Getting things done – Chapter 4 (Part 2) – HYOOTRD RPG Players’ Guide

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Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama Role Playing Game

Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama Role Playing Game

Consequence tests

Sometimes a player’s actions have the ability to cause results the player did not expect. In such circumstances the GM may call for a consequence test.
Consequence tests are conducted by rolling 1 six sided dice (1d6). On 1-5 nothing happens but a 6 will result in a negative consequence of some kind.
A consequence test is usually called for when a player fails an action but may also be required at other times as the GM chooses.

Example (Weapon jam)

Jake is trying to hit a soft drink can with his gun. The player rolls an 8 which, when his ranged skill (1 dot plus 1 default point = 2 points) is added, still results in a failure.
Jake then rolls a 6 on a consequence roll.
The GM concludes that not only did Jake miss the target, the gun jammed as well.

Example (Raising an alarm)

Although Jake was successful at shouldering the Principal’s office door open, the GM feels the noise may have attracted the attention of a security guard and asks for a consequence roll. The player rolls a 3. No guard hears the noise.


A successful perception test is almost always followed by a consequence roll. Perception governs whether a character notices what is going on around him or her. The extent to which such notice is taken is determined by a consequence roll.  The test itself is a default test unless the character has spent points on the perception skill.  If points have been spent on the skill it is a trained skill test.

A 1-2 means that minimal information is provided to the character.
A 3-4 usually means the character gets most of the facts.
A 5-6 indicates the character takes in all there is to know.

While characters may use perception like any other skill, the game keeper has discretion over when a consequence roll will apply.

Example (Detecting an ambush)

A mugger and one of his friends is creeping up behind Jake. The GM asks for a perception test. Jake succeeds so the game keeper asks for a consequence roll.
The GM determines that on a 1-2 Jake will only see the shadow of his attackers at the last minute. A 3-4 will mean that Jake hears his attackers approaching as well. A 5-6 means Jake will catch sight of them approaching from the corner of his eye.
Jake rolls a 3 and so hears someone approaching him from behind.


Occasionally the action a character tries to undertake is opposed in some way. This is called a contest.  When trying to succeed in a contest (whether between characters or objects) the opponent should be assigned a challenge rating according to the chart below.


Very difficult+4

The two contestants roll 2d10.  The player adds the required skill points to the result of the roll while the GM adds the challenge rating to the opponent’s roll.  Whichever result is higher determines the outcome of the contest.


Jake is attempting to hold a door closed against two strong thugs.  The GM decides the contest is difficult (that is, Jake will find it difficult to keep the door closed against the pressure from his opponents) and rolls an 11 on 2d10 adding +2 (the difficulty modifier for a difficult contest) to the result giving 13 to the opponents.  Jake rolls a 14 and employs his base statistic of strength as a natural skill (adding 2 (3/2 rounded up) points to the roll).  This gives him 16.  Jake’s result (16) is higher than the GM’s result (13). Jake manages to bar the door comfortably.

Special Skills

What the dots mean for ranged skills (magical and mundane)

The following rules help define how ranged and magical skills can be applied.

Line of sight rule

Many times you need a clear line of sight to your target in order to employ a weapon or spell.  The extent to which this is true reduces with increased skill.

1 dot:requires clear line of sight
2 dots:requires partial line of sight
3 dots:requires an accurate guess when no more than 50 meters away
4 dots:requires a fair guess when no more than 100 meters away
5 dots:line of sight not required within 200 meters
8 dots:line of sight not required within 5 kilometers
Range rule

The general distance at which you can be effective is also determined by the number of dots in the skill you are using

1 dot:the length of a table top
2 dots:the length of a room
3 dots:50 meters
4 dots:100 meters
5 dots:200 meters
8 dots:5 kilometres
Area effect rule

Lastly, the area of effectiveness of area effect weapons and spells (such as explosive shells, or raining fire from heaven) is determined by the number of dots in the skill you are using.

1 dot:2 square meters
2 dots: 4 square meters
3 dots: 8 square meters
4 dots:16 square meters
5 dots:32 square meters
8 dots:5 square kilometres

Example (Using a mortar – a ranged area effect)

Gunnery Sergeant Jones (Gunny) has lots of weapons skills including 3 points in the use of mortars.   This allows him to make an accurate guess as to the location of his targets within 50 meters, be accurate over 50 meters of range, and affect an area of 8 square meters with the mortar attack.

Example (Malefice’s rain of lightning area effect spell)

Malefice has 2 dots in her rain of lightning spell – a spell she intends to use as an area effect.  In order for the spell to work she must have at least a partial view of her target, be fairly close (about a room’s length from her target), and the spell will affect 4 square meters.

Duration and targets

Mystic abilities and some area effect weapons can have their effects maintained over multiple phases at the cost of not being able to perform other simultaneous actions. All spells are treated as targeted actions. The effect is calculated every 2nd and fourth phase while a successful skill roll must be achieved to maintain the effect every first and third phase.  A new target(s) can specified on every second and fourth phase (see Combat for details).


Malefice decides that, having attacked multiple targets with her rain of lightning spell for 2 standard phases she will maintain the attack switching targets to the group’s leader for two further phases. She makes a skill roll to maintain the spell.


A gadgeteer has the ability to create gadgets to accomplish tasks.  To use a gadget requires a skill roll in the same way that using any skill does and should be listed on the character sheet with any dots spent on the skill.


Dr Herbivore has designed a combination chronometer, sextant, and compass that he wears on his wrist like a watch.  He has placed two points in the associated gadget skill and calls it his personal locator.  Using it he can determine his location (in terms of longitude and latitude) by making a personal locator roll.  He has managed to get lost in the Jungles of Borneo and decides to use the skill to determine where he is.  Consulting his personal locator he rolls 15 on 2d10 and adds 2 giving him 17 – a success.  He now knows where he is and can continue on his way to his destination.

Weird Science

A weird scientist has inventions and abilities that allow him or her to accomplish weird science effects (anything from raising the dead to travelling in time).  To use one of these inventions or skills, a skill roll is required just as if it were a normal skill or ability.  Such abilities must be listed on the character sheet along with any dots spent acquiring the skill.


Dr Herbivore’s faithful Orangutan butler has died of old age.  Unable to conceive of life without a simian companion he purchases a new Orangutan and prepares the creature for surgery.  Herbivore has a weird science skill that allows him to shape the intelligence and character of a creature (or person) through surgically modifying the bumps on their heads.  He has two dots in this skill (which he calls transformational surgery).  He rolls a natural 20 on 2d10 and adds 2 points to the result giving him 22 – a big success.  His new butler, who he names Mycroft is now ready to assume his duties.


Magical spells, rituals, items, and abilities must be recorded on your character sheet along with any dots spent in acquiring them.  To use the spell, ability, or object you must make a successful skill roll.


Malefice has a magical staff which can read a person’s thoughts.  Her team have captured one of the lieutenants belonging to a major crime family and she wishes to identify the individual giving the orders.  She employs the staff rolling a 10 on 2d10 and adding her Magical Staff of Mind Reading points of 3. A 13 is rolled (success) and she learns that this Lieutenant reports to Robert Gotti, currently number two in the Gotti crime family.

Hero points

Heroes in the radio serials of the past have always been lucky individuals.  Where an ordinary person would fall from a cliff to their deaths, a radio serial hero would succeed in grabbing a vine on the way down and somehow survive.  To mimic this tendancy towards good fortune this game employs hero points to improve the players odds.  When a dice roll doesn’t go your way you can spend a hero point (reducing the available number by one) to either re-roll the result or add one to a result already rolled.  You can only spend one hero point per dice roll (so if, after spending a hero point, the dice still don’t go your way you will have to live with the result).

Example (Using Hero Points)

Eg. Wild Bill tries to shoot the lever that controls the gate to the Hyena pen but only rolls a 4. His six gun skill is at 3 which raises it to a 7 (still not enough). He elects to spend 5 out of his total of 6 Hero points to make the shot a success leaving 1 Hero point available for the rest of the session.

Alternatively, Wild Bill might cash in a hero point to re-roll the first result (saving a few hero points in the process). However, the re-rolled result is final and cannot be added to by further hero points.

Skill advancement

Each “single-session” adventure that players successfully complete (survive) results in the player being awarded one “Radio Times” magazine cover detailing their exploits. These magazine covers can be traded for new abilities or skill levels.

A new ability costs 1 cover.

For each dot of skill a player already has it will cost 1 magazine cover to increase it. Eg. a 3 dot skill will cost 3 covers to increase to 4.

It is also possible to earn experience points throughout the game (awarded for accomplishing various objectives).  Every 10 experience points earns a Radio Times Magazine cover as well.

Experience points and Radio Times Covers are awarded at the discretion of the GM (though you should always receive at least one cover for completing/surviving an adventure).

Skill advancement can only occur between adventures.


The jewels have been recovered and the bad guys are on the run.  Malefice figured out the meaning of the secret symbols on the map that led to the treasure being recovered so the GM awards her an extra 2 experience points.  Each of the players gains a Radio Times magazine cover recounting their adventures for radio listeners everywhere.  The cover is worth 10 points and with the 2 extra points she has earned, Malefice records 12 experience points on her character sheet.  She then decides to give herself a new starting skill (spending 10 of these points to give herself one dot in it) that she is calling intimidate.


Jake Stead already has two dots in ranged weapon skill.  With the cover he has just earned he now has 3 magazine covers (or thirty experience points) available to spend on skill advancement.  To raise his ranged skill one more dot he must spend covers equal to the number of dots already present (2 or 20 points).  He adds a dot to his ranged weapon skill and reduces his experience points by 20 leaving 10 to be recorded on his character sheet.

NEXT TIME: Chapter 5 – Combat.

This chapter of the Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama RPG and all associated content (except where acknowledged) is © copyright and Philip Craig Robotham 1997 and may not be reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author.

HYOOTRD Roleplaying Game – Players’ Guide