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Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Core Rules - Part II

Shall we continue to revise the core rules of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells? If you missed part I of this section, go here.

Powerful Opponent

Some enemies are tougher, more agile, more resilient or simply more savage than others. In game terms, enemies with higher HD are tougher to defeat than those with lower HD. Actions against opponents and NPCs have a Difficulty equal to the difference between the enemy’s HD and the Level of the character attempting the action. Similarly, if an opponent is making a test against the character, he adds that difference to his d20 roll (see NPCs in Action below).

Running through the corridors of the Galactic Overlord’s fortress, Kaylia was almost getting to her starship when a single Void Sentinel steps in front of her. He orders then to stand down, but she doesn’t even flinch and draws her heavy pistol to shoot him. Since he has 3 HD and Kaylia is still a 1st level character, the Agility test to hit him will have a Difficulty of 2. This is going to be rough, as her Agility is only 8.

Failure and its Meaning

When a player rolls above his Attribute score or equal to or below the Difficulty, he fails the Attribute Test, but these failures may have different meanings. In game terms, when a player rolls above his Attribute score, the task may very well be beyond his capabilities. That’s the common failure we are all accustomed (the lock is beyond his lock picking skills; the language in which the scriptures are written is beyond his linguistic skills; that rock that fell over his companions is too heavy for him to lift; his mind is not strong enough to resist the lure of the pleasure demons).

However, when the player rolls under the Difficulty, he usually is within his capabilities but the challenges inherent to the task made him fail somehow. This could have various consequences, depending on the situation and interpretation of the Overlord (the lock was almost opened, but the lockpick broke inside; he translated the scriptures changing the real meaning of what was written; the heavy rock that fell on your friends slipped through your fingers and crushed their bones; the lure of the pleasure demons is so strong that, although you could resist for a few seconds, part of your soul just gave in). Another option is allowing a “Yes, but” kind of result when the result is within the Difficulty (you manage to pick the lock but you suddenly hear the alarm sounding in the distance; you correctly translated the old scriptures but the truth behind it shattered your mind, making you lose 1d3 Sanity points; you made a great effort and managed to pull the rock and release your companions, but in doing so you sprained your muscles taking 1d3 points of damage to your Physique; you closed your eyes and ran away from the pleasure demons, but their image will haunt you for weeks, and you will need another Willpower test to sleep every night).

Firing her gun at the Void Sentinel, Kaylia rolls the d20 and gets a 17, way past her Agility of 8. She miss wildly. If, however, she had rolled a 1 or 2 (within the Difficulty value) she would have fired in his direction but since it’s a failure, he would have probably dodged the shot.

Resisted Tests

When two characters are attempting opposing actions, like one is trying to pass unnoticed by another, trying to win a race against another or something similar, we make a Resisted Test. When this happens, both players make their tests regularly, applying all the normal rules, and the one who succeeds with the highest roll wins. Normally, Resisted Tests are only used when player characters are opposing each other, since when the opposition is a NPC or opponent, a player just make the test normally using the Powerful Opponent rule. However, should the Overlord deem important, an opponent may be considered to have an Attribute score of 10 plus his HD for the purpose of Attribute Tests, receiving Positive or Negative Dice according to his nature (more details on NPCs in Action below).

Kaylia and her friend Fhet are spending some time away from perilous adventures in a space cantina and they decided to play a friendly game of rocket darts. To decide who wins at the end, both make an Agility test, hoping to succeed and get a higher result than his opponent. Kaylia rolls a 7 and Fhet rolls a 10! Both are successes (as she has an Agility of 8 and he has 14 of Agility), but Fhet rolled higher, so he wins! In the end, he scored my points with his precise aim.

Pushing the Roll

Normally, if an Attribute Test results in a failure, the task is beyond the character capabilities or something happens that makes it harder to try again. However, the player may try to Push the Roll. In game terms, the player describes how his character is putting an extra effort in the task and he may try the Attribute Test again, but if he fails, dire consequences will ensue, and the Overlord has all the right to complicate the character situation even further.

Still at the space cantina, Kaylia decides to try her luck and her wits at a gambling table. They are playing bharc, a dice game where you have to reach 33 points. She decides to try counting everyone's dice, which is actually forbidden in this game. The Overlord decides there will be a Difficulty of 1 Intellect test, since one gambler at the table has 2 HD and is quite good at the game. She rolls a 17, way above her 14 score, so she really can’t do the counting. But she decides to try harder, to really pay attention and Push the Roll. The Overlord informs her that, if she fails, they will catch her her doing that and she might be in trouble. She picks the d20, rolls again and get a 15. Now, two burly hands rested on her shoulders.

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