The Resolution Chart
At the heart of the ZeFRS system is the resolution chart used to determine success or failure of actions. To make a resolution check, a percentile dice roll is cross-referenced against the numbered column that corresponds to the Talent rating used for the check.
There are four degrees of success, plus failure. Each is denoted by a color, such that a result will often be referred to as "red" or "green". The color scheme of the original table, which is used in the tables provided here, is white for failure and green, yellow, orange and red for success.
When making a resolution check, low rolls are best. In every other case, a high roll is best. For those who would like a uniformly roll-over system, a chart with the values flipped such that 01-02 are now the values of certain failure and 99-00 are certain success will be provided at a later date.
There are two schools of thought on what exactly constitutes a column, since the original game rules weren't clear on this point.
One group holds that "column" means one of the columns that corresponds to individual Talent ratings (or groups of ratings for values above 11). For example, if a character with a Sailing Talent rating of 4 were to receive a +2 modifier thanks to some favourable condition or other, she would shift 2 individual columns to the right and roll on the 6 column of the table to resolve the attempt.
The other looks to the design of the original resolution chart and, seeing that there were actual lines only at the 1, 6, 11 to 15, -1, -6 and -11 to -15 points, concludes that these are the columns to which shifts should be applied. Thus, if the sailor with a rating of 4 were to receive a 2-column shift modifier, this method would have her make her resolution check on the 11 to 15 column. This raises the further question of where in the column her exact value should fall. There are at least three options:
- the first value in the 5-member column may be used (e.g. in the column that includes the values 6 through 10, 6 would be used),
- the middle value of the column may be used (e.g. in the column that includes the values 6 through 10, 8 would be used), or
- the corresponding position in the column may be used (e.g. the sailor with a value of 4 who gets a +2 column shift would be rolling on 21-25).
Players are invited to consider and experiment with both to see which better accords with their own style and judgement. The standard resolution chart can be used either way; slender black lines delimit the column for each individual rating, and thicker black lines indicate the columns shown on the original chart.
The Colors of SuccessAs mentioned above, the original color scheme of the resolution chart was (and is in the basic version given here) white for failure, green for marginal success, yellow for acceptable success, orange for total success and red for heroic success. Many pixels were spilt on RPG.net discussing alternate choices of color for each level. The most popular alternate color scheme was the one proposed by Max:
Let's begin with White failure. White is for the blank canvas of failed artists, the bleached bones of failed heroes, white is the fatal flash of the sun or the moon on the blade falling on you, the slavering fangs, the ripping talons, the wide-eyed terror, the empty panic-stricken mind of the soon-to-be-dead.
Then Black for the ultimate success. Black is the death-dealing iron, black is the mind-blasting sorcery, and the deepest and the highest knowledge and understanding, black is the eternal night, the primal night in which everything began and in which everything will end, and the barbarism that much always ultimately triumph; black is the dark undercurrent that runs through all the best S&S stories and lends them that particularily poignant contrast that makes them so deliciously, vibrantly life-like.
This leaves us with three intermediate levels of success. What more is there to S&S? Red blood, surely, and yellow gold, too. And let's throw in a verdant green, just for contrast.
Of the three, the lowest is Green. Green is for living things, and for the Earth that brought them forth, the grass, the trees, the rolling oceans, the steaming jungles and the primordial ooze that spawned all life. Green is also for the mold on the corpse, the searing venom in the fangs of a serpent, and the natural law of Tooth and Claw, the ever-turning wheel of life. Green is for those who live - for now.
Yellow is for the precious gold. It's for the rewards men seek in life, and sometimes achieve, for the warmth of the sun, the amber mead, the weight of the gold that lines your pockets, the hard-earned wealth and the ill-gotten gains. Yellow is for those who find the treasures they seek.
Red is the crimson of blood. Red is the blood of your enemies on your hands, red is the water of life in your own veins. Red is the stinging wine that sets minds a-light, the tender meat on your palate, the blazing dawn sun, the beckoning lips, the burning blood - red is lust and life. Red blood is more precious than yellow gold, for blood is life and without life gold is nothing. Red is for those who live to the full, who strive and slay and burn with life, and are content.
So now we have:
- White, for failure
- Green, for minor success
- Yellow, for moderate success
- Red, for major success
- Black, for ultimate success
For those of you would like to apply an alternative color scheme, we offer a Microsoft Word version of the resolution chart (in both roll-under and roll-over configurations) that you can recolor as you like.
An Alternative Chart
E.T. Smith created an alternative version of the resolution chart that uses a pair of six-siders to generate values between 11 and 66 (perduodesexagesimal?) and tweaks the range of results to offer three levels of success, plus the choice of mere failure and utter disaster at certain points. E.T. explains why in detail in this thread on the ZeFRS boards, as well as noting that "...I'm afraid that the chart is still basically conceptual and completely un-playtested, so you may want to include such a disclaimer...". Duly noted.
Not Using the Chart
Those who prefer not to use a chart in play will want to note four values beside the rating for each talent. These are the numbers a player must roll to achieve marginal, acceptable, total or heroic success. There are two ways (roll-over and roll-under) to figure that as well:
|Success Level||Roll Over||Roll Under|
|marginal||46 - 2R||54 + 2R|
|acceptable||67 - 2R||33 + 2R|
|total||83 - R||17 + R|
|heroic||93 - .5R||7 + .5R|
R here stands for the character's adjusted Talent rating. Modifiers can result in a negative adjusted rating. If you have a Sword Talent of 3 but your opponent has a Movement of 5, you're rolling on the -2 column. So the formula would make green 50, yellow 29, orange 15 & red 6.