The fortune roll is a tool the GM can use to disclaim decision making. You use a fortune roll in two different ways:
When you need to make a determination about a situation the PCs aren’t directly involved in and don’t want to simply decide the outcome.
Two rival gangs are fighting. How does that turn out? The GM makes a fortune roll for each of them. One gets a good result but the other gets limited effect. The GM decides that the first gang takes over some of their rivals’ turf but suffer some injuries during the skirmish.
When an outcome is uncertain, but no other roll applies to the situation at hand.
While pilfering the workshop of an alchemist, Cross is possessed by a vengeful ghost. As control of his body slips away, Cross grabs a random potion bottle and drinks it down. Will the arcane concoction have an effect on the spirit? Will it poison Nock to death? Who knows? The GM makes a fortune roll to see how it turns out.
When you make a fortune roll you may assess any trait rating to determine the dice pool of the roll.
- When a faction takes an action with uncertain outcome, you might use their Tier rating to make a fortune roll.
- When a gang operates independently, use their quality rating for a fortune roll.
- When a supernatural power manifests with uncertain results, you might use its magnitude for a fortune roll.
- When a PC gathers information, you might make a fortune roll using their action rating to determine the amount of the info they get.
If no trait applies, roll 1d for sheer luck or create a dice pool (from one to four) based on the situation at hand. If two parties are directly opposed, make a fortune roll for each side to see how they do, then assess the outcome of the situation by comparing their performance levels.
The fortune roll is also a good tool to help the GM manage all the various moving parts of the world. Sometimes a quick roll is enough to answer a question or inspire an idea for what might happen next.
Other examples of fortune rolls:
- The PCs instigate a war between two factions, then sit back and watch the fireworks. How does it turn out? Does either side dominate? Are they both made vulnerable by the conflict? Make a few fortune rolls to find out.
- A strange sickness is sweeping the city. How badly is a crime ridden district hit by the outbreak? The GM assigns a magnitude to the arcane plague, and makes a fortune roll to judge the extent of its contamination.
- The Hound stakes out a good spot and makes a sniper shot against a gang leader when he enters his office. The controlled Hunt roll is a success, but is great effect enough to instantly kill a grizzled gang leader? Instead of making a progress clock for his mortality, the GM decides to use a simple fortune roll with his “toughness” as a trait to see if he can possibly survive the attack. The roll is a 4/5: the bullet misses his heart, but hits him in the lung—it’s a mortal wound. He’s on death’s door, with only hours to live, unless his gang can get an expert physicker to him in time.
- Inspectors are putting a case together against the PC crew. How quickly will their evidence result in arrests? The crew’s wanted level counts as a major advantage for the inspectors.
- The PCs face off in a skirmish with a veteran demon hunter captain and her crew. The tide of battle goes in the PCs’ favor, and many crew members are killed. One of the players asks if the captain will surrender to spare the rest of her crew’s lives. The GM isn’t sure. How cold-hearted is this veteran hunter? She’s stared giant demons in the eye without flinching... is there anything human left inside her? The GM makes a 2d fortune roll for “human feelings” to see if a spark of compassion remains in heart. If so, maybe one of the PCs can roll to Consort, Sway, or Command her to stand down.
- 1d for each Trait rating.
- +1d for each Major
- -1d for each Major
- Critical: Exceptional result / Great, extreme effect.
- 6: Good result / Standard, full effect.
- 4/5: Mixed result / Limited, partial effect.
- 1-3: Bad result / Poor, little effect.