Critical Successes and Failures
Whenever a character rolls a double on a d100 when attempting a test the result is deemed to be a critical success (if the test is passed) or a critical failure (if the test is failed). In these cases the player is directly encouraged to provide an imaginative interpretation for what has happened, though this is of course subject to GM approval. In general the sort of interpretations that will be accepted are those that provide some additional advantage or disadvantage to the player character without utterly determining the way an encounter or test plays out. A good rule of thumb is: the less dramatic the interpretation, the better.
A street-tough attempts to grab Lili. She attempts to dodge, rolling an 11 – a critical success! Lili’s player suggests that the tough has slipped and fallen. While Lili is not completely safe yet, she now has a better chance of fleeing given that her opponent will have to pick himself up off the ground before he can give chase.
Ichabod Speer is attempting to remember as much as he can about the Belasco family’s recent history. He rolls a 66 – a critical failure! He fails to remember anything useful, as he is in fact confusing the Belascos with the Ascolias – a problem that will impose penalties to any additional research Speer attempts into the family until such time as he realises his error.
Basic skills work as per usual except that characters may choose to re-roll critical failures (see above) for all Basic Skill tests. Note that, as per usual in Dark Heresy, players may never attempt to reroll a test more than once for any reason.
Solaria is attempting to pass herself off as a young Imperial noble in order to gain admittance to an exclusive party. She rolls a 77 on her Deceive test – a critical failure! However, as Deceive is a Basic Skill she is allowed to reroll the test. She rolls again, scoring an 80 – still a failure, but at least she hasn’t been recognized by the doorman!
Additionally, should a character gain 3 levels in an Advanced Skill, there is still one way they can further improve that skill: by spending 200 XP they can make that skill count as Basic rather than Advanced (this counts as an ‘Elite Advance’), and thus benefit from the house rule outlined above.
To help players customize their characters they are permitted four ‘free advantages’ at the end of the character creation process. As a free advantage players may select any one talent, choose to count a single skill as basic, gain a level in any skill, or add +5 to any basic characteristic. Note, however, that they must provide explicit links between the advantages they choose and their character concept – and of course, as always, all such choices are subject to GM approval. Note that these advantages neither cost any experience, nor do they count as ‘advances’ (for the purposes of the limits on raising characteristics, for example).
> Generating Characteristics
Players are permitted to reroll any dice that come up ‘1’ during the process of character creation. Furthermore, once they have generated all of their characteristics they may choose to swap two characteristics.
> Fate Points
All characters start the game with 3 fate points.
> First Languages
All characters start the game with Speak Language (Local Dialect) as basic. Additionally, all characters start with a level in Speak Language (Low Gothic) for every full 15 points of Intelligence they have after generating and assigning their starting characteristics. If the character creation process would otherwise award them any additional levels in Low Gothic they may choose to either: (1) accept those advances (and thus increase their mastery of Low Gothic further); or (2) apply those advances to their level in Speak Language (Local Dialect); or (3) they may choose to increase their Intelligence by 1 point.