The number one rule of our Dice Rules is: Use dice as little as possible. We believe that dice rolls really break the flow of RP, and that most actions can be sorted out between two players who are trying to create a story together. On a day to day basis, there should not really be any actual need for dice to get through most roleplay situations. If your character has no skill in something and is going up against someone who is a Master level of that thing, it's sensible to just RP that as them probably being better at that thing. We trust our players to roll with the punches, and to take their licks as need be, in order to make the game fun for everyone. You don't always win, but you also shouldn't always lose. And hopefully the system of skills will reflect that.
But, sometimes, you probably are going to have to use dice. The main use of dice in our sim is to sort out tough situations without the need of a Storyteller on hand. Or to keep large Storyteller scenes moving at a decent pace. Too, sometimes it's good to have a bit of variety. Maybe the underdog wins this time, or at least, doesn't lose quite as largely as they otherwise would have.
Rule number two of our Dice Rules is: Dice are a story aid, not a story killer. Sometimes, you may roll bad, but an ST will let you scrape by anyway. And sometimes, you may roll great, but in order to keep a scene from ending prematurely, the STs don't let you win quite as well as you otherwise would have. Players, too, have the option of disregarding the dice if everyone in the scene decides the outcome just doesn't work for the story.
About Our Dice: We use a D20 system, modified by bonuses based on skills and some abilities. The dice must be rolled from the sim hud, and not from a personal hud. The sim hud will display a verification of your roll and be logged. Note that if you are caught cheating -- either using a non-standard dice hud, or misrepresenting your skill levels for the sake of higher rolls, you will likely lose your character and be asked to leave CV.
There are five types of dice rolls for CV:
1) Magic Rolls-- When casted magic is done against a PC, or an ST requests a Magic Roll vs an NPC. Magic against objects or areas does not require a roll unless you're trying to see how effective the magic is against the object or area.
2) Power Rolls -- Non-casted abilities used against a PC or an ST.
2) Static Skill Rolls -- To see if you can achieve the thing with your skill.
3) Contested Skill Rolls -- To see if you can achieve the thing with your skill vs. another player trying to do something else with their skills.
Relent: Saying "I relent" in a roll means that you automatically allow the other person's roll to succeed against you. When you relent, you do not have to roll dice. This can be used for various things. Healing is one example. You would not generally contest healing casted on you, so you might say "I relent to the healing roll". It can also be used situationally, if you are perhaps, trying to be underestimated, or if your character would not generally protect themselves from something for whatever reason. Relent is also often used by players who do not want to "show their hand" or let others know how high their skill might be in something.
Interrupt: One of the biggest downsides to casted magic is that it takes so long to perform. This makes it hard to use in combat, but not impossible. In large fights, those who wish to focus on casted magic often find a safer place to cast, and focus on that instead of fighting - since it is generally accepted that you can not cast magic and be in combat at the same time (both require unique concentration). Too, if a casted magic spell is interrupted -- usually because the caster is targeted by combat, they must begin to cast the spell again. In order to defend against a blow directed at you, you must stop casting magic. However, you CAN sometimes relent to the incoming action and continue casting magic if it would not incapacitate your character. Those attempting to interrupt magic are encouraged to state this during their action.
Modifier: A modifier is the bonus you get based on your level of skill. Modifiers give +2 per level of skill. So if you were an apprentice in a skill, you'd get +4. But if you were a grandmaster, you'd get +10. Usually the HUD calculates this for you, asking you what level of modifier to add to your roll when you roll.
Critical Fail: Rolling a 1 is often interpreted as a critical fail. It means that not only have you not succeeded, but you've failed so badly that it is entirely possible additional calamity will be heaped upon you. For instance, if you rolled a 1 while climbing, not only would you fall, you'd probably break several bones. And rocks might fall on top of you as well.
Critical Success: Rolling a 20 is often interpreted as a critical success. Not only have you succeeded, but your success was beyond all imagination. If you rolled a 20 doing a Piloting maneuver to escape the enemies, not only did you succeed in Piloting, but you may have additionally caused your pursuer to crash into a nearby asteroid!
Health Pool: Your health pool starts at 30, and decreases as you take points of damage. When you have no health left, you are incapacitated, and can no longer fight. Because this is a 99% consent sim, and you generally get to choose if your character dies or not, a killing blow can not be declared without your consent. We don't really watch the Health Pool strictly, because doing so might absolutely kill a story if you are just having a bad dice day, so this is really just a GUIDELINE, and you can definitely wiggle-room it a bit for story purposes. Items or powers which increase endurance or provide armor add +5 apiece to this. So, physical armor might be a +5. Shielding magic might be another +5. A power like the Schildar might be another +5. Subraces known to be exceptionally durable, such as Minotaurs, Sculpts, Oni, and Gargoyles and Drakes get an additional +5. Some races will also get a bonus to their health pool. They are thus:
Mutants and Wildkin: +10
Celestials: +5 (Except for the Pyxine. They get none.)
Faemorii: +8 (Except Vi'su when tiny, then none.)
Wraiths: +2 when not manifest
Because Casted Magic is so difficult to perform, and is not really geared towards use in combat, all Casted Magic spells are assumed to succeed in some amount if they are performed successfully without interruption.
Magic is assumed to always succeed against objects or areas (no specific PC target). A simple D20 roll is done to tell how successful it was. The higher the roll, the more successful. Magic against an NPC will need a roll only if an ST requires it, and even then, some NPCs may be too powerful for a single player to defeat with magic, alone.
However, the level to which the Casted Magic succeeds against a PC is the subject of the Magic Dice Roll. It is preferred by the staff of CV that dice not be used, and that people generally just talk out what they think should happen in a scene. However, if at least one party wishes a dice roll for accuracy and validity, it can be used.
The Caster: Rolls a D20 plus their Magic Level Bonus. The Magic Level Bonuses are as follows:
Level 1 - 3
Level 2 - 6
Level 3 - 9
Level 4 - 12
The Defender: Rolls a D20 plus their Magic Defense OR they roll a D20 plus their Skill Defense. (Magic Defense and Skill Defense do not stack). Each level of the appropriate magic defense is +2 for a total of +10. If they do not have a Magic Defense or Skill defense, they roll a straight D20.
(Yes, that means that a defender would be rolling, at best, a +10 vs a +12. Magic is very strong. Defense is generalized.)
The Caster's roll is compared to the Defender's roll. Highest wins.
If the Caster fails: The magic succeeded, but the effect was minimal, short-lived (perhaps even shorter than recommended duration) AND the target knows magic was cast upon them and by whom.
If the Caster succeeds by 1-7: The magic minimally succeeded. Unless they have a magic-sensing ability, the target does not know magic was cast on them or by whom.
IF the Caster succeeds by 8-16: The magic succeeded and was quite strong. Unless they have a magic-sensing ability, the target does not know magic was cast on them or by whom.
If the Caster succeeds by 17 or more: The magic succeeeded, and the effect is of a longer duration than normal, or more impactful than normal. The target does not know magic was cast on them or by whom. Even those with magic-sensing abilities are not certain that magic was cast on them or by whom
Defenders can "relent" to a roll, meaning the success is automatically assumed. This is generally done when positive magic such as healing is cast on a person, or they are in a state where it is believed they can not really defend.
Note: It should be noted that extra effort on the part of the Caster towards extra Energy, Time, or Reagents may be rewarded with additional bonuses. By standard, an additional +1 should be added for every extra post that the player puts into the casting. Reagents and Energy may need to be judged by an ST for bonuses.
Power rolls occur when an offensive non-casted-magic power is used against another PC or NPC, but the power would not be considered a normal combat roll. For instance, if you had the mutation "Toxic blood" and you were flinging it at someone in the hopes of getting it on them, this would simply be a throwing attack, and a normal combat roll. Power rolls are also not generally used for area or multiple-party "attacks" such as "Toxic Gas". Those are just RPed out accordingly, and if you have something to counter them, then you successfully counter.
An appropriate use of a "Power Roll" might be something like the mutation "Pheromone Manipulation". This fits the criteria for a power roll in that it is not combat related, and the target is only one other PC or NPC. Because there are potentially ways for this power to fail, such as the pheromones simply dissipating before they reach the other person, or maybe the other person simply being too stuffy to inhale enough for the pheromones, it could possibly be a contested action. Power Rolls of this nature work much like Casted Magic rolls. However, because there are no defenses simply against non-magic powers, the bonuses are different. There will be occasions where particular skills might be used to defend. Use your best judgment on those.
The Power "User", the person doing the offensive action, rolls their D20 plus 1/2 of the XP cost of the power. So, in our example, Pheromone Manipulation is 4xp. Half of 4 is 2. So they will roll the D20, and add 2.
The Defender, or the person who is the target of the action, rolls their D20. There are no real skills to defend power rolls unless otherwise stated in the power. In this instance -- you can't dodge a smell.
If the Power User fails by 10 or more: The power failed.
If the Power User fails by less than 10: The power was minimally successful. The usual duration will be shortened, and the target's attention is drawn to the power user. They do not definitively know the power was used, but may have suspicions that something potentially off or nefarious occurred.
If the Power User succeeds by 1-7: The power succeeded. The target does not know any power was used on them unless otherwise stated in the power's description or the power is just obvious.
IF the Power User succeeds by 8-16: The power succeeded in a huge way. The target does not know any power was used on them unless otherwise stated in the power's description or the power is just obvious.
If the Power User succeeds by 17 or more: The power succeeeded, and the effect is of a longer duration than normal, or more impactful than normal. The target does not know any power was used on them.
Some (but not all) powers which may fall under this category of roll in some circumstances are:
Elemental Power Mutation
Minor Memory Adjustment
XiVe Radiation Control
Internal Hive (Fleshcrafting)
The Sylvan Curse (Extra)
Dream Feeding (Extra)
Notice Me, Senpai (Extra)
Soothe The Beast (Extra)
Kinetic Manipulation (Augmentation)
Many Subrace powers that target others, but are not combat related. Subrace powers do not cost XP, but are at a standard +3 modifier.
Static Skill Rolls
Static Skill rolls are rolls to determine if you can achieve something with a skill. The roll does not involve another player or NPC. This might be a question of, "Can I use my medicine skill to figure out what ailments these symptoms point to?" Or, "Can i use my Perception skills to see if anything in this office looks out of place?" Or, "Can I use my piloting skill to drive this ship I've never been in before?" Static skills are all about you, and your environment or goals, and while other players may be tangentally affected by your roll, they are not the direct target of what you are trying to do.
In general, static skill rolls work thusly:
Your roll, plus your skill vs 11.
If the combination of your roll and your skill is 11 or higher, you can assume you at least minimally achieved what you were attempting to do. However, if you roll a 1, even if you have a +10 for your skill, you fall so miserably that a critical fail occurs.
This is a general rule of thumb on static skills. However, sometimes what you are trying to do is harder than average. Maybe the ailment you are trying to figure out is very rare. Maybe the way the office is out of place is more difficult than usual to notice. Maybe the ship you are trying to pilot is unique or very alien. In these cases, if an ST is present, they have the option of making the static roll harder. It is recommended that the target for a static roll never be above 17, because that represents something that is nigh unrealistically hard.
If you fail a static roll, you can roll it again, but you can not do so immediately. You must wait at least one post in between your attempts before trying again, and you must have the opportunity to do the thing you are trying. If you do a static skill roll, you generally should not be in combat. Because it's hard to do most of these things while also fighting for your life.
In general, if you do not have a skill for something, you can not roll to attempt it. However, there are some items for which we do not require skill rolls. Anything that an average person would be expected to know in the modern world would not require a skill roll. For instance, we would not require you to roll Cooking in order to cook toast, or to roll Literature in order to read an average book. Use your best judgment on this, and if you really do not know, you may wish to ask a mentor or ST. In ST scenes, an ST may counteract this, and allow someone to roll for something without the skill, however there must be an ST present to decide this, and the situations under which they will allow it will be limited.
Contested Skill Rolls:
Contested skill rolls occur when one character is attempting to do something non-combat related against another PC or NPC. A classic example of this might be Perception vs. Hiding. One character might be looking for another character who is trying to hide. Contested skill rolls work exactly as one might expect:
Player 1's roll plus skill modifier vs. Player 2's roll plus skill modifier.
In this case, the player with Perception would roll and add his Perception modifier, and the player with Hiding would roll and add his Hiding modifier. Whichever player had the higher combined roll would be the one who succeeded.
The question then arises, what if you do not have a skill to contest the roll? What if one player had Perception, and the other player did not have Hiding? The roll would be the same, except the player trying to hide would have no bonus from their skill. They would simply roll a straight D20, and the rolls would be compared. There is still a possibility, even if the player with Perception was a Grandmaster in that skill, that the other player could remain hidden. It is simply a much lower chance.
If you fail a contested skill roll, you generally can not attempted it again that scene unless the situation in which it was attempted changes to where a new roll would make sense. For instance, if the person rolling perception got much closer to the person trying to hide, or if the person trying to hide made a noise, or moved positions, then you could try the skill contested skill roll one more time. However, like with static skill rolls, you can only do so after a round has passed between rolls.
Combat rolls are the most complicated type of rolls. In general, they involve only the skills from the Physical Skills category. Combat rolls occur in rounds. There are two types of rounds: Player vs. player, and player vs. ST. Let's describe player vs. player, first.
Important note: There is no way for us to cover every permutation which could occur in combat. These rules are simply guidelines for players to use during combat scenes. Whenever possible, it is better to decide on the outcome of a fight and simply RP it out accordingly. This is both more expedient, but also usually more fun for both parties, who can focus on the story rather than the numbers.
Player vs. Player:
In a player vs. player roll, one character is attacking another character physically. This might be to grab them, or punch them, or stab them, or any other type of physical action. Although posts are usually much longer than this, I will add some short RP text here, to show how the flow of a combat tends to occur in CV. In this situation, a Shifter (Jennifer) is attacking a vampire (Steve).
> Jennifer raises her sword and swings it at Steve.
After this post, both Jennifer and Steve will roll. Jennifer will roll Bladed Weapons. Steve has decided to attempt to Dodge the blow. Both will roll a D20 plus their desired skill's modifier. In this case, Jennifer's total was 22, and Steve's total is 15. Steve has then taken 7 points of damage, which are deducted from his Heath Pool. In the next round, Steve decides to fight back. He's going to attempt to hit Jennifer with a bag full of solid metal mice. That's not really a standard weapon, so it qualifies for the "exotic weapons" category. But, before he describes his action, Steve is going to describe getting hit by Jennifer's swing, showing in RP the outcome of the previous roll.
> Steve takes a slash to the shoulder and stumbles back. It causes his bag of metal mice to slide down his arm and he catches it with the other hand. Then he spins, trying to smack Jennifer with the mice.
At this point, Jennifer (who does not have the Dodge skill) has a choice. She can either raise her sword and defend with the sword itself. Or she can use the parry skill. Both of these seem like parrying. But rolling with the sword skill means that she has spent her attack action for this round. In effect, she is attacking back, but she's attacking Steve's bag. For this round, Steve will roll Exotic Weapons, and Jennifer has decided to roll Bladed Weapons, because she does not have the Parry skill. Steve's total for his roll is 12, and Jennifer's roll is 15. Jennifer has taken no points of damage from Steve's attack. Steve also doesn't take damage, because this was not Jennifer's attack round. Unfortunately, Jennifer can now not attack this round with her sword. Because you can only use an attack skill once per round. However, Jennifer CAN attempt to punch Steve, because Hand-to-hand is a different skill than Bladed Weapons.
> Jennifer pushes away the bag of metal mice with her sword. Why are there metal mice? Only Steve knows, really. But while Steve is close, Jennifer attempts to sweep his legs, in order to knock him off his feet.
Rounds can continue in this way until one party has run out of points in their Health Pool and is in capacitated, or the combattants simply decide (or are forced) to stop fighting.
Note: If you do not have a skill to defend against an attack, you roll unranked to find out how much damage you take. If your roll is miraculously higher than your opponent's even unranked, you simply take no damage. Something slipped. Their aim was off. Someone stumbled. You cringed at just the right time for it to miss you. Whatever. Similarly, if you attack someone in a way you do not have the skill for, you roll unranked. For instance, if I did not have Hand-to-hand combat, but tried to punch someone, I would roll unranked.
Combat rounds can become far more complicated if there are more players, perhaps 2 players vs 1, or even more. Let's say that in this scenario, a human named Gretchen has shown up to assist Jennifer. Now both of them are attacking Steve. Steve has less ability to fight them both. Each round, Steve can make one defense move, and one offensive move. If he has the right skills (such as Parry), he could parry blows from one, and use his Exotic Weapon to defend against blows from another. But this leaves him with no offensive moves. Unless he has a power with which he can disable one of the other two combattants, it might now be in his best interest to flee. However, if Steve is a Master or Grandmaster in Exotic Weapons, and he has claimed a specialization in Bags of Iron Mice, against two or more combattants he gets an extra combat roll per round, utilizing that specific weapon. That would go a bit like this:
> Jennifer attempts to slice Steve with her sword.
> Gretchen tries to hit Steve with her fists.
In defense, Steve rolls parry to parry the sword strike from Jennifer, and he rolls exotic weapons to catch the punch from Gretchen with the bag of iron mice. He will roll once for each of these. However, instead of having no actions left, he can claim his Specialization (which must be recorded on his character sheet), and can now use his specialization to hit either Gretchen OR Jennifer (but not both).
But what if a THIRD person shows up to start combatting Steve? Then things become very complicated. In general, the more parties are participating in a combat, the more confusing and difficult the rolls become. It is for this reason that we simply ask that you do your best based on the system, and make sure you remain chill. After all, your character is not going to die in this combat unless you decide that you are going to have your character die. If it seems like the combat is not being conducted properly, or you do not believe the correct rolls are being made, it might be best for you to have your character exit the situation, or to call for an admin to officiate. Note that admins are not always available to do this, so your request for an officiate may be denied, leaving you with the option of exiting the scene, or time-pausing it until an officiate can assist you RPing it out. Time pausing is only valid if everyone in the scene agrees to it. Otherwise, the scene should be ended and dispersed with all combattants going their separate ways.
There is one special note, and that is firearms. Under most circumstances, firearms can not be dodged or parried. Instead, they work like a static roll. The firearms user rolls their D20 plus firearms modifier vs. 11. If they get 11 or above, they have successfully shot their target, with the better the roll the more damage they have done. If they roll below 11, they have missed. HOWEVER, this is only true IF the firearms user has taken a full round before shooting to aim. (And in order to aim, you must be able to clearly see some part of the target.) If they do not aim, then their roll is vs. 14. They must roll a 14 or higher to do damage.
There are limited skills which can dodge firearms. They work like normal combat rolls.
Player vs. ST:
Often in Convergence, we will have large events where an ST plays an NPC or enemy which the players are trying to fight or use magic to thwart. These are called "ST Scenes" and in them, we do not practice normal post order rounds. Instead, we do what are called "ST Rounds". In ST Rounds, the Storyteller posts first, and then all players in the scene can post their actions (often against the ST's NPCs) in whatever order they want. After waiting a certain amount of time, the ST will post again, whether or not everyone has posted. This allows us to keep really large scenes moving, rather than keeping to a strict post order. Usually, the time period between ST posts will depend on the number of people in the scene, with more people causing the ST to allow a little more time.
For ST rounds, the ST will often post a scenario, and then players will post their actions and make a roll representing that action. During the course of the round, the ST will be keeping track and doing rolls. (IT should be noted however that the ST may be doing rolls in a delayed manner. Or rolling for additional things that can not immediately be seen. So the roll that is immediately AFTER your roll may not be the response to your roll.) At the end of the scene, the ST will post the outcome of the players' rolls, as well as any offensive actions that the players need to defend against. They will do their defense rolls immediately after the ST's roll. An example may be something like this:
> [Storyteller] As the group gets deeper into the woods, they see movement in the bushes. Something large seems to be there.
> Janet narrows her eyes to see what's going on. She leans forward a bit, and tries to see what is in the bushes. (Perception roll.)
--Janet rolls a 17.
>Greg immediately pulls his sword. He's very ready for whatever it is, and moves into a combat position. (No roll.)
>Steve tries to hide behind a tree. (Hiding roll.)
--Steve rolls a 12.
--ST rolls a 7. (In this roll, the ST is rolling vs. Janet, as his NPC is trying to hide. -Hiding roll.)
--ST rolls a 22. (In this roll, the ST is rolling vs. Steve as his NPC is trying to use his sense of smell to determine who all is there. -Perception roll.)
>[Storyteller] In the bushes, Janet can see a bear moving around. It looks like it might have several cubs with it. Unfortunately, even though it is trying to stay hidden, it has noticed the trio, even Steve, who is trying to hide. Sensing that Greg might be a threat with his sudden movement and the glint of sword, the bear attacks! It leaps from the bushes and swipes at Greg. (First roll vs Greg.) One of the larger cubs decides to attack Janet and bite her in the shin. (Second roll vs. Janet.)
--ST rolls a 19 (Large bear h2h roll.)
--ST rolls a 8 (Small bear h2h roll.)
--Greg rolls a 12 (Parry roll.)
--Janet rolls a 15. (No defense, straight D20 roll.)
>Janet manages to back away from the bear coming at her and hide behind a tree. It might be the same tree Steve is behind. (No aggressive action.)
>Steve pulls a gun out of his bag of mice (was that there all along?) and begins to aim at the large bear. (No roll, aiming round.)
>Greg tries to stab the bear in the head with his sword.
--Greg rolls a 18.
--ST rolls a 6
This rolling will continue throughout the combat, with the ST guiding the scene and letting players know what kind of rolls need to be made, until eventually the bear is defeated, or the situation is diffused in another way. Note that STs have the final say in an ST combat. They may make spur of the moment calls on questions in order to keep the scene moving. These spur of the moment calls should be considered to be rules only for the scene. Afterwards, the ST may need do more research to make sure the call was correct, and may change the decision FOR FUTURE SCENES. The original call stays as it was for the scene. STs work very hard to make events fun for players, but not everything will always turn out the way we want every scene, and sometimes we may not agree with the call the ST has made. The best thing to do is to roll with the call for the scene in question, then perhaps speak to an ST afterwards to verify that it is correct and how things will stand for future scenes.