Expertise and extreme success

One of the rules we would like to simplify in Bulletproof Blues 2e concerns expertise and extreme success.

Right now, expertise with a skill (including a combat skill) costs 1 point. Expertise does not provide a bonus to the task roll; the benefit of expertise is that it allows a character to achieve “extreme success” if they roll particularly well (3 or more over what they need):

If the character has expertise in the power or skill, and the player rolls three or more over the task difficulty, the character achieves an “extreme success”. So if a character attempted a challenging task (task difficulty 12), and the player rolled 15 or more, and the character had expertise, this would be an extreme success. (from Actions, “Extreme Success”)

We are considering separating these game mechanics, in the following fashion. First, expertise would provide a +3 bonus to the player’s task roll. A character with expertise in Searching, for example, would have a +3 bonus on a Perception task rolls to find a clue in among a suspect’s belongings. Similarly, a character with Expertise with Archery would have a +3 bonus when using a bow in combat. We would keep the admonition that only *very* unusual villains have expertise:

Only very unusual villains have expertise. Expertise can have a powerful effect in combat, and it tends to be more powerful in the hands of the GM than in the hands of the players because the GM rolls more dice over the course of the game than any of the players do. For this reason, it is best to restrict villainous expertise to only those villains that truly do have an exceptional amount of control over their powers and abilities. (from Skills, “Villainous Expertise”)

How would this affect extreme success?

First, expertise would no longer be required in order to achieve extreme success: anyone who rolled exceptionally well would be able to choose from one of the extreme success bonus effects (overwhelming the target, smashing the target, or staggering the target).

Second, because these bonus effects would occur more frequently, we would reduce the damage bonus of an overwhelming attack from +3 down to +1.

With these revisions, one repercussion of extreme success is that characters with very high Prowess or Accuracy can often rely on doing extra damage with their attacks. Conversely, characters with very low Prowess or Accuracy will often take extra damage from attacks.

We are still discussing this modification: if you have an opinion, we would love to hear it.

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