No Return uses DSS (Dahan’s Skill System) for representing in-game skills that a character has. This means that you spend earned XP on raising attributes and skills that you would like for your character to be good at. The higher the number of points in a skill, the more proficient the character is at that skill.

DSS is intended to be used to enhance RP and levy some fairness in certain situations, it is not meant to distract from scenes and players don’t have to roll for every little task or interaction.

Times that a skill check might be made include:

  • Overcoming some kind of obstacle beyond normal day to day activities.
  • A competition or challenge between two characters.
  • If you’re not certain how your character might handle a situation or task.

When not to make a skill check:

  • Your character is walking down a street.
  • Someone is screaming 10 feet away and you want your character to hear it.
  • Drinking a glass of water.

Try to use common sense. If it’s something anyone could succeed at on a normal basis, it doesn’t need a skill check.

Examples of When to Make Skill Checks

Bob is trying to outrun a zombie, and has to quickly scramble over a fence to escape. His player makes a skill check to see if he can get over the fence in time.

+taskroll Athletics: Climbing at 50

Bob and Frank are both trying to impress a lady and try to show off moves on horseback. Both players agree to make skill rolls for their riding skills to see who is the better.

Bob rolls: +taskroll Riding: Domestic at 60
Frank rolls: +taskroll Riding: Domestic at 60

Whoever has the higher results would perform better on horseback and potentially impress the lady.

Bob has a fear of fire. There’s a bonfire that’s gotten out of control and he needs to approach it to put it out before spreads. His player isn’t sure if Bob is brave enough to do this and rolls willpower to see if he can overcome his fear.

+taskroll Willpower at 80

Common Skill Checks and the Difficulties

When determining what difficulty to roll at, think of 50 as an average go-to number. If you want something to be easier or harder, adjust from there. Take a look at the chart. It shows the percentage chance of success based on what difficulty is rolled vs. what a skill is at. You can get a feel for how to weight things, or just use the list of examples and ballpark it based on other similar skill checks.

The thing to keep in mind when figuring out a difficulty is, “How hard would this be for a trained person to do? How hard would this be for someone not trained?” Look at the chart to see the percentage of success and use that as a guide.

For example, someone that knows how to cook and has a lot of experience should be able to fry an egg, so you might set the difficulty at 40. (Frying an egg requires some skill, but most people can muddle through it with at least some practice) If they’re proficient at cooking, they’ll probably have a skill of Cooking: Basics at 30 or 40, so their chance at success is 75%-100%, which is about where it should be. However, if that same person had very little experience they might have a Cooking: Basics skill of 5 or 10, and then their chance at success would still be 13%-25%, but more likely they’re going to have undercooked or burnt eggs on their hands.

Please Note: Sometimes skills overlap. A player in this scenario might ask if they could roll Cooking: Frying instead. Since that would apply, that would be fine. Use your best judgement and remember, people paid for their skills for their characters, so if it’s ‘close enough’, it’s generally okay to allow substitution. That said, if someone were trying to use Cooking: Roasting that wouldn’t apply. One does not roast to make a fried egg.


Perception-based Tasks

Listening at a closed door for zombies on the other side: +taskroll listen at 40
Listening at a closed door for zombies with talking in the background: +taskroll listen at 70
Listening at a closed door for zombies with a thunderstorm: +taskroll listen at 130

Spotting a zombie approaching from a distance in broad daylight: +taskroll spot at 30
Spotting a zombie approaching from a distance on a clear night: +taskroll spot at 70
Spotting a zombie approaching from a distance on an overcast night: +taskroll spot at 140
Spotting a zombie approaching from a distance in daylight while in a group of people and having conversation: +taskroll spot at 65

Physical Tasks

Mental Tasks

Other Tasks

Starting a fire with dry wood: +taskroll Survival: General at 40
Starting a fire with damp wood: +taskroll Survival: General at 90

Skill Ranks and What They Mean

Skill Rank Aptitude
0*-19 Novice – You’re just learning how to do this, or have almost no experience with it.
20-39 Intermediate¬†– Basic training or regular practice, you’re reasonably skilled at this but still make mistakes regularly.
40-59 Proficient – You succeed most of the time, and mistakes are minimal.
60-74 Expert – You are an expert and only fail with especially difficult challenges.
75-100 Prodigy – Your skill is exceptional and it shows. You rarely fail.

*Note that some skills can be rolled with 0 and others cannot.