Now I'm going to start getting into the meat of the Pulpwood! system, by actually getting into mechanics.
And I'm going to get to the meatiest of the meaty right off, the resolution system for Pulpwood!, known as the Action Roll.
The Action Roll is the dice roll you make in Pulpwood! to resolve mostly any kind of conflict. Though pulp heroes are larger than life, there is still an element of suspense and luck to everything they do. Thus the need for a random resolution system
The Action Roll is a simple d20 roll, with the sole aim being to meet or exceed 20. That's it, nothing else. There is a little bit of math behind what is added TO this roll, but I will very simply line it out below.
1. When you make an Action Roll, you take the most appropriate attribute modifier relevant to the situation.
2. You must determine if any of your skills is relevant in the current situation, and then take the total skill ranks in that skill and apply it as a modifier. If more than one is relevant, you take the highest ranked one.
3. The DM applies a modifier he thinks is appropriate given the situation. This usually ranges from -5 to +5
3. Roll the d20. Add both your attribute and skill modifier, and if you meet or exceed 20, you succeed! If you do not, you fail. A natural 20 on the die is an automatic success, called a Flourish, while a 1 is an automatic failure, called a Fumble.
Here's an example:
Albert 'Big Thunder' Thompson, a professional boxer of the Pugilist class, has managed to get himself cornered on a roof by some mobsters after he refused to throw one of his fights, which cost the local mob don a healthy chunk of dough.
Big Thunder is extremely outnumbered, and the only way out is across the roofs. He notices that the adjacent building is only about 10 feet away, so he decides to risk it and jump across.
The GM calls for an Action Roll, modified by Dexterity and Athletics. Big Thunder has a 15 in Dexterity, affording him a +2 modifier (modifiers subject to tinkering). He also has 6 ranks in Athletics, which is not surprising considering he is a Pugilist. The GM says that he will incur an additional -2 penalty, considering he is turning his back to a bunch of mobsters, and making a jump he has never tried before.
So, counting all that up, Big Thunder has a +6 to his Action Roll, meaning he has to roll a 14 or more to successfully land the jump. Big Thunder's player rolls, and he manages to get a 16 on his roll. Big Thunder easily leaps across the gap, and lands on the other roof unscathed.
Another thing to consider in Pulpwood!, is that failure is not catastrophic. If Big Thunder's player had only rolled a 12, Big Thunder would have leaped across and managed to grab onto the edge of the adjacent building. The next round, he could easily pull himself up.
Remember, these are Big Damn Heroes. Big Thunder won't die lying in a dumpster. He's gonna scratch and claw for his life.
However, if Big Thunder had gotten a Fumble on that roll, he would have definitely hit the ground. Fumbles are supposed to be awful setbacks, instead of the minor ones provided by a simple failure.
A Flourish probably would have let Big Thunder soar over the gap, landing safely and getting a head start on his run. It's the GM's job to determine what happens with each result (Success, Failure, Flourish, Fumble), and to keep it interesting.
Well, I think that's all for now. Next time, I believe I'm going to go over the bare bones of a character: the attributes.
See you later!