Using Your Balls

A post about Real20: The Game with Balls!

In Real20 every rank in an attribute, skill or talent represents a die added to pools which are rolled to resolve conflict. All dice in Real20 are d20’s. In order to build a die pool you sum the ranks in a relevant attribute (Prowess, Wits, or Renown), with ranks in any relevant skills (such as Spear-Throwing or Fast-Talking). In general this will result in a die pool of between 2-20 dice.

To resolve a conflict roll the appropriate die pool against a difficulty the GM assigns and record any die equal to or over that number as a success. All rolls are open-ended meaning any 20 (which is automatically a success) may be rerolled for another possible success. The GM will tell you how many successes are necessary to accomplish a given task.

To clarify two factors determine whether a conflict has been resolved in your favor: the difficulty rating and the success threshold. These two different factors represent two aspects of a challenge.

The difficulty rating represents situational factors. If the action is being attempted in an environment that is unfavorable to the character, or it must surpass obstacles, or the action is poorly thought out, these circumstances make it more difficult to get each individual success. For example a character could try and jump a long distance in a track and field contest in which case the circumstances are favorable. The same jump made from a crumbling platform to clear a pit of spikes is made in unfavorable circumstances. GM’s are encouraged to think generally of DC 5 as Favorable, DC 10 as Normal, DC 15 as Unfavorable, and DC 20 as Obscene.

The success threshold represents the overall challenge of accomplishing the attempted action. The number of successes a GM requires for an action to be accomplished helps differentiate between mundane actions and the super-heroic. For example, most things people do in daily life only require 1-2 successes. Cooking a basic supper, walking without tripping, reading a book in a language in which you are literate – these types of actions never need to be rolled for in Real20. actions with a threshold of 5-6 successes are of the kind that Olympic athletes can regularly accomplish. When you hit the 8-9 success range you’re talking about flirting with world records. Characters in Real20 do this kind of stuff without breaking a sweat – though they may evidence a manly glow. Thresholds may be quite wild in Real20 because the die pools can be large and there are several mechanics which increase the number of successes a character can earn on a given roll. It is not unforeseeable that characters might exceed thresholds of 75 successes on the rare occasion.

Mojo & Hutzpah

Two mechanics make using your balls especially fun in Real20: Mojo & Hutzpah.

Mojo represents your character’s internal resources of gutsiness and luck. It is an attribute which you may accumulate and employ in a variety of ways. One of its key uses is to be risked on actions of import in order to gain extra dice for the task. We recommend you use specially colored “Mojo Dice” or else roll Mojo separately from the rest of the die pool. When employing Mojo on a task, declare first of all how many points of Mojo you are risking on the roll. If the task fails that is the amount of Mojo you will lose (in addition to other repercussions). Then roll a number of Mojo Dice equal to the amount risked against the difficulty the GM announced. Each success may not only be added to the total successes from the rest of the die pool, but Mojo Dice have special powers – every success may be rerolled again for another potential success until all remaining Mojo Dice turn up failures. This may increase your number of successes dramatically.
If the action attempted succeeds, then your character loses none of the Mojo risked. If the action attempted succeeds in wildly dramatic fashion, then the GM may reward you a point of Mojo. When your Mojo gets to 10 your tank is full: you may move your character one rank up on the Hutzpah scale and then your Mojo is reset to your character’s starting value. Should you ever sink below your character’s starting value (for example by risking Mojo and failing), you are at a -1 die penalty on every action per point of Mojo below starting value. It sucks when you lose your Mojo.

Hutzpah is rated on a scale of 1-5. All characters start at 1 and may move up the scale by risking Mojo. Each rank on the scale represents the possibility of multiplying successes for a task by that number. For example, a rank of 2 means that the character may, under certain conditions, multiply the total number of successes achieved on a roll by 2. A rank of 3 allows the character to multiply successes by 3 and so on. In order to do this certain conditions must be met.

First of all, the ability must be activated. In order to activate a rank of Hutzpah that the character has achieved, the player must roll the same digit in a single die pool on a number of dice equal to the rank. ie: rank 2 could be activated by rolls of 3 + 3, 5 +5, 10 +10 etc… rank 3 could be activated by rolls of 17 + 17 + 17, 9 + 9 +9 and so on. These multiples have names as follows:

two of a kind = a couple
three of a kind = a menage a trois
four of a kind = a foursome
five of a kind = an orgy

Because couples are statistically far far more probable to appear than orgies it requires fewer orgies to activate rank 5 Hutzpah than couples to activate rank 2. You needn’t get all the multiples necessary to activate a rank in a single roll. They should be marked on the character sheet as they occur, and when the target number has been reached the rank is activated. Activating the different ranks of Hutzpah works as follows:

Rank 2 = 4 couples
Rank 3 = 3 menage a trois
Rank 4 = 2 foursomes
Rank 5 = 1 orgy

After Hutzpah has been activated, before it can be used, it must be approved by the GM and the task must be suitably dramatic and involve significant risk on the part of the character. If all of the above is true then the player rolls the die pool (including rerolling any 20’s and employing any Mojo risked), calculates the number of successes achieved and then multiplies that number by the rank of Hutzpah used. Characters may use any rank up to the rank they have achieved by risking Mojo. Once a rank has been used it becomes inactive and all multiples are erased. The player must start again accruing multiples to activate it.

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