Basic checks for doing things all characters do

Hi folks,

Have been lurking on the forums for a while, after having recently purchased ACKS and all its supplementary material. I’m really excited at the idea of players being able to develop into something more than just elite murder hobos (and since I’ve mentioned ACKS to my group, so are a few other players).

I’ve worked through ACKS, D@W Campaigns and Battles, and have just started on Dwimmermount (I’ve got the Companion too, but it seems to be more of a book that’ll be useful when I need it). There’ll be a lot of questions, but my first is a pretty basic one:

If my players want to do something that is not specifically in the rules or at least not something their class can do, is there a simple way of resolving that? Coming primarily from Pathfinder, that game has skills that cover most things a player might want to attempt. If the fighter wants to try to climb that wall, he’s welcome to try, but he’s got 0 skill points in it. If players want to try something totally off the wall, there’s usually SOME skill that’s close enough, but at the very least the concept of skill checks exists in the game, and I can fudge something. But I’m a tiny bit lost working out the best way (or if there is a way and I missed reading it) to do it in ACKS.

E.g. If players are faced with a 10 foot chasm and want to jump across it, they may make it, or may not. How would you resolve that?

Similarly, if a fighter wanted to attempt to hide in a shadowy corner, but does not have the Thief’s proficiency in Hiding In Shadows, and it is not unrealistic that he could potentially succeed, how would you handle that?

I don’t have a cite at the moment (I can’t remember whether it’s in the book or on the forums and couldn’t find it in three seconds), but in general, you have them make a proficiency throw.

Jumping has a specific cite I can give;

which doesn’t include a check for maybes.

But in general, assign a success number based on how difficult you think it will be, than make them roll that or better. If you want to make success dependent on stats, give them +4 to the roll per stat modifier (the same way open doors works, which is a roll of 18+, but you get +4 per Str modifier).

11+ is a good default for ‘I have no idea, maybe’? 14+ for ‘this is difficult but you might make it’, 18+ for ‘good luck, man’. If you find yourself considering less than 11+ as the target number, consider just making it automatic success.

No idea where I got that from but I use the following chart. If it falls under Adventuring it counts as trained otherwise (as long as its still something sensible and not covered by other proficiecies) the untrained column.

Adventuring Skill Checks

Level Trained Untrained
1 14+ 18+
2 13+ 18+
3 12+ 17+
4 11+ 17+
5 10+ 16+
6 9+ 16+
7 8+ 15+
8 7+ 15+
9 6+ 14+
10 5+ 14+
11 4+ 13+
12 3+ 13+
13 2+ 12+
14 1+ 12+

One thing to keep in mind is that in an old-school dungeon, unlike most pathfinder adventures I’ve played in, time is a factor. Many tasks are going to succeed given enough time, but may take 1 or 2 turns, which is another roll of the dice to see if there is a wandering monster. For my part, whenever possible, I avoid very binary checks in favor of telling them how long a given task will take.

Welcome to the ACKS community! ACKS doesn’t have a unified skill resolution system per se. In general, the guiding principle is:

  • Challenging task that requires a party to succeed: 18+
  • Challenging task for a trained character: 14+
  • Moderate task for a trained character: 11+
  • Simple task for a trained character: 7+
  • Trivial task for a trained character: 3+

These principles are “built in” to the proficiency rules.

If you want a “universal mechanic”, you can use the table Rodriguez posted. That was from a science-fiction version of ACKS where I thought we needed a generic skill system.