If you are still thinking "D20" with Monsters & Magic, please stop (although if the name automatically is translated as "Might & Magic" you probably played the same computer games I did). M&M doesn't use a D20, it uses "Checks" built with 3d6 plus modifiers for resolution.
Heck, sometimes you dont even need to roll, you just go with attribute score + trait bonus if you'd rather not leave it to chance. It's kinda like "taking 10" in 3e - not that I've played more than a single session of 3e, but I do own and have read the books back when they were new. No stress? Figure out your Static Check - as in "doesn't change".
Action Checks are probably the most common checks in the game. Want to attack, persuade, cast a spell, pick a pocket or any of potentially dozens of other actions? You need to make an Action Check.
Resistance Checks are used in traditional save situations and as a passive resistance. In most circumstances the rules suggest you would use the Static Check, but apparently you can choose to roll it as a sort of active defense, which could be higher or lower than the passive Static Check.
Then we have Ranked Checks, which is used for things like initiative, contests and competitions and the like.
If it seems a little confusing it very well might be, especially if you are coming at this from the OSR side of things and not one of them "new fangled" games like Fate or Dungeon World. Once you start adding trait bonuses, armor bonuses and damage dice to the checks I need to step back for a minute and grab a beer, as now things start getting a bit complicated.
This is where I'm no longer standing on solid ground, and for the purposes of this review I'm going to reproduce the Damage Dice & Armour Bonuses Table from page 37.
Are you following along at home? A "Golden Carriage" has a "Damage Die". "A Member of Nobility" gets an "Armour Bonus".
It took about half a beer to get past this and remind myself there are two types of damage in this game, two types of armor class.
If you are going to bring "social combat" (for lack of a better phrase coming from my fairly insular "Old School Gaming" background), this is probably the way you would have to introduce it to me. Don't bother thinking that I'm standing on steady ground at this point, but it makes more sense to my sensibilities than Fate does. Actually, it may go so far as to help me understand Fate. Or not, but there is hope.
Crap. Actions are next. Which are pretty much the types of things you can make a Check to attempt to do. This is really where you find out how the Effect Engine figures out your success or failure (and margin of such) and helps you interpret that based on the action you were attempting (as well as the applicable Resistance).
The Minotaur for Old-School Essentials
*Requirements:* Minimum STR 9, Minimum CON 9
*Prime Requisite:* STR and CON
*Hit Dice:* 1d10
*Maximum Level:* 8
*Armor:* Leather, including shield...