Boosts and Drains

We’ve play tested this and it works really well. Now I have to figure out how to explain it. If you’ve been reading along I’ve covered some of these concepts in the past but there’s been some significant refinements.

As the last post outlined there were some issues on how boosts and drains cancel each other out. We have a way of resolving that now.

4e uses a d20 scale instead of a D100 so the main attribute is rolled d20. All skills, modifiers or anything else that would modify a roll is either a Boost or a Drain are given a rating from 1-9 rolled on d10s. I don’t want to have big piles of dice being rolled so here’s the trick. Boosts and Drains are rolled using the same dice. Here’s how that works.

If you have a Boost, like a skill for instance and no drains, you roll for your attribute on a d20 and for the Boost on a d10. If you roll equal or under the Boost’s rating, you get a success. If you have multiple Boosts, you add more d10s and apply them to your Boosts in the order you like.

If you have a Drain, like a the difficulty of piloting a damaged vehicle, you roll for your attribute on a d20 and the Drain on a d10. If you roll equal or under the Drain’s rating, you lose a success from any you may have gotten from the d20. If you have multiple Drains, you add d10 for each and apply them to your Drains in the order you like.

But what happens if you have a Boost and Drain? What if you have two Boosts and three Drains? Instead of adding a d10 for every Boost and Drain, pair the highest Boosts with the highest Drains. If the Drain is equal or higher than the Boost, eliminate the die from the roll. If the Boost is higher, roll 1d10 for both the Boost and the Drain. If you roll equal or lower than the Boost, add a success. If you also roll equal or under the Drain, negate the success.

You still get to arrange the dice with whatever Boost and Drain you want, but the window for getting a success gets smaller when they are paired.

For example a character has a skill of 3 and a Drain due to fog of 2. If these are paired together, and the player rolls a 1, there is no success gained by the roll. In that case, only a 3 would give a success.

Hopefully that makes sense. We made a character using the 4e rules and tested all that out. It handled multiple modifiers both positive and negative with very little effort. It was suggested that players could use playing cards to arrange and track their Boosts and Drains and pair them up. That might be more of a hassle than it’s worth in some situations but I’m willing to give it a try.

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