Apocalypse World Task Resolution Hack

Charles Jaimet  and I were talking last night about Apocalypse World and its resolution system.  I had a quick thought about it, and how it seems not quite complete to me.

Short form, as I understand it: 2d6+modifiers.  10..12 success (“you do it”), 7..9 partial success (“you do it, but…”) , 2..6 failure (“you don’t do it”).  DM fiat to describe the consequences.

Despite my recent comment about feeling that symmetry in game design is not necessarily a great thing, I feel like this isn’t quite complete.  I picture something like:

  • 10..12: success, “you do it”
  • 7..9: partial success, “you do it, but…”
  • 4..6: failure, “you don’t do it”, or partial failure, “you don’t do it, but…”
  • 2..3: total failure, “you don’t do it, and…”, or failure, “you don’t do it”

The resolution system as initially presented seems a little harsh, even though at +0 you still have a better than 50% chance of at least partial success, because you have what amounts to 1/6 chance of success, a bit more than 2/6 chance of partial success, and the rest is entirely failure.

The table above either makes that worse (total failure means not only do you not succeed at what you were trying to do, it introduces more complication) or softens it a bit by allowing for partial failure — you don’t succeed at what you were trying to do, but you are in a slightly better position than you were.

To use Charles’ example last night, if you decide to bug out of a firefight, success means you get away clean, partial success means you get out but take some minor damage (or some of your gear is destroyed — you weren’t hurt, but your first aid kit is scattered to the wind).  Where his example had “you’re pinned down and can’t move”, though, here you might have either partial failure meaning you can’t get away but in trying to change position you see that your opponent’s cover isn’t quite as good as you thought, or total failure meaning not only did you not get away, when you exposed yourself to run he managed to catch a piece of you (depending how you view the options above).


  1. Pingback: Links of the Week: June 18, 2012 | Keith Davies — In My Campaign - Keith's thoughts on RPG design and play.

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