Partial Success: Examples

What is Partial Success?  It’s a different way to do skill checks and challenges for D&D 3rd/4th Edition and Pathfinder.  I’m hoping to turn this into a free pdf (and maybe even a zine/pamphlet) so any feedback would be very much appreciated!  Thanks everyone!

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2:  Basic Mechanic

Part 3: Examples

Social Skills

The social skills are those skills that deal with speaking and talking with NPCs. In various games they might include bluffing, haggling, public speaking, diplomacy, intimidation and others.

  • NPC still listens, but doesn’t trust the PC anymore.
  • NPC still listens, but will have the PC followed later.
  • NPC still listens, but will tell others that PC is untrustworthy.
  • NPC still listens, but asks a pointed question to try and catch the PC in a lie.
  • NPC still listens, but the second in command grows in his/her distrust the PCs.
  • Some in crowd seem to be on PC’s side, but others become more vocal.
  • The crowd seems on the PCs side, but more have arrived, and they don’t seem convinced.
  • NPC knows/believes what you’ve said is not true, but wants to believe it’s true, so keeps listening.
  • NPC doesn’t budge much on price, but offers other minor good/service.
  • NPC is willing to go along, but will need a show of good faith.
  • NPC goes along with what you said, but is now looking for ways to get PC (intimidate)
  • PC reads the emotion of the NPC correctly, but not the motive.
  • PC reads the motive of the NPC correctly, but not the emotion.
  • PC thinks that the NPC might be lying, but doesn’t realize it.
  • The PC talks to the wrong people for information. They give the right information, but someone who shouldn’t be is alerted to the PCs inquiry.
  • The PCs talk to the wrong people for information. It seems like good information, but actually has subtle mistakes.

Physical Skills

This includes endurance, lifting, jumping, athletics, running, tumbling and acrobatics.

  • PC completes the physical challenge, but loses/breaks item in the process.
  • PC almost makes jump, but is hanging from the ledge.
  • PC climbs half way, but gets stuck.
  • PC begins falling, but is able to catch him or herself.
  • PC is able to heal their party member, but takes damage equal to one fourth the amount they heal in the process.
  • PC is able to heal party member, but has contracted what the party member had.
  • PC is able to stave off the ill effects of an disease, but in the process has spread the disease to someone else.
  • PC is going to require more rest at the end of the day to recover hit points or surges.
  • PC remains hidden, but can’t move without being seen.
  • PC is seen out of the corner of the NPCs eye, but is able to get out sight before the NPC is able to get a good look at the PC.
  • PC trips as he or she is attempting the physical challenge. He or she is able to catch him or herself, but it takes longer or requires more movement to complete.
  • PC manages to complete challenge, but it takes twice as long.
  • PC manages to complete challenge, but falls prone in the end.
  • PC doesn’t escape, but loosens the restrains (+2 on next check)
  • The PC succeeds, but causes some loud noises in the process.

Environment/Investigative Skills

This includes dungeoneering and nature skills, perception and awareness skills.

  • The PC notices a detail, but it isn’t an important detail. Seems to be though.
  • The PC notices a detail, but misunderstands its significance.
  • The PC notices something, but just a little too late to do something right away.
  • It takes twice as long to search something
  • The PCs get lost for 10 minutes, but then realize their mistake and backtrack.
  • The PCs misread their understanding of the environment. For example, instead of a slight decline in the cave, the PCs sense a steep decline.
  • The PCs misunderstand the nature of a forest/cave. They are close, but mislabel certain features of their surroundings.
  • The PCs are convinced there is a trap on the door/chest.

Knowledge Skills

This includes all skills which provide knowledge about history, magic, religion and other skills which provide information.

  • Your knowledge about the topic is flawed. You know two correct pieces of information, but one piece is incorrect.
  • You remember only half of an important piece of information. I.E, you remember the first name, but not the last or the specific location, but not the city it’s in.
  • You are certain about the piece of information that is common knowledge, but common knowledge is wrong.
  • Your mentor taught you this piece of knowledge, but he or she was mistaken.
  • Your research has taught you some very interesting information, but not what you were looking for.

Thieving Skills

These are you typical thieving skills like sleight of hand, lock picking, trap disarming and pick pocketing.

  • The PC opens the lock, but damage it beyond repair.
  • The PC trips the trap, but stops it from going off by holding perfectly still. The PC will not trip the trap unless he or she moves.
  • The PC manages to pick the pocket, but NPC quickly notices.
  • The PC manages to pick the pocket, but another NPC notices and begins to follow the PC.
  • The PC doesn’t trip the trap, but doesn’t seem any closer to solving it.
  • The PC opens the lock, but causes some loud noises in the process
  • The PC is able to perform a slight of hand, but the NPC is suspicious.

Thanks for reading everyone!  Hope you find it useful for your game!

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Filed under Partial Success, Role Playing

2 responses to “Partial Success: Examples

  1. Danny

    Just happened to stumble across this from Google, and I really like the idea. It makes things a little more forgiving for bad rolls and things no player has invested ranks in. Plus it gives a few ideas for alternate results when you get to the point where players think, “I rolled a 40 on bluff, so everybody will believe me completely.”

  2. Absolutely. I like letting the rolls help tell the story, and I play with a bunch of guys that can be hardcore tacticians on the battlefield, and then clam up when we to social situations. This helps them to feel more confident in talking to that barkeep, even if they haven’t min-maxed their diplomacy.

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