04.3 Intellect Skills

04.3 Intellect Skills

Information Tests (Intellect)

The Intellect attribute assists characters in finding out how much they know about a certain field, modified depending on the situation. For this reason, one chart of general difficulties can serve most uses of Intellect skill Test attempts involving researching a topic.

Gamemasters can employ the Information Difficulties chart in one of two ways: by picking a difficulty based on what the character seeks or wants to recall, or by comparing the skill total rolled to the difficulties (whichever level the character meets or beats is the amount and type of information collected or recollected). Realize that the less well-defined the skill is, the less information the character knows or finds.

One high roll in any of these skills does not necessarily make the character an expert in that field. The roll represents only what the character recalls at the time. A high roll could reveal a specific detail of the information sought, as well as some hints for discovering more of what the character seeks.

Characters may be assumed to have a general knowledge of their home country, culture, and era, including basic geography, famous people, and common etiquette.

Information Difficulties

Amount of InformationDifficulty
Basic or common information; unconfirmed rumorsBasic
Theories & generalitiesModerate
Complex concepts & moderately detailed informationDifficult
Professional level & extensive (though not complete) informationVery Difficult
Cutting-edge topics& extensive information,
including peripheral details and extrapolations

Conditions modifiers to the roll include age of the information as well as how closely guarded it is.


This is the skill of comprehension of customs, traditions, art, history, politics, and views on outsiders of various regions or groups, or aliens, as well as the ability to generalize about common cultural forms.

Skill Use: Customs – This skill use measures a character’s level of knowledge about a given region’s or culture’s customs.

Type of KnowledgeDifficulty
General traditionsEasy
Meanings of traditionsModerate
Full knowledge of esoteric customVery Difficult

Skill Use: Heraldry A character with the Cultures skill can recognize the banners, crests, and sigils of various clans, political groups, and governments.  This is called Heraldry.

Improved Heraldry (Skill Bonus): Scholar – History

Action Difficulty
Identify heraldry’s affiliationModerate
Identify derivation and history of heraldryDifficult
Identify meanings of heraldric elementsVery Difficult

Increase the difficulty for heraldry recognition depending on a character’s prior experience with a given land, planet, group, or government.

Skill Use: Etiquette Cultures can be used as an Etiquette skill which measures a character’s knowledge of the forms. manners. and ceremonies considered acceptable by a particular society.

Area of KnowledgeDifficulty
Proper table manners and introductions of homelandEasy
Spec1fic forms of conduction in a given situation in homelandModerate
Knowledge of ceremonies of homelandDifficult

Increase the difficulty by one level or more for societies with which the character has no prior experience.


Skill Focuses: Traps or Security Devices, (any setting) Locks, Torture, Construction/Engineering, Exotic Items, <setting specific device>; (modern/sc-fi) Computers, Cyberdecks, Robotics, Scanners, Communications, Shields, Alien Items; (fantasy) Magic Items, Arcane Items, Vehicles (Land, Air or Space).

This is the skill represents the practical knowledge to use, program, and configure and complex mechanical or electronic equipment.  To actually design, build or repair these devices, one requires Craft/Repair (Perception).  Complexity of Device can affected the roll as well as cultural origin of the device as compared to the maker.

Result PointsResult
0Basic idea of what the device can do, but not how to operate it.
1A little more than Basic idea of what the device can do and how to operate it.
GM may add the Result Points to using the device on the next round.
2Previous result and may add the result points bonus to a crafting attempt on the device, if proper tools and materials are available.
3+Previous two results and can design a similar device, if proper resources are available.

Skill Use: Computers –  Devices: Computers represents a character’s proficiency with computer programming and application use.

Simple systemVery Easy
Complex systemModerate
Encoded systemVery Difficult

Computer Use Situation modifiers would include the nature of the computer relative to a network, level of technology involved and level of security.  Modifiers for Programming may come from the type of language being used, how alien it is to the character as well as the complexity of the task.

Skill Use: Devices: Traps – Disarm Trap  – The roll can modified by the following factors – Does the designer have blueprints or a map?  Is the character familiar with this kind of trap?  Is the location of the trap conducive to disarming?

*The gamemaster may add one-half (rounded up) of the number of points above the trap setting difficulty to the disarmer’s difficulty instead of using one of these modifiers.

To disarm a trap, the character first needs to find an access to it, which means applying the search skill if the trap’s concealed. Once found, the character rolls her traps against this chart, modified by how well it was originally installed. Traps enhanced by spells must have their spells negated first before the character can disarm the trap. Concealing a trap (including disguising wires, covering a pit or pressure plate, or placing a false trap) requires using the hide skill on it (or selecting an appropriate difficulty for a gamemaster-created trap).


Familiarity with and ability to understand various forms of verbal communication, familiarity with and ability to understand various forms of written communication, and the ability to create literary compositions. Additional Languages in which a character has proficiency can be represented by Specializations of this skill.  This is a Focus skill and the focus of each Language skill should be one of the languages of the setting.

To determine a difficulty for Languages, first determine what the character wants to express or understand and how closely the language in which she wants to express it is to her native tongue. Then, compare the difference between the skill roll and the difficulty to decide how close she came. Characters with a Specialization in the language they are using who succeed at the skill roll receive a +3 bonus to determining the comprehension level.

The character must have the appropriate skill to use a translation aid. For example, a book cannot help a character attempting to speak a language unless that character happens to also have the reading/writing skill.

Idea is…Difficulty
Very simple, consisting of a short phraseVery Easy (0)
Simple; no slang; children’s storyEasy (1)
Of average complexity to complex;
common bard’s tales, slang involved; epic sagas
Difficult (2)
Very complex; technical jargon involved; academic writingVery Difficult (3)

Situation modifiers to the roll include how much the character will need to speak, level of dialects in the language, how alien or foreign the language is to the character and how well-known or obscure the language is. Translation aids might provide their own bonuses, which are used instead of this.

Result PointsComprehension Level
0–2Gist of idea; most words understood or
conveyed properly; word usage seems stilted
3–6Literal translation; slang expressed/translated incorrectly
7+Subtle connotations

Skill Focus: <Setting Language>Example Specializations: Read, Write


This is the skill of using first aid techniques to treat injuries, as well as an understanding and application of medical procedures, including diagnosing illnesses and performing surgery.

Healing check

Injury Level Difficulty
Stunned, unconsciousVery Easy (0)
Wounded, Severely Wounded, Incapacitated, Mortally WoundedEasy +1 Difficulty each Wound after the first

For more details on the game mechanics on using medicine to heal damage, see the end of the Damage, Wounds, and Healing section.

Medicine Diagnosing ActionDifficultyTime Required
Determine existence of disease or injuryModerate1 round
Determine toxicity of substanceModerate1 minute
Determine type of disease, toxin, or injuryDifficult1 minute
Determine medicine, procedure, or antidote requiredDifficult1 round to 1 hour
Determine causeVery Difficult1 day to 1 week

Skill Use: Anatomy – With this skill, characters also have studied the main functions of the bodies of most known species.

Guess main functions of a creature’s visible featuresModerate
Discover creature’s weaknesses based on its appearanceDifficult
Alter healing procedures based on specific anatomy*Very Difficult

* Adding Result points as a bonus to his healing skill.

Skill Use: Identify Poisons – The Medicine skill can be used to allow a character to determine whether or not a substance is lethal to his species (increase the difficulty by two levels for other species).

Action Difficulty Time Required
Determine whether a substance is poisonousEasy1 minute
Determine type of poison (sleep, sickness, death, etc.)Moderate5 minutes
Determine name of poisonDifficult10 minutes
Determine antidoteHeroic1 hour

Improved Identify Poison (Skill Bonus): Scholar-Chemistry, Scholar– Biology


Skill Bonus: Craft – Art, Scholar – Geography. (Improved Cartography)

The ability to determine the correct course using external reference points, such as stars, maps, or landmarks, as well as creating maps. The base difficulty is Moderate.  Conditional modifiers include whether the character has basic orientation (which way is north), whether he is familiar with the territory or not, and how complex and/or dangerous the route is going to be.  Conditions of Map may affect the roll as well.

Skill Use: Cartography – Cartography is a Navigation skill use that allows characters to read and create maps of various types. from topographical to political.

Create small-scale mapsModerate
Create terrain mapsDifficult
Create world mapsVery Difficult
Create dimensional space mapsLegendary


This skill represents knowledge and/or education in areas not covered under any other skill. This may be restricted to a specific field (represented by Specializations) or a general knowledge of a wide range of subjects. When restricting to a specific area of knowledge, one can choose from the list below or if the GM approves, create one.

  • Agriculture: The science of farming
  • Art: Fine arts and graphic arts, including art history and artistic techniques. Antiques, modern art, photography, and performance art forms such as music and dance, among others.
  • Astronomy: The scientific study of matter in outer space, especially the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial bodies and phenomena.
  • Astrography: Familiarity with astrographic features (planets, star systems, nebulae), and general knowledge of any civilized elements present (settlements, industry, government, orbital installations).
  • Biology: The science of life and of living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution. It includes botany and zoology and all their subdivisions.
  • Botany: The science or study of plants
  • Business: Intellect of business practices, exchange rates, the monetary value of goods and opportunities, and other information regarding barter and sales, including the ability to determine how to make money with another skill the character has. Trading can complement bluff, charm, and persuasion when haggling over prices for goods and services being bought or sold.  Also the knowledge of business procedures, investment strategies, and corporate structures. Bureaucratic procedures and how to navigate them.
  • Chemistry: The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter, especially of atomic and molecular systems.
  • Criminology: The scientific study of crime, criminals, criminal behavior, and corrections.
  • Engineering: The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems.
  • Forensics: The use of science and technology to investigate and establish facts in criminal or civil courts of law.
  • Genetics: The branch of biology that deals with heredity, especially the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and the variation of inherited characteristics among similar or related organisms.
  • Geology: The scientific study of the origin, history, and structure of planets as well as the structure of a specific region of the planet’s crust.
  • Geography: The study of a planet and its features and of the distribution of life on the planet, including sentient life and the effects of sentient activity
  • History: Events, personalities, and cultures of the past. Archaeology and antiquities.
  • Law: Laws, legislation, litigation, and legal rights and obligations. Political and governmental institutions and processes. Understanding of how law enforcement organizations, regulations, and personnel operate.
  • Mathematics: The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.
  • Oceanography: The exploration and scientific study of the ocean and its phenomena
  • Paleontology: The study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric or geologic times, as represented by the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms.
  • Philosophy: The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
  • Physics: The science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two, grouped in traditional fields such as acoustics, optics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism, as well as in modern extensions including atomic and nuclear physics, cryogenics, solidstate physics, particle physics, and plasma physics.
  • Psychology: The science that deals with mental processes and behavior.
  • Sociology: The study of social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of society.
  • Streetwise: Finding information, goods, and contacts in an urban environment, particularly through criminal organizations, black markets, and other illicit operations. Also useful for determining possible motives and methods of criminals.
  • Supernatural/Arcane: The supernatural, whatever it may encompass in the setting (and regardless of whether it is true or not). Those possessing this skill know the rumors. tales. and legends of magic.
  • Tactics: Techniques and strategies for disposing and maneuvering forces in combat.
  • Theology: The study of the nature of deities and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.

It is used in these fields to remember details, rumors, tales, legends, theories, important people, and the like, as appropriate for the subject in question. However, the broader the category, the fewer the details the character can recall. It covers what the character himself can recall. If the character has another skill as a Specialization of the scholar skill then the character knows the theories and history behind the skill but can’t actually use it. Scholar can be useful with investigation to narrow a search for information.

When a character triggers a trap, use its speed total and compare it the initiative total of those affected by the trap. Those who have a higher total than the trap are allowed to generate a full-defense dodge total, if they so desire.


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