House Rule - Automatic Success
When to Use Automatic Successes
Automatic Successes should be used whenever the character isn’t under pressure, or is performing a task that they should have little trouble with. They are intended to represent the reliability that comes with being well practiced at something, or from having ample time. They help avoid these two narrative slowing/undervaluing situations:
1) A highly trained individual fails at a simple task – Using the core mechanic, even trained and prepared individuals can fail at simple tasks. For example – an Professional Tax Preparer (Intelligence 3, Academics 2) will fail at a routine task (preparing a 1040), 16% of the time. Even if the individual is especially good at taxes (Spec: Tax Law), and is using a computer to help them (+1 equipment bonus), they still fail 8% of the time. This same kind of chance would apply to a hurdler jumping over hurdles, or a cook preparing a nice meal.
2) Unnecessary Re-Rolling – Sometimes, a failed roll simply means the user is going to try again. If time doesn’t really matter, rolling for such things just slows things down. For example – A failed roll to find your keys (Investigation + Wits) doesn’t preclude you from finding them – it just means you have to keep looking. A better alternative is to simply figure out how long it would take based on your skill, unless time is of the essence or there is some other narrative factor.
So, to summarize, automatic successes should be used whenever the character ‘should be able to’ do something, or when they are going to keep trying until they succeed. It should NOT be used when the result of failure could be dramatically & narratively interesting. Additionally, there are special rules for Automatic Successes with Arcana found here.
How to Use Automatic Successes
1) Total the relevant Attribute, Skill, Specialty, Equipment Bonus, or other player-based bonus. Don’t worry about the ST based penalties.
2) Divide the Die Pool by 3 and round up. This is your number of successes.
3) The ST will reduce your successes using a similar method, if relevant.
For Example – A seasoned Police Investigator is examining a crime scene. They have Wits of 2, Investigation of 3, as well as Unrestricted Access (2+) and Forensic Equipment (1+). They will generated 3 ‘Automatic Successes’ per interval.
Players always have the option of rolling, but this should generally be reserved for times when it will add some narrative value to the story. Similarly, players might chose to roll when they really need an extraordinary success.