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Resolution is much like usual D20, where you roll a d20, add bonuses, subtract penalties, hoping to meet or exceed a target number. Except that instead of a d20 roll the Boon/Bane roll is substituted.

Boon/Bane Dice

The Boon/Bane dice are two d12's rolled consecutively, the first the Boon, and the second the Bane which is subtracted from the Boon. The Boon/Bane rolls are “Open Ended” meaning that they can explode higher or lower in value on extreme rolls. These events align with celestial occurrences which the denizens of the world dungeon cannot possibly predict, as they cannot see the sky, hence their names below.

Open-Ended Rolls


If the player rolls a 12 on the Boon, then they've obtained a “Noon” result, and must roll another d12 and add this to the current total. If yet another 12 is rolled on the Boon, this is added to the current total, and another Boon die is rolled and added, and so on ad infinitum.


If the player rolls a 12 on the Bane die, then they've obtained a “Midnight” result and they must roll another d12, and subtract this from the current total. If yet another 12 is rolled on the Bane, this is subtracted from the current total, and another Bane is rolled and subtracted, and so on ad infinitum.


On the rare occasions that both dice come up with 12s, the boon and bane have both come together in an “eclipse.” Something completely bizarre happens completely tangential to the action being resolved.

All Opposed Rolls

In LiveHack we think of all rolls as opposed rolls, where both sides are rolling, and the acting side has to meet or exceed the defender's total roll.

Taking Zero

Either side may choose to “take zero” on any roll instead of rolling, and just skip rolling the dice (their result is based solely on their other modifiers). In practice, the DM will often take zero as a means of speeding things up.

Taking Ten

If the Adventurers take plenty of time, the player make “take ten” and add 10 to the resolution in lieu of a die roll. Note that this represents working slowly and deliberately, but not with the daring creativity of going at breakneck speed, meaning that it's not the absolute best the Adventurer can accomplish. But it IS a lot better than how they'll do the vast majority of the time when they push things.

Modifying Monster Stat Blocks

ACs and DCs listed in the text must have ten subtracted from them, as they have a base 10 added into their total (goes with all defenses for 4E stat blocks).

Roll Components

For each roll, add all of the following that apply:

  • appropriate skill
  • the attribute related to the skill
  • one applicable specialty of the skill
  • one applicable bond
  • all item ratings that pertain
  • effort bonus, if there is one
  • aid from other adventurers
  • positional bonuses
  • the results of a Boon/Bane roll


Adventuring is always a lot of effort, but sometimes a character needs to expend just a little more effort to succeed. Before a roll (not after), a player may declare that the character is pushing hard to succeed, declaring how much of a bonus they wish to take on that roll, up to a maximum of +5. A player may push more than once in a combat, but the bonuses must add up to no more than a total of +5.

Pushing tends to exhaust characters quickly - for each point of effort used on a roll, the Adventurer adds one to their Fatigue rating (a Negative Trait). See Endurance and Recuperation below.

Joint Actions

Sometimes adventurers work together to accomplish goals in some way. In these circumstances, use the rule below that most appropriately describes the nature of the cooperation. Note that Bonds between characters assisting others are always added in these cases.


When two or more people are working together in coordinated fashion they each make a roll, and the best margin among them is used.

An example of this is when two adventurers ram a dungeon door to get it unstuck.


When one Adventurer is primarily responsible for doing something, but other Adventurers are helping out the assisting Adventurers make an appropriate resolution roll. For every 5 MOS, or part thereof, the assisting adventurers confer a +1 on the roll of the assisted Adventurer. If the MOS is negative, then a penalty of 1 per full 5 MOS is applied to the roll. A MOS between 0 and -4 has no effect, positive or negative.

For example, a healer is attempting to stabilize a dying Adnventurer, while another Adventurer hands him the appropriate things from a physikers kit.


Sometimes a party is suffering from disorienting effects like surprise or confusion; or they just have poor planning and decision-making and they all try to do the same thing at once without any coordination or actual cooperation. Resolve these like Cooperation above, but inform them after the roll that you're taking the lowest roll as the result of getting in each others' way.


When one side of a resolution is a defender who is being attacked in some way, the “appropriate skill” in the list above is one of three defense skills.

Defense Types

  • Reflex - used to avoid being hit by attacks, or magic that specifies reflex as the defense.
  • Fortitude - defends against damage rolls, or any magic attack that specifies fortitude as the defense.
  • Will - used in Grim tests (see Going Grimlock below), and against magic attacks that specify will as the defense.

There are other cases where skills go against skills in specific circumstances, listed below (such as Spot defending vs Hide, and Listen vs Move Silently).

Rolling over Success Margins

A good success roll may mean that it can affect subsequent rolls. For every full 5 points over the target, the player gains a temporary +1 to subsequent related rolls. Typically this applies to attacks, where a good roll to hit may be rolled over into a bonus on the associated damage roll. But if the opponent is too tough, a player may wish to hold on to these “positional” bonuses, and use them to accumulate an even higher bonus, before “cashing in.” In these cases there is no damage roll, and the attacker gets this bonus on their next attack roll.

Cancelling Opponent Positioning

However, an opponent who scores a success margin bonus may use it instead to cancel out one that an opponent holds over them. A successful resolution that cancels out a positional bonus does not do damage.

Such positional conditions must be described, and if circumstances change to make the bonus no longer pertain, then they are lost.


After a successful roll to hit, players make another roll to apply a negative trait of some sort. The roll is made vs the opponent's fort save, the associated Con bonus, and any Fort bonus from armor. If the defender saves, then they avoid acquiring a negative trait. If they fail, then consult the following table for results:

0-4Inflict 1 Level of the Negative Trait
5-9Inflict 2 Levels of the Negative Trait and Discombobulation
10-14Inflict 3 Levels of the Negative Trait and Incapacitation
15+Inflict 4 Levels of the Negative Trait, and the target is Dying or Transforming


An target that is discombobulated is not able to respond to the environment around them, including using reflex or will to make saves. Consider these saves as 0, and Dex to be -10 for purposes of being hit.

Discombobulation comes in many different forms, sometimes known as being stunned, or paralyzed, or confused, but the results are the same mechanically. Discombobulation lasts through the character's next action… they may do nothing for that action. When that character's turn is over, they return to normal.


This has the same effect as discombobulation, except that the character falls down, and remains discombobulated until the condition that caused the Incapacitation goes away.


Effectively the same as Incapacitation, plus at the end of each round they are dying, they must roll a fort save vs their wounds to avoid their situation worsening. The first failure puts the character into a coma from which it may take a long time to recover. A character in a coma must continue to roll to survive, and will die if they fail. If any of the rolls to save vs death have a positive MOS of 10 or more, the character stabilizes, and no longer needs to roll to avoid the situation worsening.


Dying characters may be saved with healing (see Healing below), if said healing brings them to fewer wounds than the -10 Con threshold. In this case they no longer have to continue to make rolls to survive, and are, in fact, no longer incapacitated.

A player whose character has died may make up a new adventurer who may join the party when they return to a safe area.


Attacks that do not seem like they would threaten the life of a target instead transform the target in a significant way. Since in other circumstances this would kill the target, the transformation can be pretty much anything. The target should just be glad that they're still alive!

The player must make an appropriate save each turn (GM's discretion), to avoid the transformation completing, and may do nothing else until this is complete. They may also self-stabilize on a roll with a MOS of 10. Depending on the attack, there may or may not be a way for the character to be stabilized in their usual form before it is complete.

Cumulative Offset Penalties

Damage to specific attributes may result in other problems for the character if the damage subtracted from the attribute offsets that attribute to -10 or less.

Rating Offset-5 Effect-10 Effect
StrengthNo special effects (carrying capacity suffers as per the normal formula)Character falls prone, and may not take any physical action due to lack of strength, including any sort of movement.
IntelligenceThe character must roll Int to figure out even the simplest of tasks which get a DR of 0.The character can no longer reason or understand anything about their surroundings, and essentially becomes catatonic and completely unresponsive.
WisdomThe character may only act if they make a wisdom roll vs a DR of 0.The character may no longer make any decisions, and will do whatever anyone tells them to do.
DexterityThe character must roll Dex vs DR 0 to perform even the simplest of physical tasks (like walking). The character falls over paralyzed, unable to give commands to their body.
ConstitutionThe character must make a Con roll vs DR 0 to expend Fatigue.The character may take no actions that expend fatigue.
CharismaThe character must make a Cha roll vs DR 0 to avoid antagonizing anyone they speak with.The character is incapable of communicating successfully with any other beings (for instance, vendors), by any means, and any attempt to do so will cause a hostile reaction from the target.

Note that the effects for Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity all seem to amount to the same thing (complete incapacitation), but there are a few cases where these results differ. Generally these forms of incapacitation mean that the character must be fed and carried around somehow, but unlike Wounds, they do not threaten to get any worse. If left alone in a room, an incapacitated Adventurer is assumed to be captured and eaten by dungeon denizens in very short order (see Grimness below).


By very carefully proceeding, many more Adventurers might get a lot further than they do, were it not that the grimmness of the world dungeon of LiveHack plays on their souls. A character that eats certain foods, or engages in other barbaric activity, they risk their humanity (or elfishness, or whatever) in doing so. Whenever an Adventurer experiences one of the conditions below they have to roll their will plus any current grimness to avoid accumulating Grimness per the above rules for acquiring Negative Traits.

There may be other things found in the dungeon that cause grim checks.

Grim Experiences

Mercy Killing a Disabled or Dying Foe-5
Killing a Helpless Foe0
Seeing a Companion Adventurer Die*+2
Knowing That a Companion Adventurer Has Been Eaten*+5
Being Tortured+8
Eating a Humanoid+10
Having to Put Down a Grimlock Who Was a Companion Adventurer*+12
Eating a Companion Adventurer*+15

*If an Adventurer has a Bond with the Companion Adventurer, then add that bond rating to the DR.

Watching Companion Adventurers do any of the actions above, but the Adventurer doesn't participate, causes the character to take a grim test at five less than the listed DR.

Going Grimlock

If the result of a Grim test is discombobulation, the character is temporarily overcome by the grimness of it all, and may not act. Incapacitation means that the character will not act until cheered up. Transformation results in the character turning into a Grimlock. If the transformation completes, the character becomes a Grimlock, and is lost to the player. Use the character's stats for the new monster, but add their Grim skill to their strength, and subtract it from their Wisdom. The new Grimlock monster gains blind sight, as well, and retains all of the character's other abilities.

The player may create a new character to join the party when next they arrive at a safe area.

Grim Advantage

A character can use their Grimness “skill” as a bonus to any attempt to accomplish something grim related to the list above. The GM has to approve the use, but in any case this use will definitely result in a Grim check should the Adventurer succeed at their grim goal.

livehack/resolution.txt · Last modified: 2013/01/06 13:01 by Mike Holmes