I love me some d20 system. The simple formula of “roll die, add modifier” will get you through almost any scrape. Want to lift something heavy? Give me that Strength check. Want to chat it up with that cute warlock? Roll your Charisma. Want to impress that cute warlock by lifting something heavy? Give me an… erm… Athletics? No, I mean Performance. No wait, how about we roll both and take the average?


This biz is why the core resolution mechanic of the d10 system remains my favorite. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s a pretty straightforward “dice pool” setup. Just grab a number of dice equal to your relevant Attribute + Ability scores. Every die showing seven or higher is a success. Get the requisite number of successes and you’ve succeeded at the check. So for example, if your beefy dawn caste solar exalt has a 5 in Strength and 2 in Performance, you’re rolling 7 dice in your sexy powerlifting dance routine.

However, as you may have noticed in today’s comic, Barbarian does not have the luxury of playing mix’n’match. In d20 terms, Intimidation is a Charisma-based skill. You can’t just add your Strength bonus to the check because it happens to make sense in context. You need special training for that! While this rigidity does incentivize careful character building, it can also be deeply disconcerting when the charismatic halfling ballerina has a better chance at scaring that bad guys than your half-orc bruiser.

So in that sense, what I really love about dice pool systems like d10 is their expressiveness. You can really zero in on the specific situation by pairing the right stats. Even better, combining Attribute + Ability in unexpected combinations is often good for a laugh. Want to inspire the troops by posing dramatically on yonder hilltop? Give me Appearance + War. How about faking the symptoms of the Great Contagion? Roll those Manipulation + Medicine bones. Need to fix your broken weapon sans tools? Just punch that sword back into shape with Strength + Craft!

So for today’s question of the day, why don’t we brainstorm a few unconventional scenarios? What is the weirdest combination of Attribute + Ability you can come up with? (Or if you prefer, Ability + Skill)? When would you actually roll it? Tell us all about your weirdest situations and wackiest stat combos down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.