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Difficulty Levels

Game System: Stormbringer
Author: Peter Brink
Added: 2006–09–06


Not every task is of the same complexity or difficulty. Some tasks are easier and some are more difficult. The standard difficulty rating in any Basic Roleplaying game is challenging. Challenging tasks receive no extra modifications. Other tasks may however be modified according to their difficulty. The following table contains the difficulty ratings, their modifications and as an illustration an example task.

Difficulty

Modification

Example Task

Incredibly Easy

+100

Spot a large object in plain sight.

Very Easy

+75

Remember the name of the mayor.

Routine

+50

Drive a wagon to the weekly market

Easy

+25

Climbing an oak with many branches.

Challenging

+0

Swimming across a slow moving river.

Very Difficult

-25

Jump across a 7 meter wide moat.

Impossible

-50

Throwing a stone through a tiny hole in the wall on the other side of a wide chasm.

Heroic

-75

Track a gang of goblins in heavy rain, a day after they have passed by.

Task resolution without skill rolls

A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes, though, an adventurer can use a skill under more favorable conditions and eliminate the luck factor.

Taking 95: If the adventurers total skill, including any modifiers (e.g. for the level of difficulty) is equal to or higher than 100%, he will succeed regardless of what he rolls, unless the adventurer is under pressure. In this case, the GM might not require the player to roll and just assume that the adventurer succeed, since the task is a trivial effort for someone of such a skill. The adventurer is assumed to achieve the minimum possible level of effect, i.e. 0 (as if he had rolled 95). The player can choose to make a roll to achieve a greater level of success, or the GM may assume a greater level of success, depending on the circumstances.

Taking 50: When an adventurer is not being threatened or distracted, the player may choose to take 50. Instead of rolling 1d100 for the skill check, calculate the adventurer’s result as if he had rolled a 50. For all routine tasks, taking 50 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for an adventurer to take 50. In most cases, taking 50 is purely a safety measure — the player knows (or expects) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so he elect to settle for the average roll (a 50). Taking 50 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn’t help. Any adventurer with a +50% skill may thus perform a routine (or easier) task without making a skill roll – provided that the task is carried without any threatening danger or other such external pressures.

Taking 05: Provided that the adventurer:
a) has plenty of time (generally 2 minutes for a task that can normally be performed in 1 round)
b) is not faced with any threats or distractions, and
c) is attempting a task that carries no penalties for failure,
then the adventurer can “take 05”.

In other words, eventually the adventurer will get 05 or less on a 1d100 if he rolls enough times. Instead of rolling 1d100 for the task resolution, just calculate the adventurers result as if he had rolled a 05. The tradeoff is that the adventurer will not get any benefits from a critical success – which could otherwise be the case with a roll of 05. Taking 05 means that the adventurer is trying until he gets it right, and it assumes that he fails many times before succeeding. Tasks performed by “taking 05” takes twenty times as long as normal tasks. Common “take 05” skills include Escape Artist, Pick Lock, and Search.

Characteristic Rolls: The take 100, take 50 and take 05 rules can be used for characteristic rolls as well.