An Ability Roll is used when you want to know if you succeed or fail at a given task using one of your Abilities. You roll (virtual) dice based on how good you are, and the result determines the outcome.
Ability Rolls should be used judiciously. RPGs are about roleplay not rollplay. It is not necessary to roll for every single thing. You should consider using an ability roll if the character is:
Rolling dice is fun and all, but it’s also important to consider what your character actually knows and can reasonably have a chance to accomplish.
You cannot do brain surgery with Everyman Medicine or fly a space shuttle with Everyman Piloting. You cannot turn a cow’s ear into a silk purse or leap a giant chasm no matter how well you roll.
Tip: Common sense should always trump die results.
A storyteller may allow you to spend one or more Luck Points to get a “Hail Mary” roll out of blind luck even when one would not normally be allowed.
Before rolling, you need to figure out which Skill applies best to the task at hand. When more than one applies equally well, you can choose the one with the highest rating. If you don’t have an applicable Skill, you can make a Default Roll as explained in the next section.
FS3 uses 8-sided dice. You roll a number of (virtual) dice equal to the Skill Rating plus the linked Attribute. You can gain or lose dice through special Modifiers.
Tip: Dice to Roll = Skill Rating + Linked Attribute +/- Modifiers
Languages and Background Skills aren’t normally rolled. If you really need to, they have rating equivalents as described in Character Generation.
If a task does not fall under an ability listed on your character sheet, you may still attempt a Default Roll if the task would fall under common knowledge or is somewhat related to a skill you do have. You have two options:
Sometimes games will have general skills for things like Athletics or Education, which may overlap with more specific background skills like Basketball or Geography. Someone with the specific skill should have an advantage, especially if characters are going head-to-head in opposed rolls.
Specialties restrict what your character can do with an ability. If you use a skill outside of one of your specialized areas, apply a -3 modifier the same as if you were defaulting.
If the task is too far outside your specialty (like a paramedic attempting brain surgery or a helicopter pilot trying to fly a space shuttle), then you shouldn’t roll at all unless the Storyteller is allowing a Hail Mary.
When you roll your ability dice, any die that is a 6 or higher is counted as a success. It only takes one success to accomplish what you set out to do. Extra successes mean you did really well. You can think of success levels like letter grades on a school exam. Did you scrape by with a passing grade or score top marks?
An Embarrassing Failure happens when more than half your dice are 1’s - even if you got some successes. You don’t just fail, you fail is a spectacular and embarrassing fashion - like shooting your friend or falling flat on your face.
Modifiers can boost or reduce your Ability Rating, making the task easier or harder than usual. When considering modifiers, bear in mind that 3 rating points is the difference between a beginner and a professional, so a modifier of +/-3 is a pretty dramatic impact.
|+/- 1||Modest boost or challenge|
|+/- 2||Significant boost or challenge.|
|+/- 3||Extreme boost or challenge.|
A couple special situations:
Here are some sample modifiers for a climbing roll:
|0||Climbing a tree.|
|-1||Climbing a slippery obstacle course wall.|
|-2||Climbing a challenging mountain.|
|-3||Remember Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2?|
Whenever you roll an ability, it’s always Skill + Attribute. Even when defaulting to a skill you don’t have, you’re just rolling the “Everyman” skill level of 1 plus the associated attribute.
Each Action Skill is automatically linked to a specific attribute (e.g. Firearms is linked to Reflexes), so you don’t have to type the attribute name when rolling.
There are situations when you might want to specify an attribute different from the usual one. For example, Firearms is normally a Reflexes skill, but Wits might be more appropriate when trying to identify the caliber from a bullet wound. To do this, just specify the attribute when you roll (e.g., roll Firearms+Wits).
Background skills are all linked to Wits by default, so you should generally specify an attribute when rolling them.
When someone is directly opposing you, you don’t just need to do well, you need to do better than the opponent. That’s where Opposed Rolls come in.
Each contestant makes a roll as normal, and the one with the most successes wins. It is also possible that nobody gets any successes and they both fail. To determine how well the winner did, you look at the “net” successes - the difference between the winner and the loser:
Example: Nemesis and Mavros are sparring. They both roll Melee. Nemesis gets 2 successes (Good Success) and Mavros gets 1 success. Nemesis has a net of 1 success, giving her a Marginal Victory.
Up to three characters can combine their efforts toward a single task. One character is designated the leader, and will make a single roll for the group. The other characters each make a separate Assist Roll first to see if they can modify the Group Roll.
|Assist Result||Group Roll Modifier|
The modifiers for the Assist Rolls are added together and applied to the leader’s Group Roll. The maximum total modifier for the Group Roll is +4, no matter how well everyone succeeds.
Example: Elodie and Zoe are assisting Tug with a Repair roll. Elodie and Zoe each roll Repair first, and get a Good Success (+2) and a regular Success (+1). This lets Tug roll Repair+3 for the Group Roll.