Frequently, characters will be required to make a check - a check is a dice roll designed to see if a character succeeds or fails at what they are attempting to do. Most often, checks are required when a character takes an action, but many other circumstances might call for a check as well.
There are two basic types of checks: direct and opposed. A direct check is a check against a specified difficulty; that difficulty may be modified by another character, but the test is aimed at a known value; direct checks are the most common. An opposed check is a check against another character's check - simultaneously, two characters will check against each other, with the greater outcome winning.
Two examples of direct checks are:
An example of an opposed check is:
All checks are based on one of the character's skills (e.g., Acrobatics, Weapons, or Strength, in the above examples), and involve rolling a handful of dice, calculating the result, and comparing it to the target value.
To determine the dice that are rolled each check starts with a pair of d8s. Players then add a number of d6s based on the number of upgrades and downgrades involved in the check. Upgrades and downgrades cancel each other out (1 for 1); if, after this cancellation, any upgrades or downgrades remain, add that many d6s to the roll.
Once the dice have been determined, they are rolled; the results are calculated as described below:
As an example, consider a character who is making a check using Elegance. Their mastery in Elegance is a 5+. In this situation, they have 3 upgrades and 1 downgrade. So they will be rolling 2d8, and 2d6 (2 upgrades, as 1 is canceled out by the downgrade). They roll:
Their base score is 4 + 7 = 11. Comparing their Elegance mastery, one of the d6s meets or exceeds it (5+), so that die adds +1 to their score, giving them a final score or 11 + 1 = 12.
To determine the final result (success or failure of the check), compare the check's final score to either:
Difficulty value is always presented as either a specific number (e.g., 12) or a specific number modified by another character's defensive attribute (e.g., 10+Reaction). In the latter case, simply add that character's attribute to the specified number to determine the actual DV of the check. Note, the character in question is often not the character making the check (this is typically another character who is specified as the target of an action that requires the check).
For direct checks: if the check's value is greater than or equal to the DV, the check is successful; otherwise, it is a failure.
For opposed checks: the character whose check's value is greater succeeds; in the case of a tie, repeat the test.
Upgrades and downgrades to a check can come from a variety of sources. The character may have a condition (or charm or curse) that provides a temporary modification to certain checks. There may be environmental conditions at play. The narrator may choose to apply any amount of these modifications at her discretion to represent the situation (e.g., the character has ample time to perform the task, so they are granted an upgrade).
Most commonly, upgrades will come from the training level of the character's skill. For each training the character has in the associated skill, they gain an upgrade when checking with that skill.
Beyond training and mastery, skills also have an associated critical attribute. This value, written as, e.g. "16+", is used to determine if a check has a critical success. If the base score of the check (that is, the pair of d8s, not including any changes made by upgrades or downgrades) meets or exceeds the associated skill's critical value, and the check was a success (it cannot have otherwise failed), then the check was a critical success.
Critical successes oftentimes apply additional positive effects. Many actions include an entry for bonus effects to apply when a critical success happens. In the case of actions that do not specify any effect, it is at the discretion of the narrator to situationally include additional effects.