Testing (Chapter 6)
Generally speaking, characters will succeed automatically at easy, regular tasks. But when things get difficult, or when the outcomes are hotly contested, dice rolling is called for.
Each player should have two twenty-sided dice for use in testing. (Dice in your house colors are luckiest!) No other dice are needed.
Roll both dice when testing. Unless otherwise directed, use the higher result to determine success or failure. This is called a Standard Roll. Add any applicable bonuses and compare the result to a difficulty number decided by the Storyguide. An equal or higher result indicates success!
There are no mathematic penalties to affect your roll results; you never need to do any subtraction. Instead, unfavorable circumstances invoke Stress Rolls; in particularly tense or difficult circumstances, the Storyguide will require you to select the lower die result to add your bonuses to.
On any roll, if both of your dice come up with the same number, something extraordinary happens; by rolling “Doubles” you have achieved exceptional success or failure. If your roll is successful, you create a positive outcome that is otherwise not expected or possible; perhaps your disarming spell also throws your opponent backward. If you lose a test when rolling Doubles, you have failed in some dramatic or critical way. Perhaps you dropped your wand in the midst of a fight or you destroyed your subject plant instead of collecting its seeds.
Sometimes you get a special benefit on a roll called a Roll Advantage. On any roll where a Roll Advantage applies, you may choose to re-roll the lower of the two dice results in an attempt to get a better outcome. Multiple Roll Advantages are not cumulative; you only ever get to reroll once per test.
All rolls call for the addition of “bonuses.” This usually means one of your Attribute numbers. When using your magical training, you also add your total Curriculum points in the applicable Class.
For magical tasks, the Attribute added is usually prescribed in these rules. For other tasks, the Storyguide will choose an Attribute to match the particular situation. For example, the Storyguide may call for Wits to modify researching in the library or Strength for punching someone on the nose.
The sum of your roll result and any applicable bonuses is compared to a difficulty number, set by the Storyguide, to determine success or failure.
Every task, be it casting a spell, running a race, or solving a riddle, comes with a difficulty number, a rating that reflects how hard it is to accomplish. To be successful, your roll result (with bonuses) must equal or exceed the number set for the task. The Storyguide determines all difficulty numbers; players will not need to worry about this section.
A task’s difficulty number is the sum of two separate numbers, a general difficulty and a target difficulty. General difficulty refers to the complexity of the task in general terms. Target difficulty is a function of how hard the target is to affect.
The general difficulties of magic use depend on the year of the Subject being attempted. (Subjects not listed for a particular year in a Hogwarts Class use a general difficulty assigned by the Storyguide.) Magic tasks use the following difficulty chart:
The formula for this chart is 15 + (3 x Subject level). A non-magical task simply uses a 15 general difficulty.
Target difficulties are more varied. When targeting a living creature, the Storyguide will select the target’s appropriate Resistance Attribute. That number will be added to the general difficulty to determine the difficulty number of the task. When targeting a group, use multiple target difficulties; you might affect some characters but fail to affect others who have higher Resistance Attributes.
For targets that are not living creatures, the general difficulty is 5 (easy), 9 (regular), or 13 (hard). If the Storyguide determines that the task has no target, use the 5 (easy) target difficulty.
Sometimes the target of a task will sacrifice his or her next turn during a Skirmish to actively dodge or otherwise avoid the attack. This is a Defended Roll. In such cases, the target difficulty is raised by a second of the target’s Attributes, usually a Finesse Attribute.
For example, a spell that hurls a rock at an opponent would have a target difficulty decided by the opponent’s Toughness. If the opponent had yet to act in that round of the Skirmish and chose to sacrifice her turn to dodge, the spellcaster’s difficulty would increase by the target’s Dexterity rating.
The second Attribute added for a Defended Roll is determined by the Storyguide; usually Dexterity for dodging, Empathy for blocking with a shield charm, Wits for interpreting clues to a difficult riddle, or Humor for producing a witty comeback. For further details, see Initiative, below.
This section provides guidelines for when to convert Standard Rolls to Stress Rolls. Each stressful situation has a rating between one and twenty, as decided by the Storyguide. If your Finesse Attribute in the appropriate Attribute Category is higher than the situation’s stress rating, you avoid making a Stress Roll.
Note that most characters have Finesse Attributes of at least 5 before coming to Hogwarts; the first few stress ratings on the chart are provided for example purposes only. They usually apply to characters younger than age 11.
Following are examples of stress situations and their ratings. Each rating gives examples from two of the Attribute Categories. The Storyguide will make an on-the-spot determination of the stress rating of any particular situation as it comes up. These are loose examples, not strict guidelines. The process of determining stress ratings is very free-form.
1: Walking and chewing gum at the same time; conversing with two or more people at once
2: Thinking while someone is talking to you; using a wand
3: Wearing shoes that are too tight; talking to adults
4: Making simple calculations when tired; trying a new spell with somewhat uncertain effects
5: Laying prone; talking to a popular person
6: Studying with music playing; using forbidden magic that comes with a fear of being caught
7: Running in the dark; talking to a person of the opposite sex who is popular or attractive
8: Concentrating while others are whispering nearby; spellwork while near something mildly dangerous like the edge of a cliff
9: Carrying something of great weight or awkward form; talking to a celebrity or answering questions in front of the whole class
10: Being distracted by the most common wound conditions; using magic while an oncoming vehicle speeds toward you
11: Aiming at someone who is running through a crowd; after suffering a stinging insult
12: Making a split-second decision while alarms are sounding and lights flashing; performing a nonverbal spell
13: Flying on a bucking hippogriff; wearing a humiliating outfit or having just suffered some other embarrassment
14: Being dazed; facing a Dementor or the subject of one’s phobia
15: Swimming underwater; trying to influence someone who is your sworn enemy
16: Trying to act while simultaneously defending your thoughts from a skilled Legilimens; brewing a potion with improvised ingredients
17: Crushed under the weight of several collapsed library stacks; trying to convince people to do things against their nature
18: Suffering total sensory overload; facing down Lord Voldemort himself
19: Freefalling in the dark and dodging curses that are exploding all around you; speaking while on trial for a capital crime in front of the full Wizengamot
20: Making subconscious calculations while asleep; using another wizard’s wand