I really like the ‘2-column skills’ approach, where you have two short list of skills (or attributes or approaches), and you select a skill from each list and add them together. You see this a lot in games from Modiphius. For example, the Star Trek Adventures RPG has 6 Attributes and 6 Disciplines, and the Dune RPG has 5 Drives and 5 Skills.

The Problem I’m Trying to Solve

When implementing this in Fate, to preserve the math, you end up doing something like having skills in column one that range from +0 to +3 and skills in column two would range from -1 to +1.

There are two problems I’m trying to solve in 2 Column Skills for Fate:

  1. Increase the range of each skill column to 1-5 (instead of just 3 or 4 levels each each skill). This is in line with the Modiphius 2d20 games, and I think would be more satisfying.
  2. I want to avoid negative numbers as ratings for a skill.

The Proposed Dice Pool Hack

So here’s an approach I’ve come up with that I’d like your feedback on.

In standard Fate, your roll 4dF and add your skill rating (and outside this you might have a +2 from a stunt, and +2’s or rerolls from invokes).

In my hack, you’d have skills in two columns, and each skill would be rated from 1-5. You select a skill from each column, and roll that number of d6’s (so you’d be rolling 2-10 d6 dice). After you roll, you count successes as any die that comes up with a 4, 5, or 6. On top of this you’d add your +2 from stunts, and +2’s from invokes.

The Math

Let’s look at what this does to the math for the low skill, average skill, and highest skill scenarios (assuming your peak skills only go to 4 in Fate).

In standard Fate, you roll 4 Fate dice, when you add skills from 0, 2, and 4 (low, average, and high skills). Here’s the range of outcomes and average result for each skill rating:

Starting Skill Ranges (Ratings are 0 to 4)
Skill 0: Range -4 to +4, average 0
Skill 2: Range -2 to +6, average 2
Skill 4: Range +0 to +8, average 4

Max Skill Range
Skill 5: Range +1 to +9, average 5

(Example Anydice.com formula for the above is “output 4d{-1,0,1} + 4”)

In my dice pool hack, you roll 1d6 for each 2 column skill, with skills levels from each column ranging from 1 to 5. You count 4, 5, and 6’s as successes. Here’s the range of outcomes and average result for each skill rating after picking your two skills:

Starting Skill Ranges (Ratings are 1 to 4)
Skills Total 2: Range 0 to 2, average 1
Skills Total 6: Range 0 to 6, average 3
Skills Total 8: Range 0 to 8, average 4

Max Skill Range

Skills Total 10: Range 0 to 10, average 5

(Example Anydice.com formula for the above is “output [count {4, 5, 6} in 10d6]”)


So it seems like the average results from your skill rolls would be very close to standard Fate, offset by just being 1 higher on average. The big difference is the lower your skill, the less of a range of outcome is possible. A little different but I’m not sure that would break anything per se.

Maybe instead of the ladder going from -2 (Terrible) to +8 (Legendary) we could bump all the values up by 1, so the new ladder would be -1 (Terrible) to +9 (Legendary).

I have not figured out how a ‘reroll’ would work (worst case I remove the ‘reroll’ option if it makes the math wonky).

I’ll be getting feedback on Reddit’s Fate forum and perhaps doing some playtesting on this dice pool approach.