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Monday, April 20, 2015

Skill Reactions

I've seen a couple people promoting the idea of 2d6 skill rolls,  and at least one person -- don't recall who -- suggesting using the reaction table to interpret results. I prefer avoiding  a skill system, but there's a certain niftiness to that idea. I did do something like that with Con rolls for adversity (aka "system shock". Roll 2d6 under Con to survive, but if the roll fails, look up the roll on the reaction roll table (or custom death and dismemberment table derived from it.)

What I'm thinking is that there's an easier way to adapt this to improvised ability checks. Here are the rules:

1.  Roll 2d6 under relevant ability.
2. Halve the ability score if it's a particularly dire situation.
3. If the roll is less than/equal to the ability score (or half the ability score,) it's a success, with the reaction roll indicating the degree of success.

Hostile/Bad results (5 or less) mean the check succeeds, but with a minor penalty. Very Bad (2) means a major penalty. Good results (9+) mean a slight bonus, and Very Good (12) are even better. Some suggestions:

Physical Adversity rolls: Roll under Con, or half Con for severe disease. Bad means a scar, Very Bad means a limp or lingering condition, Good means a slightly quicker recovery, Very Good halves the recovery time.

Raise Dead rolls: As Physical Adversity, but you need to decide whether all Raise Dead attempts count as "dire", or just the second attempt, or each character gets one "non-dire" roll every 4 levels.

Thievery rolls: Roll under Dex for thieves, half Dex for anyone else. Bad means it takes twice as long or you only take half of the loot or the thievery will be noticed after a short delay (result = turns; you have that long to get out before the victim notices.) Good means the victim won't notice for days unless told.

Search rolls: Roll under Int or Wis, but only if player doesn't do something that would obviously find the item. Bad means it takes twice as long, Very Bad could mean an accident, like brreaking something or making a loud noise. Good takes half as long, and Very Good is nearly instantaneous success.

I'll post about an advanced option later.


  1. Was it me? I've been using a reactiontable-like resolution system for a little bit.

    1. I think so! Although there was also someone mentioning it on a forum very recently, and also Old Geezer said something very similar, about rolling 2d6 for some guy jumping onto the back of a horse and falling on his butt if he rolled snake eyes.

    2. I think Old Geezer said he does 2d6 plus something relevant, get 8+ (somewhere around there) to succeed. I decided to use that when I ran OD&D (I also used Delta's modifiers, 9-12 is +0, outside of that changes by 1 for every 3).

      I didn't stick strictly to success on 8+, but just described how well or badly they did using the result (so 6 would be a success with a complication). None of the people I ran with had played OD&D before (some hadn't even role played before), but everyone picked it up pretty quickly and seemed to like it. I handled thieves in much the same way, but switched to rolling 1-2 on 1d6 for trying to use strength to open doors, hear things, luck checks etc.

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