Flat Rolls and Skills



If you’re familiar with classic dnd Thief skills, that’s a great way to look at ‘skills’ in Crown and Skull.

Sure, everyone can move stealthily, trying to be as quiet as possible, and find a good hiding spot. But only the thief can try to move completely silently or disappear into the shadows without a trace. I’ve always defaulted to Batman and how he can just disappear versus your normal schlub trying to hide.

Now, with that analogy in mind, this is how skills are meant to work in Crown and Skull. Anyone can jump a few feet, but only someone with training can attempt to leap 10 feet or more. Anyone can try to open a stuck door, but only the warrior with the muscle skill can attempt to rip the door off the hinge and throw it at the goblin charging him. Anytime it is heroic, cinematic, or dangerous, that is when the skill comes into play, and that is when others cannot even attempt such feats: they simply do not have the talent, training, or ability to succeed.

For those things you feel are on the border between casual everyday stuff and heroic ability, remember there is the Crit or Nothing rule. Also, Flat Roll DEFAULTS to 6, but it doesn’t have to be 6 all the time, you could make it 4, or 8, or whatever the situation dictates.

Lastly, remember that there is a Difficulty mechanic in Crown - which scales from 1(easiest) to 10(nigh impossible) that is subtracted from the characters skill(or you can just add it to the characters roll - the math works the same either way). And that difficulty doesn’t have to be the same for everyone in the scene. An old wizard with the Ancient flaw should have a more difficult time leaping a 6 ft rushing river than a 22 year old green nosed soldier.

Make it your own, mold the rules around each situation as needed, and always remember, you’re there to have fun, and so are the players!


The thief skills from classic DnD (and even ADnD for that matter), were exactly what I was thinking of when it finally dawned on me that C&S was more OSR style (I think I mentioned this in another post somewhere?). So that is really good confirmation, thanks. That said, it’s probably worth noting that the thief skills from classic DnD always spawn a ton of questions about how to apply them relative to other characters, hehe. So C&S might have to contend with that a bit. But ultimately, I at least am pretty confident I’m in the right headspace to interpret the C&S system now. I really appreciate the post!


It’s funny, as soon as I read your post saying you wish skills were called Abilites, it was a light bulb moment for me lol. In my head, skills meant your were more skilled than normal people attempting the same thing. Even though the text clearly says “such and such can not even be attempted by someone without X skill”, in my head I was trying to explain why someone should be able to “get lucky” and jump that 15ft gap. When I looked back at the list, calling each one an ability opposed to a skill, makes total sense.


You can also refer to them as Talents. You can just do a quick image edit on any character sheet or write it down however you like in your Journal.



Oh this old argument again! If it’s a sheer wall and you have no climbing gear, you cannot climb up. Period. Full stop. UNLESS YOU ARE A THIEF with that Skill!

Everyone can be stealthy, but not silent while moving. UNLESS YOU ARE A THIEF with that Skill!

One of my Monthly games is in AD&D2e and whenever the GM describes something that we cannot do like climb or find traps or move completely silent, our Thief player lets them know they will attempt to use their skills DESPITE the established impossibility. This falls on the player to remind the GM they can do this and the GM approves and hopes for the best!

I think that same approach should be taken as well!

GM: “There is no way anyone can survive drinking that much Dwarven Fire Brew! You all start feeling the darkness take you–”
Player: “Not for Bargin the Salesdwarf! I have quaffed lava and lived! I roll my Resist and rolls 3 succeed!”
GM: “Rock on, Bargin! This gets you feeling woozy but no more than a few tankards of ale! But what about your friends?!”


I just got the book as well, but have been watching YouTube and perusing the Players Guide for a while. I think DnD 5e has a lot of folks thinking that all adventurers can do anything with the difference of a few “pluses” based on abilities or proficiency. I don’t think that is what is intended here. The way I think about it, players are relatively normal folks with a skill set (up to 10) where they truly excel over the “regular guy”. I think the are of this game during player development is what skills each player brings to the team. If everyone has a base 6 in every listed skill, that would defeat the purpose, especially since a base 6 is fairly high in this game! I like what others on this string wrote about when to use a skill roll vs a flat roll. Basically, the flat roll is to see if the “common” person succeeds at a “common” task. Skills are what separate the heroes from the “common”.

Maybe another way I think about it is to not think of skills as if they are the same as in 5e, rather think of them as the abilities that are unique to the races and classes of 5e. For example, only fighters in 5e can use Second Wind. That’s it. The difference in C&S is that a character that may have a particular skill (ability) would roll to succeed on something like Second Wind instead of automatic in 5e.


I’m just going to add one final piece to the situation. If it’s something that someone can normally do (say a common task) like jumping over a small stream…why even ask for a roll. You should only ask for rolls if something has an interesting positive and negative consequence. Too often we ask for rolls for everything, they should be asked sparingly in my opinion and using the ‘skills’ feat is a way to do that.

If there was a narrative consequence, say, they are fleeing an enemy and don’t want to be slowed down by the river, then I would ask for a flat roll and add the skill modifier if they overlap (but as mentioned, the players can negotiated that and I’m sure it’s not that often)