Index Card World PbtA Hack Teaser? (Not an actual thing... yet!)



Hey P_Frota,

Just so I understand, the player gets a Defense Roll vs Target on a failed attack roll? If they also fail the Defense roll, they get half their Defense in damage reduction?


rn I’m super tired but I’ve been working on an actual hack based on this thread and will post soon.

For now I’m just gonna add to the “armor as damage reduction” thingie with the actual way I’ve been doing it since a long while now.

  • Armor starts at 0 and can go up to 10.
  • Armor reduces damage taken in a 1 by 1 basis (3 armor means 3 less damage taken).
  • You always take at least 1 damage if you get HIT.

This is basically how armor works in Terraria (a videogame I talked about here in the forums) and after playtesting it for a long while I must say I’m super happy. It is simple, still compatible with ICRPG CORE armor pieces and also somewhat avoids the problem of being invulnerable when having crap tons of armor.


Hey man. The way we play it, there are no attack rolls against the Heroes - they simply have to make a defense roll when they are attacked (making attack rolls for creatures AND allowing defense rolls AND damage reduction would take a long time to use in game and be a bit overkill).

Soak (damage reduction) equals one-half your Armor Trait (round up). So, if you are wearing basic armor (Armor +1) and a couple of items that grant Armor +2 (for a total of Armor +3) you have Soak 2. This is your damage reduction. As armor in ICRPG can stack up to +10, theoretically your Soak can go up to 5, but in my games I cap at Soak 6 (Armor +12). This conversion is just to still be able to use all the loot published, that’s measured in Armor, not Soak. Monsters get Soak too, of course, when neccessary.

For Defense Rolls… Here’s the non abridged version of the Defense Rolls hack. I didn’t post it before because I wasn’t sure if a wall of text would be welcome.


Player Facing Combat
(…) “player facing combat” is simply allowing the players to roll to avoid being hit by attacks instead of having the Game Master make rolls for monsters and bad guys. The idea is to both engage players more than what happens in most traditional systems (…).

Defense Rolls
During combat the GM doesn’t roll for the bad guys to hit the heroes (but may still roll for damage or have a player do it). Instead, when a hero is attacked, the player might come up immediately with a good way to avoid damage in the narrative. If the GM considers the description valid in the narrative, a simple Check with the most appropriate stat for the situation vs. the current Target. This roll is called a Defense Roll.

The exact stat you’ll use depends on the fiction and circumstances, some classic examples being:

  • Use Strength to parry, move the attack out of the way, drop something between you and the attack, and so on.
  • Use Dexterity to dodge and wave out of harm’s way, throw yourself behind cover, grab a weapon thrown at you, and so on.
  • Use Constitution to block with your own body or a shield, to “tough out” the damage, and so on.
  • Use Intelligence to apply advanced tactics in combat or to position yourself in a smart way so that the danger misses you, to come up with a mundane “counterspell” or protection, and so on. INT Defense Rolls are also used to avoid mental attacks that rely on reasoning, such as illusions.
  • Use Wisdom to have some sort of intuition about where the attack is going to hit, to destroy the opponent’s will, to mutter a fast prayer that keeps you safe, and so on. WIS Defense Rolls are also used to avoid attacks that can be avoided by willpower, such as temptation and corruption.
  • Use Charisma to charm or stare down the enemy, or even make your opponent feel empathy for you! CHA Defense Rolls are also used to avoid most psychic attacks and effects that alter one’s sense of self, such as charms.

Be creative on your descriptions of Defense Rolls but remember – if your choice is considered impossible by the GM, it automatically fails!

Easy and Hard Defense Rolls
Some circumstances can make your Defense Roll Easy or Hard. For example, when attacked by a half-troll giant with a mace that’s as big as a man, it might be a Normal or even Hard task to parry (a STR Defense Roll) or block (a CON Defense Roll), but Easy to get out of the way (a DEX Defense Roll) because it’s a very slow attack. Against an arrow shot by a skilled assassin it might be Hard to dodge or position yourself fast enough behind one of its allies (an INT Defense Roll), and impossible to charm him with your innocence (a CHA Defense Roll).

Monster Special Abilities
The GM can create all kinds of special movements and actions for opponents. A monster might have an attack that happens every 1D4 turns that’s impossible to parry (STR Defense Roll) or block (CON Defense Roll) - dodging (DEX Defense Roll) is your only hope. Or a psychic attack that always hits, but can be countered by sheer will (WIS Defense Roll) or by force of personality (CHA Defense Roll).

It also has been pointed that the problem with Defense Rolls is that some monsters have stronger attacks; for example, a Crystal Worm (Core 2E, p. 101) has a +4 to all rolls, while an Eye Beast (Core 2E, p. 103) has +6, should it should be harder to dodge an Eye Beast’s attack than a Crystal Worm’s. This detail is actually covered by the Target - the GM should adjust the Target ro reflect the fact that all of the Eye Beast’s Stats are higher.

Another simple solution is adjust the Target for a creature’s attacks based on how you defend from them by adjusting the attack to be Easy or Hard for certain Defense Rolls, as described above. When creating monsters, always think about new and exciting attack modes, how a hero could defend from them, and how hard it would be.

Critical Hits
If a Defense Roll wields a natural 1 or a result at least 10 points below the current Target, the monster’s attack is considered a critical hit in favor of the attacker, so be careful! Inversely, if a player scores a natural 20 on a Defense Roll the GM should narrate some appropriate results and benefits. In combat, it mostly translates into the opponent being thrown off balance by the defender, making attacks Easy on the following turn.

Multiple Opponents
You probably noticed by now that with players making Defense Rolls the game can slow down a lot when many creatures are on the table. To avoid that, here’s a few suggestions.

  • Ganging Up. When several weak creatures attack the same opponent, they trigger a single Defense Roll for their attacks, it being modified to Easy or Hard as necessary. A single goblin attacking with a rusty knife? Easy roll. A few goblins with spears? Normal roll. A small unit of heavily armored elite goblins protected by arrow slits raining down bolts from repeating crossbows? Hard roll.
  • Increased Damage. Multiple creatures will trigger a single Defense Roll but deal more damage. When these monsters attack a single target, roll the highest damage and modify it by +1 per extra monster. So, the hobgoblin leader wielding a large sword (Weapon Effort 1D6+2) is being helped by three of its goblin minions? His Weapon Effort will be 1D6+5 this turn if you don’t defend yourself.
  • Special Effects. Multiple opponents working together to overcome the PCs may open a window to many different scenes and stunts. Can the players intimidate them to break them up? Can they force the enemies into a funnel so only a few of them can fight at the same time? Combine these ideas with the GM INNOVATIONS chapter of ICRPG Quickstart Second Edition (p. 68-75), especially the Target Damage concept, for some really interesting encounters.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why you clean up the minions from the board as fast as you can.

An example of creature using these rules, from the fan-made Kumite book (by yours truly):

ELITE FIGHTERS :heart: :heart:
This archetype represents spec ops, secret agents, ninjas, triad hitmen, SWAT. This customized version is a former military agent highly trained in man-to-man combat that serves as a bodyguard and fights with a military knife.
Equipped. Elite Fighters usually fight unarmed (Basic Effort damage) or carry some sort of weapon (Weapon Effort damage).
Trained. Customize your Elite Fighters with one or two Martial Arts Abilities.

Martial Arts Abilities:

Block Expert. This enemy specializes in blocking unarmed attacks and melee weapons. When hit by an unarmed attack or melee weapon, roll 1D6. On a 4, 5, or 6, the enemy blocks, taking half damage (before Soak).
Throwing Knives. This enemy specializes in throwing knives. With each attack, he can throw up to three knives against one or multiple targets. Defending against one knife is Easy, two is Normal, all three is Hard. This attack deals Basic Effort damage (double Effort for two knives, triple Effort for three knives).

Note: I customized this stat block with two martial arts abilities that make use of the Soak and Defense Roll rules so you could see how it works; the book has about 20 of these options. Also, note that I still keep the Stats and Efforts of the creature, in the case a GM wants to use normal ICRPG rules instead of defense rolls.

Hope this helps! Happy gaming, man


So, in short:

“Having a fixed target means that you need to do more subtractive math to compensate for difficulty adjustment on the TN rather than the roll.” Right?

In DW there’s barely any (or none at all) difficulty adjustment because the fiction itself determines if what you’re doing requires a mechanic or not.

For example, fighting a dragon, an ICRPG GM might rule that “hitting” the dragon in the weak spot you discovered is an EASY roll, similar to a 5e GM that might grant you Advantage to hit. On the other hand, a DW GM would usually rule that you just deal damage or outright kill the dragon if it makes sense, no need to hack&slash. The game doesn’t include difficulty adjustment rules pre se because it is in fact designed that way so you use the fictional positioning of the characters to determine what happens rather than rules most of the time.

My point being, you don’t necessarily need to mechanically compensate for the fact that you can’t adjust the TN if the game provides you a phylosophy and framework that doesn’t revolve around numerical difficulty.

I find this interesting because it also means that you roll WAY less and that those rolls you make are actually going to provide you interesting results more often (with all the partial-success thingie). You end up using checks more like a “and now what happens?” mechanic rather than “can I make this?” one.

Idk if that makes sense haha


Ha, didn’t read your comment earlier. Yeah, minimum of 1 damage is exactly how I do it, and having playtested it I must say it works wonders at least for my groups. :stuck_out_tongue:



So I’ve been grinding my gears to get some gameplay structure going. My goal is to conceive a marriage between ICRPG’s EFFORT and the “Fiction :arrow_right: Mechanic :arrow_right: Fiction” flow that a PbtA game presents. In order to simplify the thing and keep a resemble of compatibility with ICRPG CORE, I decided to replace the typical PbtA modular moves with amore “free” structure like the one that World of Dungeons provides.

I came up with this so far:

To make a move is to describe what happens in the fiction and it usually involves triggering the rules of the game. Players make moves by describing what their characters do, while the GM does it by describing how the world reacts to them. This is important because not all of the conversation that happens during play is considered to be a move.

For example, it’s not the same to ask the other players if they think that jumping from a dragon’s back mid-fly is a good idea, than to actually describe how your character jumps from the dragon’s back mid-fly, the latter is considered a move because you are describing what happens in the fiction .

Player Moves
When you make a move , the GM will judge if it is a risky move or a safe move .

Making a risky move means that your character is going to be in some sort of danger or in harm’s way while doing what you describe, or that there simply is a chance of things going wrong or not working the way you expected. This usually also means that you need to make a CHECK in order to see if you succeed or fail and if there are any consequences to your move.

Examples of risky moves : Attack an enemy, avoid a sprung trap, tame an angry owlbear.

On the other side, making a safe move means that you just do what you described immediately with no consequences , because it’s not risky .

Examples of safe moves : Talk to an NPC , move to another position, consume a potion.

To make a CHECK, roll a d20 + STAT :

16+ is a STRONG HIT, you make it and you roll ULTIMATE EFFORT but the GM makes a Move , or you roll normal EFFORT and avoid the consequences , your choice.

10-15 is a WEAK HIT, you do it and you can still roll EFFORT but the GM makes a Move .

9 or less is a FAIL, you don’t make it and the GM makes a Move .

And here’s a workflow of sorts for the core gameplay loop design:

And an alternative cover! @P_Frota hahah


Ohhhhhh I’m checking that as soon as my crazy work schedule for this week allows it :smiley:


That is interesting!!!
@Shadymutha was playing with this and player only rolls…

Honestly right now, I would change things a bit, only when the characters are pushing their limits would they roll a d20…otherwise just roll effort.

This would account for @DarkEnergy ‘s 33% of failure that always bothers me.

So thinking on it, characters can get a d4 effort automatically (watch those points go into basic, make clear that this is just D4 effort, not basic effort)

Or roll for effect…effect gives them the full effort of their attack…negative effects of spell spamming and such still apply.

This change is drastic in that it assumes the GM still has a turn. The free effort triggers a GM move. And that is guaranteed a 75% of the time anyway, and the players are assumed to be more competent.

In essence I’d allow a player characters to get a weakened weak hit (d4 effort), automatically…if they don’t roll that d20. Less heroic, no flash, perhaps practical…

Swing for the fences or die in mediocrity…but this situation might call for mediocrity.


This is a really nice and simple adaption.
I totally agree that DW dramatic (or combat) resolution feels much more dynamic and exciting. Even playing ICRPG, I’ve found encounters can start to feel a bit narratively restricted and board-gamee, with turn system sometimes de-incentivising co-operative and creative action, as well as abilities being so specific. Of course, this is just down to player and group preference + style. Just expressing my experience and preferences. ICRPG brings so much to the homebrew + game-fluidity table (isn’t it crazy that bonus actions are still normal for most RPGers xD).

Yea i totally get that, but I also think a standard target can also make the game flyyy. You could have a standard Hard/Easy + Very Hard/Easy mechanic, as well as extra attempts needed (super lock/many baddies) or larger consequences to make stuff harder. Again though, this is a preference thing init.

I didn’t fully understand your point about proliferation of subtraction events, What do you mean by subtraction events?


I should really read the whole thread before replying xD

This is fantastic!
The Golden Opportunity and Safe Move also solves some of the biggest immersion breakers I find in a lot of games. The one thing I’d maybe change is having strong hit give ultimate effort, just because I really like how ICRPG utilises different effort dice, as well as some risky moves not resulting in effort dice roll. But that’s pretty minor, and could be easily home brewed to roll “extra effort dice”/“choose added effect”.

Big fan of this Nimlouth, please keep going!


I should really read the whole thread before replying xD

Ye ikr, there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on haha

Hey thanks a whole bunch for your encouragement! :heart::herocoin:

I also find the golden opportunity concept super useful, it encourages the GM to not fall into that mind trap of “make a roll but I need you to succeed/fail”.

About EFFORT, you can read the graphic as “Roll EFFORT if applicable”. Just like in CORE you’ll sometimes just make plain checks because you’re not fighting against an obstacle that requires effort rolls, I’ll call those CHALLENGES or something in the doc I’m writing so it gets a little bit more clear.

Also read “roll ULTIMATE EFFORT” as “Add ULTIMATE EFFORT to your EFFORT ROLL” haha, just like a normal ICRPG crit. Gonna rephrase all of that thanks!

Here’s a tentative list for the GM moves



I’ve been skimming this the last days and still have to reread everything more carefully. I really like how this is going.It’s looking tighter each day. Bravo.

But I want to leave three notes/ideas:

About that last list of moves, since its a mix of PbTA and ICRPG, do you things its better to enumerate all like on the last screenshot? Or to put PbTA vs ICRPG grouped together? So as to help someone who is more knowlageable into one of the systems to graps the equivalent in the other.

For example:

  • Exaust their resources (Destroy or damage their LOOT)
  • Show an approaching threat (Start or progress a timer)

About the flowchart, and trying to bastardize it a bit, I’ll leave these random ideas:

  • For a strong 16+ hit: a 20 is an instant max effort / instant sucess and ask the player to narrate “how do you do this?”
  • For a strong 16+ hit: always roll ultimate but if the ultimate roll being added is kind of lame… d12 <3 or 4 then GM can offer a bargain/move in exchange for a result of 6 (avg), 10, 12 (max)
  • For a 1 it is a naratively BAD worse case scenario hard “no restrains” GM move. Timer was 3? Whoops… its TIME’s UP! Always fear a 1!!!
  • A hero coin can be used to switch: Strong hit to max effort, or Weak hit to Strong hit with no GM move, or fail to weak hit with no GM move, or (specially tempting in case of a 1 epic failure – will hero sacrifice something for the team?) spend the coin to negociate a different move.

And related… One other frequent ICRPG feature is the EASY/HARD used in particular the character tags / LOOT. Typical example here is the elf archer cliché where shooting an arrow is always easy. Could we fit that here too? Or it would complicate things too much?

Like this:

  • At a roll of 9-

    • Action fails and triggers a GM move
    • If action for character was EASY the player chooses to do minimal effort (flat d4) or do normal effort and trigger a GM move (even if falling, Legolas somewhat lands an arrow, it might cost him if it is worth it)
    • If it is HARD then you get a worse case scenario deal. (your drunk gunner instead of just emptying the mag… freaks out and throws the gun itself too… and misses!)
  • at the roll of 10-15

    • Action as limited effects (flat d4) or do normal effort and trigger a GM move
    • If an action for character was EASY the player rolls normal effort (even if distracted legolas lands a good arrow)
    • If it is HARD it does d4 and trigger a move anyway (the drunk gunner is scoring one for the team and one for the other team… whatever the case… things are getting interesting!)
  • at the roll of 16+

    • Player chooses to do normal effort or do ULTIMATE and negociate a a GM move (typical using all your bullets or break the sword in an epic stunt)
    • if the action for the character was EASY then add ULTIMATE effort to normalm effor roll without consequences (When arrows are flying bad ass Legolas always outshines competition)
    • if it is HARD you roll normal effort (even drunk and expirienced gunner guts the foes)
  • at natural 20

    • Player gets Effort + Ultimate
    • If it is an EASY task (due to loot, tag or skill) do max effort 12+dmg die or insta-kill (Legolas with a natural 20 needs to shine!!)
    • if it is HARD you get to choose: either normal and avoid consequences or gets an ULTIMATE + negotiates a hard move (the she-devil gunner lands the big fatal blow… grins… and passes out)
  • at a natural 1

    • Action fails an triggers a fiction worse case scenario move
    • If it was an easy task do d4 EFFORT and trigger a GM move (even with the last - broken - arrow bad ass Legolas still does a hit!)

The bonus here is that existing characters and LOOT wouldn’t need conversions. Bad ass characters would still be good (mechanically) at what they’re conceptually good at. And have that 5% nat 20 used for character progression and cheap thrill.

And also note one distinction. In this case:

  • a FAIL + GM move would be chosen by the GM.
  • a sucess + GM move would be negociated with the GM
  • a hero coin would force negotiaion / improve player agency when it matters the most

and would give a bit of that Numenara feel of spending resources and stacking bonus to get that instant sucessfully conflict resolution, but only for the thing that maters.

P.S. As mentioned by @Nimlouth this detail would still be for the cases were effort was actually needed. If there was no timer than the EASY task would always hit. Instant effort roll. For the cases where effort is not needed then the narratively partial sucesses and full sucesses would apply. But for an EASY task, then a partial would be full, and a full would be a big flashy feat (don’t want to use ultimate since it wouldn’t have a d12 attached)

EDIT1: formatting and rewording.



instead of complicating this EASY / HARD entry on all “at a roll of…” maybe just keeping it at a +3/-3 bonus but having instead two more tiers “at a natural 20 or a total of 25+” and “at natural 1 or failing a HARD task”* for that ULTIMATE/catastrophic effect :thinking:

(doing an hard thing is risky… and risk would invite complications and giving GM agency…)

EDIT: finished


Cool! Thanks for the info! I don’t mind a wall of text. I like seeing other people’s perspective. :slight_smile:


That was my thought too about the 1 damage minimum to prevent characters from being completely invulnerable. Even if they have 10 damage reduction, the character would still need to take a Recovery action every now and again during a long battle. This makes sense to me.


Totally interested! I’m also kind of neck deep in DW and PbTA right now, but LOVE ICRPG…


I LOVE the flow of DW, but also LOVE the setup and simplicity (with fun crunchiness) of ICRPG, so I have to re-iterate how much I’m into this DW-ICRPG blend. For me, its becoming the perfect RPG :heart:

Some more thoughts (mostly unoriginal):

-I did some maths (I won’t bother sharing details unless someone asks) and I think max natural stats at 5, with EASY/HARD, is definitely the one. The chances for success and success-with-consequence across PC development feel solid. Feels soooo maths-nerdy good.:nerd_face:

-There is an issue that at maxed out stats, and with Easy (specially from ability), the chance for GM moves goes down to 35% (in perfect world). But this is fixed by the consequences of those fails being huge (because PCs are in the most dangerous of dangerous dungeons at this point). It feels right, the Master PC’s succeed most the time, but when they don’t it costs a lot.
This can be further augmented by increasing target brackets just for end game demon-lords hell-castle shit, having some checks be blanket HARD (“if you weren’t skilled at it I’d say it was impossible unless you crit”) and being liberal with DEBILITIES (stolen from other RPGs).

-DEBILITIES: Players temporarily loose stat points or suffer HARD. It would be simpler to just use HARD, but I like the stat-deduction mechanic because (A) it’s a nice representation and easy to track, and (B) it still leaves the Easy/Hard mechanic in the realm of situations and skills (“my leg’s broken, but how can I make this easier”). These could regenerate once rested, treated, or sooner (eg. in 1d4 rounds you will recover from the fumes). Also players know their in hell when every other thing can debilitate them! Eg:

  • The lich drains your strength, making you feeble: -1d4+1 str.
  • Your leg is wounded -3 dex.
  • The noxious fumes are overwhelming -1 con per round
  • You are exaughsted, all attempts are HARD.
  • The dark aura of this place saps your abilities. -1 random stat every 1d4 timer.
  • The dark aura intensifies as you enter the alter room. -1 all stats every 1d4 timer.
  • The dark aura periodically fills your head with dark visions. Roll Wis or all attempts HARD for 1d4 rounds.

-I think @nullzero 2nd suggestion is perfect for EASY/HARD (the ICRPG system). I don’t even think you need to add more tiers. I think it’d be pretty intuitive when a situation calls for more severe consequences. eg:

  • Sam goes to disarm the novice duelist. Fails the HARD roll (cause it’s harder than just hitting them), duelist makes an attack back!
  • Sam goes to disarm the MASTER duelist. Fails the HARD roll, duelist disarms her! Sending her sword far out of reach!

Personally I’d also be pretty liberal with imposing HARD when players are doing a specifically skilled task that they are unfamiliar with (eg. the scholarly wizard trying to lock pick), just to facilitate characters feeling better at niche things. The wizard could always practice or get taught by the thief and loose the HARD penalty in future. Maybe a class/background TAG to vaguely identify what those things are (eg. City Cat-Burglar).

-DEFENCE & ARMOUR: I love player facing defensive actions. Makes them defending themselves a creative active action that pushes the narrative, rather than passive. Although it does even-out the defence-chance playing field (because you can use your best stat) if characters can utilise their best stats creatively, but this can balanced out by tank’s armour (as damage reduction), abilities/items to improve their defence chance (eg. shield: add armour to defence rolls when you use shield, ninja: dex defence rolls are always EASY), and defence situations that will inherently be HARD, or impossible, for some stat rolls over others. Just to add, damage reduction is very nice for low-numbers system where we can up the damage-danger scale whilst maintaining the “feel” of 10hp being normal - making them fighting the 2d12 hitting hill-giant feel even more epic!

-For abilities/weapons in ICRPG that destroy enemy DEFENCE, I would just making it destroy their armour. Even if the monster has no damage-reduction stat, I’d just give players +1 damage (i.e. the monster has -1 armour).


The reason we play with 1-10, 11-15 & 16+ is this will give you the same fail/success rate as DW, as stated the probability curve isn’t the same using just a single die like the d20 (flat 5%), instead of 2d6 giving a bell curve, as used in PbtA games.

1-10 Miss/fail (DM narrates outcome)
11-15 partial success usually with a complication (PC narrates success outcome / DM narrates complication)
16-20 full success (PC narrates outcome)

1 on the dice is always a critical fail
20 on the dice is always a critical hit

DW uses 50% fail, 25% partial success and 25% full success. Using the above, gives you the same fail/pass rates though, I don’t get why you’d change the values to 1-9 is a miss for example.

Also I don’t think the Easy/Hard tasks difficulty adjustment doesn’t need to be any more complicated, you could just reverse the +/- …what I mean is instead of Easy being a -3 to the TN, you now would use Easy being +3 to the roll.

Alternatively, you could just equate Easy = Advantage and Hard = Disadvantage.

There’s no change in the language used by ICRPG by either method, so when the GM calls for an Easy or Hard roll, there’s no additional mechanic or formula to remember.


Bonus thought: If you want movable target numbers (for when the nuclear reactor begins to melt down!), simply throw two target numbers on the table, default would be one at 11 and one at 16. One to represent Partial Success, one Full Success.


1-10 Miss/fail (DM narrates outcome)
11-15 partial success usually with a complication (PC narrates success outcome / DM narrates complication)
16-20 full success (PC narrates outcome)

1 on the dice is always a critical fail
20 on the dice is always a critical hit

I was checking the open beta document on the discord from the “Realms of Peril” kickstarter (basically old school grafted to a PbtA d20 style like this, and it is like you describe.

Also I don’t think the Easy/Hard tasks difficulty adjustment needs to be any more complicated, you could just reverse the +/- …what I mean is instead of Easy being a -3 to the TN, you now would use Easy being +3 to the roll.

Alternatively, you could just equate Easy = Advantage and Hard = Disadvantage.

And using Advantage and Disadvantage, though with a small addition. In the example I gave, some times the easy/hard is used in ICRPG for character skill. The elf archer, for which using a bow is always easy. In their rulebook, they say that if the action being done is of a particular character competence (think a tag in ICRPG) then a fail is always partial.

That could be used the same way. For actions related to tags, be a fan of the character and assume it is a bad ass at that, never failing miserable at what they’re supposed to be good at (except for a 1 == bad luck). For the other easy / hard things, like the special disarming trick then, you would use the advantage/disadvantage mechanic instead.