Dice Pools

Dice Pools

A dice pool is a number of dice that a player can add to those normally allowed for a test. Each pool comes from different source, usually skills or Attributes. The Control Pool, for example, is equal to the character’s VCR-modified Reaction Rating, and it can be used for nearly any rigging-related test. Other dice pools can be used to supplement other tests. The Spell Pool helps Sorcery Tests, the Combat Pool helps Combat Tests, the Astral Combat Pool helps Astral Combat Tests, and the Hacking Pool creates better odds for Computer Tests.

Dice pools initially become available for use at full value as the first step of the first Combat Turn of any encounter. Characters can then draw from them, as appropriate for the type of pool, during the Combat Turn. Once dice are drawn from the pool, those dice are no longer available for use until the pool refreshes at the beginning of the next Combat Turn. More than one die can be used to augment a test, subject to the limitations of the dice pool.

When using dice from a dice pool to augment a test, the player adds the pool dice directly to those normally used for the test. That is, if a character would normally roll 4 dice for a test, but takes 3 more dice from the appropriate pool to augment the test, she now rolls a total of 7 dice.

Some pools have limitations on how many dice can be added to a single test.

At the start of each Combat Turn, all dice pools refresh to their original, full value. Thus, if a character has a Combat Pool with 8 dice, the pool always returns to 8 dice at the start of a Combat Turn. Unused pool dice do not carry over from one Combat Turn to the next.

Combat Pool

Players may allocate dice from the Combat Pool to any offensive or defensive combat-related tests, such as Pistols, Bows, Throwing Weapons, Clubs, Unarmed Combat or any similar offensive Combat Skill Tests. They may also use dice from the Combat Pool to dodge and help resist damage from normal attacks.

A character's Combat Pool is equal to his Quickness, Intelligence and Willpower Ratings, divided by 2, rounded down. Spells, powers and cyberware that affect the Quickness, Intelligence or Willpower Attributes will also affect the Combat Pool. The Combat Pool refreshes according to standard dice pool rules.

The maximum number of Combat Pool dice that a player can add to any offensive test is equal to his or her character's rating in the skill for which he is making the test. For example, a character with Pistols 5 can add up to 5 dice from her Combat Pool when making a Pistols Test.

A player may draw any number of dice from the Combat Pool for a defensive Dodge or Damage Resistance Test.
A player can only use

Combat Pool dice to augment or resist magic-related tests in the case of elemental manipulation spells. The player uses these dice to dodge or resist damage from such spells in the same manner as normal Ranged Combat Tests.

Defaulting puts specific limits on the number of Combat Pool dice a character can use.

Combat Pool dice can affect a Ranged Combat or Melee Combat result. Whenever a character takes damage from a ranged or melee attack, he or she can allocate dice to either dodge the attack or “soak up” the damage. If a character dodging such an attack generates more successes with his Combat Pool dice alone than the attacker generates successes, the attack is considered a complete miss.

A character must be aware of an attack in order to use Combat Pool dice against it. Surprised characters may not use Combat Pool dice to defend themselves.

Characters wearing heavy armor reduce their Combat Pools by 1 die for every 2 points by which the armor’s Ballistic or Impact Armor Rating exceeds the Quickness Rating of the character wearing it.

Control Pool

The Control Pool is used by riggers to augment tests strictly relating to controlling a rigged vehicle, such as a Maneuver Test or resisting damage from attacks against a character’s rigged vehicle. If a rigger is driving or piloting a vehicle that she is not currently rigged into, she cannot use Control Pool for tests concerning that vehicle.

A rigger’s Control Pool is equal to the character’s Reaction, modified only by his or her vehicle control rig (VCR) cyberware. Reaction bonuses from other sources are of no help.

The Control Pool refreshes in accordance with the standard Dice Pool rules. Vehicle Combat rules have special rules regarding allocation of Control Pool for the Maneuver Score Open Test.

The maximum number of Control Pool dice that a character can add to any control-related test is equal to the base number of skill dice involved in the test.

Only characters with a Vehicle Control Rig can use a Control Pool.

Hacking Pool

Hacking Pool is only available to characters using a hot ASIST interface. The character may be using a cyberterminal or cyberdeck, trodes or datajack-all that matters is that the sensory input and biofeedback are cranked to the max.

Hacking Pool is calculated by adding the user’s Intelligence Rating and cyberterminal MPCP, then dividing the total by 3 (round down). Any modifiers to the user’s Intelligence will affect this calculation, whether originating from cyberware, bioware or magic.

Hacking Pool dice may be added to any test conducted in the Matrix (System Tests, Attack Tests and so on - including Attribute Tests) with the exception of Etiquette (Matrix) Tests and Body or Willpower Tests made to resist the effects of gray or black IC that is damaging to the decker.

The maximum number of Hacking Pool dice that may be used for any test is equal to the base number of skill or attribute dice in use. The Hacking Pool refreshes in accordance with standard dice pool rules (see p. 43, SR3).

Hacking Pool may also be used for improvised attacks and defenses.

Only two cyberware devices directly affect the Hacking Pool: the encephalon and the math SPU. Both increase the user’s Hacking Pool by a number of dice equal to the encephalon or math SPU rating. The Task Pool provided by a chipjack expert driver with a Computer activesoft would also be used as additional Hacking Pool dice.

The only bioware that may affect Hacking Pool is the cerebral booster, which adds its level to the user’s Intelligence.

The only spells that affect Hacking Pool are Increase Intelligence and Decrease Intelligence. Adept powers such as combat sense have no effect on Matrix interactions.

In certain situations, System Familiarity skills may also be used to temporarily increase a user’s Hacking Pool in an appropriate system.

All of these Hacking Pool modifiers are cumulative.

There are certain optional rules that may increase Hacking Pool. Please consult the Matrix book for more details.

Spell Pool

A magician uses dice from the Spell Pool to augment Sorcery Tests. Dice from the Spell Pool can be used to augment Spell Success Tests and Drain Resistance Tests in spellcasting, Dispelling, and for Spell Defense. Dice from the Spell Pool cannot be used to augment Conjuring or any other magic-related tests.

A character’s Spell Pool is equal to Intelligence plus Willpower plus Magic Rating, divided by 3, rounded down. The Spell Pool refreshes according to the standard dice pool rules.

The maximum number of Spell Pool dice that a character can add to a Sorcery Test is equal to her base Sorcery Skill dice used in that test.

There is no limit to the number of dice a character may draw from the Spell Pool for the Drain Resistance Test.

Astral Combat Pool

Magicians also can use a variant of the Combat Pool called the Astral Combat Pool. This pool similar to the Combat Pool, except that it relates to Combat Tests made on the astral plane. Because the physical Attribute of Quickness does not exist on the astral, Astral Combat Pool is determined by adding Intelligence plus Willpower plus Charisma, divided by 2, and rounded down.

Task Pool

The Task Pool is a special pool of dice that grants extra dice for the use of skills when the device is activated.

Task Pool works with the following Intelligence-linked skills: Technical, Build/Repair, Knowledge and Language. This Intelligence bonus does not affect Perception Tests or the calculation of Reaction or any dice pools.

There are only three devices that affect 'Task Pool' in the book. Two of them are mentioned as having specific rules, while the third, the Cerebral Booster, is not.

The Cerebral Booster's Task Pool dice function as an Encephalon's - that is, you may use it for Intelligence-linked skills. You may not use it to fire a pistol or talk to a contact.

See also: Task Pool

Astral Pool

The Astral Pool contains a number of dice equal to the initiate's grade. Astral Pool dice can be used for any test made while on the astral plane or metaplanes, except for Magical Skill Tests. They can be used to augment Astral Combat Tests (even when Sorcery is used) and Astral Perception Tests. Dice in the Astral Pool refresh the same way as other dice pools.

Karma Pool

Much of this information is from Denver's House Rules and supersedes the main rulebook where appropriate.

1. Humans earn Karma Pool at a rate of 1 karma pool point per 10 total karma earned until 100 total karma points are acquired. Thereafter, they gain pool at the rate of one point per 20 total karma. Metahumans earn Karma Pool at a rate of 1 karma pool point per 15 total karma earned until 150 total karma points are acquired. Thereafter, they gain pool at the rate of one point per 30 total points. These points are gained automatically; you do not have to spend a point of karma to purchase them.

2. Karma pool may be used to purchase additional dice at a ratio of one karma pool point per die on damage resistance and spell resistance tests only. Other karma pool expenditures use the book rule of one KP point for the first extra die, two more KP points for the second extra die, and so forth. Damage resistance tests and spell resistance tests are strictly defined here; dodging, shielding, reflection, magic resistance, healing, etc., are all done by book rules.

3. Karma pool may be used to reroll tests. If the test has a target number, reroll as normal. If it is an open test, you re-roll all the dice from the test; any previous results are lost. The first reroll costs 1 KP, the second, 2 KP, the third, 3 KP, and so on.

4. If you are allowed to spend karma pool on a roll by the book, you may spend it, no matter how trivial the roll, how important, what kind of character you primarily are, or anything else.

5. When spending Karma Pool, the spent dice refresh at the end of the scene, or when the task is completed, whichever is longer. This means that for extended tests, the karma pool spent will be gone for the duration of the test. If the test takes 60 days, it'll be gone for 60 days.

6. Karma pool may only be used to karma your rolls. If you have an NPC hireling or a spirit, then the NPC hireling or spirit uses his own karma pool. Drones only get karma pool when being directly controlled by a rigger. Anchoring foci specifically do not get karma pool to reroll for activation. In general, if they are not "your character's" dice, then you may not use your character's karma pool to reroll them. If only a portion of the dice come from something external (example: extra dice from a focus), and the rest come from you, you may use karma to reroll all of them. Items paid for with essence or body index can always benefit from karma pool.

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