It's occurred to me that there are several variations of starting characters who cannot reliably, according to statistics, pass a check under one of their 3 attributes without either rolling a Gandalf or spending hope. Is this as intended?
Every culture has 2 Attribute stat lines that contain a 2. As far as I can see, these Attributes are not boosted from anywhere else during character creation?
With TNs now being calculated as 20-the attribute score, this leave the characters in question with a TN of 18 to succeed on a check.
Following the maths purely for average dice rolls (and baring in mind that the feat die isn't a standard d12, so these numbers are slightly skewed) below is the average rolls for the available variations of skill scores:
0 success dice - 6.5
1 success die - 10
2 success dice - 13.5
3 success dice - 17
4 success dice - 20.5
(A feat die gives a 8.33% chance of rolling a Gandalf, but also the same chance of rolling a 0)
This means you'd need to be rolling 4 success dice to reliable expect to pass a check at TN18. That's twice what was required for the old static TN14.
The other interesting consideration is the probability of a character rolling that TN18:
0 success dice - 8.33%
1 success die - 8.33%
2 success dice - 16.42%
3 success dice - 38.85%
4 success dice - 66.01%
This tells me that my Hobbit with a Strength Attribute of 2 better not get in a fight without either investing heavily into my combat skills, or spending heavily on hope, as I would need to roll almost perfectly to be able to score a hit. But I also need to spend those points to boost my hearty Hobbit song... what a dilemma!
This seems overly punishing to me, especially for new characters. Compounding their lack of skill with a higher difficulty is another instance of this game doubling down on the feel bad opportunity in an unfavourable situation. Please feel free to tell me that I have missed something!