Whenever you tell the group that your character is trying to do something, your GM has to decide whether he is successful. If he is successful, your GM will need to decide just how successful he is. If he fails, the GM needs to know what the consequences of the failure might be. This process is called a task check.


Whenever you are called upon to roll dice in a Feng Shui game, you will be rolling two standard six-sided dice. Each should be a different color. One die represents a positive value; the other, a negative. At the beginning of each session, tell your GM which color is which and stick to this choice. No fair deciding which is positive after you've seen the roll results!

Whenever you roll the dice, subtract the negative die roll from the positive. The result may be a negative number.

Example: Mary designates her green die as positive and her red die as negative. She rolls and gets a 3 on the green die and a 1 on the red. She subtracts the result for the red die From the green die: 3 - 1 = 2. Her die result is 1.


Sometimes your GM will ask you to make a Closed Roll. This is a normal roll of the two dice, as given above.

Most of the time, you will be asked to make Open Rolls. In an open roll, you reroll any die that comes up 6, adding to that die's total. This gives a wider range of results, which simulates the wild and chancy actions typically undertaken by Feng Shui characters.

Example: Mary makes an open roll, and gets a 6 on her green die and a 5 on her red die. She rerolls the green die, getting a result of 4. She adds the results of the two green die rolls: 6 + 4 = 10. She then subtracts the negative result, 5: 10 - 5 = 5. Her final result is 5.

If, on an Open Roll, both dice come up sixes (boxcars). the GM should decide that something unusual happens. You re-roll both dice, ignoring each instance of boxcars (but not a single 6) in Your final total. The unusual happening may be good or bad, depending on the overall result of the roll.


Usually when you make a roll, you will then add the result to another number--that number is usually one representing one of your character's abilities, and is called an Action Value (abbreviated as AV). When you choose your character type, you will want to make sure that she has high Action Values in the abilities you want her to be especially good at. In the rulebook is a chart that gives you an idea of the level of ability that various Action Values correspond to.

Whenyou add the final roll to an Action Value, you get a number we call the Action Result. When your character tries to do something, that Action Result is compared to a number decided upon by the GM which represents the difficulty of the task your character is attempting. This number is called--surprise, surprise--the Difficulty. If the Action Result equals or exceeds the Difficulty, your character succeeds at the task. How well she does depends on the difference between the Difficulty and the Action Result. The difference is called the Outcome. If the Action Result is lower than the Difficulty, the attempt fails. Again, the difference between the two numbers can determine the degree of the failure if necessary.

Example: Chin's character, Jimmy Kwan. is attempting to break a board with his head at a kung fu tournament. His Action Value for Martial Arts is 6. The GM decides that the Difficulty of breaking the board without injury is 6. Chin rolls 2 on his positive die and 4 on his negative die, for a total of -2. He adds this to his Action Value: -2 + 6 = 4. This is below the Difficulty, so Jimmy Kwan fails. The GM decides how to describe the failure. Since the difference between the Action Result and the Difficulty is only 2, the GM decides that Jimmy half-succeeds--he breaks the board but stuns himself in the process, embarrassing himself in front of the large audience. Had the difference been 4 or more. the GM might rule that not only did Jimmy fail to break the board, but he also injured himself.


Even outrageously skillful heroes have their off moments. Bad luck can strike at any time, bringing with it humiliation, agony, humiliation, slapstick embarrassment, or humiliation. A task check that results in this sort of way-awful failure is called a fumble. Fumbles occur in one of two ways:

  • You get a negative Action Result.
  • You roll double sixes (boxcars) and then fail to meet the Difficulty of the check when you re-roll.
  • Most of the time, your GM will think up excruciatingly appropriate fates for your character to meet when you fumble. Standard fumble results are provided for some common task checks. Gun-wielding characters who suffer fumbles usually have their guns malfunction on them. Sorcerers suffer something nasty called backlash. But that's detail, and you can find the details in the rulebook.

    Copyright 1996 by Robin D. Laws.
    Used by kind permission.
    Permission granted to print and photocopy for your personal use.