By Edward Etkin

A new task resolution system with multiple d20s

The main problem with the current system is that it is linear and really does not differentiate much between people of medium and high skills. On the average, someone with a goal number (GN) of 12 will do as well as someone with a GN of 18. The lack of difference between people of different power levels was also problematic. A Grimson with 12 Dex and 7 shoot rolling a 6 would succeed just as well as a peasant with a Dex of 4 and shoot of 3. Most importantly, a single poor roll can make or break an interesting situation.

The new system addresses this and other problems by allowing multiple d20s to be rolled. The system works as follows:

The Basics

To resolve a task, a character rolls a number of d20s equal to his skill. For example if Grim's Shoot is 5, he rolls 5d20. The GN on each d20 is determined exactly as it is now [(attribute + skill) +/- modifiers] with one exception. A second GN called VP target is calculated by subtracting 1/2 of the skill value rounded up from the GN. In our above example, if Grim has 6 Dexterity, his GN on each d20 will be 11, and his VP target on each d20 will be 8 [11 - 3 (1/2 of shoot of 5 rounded up)]. Note that any positive or negative modifiers to the GN affect the VP target as well, so if Grim had -2 to his GN due to darkness, his GN would be 9 and his VP target would be 6. The VP Target may not exceed 13 unless a special ability, item or skill is being used.

When the d20s are rolled, each roll that is 8 or below nets Grim a VP, each roll that is between 9 and 11 nets him a success (but not a VP). For example if Grim rolls a 14, 10, 7, 2 and 18 he has 2 VPs (rolls of 7 and 2) and 1 success (roll of 10). VPs are treated as they are now (bonuses to damage, etc) and successes don't do anything for you other than to indicate that you have succeeded, except that multiple successes are only used in contested rolls. If at least 1 success but no VPs is generated, but the character succeeded with a minimal success (even if he gets 4 successes).

Contested Rolls

Contested rolls are easily handled by the new system. Each opponent rolls their appropriate number of d20's and generates a number of successes and/or VPs. One is considered the attacker and the other a defender. The defender must cancel, the attacker's VPs and successes with his own VPs and successes. However, before any of opponent's VPs are canceled he must cancel the opponent's successes (if any) using first his own successes and then his VPs. Who ever has at least 1 success or VP more remaining is the victor.

Example 1: Grim shoots a Med. pistol at Lorn who dodges. Grim rolls 5d20 and comes up with 2, 15, 9, 6, and 10. He has 2 successes and 2 VPs. Lorn has Dex of 7 and dodge of 6 -- he rolls 6d10 with a 13 GN and a 10 VP target. He rolls 17, 15, 3, 7, 12 and 19, giving him 1 success and 2 VPs. With his first success Lorn cancels 1 of Grim's successes and with 2 VPs Lorn cancels the second of Grim's successes and 1 of Grim's VPs. Grim still has 1 VP remaining so Lorn is hit with an extra d20 being rolled for damage (from the VP).

Critical Successes

Any time a "1" is rolled on any of the d20's during the skill roll, an additional d20 is rolled with the possibility of generating more successes and VPs. If more than a single "1" is rolled, instead of getting extra d20's to roll the character can spend these 1's to create a special effect. For example, the character who was using the "flat of the blade" combat action on his noble opponent during a duel and rolls 3 "1"'s he can use them to create the effect of his opponent's belt being sliced off so the pants fall down. The amount of points needed for various effects is of course GM discretion. The GM can always just tell the player to roll the extra d20s if a special effect is inappropriate.


Every 19 rolled on the skill resolution d20's is considered a botch and every 20 rolled is considered a botch that also cancels 1 success or VP (starting with successes). If more botches are generated than successes/VPs the character fumbles.


If a character has no skill, he rolls a single d20 with his attribute as a target number and the VP target equal to 1/2 of his attribute rounded down. So someone trying to use Knavery w/o the skill who has a Wits of 6, rolled 1d20, getting a VP on a 3 or below, and a success on a 4-6.

Rolling Attributes

If a pure attribute roll needs to be made (like a Human roll) the character rolls 1d20 for every 3 full points of the attribute with the attribute as the GN and the VP target being 1 lower than the GN.


Accenting was a great fix for the single d20 system but had many problems of its own. With the above described system accenting is no longer needed.

Other Stuff

The potential for various items that assist characters is great. What about a 2nd Republic scanner that adds an extra d20 to the skill, or increases the VP target? The possibilities are endless.