Most important in-play use terms

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This article briefly defines the most important terms, abbreviations and acronyms pertinent to in-play activities, sorted alphabetically. Note that there are separate articles for more specific terms as well as for important English language words that are not specific to Sagatafl.


2d8 Roll

Sometimes referred to simply as 2d8,or as an Overcome Roll, this is an alternate roll mechanic (from the d12-based one) that is used when more precise balancing is required (in game designer's terms), for instance when a Spell must "roll" to overwhelm another Spell or a physical phenomenon. The actual roll consists of rolling 2d8-9 (which averages to zero), then adding any positive modifiers, and subtracting any negative modifiers. If the result is 1 or higher, the result is that yes, the "attacker" did overcome the resistance. Sometimes the value matters, written as 1O, 2O, 3O and so forth (these are termed Overcome Factors). Sometimes it matters whether the result is zero or negative (other times it doesn't), but it never matters how negative the negative outcome is.

Examples of 2d8 roll usage include Suppress Light Spells trying to suppress varius light sources. A Spell Level 4 Suppress Light Spell would have an easy time temporarily suppressing a candle (a tiny source of light) but would have a hard time suppressing the light from a very large bonfire (a huge source of light), and this is represented by giving the Suppress Light III Spell (that's the SL4 one) a medium positive modifier to the 2d8-9 roll, and the candle a very small negative modifier to the roll, and the large bonfire a huge negative modifier.

Another example is most magical effects to cure diseases. A medium-level (SL3 or SL4) Cure Disease Spell effect ought to easily pwn a case of the common cold (to the point where one could argue that it would have been more economical to cast a lower Level Spell), but should have only a tiny probability of curing a very serious disease such as plague or cancer (where one really ought to cast a more powerful Spell). A third example is Dispel Magic. Really the 2d8 Roll is - so far - only used in the various magic systems.


A failure - not capicalized - is when a Skill roll or Attribute roll or similar roll produces an outcome that is neither some amount (small or large) of Success nor of Fumbling. A failure is not in itself bad, but of course there may be situations in which a character has to succeed on the first roll in order to save his life or the life of a friend. An outcome of failure is written f-1, with the f not capitalized, to distinguish it from the "codes" used for Fumbles: F-2 through F-6.


A Fumble is when a dice roll, such as a Skill roll, fails badly, so that there are negative consequences for the character (or sometimes an innocent bystander) above and beyond the direct consequences of non-Success. Fumbles range from Minor Fumble, coded F-2, to Disastrous Fumble, coded F-6. Some rolls, such as Sense rolls, are designated Safe Rolls; these can never Fumble. F-2 or worse is treated as f-1 (failure).


Roll Difficulty, the difficulty that any Xd12 roll is made against, e.g. a Skill roll, Sense roll or Attribute roll (almost all rolls in fact; the main exceptions are damage rolls and Overcome rolls). Each dice showing a value equal to or higher than the RD is a Success; if there are no Successes, the RD is used to determine the degree of Fumble. A lower RD means an easier roll. Players need to learn to fear RD 12. A typical adventuring-difficulty task is RD 8, while total routine is RD 4. Note that for RD 6 and lower, the worst kinds of Fumbles cannot occur at all.

Safe Roll

Sense Roll


Abbreviated xS, e.g. 2S for two Successes or 5S for 5 Successes. Successes measure how well a successful activity is performed, whether an active activity (such as most Skill rolls) or a passive activity (most Sense rolls are passive). Any Xd12 roll produces a result of one or more Successes (there's no hard upper limit, but it is impossible to get more Successes than the number of dice rolled, e.g. 14 Successes on a roll of 14d12), or a Fumble (from F-2 to F-6), or a failure (f-1). More Successes are always better on a normal roll, and for Opposed Rolls Successes are compared, often subtracted from each other, e.g. an Attack roll vs a Defence roll in combat (such as Sword skill vs Dodge skill).


A Task is a series of Skill rolls accumulating Progress towards completing a goal, such as picking a lock, casting a Spell, or doing an Invention. Each Successful roll adds a value equal to the number of Successes squared to Progress, e.g. a roll of 4S adds 16 to Progress. A Minor Fumble, F-2, is actually not a true Fumble in the context of a Task, since there are no ill consequences except that all accumulated Progress is lost. Therefore, in the context of Tasks, Fumbles of F-3 and worse are called Abortive Fumbles. Each roll (cycle) of a Task takes an amount of time, sometimes under the character's control (e.g. he can try to hurry, or he can work slowly and methodically), and so part of the purpose of the Task mechanic is to allow more skilled characters to complete some activities faster.

Time Scale Steps

Sagatafl uses a general Time Scale or Time Step Scale, dividing time into a variety of time intervals, and scaling all the way from steps of less-than-a-nanosecond and up to steps of milions or billions of years (although frankly, anything less than 1 Second or more than some thousand Years simply follows a x10 or /10 progression), each such step idiosyncratically (and with gleeful pedantry) capitalized every single time it is used, as in 1 Second, 1 Round, 1 Minute, 6 Minutes... 6 Moons.

Activities "move" between Step Intervals by being performed Rushedly or Slowly, e.g. the normal Roll Cycle Time for a Lockpicking Task is 1 Minute, but a character can, in exchange for a serious RD penalty, Rush that down to one 6-Second Round or even to 1 single Second, or he can slow down to 6 Minutes per Roll Cycle or even 1 Hour per Roll Cycl, in exchange for an RD bonus. Spells and other magical effects likewise make use of the TSS scale and can in some cases "move" on it.

For more, see the [TSS] article.


TM, or Time Modifier, is the act of a character choosing (most often voluntarily, but sometimes pressurized or forced into it) to perform an activity or Task at an unusual speed relative to how it is normally carried out.

If the character tries to do it faster, it takes less time and he gets an RD penalty (of +1 or more). If the character tries to do it more slowly than what would be the norm, it takes more time but the character gets an RD bonus (of -1 or more).

Attribute rolls generally cannot used TM, but most ordinary Skill rolls, and most Tasks, can. This involves the Time Scale Steps. Some Skills cannot be performed at unusual timing (Cooking is the example that springs to mind), and other Skills or activities can only have their time usage modified to a limited extent, either only rushed, or only done slowly and methodically, and/or perhaps only allowing a single step, or two steps, of deviation from the norm.

Normally there are three steps of Rushing, doing it in half time (+1 RD), doing it 1 TSS faster (+2 RD), and doing it 2 TSS faster (+4 RD), and two steps of Working Slowly, doing it 1 TSS more slowly (-1 RD), and doing it 2 TSS more slowly (-2 RD).

Spellcasting Tasks use a slightly different mechanic for TM, called Spell TM.

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