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After first reading through the FC rulebook, I came to the conclusion that natural 20s and natural 1s weren't treated specially as they are in e.g. D&D. Nowhere in the standard attack, or skill check sections do they mention them.

In the places where they mention errors and threats, it specifically calls out that for it to be an error or threat, the roll must have succeeded.

So, I've been playing that way for a while, but then someone pointed out the following sentence on page 361 of the rulebook:

Statistically, 5% of all rolls fail (with a natural 1), which makes sense in isolated situations — especially dire, desperate ones.

I fired up the PDF version and found all occurrences of the word "natural" and found that to be the only place in the rulebook speaking to treating natural 1s or 20s specially.

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In Fantasycraft

Rolls Don't Always Fail or Always Succeed

Your initial reading was correct. The text on page 361 is from the chapter Worlds wherein advice is given on how to run the game. The author of that section is speaking generally, assuming that a check will fail on a 1, when, in all likelihood, especially with high-level characters or NPCs, this may not be the case. If not that, it's possible the Worlds chapter was written before the game's rules were finalized.

Nothing about threats and errors in the chapters Lore, Grimoire, or Combat mentions automatic success or failure. Even saving throws don't appear to automatically fail or succeed on natural 1s or 20s, respectively.

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There is no autosucceed or fail by the dice. If you roll in the Critical Threat range like a Natural 20 AND succeed at the roll, then an Action Dice may be spent to confirm it as a Critical Success.

Conversely, the same is true if roll in the Error range, almost always a Natural 1, AND the roll fails, then it make be confirmed to be a Critical Fumble.

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