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Simple Die System

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Simple Die System

Skilled  vs Flat Rolls

Critical & Tremendous

Bonuses & Penalties


GMing Actual Die Rolls


Below is a discussion on how to use the die system known as the “Simple Die System”.

Simple Die System

Skilled  vs Flat Rolls

        There are two general types of die rolls in the game, Skill and Flat.


        Flat Rolls. Flat rolls are made just like in nearly any roleplaying game – roll the indicated die and read the result!


        Skill Rolls. Skill rolls are a quick process that can easily generate more robust effects such as:

·         Failure

·         Success

·         Critical Success

·         Critical Failure

·         Tremendous Success

·         Tremendous Failure

·         Heroic Results 10, 100, even 1000 or more times greater than normal.


        Skill Die & Flag Die. On a skilled die roll, a special d20 is rolled along with the skill die. This special d20 is known as the flag die.  

        Skill Roll - Steps

1.       Pick up the die type that matches your skill. So a Skill of 4 will use a d4, a skill of 6 uses a d6, etc. Also pick up a d20 to be used as the flag die.

2.       Roll both dice at once, the skill and the flag die.

3.       Examine the flag die and if it  is a 1, 10, 19, or 20 then a special "flag" occurs an is applied to the roll as follows

a.     1 - Critical (some negative effect occurs as determined by GM ad-lib)

b.       10 or 20 = Heroic, multiply the skill result by 10 and roll again, as long as 10s or 20s are rolled, keep adding zeros to the multiplier so it becomes x10, x100, x1000, etc. as long as 10s and/or 20s are rolle.d. Note, on these re-rolls of the d20 flag die, any number other than 10 or 20 ends the string and thus size of the heroic multiplier. Also note that a 1 or 19 has NO impact on these re-rolls and simply ends the heroic string. In other words, after the initial roll a 1 or 19 does NOT result in a critical or tremendous effect.

C. 19 = Tremendous and (some positive effect occurs as determined by GM ad-lib).

Critical & Tremendous

        Can’t Luck a Critical. One important rule. A player may NOT luck a roll that is flagged Critical!


        Tremendous Effect. A tremendous roll should NEVER adjust success OR failure. However, regardless of success or failure, some random GM-Ad-Libbed benefit to the character should occur. The GM usually rolls a d20 to help randomly judge the “intensity” of the tremendous effect.


        Critical Effect. Likewise, a critical roll should NEVER adjust success OR failure. However, regardless of the success or failure, some random GM-Ad-Libbed penalty or ill fate to the character should occur.The GM usually rolls a d20 to help randomly judge the “intensity” of the critical effect.

Bonuses & Penalties


        Cumulative. All eligible Bonsues are added together and the final number is the actual Bonus for that roll. Bonuses move the skill die up or down by increments of 2 also known as die types as follows:  (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, etc.). So a skill of 8 with a +1 mod becomes a skill of 10.

        Minimum of 4: No skill in the game, player or monster, may be reduced below 4, EVER!

        Rolling 14, 18 etc.: 14, 18 and other die types for which no physical die exists should be rolled by rolling the smallest SINGLE die that is equal to or greater than the die type. For example, a skill of 18 can be rolled using a d20, if no d18 exists. If the roll result is greater than the skill, then the result is reduced to match the skill. So a skill of 18 rolled on a d20 would result in 18 if the d20 rolls 18, 19, or 20. However, if the proper die exists, then it MUST be rolled, even if borrowed from another player!

         Stacking. For any one roll, only ONE Bonus from the (Mod, Self Buff, and Party Buff) categories may apply. Moreover, the largest of these three Bonuses is applied while the other two only count as +1 each no matter how large they are. The full Focus bonus is then applied and all penalties are applied.

        No 2nd Chance. It is IMPORTANT to note that NO bonus may be applied post roll. ALL bonuses must be added, and a single skill die is rolled. IF the player forgot a bonus, TOO BAD!! This rule is harsh but very important as it prevents game lag AND it prevents a player from rolling poorly and “claiming” “Oh, I forgot that I had this or that bonus. Let me re-roll.” Ummmmm NO! Better luck next time! J


        Concept. Focusing is an awesome rule allowing the player to capture that notion of “giving it a 110%.” Think of punching a bag as hard as you can 10 times and then saying to yourself, “Even though I was going all out, THIS time I’m REALLY going to hit it hard,” and you DO!


        Meta. Focusing on a roll provides a temporary (one use) bonus to the roll. Only ONE focus may be spent per roll! The size of the Focus' bonus is determined by spending Meta. Each point of Meta counts as the size of the bonus. So 1 Meta is +1, 2 meta is +2, etc.


        One Use? Well kind-of. Focus bonus applies to one FULL “use” of the ability on a specific Nish. This means that two part abilities like a weapon Atk and Dmg may use a single Focus (a single Meta) to affect both rolls. Or a feat that has a Sk^Resistance and then a Sk^Attribute and THEN Sk as Dmg may use the same single Focus bonus for all three effects. All of this is true ONLY if all such rolls are essential and made on the EXACT same Nish count! It, for example, does NOT apply if the attack comes at Nish 15 and the Damage has to wait for Nish 0.


        Game Tip. Proper Focus strategy and use is KEY to highly successful play. DO NOT FORGET to Focus!!!  Also, once you make your roll, you CAN NOT go back and add Focus! (Unless you luck the roll – see lucked rolls).



        Unskilled rolls are made when a character makes an ability roll (Feat, Skill, Attribute, Resistance, Weapon, Armor) that the character does not have, but for which the GM will allow an attempt. The skill die is rolled twice and the lower number used. Alternatively, the GM can roll twice and take the better roll. This has no impact upon the flag die, only the skill die is rolled twice.


        When Unskilled?. There are many examples of why an unskilled roll might occur:

·         An unskilled weapon is used (opportunity, existing weapon is damaged, some magical weapon is found, a ranged weapon is needed in a pinch, etc.)

·         Unskilled Armor (existing is damaged, some magical armor is found, etc.)

·         Attribute is Used as a Common Skill. This is very common need for an unskilled roll. Say the character tries to sneak (Dex) or Climb (Dex or Str) or Swim (Dex) or Intimidate (Alp) or befriend (Cha). These are common skills that ANYONE should be able to try. The GM can simply say “Make an Unskilled Dex Check.” Or whatever abilty or kit makes most sense.


        Don’t Stomp on Skilled Characters! One of the most common GM mistakes is to allow attributes to be used by character’s as a skill that another player’s character is actually skilled at WITHOUT requiring it to be an unskilled roll. It is VERY important to require attributes used as known skills to be made as an unskilled roll!

GMing Actual Die Rolls

So, How Does an Actual, In Game, Die Roll Work? If a character has a Str of 8 and is trying to bend some bars with a difficulty of 10, then the player will roll a skill die d8 and a d20 flag die and get a result as explained above. The GM will roll a d10 for the bars difficulty. If the player's roll result is higher, the character succeeds. If the player's roll result is lower the character fails. So, the basics are quite simple! A few notes and exceptions are noted below.

Ties - Even ties go to the player and odd ties go to the GM. Let's say in the above example that the player and GM both roll a result of 4. Then the tie goes to the player. However, if they both rolled a 7, then the tie goes to the GM. So ties are also quite easy.

Diceless GM Option - This is an optional rule and is designed for advanced gaming groups only in which players are both experienced roleplayers and experienced with this die system. The notion of diceless GMing is an old one in which the GM is freed from routine die rolls so they may focus more on the story-line and keeping the game flow moving rapidly. This places more dice burden on the players. To use this die system as GM diceless, the GM simply tells the player the difficulty of a task, "The bars are Str 10" and the player then picks up three dice - their character's Str die, the difficulty die and the flag die so in order, using the example above, a d8, d10, and d20 (d8 for Character's Str, d10 for the bars, and d20 for flag). The player then rolls ALL dice at once and compares the results, informing the GM of success or failure.

Diceless: Skill Matches Difficulty? If the character's Str were an 8 and the bars difficulty were also an 8, then the the player simply rolls a single d8 and d20 representing the character's result. Then the d8 is picked up and rolled again to represent the GM's roll. Note, the 1st roll is ALWAYS the player's result and the 2nd roll is ALWAYS the GM's result!

Hard Difficulties: The GM can always set a difficulty as a "Hard X" such as, "Breaking the bars is a Hard 8". This means that no GM die is rolled as the result IS 8 (thus the Hard 8). So the player must beat an 8 (which, due to the tie rules, where even ties go to the player, it really means roll equal to or greater than an 8). WARNING: Hard difficulties are usually a bad idea and should be avoided as they rapidly become extremely difficulty for lower skill ratings to beat. For example, a hard 8 can only be beat by a Skill 4 or Skill 6 character if their flag die rolls 10 or 20! So, why use Hard Difficulties? Hard difficulties should ONLY be used when something should be REALLY hard to beat, such as breaking out of a jail cell or lifting a huge rock or car. If you REALLY want it to be almost impossible (but not quite) to break out of a jail cell, set the difficulty at Hard 16 and virtually every character will need to roll Flag 10 or Flag 20 to even have a chance. In general, avoid Hard difficulties!

Feat Diff: It should be noted that one common place that hard difficulties are the norm are casting difficulties. Most feat's casting difficulties are Hard. Refer to the Meta section of the rules for more information.

GMing Tips: GM's if you aren't using the Dicelsss GM options, it is best to either roll your difficulties behind a screen where the player's cannot see the result so their roll is a surprise to them, or, if you choose to roll out in their presence (which, for experienced GMs is often an even better idea), be sure your difficulty roll is tossed at the same time the player's roll is tossed. Otherwise, if your roll before or after, you will remove the mystery and random feeling of the game system. This seems like a small, simple thing, but it has a large impact upon your player's gaming enjoyment.