In their career adventuring through the world, the characters will often find themselves needing to tap into their skill and potential to accomplish a given task. This is where the rules for Tests come into play. Tests should not be used to track easily-accomplished tasks (like jogging up to a moving wagon, or sharpening a stick with a knife), but should be used on tasks that require some kind of effort (like chasing down an escaping thief, or forging a spear-head).
If you need help determining what is, or is not, worthy of having a Test, simply follow this rule: if the attempted action carries with it both a chance of failure, and a penalty of some kind for failure, then it is a Test. If it does not meet both of those conditions, then it is not a Test.
Kalla is walking along the side of the road on a peaceful morning. The ST has no reason to ascribe any kind of failure to this task, so he does not call for a Test.
Kalla is walking through the middle of a crowded street, pushing against a crowd that is trying to go the opposite direction from her. The ST sees a clear potential for failure, and what could happen if there is a failure, and accordingly calls for a Test.
Tests are simply that: a test of one or more of your character’s abilities. To begin a Test, the Storyteller will determine the two most relevant Attributes for the task at hand, one Type I and one Type II. Once the most relevant Attributes have been determined, the player assembles their Dice Pool. To do so, they simply add together the scores for both Attributes and grab that number of dice. That is the Dice Pool for this test.
Once the Dice Pool has been assembled and rolled, count up the number of dice that show a 5 or 6. This is your total number of Successes. Once you have that, you may add any additional Successes that the Storyteller asks you to add (usually from one or more relevant Skills or Fortes, see below) to get your Final Result.
If, after the Dice Pool has been rolled, every die shows a 1, this is called a “Critical Failure.” This means that not only did you fail to achieve your goal, but you delivered such an incredibly poor performance that now the situation is worse than it was before you got involved. In the example above, if Ruin got a critical failure, the ST might rule that he breaks his ankle, or that the noise alerts some guards nearby.
If, however, you get at least 4 Successes, and half or more of the dice in your Dice Pool shows a success (5 or 6), this is called a “Critical Success.” When this happens, you may roll an additional number of dice equal to the number of 6’s you got. If these extra dice show any 6’s, roll an additional number of dice equal to those, and so on until you roll no more 6’s. Add any 5’s or 6’s as additional Successes to your Final Result.
Skills & Fortes
Nearly every Test a character will have to make in FTS will have at least one relevant Skill or Forte. The task of determining which Skills or Fortes are relevant to a given Test is the ST’s responsibility, though players are encouraged to offer suggestions or voice objections when they disagree. The idea is for both the player and ST to agree on which Skills or Fortes are relevant, and to move forward from there. For more information on how Skills and Fortes work in regards to Tests, please see the Skills & Fortes chapter.
Advantage, Disadvantage, and Edge
Occasionally, characters will find themselves in situations where they have the upper hand over another. Or perhaps, they find themselves staring down some very unfavorable odds. In times like this, the ST might feel it prudent to provide them with some kind of mechanical bonus or penalty, depending on the circumstances. Rather than scramble to determine something arbitrary, however, STs are encouraged to use the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic.
When a character has Advantage, they get a Success on a roll of a 4, 5, or 6 (instead of only 5 or 6).When a character has Disadvantage, they only get a Success on a roll of 6 (instead of 5 or 6).
If a character has both Advantage and Disadvantage at the same time, the effects cancel each other out, and the character tracks Successes normally.
There may be times when a character gains Advantage from more than one source. In such an event, they instead gain Edge. Edge functions identically to Advantage, except it cannot be cancelled out by Disadvantage. Therefore, if a character has both Edge and Disadvantage, they track Successes on a roll of 4, 5, or 6.
Critical Success & Critical Failure
At times, characters will find fortune to be a fickle mistress, offering either great luck or poor misfortune. In times of extreme luck, they may be able to perform nearly-impossible feats, and achieve results far better than they could have realistically hoped for. However, in times of great misfortune, they may find themselves failing at tasks they’ve performed countless times before—possibly failing so badly that the end up worse off than they started.
In order to qualify for a Critical Success, a player must have just rolled a Pool that (before adding any additional Successes) shows a minimum of 4 Successes, and is at least ½ Successes—that is, if a player has 10 dice in their Pool, at least 5 of them must be showing a 5 or 6 (or 4, 5, or 6 if they have Advantage). Any time a character gets a Critical Success, they may immediately roll an additional Pool that is equal in size to the number of dice that showed a 6 in the initial Pool. They may then roll another Pool equal in size to any other 6s they got, and so on until they do not roll any more 6s. Any Successes gained from these additional Pools are added to the Final Result of the initial Test. The outcome of a Critical Success should be noticeably better than had it simply been a successful Test, and STs are encouraged to make Critical Successes carry some kind of additional reward.
In order to qualify for a Critical Failure, a player must have just rolled a Pool that not only resulted in a failure (too low of a Final Result to succeed at the Test), but that was also showing at least ½ 1s—that is, if a player has 10 dice in their Pool, at least 5 of them must be showing a 1. Any time a character gets a Critical Failure, they not only fail the test, but make the situation worse than it was when they started. STs are encouraged to make Critical Successes carry severe enough of a penalty that characters try to avoid incurring them as much as possible.
Kalla is chasing down an escaping thief. The ST calls for her to make a Physical Power Test to sprint faster than him and catch up. Her Pool is 9 dice in size, and she rolls 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6—6 Successes total! Since she qualifies for a Critical Success, she rolls 3 more dice, and gets 2, 3, 5. She adds one Success to her Final Result, and, after looking at it, the ST determines that not only does Kalla catch up with the thief, but she manages to also tackle him and pin him down, preventing him from escaping.
Later that day, Kalla is attempting to cook a meal for her friends. The ST calls for her to make a Mental Presence Test to remember the recipe. Her Pool is 6 dice in size, and she rolls 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 5. Her Final Result is way too low to succeed, but the ST rules that because it was a Critical Failure, she isn’t aware of her failure, and serves the party her food anyway. They choke it down, but won’t be having a pleasant rest of their evening…