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DoubleZero: How It Works


Here’s a bare-bones, quick-and-dirty explanation of the DoubleZero core mechanic and how it works. Revised May 31 2020.

  • It’s a percentile system.
  • Everything is driven by 5 Attributes: Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Willpower (WIL), Perception (PER), and Intelligence (INT).
  • Tasks are assigned a Modifier (Mx) from 1 to 5. These are multipliers. If you need to make a DEX check Mx3, you need to roll 3x your DEX or less. So if your DEX is 12, you need to roll 36 or less.
  • Skills increase your Mx by 1, when they’re relevant. If that DEX check above is to shoot at someone, and you have the Fire Combat Skill, the Mx3 increases to Mx4. You need to roll under 48, not 36.
  • Concentrations as skill specializations. If a character has Firearms (Sniper), meaning they’re generally good with guns but especially good shooting people at a distance, they get a Mx bump when relevant. The above Mx moves from 4 to 5.
  • If you succeed in a task, the Outcome (O) is based on the actual Mx you achieved. Say your DEX is 12. With Firearms (Sniper) your Mx is 5. Any roll of 60 or less is a success. If you roll a 19, that would have succeeded for Mx2. The outcome is 2, above the standard. For the Firearms skill, it means doing extra damage.
  • Don’t worry, this will all be on the character sheet so you don’t need to do math. in your head, on the fly.
  • Outcome has different meanings for different Skills, obviously. A low O when looking for a clue means your found more / better information, for example.
  • There are Hero Points. You get one every time you score an Outcome 1. They can be spent to improve your Outcome on other rolls. Turn a failure into a success, a success into a better success. But use them wisely, because you can run out.

That’s the basics. If this seems familiar, as if it’s almost beat-for-beat the way a classic, out-of-print game works, that is exactly the point. I’ll cover that in a future post.

2 thoughts on “DoubleZero: How It Works

  1. I went to the doctor. “No,” they said. “you can’t order your prescription from Russia.” “With love?” I asked, being short on gold. Finger thoughtfully to chin, they said, “Do you hear thunder?” “Ball game will be canceled,” I heard the secretary say from the other room. “Well, you only live twice!” I suggested.

    I never went back to that doctor.

    1. Did anyone smell toast burning? Because I’m pretty sure someone in that scenario was having a stroke.

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