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Traditionally, situational modifiers (such as being penalized for being in the dark or being harried by multiple opponents, or getting a bonus for taking the time to aim) are applied as Step modifiers. For instance, a called shot normally imposes a -3 modifier to the Step Number of the attack.
While this has its advantages, it can also slow down the game, especially for those unfamiliar with the Step system. As such, all situational modifiers will be applied as simple reductions to the results of any dice roll. 1
This means, for example, a Step 10 attack using the Called Shot option will roll Step 10 (2d8) but subtract 3 from the result of the dice roll (so if 12 is rolled, the end result will be 9) rather than being modified to Step 7 and then rolling as usual. Likewise, someone employing the Aggressive Stance would add 3 to their attack result (after the roll) instead of their attack Step (before the roll).
Regardless of modifiers, the minimum result is 1. 2
Note: This applies to situational modifiers only. Other (permanent and semi-permanent) modifiers, such as those gained by having a Weaponsmith Forge your weapons or armor, are still applied as Step alterations. This is necessary, as these sorts of changes frequently influence other aspects of the game. 3
1 per page 20, “Bonuses and Penalties”
2 per page 19, “Step Numbers 1 to 3”
3 For more information, please see the Forge Weapon talent (p. 106) and “Damage to Weapons
and Armor” (p. 250)