Skill Check Difficulty and Rules

Fyxt RPG GM Skill Check Difficulty Numbers and ModificationsSkill Checks are used in the Fyxt RPG for many things. There will be many times when players will want to use Skills to determine the success or failure of their character’s action. These Skill checks will mainly occur during Turn Time, but may also be used during Real Time or Battle Time. The Fyxt RPG makes Skills an important part of any character. In the Fyxt RPG, Skills have more meaning and affect the game as much, and in some cases more, than combat.

Skill Checks Matter

The first thing that all players of the Fyxt RPG need to know is that each Fyxt RPG Skill counts. Games like Dungeons & Dragons have allowed players to roll against a skill challenge over and over until they succeed. This is not the case in the Fyxt RPG. A player will get one chance to roll a Skill Check against any given challenge. If the player succeeds with the Skill Check roll, they can continue on and tackle the next challenge. If the player fails a Skill Check roll, the character has failed at whatever they were attempting. They cannot roll against the challenge again until, and unless, the situation surrounding the Skill Check changes. This mechanic makes Skill Check rolls important and exciting, and making the Fyxt RPG more fun!

Here is an example: The player wants her character to climb over the wall to the city to bypass the guarded gates. When night falls, she attempts to use the Athletic Skill and roll a Skill Check to attempt to climb over the wall. The player’s roll fails, and her character can no longer attempt to climb the wall. The player cannot roll again in an hour, tomorrow, or even next week in most cases. The player will need to find another way.

To change the situation, the character can head back into the village and buy a ladder to go over the wall. The situation has now changed, so if she can make it to the wall while carrying a big ladder undetected, the player can attempt to use the Athletics Skill to climb over again. Of course, this will present a whole new set of issues the player must deal with.

If the player just keeps failing to tackle a particular Skill Check they can attempt to climb the wall once again if they train up the Athletics Skill. The character has changed their circumstances due to learning more about athletics or becoming more skilled.

GM Skill Check Guide

There are two ways Skills are presented in the Fyxt RPG.

Turn Time Skill Challenge

A series of Skill checks in a Turn Time encounter such as traveling through a city in the midst of a riot. For Turn Time Challenge skill check numbers please reference the table on the Turn Time page.

The formula used is Level + Character Tier + Challenge.

  • Easy is a Minor Challenge with a base of 5.
  • Medium is a Major Challenge with a base of 15.
  • Hard is a Superior Challenge with a base of 25.

Single Player Character Skill Check.

Skills used as a single check such as when a PC wants to do one small thing such as jumping a small chasm during Battle Time. 

Here is a table to reference when working with Skill Checks. This should help GM’s in the Fyxt RPG to be able to set appropriate challenge levels to Skill Checks during game play. Consider the task at hand and how challenging it is for the character, then use the appropriate check score as a starting difficulty to roll.

Challenge Check Example Skill
Trivial 5 Track a wagon that passed by 5 minutes ago on a muddy road. Perception
Very Easy 10 Climb a knotted rope. Athletics
Easy 15 Identify the difference between a male and a female deer. Nature
Difficult 20 Realize the street waif you are trying to get information from is lying to you. Social
Hard 30 Pick the lock on the door of a nobleman’s quarters. Subterfuge
Very Hard 40 Remember the detailed history of a King who died 300 years ago. Scholar
Extremely Hard 50 Notice a well-concealed secret door at night during a heavy rainstorm. Perception
Nearly Impossible 65 Understand and explain the secret intentions of a secret sect of undead worshipers. Religion
Almost Impossible 80 Hack into the central banking system and clean out a competing corporation’s funds without leaving a trace in 30 seconds. Subterfuge
Impossible 95 Defeat a gazebo. Athletics

Please note this does not address the Crafting Skill. Please reference the Crafting Skill directly for those difficulty checks and other rules.

Skill Check Critical Success

It is important that the player and the GM role play out rolling a natural 20 on a d20 on a Skill Check. It is a lot of fun to roll such a good Skill Check and should be rewarded through good role play. Also, GMs should give their players more than they expected with Skill Check Critical Successes. This will only enrich the Fyxt RPG and the adventures.

Here are some examples of rewarding the player’s luck to create a great game: Perhaps they learn much more information about a monster they were investigating. Maybe they were able to hack into the bank and steal twice what they thought they would. Or the player finds a concealed, easy to climb spot on the wall that they can use in the future.

Skill Check Fumbled Failures

As important as it is to highlight the fantastic successes of characters, it can be equally as entertaining to throw a spotlight on their bad luck. Some of the most memorable situations in gaming come from epic fails rather than successes.

When a player rolls a Skill Check of a 1 on a d20, this is a Fumbled Failure. The player and the GM are both encouraged to role play out the missteps and the accidental misfortune that befell the player. GM’s should not go out of the way to make a player feel bad about a failure; rather, GMs should focus on the unexpected situations that may occur. Whatever the outcome, it should be the opposite of what was hoped for. Perhaps the character finds the wrong information about a monster they are researching. Or the character hacking into the bank accidentally transfers money out of their account instead of in. The character trying to climb the city wall gets halfway up and then becomes stuck when the guards spot her.

The goal with failures is not to humiliate a player, never that. The goal when dealing with players is to present unexpected situations to deal with in the game.

GM Skill Check Modifiers

In the Fyxt RPG, part of the GM’s job will be to set appropriate Skill Check numbers. Use the table above and the individual Skill pages on the Fyxt RPG website to get an idea of what numbers should be. Between those two resources, a GM should be able to set Skill Checks for most normal situations.

GM’s should note that Skill Checks should remain static throughout the campaign. This means that a 1st level character should have the same checks as a level 20 character to do the same thing.

Hard Skill Checks at level one will get easier, so high level characters can do more things because so many of the checks will be easier. This is important for the feeling of growth and an increase in the character’s power. This means a 1st level character might have trouble detecting a Goblin Skulk, which is a frightening and challenging foe. At level 20, however, a Goblin Skulk will likely be automatically detected through the player’s Passive Perception. The player feels good and powerful because they can now easily handle something that was once hard. It’s important not only to remind players they are mortal, but also that they have gotten more powerful. This doesn’t mean that they will not face harder and more challenging situations. The point is that the situations should evolve with skill difficulty. It should not just be that the same exact skill check situation gets harder.

Second, this will set attainable goals for growth of the characters. This is important so players will know what and where they want their Skill Points. A target that is always moving may be unattainable by some players so they will “not even bother to try”. However, if they know that a Subterfuge of 30 will pick the lock on an average house, they have a goal to shoot for. The player may focus and work to get their Subterfuge Skill to that point even if their character is not “ideal” for the task. This way the player knows that they have gotten good enough to break in.

There will come times when players do the unexpected or tackle a challenge in an intelligent way. In these cases the GM is encouraged to add GM Modifiers to a specific roll. In the Fyxt RPG, it is very easy to figure out what to add, or subtract, from a situational skill roll. A GM should use the player’s Tier and the bonus or penalty they have for a skill check.

GM Skill Check Modifier Situational Bonus

Oftentimes a GM will want to reward a player for handling a skill situation well. If the player has a pretty smart idea, they should gain their Character Tier bonus to the skill check. If the player comes up with an absolutely brilliant idea to a skill situation then the GM can give them double their Character Tier as a bonus to that one roll. This is a great way to reward players for imaginative and intelligent Fyxt RPG gameplay.

  • Minor Bonus Example: A player decides to take some extra time to have his character smear mud and debris on their skin to blend into the swamp and hide from those pursuing them.
  • Superior Bonus Example: During negotiations with the king for more soldiers for defending the border, the player offers to help the king pay for it.  The player offers his father’s sword, a family heirloom, and the most powerful item the player has. (The player is being totally selfless and offering to horribly cripple themselves to get the king to agree.)

GM Skill Check Modifier Situational Penalties

There also come times when a GM will need to “punish” players that are foolhardy or impatient. If the player is doing bad things or something that would obviously negatively affect the skill situation, they should receive a penalty of their Character Tier to their skill check. Other times players might be appearing to sabotage a particular skill situation. These can be dealt with by giving a penalty to the skill roll of twice their Character Tier.

  • Minor Penalty Example: A player decides they want to whistle a hearty sea ditty while attempting to sneak past the guards in a prison.
  • Superior Penalty Example: A player is attempting to negotiate a truce with a marauding dragon while filling their pockets with the dragon’s treasure.

Players and GM’s both appreciate the simple and easy method of adding situational bonuses and penalties to skill situations in the Fyxt RPG. There are no complicated tables, equations, or volumes of contradicting game information. GM’s simply decide if this is “outside of the ordinary” and if so, if it should be a small or big bonus. Best of all, these modifiers scale with a character so they will always have impactful meaning in the Fyxt RPG.

Two Skill Checks are Better Than One

For many Skill Check rolls in the Fyxt RPG, the GM is encouraged to try to use two possible applicable skills to accomplish something. The reason for this is that it allows more players at the table to participate and feel like they can contribute. It also blurs the arbitrary line that has been drawn in classic RPGs where characters were either good at skills or good at fighting. In the Fyxt RPG, players get the best of both worlds! Players can be good at combat and skills which is important because the Fyxt RPG is a well-rounded RPG. This method of using two different Skills represents a character’s ability to be good at something for different reasons.

Here is a handful of examples that GMs can use as examples of allowing a Skill Check under a choice of Skills:

Skill Situation Primary Skill Secondary Skill
Tell a lie. Subterfuge Perception
Set a trap. Subterfuge Scholar
Cross a river. Athletics Nature
Determine honesty of NPC. Social Religion
Learn information about a polar bear. Nature Scholar
Give a rousing speech. Social Religion
Jump off cliff into water and Reduce Falling Damage. Athletics Nature
Determine effects of powerful magic item. Scholar Religion
Find food in the area. Nature Scholar
Disable a mechanical trap. Subterfuge Scholar

There are many more situations where two Skill Checks could be offered. The GM will need to find the most appropriate Skill Checks to use.

Another benefit of using this method is that the GM can use appropriate Skill Check difficulties instead of sliding them up or down for a specific character. Instead, more static Skill Check difficulties remain in the game, giving the players a good idea of what they can and cannot accomplish.

Player Versus Player Skill Checks

Most of the time in the Fyxt RPG, player versus player interactions are mostly role play-based. That means the players should resolve disputes with discussion. Normally this is the way player versus player conflicts should be resolved.

However, there may be situations when players may want to have a Skill Check roll off. This is ok, but it should not be forced by the GM. If the players derail or delay the game beyond reason, then the GM can step in and force a Skill Check roll off. It is vitally important that players work through in-game conflicts as normal humans do. This will help to build bonds among players. This will also help to foster a very strong and healthy RPG group.