There are two types of tests in Eclipse Phase: Success and Opposed.
Success Tests are called for whenever a character is acting without direct opposition. They are the standard tests used to determine how well a character exercises a particular skill or ability. Success Tests are handled exactly as described under Making Tests. The player rolls d100 against a target number equal to the character’s skill +/– modifiers. If they roll equal to or less than the target number, the test succeeds, and the action is completed as desired. If they roll higher than the target number, the test fails.
If you fail at a test, you can take another shot. Each subsequent attempt at an action after a failure, however, incurs a cumulative –10 modifier. That means the second try suffers –10, the third –20, the fourth –30, and so on, up to the maximum –60.
Taking The Time
Most skill tests are made for Automatic, Quick, or Complex Actions and so are resolved within one Action Turn (3 seconds). Tests made for Task actions take longer. Players may choose to take extra time when their character undertakes an action, meaning that they choose to be especially careful when performing the action in order to enhance their chance of success. For every minute of extra time they take, they increase their target number by +10. Once they’ve modified their target number to over 99, they are practically assured of success, so the gamemaster can waive the dice roll and grant them an automatic success. Note that the maximum +60 modifier rule still applies, so if their skill is under 40 to start with, taking the time may still not guarantee a favorable outcome. You may take the time even when defaulting (see Defaulting). Taking extra time is a solid choice when time is not a factor to the character, as it eliminates the chance that a critical failure will be rolled and allows the player to skip needless dice rolling. For certain tests it may not be appropriate, however, if the gamemaster decides that no amount of extra time will increase the likelihood of success. In that case, the gamemaster simply rules that taking the time has no effect. For Task action tests, which already take time to complete, the duration of the task must be increased by 50 percent for each +10 modifier gained for taking extra time.
Srit is searching through an abandoned spaceship, looking for a sign of what happened to the missing crew. The gamemaster tells her it will take twenty minutes to search the whole ship. She wants to be extra thorough, however, so she takes an extra thirty minutes. Fifty percent of the original timeframe is ten minutes, so taking an extra thirty minutes means that Srit receives a +30 modiﬁer to her Investigation Test.
Simple Success Tests
In some circumstances, the gamemaster may not be concerned that a character might fail a test, but instead simply wants to gauge how well the character performs. In this case, the gamemaster calls for a Simple Success Test, which is handled just like a standard Success Test. Rather than determining success or failure, however, the test is assumed to succeed. The roll determines whether the character succeeds strongly (rolls equal to or less than the target number) or succeeds weakly (rolls above the target number).
Dav is taking a short spacewalk between two parked ships. The gamemaster determines that this is a routine operation and calls for Dav to make a Simple Success Test using the Freefall skill. Dav’s skill is only 35. He rolls a 76, but the gamemaster merely determines that Dav has some trouble orienting himself and has to take some extra time. If Dav had rolled a 77—a critical failure—his suit’s maneuvering jets may have died and he may have accidentally propelled himself into deep space
Margin of Success / Margin of Failure
Sometimes it may be important that a character not only succeeds, but that they kick ass and take names while doing it. This is usually true of situations where the challenge is not only difficult but the action must be pulled off with finesse. Tests of this sort may call for a certain Margin of Success (MoS). MoS is simply determined by what the character rolled on a successful test. For example, a character who rolls a 20 against a target number of 55 succeeds with an MoS of 20. The higher the character rolls while still making it equal to or less than the target number, the higher the MoS. Higher skills thus make it possible to get a higher MoS.
An enemy has thrown an incendiary device near Stoya. She has only a moment to act and decides to try to kick it away from herself. Even better, she hopes to kick it into the open maintenance hatch a dozen meters away. The gamemaster determines that in order to kick it into the hatch, Stoya needs to succeed with an MoS of 30. Her Unarmed Combat skill is 65, so Stoya needs to roll 65 or less to kick the device away (though she may still be damaged when it explodes) and 30 or higher to kick it into the hatch (in which case she will be completely safe when it detonates). She rolls a 32—a success with a high enough MoS to kick it in the hatch!
At other times, it may be important to know how badly a character fails, as determined by a Margin of Failure (MoF), which is the amount by which the character rolled over the target number. In some cases, a test may note that a character who fails with a certain MoF may suffer additional consequences for failing so dismally.
Nico is trying to sketch out a picture of someone’s face. He has eidetic memory, but his drawing needs to be good enough for someone else to identify the person. He rolls against his Art: Drawing skill of 34, scoring a 97—an MoF of 63. The illustration is so bad that the gamemaster determines that anyone using that picture to identify the person will need to score an MoS of at least 63 on a Perception Test to recognize the person.
Excellent Success / Severe Failure
Excellent Successes and Severe Failures are a method used to benchmark successes and failures with an MoS or MoF of 30+. Excellent Successes are used in situations where an especially good roll may boost the intended effect, such as inflicting more damage with a good hit in combat. Severe Failures denote a roll that is particularly bad and has a worse effect than a simple failure. Neither Excellent Successes or Severe Failures are as good or bad as criticals, however.
Stoya has been caught in a deal gone bad. She moves to kick her opponent using her Unarmed Combat of 65. She rolls a 33 (for an MoS of 33), and her opponent rolls a 21 (also successful, but less than Stoya, so she wins). She has succeeded and beaten her opponent with an MoS of 30+, scoring an Excellent Success, meaning she will inﬂict extra damage with the kick.
An Opposed Test is called for whenever a character’s action may be directly opposed by another. Regardless of who initiates the action, both characters must make a test against each other, with the outcome favoring the winner.
To make an Opposed Test, each character rolls d100 against a target number equal to the relevant skill(s) along with any appropriate modifiers. If only one of the characters succeeds (rolls equal to or less than their target number), that character has won.
If both succeed, the character who gets the highest dice roll wins. If both characters fail, or they both succeed and roll the same number, then a deadlock occurs—the characters remain pitted against each other, neither gaining ground, until one of them takes another action and either breaks away or makes another Opposed Test.
Note that critical successes trump high rolls in an Opposed Test—if both characters succeed and one rolls 54 while the other rolls 44, the critical roll of 44 wins. Care must be taken when applying modifiers in an Opposed Test. Some modifiers will affect both participants equally, and should be applied to both tests. If a modifier arises from one character’s advantage in relation to the other, however, that modifier should only be applied to benefit the favored character; it should not also be applied as a negative modifier to the disadvantaged character.
Zhou has been hired by the Jovian Republic to inﬁltrate his old pirate band. Even though he’s resleeved in a new skin, he’s worried that one of his old buddies, Wen, might recognize his mannerisms, since they lived, whored, and raided together for years. After Zhou has spent some time in Wen’s company, the gamemaster makes a secret Opposed Test, pitting Zhou’s Impersonation skill of 57 against Wen’s Kinesics of 34. The gamemaster decides to give Wen a bonus +20, since he is so familiar with his former buddy and has been on the lookout for him, eager to repay the old grudge that split them apart. Wen’s target number is now 54.
The gamemaster rolls for both. Zhou scores a 45 and Wen a 39. Both succeed, but Zhou rolled higher, so his deception is successful. The gamemaster decides that Wen ﬁnds something about Zhou to be familiar, but he can’t put his ﬁnger on it.
Opposed Tests and Margin of Success/Failure
In some cases, it may also be important to note a character’s Margin of Success or Failure in an Opposed Test, as with a Success Test above. In this case, the MoS/MoF is still determined by the difference between the character’s roll and their target number—it is not calculated by the difference between the character’s roll and the opposing character’s roll.
Variable Opposed Tests
In some cases, the rules will call for a Variable Opposed Test, which allows for slightly more outcomes than a standard Opposed Test. If both characters succeed in a Variable Opposed Test, then an outcome is obtained which is different from just one character winning over the other. The exact outcomes are noted with each specific Variable Opposed Test.
Jaqui needs to hack into a local network to retrieve some video footage. The network is actively defended by an AI, so a Variable Opposed Test is called for, pitting Jaqui’s Infosec skill of 48 against the AI’s Infosec of 25. Jaqui rolls a 48—a success—but the AI rolls a 14—also a success. In this circumstance, Jaqui succeeds in hacking in, but the AI is aware of the inﬁltration and can take active countermeasures against her.