Optional Rules Tasks

Cheating Death and Avoiding Other Such Mishaps – Luck in Hack100

Savage Worlds has its “Bennies” that allow characters (and non-player characters) to re-roll unfavourable dice throws (or receive other ad hoc benefits) when things are going against them.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition has its (overly-complicated in my opinion) currencies of “Fortune”, “Fate”, “Resilience” and “Resolve” that characters can draw upon to re-roll dice, overcome adverse psychological effects and even avoid certain death.

Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition has its “Push” mechanic that allows failed skill tests to be re-rolled with the risk of additional consequences. It also offers an optional pool of Luck Points that characters can draw upon to tweak failed rolls.

Although these various mechanics all work in slightly different ways, they all have the same objective – to soften the consequences of unfavourable dice rolls on player characters.

Health Optional Rules

Shocking Sights and Dark Deals: Insanity and Corruption in Hack100

Whilst a character’s Health in Hack100 reflects short-term variations in their physical and mental wellbeing, some games rely on tracking the longer-term deterioration of adventurers as they confront things that are best left alone. This includes the loss of sanity in horror games as characters are exposed to traumatic events or cosmic threats. It also covers the physical or spiritual corruption that results from dabbling in the darker arts.

Optional Rules Tasks

Question: How Much of an Advantage is “Advantage”? Answer: It Depends…

In recent role-playing games, a popular mechanic for making task rolls easier or more difficult is the concept of “Advantage and Disadvantage“. It is also sometimes known as “Bonus Dice and Penalty Dice“.

The idea is simple. When a character tries to perform an action that, due to the prevailing circumstances, is either easier or more difficult than usual, instead of rolling a single die they instead roll multiple dice. If the task is easier, they take the best result from the dice pool. If the task is more difficult, they take the worst. In d100 systems that use this mechanic (e.g. Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition), this typically only applies to the “tens” die; the “units” die is rolled normally.

Optional Rules Player Characters

Dwarfs, Elves & Halflings (and Ducks, Aliens, etc.) in Hack100

Hack100’s core rules assume that player characters are human or human-like. However, in some game genres, particularly fantasy and science fiction, non-human characters may be an option.

The easiest way to accommodate non-human characters is by employing the same Modified Abilities and Innate Characteristics used for Non-Player Characters. 

Improvement Optional Rules

Character Improvement Through Training

In most role-playing games, character progression is tied to adventuring, whether that is through the accumulation of experience points or the successful use of skills.

However, some d100 games (e.g. RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu) have a secondary mechanism for character improvement, namely training in the downtime between adventures.

On the face of it, this seems plausible. Why shouldn’t study or practice be a route to improvement? However, equally, in the interests of an exciting game, training shouldn’t become the primary route for character development.