Assume a situation where i can reduce setback by 1 die but i have no more setback to reduce/eliminate; Does that remaining reduction disappear?

Some of these features that allow setback reduction are expensive, so it seems unfortunate to just have the perk disappear.

Traditionally, we've played that remaining setback reduction with no actual setback will reduce a difficult die to a setback die and thus allow more reductions to continue to be resolved. This feels nice, but im not able to cite any source to back it up.


1 Answer 1


Great question: First of all RAW on page 22 EotE states:

If an ability would remove more dice of a type than there are in the dice pool, the maximum number of dice available are removed, and any addition­al removals are ignored.

Setback dice and difficulty dice are not equivalent. Eliminating a setback die removes two blank faces, two threat faces and two failure faces from the resolution pool.

Setback: d6 = blank, blank, threat, threat, failure, failure

Difficulty: d8 = blank, threat, threat, threat, 2 threats, threat & failure, failure, 2 failures

A difficulty die has only one blank, 3 faces with 1 threat, a face with 2 threats, a face with a threat and a failure, a face with a single failure and a face with 2 failures. By downgrading a difficulty to a setback one reduces the pool by 2 failures, but one eliminates the 1/8 possibility of 2 failures on one face. One also eliminates the 1/8 possibility of 2 threats and the 1/8 possibility of a threat and a failure on the same face. One also removes 3 of 5 threats from the pool instead of 2. This is a significant improvement and one not granted by your talent tree.

Not all your talents needed to get from point a to that desired end talent will be useful all the time. You and your GM should talk. We have always played RAW that if there are no setbacks to eliminate then there are none there. Your crew always has the destiny points to spend to improve your odds and upgrade your pool.

Another option that you could home-brew that is not as statistically egregious would be to add a boost die instead. These dice are not equivalent in opposition to setbacks either but are more balanced than your current practice.

From page 21.

It is important to note that while these dice are essentially mirror opposites in their use, Boost dice and Setback dice do not cancel each other out. If the situation warrants the addition of two Boost dice and one Setback die, all three dice (B B S) are added to the dice pool.

A boost die, as you know, is also six sided.

Boost: d6 = blank, blank, advantage, 2 advantages, advantage & success, success

It adds 2 blanks and 2 successes to the resolution pool, which "cancel the failures" that would have been opposed by eliminating a setback. However, there are 4 advantages instead of 2 threats not an equivalent statistical trade. Also there are 2 faces that have 2 values: one face with 2 advantages and one face with an advantage and a success this is a 1/3 chance of getting a more advantageous result than if you had eliminated a setback die. This would seem to be a less statistically skewed home-brew solution, if you have to always benefit from a talent, without the excessive advantage obtained by your current practice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You are most welcome and May the Force be with you! Or "Til the Spires." \$\endgroup\$ Apr 28, 2020 at 3:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thematically, setbacks often are tied to specific story elements (e.g. darkness) and the setbacks removed are often specific to the type of condition (again, darkness is a good example, for something like night-vision equipment). If that's the case, then I'd say from a story perspective, the action doesn't make logical sense. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 10, 2023 at 0:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another option, is to add the setback yourself, if it can be removed with the ability. You could take an action or skill with a drawback that adds a setback, and then remove it with the other skill, adding synergy! Along those lines as well, ask the GM for a setback that comes with a perk: e.g. take a setback now for a boost later, or similar (the gm could make the setback more than could be removed, if they wanted). This can add to the interest of the story. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 10, 2023 at 0:16

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