Adapting FASERIP Task Resolution to Echelon

Last night I wrote about using FASERIP ability ratings in Echelon, and examined how they match up to Echelon tier definitions (fairly well, all things considered).

Now to look at how to import task resolution. I’ll start with a simple (or perhaps simplistic, I’m not terribly concerned with a precise match) description of the process.

FASERIP uses a ‘universal table’ with four color bands (white, green, yellow, red). Pick an ability or power that suits the task and roll percentile dice, scan down the column of the same rating as that ability or power until you see what color result you get. White is failure, anything else is probably a success (and if you need degrees of success, green is ‘barely successful’, yellow is a ‘solid success’, red is a ‘great success’).

If the FEAT (task to be resolved) has an intensity, then compare that to the rating of the ability you’re addressing it with. If the intensity is greater than your rating you need a red success, if the intensity is equal to your rating you need a yellow success, and if the intensity is less than your rating you need a green success. As optional rules (they don’t both need to be in effect), if the intensity is more than one degree higher than your rating you can’t even try, and if the intensity is more than three ranks lower than your rating you automatically succeed.

I have also seen a couple versions that add ‘blue results’ that are fumbles or other worse-than-failures. I’m not including them here

Certain circumstances can lead to a ‘column shift’. Good circumstances have a positive column shift (basically you can treat your rating as that many steps higher), bad circumstances have a negative column shift (you can treat your rating as that many steps lower).

Roll 0 Fe Pr Ty Gd Ex Rm In Am Mn Un X Y Z 1K 3K 5K B
-3 -2 -1 +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13 +14
01
02-03
04-06
07-10
11-15
16-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41-45
46-50
51-55
56-60
61-65
66-70
71-75
76-80
81-85
86-90
91-94
95-97
98-99
100

The ratings along the top are: 0 (Shift 0), Fe (Feeble), Pr (Poor), Ty (Typical), Gd (Good), Ex (Excellent), Rm (Remarkable), In (Incredible), Am (Amazing), Mn (Monstrous), Un (Unearthly), X (Shift X), Y (Shift Y), Z (Shift Z), 1K (Class 1000), 3K (Class 3000), 5K (Class 5000), and B (Beyond). The table shows a gap between the ‘Shift Z’ and ‘Class 1000’ columns. Normally the ‘Class-*’ and ‘Beyond’ ratings are outside the reach of PCs, even with shifts, and are restricted to cosmic beings.

This entire table can be approximated with a simple formula. There is a bit of hinkiness around the very upper and very lower bounds (where they use four ranges for 10% instead of two ranges), but I can tolerate it.

If Typical is +0, there is +1 or -1 per step above or below that (Feeble is -2, Unearthly is +7; numbers are shown in the table above), and we ignore the minor inconsistencies, the above can be approximated with:

d20+Rating Color Notes
<11 White
11-15 Green
16-20 Yellow
21+ Red If the natural roll is even; if odd then it’s still ‘yellow’

The ratings along the top are: 0 (Shift 0), Fe (Feeble), Pr (Poor), Ty (Typical), Gd (Good), Ex (Excellent), Rm (Remarkable), In (Incredible), Am (Amazing), Mn (Monstrous), Un (Unearthly), X (Shift X), Y (Shift Y), Z (Shift Z), 1K (Class 1000), 3K (Class 3000), 5K (Class 5000), and B (Beyond). The table shows a gap between the ‘Shift Z’ and ‘Class 1000’ columns. Normally the ‘Class-*’ and ‘Beyond’ ratings are outside the reach of PCs, even with shifts, and are restricted to cosmic beings.

This entire table can be approximated with a simple formula. There is a bit of hinkiness around the very upper and very lower bounds (where they use four ranges for 10% instead of two ranges), but I can tolerate it.

If Typical is +0, there is +1 or -1 per step above or below that (Feeble is -2, Unearthly is +7; numbers are shown in the table above), and we ignore the minor inconsistencies, the above can be approximated with:

d20+Rating Color Notes
<11 White
11-15 Green
16-20 Yellow
21+ Red If the natural roll is even; if odd then it’s still ‘yellow’

The latter is to account for the shallower curve (grade has to improve twice to get +1, instead of +1 per grade).

This does mean that Shift Z cannot fail to get at least a green success; it might be worth instituting a “natural 1 fails anyway” rule to cover that 3% chance of failure they’re escaping in this model… or not, since that’s the only case it comes up for non-cosmic beings, and even then it lands outside the range for PCs. I’m not inclined to worry about it.

It seems almost as if the benefit of having the ability at a higher tier is small, +5% chance of succeeding at a task… but it isn’t, quite, because the higher the tier the greater the possible outcome. If the task is ‘typical’ difficulty, someone with a Typical rating will have a green success 25% of the time and a yellow success 25% of the time (can’t quite reach red with +0)… but needs yellow for full success, green is only partial. Someone with a Good rating, on the other hand, is higher than the intensity and thus needs only a green. Success then becomes 25% green, 25% yellow (so 50% full success), and 5% red (great success). It slows down a bit again (Excellent is still 25% green, 30% yellow, 5% red: 60% success; Remarkable is 25% green, 30% yellow, 10% red: 65% success) until Incredible, at which point the character doesn’t even need to roll.

Closing Comments

I wrote these last two articles mostly so I have the analyses in hand. I don’t much like having to depend on a table, but I like how conveniently it collapses to a simple formula. However, that I had to do this analysis to get here, and justify the result, suggests it might be more complex than I really want to use in the game.

I think I like how this works, in the end, but I’m not prepared to use it as is. Now that I’ve written these two posts, though, I’ve got them on hand should I want to revisit it.

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