In order to attempt or perform challenging actions in Milhamah RPG, the game has series of roll mechanics.
The basic roll mechanic
The Narrator may direct a player to make a roll when an important decision, obstacle or conflict comes into play. Rolls usually shouldn’t happen over trivial matters: There should be consequences for succeeding or failing. Also, rolls shouldn’t happen when an action is truly impossible or inconceivable. Nor should they happen when an action is too mundane, routine or easy.
When you make a roll, you may pick an ability that your character possesses, either naturally or via equipment, based on its target shoresh root, which usually is two to four letters long. The Narrator makes the ultimate call on whether that ability or shoresh is plausible; he may tell the player to roll using another ability and its shoresh.
Once you know the target shoresh, then you may normally roll 8D out of the total available 12D in two colors. Players may normally choose which colors at the Narrator’s discretion.
(Certain status effects may restrict which colors a player may roll, or may increase or reduce the number of rolled dice beyond 8D.)
After the first roll, you search the letters that appear and pick out the ones that match the letters belonging to your target shoresh root and count them as successes. Wild faces count as successes with making an action attempt, but not while rolling in reaction.
Successes are units that the Narrator uses to determine whether you meet or exceed an unopposed roll’s difficulty threshold. A player character also counts successes to meet or exceed the opponent’s successes in an opposed roll. The more successes your character gets, the more likely they are to succeed at what they’re doing, especially if they beat a threshold or opponent by a large margin.
Typically, rollers are given one additional chance (and sometimes more) to roll for more successes or otherwise change the results of the first roll.
Before doing so, you normally have the chance to freeze any dice (such as successes) that you want to keep. Then you can reroll X dice, where X equals your relevant attribute/skill rating plus any positive or negative modifiers.
Players are not allowed to swap any dice during this phase unless they announce that they are performing a cipher. Some status effects may prevent a Player from rerolling, or even allow additional rolls.
A player makes an unopposed roll when they are usually testing their own prowess in a skill, or competing against an obstacle or force that isn’t consciously opposing them. Maybe it involves trying to leap over a spiked pit, or trying to search for a diamond in a mountain of sand.
The Narrator will usually take an unopposed challenge roll’s difficulty into account. The Narrator should usually consider the general difficulty of an action to the average person and then modify that by advantages that play in the character’s favor, or disadvantages that hinder performance. The following is a table of required successes versus general difficulty.
Beginner/Untrained: 1 success
Average: 2 successes
Challenging: 3 successes
Professional: 4 successes
Expert: 5 successes
Heroic: 6 successes
Legendary: 7 successes
Miraculous: 8+ successes
The final results
The fate of a characters skill check, whether opposed or unopposed, may fall along a spectrum, depending on the number of successes rolled:
- More successes than target + Natural success: Your final roll contains all letters in your shoresh, with no wild faces needed. Your player agent gains a success bonus equal to how many letters is in the target shoresh.
- More successes than target: The player agent succeeds at his goal.
- Equal successes to target: usually means the player character ultimately succeeds at what he or she wants to do, though just barely and often at a cost. The Narrator may use the plot as context for that cost, or look at the final dice results and find a shoresh out of the letters that sheds light on what’s going on.
- Fewer successes than target: The player agent fails.
- Botch (Zero successes, not counting wilds): the player agent fails miserably and at a great cost. For each wild face present, the botch gets more catastrophic. In addition, if the roll is opposed, the opponent may get +XR on his next turn, where X equals the margin of failure.
Example: David wants his character, Rachel, to heal her in-game ally, Yonah, with prayer based on the BLE attribute.
David tells the Narrator, “Rachel prays for a miracle to heal Yonah so he can recover from his wounds.”
Because Yonah doesn’t object to being healed, David does an Unopposed Roll for Rachel. Given Rachel’s distance from Yonah (far) and the ordinary skill difficulty (average), the Narrator concludes it’s a challenging task, requiring 3 successes in order for Rachel to succeed.
Because Rachel lacks a particular prayer skill or speech act, the Narrator concludes, based on David’s description, that David has to roll the typical BLE shoresh root, אשר, with no skill bonus.
David rolls 8D12 once — in this case, four red and four green. Unfortunately, David does not roll a single A, Sh, or R, or even a Wild face: So zero successes!
Since all of his dice are duds, David opts not to particularly freeze any dice toward his next roll. However, Rachel’s BLE attribute rating is 3D. With no other relevant modifiers, that means David may re-roll three out of eight dice toward trying to salvage the roll, and that’s what he does:
David rolls a ק,ר,ת. The ר gives his character one success, but that’s still two successes below the threshold needed to succeed.
The Narrator explains: “Rachel tries to pray for Yonah’s health, but is too distracted with feelings of guilt and unresolved wrath toward Yonah’s attacker. As a result, she secretly doubts that Ha-Shem will hear her plea, thus making the prayer a half-hearted attempt.”
Opposed rolls add an extra dimension of tension. An opponent, either directed by the Narrator or another Player, has a chance to make a reaction roll to the initiator’s roll!
If you fail an opposed roll that you initiate, the opponent may use the resulting dice from the final roll. (Instead of making a fresh roll? Does the opponent still get two turns?)
The opponent may counterattack if the rolled result matches one of their shoresh skills. If you get a natural shoresh — your end result contains your full shoresh, wilds not included — you get a +1 success bonus, plus your skill roll cannot be countered.
Example: Amos’ character, Etgar, wants to launch a wind attack against a monster, a Midwife Toad. As a result, Amos tells the Narrator, “Etgar will use the רוח shoresh programmed in his alfon to emit a Spirit Gust, blowing the Toad off course and into a nearby swamp.”
“The Toad sees Etgar reaching into his pocket for the alfon. Not leaving anything to chance, it springs down upon its legs and prepares to use its natural grace to leap in the opposite direction.”
Because the Toad lacks a specific leap or dodge skill, the Narrator prepares to react to the roll by picking the GRA shoresh root, חננ.
Etgar’s BLE (3) + wind attack (2) number is 5. The toad’s GRA (2) + jump (1) number is 3. This gives Etgar a +2 modifier.
Etgar rolls 8 dice, 4 red and 4 blue:
- The initiator declares his action’s shoresh (if possible).
- If there’s an opponent, he may declare a reaction shoresh, if possible. (During conflict or combat, most actions may allow the target to trigger a reaction. However, the target may opt not to react or resist, such as when it’s having a healing speech act done.)
- Both sides compare their attribute+skill+modifier totals.
- The initiator rolls all dice (usually eight) . Successes = dice that match the shoresh letters, or wild. BUT. If all the target shoresh letters (nonwild) are reached in the result, the initiator gets a natural shoresh plus a bonus for getting it on the first roll.
- Since the initiator usually doesn’t get a natural shores on the first roll, he may then reroll X dice, where X = skill+ attribute, in an attempt to reach the shoresh, with wilds or without. The initiator may reroll even after a natural shoresh on the first roll, but forfeits the initial bonus.
Lower difficulty if you are attacking an enemy who:
- is already fighting someone else.
- Doesn’t see or notice you, thus being surprised.
Increase difficulty if you’re attacking an enemy who:
- Has partial cover or complete cover.
- Has just ambushed you.
The Natural Shoresh
If at the end of your turn, all of the letters of your target shoresh show up in the results, you reach a Natural Shoresh. In an unopposed roll, that either means:
- You gain a Merit Point, or
- You gain a success bonus equal to the number of letters in the target shoresh
In an opposed roll, a Natural Shoresh lets the player do one of the following:
- prevent the opponent from reacting, or
- let the opponent react. If the opponent gets zero non-Wild successes, the actor scores a critical success.
During a critical success in combat, calculate the margin of successes between you and your opponent. Then roll for hit location:
א: Chest, ב: Eye, ג: Nose, ד: Groin, ה: Neck ו: Upper Back ז: Foot, ח: Shoulder, ט: Lower Leg, י: Forearm, כ: Ear. ל: Hand, מ: Belly, נ: Nose, ס: Side, ע: Upper Arm, פ: Mouth, צ: Thigh, ק: Lower Back, ר: Rear ש: Head ת: Eye
If the targeted part of the body is armored, subtract that number from armor points until those are all spent. Then subtract the remainder from any extra VIG soak points (cuts and bruises). If there still is a remainder, then lastly wounds: light, serious and critical. Depending on where the wound hits and how many wounds the damage does, the narrator may kill the character or destroy the body part.
A critical failure, or botch, happens when a player finishes his roll turn and ends up with zero successes. The ramifications for this are usually dire, sometimes to the point of being grimly hilarious. It can mean the player’s agent loses or breaks a weapon or item, hurts himself or an ally, trips or stumbles, or an ability has the opposite effect as expected.
In an opposed roll, if the attacker botches and the defender has successes, the defender may pocket those successes the next turn when he switches to attacking.
At the Narrator’s prerogative, sometimes the results of a dice roll tell more than just a player agent’s successes against a target shorashim, and whether the end result leads to victory or defeat. If the Narrator has a good grasp of Hebrew and what different shoresh combos mean, he can interpret and allude to other shorashim that appear in the final roll of a turn and spice up the narrative with that knowledge.
Ex. Dan’s character, Etgar Toar, is attempting to climb a steep cliff using a rope to get to a bandit hideaway. Given the time of day (evening), weather conditions (windy and light rain) and terrain (steep and slippery), the Narrator assigns the task a difficulty rating of 6. Dan uses Etgar’s 2D VIG and +2D Athletics skill to attempt the climb anyway, giving him a chance to reroll 4 dice after the first roll.
Typically, a Narrator should use judgment in determining when to pick out shoresh combos to add narrative flavor. Unless the players know Hebrew well enough to try to avoid certain letter combinations, the Narrator shouldn’t use a nonrelated shoresh in the final roll results to bring about a negative effect to the player agents.
whether or not your character succeeds at something.
The different dice and their varied symbols tell a larger
story, adding depth and detail to the scene your characters