The Mechanic

The Dice Pool

Ersatz uses a dice pool of d12s to resolve its skill checks (etc). Your statistics will determine how many dice you have in the pool. All of the dice are 12 sided dice (d12s). For each die that shows a certain number or lower, you get a hit. So if your pool is 10 and your target number is 3, all threes or better that show when you roll ten dice are considered a hit.

Calculating the Dice Pool

The dice pool is calculated by the following factors.

  1. Add the governing attribute.
  2. Add equipment bonuses.
  3. Subtract resistances.

Typically the first two can be added up beforehand for the tasks players execute most often. Note that there may be no governing attribute for a check. Alternately, if a character can perform a task without any tools, there may be no equipment bonus. Resistance is a score that the GM may assign to any task to describe things which inhibit the power that can be exerted.

Philosophy and Justification In real life, the potential level of success a character experiences is related to the amount of power he can exert on the task at hand. This power typically comes from their innate abilities — like strength or intellect — or their tools — like swords and guns and books — or from a combination of the two. If the power is directly opposed by some resisting force — like armor, drunkenness, etc — then these can be reduced. However, a tricky task or tricky circumstances do not actually reduce the potential levels of success, just the expected magnitude of the success.

Determining the Target Number

The target number, also known as the effective skill, for a given roll is calculated as follows:

  1. Start with the skill of the character performing the task.
  2. Add/Subtract modifiers specified in the power description.
  3. Add/Subtract difficulty modifiers at the GM’s discretion.

Again, the first two are easy to add up beforehand. For tasks that aren’t covered by a skill/power combo (for example breaking down a door), the GM may freely assign an effective skill. The baseline effective skill for such a task is 4. However, particularly simple things (like breaking down a door) should probably be more like 6. And particularly difficult things (like assembling something complex from a diagram) should be more like 2.

Philosophy and Justification Although two characters might have comparable raw talent, their skill determines how effectively that talent is applied. For example, if two strong men attack each other with swords, they can damage each other equally. But the skilled fighter is more likely to damage the unskilled fighter than vice-versa. Similarly, if a task is to be performed under tricky circumstances, the potential level of success is the same as it always was, but the task is less likely to be successful.

Resolving Actions and Tasks

  • Checks are simple pass/fail situations. Roll once. One or more hits means success. No hits means failure.
  • Tests are situations where a character can succeed in degrees. Each hit signifies something, generally specified in the power description.
  • Races are a means of determining how long it takes for characters to succeed at something. The character makes a series of checks or tests. Each check represents a certain amount of time passing. Hits from successive checks are added up. Once enough hits have been tallied, the character succeeds.

The Mechanic

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