Advantage Dice System

Most of the time when you roll in Echelon, you’ll be using ‘Advantage Dice’.

  • Roll all the dice you are entitled to (or can con the GM into allowing).
  • The roll value is equal to your highest die (mostly used for contested rolls).
  • For most checks, every die that exceeds the target number counts as a success.
  • More than one success can get you points that can be used for critical effects.

The above is a pretty abrupt summary, so a bit of explanation is in order

Echelon assumes competence in higher-tier creatures. All else being equal, a higher-tier creature will be able to use bigger dice, and are likely to have more relevant talents that provide dice. They are thus more likely to succeed at tasks than lower-tier creatures attempting those same tasks.

Each tier has a die associated with it. From lowest tier to highest tier, these are


(I quite like how d16, d24, and d30 expand the number of tiers possible without requiring modifiers for each die. I also happen to have dice of all these sizes, and know where to get more. The modifiers are available for those who don’t have the other dice, but they don’t see quite the same frequency of success: a paragon can roll 15 on a d16, sometimes, but will never do so on d12+2.)

Each creature starts with one advantage die based on their tier. Amren-ja, a character in the Champion tier always rolls at least 1d12 when rolling advantage dice.

A creature can also add a die for the best relevant cornerstone, common, and capstone talent, based on the tier of that talent. Only one die can be added for a cornerstone talent, one for a common talent, and one for a capstone talent (up to three total). Most talents are relevant to at least one skill or type of roll, in addition to providing qualitative benefits (let the creature do something that otherwise could not be done).

Target Numbers and Fixed Results

Each tier has a base target number equal to half the size of the tier die plus one. This means that given a single die, a character of that tier has a 50% chance of succeeding at any particular check. If a creature gets multiple dice the chances of failure is (approximately) halved with each additional die: 50% success (50% failure), 75% success (25% failure), 87.5% success (12.5% failure), 93.75% success (6.25% failure).

If the test is intended to be unusually hard or unusually easy, add one or subtract one point from the target number, plus one more if it is a legendary test, for each degree of change.


I don’t know how often tasks would be made ‘easier’, but they’re included for completeness.

The numbers above approximate the median values when rolling one die (base), two dice (hard), three dice (harder), and four dice (hardest) of the tier size. That is, a ‘harder heroic test’ has a TN of 7. A veteran creature rolling 1d8 will succeed about 25% of the time, but a veteran creature rolling 2d8 will succeed about half the time. This is not precise! But the numbers were chosen to be easy to remember.

At times a creature might make use a fixed result (much like the ‘Take 10’ mechanic in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game). In this case the character can use a fixed value based on their tier die (‘base’ in the table above), plus one for each die within two steps of the tier die, plus another one for each d20 (or bigger) after the tier die.

For instance, a creature rolling 3d12 would have a fixed result of 9 (7+2). A creature rolling 1d12+1d4 (champion-tier character making an unarmed attack, say) would have a fixed result of 7 (the d4 is much too small to have significant influence on the outcome). A character rolling 4d20 would have a fixed result of 17 (11+6).

Example: Amren-ja, Warrior Queen (Champion Tier)

Amren-Ja has the following talents:

  • Emon Warrior Tradition (a cornerstone talent) at the Champion tier (d12)
  • Axe Mastery (common talent) at the Champion tier (d12)
  • Mounted Combat (common talent) at the Hero tier (d10)
  • Mounted Archery (common talent) at the Veteran tier (d8)
  • Fierce Doom Rider (capstone talent) at the Veteran tier (d8)

When Amren-ja fights, she applies these talents depending on circumstances (dice rolled for each circumstance, with the relevant talents marked in [square brackets]):

  • 3d12 when attacking with an axe [Emon Warrior Tradition, Axe Mastery]
  • 2d12 when attacking with a spear [Emon Warrior Tradition]
  • 2d12+d6 when attacking with a bow, from chariot [Emon Warrior Tradition, Mounted Archery]
  • 2d12 when attacking with a sword, from chariot [Emon Warrior Tradition]
  • d12+d10 when attacking with a bow, mounted [Mounted Combat]
  • d12+d8 when attacking with a bow, on foot [Mounted Archery]
  • 2d12 when navigating her chariot around a obstacle or hazard [Emon Warrior Tradition]
  • 1d12+1d10+1d8 when navigating her mount around an obstacle or hazard [Mounted Combat, Fierce Doom Rider]
  • 1d12 when fighting with a mace.

In almost all cases she will end up rolling between 1 and 12, with the values tending to be higher when more dice are involved.

Some sample rolls:

Axe (3d12)Riding (1d12+d8+d6)Bow, Mounted (1d12+d8)Mace (d12) 
  • (6, 10, 1) = 10
  • (3, 9, 9) = 10
  • (8, 2, 2) = 9
  • (10, 5, 5) = 11
  • (8, 3, 6) = 8
  • (8, 4, 4) = 9
  • (3, 3, 2) = 4
  • (1, 1, 1) = 3
  • (6, 8) = 8
  • (1, 2) = 2
  • (10, 8) = 10
  • (3, 3) = 4
  • (2) = 2
  • (7) = 7
  • (10) = 10
  • (5) = 5

Similar rules apply when determining effect (damage in a fight, for example). Amren-ja wields Desert’s Bite, a greataxe of wounding. When she attacks with it, she does d12 (tier) + d8 (greataxe) + d12 (wounding) = 2d12+d8 damage (which will probably be about 8-9 points of damage per attack, before margin of success).

Most talents don’t add directly when determining effect, but they usually have indirect effect via critical success providing stunt points.

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