you ever roll ones on all the dice rolled (i.e., you roll your absolute minimum) then the test fails—even if the number rolled would have been a success! It might not be Poor result, but it will always be a failure.

2) Bonus Dice: If you roll the maximum number possible on any die in the dice you rolled for the test, you count that number towards your total and roll that die over. This is a little complicated to explain, so here's the example from the rulebook.

Example: Thag the Warrior (everyone say "Hi" to Thag, we'll be seeing a lot of him) is making an Unarmed Combat attack. He has that at Step 9, which makes his dice D8 and D6. His results are an 8 and a 6, the highest numbers possible on the respective dice. He gets two Bonus die rolls. On his D8 Bonus die he rolls a 2, and then a 6 on the D6 Bonus die. He rolls another D6 for a 3. This incredible roll totals 8 + 6 + 2 + 6 + 3 = 25.

Steps
Steps are the things that measure how good you are at something. The higher your step, the better you are, and the more dice you roll when making tests. Usually you'll use your Element Steps as a base level, which is modified by skill steps, steps from spells or magic items, and so on. Many skills have 'defaults' which are your chance of trying that skill if you don't have any training or ability with it—these are usually the skills associated Element step reduced by one or two.

If you're interested, your Step is the average number you'll roll on the dice for that step. That should give you a good scale of your chance of success.

Example: Thag has an Agility step of 5. He has no Stealth skill, but finds himself in a situation where he needs to move quietly or fight a trio of Orc nomads. The default for Stealth is Agility 2, so Thag has a default stealth step of 3. He rolls 1d4 (the dice for step 3) and rolls a 1, meaning he automatically fails. The underbrush crackles loudly under Thag's feet as his two handed sword bangs loudly against a low lying branch—the Orcs notice him and move to attack!

Fortunately, Thag is no slouch in the combat department. He has the Melee Combat skill at rank 7. Since Melee Combat also relies on Agility, Thag's total Melee Combat step is 12. He rolls 2d10 for his Melee Combat attacks rolls, which is pretty impressive! He unlimbers his two-handed sword and faces the Orcs, hoping that he can wound or kill one fast enough to make the others reconsider attacking him.

Step to Dice Chart:
Step Dice Step Dice Step Dice
1 1d4-2 11 1d10+1d8 21 1d20+1d10+1d6
2 1d4-1 12 2d10 22 1d20+1d10+1d8
3 1d4 13 1d12+1d10 23 1d20+2d10
4 1d6 14 1d20+1d4 24 1d20+1d12+1d10
5 1d8 15 1d20+1d6 25 1d20+1d10+1d8+1d4
6 1d10 16 1d20+1d8 26 1d20+1d10+1d8+1d6
7 1d12 17 1d20+1d10 27 1d20+1d10+2d8
8 2d6 18 1d20+1d10 28 1d20+2d10+1d8
9 1d8+1d6 19 1d20+2d6 29 1d20+1d12+1d10+1d8
10 1d12+1d6 20 1d20+1d8+1d6 30 1d20+1d10+1d8+2d6

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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers