I’ve decided on using a modification of the FUDGE system for Epic. In the FUDGE system, you basically roll d6’s that have +’s on two sides, -‘s on two sides and two blank (or +0) sides. So if you rolled, say, 4dF, you would get results ranging from +4 to -4. Basically, it is a randomizing system that doesn’t let you veer too far from the number you start with, and that’s why I like it. There’s a element of luck, but it is relatively limited, and over the long term skill will do more for you than luck.
To make things more interesting, the number of dF’s that you roll is equivalent to the amount of danger associated with what you’re doing. What this means is that you’ve got a chance to pull off truly amazing stunts, but its also more possible for things to go horribly wrong for you. Lethal combat should always be in the 3dF to 4dF range, since the stakes are high, as should social interaction that really matters. If you’re rolling dice at all, you should probably roll at least 2dF. If it isn’t very dangerous, or the stakes aren’t high, why roll dice at all?
For humans and humanoid types in Epic, there will be a basic 1-10 scale for things like attributes, skills, damage, etc. Average will be around 4 because I felt that more than a few levels of below-average wasn’t very exciting. Higher than 10 is possible, but it is going to be incredibly rare. Obviously, if 10 is the general human maximum, other creatures and animals will sometimes have higher values. To keep things from getting out of hand, there will be a diminishing return once you exceed 10 – that is, a rating of 20 is generally more than just double a rating of 10. For now, though, I’m focusing on humans and human-sized things.
When tested, an attribute or skill is just compared to another attribute or skill or to a target number determined by Fate. (Right now I’m playing with calling the GM “Fate” because of what s/he’ll be doing – more on that later) When it is a static test, that is, against a set number, meeting or exceeding the number means you succeed. Degree of success can be handled in-game in whatever way is appropriate, where beating the target by 2 or more is pretty exceptional. In a dynamic test, when there is a tie, there are things you can do to break the tie – more on that later as well.
Rather than die-rolls that potentially add a lot to your skills to get you out of trouble, there will be other mechanics that will boost you when you need it. Sometimes the dice will save you, but they’re just as likely to burn you – but unless you’re trying something dangerous and foolhardy, they won’t burn you that badly. Bad rolls can be mitigated in-game and good rolls can be boosted to be incredible, but more is in the hands of the player even after the dice are rolled.