Dice Pools & Difficulty Benchmarks


The core resolution mechanic of the game is a dice pool based attribute check.

Actions, including attacks, are performed by making attribute checks.  To make an attribute check, form a dice pool and attempt to beat a difficulty benchmark set by the GM.

The maximum dice pool that a character can form is based on his grade he has taken.  A starting character can form a dice pool of up to 5d6. Additional grades add to this maximum pool size using the same scale as attributes and skills (so an additional 3 career grades increases the maximum dice pool by 2d6).

In general, an optimized (5d6) grade 5 character gets a Difficult result on an average roll.

Grade 5 6-7 8-10 11-14 15-19 20-25
Max Dice Pool 5d6 6d6 7d6 8d6 9d6 10d6

Dice pools are formed using attributes, skills, and high-quality equipment. You can only use one attribute pool, one skill pool, and one equipment pool.

Dice Pool = Attribute + Skill + Equipment

1-2 1d6 4 Trivial [-] -
3-5 2d6 7 Easy [7] -
6-9 3d6 11 Routine [10]  Easy [10]
10-14 4d6 14 Challenging [13] Challenging [15]
15-20 5d6 18 Difficult [16] Challenging [15]
21-27 6d6 21 Demanding [21] Difficult [20]
28-35 7d6 25 Strenuous [25] Very Difficult [25]
36-44 8d6 28 Severe [29] Very Difficult [25]
45-54 9d6 32 Herculean [33] Herculean [30]
55-65 10d6 35 Superhuman [37] Superhuman [35]
66-77 11d6 39 Impossible [40] Superhuman [40]
78-90 12d6 42   Legendary [40]
91-104 13d6 46 Mythical [45] Mythical [45]

Accurate benchmarks are mathematically accurate; simple benchmarks are based on a basic 5-point scale and are easier to remember on the fly. Choose the method which suits you.

Improvised -2d6
Standard -
High +1d6
Exceptional +2d6
Mastercraft +3d6
Artisanal +4d6
Legendary +5d6

Equipment quality contributes to the dice pool as follows. 

Standard equipment simply allows you to perform an action normally.  If basic equipment is not available, improvised equipment inflicts a -2d6 penalty.

The number of dice that equipment contributes to a dice pool can never exceed the number of dice that skills contribute to it; you need a certain degree of expertise to fully benefit from higher quality equipment. If the equipment dice exceed the skill dice, reduce the equipment dice to equal the skill dice.

This includes armor (skill in light, medium, heavy, or powered), weapons (skills in swords, bows, rifles, staves, pistols, etc.), and general equipment for which an associated skill might be relevant (skill in meteorology when using ship's sensors to analyse an atmospheric fluctuation, for example).

Optional Rule: Gearmasters

To make the game more equipment focused rather than attribute and skill focused, in Cinematic Mode the dice pool maximum can optionally be applied only to attributes + skills. Gear quality may be added on top after capping, in the same way that exploits can. This changes the flavor of the game and makes the acquisition of high quality equipment a more central part. This will also increase dice pool sizes, and make characters generally more powerful.