I failed my "update on thursdays" roll, but luckily I fumbled with it as the killer slowly advanced on me until got it up just in time!
The Fumbling Rule
As discussed last week, in Horrors you build a dicepool and try to roll successes. This dicepool will get many modifiers, depending on the conditions around you and your character's current mental health.
So you gather your total dice, roll them, and find out you are just shy of getting enough successes. In any other game that's the end of your turn, but not in Horrors.
In Horrors you are allowed to "Fumble" your current action and try again. If you choose to do this then you lose one die from your pool and roll again, and if that still fails then you lose another die etc etc etc.
This is your character trying desperately to open a door, or reach a key, or shoot the monster, and you can do this with just about any roll. There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind, though.
1: If you decide to Fumble then you must keep Fumbling until you either succeed or have too few dice to get enough successes.
2: If you run out of dice while Fumbling then you have just critically failed, just like you would if you rolled a natural 1 in other games. This will not be good for your character.
3:If you fumble with a ranged weapon, each roll counts as a shot and uses ammo. Horrors IS the kind of game where you have to count your ammo.
You can always choose to not take a fumble roll, and thus never have to crit fail, but you must weigh that risk. Maybe one more roll will kill the monster, maybe it will get the door open, or maybe it will pull your friend up that ledge. You just might have to risk it.
Fight or Flight Aura
The Fumbling rule can come into play at any time, but will usually happen when near a Horror, and that is because of the Fight or Flight aura that ever Horror has innately.
Horrors are beings of pain, death, and fear and even the bravest person finds them fighting against their base instincts when confronted with one. If your character can see the Horror, or knows the Horror is in close proximity (such as a room away) they are affected by it's Fight or Flight aura.
When you are affected by Fight or Flight you MUST roll for every action requires you to think clearly. Running through an open door is mindless and thus no roll, but unlocking a door with the key would require a roll. Swinging a bat you are currently holding, no roll, but drawing a gun from a holster is a roll.
This means there will be times when it will be easier for your character to run up the stairs rather then go out the front door. Your character may fail their roll to climb out the window and decide to just hide in the closet. It's better than just standing there, right?
This rule is intended to make your PCs feel that sense of helplessness necessary in a horror game. Most other times your PCs will choose their action and thus their attribute+skill, but when it's Fight or Flight they will find themselves small pools of weak dice.
The braniac character might have taken a point in running, just in case, but when he suddenly has to roll Vitality + Sports to jump a fence he's going to feel that sense of dread.
The jock is all for beating up the monster but it turns out its immune to his blows. Now he has to make a Thinking + Notice roll to find a better weapon to defend himself with.
How badly do those characters want to make a Fumbling roll now?