Against every action, there is a resistance.

Opposing An Action

Any time a character will be affected by the actions of someone else, regardless of who or why or what, they always get a resistance action. This has a minimum score of one, even if the character is utterly unable to act or they desire the action's effect (e.g. a beneficial status effect).

Who Is Affected?

In most forms of attack, the affected character is fairly obvious - it is the person being hit by the sword or the one whose mind is being fried by the psonic blast - and they get their resistance actions. When an attack is aimed at a location and not a person, the occupants of the target square are always entitled to a resistance, even if the attacker is not aiming at the individual or unaware of the square's occupant.

Aiding Resistance

In combat, without the Aid Resist keyword, events are moving too quickly and it is impossible to help with another character's resistance. It is possible to aid in the resistance of narrative actions if circumstances allow but the normal situation bonuses apply for assisting in actions. A character cannot make their own resistance action against an attack and also aid in another person's resistance against the same attack.

When characters do aid in the resistance, the helping character's action score is added to the target character's resistance. Aiding another character does not expose the helper to the effects of the attack unless they were already being affected and have given up their resistance to aid another.

Attacks with area of effects, e.g. a dragon's fiery breath, trigger resistance actions from all within the area or targeted by the attack. Each person affected makes separate resistance actions. A successful resistance does not prevent the attack or its effects on other people, it only means the character was unhurt or unaffected by it.

Secondary Effects

With a secondary effect there are two stages, the initiating action and the secondary effect itself. These are entirely separate and provoke resistance actions against each one. Determine who is entitled to a resistance against the initial action and resolve the action before repeating the process for the secondary effect.

Lord Peter is helping with a police raid on a gang of revolutionaries. While the heavies kick down the door, Lord Peter is standing outside with Commissioner Reynolds and a few plainclothes officers. A man in a beret appears at a window shouting "Death to the pigs!" and throws a grenade in Lord Peter's direction.

After a few moment discussion, the group decides that Lord Peter would be at the centre of the group and it is his square at which the grenade is thrown. As the occupant of the targeted square, Lord Peter gets a resistance action against the throwing of the grenade. Lord Peter cannot stop the grenade being thrown but he can stop it hitting its target.

The trouble is, Lord Peter has few advantages that will help deflect the grenade. In the end he opts for his Sporting Life advantage and uses his briefcase as an ad-hoc cricket bat. It is enough and he beats the attacker's score by one. The Game Leader declares the grenade is deflected but merely bounces into the neighbouring square occupied by the Commissioner. As Reynolds was not the target of an action, she does not get a resistance action to prevent this.

The grenade now goes off with a Blast (4d6) attacking everyone within three squares of the grenade. Poor Commissioner Reynolds must defend against the full 4d6+0 while Lord Peter and the plainclothes officers take 3d6+0 or less. Each gets a resistance action against the effects of the blast and takes damage based on the degree of success.


Unless the action is aimed at or affecting a character, they do not get a resistance action. The exception is when both parties are in the same 5' square. This enables the character to make a proximity resistance action against any action the other occupant makes. The score from the proximity resistance action is additional to any resistance the action would normally encounter.

Inherent Difficulty

Difficulty Resistance Comment Score
Automatic - Almost everyone does it without fail; walking. 0
Trivial 1d6+1 Most people can do it; driving a car. 5
Simple 2d6+2 A task normally needing a level of training; driving a lorry or operating a machine. 9
Routine 3d6+3 Normal tasks for a well-trained professional; diagnosing a common disease. 13
Challenging 4d6+4 A manageable task for a trained professional but something an untrained person will most likely fail at; landing a plane. 18
Formidable 5d6+5 A task only achievable after years of training; test piloting a plane or competing in the Olympics. 22
Herculean 6d6+6 A task only a world-beating champion can achieve; setting an Olympic record or landing on the moon. 26

Actions not targeted at an individual, such as deciphering an enemy's secret code, are resisted by the inherent difficulty of the task.

When eyeballing the difficulty of an action the Game Leader should consider how hard it would be for an average character to do. In game terms, a character will be able to muster two dice to almost any task by drawing on a Life advantage (e.g. Problem Solving, Speed) and concentrating. In tasks more directly relevant to their specialist skills they can bring more advantages into play, making success more likely.

Dice Versus Score

For fast-flowing complex situations the Game Leader should roll the specified resistance dice. The randomness of the dice reflects the ever-changing situation and the players may get a lucky break (or just the reverse). However some challenges are fixed; the basic difficulty of picking a lock does not change from attempt to attempt. In these circumstances the Game Leader may prefer to use a fixed score.

There are no rules about when to use dice or when to use a fixed score, it is a matter of personal preference for the Game Leader. The author generally uses dice even for an apparently fixed task as it makes everything less predictable.


In some games the characters are truly special, super-heroes with abilities normal people can only dream about. Or perhaps they are more like an action hero in a film - a normal person who is just supremely good at what they do. Finally the game might be rooted in gritty realism where the heroes are just ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Depending on the style of play the Game Leader and group want, the inherent difficultly should be adjusted. The table above assumes the characters are action heroes, a bit above the normal population in ability. Increasing the number of dice per difficulty level will make the game more realistic while decreasing them moves it into the realm of super-heroes.


Each game setting or universe has its own level of technology. This might be electronic or magic technology and reflects the world's progress level. In our real universe, cloning an animal would count as being Challenging or Formidable but in a science fiction game (or even a magical game) it might be Simple or even Automatic.

Each published setting gives guidance on the baseline difficulty with examples. Game Leaders creating their own settings should form their own list of examples.

Fun & Fairness

Carefully calculating the inherent difficulty of an action in a realistic fashion can quickly make tasks impossible, but the Game Leader's job is not to produce a realistic model of the universe. Instead the Game Leader should always be asking themselves about how to make the game more enjoyable to play and adjusting the resistance accordingly. This does not mean the Game Leader should makes things easy for players. Overcoming challenges is a key aspect of having fun and generates feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. At times, adding dice to the resistance will make for a more enjoyable time for everyone.

The fairness of a situation is also a major consideration. Players who think ahead and characters who are well-suited to a task should find actions easier than those who act without forethought or lack the appropriate advantages.

Setting the resistance dice is an art not a science and can generally only be learnt by playing the game. Ultimately there is no right answer to how hard a task should be because it comes down to whatever is best for your game and your players.

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open/mechanics/core/resistance.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/05 11:12 by tregenza
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