The standard roll involves a Stat, a Skill, and a Difficulty. You roll a number of 10-sided dice equal to the added values of the appropriate Stat and the appropriate Skill. So, if the roll calls for Insight & Perception, and your Insight is 2 and your Perception is 4, you pick up 6 10-sided dice and roll them. A die that rolls a 7, 8, or 9 gives you one Success. A die that rolls a 10 gets you one Success and allows you to roll again. This is called an open-ended roll. You can keep rolling as long as you keep getting 10s, and they all count as successes. The Difficulty is usually a number between 0 and 5; it is the number of Successes you must roll to do whatever it is you are trying to do.

Example Difficulties
Very simple – anyone can do it 0
Routine – anyone with a modicum of talent or skill can do it 1
Easy – if you’ve done it before you should be able to do it again 2
Moderate – you need talent or skill or a little of both 3
Hard – only talented or experienced people should try this 4
Very hard – requires experience and talent to do consistently 5

Opposed Rolls

In opposed rolls, your Difficulty is determined by your opponent’s roll. Otherwise, they work just like normal rolls.

Extended Tasks

Sometimes a task requires multiple tries, multiple people, or a long time to do. This can be represented with the extended task. In this set up, the difficulty might be very high – even above 10 – but any Successes you roll count towards the total and you can add Successes from consecutive attempts together. For example, a magic ritual might require a total of 12 Successes. You continue to work on the ritual from round to round, rolling each round, until you accumulate 12 Successes, when the magic of the ritual takes effect. Some extended tasks have a time limit; some do not. It will depend on the situation. Sometimes, especially if there is a time limit, the number of Successes you accumulate will affect how well you do the task, instead of just whether you accomplish it at all. For some extended tasks, you can add the rolls from multiple people together.


On normal tests, a tie is considered a win. On opposed rolls, the defender wins ties. Every now and then a tie will have special results. For example, in the use of the Bluff skill to distract an enemy. If you win, the enemy is distracted; if you fail, the enemy gets to hit you. If you tie, both things occur.

Passive Skills

Passive Skills are used for situations where you are focused on one thing but doing something else at the same time. The most common example is the Perception Skill; you are always looking around and your ears are always open; you might notice something even if you’re not specifically looking or listening for it. The GM will use your passive Perception Skill to decide if you have spotted whatever it is. To figure out your Passive Skill, add your Skill and the appropriate Stat together, add any Specialties that apply, divide by 3, round down, and consider that your total number of Successes. Your Passive result is always going to be a little lower than the average result you would have gotten if you rolled, but that’s because you’re not focusing on it. You can have 0 Passive Successes, if it’s a Skill you’re not particularly good at to begin with.

Using Passive Skill numbers can sometimes make the game go more smoothly and quickly. If your Passive Successes in a particular Skill are enough to take care of a simple task, you don’t need to roll at all; just assume you succeed.

Penalties and Bonuses

A penalty reduces the number of dice you can roll by the stated amount; bonuses add a number of dice to your roll. Penalties and bonuses apply before you roll. In most cases, even if a penalty drops you to 0 dice, you can still roll 1 die to attempt whatever it is.

You can still use Passive Skills with penalties or bonuses; apply the penalty or bonus before you divide by 3.


Tarsia XI Fantasy RPG Lionpaw