I hope everyone had a great weekend! We are going to start things out this week by talking a little about die rolls, success, failure, and criticals.
In FORGED, die rolls are used to determine everything from whether your Mortal Hero strikes a foe in combat to whether he or she can make a horseshoe or see a distant wisp of dust on the horizon. Random rolls play a big part in your Mortal Hero’s survival and infamy, so the various types of successful and failed rolls bears some discussion.
First off, let’s talk about Opposed and Unopposed Rolls.
Opposed die rolls work along very simple lines: the highest roll without going over wins. Opposed die rolls are called for whenever a character wishes to use a stat, sense, or skill in opposition to another character, creature or object that stands in the way of his goal. For instance, determining who wins a shoving match between two characters could come down to who rolls the highest Strength check without going over. The winner of this opposed roll would push the other character back.
Unopposed die rolls are simple determinations of ability or skill, and do not involve any person, force or object opposing the action. An example of this would be a simple Sight check (with or without penalty) to determine whether a character is able to see something or not. This roll would only be considered opposed if she were trying to see someone who was using their Sneak stat in an effort to not be seen.
So you are called upon to make an opposed roll. How do you know what your Mortal Hero managed to accomplish with that roll? You need a way to measure his or her success or failure in a quantifiable way. There are four outcomes to any die roll, along with a subset of success; Success (Partial or full), Failure, Critical Success, and Critical Failure.
Success occurs whenever you have rolled anything below your actual skill or stat number required by the task. For instance, your Storyteller may call upon you to roll against your Strength score to determine if you can quickly lift a table. The table is not so large that you cannot pick it up at all, but large enough to require some effort to do so in a single combat round. Your Mortal Hero possesses a Strength of 14. Any number from 1 to 13 would be considered a success.
Partial Success occurs when you have succeeded in an opposed stat or skill check, but were defeated by a higher roll from someone or something else. For example, Mort is fighting a Gorrhym, and has a 15 Offensive Skill in his Sword. The Gorrhym likewise has a 15 Defensive Skill. Mort rolls an 8, which is considered a Success; however the Gorrhym rolls an 11, which is a better roll. Mort only scores a partial success, while the Gorrhym has a full Success.
A Failure occurs when you roll a higher number than you possess in the relevant skill or stat, without rolling a natural 20. If Mort from the example above had rolled a 16-19 on his Offensive Skill, he would have scored a Failure. If both parties roll a Failure in an Opposed situation, both of them fail just as badly; except for Critical Failures there is no difference between one Failure and another.
A Critical Success occurs in two ways. First, it occurs whenever you roll the exact number required by your stat or sense for the task at hand. In this instance, had Mort rolled a 15 for his Offensive Skill check, he would have Critically Succeeded in his strike. Second, it occurs in combat whenever the number rolled is 20 points or more higher than your opponent’s roll. This can only occur when your opponent’s Offensive or Defensive Skill is at 0 or lower (in the negatives). If Mort’s own Defensive Skill roll was a -9 (due to Offensive Combat maneuvers and choice of weapons) and the Gorrhym had rolled a 14 Success (23 points higher than Mort’s Defense), then the Gorrhym would have Critically Succeeded against him. A Critical Success means that not only has your Mortal Hero managed to accomplish his task, he or she has done so perfectly and with great skill. A Critical Success in melee combat grants a bonus to damage, while a Critical Success in a skill or stat check indicates an impressive feat, capable of accomplishing the task far more effectively than was hoped for. Critical Successes are marked on the Character Sheet*, and during Advancement Phase they are tallied; more on this later.
A Critical Failure occurs on any roll of 20. Critical Failures botch the attempted task spectacularly, and often cause direct or indirect harm in the attempt. A Critical Failure of a Dexterity roll to see if one can leap a chasm in a single bound would result in the Mortal Hero falling into the chasm, rather than simply failing to land safely.
*It should be noted that only those Critical Successes which carry some sort of risk are marked on the Character Sheet. If a Storyteller calls for a roll against something for practice or fun, it should not be tallied. Additionally, Crits should only be tallied once for situations where multiple rolls are given for a single task (“I need each of you to give me three Strength rolls to climb the entire length of the rope.”)