Situational Botch Dice

I want to put together some guidance on when (and why) to assign additional botch dice based on in game situations for my Beta Story Guides.

I'm thinking of things along the lines of:
Slippery or steep surface: +1
Near a ledge: +1
Low light: +1
Total darkness: +2
In combat: +1

With any and all applicable to a single situation being cumulative with each other as well as with botch dice for vis and auras.

Are there any other general ones that I'm missing?

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I'd always felt that botch dice are assigned less as a calculation than as inspiration. I like to keep the table on page 7 at hand to take a look and use it from time to time (mostly when prepping the scenes), because it is that, inspiring. I think that list of modifiers would be useful to come up with the number of botch dice, but I'd hate to start a scene as an accountant, going through a full list of possible modifiers; "is it dark? check, is it slipery?, check..."

Also consider that some of these conditions are more or less dangerous to some specific activities (total darkness is a big problem in combat, but not so much casting a spell to create light or see in darkness) and that even a single activity you mentioned can have many degrees of danger and complexity: an one-to-one duel over a flat ground under daylight probably won't require additional botch dice, but fighting in a crowded battle will probably ask for a fistful of dice.

What I have come up with through the time is to pretty much ignore botch dice by default. When a botch comes, I keep it light on the number of dice. But then once or twice per story, on the important dramatic scenes, I ask for a lot of them, and players then instantly focus and feel that they are in serious business.

It is also something that everyone is already used to from movies and books: when the protagonists go to the castle of the vampire, a heavy thunderstorm is something you kind of expect. Which is kind of silly because most of the time the characters could just say "ok, I guess we can go back to the inn and just come back tomorrow if it's sunny", or "how is it that everytime we visit the castle there is a storm over it? what are the odds?", but they don't, because it would be less epic.


That was actually the spirit I intended with my post, some inspiration and guidance, not rules, on how to assign extra Botch dice as warranted in a scene. I guess the phrasing of the sentence beginning with "With any and all..." sounded a little too Gygaxian and made it seem like a rule.

I will certainly include your point about extra Botch dice (if needed at all) in the big dramatic scenes as part of my guidance for the newer Story Guides, thank you for your input.

I'm also personally a fan of single or sometimes double botches being more embarrassing, funny, or scary than actually harmful.

Single botchs as fun: me too. Back then in Rolemaster there was one botch roll that said "you stumble upon an invisible turtle". And still to this day whenever I hear "botch" I think "invisible turtle".

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I totally understand "invisible turtle". My son and I both can be walking on basically level ground and one of us will randomly scuff in an odd way. Almost feels like the ground rose up to slow that one foot down but logically I know it must be something in my gait/build that he inherited.

I'm going to call that the invisible turtle from now on!