Core Mechanics: Basics of Ruling Actions

In this section you will learn the the basics of how to rule actions being done in the game.
We will assume that you are familiar with some of the core mechanic principles already that can be found on these pages:

So you may want to refresh yourself on those topics as ruling actions builds off of them.

This page may also seem long, but what is in here builds on the above and it is mostly examples.
So take your time.

You may have seen this term around much of the site, though it often is only used when talking about ruling.

Trait - A term to mean a character's stat or might that was used to perform an action to be ruled.

In by using this term, it gives a all in one word to mean any type of action related stat, and if the character has a skill that also adds abilities to such actions, then it can mean the might. This way we don't always need to say stat, or might, etc. We can just say trait.

Actions in this game are not separated up by the type of 'flavor' they are as mundane/physical and magical/psi actions are all ruled exactly the same. What does matter is how many traits are used to perform an action.

Thus actions can be broken up into two types:

    One Trait - Only one stat or might is used. Reflects some of the more riskier, or situational actions in game.

    Two Trait - Two Stats or mights are used. This will be the most common type of action used in game.

We will breaking this down as if you did not have the dice ruler to help you. This is to help you understand how the numbers are determined on your own. The dice ruler does make this a lot easier and take less time, but you still need to understand why you plug in the numbers as you do.

One Trait Rulings

In order to determine the PP of an action we know we need a few things first:
The stat/might (trait) of the character
What the player actually rolled
The difficulty they are up against
What roll is needed for success

The trait and actual roll will be provided by the player in their character post.
The difficulty is provided by the SH.
The needed roll is determined by comparing the character's might to the difficulty and the probability that they have to beat that difficulty. (We cover that in depth here: Core Mechanics: Understanding the Numbers)

Once you have all of that, then it is determining if it was a success or failure:

(Actual Roll) - (Needed Roll) = Success if positive (winsby), Failure if 0 or negative (failsby)

Then you calculate the PP.
(Character stat/might)x(winsby/100) = PP


Abra wants to scurry up a very high wall very fast.
They roll their Dex stat (40), and a running skill (40)
The roll they get is a 60
The difficulty determined is 40

Roll needed:Their might is 80, which is double the difficulty. So they have an 80% chance to succeed, so they need to roll at least a 20.

60 - 20 = 40 winsby it is definitely a success.

PP = (80) x (40/100) = 80 x 0.4 = 32

Now you can use the PP to determine if there is any advantages that come with that large of a success. In this specific case, moving tends to come with a distance traveled or able to avoid any other potential hazards and such. It all comes down to the situation. We shall cover some more specific cases in other pages.

When Using The Dice Ruler all you need to do is plug the numbers into the proper space, and it will do all the math for you. But hopefully you are seeing the pattern here.

One Trait vs One Trait

This is still a one trait action, the difference is that we have another action involved in the scene. Often this can be someone doing something that directly counters another action, or is trying to perform an action against a target at the same time one is acting against them, or two people competing for a goal.

So now you need to do everything you did with the one trait, only for each action involved.

However this also changes how the difficulty is determined, as it is now the trait of the opposing action. Everything else

Abra and Bill are having an arm wrestling contest.
They use their STR stat and combat skill to see whom would win.

Abra rolls their action, 1 dice for their STR and combat skill - their might is 80, and they rolled a 60
Bill rolls their action, 1 dice for their STR and combat skill - his might is 80, and they rolled a 70

Abra's difficulty for this action is Bill's might of 80
Bill's difficulty for this action is Abra's might of 80

At a glance they each have mights and difficulties that are equal. Which means they each have a 50% chance to succeed, so they need to roll a 51 or higher.

Abra: 60 - 51 = 9 winsby (A success)
PP = (80)x(9/100) = 80 x 0.09 = 7.2 PP

Bill: 70 - 51 = 19 winsby (A succeess)
PP = (80)x(19/100) = 80 x 0.19 = 15.2

Now how that works out in the narration depends if they were just acting against each other, or directly countering each others actions, or competing against one another. The one that generated the most PP gets the best outcome in the situation, in short - they win. The others may have a partial success, but they will still fall short in comparison to the larger PP.

Don't be afraid to have some fun with double success and failures, especially when actions directly counter each other. Partial successes are encouraged as it gives players more to work off of.

Though when the actions directly counter each other then there is one little extra step - subtracting the pp and seeing what is left to determine the overall success or failure.

In our example of the arm wrestling contest they directly counter each other so we would subtract the PP from each other as they do have a direct influence on each other.
Abra: 7.2-15.2 = -8
Bill: 15.2 - 7.2 = 8

This turns Abra's success into a failure, and Bill gets the success, so he wins the contest.

Two Trait Ruling

Two trait ruling works the same way as one trait ruling. You will go need to determine the winsby of each trait. However we average the winsby and mights of each trait in order to determine the PP.

So our PP formula looks like:

((Might 1 + Might 2)/2) x (((Winsby1 + Winsby2)/2)/100)


Deb is a medic and is trying to treat someone that got shot. She rolls Int and Dex to use her medical skill to patch up the wound. The wound is pretty bad so it is at a 40 diff to treat.
Int might 80, rolled 75, roll needed at a 40 diff is 20
Dex might 80, rolled 60, roll needed at a 40 diff is 20

Now we have to calculate the winsby for each trait involved.

Int: 75 - 20 = 55 winsby
Dex: 60 - 20 = 40 winsby

In order to get the PP we need just one winsby, so we take the average of those winsbys:
(55+40)/2 = 95/2 = 47.5 averaged winsby

We also need to average the mights:
(80+80)/2 = 160/2 = 80 average might

Plug that into our PP formula:
(80)x47.5/100) = 80x0.475 = 38 PP

Deb is able to treat the wound for 38 PP. In this case the PP often translates into restoring the target's hit points, so that would offset 38 pts of damage done to the target.

It is also entirely possible for one of the traits of a two trait to actually fail the roll. But since the average is taken it still means the action can succeed of the other trait rolled well enough. Though if both the traits fail to make their rolls, then the action is a failure.

When you use the dice ruler you will not have to worry about doing the averaging on your own as that will be handled as well. But it is important to have this foundation to kind of understand where the numbers are coming from, especially in lopsided rolls.

Two Trait vs Two Trait Ruling

This is exactly like a one trait vs one trait, but just using two instead of one. This kind of ruling will come up mostly in combat where there are some extra rules on what determines the difficulty for certain actions. Those will be covered in more detail in other sections as for now we want to focus on the bare basics.

Cole and Dale are trying to hack each other.
They each have an Int stat of 40, Dex stat of 40 and a hacking skill of 40.

Cole rolled a 50 on their int might and a 70 on their dex might
Dale rolled a 65 on their int might and a 40 on their dex might

Just like a One Trait v One Trait, the diffs for the actions become the stat/mights of the one doing the opposing action.
Since they both have the same mights, this would make both of their difficulties 80.
This means they need to roll a 51 one or higher to succeed.
Now at a glance it looks like one trait has already failed - thats ok. Since we take the average they still have a chance.

So lets break it down like above.


    Int might: 50 - 51 = -1 failsby
    Dex might: 70 - 51 = 19 winsby

    Average winsby: (19-1)/2 = 18/2 = 9
    Average might: (80+80)/2 = 160/2 = 80

    PP: (80)x(9/100) = 80x0.09 = 7.2pp


    Int might: 60 - 51 = 14 winsby
    Dex might: 40 - 51 = -11 failsby

    Average winsby: (14-11)/2 = 3/2 = 1.5
    Average might: (80+80)/2 = 160/2 = 80

    PP: (80)x(1.5/100) = 80x0.015 = 1.2pp

So even with a failsby of one trait they both managed to have a small success.

Now we compare to see whom got the most pp
Cole: 7.2 pp
Dale: 1.2 pp
7.2 is more then 1.2, so Cole's action performed better then Dale's did. So while Dale may have been able to squeak in there for a tiny peek, Cole was quick to stop him and put the situation in his favor.

To come: Quiz for practice on basic trait ruling.

Ruling : Go to Ruling Main Page
SH Course : Go to SH Course Main Page