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Skills are organized into Skill Groups, representing collections of skills with a logical common theme. Think of it in terms of a "skill tree," in which Groups are the "branches," with individual Skills being the "leaves."
In simpler, "rules-light" games, only Groups are used. In many games, however, Groups and specific Skills (as well as sub-categories, called Specialties and Types) are used. Whether you use some or all of these in your game is up to you.
Buying levels in Skill Groups is a cost-effective way of increasing the character's proficiency with all the skills in the Skill Group. The cost is generally less (and at most the same) as buying levels with each individual skill, presenting a "discount" to players who wish to increase their character's scores for a group of related skills.
A score in one level is applied to the score for all other levels below it, but does not add to the score of any higher level. So, a score of 1 in a Group adds +1 to the score for any Skill or Specialty in that Group. This is called a "cascade bonus," and is written as a second score, with any cascade bonus added in, in parenthesis after the basic score for that level. A score of 4 in a Skill does not add +4 to the score of the governing Group, however; Cascade bonuses only apply downward, not upward.
Goor the Barbarian has a score of 2 in the Melee Combat Group, and he has the Swords Skill at +4. He would record the skills like this: Melee Weapons +2, Swords +4 (+6).
When a character buys levels in a Skill Group, any skills within that group that require a "Type" must be defined when the group's levels are purchased. Skill Group levels apply only to the specific Skill "Type" selected by the character, not to all possible "Types" for that skill.
Mike buys two levels in the Arts & Craft Skill Group. Because the specific skills Art and Craft both require a Type, Mike selects Art (Painting) and Craft (Silk-screening).
The score reflects the level of competence or knowledge a character possesses for that skill. Skills are listed on the character sheet only if the character has levels in them. These are written on the character sheet as "Skill +#," where "#" is the level of skill.
Marge is playing in a modern conspiracy game. Her character, Special Agent Glenn, has the Driving skill at level 3, so Marge writes it on her character sheet as "Driving +3."
The definitions below are not absolute, but meant as a guideline for players and GMs. To see the proficiency each level of skill represents, comparatively speaking, consult the Skill Levels table (next page).
Some skill names are followed by "(Spec)." These skills include a number of related specialties within the skill.
Players may buy additional levels with one of the specialties when purchasing the skill (see Buying Skills). The character pays 1 point for every 2 levels in a specialty. These levels are added to the basic skill score when making skill rolls involving the specialty.
Specialties are listed on the character sheet only if the character has levels in them. These are written on the character sheet as "Skill +# (Specialty +#)," where "#" is the level of the skill or the bonus in that specialty. Otherwise, only the base skill is listed.
Marge is playing in a modern conspiracy game. Her character, Special Agent Glenn, has the Writing skill with a specialty of Reports. Special Agent Glenn has a score of 4 in the base skill and she has two extra levels in the specialty "Reports," so Marge records it on her character sheet as "Writing +4 (Reports +2)."
Some skill names are followed by "(Type)." These skills cover several sub-categories that may or may not be inter-related.
Players must select a specific "type" or category when purchasing the skill. The character's score for that skill applies only to skill rolls involving that specific category or Type (i.e., each "Type" represents a separate skill).
Group Skill levels apply only to those "Types" that the character possesses, which must be chosen by the player when the Skill Group levels are purchased.
Types are listed in parenthesis following the skill name, as "Skill (Type) +#," where "#" is the level of the skill.
Paradise wants to buy the Craft skill for her character. Because Craft requires the selection of a specific "type" of craft, Paradise selects Sculpting, and buys 2 levels in the skill. Paradise writes the skill on her character sheet as "Craft (Sculpting) +2."
|0||Clueless (Non-existent): Characters with a rating of 0 in a skill have absolutely no idea about that Skill or how it works. They may have never even had heard of it before, much less know where to begin trying to accomplish an action with that skill. All skills are rated 0 until the Player uses his Character Points or Experience Points to purchase at least 1 level in that skill.|
|1||Novice: The character is familiar with the field, having done moderate reading on the subject or watched the skill being performed by others, but has no actual hands-on experience of any significance. The character is new to the particular field or activity, essentially an apprentice or beginner (e.g., a hobby, a police academy recruit, a soldier in boot camp).|
|2||Amateur: This level of knowledge indicates the character has become more familiar with the field, having read extensively on the subject with little or no formal training (e.g., an apprentice, fresh academy graduate, probationer or rookie). (Basic)|
|3||Trained: This level of knowledge indicates the character has a general, working understanding of that field, having received instruction from someone of Experienced level (a skill score of 5) or above. The character has obtained hands-on experience and practiced extensively under the tutelage of his mentor (e.g., an Associate's degree, an experienced cadet, AIT or tech school graduate).|
|4||Competent: This level of knowledge indicates the character possesses a good grasp on the details and theories of his chosen field or is capable of performing the action on his own without supervision (e.g., a Bachelor's degree, 2-year cop, junior NCO, college athlete). (Professional)|
|5||Experienced: This level of knowledge indicates the character is well qualified and informed in his chosen field, having used his knowledge or completed the action on several occasions in actual situations (e.g., a veteran professional, a senior NCO, veteran cop, professional athlete, a Master's degree).|
|6||Specialist: This level of knowledge indicates the character has become highly trained or informed in his chosen field or skill to the point he practices his skills on a regular or daily basis, even able to earn his living using skills in an occupation. Others may come to the character for training (e.g., Army Ranger, black belt, Olympic athlete, a Doctorate degree).|
|7||Expert: This level of knowledge indicates the character has become an authority in his chosen field or skill, having honed his skills to perfection after continuous practice and use (e.g., a 10-year Special Forces veteran). Without regular training and active use of the skill it is nigh impossible for a character to exceed a score of 7 in most skills.|
|8||Master: This level of knowledge indicates the character has excelled in his field, surpassing others of lesser dedication to become superior in quality, skill or achievement. There is very little the character does not know about this skill (e.g., a pioneer in the field).|
|9||Genius: This level of knowledge indicates the character has risen to a level where he is using his great mental capacity, physical prowess, and inventive ability to make unique breakthroughs in his field, creating his own original styles and theories and setting new standards (e.g., Nobel Prize winning scientist).|
|10||Legendary: This level of knowledge indicates the character has achieved the most rare and highest level of skill or knowledge possible, becoming a revolutionary figure in his field. He has become so talented that he inspires wonder, and is capable of creating, theorizing or performing any most related action with minimum effort (e.g., noted physicist Stephen Hawking, martial arts master Bruce Lee, child prodigy chess master). (Normal human max.)|
|11+||Supernatural: This level of skill surpasses normal human thresholds and enters into the realms of the augmented, enhanced, or metaphysical (e.g., computers may demonstrate this level of skill).|
You get a number of points to divide up among the character's skills based on the campaign level, as shown on the table below.
* Doesn't include bonuses for applicable traits.
Groups cost 5 points per level. Skills (including Skills requiring a specific "Type") cost 1 point per level. A Specialty costs 1 point for 2 levels. Levels in a specialty may only be purchased in pairs (i.e., a character cannot purchase 1 level in a Specialty).
The cost for each level of skill is shown below.
|Skill (Type)||1 Pt./Lv|
|Skill (Specialty)||2 Lv/1 Pt.|
Here's an example of how you might record some of your character's skills on your character sheet. We'll just use one Skill Group -- the Arts & Crafts Group -- in this example. In this example, the player has purchased 2 levels in the Arts & Crafts Skill Group, 2 levels in the Cooking skill, plus 2 additional levels in the cooking Specialty "Fast Food" (total cost: 13 CPs).
|Arts & Crafts||2||+2|
|- Art (Painting)||+2|
|- Fast Food||2||+6|
|- Craft (Silk-screening)||+2|
Skills are used in conjunction with attributes to resolve actions. When characters attempt an action in the game that has an uncertain outcome, the player tells the GM which skill his character is using and how he is using it. The GM sets a difficulty level for the task (see Difficulty Levels and Target Numbers, below).
The most important thing to remember is that no skill rolls are needed for characters to accomplish everyday tasks related to their skill. Rolls are required only for tasks that are out of the ordinary for characters with that skill -- no matter how hard they might seem to those without the skill.
Obviously, if everyone had to make a Driving skill roll just to drive to work, no one would survive the commute! Also, excess skill rolls only slow down the game. Save the rolls for amazing tasks or exciting action sequences involving great risks and daring acts.
Ben's character does not have the Piloting (Helicopters) skill. Trying to fly a helicopter will be very difficult for him, and will require Ben to make a number of Attribute rolls at high penalties.
Jenny's character, however, has the Piloting (Helicopters) skill. She does not need to roll her skill at all to perform ordinary piloting tasks, such as taking off, flying and landing under normal conditions. But Jenny will have to make a skill roll for her character to land her chopper after it has been damaged by a SAM fired by terrorists, for example, because this is an extraordinary task even for a trained pilot.
Here's another example..
Arzhange is playing the character of Dr. Raul Wayland, an emergency room physician aboard a futuristic orbital hospital in a science fiction game. Dr. Wayland has the skill of Medicine, along with various Science and Specialist skills representing his medical knowledge. Arzhange does not have to roll at all for Dr. Wayland to successfully diagnose ailments, suture lacerations, perform routine surgeries, and so forth. All these are everyday tasks for a trained physician, even though they might be impossible for a person without the skill of Physician to accomplish.
But when Peggy's character, Officer Becky West, is rushed to the ER on the verge of death after being riddled by laser f ire in a shootout, the GM tells Arzhange to make a Medical skill roll for Dr. Wayland as he tries to save her life. The extent of her wounds makes this an extraordinary task even for a trained physician. Also, the dramatic tension of treating another character who has been severely injured makes this an exciting time for a skill roll.
If the task or action that the character is attempting is a simple one (such as opening a door, climbing a ladder, starting a car, and so on), no skill roll is required -- the character simply succeeds at the action. If the action has a possibility of failure, the GM should require the player to make a skill roll and set the appropriate difficulty level for the task.
As a rule, only tasks of "average" difficulty or higher (i.e., more difficult) require a skill roll.
The GM assigns a difficulty level based on how difficult he believes the task would be for an average person. Use the Difficulty Levels & Target Numbers table, below, to help you decide what kind of difficulty level to assign the task, if any. The Target Number (TN) is the difficulty target of a task that must be beaten by Attribute + Skill + 3d6, taking into account any modifiers.
In cases where a character is trying to attack another character, such as in melee or ranged combat, use the target's DEF as the base TN instead of the table above. If the character is actively defending himself, add the appropriate skill to the target's DEF score. In addition, the GM can then add any other modifiers, as appropriate. (see Combat Modifiers).
Pat is playing Jake, a barnstormer pilot, in a 1920s otherworldly horror game. Jake has a DEF of 15 and is pretty good at barehanded fighting, with an Unarmed Combat skill of +5. During the game, a mad cultist tries to grapple with Jake. The GM decides that because they are both using the Unarmed Combat skill that Jake's Unarmed Combat score can be added to his DEF. The final TN that the cultist needs to hit Jake is therefore 15 + 5 = 20.
While this may seem a little confusing, it's really very simple. Here's an example.
Pat is playing in a Revolutionary War (American War of Independence) game. Pat's character, Nathan Greene, an idealistic young infantryman in the Continental Army, is walking alone down a dirt road when he spots a group of British Redcoats coming his way! Pat tells the GM, Mark, that his character dashes off the road and dives into the woods to hide. Mark decides that diving into the woods quickly, before the British troops can spot Nathan, requires a skill roll. Mark isn't sure just how difficult a task it is, however, so he looks on the Generic Difficulty Levels table. Looking at the table, Mark figures the level to be one of the following: Average, Tricky, Challenging, Difficult, or Demanding. Mark thinks that diving into the woods, which includes avoiding rocks and such, is more than "average" or "tricky" difficulty, but is less than "difficult" and certainly not "demanding," so he assigns it a rating of "challenging." Mark tells Pat to make a Challenging Leaping roll. Challenging difficulty has a Target Number (TN) of 18. Pat rolls the dice and gets a total of 19 -- a success! Nathan Greene leaps into the woods unseen, moments before the British soldiers pass.
If the Target Number for any task is lower than the character's combined (attribute + skill score + 3), no skill roll is required -- it's an automatic success for the character.
If the Target Number (TN) is greater than the character's combined attribute + skill score + 18, the player may still make a skill roll. In such cases, a natural roll of 18 on the dice (i.e., three sixes) indicates success.
Characters can also use Action Points to turn a failed roll into a successful one, allowing even untrained characters to succeed at nigh-impossible tasks, thus reflecting a more cinematic approach. The player characters are assumed to be heroes in most settings -- there should always be some chance for heroes to succeed, no matter how difficult the task. (See Action Points.)
The following table indicates the modified target number based on the assigned difficulty of the task.
To use the table, simply add the character's attribute + skill scores (for skill rolls) or use 2x the attribute (for attribute rolls). Find that number on the left column, then read across until you find the number in the column for the assigned difficulty level of the task. For a skill roll to be successful, the player must roll the indicated number or higher on the dice.
Bold italicized numbers indicate that the minimum roll needed is not obtainable with a simple dice roll, and that additional bonuses (such as the use of Action Points) may be required for the task to possibly succeed.
"No roll" indicates that the player does not need to roll the dice; the task is automatically successful.
|12||No roll||No roll||6||9||12||15||18|
|13||No roll||No roll||5||8||11||14||17|
|14||No roll||No roll||4||7||10||13||16|
|15||No roll||No roll||No roll||6||9||12||15|
|16||No roll||No roll||No roll||5||8||11||14|
|17||No roll||No roll||No roll||4||7||10||13|
|18||No roll||No roll||No roll||No roll||6||9||12|
|19||No roll||No roll||No roll||No roll||5||8||11|
|20||No roll||No roll||No roll||No roll||4||7||10|
All skills are associated with a primary attribute group -- either the Body or Mind group. This is the group that contains the attributes associated with the common applications of the skill. The primary attribute group is indicated for each skill after the skill name.
In addition, suggested uses of specific attributes are also given (in parenthesis) in the skill description.
Which attribute is used with the skill (called the "governing attribute") depends on how the skill is being used. The most appropriate attribute used depends upon what the player says he wants to do. If the task involves exerting force, overbearing, or general power, the GM should assign the group's Power attribute (PRE for the Mind group, STR for the Body group). If the task involves subtlety, finesse, accuracy, or aptitude, the GM should assign the group's Aptitude attribute (INT for the Mind group, REF for the Body group). If the task involves endurance, stamina or resistance, the GM should assign the group's Resistance attribute (WIL for the Mind group, HLT for the Body group).
Tony is playing Frank Marione, a gangster in the Roaring Ô20s. Tony tells the GM that he wants to have Frank Marione convince a beat cop not to arrest him on some trumped up charge. The GM asks him how he plans to do this. Tony says that Frank is going to try to intimidate the cop. The GM thinks about it and decides that intimidation is essentially a projection of the "power" of the character's charisma, so he assigns PRE to the skill roll. Tony reconsiders, because Frank's PRE score is only a 3, and decided to have Frank try to fast talk the cop, in the hopes that the cop would get confused and let Frank go. The GM thinks about it and decides that baffling the cop like that requires quick thinking and wit, so he assigns INT to the skill roll.
In most cases the logical governing attribute will be obvious. For instance, knowledge- and memory-based skills will most often use the INT attribute.
Occasionally, however, characters will use skills in such a way that using a different attribute makes sense. The GM should consider which attribute is the most applicable and assign it as the governing attribute for the skill roll. Which attribute from the primary group is used with the skill to resolve actions depends on how the skill is used, as described by the player.
Example 1: a player tells the GM "My character is going to stay awake and drive all night if he has to." The GM decides that knows that this requires the Driving skill. Ordinarily, a Driving roll would use REF, but using the REF attribute just doesn't make as much sense as using HLT in this case. HLT deals with stamina and fatigue, whereas REF deals with reaction and coordination. The GM decides to require the player to make a skill roll using the character's HLT + Driving, and decides that "driving all night" is a Challenging task. The player must make a Challenging Driving roll using HLT (HLT + Driving + 3d6).
Example 2: Sean's character has the Conversation skill, allowing him to unobtrusively gain information in casual discussion. Conversation affixes to the Mind group. If the character tries to gain information by flattering or charming someone, he uses PRE + Conversation. If he tries to trick someone into revealing information, he uses INT + Conversation. And if he tries to keep a woman talking until she doesn't know what she is saying anymore, he uses WIL + Conversation.
Some skills can be used with both groups, depending on the specific application of the skill. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as it is plausible and the GM agrees to it.
Frank Marione is arrested by the cop after all and now Frank is being interrogated in the station house. But the cops are not interested in mind games; they intend to beat a confession out of him. Although the Interrogation skill is associated with the Mind group, the GM thinks about it and decides that such physical tactics call for an exception to the rule, and the GM assigns STR to the roll.
Skills that are the most likely candidates for using either attribute group are indicated by both icons.
The player rolls three six-sided dice (3d6) and adds the result to his character's skill score plus the governing attribute score. If the total meets or exceeds the target number (as indicated by difficulty level), the character has successfully used the skill.
Here is a summary of the steps of using a skill in the game.
Pat's character, Nathan Greene, is a Minuteman in a Revolutionary War game. Pat tells the GM at one point that his character, Nathan, is throwing his tomahawk at a rope to try to sever it. The GM tells Pat that Nathan will need to make a Difficult Axes skill roll, using Reflexes (as the governing attribute). Nathan has Reflexes 5 and the Axes skill at +4. Pat rolls 3d6 (three six-sided dice) and adds Nathan's REF and Axes scores. Pat rolls 13 + 5 + 4 = 22.
Any time a skill roll is required or suggested, it is written as "a [Difficulty] [Skill name] roll (TN)." For instance, if Nathan's earlier escape into the trees were presented as part of a published scenario, it might read "diving off the road into the woods requires a Challenging Leaping roll (TN 18)."
The Effect Number (EN) of a roll is simply the number of points by which a skill roll (i.e., attribute + skill + 3d6) exceeds the Target Number. If the dice roll is exactly the target number, the effect number is 0. If the TN is 14 and the skill roll total is 19, the Effect Number is 5.
Effect numbers can be used in several helpful ways in the game. They are used to determine the outcome of contested skill rolls, to determine the winner of a contest (whose arrow is closest to the bullseye?), to determine the progress of a long task (such as complex repairs, a masterful work of art, ongoing research), and so on.
When two characters are attempting to outdo each other using skills, it's called a contested roll. In a contested roll, both characters make their skill rolls, using any difficulty modifiers assigned by the GM. The character whose player achieves the higher adjusted skill roll total is the "winner." Examples of contested skill rolls include trying to sneak past a guard unseen (Stealth versus the guard's Awareness), an arm wrestling contest, and so on.
Margaret's character in a science fantasy game, Laura Starwalker, tries to block a blaster shot by an imperial trooper with her energy blade. Laura Starwalker has a REF of 5 and Energy Blade +7. The GM makes a skill roll for the trooper. The trooper must make a successful skill roll, otherwise Margaret won't need to make an opposed skill roll at all (there's no need to try to block a shot that will miss anyway!). The GM rolls well enough for the trooper to hit his target. Margaret now needs to make an Energy Blade skill roll to block the shot. The TN for the block attempt is equal to the trooper's attack roll total -- in this case 15.Margaret rolls 9 + 5 + 7 = 21. She did it -- Laura deflects the blaster shot with her energy blade!
In situations in which each character must achieve a minimum level of effect in order to be partially successful (e.g., an archery contest to see who can hit the target closest to the center), the GM may assign a TN to each player's skill roll. The player who achieves the higher effect number succeeds. In effect, the total of the first character's roll becomes the TN for the second character's skill roll. If both player's effect number is 0 (i.e., if the rolls are tied) there is no winner, because both characters failed at their respective attempts. (see Effect Numbers, above).
Mike is playing Robin Hood, who has entered an archery contest. The TN to hit the target is 15. In the contest, each character makes a Simple Missile Weapons (Bows) skill roll against TN 15. That target number indicates merely hitting the target. The higher the effect number of the roll, the closer to the center the shooter's arrow lands. Thus, the character with the highest effect number wins the round. One contestant rolled a total of 13, for an effect number of -2. The other contestants' effect numbers are 1, 2, 2, 4 and 6. Mike makes his Simple Missile Weapons (Bows) skill roll for Robin Hood and gets a total of 27 -- an effect number of 12! Robin Hood has won the round!
Sometimes a character's knowledge of a particular subject can help with a skill roll for another skill. For instance, any character with the Appraisal skill can appraise an antique vase. But a character with specific knowledge of antique vases, knowledge of the culture from which the vase originated, of glazing techniques, or of the family that owned the vase may have particular insights into the history of the vase, thus allowing the character to more accurately determine its value.
When one skill can be used to help with a task that uses a different skill, it is called a Complementary Skill. When a skill is Complementary to another skill, the player receives a bonus to the skill roll equal to one half of the Complementary Skill's score, rounding down.
Mike's character has the skills Tactics (Ambushes) +5 and Sub-machineguns +4. He is laying an ambush for some enemy soldiers. The GM tells Mike that he can use his character's Tactics (Ambushes) skill as complementary to his Sub-machineguns skill for the first turn of combat, due to his character's knowledge of launching effective ambushes. Because one half Mike's character's Tactics (Ambushes) score is 2, Mike adds +2 to his Sub-machineguns score, raising it from +4 to +6, for the first turn of combat.
At the GM's option, the bonus from a complementary skill can remain in effect for the duration of an event or task.
Characters are either right- or left-hand dominant (player's choice) by default. The character's non-dominant hand is his "off hand." Using your off hand incurs a -3 penalty to any skill rolls requiring manual dexterity, such as shooting a gun, throwing, writing, and so on.
Characters with the Ambidexterity trait suffer a reduced penalty or no penalty at all, depending on the level of the trait.
Every task requires a certain amount of time to complete, as determined by the GM. If a character takes more or less time than usual to perform a task, he receives a bonus or penalty to the Target Number, respectively.
When determining the bonus or penalty for more or less time taken on a task, refer to the Time Chart, below. Simply find the level on the Time Chart that is closest to the amount of time the task normally takes. The GM should determine the average length of time normally required to perform the task, then consult the Time Chart. If the time required to perform a task is longer than the closest level on the Time Chart, then use the next greater time increment as the default level.
Pat's character is picking a lock. The GM feels that picking a lock should take an average person about 20 seconds. "20 seconds" is more than 1 turn but less than the "30 seconds" level, so the base time level for Pat's character's lockpicking attempt is "30 seconds" for purposes of determining any bonus or penalty for taking extra time or rushing the task.
|1 turn (3 seconds)|
|1 quarter (3 mos.)|
Characters can take more time than normal to perform a task in order to improve their chance of success. By taking more time than normal, the task becomes easier. For each lower level down the Time Chart (i.e., for each larger period of time taken), the skill roll receives a +3 bonus.
Pat's character needs to pick a lock that he knows to be very tough. The GM has decided that picking the lock is a Challenging task (TN 18). Since there is no immediate danger and his companions are watching the passageway, Pat decides to take his time and concentrate. The referee decides that If Pat spends 1 hour on the task he will get a +6 bonus to his skill roll because "1 hour" is two steps lower on the Time Chart than 30 seconds. Not wanting to take quite that long Pat decides to take 5 minutes and gets a bonus of +3, making it equivalent to a Tricky task (TN 15).
Characters can attempt to perform a task more quickly than normal. By taking less time than the "base time" for a task, the task becomes more difficult. For each higher level up the Time Chart (i.e., for each smaller period of time taken), the skill roll incurs a -3 penalty.
Pat's character picks the lock and makes his way into a stable where he finds a horse. Pat decides his character is going to try to ride the horse out of the city. Unfortunately for Pat the horse is not saddled and his character is not very knowledgeable about horses and riding gear, so the GM tells Pat that he will need to spend 5 minutes and make a Challenging Riding roll (18) using INT in order to properly saddle the horse.
The city guards can also be heard nearby. Pat does not want his character to be found and captured, so he decided his character will rush the saddling of the horse, taking only 30 seconds to throw the saddle on and secure it as well as he can before riding off. Pat will suffer a -3 penalty for rushing, making the task a Difficult one (TN 21)!
Characters who fail at a skill roll may make another attempt, with conditions.
A character who attempts a task again after failing it once may make a new skill roll, but is at -3 for each successive attempt. This penalty is cumulative and is in addition to any other modifiers for taking extra time or rushing (see Taking Extra Time, page 36).
Pat fails his skill roll to saddle the horse. But he really wants to get the task accomplished and soon, so Pat tells the GM that even though his character failed the first time, he is going to try again. The GM tells Pat that he can try another skill roll but this time at a -3 penalty. Pat decides to go for it, and he chooses to rush yet again. His character spends another 30 seconds on the task, the same as last time. Pat can make another skill roll, but this time with a -3 penalty for a repeated attempt, plus an additional -3 penalty for rushing, making the normally Challenging (TN 18) skill roll equivalent to a Demanding one (TN 24)!
Some skills do not require equipment for their use. The use of specialized equipment with these skills may provide a +3 bonus to the skill roll, at the GM's discretion.
Some skills, on the other hand, require the character to have access to specific equipment in order to use the skill at all. Examples include a forge, for Blacksmith, or a weapon, for a weapon skill. If the character doesn't have the necessary items he cannot use the skill.
Other skills normally require tools of some kind but can be used with improvised tools. If a skill can be used with improvised tools, at GM's discretion, the character may attempt the task but suffers a -3 penalty.
Note that not all of the skills listed will be appropriate for all campaigns. We have presented a number of skills that can be used in most settings. It is up to the GM to determine which skills will be allowed in a game. Several sample skill lists for different genres are provided in the back of this book (see Optional Skill Lists). The recommended skills for a specific setting or genre will be listed in published genre and setting books.
The following is a generic skill list. That is, it's not created for any particular setting or genre. GMs are encouraged to make up their own setting- or genre-specific skill list for their games, omitting and/or adding skills as necessary. For guidelines for creating your own skill list for your game, see the Skills chapter.
Italicized skill names indicate a universal skill. All characters receive universal skills at +2 for no cost. Characters with no points spent on a universal skill still receive the +2 bonus. Any points spent on a universal skill add to this default level.
Common skills are skills common to all characters of a certain setting or genre (as determined by the published product or by the GM). Those skills marked with an asterisk are suggested common skills for modern settings.
| Skill Group
|Arts & Crafts|
|Unarmed Combat (Type)||Body|
|Sleight of Hand||Body|
|Area Knowledge (Type)||Mind|
|Machine Guns (Spec)||R||Body|
|Missile Launchers (Spec)||R||Mind|
|Portable Launchers (Spec)||R||Body|
|Vehicle Weapons (Spec)||R||Body|
|First Aid * (Spec)||I||Mind|
|Flexible Weapons (Spec)||I||Body|
|Combat Engineer (Spec)||I||Mind|
|Animal Handling (Spec)||I||Mind|
|Fish and Game (Spec)||I||Body/Mind|
|Simple Missile Weapons|
|Sling Weapons (Spec)||I||Body|
|Black Powder W. (Spec)||I||Body|
|Computers * (Spec)||Mind|
|Operate Electronics (Spec)||Mind|
* Indicates a universal skill (in modern or more advanced settings)
R = Requires specialized tools.
I = Usable with improvised tools.
The following section provides descriptions for the skills listed on the Sample Skill List in the previous section.
Arts & Crafts skills are those primarily concerned with the creation of tools and knickknacks, entertainment and pleasurable pursuits.
Characters with this skill are adept at creating works of art in a particular medium (REF). They also understand the finer points of artistic expression (INT) and can appreciate works of art more than the average person (PRE).
A type must be selected when this skill is bought. This skill may be purchased more than once, each time for a different type of Art.
Successful use of this skill means the character creates a quality work of art, recognizes the creator of the work, or appraises the quality or value of such works created by others. The effect number of the roll determines the quality of the work; the higher the effect number the better the quality, and, thus, the better the viewer's impression of the work.
This skill may also be used as a complementary skill to Social skills in the appropriate circumstances, such as if the character is giving a work of art as a gift (at the GM's discretion).
Types: Painting, Pottery, Sculpting, Sketching.
The skill of creating meals, from simple edible dishes to elaborate, gourmet meals (INT) including even artistic presentations of food (PRE).
Specialties: Cuisine, Ethnicity (e.g., Chinese, Italian), Fast Food, Gourmet.
Characters with this skill are adept at some craft, as defined by the player, and understand the finer points of their craft, including common tools, patterns, and methods associated with it (INT). The character is able to create attractive and/or functional items (depending upon the defined craft) and earn a living with his craft (REF).
Types: Candle-making, Glazing (i.e., lacquering), Cobbling, Shipwright, Tanning, or any other reasonable craft that the player and GM agree upon.
The skill of crafting fine jewelry from precious metals (silver, gold, platinum, etc.), stones and gems (REF). Characters can also appraise the quality and value of such items, create rings, necklaces, brooches, set stones, and so on (INT).
The skill of taking photographs of various subjects (REF) and developing them from film to print (INT). Use of this skill to take pictures requires a camera, and developing film requires access to a film lab, with the proper chemicals, photosensitive paper, and possibly other equipment.
The skill of forging and crafting items from metal (bronze, iron or steel, depending on the period and technology level of the setting or culture).
Weaponsmith is the skill of creating bladed weapons, such as knives, swords, spearheads, arrowheads, and the like. The creation of handles and shafts requires woodworking (a specialty of the Craft skill), although if the character has access to these finished items he can complete the weapon in question.
Blacksmith is the skill of creating metal tools (such as hammers), blunt weapons, horseshoes and the like.
Specialties: Armorer, Blacksmith, Weaponsmith.
Athletic skills are those involving physical pursuits, exertion, and sport. The Athletic Skills group includes the following skills.
Characters with this skill are very agile and able to perform flips, tumble, and swing in exciting, swashbuckling fashion (REF). Acrobatics is very useful for sailors who spend a lot of time up in the rigging, balancing on swaying masts, and so on. While any character can attempt such actions by making a REF check (see Attribute Rolls), characters with this skill do so in a much more flamboyant and impressive manner.
A successful use of this skill also allows a prone character to regain his feet as a free action, to "roll with a punch" (halving any damage received from a blunt blow), reduce damage from a fall (subtract the skill level in meters from the distance fallen before determining damage) or impose a -3 to skill rolls for attacks made against him that phase, due to his incredible dodging ability (may be added to any bonuses for the Dodge maneuver).
Acrobatics may be used as a complementary skill to Climbing and Jumping (GM's discretion).
Characters use this skill when climbing difficult surfaces or items, such as cliffs, walls, or ropes (STR). A successful check allows the character to move a number of meters equal to one half his MOV score or equal to his Climbing score (whichever is greater). Failure means the character has lost but regained his grip or footing, and has made no progress that turn. A serious failure (two or more levels below the difficulty of the roll) means the character has fallen (see Falling, page).
Climbing is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost.
Characters with this skill can contort their body into difficult or unusual positions (REF), and remain in such positions for long periods of time (HLT). Contortionists often also have a complementary Physical Advantage, such as "double-jointed."
Characters with this skill can use various types of paraflight apparatus, including hang gliders, parachutes and paragliders (REF).
Specialties: Hang Glider, Parachute, Paraglider.
Characters with this skill are adept at organized athletic activities not already covered by other skills. Skills not covered by this ability include Archery and Swimming. The character knows the rules of the game (INT) and can compete in the sport. Some sports involve primarily stamina, such as long distance running (HLT), or strength, such as power lifting (STR). Most sports are predominantly agility-based, however, such as bowling, baseball, cricket, and similar sports (REF).
A Type must be selected when the skill is purchased. This skill may be purchased more than once, each time for a different type.
Types: Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cricket, Football (American), Hockey, Soccer (i.e., European football), or other sports allowed by the GM.
Characters with this skill are able to swim in water deeper than waist-level (REF) and can stay afloat for long periods of time (HLT). No skill roll is needed to tread calm water. Rough water, however, requires the character to make a skill roll to keep his head above water each turn (STR). Failure means the character has gone under and may be subject to drowning if a character cannot resurface on the subsequent turn by making a successful Swimming roll (see Asphyxiation and Drowning).
This is an important skill for sailors, competition swimmers, Navy SEALs, and the like.
Characters use this skill to throw objects, such as rocks and stones, for accuracy (REF) or distance (STR). (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on). It can be used to throw a grappling hook, toss a weapon to a friend, to play darts, or to hurl a spear at an opponent.
Throwing is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost.
Specialties: Darts, Football, Javelin, Knives, Stones, et al.
The skill of unarmed, hand-to-hand fighting. Characters must choose a type or style of unarmed combat when this skill is purchased. This skill may be purchased multiple times, each time for a different type of unarmed combat.
Unarmed Combat (Brawling) is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost.
Types: Aikido, Brawling, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Sumo, Wrestling, et al.
Characters with this skill are accustomed to operating in a zero-gravity environment (REF). They can perform simple tasks without incurring a penalty for the lack of gravity, such as performing EVAs (extravehicular activities -- spacewalks, planetwalks and the like), maneuvering at slow speeds, performing stationary repairs, and so on. Complex tasks, such as combat or fast movement, may be performed at no penalty with a successful Zero-G skill roll, or at a simple -3 with a failed roll.
Characters with this skill are able to teach others, imparting wisdom and knowledge to their charges (PRE). Characters may instruct others in those areas which the teacher himself is trained. The maximum skill level a student may obtain from study is equal to the average of the teacher's Instruction skill and the skill being taught.
Rourke has an Instruction skill of +4 and a Swords skill of +6. The average score of these two skills is 5, so the highest level he can train any student in Swords is a 5.
Instruction is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost.
Characters with this skill are adept at reaching compromises and relaying information without offending the recipient. Negotiation is an important skill for envoys, diplomats, politicians, and police crisis negotiators.
When engaged in negotiations, the character states his goal (or demand) and makes a Negotiation roll against a Target Number set by the GM. The difficulty number is based on the other's party's general reaction to the character's stated goal (see the table below).
|Reaction to Demand/Goal||Base Difficulty|
|Adamantly opposed (e.g., to the death)||Legendary (TN 30)|
|Generally opposed||Extreme (TN 27)|
|Somewhat opposed||Demanding (TN 24)|
|Apathetic, unimpressed||Difficult (TN 21)|
|Somewhat agreeable||Challenging (TN 18)|
|Generally agreeable||Tricky (TN 15)|
|Enthusiastically agreeable||Average (TN 12)|
The target number represents the difficulty for the negotiator to achieve his stated goal while also making several concessions to the other party.
If the effect number of the Negotiation roll is 3 or higher, then the negotiator need make only one concession. If the effect number of the Negotiation roll is 6 or higher, the negotiator achieves his goal without making any concessions.
|Effect Number||Agreement with...|
|3-5||Only one concession|
It is up to the negotiator (or perhaps his superior) to decide if the final offer is acceptable. If so, the agreement is made and the deal struck. If not, then the negotiations are called off, at least for this round.
Mark is playing Mssr. Armonde, a nobleman in a Musketeers game. Mssr. Armonde is negotiating with a local lord for the release of his daughter, who is currently a "guest" (i.e., hostage) at the lord's estate. The lord is demanding a sum of money and a portion of Mssr. Armonde's land in return for his daughter's release (i.e., two "concessions"). Mark tells the GM that his goal is the release of his daughter. The GM determines that this is something that the lord is somewhat opposed to (the lord is willing to release the daughter if his demands are met, after all) and sets the difficulty of the Negotiation roll at Demanding (TN 24). Mark makes a Negotiation roll and gets a 28, for an effect number of 4. Mssr. Armonde's EN of 4 means the lord agrees to release the daughter in return for but one concession from Mssr. Armonde. The GM decides that the lord is willing to forgo the demand for land and instead will settle for the sum of money to secure her release. Mssr. Armonde agrees. He pays the lord the money and his daughter is released.
Negotiations may last from several minutes to several months, depending on their nature and other factors, including the method of communication, and so on. It is up to the GM and the players to determine how much of the negotiations are covered by the skill roll. A Negotiation skill roll can represent the entirety of the negotiations, a single round of negotiations or each individual "point" of a negotiation.
This resolution system is intentionally abstract. A "concession" represents any reasonable demand or condition made by the other party that the negotiator can meet. If it is important to know the exact nature of the concessions, the GM should consider forgoing the skill roll altogether and simply role-play the negotiations in the game.
Diplomacy represents the skill of negotiation between nations or large organizations, Hostage negotiation is the skill of negotiating with hostage-takers, and Political negotiation is the skill of negotiation among or between politicians.
Specialties: Diplomacy, Hostage, Political.
This is the skill of effectively communicating ideas and inspiring or moving an audience's emotions with the spoken word. Characters with the Orate skill know how to tell stories, issue commands, present information (such as news), give speeches, tell tales and otherwise inform (INT), entertain or motivate (PRE) listeners. Orate could also be used to kill time or bore someone to death (WIL).
Orate can be used as a complementary skill to Acting and Poetry (for monologues and one-person performances), Strategy (for leading and inspiring troops in battle) and Persuasion.
Specialties: Bard, Command (i.e., leadership), News Reporter, Speeches.
This is the skill of using one's voice, logic, expression, body language, or some combination, to influence others. Persuasion can be in the form of an intimidating glare, a boastful challenge, batting one's eyes (seduction), stroking a cheek (consolation), grasping the handle of one's sword in a threatening manner, or invoking the name of one's superior (or even God).
The character makes a contested Persuasion roll against the subject's WIL + Concentration roll. If the character's roll is higher than the person he is trying to persuade, then he is successful. The other person sees things the persuader's way (at least to some degree) and will act accordingly.
The GM should allow skills appropriate to the situation to be used as complementary to the Persuasion roll. A character may also add one half of his Fame or Infamy score to the roll, if appropriate (GM's discretion). The GM may also award a bonus of +1 to +3 to the player's roll for good roleplaying.
Tim's character, Harcourt, is confronted by a would-be robber who has demanded Harcourt's purse. Harcourt grasps his sword handle, telling the robber "If you value your life, sir, get thee back. Retreat or I will run you through and leave you to be devoured by dogs, so help me God!" The GM gives Tim a +2 bonus to the Persuasion roll for good roleplaying. Tim makes a Persuasion roll and adds the +3 bonus, for a total of 24! The GM makes a Persuasion roll for the robber, totaling 17. The robber is "persuaded" not to accost Harcourt and, in fact, runs for his life!
Specialties: Bribery, Fast Talk, Intimidation, Propaganda, Romance, Seduction.
Characters with this skill are adept at composing (INT) and reciting poetry (PRE). They also understand the finer points of poetic expression and can appreciate poetic recitals more than the average person (PRE).
Successful use of this skill means the character performs in a manner that moves the audience (PRE), or appraises the quality of such writing or performances by others (INT). The effect number of the roll determines the quality of the performance; the higher the effect number the better the performance, and, thus, the better the audience's reaction.
This skill may also be used as a complementary skill to Persuasion in the appropriate circumstances (at the GM's discretion).
Characters with this skill are capable of composing creative written works (INT). They also understand the finer points of written expression and can appreciate compositions within their specialty more than the average person (PRE). It is an important skill for bards and anyone wishing to create original songs. The appropriate performance skill is required to actually perform the composition.
A specialty must be selected when this skill is bought.
Successful use of this skill means the character composes a quality work, or appraises the value or quality of such compositions by others. The effect number of the roll determines the quality of the composition; the higher the effect number the better the writing, and, thus, the better the audience or reader's reaction and impression.
This skill may be used as a complementary skill to the appropriate skill when the composition is performed. For example, Writing (Music) is complementary to the Instrument skill, Writing (Speeches) is complementary to Orate, and so on.
Specialties: Comedy, Journalist, Literature, Music, Playwright, Screenwriter, Speeches.
This is the skill of assuming another identity. It is usually accomplished by changing one's clothes, putting on a wig, applying makeup, and so on (REF). The GM should make the skill roll for the player in secret, noting the total of the roll and using it as the difficulty number for Awareness rolls for anyone who scrutinizes the disguise.
Characters with this skill are able to create remarkable forgeries of documents, seals and the like (REF). The total of the character's Forgery roll is used as the target number for Awareness checks made by anyone scrutinizing the forgery to detect its true nature.
The original being copied must be available to the character for an accurate copy to be made. If the original is not available, the character uses INT with the skill (because he is working from memory) and suffers a -6 penalty to the skill roll.
Specialties: Crests & Seals, Documents, Handwriting
Characters with this skill know how to play common games of skill, such as cards, backgammon, and the like (INT). In addition, characters can use this skill to cheat at games of chance (REF), such as dice and roulette.
If used for games of skill, use a simple contested Gambling roll for each player; the person with the best roll wins the game. If used to cheat at a game of chance, the total of the character's Gambling roll is used as the difficulty number for Awareness checks made by the other players to spot the cheat (i.e., to catch him in the act). If not caught, the cheater automatically wins. If both players are cheating, use a simple contested Gambling roll for each player; the person with the best roll wins the game), and allow both players an Awareness roll to try to catch the other cheating.
Characters with this skill are proficient with picking locks and bypassing other simple mechanical security measures (REF). This skill requires a set of lock-picking tools to be effective; -3 if only improvised tools are available.
The skill of following others without being seen (INT). Characters with this skill are able to keep a target within site while walking or driving behind him, while remaining inconspicuous and remaining unnoticed. The GM should require characters using this skill to make periodic skill checks, with the frequency and difficulty based on the environment and the shadowing character's chances of "blending in."
Charlene is playing Veronica X, an international secret agent. She is following her target through a crowded market in Cairo. The GM decides that a busy market in Cairo is pretty easy to hide in but Veronica X is a blonde and she is wearing her trademark black latex jumpsuit (so she stands out just a tad). The GM decides that Veronica must make a Difficult Shadowing skill roll (TN 21).
If the skill roll fails, then the subject gets a Tricky Awareness roll to notice the character. If the character being followed is actively watching for anyone following him, have both characters make a contested Shadowing versus Awareness roll. The character with the higher effect number wins the contest.
Characters with this skill can lift items from others, misdirect viewers' eyes, and conceal items or cut purses and the like (REF). When a character uses Sleight of Hand against another, use a simple contested skill roll of the character's Sleight of Hand versus the subject's Awareness. If the subject's Awareness roll beats the Sleight of Hand roll, the other person has caught him in the act, knows which shell the ball is under, or otherwise wins the contest.
This skill is used to hide oneself in shadows and move silently. The total of the Stealth roll is used as the difficulty number for Awareness checks made by anyone who may spot the character (whether actively searching or otherwise, as the situation dictates).
Diane's character Renee is trying to follow a man through the streets of London, without herself being seen by him. Diane makes a Stealth roll, for a total of 18. When the GM makes a Awareness roll for the man to notice Renee, his difficulty number will be 18.
This skill can also be used to hide items up to and including large animals, such as horses. A single roll is made by the GM. The effect number of the roll is used as the difficulty number for Awareness checks made by anyone searching for it.
Renee has ridden her horse into the woods to escape several pursuers. Thinking that she can escape notice if she hides her horse, she rides into the brush, dismounts, and attempts to conceal herself and her horse. The GM makes a Stealth check, for a total of 20. When the GM makes Awareness rolls for the pursuers to spot Renee, their difficulty number will be 20.
Stealth is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost.
Education skills are those skills gained primarily from formal study, whether at a university, monastery or other institute. Most Education skills are associated with the Mind attribute group. The Education skill group includes the following skills.
This skill covers knowledge of natural features of the earth, landmarks, climate, political, as well as cursory knowledge of the borders and inhabitants of the nations of the world. Characters with this skill can identify internationally known landmarks, the location of major bodies of water, the average climate and rainfall of a given country, and so on.
Specialties: Specific region or continent.
Characters with this skill know a great deal about history and can recall general or specific details with a successful skill check (INT). The more obscure the detail or more distant the subject from the character's locality, the higher the required difficulty of the roll is.
Sir Thomas, having recognized a tapestry as belonging to Lord Culler, tries to recall information about the lord's family from history. The player makes a History skill check for Sir Thomas and succeeds, so the GM tells the player that Sir Thomas recalls that Lord Culler died on the battlefield 20 years ago.
Specialties: Locality, National, Organizational, World.
Characters with this skill are knowledgeable about some specific subject. The player chooses the subject when the skill is purchased. The subject can be trivial or important in its scope. Most Knowledge skills are attached to the Mind group.
If knowledge skills involve the practical application of a skill, the character is also able to perform the task associated with it. A character may hold a job requiring the skill if the skill score is 3 or higher. Skill rolls for such skills may be associated with the BODY group or both the Body and Mind groups.
Peter Parker has the Knowledge skill Photography at 4. Peter understands how to use a camera, take pictures, develop film, and -- because his skill is a 4 -- can even hold a job as a newspaper photographer. When taking normal run-of-the-mill photos, the skill uses Peter's INT. If Peter is taking photos at a sports event or in the middle of a fight, he might use his REF instead. Then, when he's back in the photo lab, developing the pictures, any skill rolls there would likely use INT again.
The GM is encouraged to develop different Knowledge skills, and to separate them as new, unique skills for his game or setting. Depending on the specific topic covered, a Knowledge skill may be considered as being a Type, a Specialty, or neither, at the GM's discretion. Knowledge skills can be renamed and even moved to a more appropriate Skill Group (or a newly created Skill Group), based on the GM's discretion and the setting or genre of the game. Knowledge skills should not be created that duplicate other existing skills, however.
Matt is running a modern arcane magic game. Initially he creates the new skill KN: Arcana and KN: Arcane Research. After considering the new skills, he decides to rename "KN: Arcana" to "Arcane Lore." He also decides that "Arcane Research" is an unnecessary skill and that the existing "Research" will suffice, and that "Arcane Lore" can be used as a Complementary Skill with "Arcane Lore" for magic-related research. Matt adds "Arcane Lore" to his skill list in the Education Group.
Suggested Types: Civil Science, Cuisine, Family History, Humanities, Military Traditions, Mythology, Navy Ships, Wines, or any other general or specific topic that the GM approves.
Characters with this skill understand and can speak a foreign language. If the character is literate he can also read and write the language (does not apply to languages for which there is no writing system, such as traditional Navaho).
This skill much be purchased separately for each language that the character understands.
All characters start with a score of 3 in their native language (unless they have a trait that limits their starting score). The character's native language should be noted on the character sheet.
In addition to being used in skill rolls, the skill score represents the character's fluency with the language.
|1||Rudimentary; simple words and phrases only. Thick, noticeable accent (obviously not a local).|
|2||Basic; simple conversations. Moderate accent (requires Average Awareness roll to detect).|
|3||Conversational fluency. Minor accent or regional dialect (requires Challenging Awareness roll to detect).|
|4||Fluent; complex dialogue and expressions. No accent.|
|6||Expert; speaks perfectly, better than most natives.|
|8||Master; command of the language rivals the most learned scholar (a rarity!).|
Language (Type) is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 3 for their native language at no cost.
The 20 most commonly used languages in the world (in alphabetical order) are: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malay / Indonesian, Mandarin, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Characters with this skill are knowledgeable in the history, traditions, tenets and ceremony of major religions (INT). When this skill is purchased, the character must specify one primary religion to which the skill score applies.
Sir Thomas has the skill Religion (Christianity) +5. He has a skill of +5 with his specialty (Christianity) but no practical knowledge of other major religions.
Religion may be used as a complementary skill to other applicable skill rolls (GM's discretion). For example, the GM should allow Religion to be used as complementary to a Philosophy roll if the character is involved in a religious debate.
Types: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Wicca or any other religion allowed by the GM.
The skill of researching a topic (a person, place or thing, such as a rare artifact, an event or a ship) to discover clues, evidence or general or detailed facts about it. Sometimes research is simply a matter of locating where something is supposed to be, such as when looking for a known book in the library (INT). In other instances one must perform tedious research to find "the answer," such as when looking for an obscure passage in a huge tome with no index (WIL).
Research can be accomplished on the Internet, in a library, a laboratory, in a newspaper morgue, a corporate Human Resources office, floating city computer network, or wherever the GM thinks is reasonable and appropriate for the character to conduct the research. Remember, too, that sometimes getting into the place can be a task in and of itself!
The higher the effect number, the more information is gleaned about the topic.
Specialties: Internet, Library, Medical, Publications, Records, Scientific.
The skill of keeping track of the money in any venture. This includes, but is not limited to, receipts, supply expense, rent, and all other areas of a profit and loss statement.
Characters with this skill can appraise the approximate value of items, including items for which the character does not possess a relative skill. Appraising an item requires a Challenging Appraisal skill roll (TN 18).
The skill roll may be modified depending on the following conditions. All modifiers are cumulative.
|-3||Character has no training in or knowledge of the item|
|-3||Item is a rare or obscure specimen|
|-3||Unable to inspect or examine the item closely|
Characters may use appropriate skills as complementary to Appraisal (GM's discretion). For instance, a character appraising a sword could use Smith (Weaponsmith) as a complementary skill to the Appraisal skill roll.
The skill of dealing with bureaucracies and "cutting through red tape." Characters with this skill know what to expect from bureaucracies, how long things will take to get done and why (INT). In addition (and more beneficially), they also know how to get things done more quickly than normal, how to get in to see the "right people," and so on (PRE). Conversely, characters with this skill also know how to and how to slow projects down and impede requests to see people (WIL).
The knowledge and skill of running a business, from a lemonade stand to a multinational corporation. Business focuses on the day-to-day running of the business, including inventory, customer service, public relations and sales, but also covers broader topics, such as supply and demand, marketing, taxes, and business laws (INT). Business can also be used for skill rolls involving customer service and public relations (PRE).
Specialties: Marketing, Operations, Personnel, Public Relations.
The study and knowledge of the production, distribution and consumption of goods. Characters with this skill understand the basics, such as the law of supply and demand, as well as advanced economic theory. This skill is more the science of economics than the knowledge of running a business. Characters with the Economics skill can act as advisors, researchers, and the like, though they may have no practical experience running a company (that would require the Business skill, above).
Specialties: Business, National, World.
This skill represents a skill (or set of skills) for a specific profession not otherwise represented in the skill list. Characters with the Professional skill are able to do the job and operate any equipment normally associated with the profession. As with all skills, the higher the skill score the better the character is at his job.
Some professions may require special tools or equipment to perform adequately. The GM should determine if a given profession requires tools or not.
Professional (Type) is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost. A Type must be selected for the skill.
Types: Specific career (attorney, farmer, fire-fighter, fisherman, page, police officer, rancher, soldier, student, weaver, etc.)
Characters with this skill are adept at negotiating a mutually agreeable price for a service or goods. Trading is an important skill for merchants, traders, service providers, and business owners of all kinds.
Either the buyer or seller can initiate a negotiation. When negotiating a price, the buyer and the seller make contested Trading rolls (use just WIL + 3d6 if a character does not possess the Trading skill). The winner gains a 5% advantage to the base (list) price for each point of difference between the winner's and loser's effect number. This represents the "best, final offer." It is up to the loser to decide if this "final offer" is acceptable. If so, the agreement is made and the sale made. If not, then the transaction is called off.
Lou is playing space marine Corporal Darren Newman in a science fiction game. Corporal Newman is in a distant starport browsing at a souvenir vendor's stall and finds a holocard (which has a list price of 10 credits) that he wants to buy for his son back on Earth. But Corporal Newman's money is a little tight, so rather than paying tourist prices he decides to try to haggle with the vendor. Corporal Newman doesn't have the Trading skill so Lou rolls his WIL of 4 + 3d6, and gets a total of 17. The GM rolls the vendor's PRE (4) + Trading (4) + 3d6, for a total of 15. Because Corporal Newman's effect number was 2 points higher than the vendor's was, he gains a 2 x 5 = 10% advantage in the price. Corporal Newman can buy the holocard for 9 credits.
This resolution system is intentionally abstract. The base price is the standard list price for an item (as determined by the GM or published price list). The initial price from each person isn't actually stated, and the "final price" resulting from the negotiations represents the best offer that the loser can get from the winner.
Characters with this skill are familiar with the geography and popular culture of a certain area, be it a single street, a neighborhood, a shire, a city, a terrain type (mountains, caverns) or an entire planet or star system. With a successful skill roll, characters with an Area Knowledge know the lay of the area, and can locate major and minor landmarks, major businesses or organizations, utilities, transportation centers (e.g., bus stations, ship ports and airports), and even knows notable people in the area, such as local celebrities and other popular folk.
Ross is playing Max, a bounty hunter in a cyberpunk genre game. Max is in San Angeles, a huge metropolis, looking for his target. Lucky for Max (but unlucky for the person he's hunting) he grew up in the city. Max has an INT of 4 and the skill Area Knowledge (San Angeles) at +5.
The TN is determined by the level of detail sought by the character. On a successful roll, divide the effect number of the roll by three, dropping any fractions. This is the number of additional pieces of information the GM should provide to the player.
Conversely, if a character is trying to recall as much detail as possible but has no specific information he is seeking, simply have the player attempt the skill roll and compare the total of the roll to the table below to determine how much detail the character is able to recall about the area.
Max knows that his target likes to hang out in expensive nightclubs frequented by local celebrities, so Ross asks the GM for a short list of likely places that fit the description. The GM decides that this information requires a Challenging Area Knowledge roll (TN 18). Because "big city" is the default area size for skill rolls, there is no modifier to the difficulty. Ross attempts his skill roll -- 22! The GM gives him the names of three nightclubs that match his criteria. Because Ross needed an 18 but rolled high enough to achieve the next higher difficulty level (with a corresponding Target Number of 21), the GM tells Ross that of the three nightclubs, the "Neo-Matrix" is currently the hottest spot in town, since it changed owners last month. Ross takes the hint and Max gets on his motorcycle and heads for the "Neo-Matrix" club. He has someone to capture...
Area Knowledge can be used as a complementary skill to any appropriate skill rolls. A character with Area Knowledge of a city could use it as complementary to Driving skill rolls during a car chase through the city, a character with an Area Knowledge of a terrain type could use it as complementary to a Survival skill roll, and so on.
|Difficulty||Level of Detail|
|--||Very minor detail|
|Average (TN 12)||Minor detail (e.g., location of the nearest convenience store)|
|Tricky (TN 15)||Moderate detail (e.g., names of prominent citizens/local celebrities)|
|Challenging (TN 18)||Good detail (e.g., names of local leaders)|
|Difficult (TN 21)||Much detail|
|Demanding (TN 24)||Great detail|
|Extreme (TN 27)||Incredible detail|
|Legendary (TN 30)||Down to the last detail|
|Size of Area||Modifier|
|Apartment complex, street||+6|
|Neighborhood, village, town||+3|
|Large city (Tokyo, New York)||+0|
|State, small country||-3|
|Large country, continent||-6|
|Planet, star system||-9|
Types: Specific locale or terrain.
This represents the character's ability to spot, smell, hear or taste things that may otherwise escape attention (INT). The GM should call for an Awareness check any time a character may encounter a potential clue, may spot a shadowy figure in an alley, or any other appropriate situation. A success means the character has perceived the person or thing (a slight breeze, a shadowy figure, a minor detail, or what have you). An effect number of 6 or higher means the character has perceived the item in detail; the GM should provide additional information about the person or thing in question that will assist the character.
Awareness is a Universal Skill.
Specialties: Hearing, Sight, Smell/Taste, Touch.
This is the character's ability to focus his concentration on some task (WIL), as well as his general memory (INT). Concentration rolls can be assigned by the GM when a character is picking a lock in the middle of a huge brawl, laying still on a battlefield while cannonballs explode around him, keeping an eye on someone from hiding during a distraction, recalling the name of the man who gave you a coin two months ago, and so on. Success means that the character is able to concentrate on the task at hand, despite any distractions for that turn, including skill roll penalties due to wounds (see Wounds and Effects of Damage).
Concentration is a Universal Skill.
This is the character's ability to know or understand something without conscious reasoning. Intuition can tell a character when someone is being dishonest or deceptive, whether a door is safe to open or not, or whether to go out on a date with someone he's just met. In short, Intuition can help a character decide what choice to make when logic or perception fails him.
A successful roll should result in the player gleaning some vague direction from the GM about the person or thing in question. Responses such as "Something doesn't feel right" are appropriate but responses such as "You think the car will explode if you turn the ignition" are not. Intuition should not be used as a replacement for the Danger Sense advantage.
The GM should prompt the player to make an Intuition roll any time he must make a choice that could have detrimental consequences. In addition, when the situation warrants it, the player may ask the GM "What does my character's intuition tell him?" The GM has the final discretion whether or not to allow the Intuition roll.
Bob's character is a cop cruising the streets in his patrol car. He decides to stop at a convenience store to get a cup of coffee. As he pulls into the parking lot of the Mini-Mart at 45th and Tyler, he checks out the store as usual, but Bob fails his Awareness roll, so nothing looks out of the ordinary. At that point the GM asks Bob to make an Intuition roll. He succeeds and the GM tells Bob "As your character opens the door of his patrol car, he gets a bad feeling about the situation." Bob is no dummy. He takes the GM's hint and tells the GM that he's going to wait in the car a minute and reexamine the scene. Suddenly the dispatcher's voice comes over the police radio. "All units be advised, 211 silent in progress at the Mini-Mart, 45th and Tyler. No telephone response." Thanks to his intuition, Bob narrowly avoiding walking into a robbery in progress!
The ability to discern what someone is saying by watching his mouth move, without hearing what he is saying (INT). A successful Lip Reading roll means the character using this skill understands most of what has been said, though not necessarily the context nor any emotion (or sarcasm). The character will have to determine the context of the message based on the circumstances (who is speaking to whom, what is being discussed, and so on). An effect number of 3 or higher than required, the character understands everything said.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of land-based, crew-served, artillery weapons, such as Howitzers, MLRS systems, and the like. This skill covers both towed and self-propelled artillery.
Specialties: AAA, Cannon, Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of machine-guns and other automatic weapons (REF). The character selects a specialty for which the full skill level applies; all other types use the skill at one half level (rounding up). Heavy machine-guns include the Browning .30 cal., M2 .50 cal., and the Mk-19 grenade launcher. Light machine-guns include squad support weapons such as the M60, and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).
Specialties: Anti-aircraft, Heavy, Medium, Light.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of large guided missiles and missile launching systems (INT). The character selects a specialty for which the full skill level applies; all other types use the skill at one half level (rounding up).
(Note: Although some modern anti-tank weapons are guided by radio or wire controls, these are governed by the Portable Launchers skill.)
Specialties: Anti-aircraft, Cruise Missiles, ICBMs, Orbital Platforms.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of portable grenade, anti-tank weapons (such as the TOW, Dragon, and M-72 LAW), grenade launchers (such as the M-79, M-203) and mortars (REF).
Types: Grenade launchers, Anti-tank Weapons, Mortars.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of modern, heavy, vehicle-mounted weapons. Characters using very simple weapons that have no guidance or "aiming" systems other than the aircraft itself, such as machine guns on a WWI bi-plane, can use the Piloting skill instead.
Specialties: Bombs, Cannon, Missiles, Rockets.
The skill of ciphering and deciphering data, including text, digital image files, and others (INT). The technology level of the setting will determine the kinds of equipment available to the character, if any, and the complexity of the ciphers and codes the character is likely to deal with.
A number of skills can be used as a complementary to Cryptography, depending on the circumstances and the GM's discretion. Characters deciphering a code that uses or involves a foreign language should be able to use their language skill as complementary, for instance. Likewise, Computer Programming could be used as complementary to Cryptography, for designing and running decryption software.
Characters with this skill are able to take a few known facts and leap to a usually (at least partially) correct conclusion (INT). Successful use of this skill can reveal the names of likely conspirators, anticipate an ambush, or determine the likely motivation behind any unexpected action.
The player may ask to make use of this skill at any time. If granted, the GM should reward a successful Deduction check with some bit of information about the current adventure that the character does not currently have. Success means the character has gained one answer or several potential "right answers." Failure means the character has gained no insight or possibly bad "insight," suspecting an innocent, or some other misleading information that could result in an embarrassing (or deadly) confrontation if acted upon.
The GM should make the skill roll for the player in secret, telling the player only that which his character would "know," based on the outcome of the roll.
The skill of handling (REF) and analyzing (INT) evidence. Evidence can include fingerprints, hair, fibers from clothing and carpet, and imprints (such as shoe and boot prints, tire tracks, and the like). Characters with this skill are able to identify the nature and origin of samples they analyze.
The higher the effect number of the skill roll the more information is gleaned from the analysis. Consult the table below for suggested results of successful Forensics skill rolls:
|0-2||Trivial details about the item (size and style of footwear, content of a fiber, caliber of a bullet, etc.)|
|3-5||Minor details about the item (manufacturer of an item, the source of a fiber -- vehicle carpet, wool jacket, etc.; make of weapon)|
|6-8||Important details about the item (manufactured at a factory in Korea, custom made, made exclusively for Ford, specific model number of a firearm, etc.)|
|9-11||Crucial details about the item (date of manufacture, lot number, city where item was originally purchased, and so on)|
|12+||Every detail about the item (serial number, exact store where item was originally purchased, VIN number, all known owners of the item)|
Paul's character is analyzing residue from an explosion. Paul gets an effect number of 7 on his Forensics skill roll, so the GM tells Paul that the residue is from an explosive compound manufactured solely for the U.S. military by a contractor based in Vermont. If Paul's effect number had been 9, the GM might have told him the date of manufacture and delivery point for the explosive, as well.
Characters with this skill are able to analyze intelligence and determine the significance (if any) of details gleaned from it (INT).
An agent could use Intel Analysis to examine a satellite photograph of an air field to determine if any aircraft were loaded with nuclear warheads or had been recently moved. A soldier could examine a reconnaissance report from a scout to determine the quality of troops at an enemy base.
The quality and quantity of the data that the character has to work with determines the difficulty of the task.
A high-resolution satellite photo of a military base would provide a relatively low difficulty to determine what sort of base it was, whereas a smudged, rough sketch drawn by a child overlooking the base from a nearby hill would provide a very high difficulty for the skill roll.
The skill of obtaining information from an unwilling subject. The interrogator may attempt to use subtlety, confusion, or mental trickery (INT), sympathy or intimidation techniques (PRE), or simply try to "wear down" the subject through repetition and extended duration (WIL). Physically beating a confession out of a subject is also possible (STR), though not legal in most civilized nations.
When interrogating a subject, a contested roll is made against the subject's WIL attribute roll. If the interrogator's effect number is greater than the subject's, then the subject has been broken and reveals the desired information.
The skill of watching and gathering information about a target (INT). Characters with this skill know how to set up an observation point, observe a subject and record information concerning the subject's movements and actions, without being themselves observed (it is similar to the Shadowing skill, but does not involve moving and following the subject).
Police detectives, private investigators, covert intelligence operatives, snipers and soldiers assigned to reconnaissance missions or observation posts, most often possess this skill.
Can be used as complementary to Awareness skill rolls in appropriate circumstances (GM's discretion).
Specialties: Bugging, Reconnaissance, Stakeouts, Stalking.
Dentistry is the skill of cleaning and maintaining teeth. Successful use of this skill allows the character to diagnose symptoms (INT), treat minor and major dental problems (INT), perform procedures such as filling cavities, root canals, and the like (REF), and common procedures relating to dentistry, such as teeth cleanings. Dentists cannot prescribe medications, however.
Characters with this skill know the basics of treating injuries, from scrapes and cuts to compound fractures (INT). The character knows how to reduce pain, stabilize broken limbs, and when not to move someone to avoid risk of paralysis, etc.
Note that this skill may reflect different knowledge, based on the particular setting and technology level of the game. A character in medieval Europe will not know CPR, for instance, but he can still use herbal remedies to heal minor burns, leeches to remove "bad blood," and so on. GMs may wish to rename this skill to better fit the setting (e.g., Chirurgery).
Successful use of this skill restores 1 Life point to the victim and stabilizes him, so that no further Life points are lost due to bleeding or other continued damage (see Stabilizing).
Specialties: Primitive, Modern.
Characters with this skill are proficient in the arts of healing the body. Successful use of this skill allows the character to diagnose symptoms (INT), treat minor and major wounds (INT), perform minor, out-patient surgeries (REF) and common procedures relating to his specialty, as well as identify and prescribe drugs and remedies available in the campaign (INT).
To perform complex and major surgeries the character should buy the Surgery skill.
This skill is common among physicians, EMTs, combat medics, and corpsmen.
Specialties: General, Neurology, Oncology, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Psychiatry, or any other specialty approved by the GM.
Pharmacology is the science of drugs, especially as they relate to medicinal use. Characters with this skill are able to identify drugs and their medicinal effects, reactions, and properties (INT).
Characters with this skill are able to perform surgical procedures. It includes knowledge of barbery and chirurgery in low-tech settings (INT). Successful use of this skill allows the character to perform minor to complex surgeries.
This skill is common among surgeons and paramedics.
Specialties: Cosmetic, Emergency, Neuro/Brain, Oral, or any other specialty approved by the GM.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of hand axes (includes tomahawks, hatchets, and other one-handed axes) and battle axes (includes two-handed axes or "great axes") (REF). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (REF). (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Specialties: Battle Axes, Great Axes, Hand Axes.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of rifle-mounted blades (REF). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Characters with this skill are adept at the use of chains, ropes (including lassos), and whips (including cat-o-nine-tails) as weapons. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons, with or without a weapon attached to the end (REF). (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Specialties: Chains, Flails, Nunchaku, Ropes, Three-section Staves, Whips.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of knives, dirks, and other small blades (REF). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of maces and warhammers. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (REF). (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Maces/Clubs is a Universal Skill; all characters receive it at level 2 at no cost.
Specialties: Clubs/Bats, Maces, Mauls, Tetsubô, Warhammers.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of polearms, including spears, lances, halberds and glaives (REF). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Specialties: Halberds, Pikes, Lance/Great Spear.
Specialties: Glaives/Halberds, Spears, Lances, ïno, Pikes, Staves.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of swords, including cutlasses, sabers, epee, foils, and other medium-length bladed weapons (REF). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
Specialties: Foils/Epee, Long swords, Kenjutsu, Machetes, Rapiers, Sabers, Short swords, Two-handed Swords
Characters with this skill know how to construct buildings, make fortified defenses, dig foxholes, lay (and remove) anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, create roads and airstrips, breach barriers, construct bridges, etc., in a military environment or operation.
Specialties: Bridges, Defenses, Mines, Roads.
The skill of assembling explosive devices, placing them for best effect, and also disassembling and defusing them (INT). Characters with this skill can also identify types of explosive compounds, triggers and other related devices on inspection.
With a successful Demolitions skill roll, characters may increase the effectiveness of an explosive. For every 2 levels with the skill, the character may opt not to roll 1d6 of damage, instead making that die an automatic 6 for purposes of calculating damage. Alternatively, a character may instead convert each such die to an "automatic 1," reducing the overall effectiveness of the explosive, if he is able to tamper with or move the device without triggering it.
Specialties: Bombs, C4, Mines, Primitive, Warheads.
Characters with this skill are able properly maintain and effect repairs to firearms. In addition, the character can make minor modifications to the weapon, such as installing a custom mount or modifying the capacity of an ammunition magazine. The player must select a specialty when this skill is purchased. Knowledge of energy weapons allows the character to effect repairs to various energy weapons, including blasters, lasers, energy swords, and other high-tech or sci-fi weapons (Electronics may be used as complementary to this skill). Heavy weapons include all of the weapons in the Heavy Weapons skill group. Small arms include all of the weapons in the Small Arms skill group.
Types: Energy Weapons, Heavy Weapons, Small Arms.
Characters with this skill are skilled at managing multiple units in large, battle-sized engagements (usually of more than 100 soldiers per side). They can assess a battle, locate advantageous routes of advance (or retreat), determine the best place to establish a defense, and so on (INT). Successful use of this skill by the leader of an army gives his side an Initiative bonus of +1 for every two points of Effect Number. The bonus lasts for the duration of the battle (PRE). GMs may also wish to use this skill as a contested skill roll between commanders.
Specialties: Land Battles, Logistics, Sea Battles, Sieges, Space Battles.
Characters with this skill are skilled tacticians and are able to lead small units with 100 soldiers or fewer. The character can assess an engagement, locate advantageous positions, determine the best place to establish a defense or execute an ambush, and so on (INT). Successful use of this skill by the leader of a group of combatants also affords an Initiative bonus to that side for the duration of the battle (PRE). GMs may also wish to use this skill as an opposed test between commanders.
Specialties: Ambushes, Close Quarter Battle (CQB), Defensive Positions, Patrolling, Skirmishes.
Characters with this skill are proficient at working with animals, including care, feeding and grooming (INT), as well as training (WIL) and controlling them (PRE).
Specialties: Birds, Camels, Dogs, Horses, Reptiles, et al.
Characters with this skill are able to track and catch game and fowl, fish, and set traps. Depending on the prey, Fish and Game may involve cunning and wits to locate and trap one's prey (INT) or simple patience to wait for a bite (WIL).
Specialties: Hunting, Fishing, Trapping.
Characters with this skill are able to determine their approximate position on a map, tell the time of day or night (by the sun or stars), and plot a course between two known points (INT). Navigation may be used as a complementary skill to Survival, Fish and Game, Sailing, Water Craft and other skills with GM's permission. For navigating in space, between and within star systems, see the Astrogation skill. This skill is common among professional trackers, rangers, scouts, soldiers and sailors.
Specialties: Land, Sea.
Characters with this skill are able to ride domesticated beasts, manage tack and bridle, and perform simple care and grooming of their animals. A specialty must be selected when the skill is purchased. This skill may be purchased more than once, each time for a different specialty.
Specialties: Camels, Horses, or other beasts allowed by the GM (such as dragons, wolves, giant bugs, and so on).
Characters with this skill are able to survive off the land (INT). They know which plants are edible, how to construct shelter, where to find fresh water, and the like. Even recreational campers may have some measure of this skill (e.g., a score of 1 or 2, or even higher for an avid camper).
A successful check means the character is able to survive in the wilds for a day, with food, water and shelter. A critical success extends this time to a week. A failed check means the character's efforts are insufficient for the day; he goes hungry and thirsty, is exposed to the elements, or what have you. A roll that fails by 6 points worse (i.e., an EN of -6 or lower) means the character has suffered some mishap. The mishap could be an accidental poisoning, an injury inflicting 1d6 damage, frostbite, or any other situation at the GM's discretion.
Specialties: Arctic, Desert, Temperate, Tropical, Water.
The skill of driving teams of domestic beasts, usually to pull a wagon. The character also knows how to manage harness and bridle, and so on. A specialty must be selected when the skill is purchased. This skill may be purchased more than once, each time for a different specialty.
Specialties: Camels, Horses, or other beasts allowed by the GM (such as dragons, wolves, giant bugs, and so on).
Characters with this skill are able to track both man and beast (INT). Unlike Fish and Game, which allows one to locate fresh game and fowl, Tracking is used to follow prints made by man or beast, either fresh or old. Successful use of the skill means the character is able to identify the maker of the tracks and to follow them for one day or to a point at which the conditions have changed (e.g., tracks leading through a forest and to a river). If at this point the subject has not been found, then a new Tracking roll must be made to continue.
Characters with this skill are adept at acting -- more simply, feigning emotion and portraying roles that differ significantly from themselves (PRE). Actors also understand the finer points of dramatic expression and can appreciate theatrical performances from a more scholarly viewpoint than the average spectator (INT).
Successful use of this skill means the character performs in a manner that moves the audience, or appraises the quality of theatrical performances by others. The effect number of the roll determines the quality of the performance; the higher the effect number the better the performance, and, thus, the better the audience's reaction. This skill may also be used as a complementary skill to Persuasion or Orate in the appropriate circumstances (at the GM's discretion).
This skill is an important one for stage and screen actors, undercover police officers, shinobi (ninja), and any character to whom misleading others is important.
This is the skill of dancing with grace and/or style (REF). Ballroom dancing is performed at large, formal balls, such as those thrown by royalty or the wealthy, and (in some cultures) is one of the skills expected of any cultured gentleman or lady. Dancing can also be part of important ceremonies, contests and other situations calling for stamina more than style or skill (HLT).
Successful use of this skill means the character is able to dance competently, following the steps and keeping time with the music. The character may be noticed as an accomplished and graceful dancer that evening, perhaps gaining the special attention of his partner, another suitor, or another person of note or repute.
Dancing may be used as a complementary skill for all appropriate Social skill checks, at the GM's discretion.
Specialties: Ballet, Ballroom, Break, Disco, Popular, Tap, Tribal, or any other reasonable kind of dance that the player and GM agree upon.
Characters with this skill are adept at playing a musical instrument (REF). They also understand the finer points of musical expression (INT) and can appreciate instrumental performances more than the average person (PRE).
The specific instrument (or family of instruments, with the GM's permission) must be chosen when the skill is purchased.
Successful use of this skill means the character performs in a manner that moves or entertains the audience, or appraises the quality of instrumental performances by others. The effect number of the roll determines the quality of the performance; the higher the effect number the better the performance, and, thus, the better the audience's reaction.
This skill may also be used as a complementary skill to Persuasion in the appropriate circumstances (at the GM's discretion).
Types: Drums, Banjos, Flutes, Guitars, Harps, Horns, Keyboards, Violins, etc.
Characters with this skill are adept at juggling and balancing objects (REF), including heavy and unbalanced objects (STR). They also understand the finer points of these physical forms of entertainment (INT) and can appreciate such performances more than the average person (PRE).
Successful use of this skill means the character performs in a manner that wows the audience, or appraises the quality of such performances by others. The quality of a performance is determined by the effect number of the roll; the higher the effect number the better the performance, and, thus, the better the audience's reaction.
Examples of people with this skill include: Chinese acrobats, street entertainers and James Ernest.
With this skill, characters can mimic voices and other sounds (PRE). Some common applications of this skill include impersonating another person's voice, making non-human sounds (such as bird songs, cars or machine-gun fire), and so on. Mimicry can be used either as a ruse or for entertainment.
Mimicry can be used as a complementary skill to Acting (for impersonating a specific person) and to other Social skills (at GM's discretion).
Characters with this skill are adept at singing (HLT). They also understand the finer points of artistic expression (INT) and can appreciate singing performances more than the average person (PRE).
Successful use of this skill means the character performs in a manner that moves or entertains the audience (HLT), or appraises the value of song writing or performances by others (INT). The effect number of the roll determines the quality of the performance; the higher the effect number the better the performance, and, thus, the better the audience's reaction.
This skill may also be used as a complementary skill to Persuasion in the appropriate circumstances (at the GM's discretion).
The skill of throwing one's voice. Characters with this skill can perform auditory illusions (HLT), making it sound as though their voice (or any sound they can make with their throat or mouth) is coming from some other location, such as another person, from behind someone, or even from an inanimate object.
This skill can also be used as complementary to Mimicry.
The character has knowledge of the study of stars and planetary bodies (INT), and includes knowledge of astrometrics, black holes, and the like. The extent of the character's knowledge will depend on the era in which the game is set (e.g., an astronomer in 2001 would know a lot more about outer space, as a rule, than one in 1801). The skill score reflects the depth of knowledge possessed by the character relative to the whole body of knowledge available in the current era.
The character has knowledge of biology (INT). The extent of the character's knowledge will depend on the era in which the game is set (e.g., a biologist in 2001 would know a lot more about biology, as a rule, than one in 1801). The skill score reflects the depth of knowledge possessed by the character relative to the whole body of knowledge available in the current era.
Specialties: Marine, Micro, or any other specialties approved by the GM.
The character has knowledge of chemistry (INT). The extent of the character's knowledge will depend on the era in which the game is set (e.g., a chemist in 2001 would know a lot more about chemistry, as a rule, than one in 1801). The skill score reflects the depth of knowledge possessed by the character relative to the whole body of knowledge available in the current era.
Mathematics is usually a complimentary skill to Chemistry.
Specialties: Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic, or any other specialties approved by the GM.
The character has knowledge of mathematics (INT), including calculus, geometry, statistics, trigonometry and so on. The character is able to calculate mathematical formulae without the aid of a calculator or computer, given enough time (and, typically, something to notations, such as a pen and paper or chalk and a chalkboard). The use of a calculator, abacus, or other calculating device will provide a +3 to +9 bonus to the skill roll.
Mathematics is usually a complimentary skill to Physics and Chemistry.
The character has knowledge of physics and the laws of nature, including kinetic energy, the effects of gravity on mass, and so on (INT). The extent of the character's knowledge will depend on the era in which the game is set. The skill score reflects the depth of knowledge possessed by the character relative to the whole body of knowledge available in the current era.
Mathematics is usually a complimentary skill to Physics.
A specialty must be selected for this skill when it is bought. This skill may be bought more than once, each time for a different science.
Specialties: Astrophysics, General, Nuclear, Quantum, or any other specialty approved by the GM.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use and care of boomerangs (REF). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (see Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on). Some boomerangs are designed to return to the thrower if they miss their intended target (takes 1d3 turns). Some boomerangs are heavy weapons with one "arm" longer than the other, that are designed to deliver a deadly blow. The latter, heavy variety do not return in the same manner as their smaller, symmetrical cousins.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of bows. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (see Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on), or to string a bow in a hurry (STR).
Specialties: Longbows, Short bows, Composite bows.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of crossbows. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (see Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on), or to cock a crossbow in a hurry (STR).
Specialties: Hand crossbows, Heavy Crossbows, Light Crossbows, Spearguns.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of sling weapons. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (see Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on), or to hurl missiles great distances (STR).
Specialties: Atlatl, Bolas, Simple Slings.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and care (INT) of slingshots. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons (see Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on), or to fire small missiles great distances (STR).
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of primitive or low-tech firearms. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
In addition to firing a weapon, this skill can be used to reduce the time needed to reload one. The normal time required to reload a black powder weapon is 10 turns (about 1 minute). With a successful Challenging REF attribute roll (TN 18), the time required is reduced to 10 - EN turns (minimum time required is 1 turn).
Specialties: Blunderbuss, Pistols, Long Rifles.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of modern handguns, regardless of the type of action of the weapon (i.e., revolver, semi-automatic). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
In addition to firing a weapon, this skill can be used to reduce the time needed to reload one or to clear a jam. The normal rate for reloading a revolver cylinder with loose rounds is 2 rounds per turn. Reloading a semi-automatic pistol (i.e., exchanging an empty magazine for a full one) or reloading a revolver using a speed-loader takes 1 turn. The standard rate for reloading an empty magazine is 1 round per turn. With a successful Challenging REF attribute roll (TN 18), the character can load a number of rounds into a magazine or cylinder per turn equal to his REF, or reload a semi-automatic weapon with a fresh magazine (or a revolver with a speed-loader) and fire the weapon in the same turn.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of modern rifles, regardless of the type of action of the weapon (i.e., lever-action, semi-automatic, bolt action). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
In addition to firing a weapon, this skill can be used to reduce the time needed to reload one or to clear a jam. The normal rate for reloading a bolt action or lever action rifle is 1 round per turn. Reloading a semi-automatic rifle (i.e., exchanging an empty magazine for a full one) takes 1 turn. The standard rate for reloading an empty magazine is 1 round per turn. With a successful Challenging REF attribute roll (TN 18), the character can load a number of rounds into a magazine or weapon per turn equal to his REF, or reload a semi-automatic weapon with a fresh magazine and fire the weapon in the same turn.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of modern smoothbore shotguns, regardless of the type of action of the weapon (i.e., breech-loaded, pump-action, semi-automatic). This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
In addition to firing a weapon, this skill can be used to reduce the time needed to reload one or to clear a jam. The normal rate for reloading a shotgun is 1 round per turn. With a successful Challenging REF attribute roll (TN 18), the character can load 2 rounds into a magazine per turn.
Characters with this skill are adept at the use (REF) and maintenance (INT) of modern submachine-guns. This skill is used when making attacks with such weapons. (See Combat for rules on making attacks, damage, and so on).
In addition to firing a weapon, this skill can be used to reduce the time needed to reload one or to clear a jam. The normal rate for reloading a submachine-gun (i.e., exchanging an empty magazine for a full one) is 1 turn. The standard rate for reloading an empty magazine is 1 round per turn. With a successful Challenging REF attribute roll (TN 18), the character can load a number of rounds into a magazine or cylinder per turn equal to his REF, or reload a weapon with a fresh magazine and fire the weapon in the same turn.
Social skills are those relating primarily to social interaction with and the influencing of others. Social skills are generally governed by the Mind group, though some can be assisted by physical appearance or ability. The Social skill group includes the following skills.
The skill of obtaining information from someone through conversation, without raising suspicion or, perhaps, without the subject even knowing he has been manipulated (INT). Conversation can also be used to make "small talk," to gain someone's trust or build a rapport with him (PRE). The difficulty of the skill roll depends on the reluctance or inability of the individual to provide the information and the circumstances under which the conversation takes place.
This skill is the art of uncovering (or covering up) secrets. A secret could be a love affair, a disreputable past, or a plot to overthrow the king. Intrigue can be used to oppose Deduction (but not Intuition) when trying to effect a "cover up" or otherwise conceal important or sensitive information from others, especially in a social setting (such as at the Royal Court, a meeting of Parliament or a formal ball or dinner thrown at an embassy). This skill may also be used as complementary to Conversation, Persuasion or other social skills (GM's discretion).
This is the skill of philosophical theories, discussion and debate, covering such topics as "What is the meaning of life?" "Is there a God?" "What is mankind's greatest error?" and the like (INT). Philosophy also includes knowledge of theology and thus can be complementary to the Religion skill.
Characters with this skill are familiar with a particular sub-culture, whether through direct interaction or some vicarious experience. This knowledge extends to important or well-known personalities, tastes in music and fashion, language (slang and/or dialects), as well as popular social spots and important businesses, and the like. For example, characters with Society (Courtier) know the finer points of court etiquette and the proper behavior for ladies and gentlemen. This is a critical skill among courtiers, diplomats and nobility.
A specific sub-culture must be chosen when this skill is purchased. This skill may be bought more than once, each time for a different sub-culture.
A success means the character acts appropriately (+3 all social skill checks for the rest of the event) or gains one important piece of information from interaction with one or more members of the group. An effect number of 6 or higher means the character is noticed and gains the special attention of one or more important figures in the group (+3 to all social skill checks for the rest of the event, or the GM may role-play some special result at his discretion).
Erin is playing Adrienne, a commoner, in a Victorian Era game. Adrienne is masquerading as a noblewoman at a formal ball. As she mingles with the guests, trying to be accepted as one of them, the GM tells Erin that she must make a Difficult Society (High Society) roll (TN 21). Erin rolls and gets a total of 27! Because Adrienne's roll was 6 points higher than the required TN, the GM decides that she has gained special attention. He tells Erin that not only has Adrienne been accepted and performed as expected by the other guests, she has gained the notice of the Duke of Effingham, who invites her to dine with him!
A failed roll means the character has failed to gain any useful information or has made some simple, but forgivable, mistake (-3 to all social skill checks for the rest of the event). A roll that fails by 6 or more (i.e., a skill roll total that is less than TN-6) means the character has made some major gaffe, insulting the host or other dignitary at the function. The GM should determine an appropriate consequence of the character's faux pas. The character may have gained an enemy, been challenged to a duel, been captured by a press gang, or been mugged in an alley. In cases of a very low roll resulting in failure (e.g., 9 less than the TN), the GM can simply assign an amount of injury for the mishap (e.g., 1d6 B/S damage) or run the event as an encounter; perhaps with the intervention of the other PCs. The latter approach could easily lead to an adventure unto itself.
In the same situation, Erin rolls below an Average success, three levels below the required Difficult success. Disastrous! The GM decides that not only has Adrienne been exposed as a fraud, the Duke of Effingham is particularly offended and orders her to be arrested and placed in gaol!
The GM is encouraged to modify the Target Number of the roll based on circumstances.
Society may be used as a complementary skill to most, if not all, social skills, including Persuasion, Politics, and Conversation.
Types: Corporate, Courtier, High Society, Military, Streetwise.
This skill covers knowledge of the latest styles and fashions, fashion design, and presentation. Characters with this skill can keep up with the latest fashion trends, identify the origin (region or designer) of fashion styles, design new fashions and coordinate fashion shows.
Style can be used as complementary to certain social skill rolls (GM's discretion).
This skill represents the study and recognition of symbols. Characters with this skill are familiar with the various family, governmental and corporate crests, banners and devices (INT). A character making a successful Symbols skill roll will recognize the owner (individual, family, organization or nation) to which a symbol or other device belongs. The GM may subject the roll to a +3 to -3 modifier, depending on how well-known or obscure the symbol is in the local area.
Sir Thomas sees a regal crest on a tapestry in the market. Sir Thomas' player wishes to identify the owner of the crest and tells the GM so. The GM has the player make a Symbols (Heraldry) check for Sir Thomas, with a +3 to the skill roll because the GM knows the crest is that of a lord who lives some distance away.
Types: Arcane & Occult Symbols, Corporate Logos, Heraldry, Naval Flags, Runes.
Characters with this skill are familiar with the customs, traditions, and myth about a culture, nation, or region (INT).
Skill checks are not needed for "common knowledge," such as local holidays, the names of important local people, and so on.
A successful Anthropology roll provides the character with more obscure facts, such as the names of important persons or deities, methods of food preparation, and other details about the subject.
Note that this skill does not convey information about the local underworld or seedier side of the area. For that information the character will need the Society (Streetwise) skill.
Specialties: Specific culture or civilization.
Characters with this skill are trained in the systematic study of past (even prehistoric) human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery. Characters also have knowledge of the science or study of antiquities (especially prehistoric antiquities), such as the remains of buildings or monuments of an early epoch, inscriptions, implements, and other relics, written manuscripts, and so on.
Specialties: Artifacts, Early Civilizations, Excavation, Paleobotany, Paleontology, Prehistoric Civilizations.
The skill of crime-scene investigation. Characters with this skill can identify a crime scene (INT), as well as identify, preserve (INT), and collect (REF) evidence. Some common procedures include collecting samples of latent fingerprints, taking photographs, taking measurements, and preparing evidentiary diagrams. Characters also understand the basics of criminal behavior and modus operandi of suspects (INT).
This skill can be used as complementary to Awareness (for knowing what to look for as well as likely places to look for them) and Deduction (figuring out who did it and why).
Politics is the study of the processes, principles, and structure of government and of political institutions. Characters with this skill are familiar with government and the governing of a political entity, such as a nation or municipality, as well as the administration and control of its internal and external affairs (INT). Characters with this skill understand the procedures and rules of government, how to conduct a government meeting, draft bills and pass them into law, and how to engage in political debate (PRE). Characters also know how to garner and maintain public support, how to manipulate public opinion (PRE) and how to present information in the best possible light or to misrepresent information to avoid a scandal (INT).
Politics is an important skill for members of government (politicians), lobbyists, and even some special operations forces (such as counter-insurgents) and CIA operatives.
Orate can be used as complementary to this skill.
The character has knowledge of human behavior and the conscious and subconscious mind, including effects of abuse, the effects of mood disorders, and so on (INT). The extent of the character's knowledge will depend on the era in which the game is set. The skill score reflects the depth of knowledge possessed by the character relative to the whole of knowledge available in the current era.
A specialty must be selected for this skill when it is bought. This skill may be bought more than once, each time for a different science.
Specialties: Alien (species), Animal, Behavioral, Criminal, Counseling, Profiling, or any other specialty approved by the GM.
Characters with this skill are able to determine their approximate position in space, plot a course between two known points and navigate between and within star systems (INT). Astrogation may be used as a complementary to the Starships skill and others with GM's permission.
This skill is common among professional starship pilots, merchants, and smugglers in a sci-fi campaign.
The knowledge and use of computer language code to create or alter software programs. Characters with this skill can create programs, hack computer networks, and so on (INT).
Specialties: Hacking, Programming, Use*.
Electrician is the skill of building, installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical devices and systems, such as those in computers, vehicles, environmental systems, buildings, and the like. Characters with this skill are able to effect repairs on, maintain and even rebuild items within their specialty (INT). The types of devices or equipment that a specialty will apply to depend on the technology level available in the campaign.
Electronics is the skill of building, repairing and, maintaining electronic devices and equipment. Characters with this skill understand the principles of electronics and are able to diagnose problems occurring in electronic devices and fix them.
Specialties: Appliances, Comm, Security Systems, Weapons.
Engineering is the skill of designing, building, maintaining, and repairing systems. Characters with this skill are able to effect repairs on, maintain, and even rebuild items within their specialty (INT). The kinds of devices or equipment that a specialty applies to depends on the technology level available in the campaign.
This skill must be purchased separately for each type of engineering the player wishes his character to possess. Note that this is not the same skill as Combat Engineering.
Specialties: Architectural, Propulsion, Structural, Transportation.
Mechanics is the skill of repairing and maintaining mechanical devices (INT), as well as diagnosing problems. When the skill is bought the player must select a specialty. Characters with this skill can repair axles, motors, brakes, and so on. (INT).
Specialties: Specific part or system (e.g., brakes, transmission, jet engines).
Characters with this skill can operate electronic communication and sensor equipment, including both military and civilian versions, and those aboard vessels, portable and stationary devices, and so on. Characters can also maintain and make minor, emergency repairs to such devices, though any complex repairs will require the Electronics skill.
A successful skill roll also allows the user to detect objects using sensor equipment, such as sonar and radar. Operate Electronics can also be used to try to jam sensors as with jamming communications.
Attempts to jam communication equipment requires a contested skill roll, with both sides using the Operate Electronics skill. If one side has more advanced or powerful technology, the GM may allow a bonus of +1 to +5 to that side's skill roll. The side with the higher Effect Number wins the contest.
Specialties: Communication, Sensors.
Characters with this skill have practical experience operating ground vehicles, including performing maneuvers in difficult conditions, avoiding obstacles, performing routing maintenance and operating all common equipment normally associated with them (such as climate control, radio, checking gauges, and filling the gas tank).
Specialties: Cars, Motorcycles, Tracked Vehicles, Tractors/Semis.
Characters with this skill have practical experience piloting aircraft, including performing maneuvers in difficult conditions, dog fighting, aerial acrobatics, performing routing maintenance and pre-flight checks, and operating all common equipment normally associated with them (such as climate control, radio, radar, and so on).
Specialties: Grav-vehicles, Helicopters, Jets, Mecha, Planes, Vectored Thrust.
Characters with this skill have practical experience piloting sailing vessels, including performing maneuvers in difficult conditions, performing inspections for fitness and sea-worthiness, and operating all common equipment normally associated with them (such as securing sails and rigging, radio [if appropriate], signaling with flags, and so on). Any characters with this skill can perform as a crewman on a sailing ship. Seamanship is also important for ships' captains and masters, who must issue orders to the crew.
Specialties: Sailboats, Tall Ships.
Characters with this skill have practical experience piloting interplanetary and interstellar craft, including performing maneuvers in difficult conditions, dog fighting, performing routine maintenance and pre-flight checks, and operating all common equipment normally associated with them (such as climate control, radio, sensors, and so on).
Specialties: Capital Ships, Cargo Ships, Starfighters, System Boats.
Characters with this skill have practical experience piloting powered, sea-going vessels, including performing maneuvers in difficult conditions, maneuvering and formations, performing inspections for fitness and sea-worthiness, and operating all common equipment normally associated with them (such as climate control, radio, radar or sonar, signaling with flags, and so on). Characters with this skill also know the basic workings of powered sea-going vessels and can perform as a crewman on one.
Specialties: Hovercraft, Large Vessels, Motorboats, Submarines.