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Basic Task Resolution System

These rules assume a standardized system for determining the success or failure of any given task. That system is:

1d20 + Modifiers vs. Target Number

The Modifiers and Target Number are determined by the type of task.

If the result of the d20 roll + the Modifiers equals or exceeds the Target Number, the test is successful. Any other result is a failure.

A “natural 20” on the die roll is not an automatic success. A “natural 1” on the die roll is not an automatic failure, unless the rules state otherwise.

Dice Notation

These rules use the following die notations:

  • d4 = four sided die
  • d6 = six sided die
  • d8 = eight sided die
  • d10 = ten sided die
  • d12 = twelve sided die
  • d20 = twenty sided die
  • d% = percentile dice

Die rolls are expressed in the format:

[#] die type [+/- modifiers]

Example: 3d6+2 means: “Roll 3 six sided dice. Add the result of the three dice together. Add 2.”


Sometimes a special rule makes you multiply a number or a die roll. As long as you’re applying a single multiplier, multiply the number normally. When two or more multipliers apply, however, combine them into a single multiple, with each extra multiple adding 1 less than its value to the first multiple. Thus, a double (x2) and a double (x2) applied to the same number results in a triple (x3, because 2 + 1 = 3).

Rounding Fractions

In general, if you wind up with a fraction, round down, even if the fraction is one-half or larger.

Exception: Certain rolls, such as damage and hit points, have a minimum of 1.

Ability Modifiers

Each ability will have a modifier. The modifier can be calculated using this formula:

(ability/2) -5 [round result down]

The modifier is the number you add to or subtract from the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.

Changing Ability Scores

Ability scores can increase with no limit.

Poisons, diseases, and other effects can cause temporary ability damage. Ability points lost to damage return naturally, typically at a rate of 1 point per day for each affected ability.

As a character ages, some ability scores go up and others go down.

When an ability score changes, the modifier associated with that score also changes.

Ability Scores

Every character has six basic Ability Scores:

  • Strength (STR)
  • Dexterity (DEX)
  • Constitution (CON)
  • Intelligence (INT)
  • Wisdom (WIS)
  • Charisma (CHA)

The Score of these Abilities ranges from 0 to infinity. A limit, if any, will be specified in the rules. The normal human range is 3 to 18. It is possible for a creature to have a score of “none”. A score of “none” is not the same as a score of “0”. A score of “none” means that the creature does not possess the ability at all. The modifier for a score of “none” is +0.

A character with a CON of 0 is dead. A 0 in any other score means the character is helpless and cannot move.

Keeping track of negative ability score points is never necessary. A character’s ability score can’t drop below 0.

Use of Ability Scores


Any creature that can physically manipulate other objects has at least 1 point of Strength. A creature with no Strength score can’t exert force, usually because it has no physical body or because it doesn’t move. The creature automatically fails Strength checks. If the creature can attack, it applies its Dexterity modifier to its base attack instead of a Strength modifier.


Any creature that can move has at least 1 point of Dexterity. A creature with no Dexterity score can’t move. If it can act, it applies its Intelligence modifier to initiative checks instead of a Dexterity modifier. The creature fails all Reflex saves and Dexterity checks.


If a character’s Constitution changes enough to alter his or her Constitution modifier, his or her hit points also increase or decrease accordingly at the same time.

Any living creature has at least 1 point of Constitution.

A creature with no Constitution has no body or no metabolism. It is immune to any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless the effect works on objects. The creature is also immune to ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, and massive damage, and always fails Constitution checks.


Any creature that can think, learn, or remember has at least 1 point of Intelligence.

A creature with no Intelligence score is an automaton, operating on simple instincts or programmed instructions. It is immune to all mind-influencing effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns and morale effects) and automatically fails Intelligence checks.


Any creature that can perceive its environment in any fashion has at least 1 point of Wisdom.

Anything with no Wisdom score is an object, not a creature. Anything without a Wisdom score also has no Charisma score, and vice versa.


Any creature capable of telling the difference between itself and things that are not itself has at least 1 point of Charisma.


Defense represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on a character (or object). It’s the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit a target. The average, unarmored civilian has a Defense of 10. A hero’s Defense is equal to:

10 + Dexterity modifier + class bonus + equipment bonus + size modifier
Dexterity Modifier

If the character’s Dexterity is high, the character is particularly adept at dodging blows or gunfire. If the character’s Dexterity is low, the character is particularly inept at it.

Sometimes the character can’t use his or her Dexterity bonus. If the character can’t react to a blow, he or she can’t use his or her Dexterity bonus to Defense.
Class Bonus

A character’s class and level grant an innate bonus to Defense. This bonus measures the character’s combat savvy and applies in all situations, even when the character is flat-footed or would lose his or her Dexterity bonus for some other reason.
Equipment Bonus

If the character wears armor, it provides a bonus to the character’s Defense. This bonus represents the armor’s ability to protect the character from blows.

Armor provides a minimum bonus to anyone who wears it, but a character who is proficient in the use of a certain type of armor receives a larger bonus to Defense.

Sometimes the character can’t use the equipment’s bonus to Defense. If an attack will damage the character just by touching him or her, the character can’t add an equipment bonus (see Touch Attacks).
Size Modifier

The bigger an opponent is, the easier it is to hit in combat. The smaller it is, the harder it is to hit. Size modifiers are shown on the Table below.
Table: Size Modifiers
Size Size Modifier
Colossal -8
Gargantuan -4
Huge -2
Large -1
Medium-size +0
Small +1
Tiny +2
Diminutive +4
Fine +8
Other Modifiers

Other factors can add to Defense.

Feats: Some feats give a bonus to Defense.
Natural Armor: Some creatures have natural armor, which usually consists of scales, fur, or layers of thick muscle.

Dodge Bonuses: Some other Defense bonuses represent actively avoiding blows. These bonuses are called dodge bonuses. Any situation that denies the character his or her Dexterity bonus also denies the character dodge bonuses. Unlike most sorts of bonuses, dodge bonuses stack with each other.

Magical Effects: Some campaigns may include magic. Some magical effects offer enhancement bonuses to armor (making it more effective) or deflection bonuses that ward off attacks.
Touch Attacks

Some attacks disregard armor. In these cases, the attacker makes a touch attack roll (either a ranged touch attack roll or a melee touch attack roll). The attacker makes his or her attack roll as normal, but the character’s Defense does not include any equipment bonus or armor bonus. All other modifiers, such as class bonus, Dexterity modifier, and size modifier, apply normally.


Generally, when a hero is subject to an unusual or magical attack, he or she gets a saving throw to avoid or reduce the effect. Like an attack roll, a saving throw is a 1d20 roll plus a bonus based on the hero’s class and level (the hero’s base save bonus) and an ability modifier.

A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on a saving throw is always a failure. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a success.

A character’s saving throw bonus is:

Base save bonus + ability modifier

The Difficulty Class for a save is determined by the attack itself.

The three different kinds of saving throws are:

Fortitude: These saves measure the character’s ability to stand up to massive physical punishment or attacks against his or her vitality and health such as poison and paralysis. Apply the character’s Constitution modifier to his or her Fortitude saving throws.

Reflex: These saves test the character’s ability to dodge massive attacks such as explosions or car wrecks. (Often, when damage is inevitable, the character gets to make a Reflex save to take only half damage.) Apply the character’s Dexterity modifier to his or her Reflex saving throws.

Will: These saves reflect the character’s resistance to mental influence and domination as well as to many magical effects. Apply the character’s Wisdom modifier to his or her Will saving throws.


Action points provide characters with the means to affect game play in significant ways. A character always has a limited amount of action points, and while the character replenishes this supply with every new level he or she attains, the character must use them wisely. A character can spend 1 action point to do one of these things:

Alter a single d20 roll used to make an attack, a skill check, an ability check, a level check, or a saving throw. Use a class talent or class feature during your turn for which the expenditure of 1 action point is required.

When a character spends 1 action point to improve a d20 roll, add 1d6 to the d20 roll to help meet or exceed the target number. A character can declare the use of 1 action point to alter a d20 roll after the roll is made-but only before the GM reveals the result of that roll (whether the attack or check or saving throw succeeded or failed). A character can’t use an action point on a skill check or ability check when he or she is taking 10 or taking 20.

When a character spends 1 action point to use a class feature, he or she gains the benefit of the feature but doesn’t roll a d6. In this case, the action point is not a bonus to a d20 roll.

A character can only spend 1 action point in a round. If a character spends a point to use a class feature, he or she can’t spend another one in the same round to improve a die roll, and vice versa.

Depending on the hero’s character level (see the table below), he or she may be able to roll more than one d6 when spending 1 action point. If the character does so, apply the highest result and disregard the other rolls.
Character Level Action Point Dice Rolled
1st-7th 1d6
8th-14th 2d6
15th-20th 3d6

This material is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.


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