Every roll is a test
When you try to do something and there's drama involved with whether or not you can do what you try to do, your gamemaster will ask you to "test" the attribute that makes the most sense for the situation.
When they do, you'll look at your skills, legacies, and backgrounds and pick whichever feel appropriate to the situation. However, you can't pick more dice than your level plus the attribute you're testing.
Maximum dice on a test = Your level + Attribute
Once you've gathered those dice, you roll them, add them together, and tell your gamemaster what the final result is. They will compare that number against the difficulty of the test and let you know if you failed or succeeded, and to what degree you succeeded. They might say you fail, partially succeed, fully succeed, or critically succeed at the test.
If you didn't meet the difficulty, you fail. You won't get what you want and you might be in trouble. If you beat the difficulty, you partially succeed. You get what you want, but with some complication. If you beat the difficulty by 10 or more, you fully succeed. you get exactly what you want. If you beat the difficulty by 20 or more, you critically succeed! Not only do you get what you want, you get all that and more.
|Difficulty beats roll||Fail|
|Roll meets or beats Difficulty||Partial success|
|Roll beats Difficulty by 10||Full Success|
|Roll beats Difficulty by 20||Critical Success|
Before you roll the dice, anybody else who can reasonably use one of their skills, legacies, or backgrounds to help you may offer their assistance by choosing the appropriate die and rolling it with you. Everybody who does so adds their roll to your own, but also either introduce a new risk to the test or somehow worsen the existing risk, making failure all the more dangerous.
If the initial risk was a deadly pitfall, the assisting character could be at risk of falling in as well. If the initial risk was taking too long to researching an antidote before the poison took hold, the additional minds involved worsen that risk to accidentally making the poison more lethal.
You don't usually need to write out a test and its outcomes, but if you if you did it would look something like this:
Sell Questionable Goods to a Local Merchant
Difficulty 15 Test of Presence
Goal: Turning a profit on contraband
Drama: The merchant might be insulted or involve the authorities
- Fail: the merchant gets indignant and starts making a scene. The authorities are sure to get involved immediately.
- Partially succeed: the merchant agrees to buy the contraband, but it seems like they're not likely to want to see you again. They may tip off the authorities, but not until after you've left.
- Fully succeed: you win them over or they don't seem to notice this time-- the merchant accepts the deal
- Critically succeed: not only does the merchant accept the deal but they happen to know a great fence in the area and look forward to working with you again
Example of a test
Let's bring it all together and walk through a test using the Sell Questionable Goods to a Local Merchant example above:
A thief character attempts to turn a profit on some contraband. Since this is an action that carries the risk of the merchant becoming upset or involving the authorities and some uncertainty between which of the goal and the risk will occur, the gamemaster calls for a test.
Given the social nature of the action, the gamemaster says that convincing the merchant is going to be a test of Presence and secretly marks down a difficulty of 15, since they rule that this requires professional expertise.
On the thief's character sheet are the backgrounds Smuggler and Mercenary, as well as the skills, Acrobatics, Lockpicking, and Intimidation. Based on their current goal, they choose their background Smuggler, and their skill Intimidation as the relevant skills and backgrounds to this situation.
The gamemaster agrees that these are good choices, so the thief rolls their 1d10 Presence, 1d6 Intimidation, and 1d12 for their Smuggler background.
They roll a 10, a 5, and a 5 for a total of 20-- a spectacular roll. They have a +5 attribute modifier to their Presence, bringing the total of the roll up to 25.
The difficulty of the test was 15, and 25 is 10 higher than the difficulty, which makes it a full success. According to the test, you win them over or they don't seem to notice this time-- the merchant accepts the deal. Based on the skills used, the gamemaster now has everything they need to paint a picture of how the sweating merchant responds to the smuggler's intimidation and ultimately gives in.