As you play your character, you will describe things that you want to do. The Game Master’s job is to help determine what happens as a result of your actions. In this game, all of these situations are resolved through a single mechanic, called a check: you roll 1d20, add modifiers based on your competency or the situation, and announce the check result. Usually, the Game Master will compare this check result to a difficulty number based on the situation and the inherent difficulty of what you’re trying to accomplish. In many common situations, the process for determining the check modifier and difficulty have been worked out in detail, but always remember that you and the GM can decide to arbitrate situations that haven’t been specifically spelled out in the rules, or modify the check or difficulty of well-established rules based on special circumstances.
If your check result is equal to or greater than the difficulty, or if you roll a natural 20, you succeed. If you roll a natural 20 and your check result is greater than the difficulty, you achieve a critical success.
Some tasks are easier to perform than others. In general, the base difficulty of a task will be one of five numbers.
- Trivial tasks have a Difficulty of 5. These are actions that, in general, the GM should just declare that you succeed at rather than having you roll at all. A GM might require a roll on a trivial task in extraordinary circumstances.
- Easy tasks have a difficulty of 10. These are actions that an average, untrained person is expected to have an even chance of accomplishing successfully. Examples: walking eight hours along a paved road without rest, assembling a puzzle, applying bandages to a wound, remembering the name of the capital city of a neighboring province.
- Moderate tasks have a difficulty of 15. These are actions that the average person can pull off with some luck, and which a competently trained person is expected to have an even chance of accomplishing. Examples: walking eight hours through a hilly woodland without rest, assembling a model ship, sewing up a wound, remembering the name of the capital city of every province in your country. If no task difficulty is specified, assume that the task has a moderate difficulty.
- Hard tasks have a difficulty of 20. These actions require a good amount of expertise, training, and natural ability to pull off well, and are only accomplishable through extraordinary luck otherwise. Examples: carving a path through a densely overgrown jungle for eight hours without rest, assembling a clockwork pocketwatch, digging a barbed arrowhead out of a wound without causing more damage, remembering the name of every capital city of every country in the world.
- Legendary tasks have a difficulty of 25. These are tasks that a normal person might accomplish once in a lifetime, and which are noteworthy even for heroes. Examples: assembling a working clockwork model of the solar system, performing open-heart surgery without the aid of magic or modern medicine, remembering the name of every city in your country with a population of 50 or more.
- Nigh Impossible tasks have a difficulty of 30 or higher. These tasks seem utterly impossible to perform, but the truly gifted might pull them off once in a lifetime. Examples: assembling a thinking, feeling clockwork man, reviving the dead, remembering the name of every city the world and a specific historical fact about each of them.