FS3 vs Other Systems

A comparison of FS3 with other RPGs.
by Faraday

In order to help people who may be familiar with other RPG systems, I have done a little comparison between some of the more popular systems and FS3 to show how the dice work. This research was inspired by a nice article comparing D20 and 3D6.


The systems used in this article are D20, new World of Darkness (nWoD), FUDGE and FS3. In my examples, I’ve used four people and the Firearms skill. I assigned them skill ratings based on the descriptions of the ratings in each system’s player’s guide. In all cases, I assumed average attributes.

  • Nate the Newbie - Nate has just started out and he’s still got a lot to learn. He’s probably taken a basic firearms course or gone to the range a few times.
  • Pete the Professional - Pete is a professional soldier who is thoroughly competent with his rifle.
  • Victor the Veteran - Vic is a highly skilled marksman.
  • Maria the Master - Maria is an amazing marksman, an elite sniper or a world-class Olympic shooting competitor.

For each of these people, I modeled their success chance with different systems against Easy, Routine and Hard tasks. Again, I used the descriptions of the difficulties from the player/GM guides.

  • Easy - Target shooting on the firing range.
  • Routine - Firing a gun in combat at close range.
  • Hard - Shooting a target under adverse conditions - wind or long range.

You can find the details about the difficult ratings and skill levels used at the end of the article.


As you can see from the results below, there is huge difference in success chance in different systems. There are two conclusions here I feel are important:

  • You can’t always go by the descriptions in the rulebook. One system may say that a “good professional” succeeds 86% of the time, while another has it at 59%.
  • FS3 gives the best chance of success in most cases compared to other systems because it is weighted intentionally to let people succeed more often.

Routine Task

Person D20 nWoD FUDGE FS3 (2nd Ed)
Nate the Newbie 60% 65% 17% 57%
Pete the Professional 75% 83% 59% 86%
Victor the Veteran 95% 88% 78% 94%
Maria the Master 95% 91% 90% 98%

Easy Task

Person D20 nWoD FUDGE FS3 (2nd Ed)
Nate the Newbie 85% 75% 59% 82%
Pete the Professional 95% 88% 90% 94%
Victor the Veteran 95% 91% 99% 98%
Maria the Master 95% 94% 99% 99%

Hard Task

Person D20 nWoD FUDGE FS3 (2nd Ed)
Nate the Newbie 10% 30% 1% 25%
Pete the Professional 25% 75% 17% 67%
Victor the Veteran 45% 83% 36% 86%
Maria the Master 70% 88% 59% 94%

Appendix - Roll Details

Skill Levels

Here are the levels used for the different rolls. We could debate whether these ratings are truly equivalent but remember - they were selected based solely on the skill level descriptions. Average attributes were used in all cases.

Person D20 nWoD FUDGE FS3 (2nd Ed)
Nate the Newbie skill 1 (dex 11) firearms 1 + dex 2 Mediocre (-1) Rookie - 1 (reactive 2)
Pete the Professional skill 4 (dex 11) firearms 3 + dex 2 Good (+1) Professional - 5 (reactive 2)
Victor the Veteran skill 8 (dex 11) firearms 4 + dex 2 Great (+2) Veteran - 8 (reactive 2)
Maria the Master skill 13 (dex 11) firearms 5 + dex 2 Superb (+3) Expert - 11 (reactive 2)

For example: Pete’s skills were chosen to be “Competent” in nWoD, “Good” in FUDGE and “Professional” in FS3 – all of which sound very apt for a pro. D20 is a bit tougher, and chosen mostly based on my experience with D20 games. You max out at 4 the skills you want to be pretty decent at.

Difficulty Levels

Once again it was necessary to define these tasks consistently across the different skill systems. I used their difficulty descriptions to figure out the numbers. Here are the details:

Difficulty Level D20 nWoD FUDGE FS3 (2nd Ed)
Easy DC 5 +1 dice pool +2 to skill +3 to skill
Routine DC 10 +0 dice pool +0 to skill +0 to skill
Hard DC 20 -2 dice pool -2 to skill -3 to skill

For example: D20 and FS3 call out difficulty ratings explicitly. FUDGE gives a hard task as needing “Great” success, which is 2 higher than normal… so that’s equivalent to a -2 to the skill. nWoD doesn’t really give specifics about difficulty, so the die pool modifiers are rough estimates.

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