Macho Women With Guns 2e uses a GURPS-like 3d6 roll-under resolution mechanic. We were playing it today and we happened into a scene where all the characters needed to cooperate on a group effort (the PCs were the Spice Girls and they were trying to do a karaoke performance to defeat an opponent).

I looked around and couldn't find any sort of aid/group/help/collaborate/whatever mechanic to reflect when multiple Macho Women are attempting to cooperate on the same task. I ended up making everyone roll and just added up the points by which they made/didn't make the roll but that had its problems - whenever the roll was hard or easy the sums "ran away" quickly in that direction over a lesser number of opponents.

An answer from a similar game like MWwG 1e would be fine; obviously the d20 Modern-based Mongoose edition has one but it's not relevant or compatible. We couldn't think of a mechanic for it in GURPS either or I would have just cribbed that.


2 Answers 2


I couldn't find a yo!-gimme-a-hand-with-this mechanic in Macho Women with Guns, 2nd Edition or in the indices of GURPS, 3rd Edition or 4th Edition. (However, given the volume of material available for these latter games, I imagine such a mechanic exists in a cleverly-named a sidebar.)

The Hero System—another 3d6-roll-under system best known as the engine for the superhero game Champions and also an inspiration for GURPSdoes have an assistance mechanic. For Hero System, Fifth Edition (2002), was published the Ultimate Skill (2006), and in that book's Complementary Skills (21–22) it says that the GM can allow two or more characters who are in contact with each other (typically in person and who can communicate freely) to pick one of their number—the main character—to make the skill roll proper. However, before the main character makes the skill roll, an assistant who's helping the main character perform the task makes the same skill roll.

  • For every 2 points by which the assistant succeeds on that skill roll, the main character gains a +1 to skill.

  • A third and successive character helping adds a flat +1 to the skill of the assistant.

    (This is simplified for ease of use. Ultimate Skill actually leaves a great deal about helping with skills to the GM, going so far as to recommend how to run things if the PCs are a starship bridge crew with hundreds they can command to help them.)

Macho Women with Guns Example

Alex, who has Macho 14 and who has the skill Do technical stuff +1, is starving and needs to operate her toaster oven. Bambi—Macho 12 but no Do technical stuff skill—is standing right there, and she isn't, like, busy or anything, so she offers to help Alex with the task. Bambi rolls a 7 succeeding by 5 therefore granting Alex a +2 to skill. Alex now needs to roll below a 17—instead of below a 15—to make the Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks.

Note: The game uses the toaster oven as an example of an item requiring the skill Do technical stuff.

In Macho Women there aren't the huge variety of skills available to PCs like there are in GURPS and Hero, though. Combined with the generous default skills rules that see all skills based directly on an attribute that's at least 8 (but usually higher), these rules will likely see at least one other character helping another character with any task. This may create balance issues in a long-term Macho Women with Guns campaign.

Fortunately, Macho Women with Guns is a beer-and-pretzels role-playing game along the lines of Kobolds Ate My Baby!, OG (that's actually pronounced og and not an initialism), and maybe TWERPS (i.e. The World's Easiest Role-Playing System), so balance issues will likely take a backseat to wholesale property damage, explosives, and sticking it to the patriarchy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, those should be usable. I like the Champions one better since it's progressive, but it definitely seems to still not reflect truly cooperative activities well. I wish there was something that would let as many people as make sense participate without someone having to "lead", but penalized participation from those crappy at something. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Dec 3, 2018 at 18:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Ultimate Skill is pretty robust. In addition to the summary above, it mentions that the GM can have the secondary assistants' +1 contingent upon their success on their own skill rolls and have their failure by 4 or a natural 18 mean a −1 to the assistant's skill. This make having a whole bunch of unskilled dweebs following around Dr. Frankenstein and Igor less of an issue, for example. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 3, 2018 at 18:49

The mechanic for this in GURPS 4e is the "Complementary Skill roll." This is sadly not in the Basic Set (update: added in January 2020, at the Seventh Printing), but is in several supplements, including Action 2: Exploits and Social Engineering.

The basic skill you're using is the master skill, and a different skill that can help is the complementary skill. You roll the complementary skill first. Success on that gives +1 to the master skill, critical success +2, failure -1 and critical failure -2. The system is flexible about who uses these skills, depending on what makes sense in the circumstances. So a single character can make both rolls if that makes sense, or someone else can use the complementary skill (e.g., someone using a social skill to distract a guard from someone else trying to sneak past using Stealth). If the in-game problem would allow several complementary skills, and the GM agrees, several characters can try to help.


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