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Fundamentals of Role-Playing Game Design by Ernest Adams

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Core Mechanics

During play, most of the actions in an RPG consist of the player designating a character to attempt some particular activity. The player must then roll dice (in video games, the computer simulates this) to determine how successful the attempt was. The rules governing success and failure for a particular activity describe how to test the die roll against one or more of the character attributes.

For example, consider the following situation: Johnny Rock, the warrior, wants to smash down a door. He has a strength of 17, and rules state that he must roll three six-sided dice and add their values. If he rolls higher than his strength, he fails to break the door. If he rolls lower than or equal to his strength, then the door splinters ...

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