For the most part it is determining success on a given action is simple. Roll the type and number of dice based on the attribute and skill pair, and keep the highest die value as your result. The rolls are all against target numbers (TN) of varying difficulty such as 3 (fool-proof), 5 (fair), 11 (incredible), etc.
Simple enough, now for the three catches.
If you roll the highest # on a die (such as rolling a 6 on a d6) this is called “rollin an ace”. When this happens you reroll that die and add it to the prior value. Repeat until you don’t roll max. Such that if you roll 3d8 and get a 3, 8, and 8. You pick up the two 8s and roll them again. If you got an 8 and a 3 on that you roll the one 8 again. this time you get a 2, so your final results would be 3 , 11, and 18. You drop everything but the 18 as that is your best result.
For every full incrimint of 5 you beat the TN by, you get what is called a raise. Making the TN without a raise is considered a nominal success. You hit the target, or say noticing the gun holding silhouette. Getting one or more raises is a sign of a good to amazing result, like say not only hitting the target, but hitting it in the head, or noticing said silhouette is pointing at something behind you.
For example if you ended up with some hot dice and on a TN 5 ended up with a result of 19, you would have succeeded (beat TN 6) and gotten 2 raises (for TN11 for raise 1, and TN 16 for the second).
Bad things, when you end up with a majority of 1s showing, regardless whatever else the dice may say, it doesn’t matter…you done gone bust. (1, 1, 1, 27 = you bust | 1 2 2 = your safe but likely just failed). So what does it mean to go bust…well it depends on what you your trying, but lets just say the more important the roll the more you don’t want to go bust. Examples of bad times might include when working with explosives, climbing down a mountain, the surgeon putting your vitals back on the inside….
If you aren’t trained in a skill your resulting roll has a – X penalty.
If you are trained in a related skill (You are shootin a rifle, but are only trained in pistols) the penalty is -xy
Figurin Out what to Roll
There are two types of rolls, skills and attributes.
For attributes it is simple, look at your score for that attribute (say 3d6) and roll that. This is a check based purely on your physical/mental/social ability, such as lifting a weight, or say realize’n that smoking next to a moonshine still ain’t bright.
For skills, you roll the die type based on the attribute called out and the number of dice based on the skill level you have. Such as if you were asked to make a Nimbleness:Fight’n roll you’d roll XdY where X is your skill in fight’n and Y is the die type of your Nimbleness.
For the most part is straight forward. 9 times out of 10 a skill will be rolled with the stat is is paired with (Smarts for Streetwise). There comes a time when the Marshall may ask for you to roll a different combination though. In that case just match them up as told.
Yes, there may be times when you have a natural 4d12 dice pool for a stat, but only 1 rank in the skill. If you would rather roll the 4d12 with the ‘untrained’ penalty, instead of just the 1d12 without it…you may. Just make it known before the first dice hits the table.
Sometimes, the bad things fight back. When two or more critters are fighting over something they often enter an opposed roll. Examples might be as simple as stare down before a duel or even a struggle over the last canteen of water in the middle of the desert. Each party makes the named roll against a set TN. The aptitude and trait used by each side may or may not match depending on the situation.
The results are methods are similar to a normal roll, but as you are struggling with another we measure the results a bit different. First and foremost, you have to succeed on the roll to get anything out of it. The next thing to figure out is which side got the higher result, as that is the winner. The one other difference is how raises work. Normally raises are for every 5 points over the TN, in opposed rolls raises are every 5 points over the opponents result.
Somethings aren’t the most trustworthy of items. Whether shoddily built, hastily fixed…or just of questionable scientific merit some items just don’t want to work sometimes. When the reliability of an item is in question it will be given a reliability score. When using the item (most times) you will be asked to make a reliability roll on a d20. As long as you roll less than the reliability score everything works as intended. (This is another roll you can’t go bust/ace on).