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Unless otherwise stated, three special results are possible with every skill check, as follows.

THREATS ANd CRITICAl SuCCESSES

Every skill possesses a threat range. The threat range of all skills begins at 20, though it may increase or decrease due to feats, conditions, and other factors.

When a character succeeds with a skill check and rolls a natural number within his threat range (an actual roll of the number on a d20), he scores a threat. His result cap is lifted for this check. Further, he scores a potential critical success.

If a threat range is “reduced beyond” 20, the attacker may not score a threat with the skill check.

Example 1: A character with the Diplomat feat makes a Networking/Contact check, which increases his threat range by 1. The character’s threat range with the check is 19-20.

Example 2: A character makes a Sense Motive/Detect Lie check targeting a Con Artist with the 100 moves ahead ability, which reduces the acting character’s threat range by 2. The acting character has no threat range with this skill check and may therefore not score a threat.

To activate a threat as a critical success, the character must spend 1 or more action dice. A critical success overrides a threat, negating the threat’s effects and replacing them with the effects of a critical success. A critical success also lifts the check’s result cap. If the character chooses to spend no dice, the skill check remains a threat.

Unlike in Spycraft 1.0 and most d20 games, a natural 20 is not an automatic success; a character’s skill result must still equal or exceed the DC in order to succeed. The effects of a threat or critical success, however, override any failure.

Special Note: When a standard NPC scores a threat with a skill check, it may only be activated as a critical success if the NPC possesses the prodigy quality (see page 448).

ERRORS ANd CRITICAl fAIluRES

Every skill possesses an error range. The error range of all skills begins at 1, though it may increase or decrease due to feats, conditions, and other factors. An error range may not decrease below 0.

When a character fails a skill check and rolls a natural number within his error range (an actual roll of the number on a d20), he suffers an error — a potential critical failure.

Example 1: A character makes an untrained skill check, which increases his error range by 2. The character’s error range with the check is 1–3.

Example 2: A Snoop with the no worries ability makes a Search/ Perception check while using Tradecraft gear. The ability decreases his error range by 2. The Snoop’s error range with the check is 0.

To activate an error as a critical failure, the character’s opponent — usually the GC — must spend one or more action dice. A critical failure overrides an error, negating the error’s effects and replacing them with the effects of a critical failure.

If the GC chooses to spend no dice, the skill check remains an error. Many rules have additional effects when an error is suffered. Unlike in Spycraft 1.0 and most d20 games, a natural 1 is not an automatic failure; a character’s skill result must be lower than the DC in order to fail. The effects of an error or critical failure, however, override any success.

Special Note: Any negative skill check result operates like an error and may be activated as a critical failure.

TRIumPHS

When a character scores a total result of 75 or higher with a skill check, he scores a “Triumph.” This is a defining accomplishment on the order of an Olympic record or a history-making speech. Scoring a Triumph is the highest possible accolade in Spycraft 2.0 and reason for reverent celebration.

No Triumph should go by unnoticed; neither should one fade quickly. Triumphs are the stuff of legend and should find an honorable home in the GC’s setting — perhaps as a recurring NPC-driven story growing more and more outlandish over time, maybe as something for which high-ranking NPCs commend the team when they meet for the first time. The Game Control should always strive to pay tribute in his own way, using each Triumph as the gateway to greater roleplaying potential.

But Triumphs are not merely flavor. They also offer the entire team a number of significant benefits, as follows.

  • Once per mission only, the character scoring the Triumph and each of his teammates gains an additional +10% XP for the current mission, rounded up (this bonus is applied after the mission’s base XP reward is multiplied by the character’s career level or the team’s Threat Level). This bonus stacks with any Crossroads Title benefits each character may already gain (see page 53).
  • Each time a Triumph occurs, the disposition toward the skill user of each standard character who witnesses the Triumph as it happens — including each standard villain — increases by 2 grades until the end of the current mission (see Disposition, page 457).
  • Once per session only, the disposition of each special character toward the skill user who witnesses the Triumph as it happens — not including villains — increases by 1 grade until the end of the current mission.

RETRIES

Some skill checks may be tried over and over again; others offer the character only one chance to succeed. Refer to each skill check description for the specific circumstances under which it may be retried.

TAkINg 10

If the character is reasonably confident in his abilities and under only marginal pressure, he may choose to “take 10.” Instead of rolling 1d20 when making his skill check, he calculates it as though he’s rolled a 10.

Taking 10 requires twice the time listed in each skill description.

Example: Kevin has an Analysis skill bonus of +9. When he takes 10 with a 1-minute Analysis check, it takes 2 minutes and his check result is 19.

A few restrictions apply when taking 10.

  • The character may not take 10 when he’s distracted or endangered (per the GC’s discretion).
  • The character may not take 10 when his error range is 1–2 or worse (after all modifiers are applied).
  • The character may not take 10 with any skill check possessing the Concentration tag (see page 101).
  • The character’s result cap still applies when he takes 10.
  • The character may not score a threat when taking 10.
  • The character may not spend action dice to boost a skill check result when taking 10.

TAkINg 20

If a character has plenty of time, he may choose to “take 20.” Instead of rolling 1d20 when making his skill check, he calculates it as though he’s rolled a 20.

Taking 20 requires 20 × the time listed in each skill description.

Example: Kevin has an Analysis skill bonus of +9. When he takes 20 with a 1-minute Analysis check, it takes 20 minutes and his check result is 29.

A few restrictions apply when taking 20.

  • The character may not take 20 when he’s distracted or endangered (per the GC’s discretion).
  • The character may not take 20 when his error range is 1–2 or worse (after all modifiers are applied).
  • The character may not take 20 with any skill check possessing the Concentration tag (see page 101).
  • The character’s result cap still applies when he takes 20.
  • The character may not score a threat when taking 20.
  • The character may not spend action dice to boost a skill check result when taking 20.

mulTI-TASkINg

Sometimes a character must complete more than one action at once — simultaneously performing two computer-related tasks or opening a lock while standing on a precarious surface. In these situations, he may choose to perform up to two actions during the same time period. At least one of these skill checks must require at least one full round to complete, and the character must be able to plausibly complete both tasks together, per the GC’s discretion (e.g. he may not attempt two skill checks that each require both hands, nor may he drive two vehicles at once).

While multi-tasking, the character may make one additional half action skill check per round, albeit with the following penalties.

  • The character suffers a –5 synergy penalty with each skill check he makes while multi-tasking, including each of the two skill checks that prompts the use of these rules. For every 5 ranks the character possesses in the Resolve skill, this penalty is reduced by 1 (to a minimum penalty of -2).
  • The error range of each skill check made while multi-tasking increases by 3.
  • If the character scores a threat with any skill check made while multi-tasking, he must spend one additional action die to activate it as a critical success.