Every roll matters with boons and banes

How does “Every Roll Matters” factor in with trying to invoke boons or banes?

In a combat situation, you can use the three options rules for a failed bane attack. However, what about boons, and what about banes outside of combat? What if you as a GM cannot think of a meaningful way to interpret a failed invocation?

One example: A player tried to summon a crow. They failed miserably. I gave them the demoralized bane as in “I failed and lost confidence in my abilities”. Next turn they tried again and missed narrowly. I decided to interpret it as a success with a twist, the twist being that the bird is immolated and can’t fly. The character decided not to sustain the boon and try a third time, again missing narrowly. I ruled that the immolated bird returned, but as a hostile creature, not bound to the boon to be sustained. Every decision did not come lightly and there were some moments of pause after the failed roll.

  1. How do you find twists for successes or “story progresses” effects in these situations? Do you have some standard effects which can be applied almost always?

  2. Is the way I handled it okay? What would you have done as a GM in these situations?


So, to note, the optional 3 choices in combat is just that, optional. It’s a simplified every roll matters as a success with a twist.

You can always do success with a twist, or failure but the story progresses for any action roll, and are encouraged to do so.

There is no codified thing like for damage in teh way of boons and banes b/c … their can’t be. It is far too situational not only for the boon or bane, for for what is actually happening in a combat. So you have to consider what the player was attempting to accomplish with their action (which brings up another point of always asking the player what they are hoping to accomplish with their task to help guide them towards an action and if it even needs a roll) as well as other narrative and situational considerations around them.

OUCH, this is … harsh… wow!!! To be punished and still not get anything? That’s a failure with an additional failure. That isn’t either Failure but the story progresses nor Success with a Twist.

If it’s a fail, it’s a fail, don’t punish them more, that’s not really making the story move along. If they failed, first, what was the reason they were summoning a crow? Was it to scout?

  1. The crow is summoned at lowest PL, and suddenly an arrow launches from the nearby woods (Success with twist. They got the crow, but the enemies noticed them while it was happening, and an attack roll was made)

  2. Just as you are attempting to summon the crow, some noises interrupt you from the forest, there’s someone there! What do you do?

Also, outside of combat, unless it is a stressful situation, typically don’t roll for boons. If you have plenty of time, then you could just keep invoking over and over (like they did), so no reason for a roll. It doesn’t matter, so no roll. If time is a factor, or there is stress involved, then a roll makes sense.

This is also why you just heal to full HP after 10 min, b/c you could otherwise just keep invoking heal, and b/c HP is stamina.

I’m typing fast, and after reading, that seemed a little harsh in some points where I wrote it.

Just know, it’s not easy to do Every Roll Matters when you are first starting, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Things to ask yourself:

  1. Does this make things more interesting for the players?
  2. Will this drag things out and just add unneeded time?
  3. Will this engage the players more in the story?

There’s probably more I could add, but I got to get going this morning, full day, I’m sure some others can respond with helpful ideas as well.

There’s a whole series of examples of not only generic attribute rolls, but success with a twist and failure but story progresses in the end of Chapter 8: Running the Game


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Okay, I seem to have misunderstood the “every roll matters” concept. If an attack fails during combat, the story continues automatically by it being the next character’s turn, so it is okay to just let rolls fail and move on in combat, is that correct?

Yes, that’s correct. “Failure but the story progresses” means that the roll fails in such a way that it can’t just be attempted again with no consequences; in combat the consequence is that your opponent gets another go before you can try again. The 3 choices were implemented as “success with a twist” in combat; you still get a small success, but it costs you. Either is acceptable, but it’s usually simpler to just use the first in combat.