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With reference to this question and this answer, I wonder if ubiquity has a rolling up mechanic, to allow the slight possibility of exceptional successes. So,

Is it possible in Ubiquity to get more successes than you have dice in your pool?


In the example of play, there's the tracking scene. The GM declares that 10 successes are required to track the animal, the character has a 6 dice pool so 2 successes per 'roll' (two dice successes in excess of the one required), meant overall it succeeded without need for a roll since the PC would accumulate the 10 successes eventually.

If time were critical though, the GM might rule that each tracking attempt (roll OOC) took 7 minutes of tracking IC, so taking an average of 5 attempts would mean the PC took 35 minutes. If the GM rules that the animal could get to safety in 30 minutes then the PCs only option would be to roll and hope to get enough successes soon enough.

I can see that if the player were lucky, they could, just about, complete the tracking in 14 minutes, but would have to roll 6 successes on both of two rolls (accumulate 5 successes in excess of the one required). My question is whether it would be possible (however unlikely) that the player could roll 11 successes on those first 6 dice and thus complete the tracking in only 7 minutes.

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are several ways of getting bonus dice to your dice pool

  • Style points can be exchanged for +1 die per Style Point
  • Skill Synergy can get a +2 bonus dice
  • Teamwork can give an additional +2 per PC helping with appropriate skill or Skilled Assistant Talent
  • Time (additional give bonuses; rushing gives penalties)
  • Tools

Note: Not all skill rolls are 1-shot deals. There a cumulative skill rolls that may require a specific number to be rolled within several turns (e.g., starting up an airplane; escaping a boulder trap.) There are 2 types:

  1. You'll need to get X number of successes within those turns (e.g., 10 successes within 3 turns)
  2. A more difficult task you'll only count the successes after the first X successes per round A Trap that requires 10 successes, but with a penalty of 2 successes could result in something like this: Round 1 - 5 success are rolled, 3 are counted towards the 10 successes; Round 2 - 1 success is rolled, 0 are added to total (and there may be a penalty for not making 2 successes - e.g., a wound); For Round 3, a total of 9 successes must be rolled (9-2=7, 3+7=10) to get the 10 successes needed to overcome the challenge)
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To clarify, there are two types of actions in Ubiquity: simple and extended. For simple tasks, you achieve success by rolling more successes than the Difficulty given. For simple tasks, Difficulty values rarely, if ever, exceed 5.

With extended actions, a task is given a total number of successes need to complete the task (in your example, 10). Each roll represents a given amount of time spent performing the action (e.g. a round of combat, a minute, an hour). Additionally, the roll may be done against a Difficulty representing, well, how difficult it is to perform the task. The key is that, unless the player is really unlucky, he or she will reach the total eventually; it's how many rolls (i.e. how long it takes to do the job) that is significant.

An example I've actually used in a game is defusing a bomb. I told the player he had to achieve 10 successes before four rounds were over (at which point the big KABOOM! would occur), and each roll had a Difficulty of 2. The character had Craft/Electronics 6 and I allowed him to use that as his rating.

With an Average of 3 for each roll, there was a good chance he wouldn't make it in time, so he dropped five Style Points to add 5d to his roll. This gave him enough successes to reach the total just in time (I gleefully described the timer reaching "0:01" before shutting down).

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The Ubiquity system does not have an exploding die mechanic, so it is not possible to roll more successes than you have in your pool. It does, however, provide many options to increase die-pools - most notably through the use of elements in the scene itself, or points which are reinforced via roleplay.

In the example referenced, a hunter is tracking an animal and will, by virtue of having a Skill Rating with a larger average than the task's Difficulty, accomplish the task in the time frame established by the GM (1 roll in that example being worth 7 minutes of time, leading the character to accrue 2 successes toward completion for each 7 minutes). By using elements in the scene to the hunter's advantage (wet ground, trail of blood, behavior of other animals) the player can seek to build on the number of dice they have available. Such things may already be factored into the Difficulty depending on how the scene was reached in play.

Things can, at the group's discretion, be added to a scene by expending Style points, the effect of which may serve to enhance the scene, and the ways in which success can be achieved.

Ultimately, no matter what filter is used to veil the mechanics in story and fun, it comes down to the use of options accrued through good and entertaining roleplay to increase Die Pools and expand the number of possible successes that way. These options include:

  • spending earned Style Points
  • invoking Skill Synergy
  • using Team Work with PCs or assistants
  • Using Tools
  • Taking Extra Time
  • risking the use of Chance Dice
  • and so on...
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