Thursday, April 4, 2013
Spectrum of Awesome
This is the only game mechanic you'll ever need!
Ok, that might be overstating the importance of what you'll find below, not to mention that lots of awesome game mechanics exist in the world. And yet, I think you'll find that this one covers a lot of ground.
Does the cleric receive divine retribution? What happens when the party wizard wants to counter a fireball spell with icy blast? Your thief just scaled the cavern wall and now he wants to throw rocks down on the slithering beast coming after him. When you're not rolling something super specific like a saving throw or a straightforward ability check, there's a place you can go... the one stop shop at Dungeons "R" Us, baby. Behold... the Spectrum of Awesome!!!
Spectrum of Awesome
1% ~ critical success; best possible result.
2% - 5% ~ high degree of success.
6% - 20% ~ standard success.
21% - 39% ~ borderline or minor success.
40% - 60% ~ stalemate; mixed results; complications; some success and some failure.
61% - 79% ~ borderline or minor failure.
80% - 94% ~ standard failure.
95% - 99% ~ high degree of failure.
100% ~ critical failure; worst possible result
All things being equal, more or less, the GM (or player) can roll his percentile dice and go by what's printed above. If the subject has some kind of advantage or disadvantage because of environmental factors, special information, something relating to his race/class or whatever, feel free to spot him 10 points either one way or the other. Maybe the warrior has a razor thin edge because of his incredible brawn. In that case, subtract as many points from his roll as the character's strength bonus. Similarly, that negative charisma modifier might be added. Totally up to you.
As I said, this table is for when a saving throw, ability check, or to-hit roll isn't appropriate. If you like, copy it, paste it, print it, cut it, and glue it to the inside of your GM screen. The SoA won't let you down. Tell me if it works out for you and what happened in your game!
p.s. Instead of adding 4 points here or subtracting 10 points there, why not adjust the results by categories. If a PC has a slight advantage because of some skill or ability, then nudge the outcome one category towards the good. If an NPC has a serious disadvantage because of his ill conceived plan, then adjust the outcome two or three categories to the bad. After a couple sessions of use, this is how the SoA evolved in my game.