04.4 Perception Skills

04.4 Perception Skills

Gamemasters can rely on the  Observation Difficulties chart below for situations involving the gathering of information, spotting hidden things, and general observation.

To see if a character notices details of a scene or situation, the gamemaster may have the player make a Perception roll. Unless the characters are actively eavesdropping, searching, tracking, or performing a similar activity (and thus using the search or tracking skills), this passive observance of a scene does not count as an action. Use this chart as a guideline for how much the character notices. If the skill total meets or beats the difficulty, the character gains that much information.

Observation Difficulties

 Situation Difficulty
 Noticing obvious, generic facts; casual glance Easy
 Noticing obvious details (ex. number of people) Moderate
 Noticing a few less obvious details (ex. gist of conversation) Difficult
 Spotting a few specific details (ex. identities of individuals) Very Difficult
 Spotting a few obscure details (ex. specifics of conversation) Heroic
 Noticing many obscure details Legendary


Focuses: Various areas of Art and Creative endeavors – Painting, Dance, Acting/Theatrics, a specific musical instrument etc.

The creative ability skill covers everything from drawing to singing to poetry to dancing. This is a Focus skill and the focus of each type of Artistic or Creative skill should be one of the languages of the setting.


Focuses: Modern Vehicles, Starships, Aircraft, Traps or Security Devices, 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.

The base difficulty to build, fix, or modify any piece of equipment or vehicle is Moderate.

Design/Build: Characters who want to create new items must first makes blueprints or design instructions for them, using this skill. The more complex the piece, the higher the difficulty and the longer it takes to determine the correct design.   The base difficulty is Moderate.

Repair: The amount of damage sustained, the character’s familiarity with the item (through Synergy with Device or Craft), availability of parts, and complexity of the task can modify the difficulty. The gamemaster may require a separate tech roll to determine whether the character can figure out how to repair an unknown item. Destroyed parts must be replaced, which raises the difficulty. Additionally, if the character rushes the job, not only is there an increased chance of failure, but the item could also break again soon after its next use.

Craft/Repair Modifiers  would include the complexity of device as well as tools and supplies available.  Repairing roll modifiers depends on the level of damage.

Skill Use: Alchemy/Chemistry – This skill allows characters to create explosive or incendiary substances out of various materials including herbs and other chemicals. Explosives inflict up to half of their skill dice (rounded up) in damage (e.g., a character with a chemical concoction skill of 7D+2 could create a substance that could cause 4D). Incendiary fluids inflict standard fire damage and the flames last a number of seconds equal to the roll made when creating the substance.

Skill Use: Demolitions: Using corrosives and explosives to achieve particular destructive effects.

Skill Use: Build Trap – To install a trap, the base difficulty is based on the level of complexity of the trap.  Primitive traps are Easy (Base damage 1D).  Advanced is Moderate (Base Damage 2D).  Highly Advanced are Difficult (Base Damage 3D) or Very Difficult (Base Damage 4D) depending on the context.  

The Results Points can be used to design a system bu spending them on the following options. Trap Points are 4 times the number of Result Points

Trap ComponentTrap Points Cost
Hand triggered0
Use existing structure
(door and frame, nearby saplings)
Single functional part
(open pit, poison on a handle)
Pressure plate trigger2 per plate
Tripwire or switch trigger1 per tripwire or switch
Speed1 per 5 points of initiative total
Combat attack total versus target2 per difficulty level
Multiple release portals for gas, arrows, etc.2 per additional portal; -1 to Disarm roll each
Multiple targets2 per additional target; increases pit opening by 1 meter-square area
Additional damage (spikes in pit, more push behind arrows)3 per additional 1D or per additional 1.5 meter drop
Add to structure
(clockwork mechanism, false walls)
3 or more

The gamemaster may award the remaining Result Points as a modifier to future disarm-rolls. This represents the character adding a few extra improvements to the base design.

Once it’s the trap’s turn in the initiative, compare the trap’s combat attack total to the defense totals of its intended target or targets. (The combat attack total takes into account range.) The trap affects those whose defense totals it meets or beats, up to the number of targets it can affect.

Sample Traps

Dart Trap: Triggered by stepping on one of three plates placed across a hallway, this traps shoots four darts (two each; damage 1D each; speed 10; combat difficulty Difficult) at the first two adventurers in the area. Trap difficulty: Very Difficult.

Lock Trap: When a character attempts to pick the lock and is successful, a large poisoned needle (damage 5D; speed 15; combat difficulty Difficult) shoots out and stabs the thief. Trap difficulty: Very Difficult.

Pit Trap: The floor falls away from beneath the characters, dropping them into a large dug-out area about 4.5 meters high (damage of 3D from fall). The pit opening is about two meters on a side. Trap difficulty: Difficult.

If a character has the Scholar – Arcane skill (and therefore exists in a world with magic) and makes a Heroic alchemical concoction roll, she may create magical fluids, though she must also have access to the spell she wishes to transfer into the liquid (i.e .. she must be able to cast the bon ish spell to imbue a potion with that power).

CreationDifficultyTime Required
ExplosivesModerate1D hours
Acids/Glues/GreaseDifficult3D hours
Magical ElixirsHeroic1D months

Skill Use: Cartography –  The cartography skill use of Craft/Repair allows characters create maps of various types from topographical to political.

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


Skill Bonus: Persuasion ( specifically called Gamblers Feint or Gambler Bluff)

Gambling doesn’t affect games that are purely random, but does influence games with an element of strategy, like poker. All characters make opposed gambling rolls, without spending Character or Fate Points, and the highest roll wins. A character may cheat by using Character or Fate Points on the roll, and the gamemaster may give bonuses to rolls for people looking for a cheater or helping the cheater. The gamemaster should consider as many “angles” as possible when using the gambling skill, and add these as modifiers to one or more participants’ rolls.

Suggested Specialization: Any game of chance.


Skill Bonus: Persuasion; Scholar – Streetwise

There are three uses of Investigation – Gathering Information, Research and Evidence Analysis.  When used to research a topic, a separate roll must be made for each source checked.

Skill Use: Information Gathering – information gathering measures a character’s ability to pick up rumors. street talk. and current underworld events from various informants.

 Type of Information Difficulty
 Rumors Easy
 General feeling of “underground” populace Moderate
 Specific incidents Difficult

Skill Use: Research

Common knowledgeEasy
Requires searching through several sources;
introductory theories
Sources are of varying reliability;
cutting-edge information;
specific information about harmless individual or event
Esoteric information;
specific information about dangerous individual or event
Very Difficult

Conditions that would affect the roll are the following: Information closely guarded, Character unsure of information sought, and Character knows exactly what information is sought.

Skill Use: Evidence Analysis

When used to figure out clues from a scene, the base difficulty is Moderate. The character must use search first to find the clues or evidence (or have them pointed out); investigation helps the character figure out what they mean.
Situation Modifiers that would effect the roll would include how sketchy the information in question is, how extensive the information is, how clear the evidence is, how many clues exist, and how unusual the evidence is. Also, if the perpetrator repeatedly commits similar crimes related to this evidence, the situation may be more favorable. Distance, time and overall cleanliness of the location would also affect an investigation.\

 Result Points 
0 Basic information about the situation (a rope was used, type of gun).
1 Precise information about situation (probable manufacturing origin of evidence, small details about items in room).
2 Previous results plus how all items in an area were put to use.
3+ Reconstruction of events from the evidence.


This is the skill for spotting hidden objects or people, reconnoitering, lipreading, eavesdropping on or watching another person, as well as tracking.

Skill Use: Tracking – Following the trail of another person, animal, or creature, or keeping after a moving target without being noticed.

Skill Use: Shadowing –  The shadowing skill represents a character’s ability to covertly follow a given target.

 Situation Difficulty
 Follow target in open area Very Easy
 Follow target in small town Easy
 Follow target in small city Moderate
 Follow target in large. congested city Very Difficult


The difficulty for a hide or sneak attempt is usually the opponent’s Perception, search (for hide), or tracking (for sneak), either as a die roll (if the opponent is actively trying to find the object or person) or as the Passive value, which is equal to the number in front of the “D” in the opponent’s attribute or skill times 2 and add the pips.

Condition Modifier

Heavy rain or snow+3
Dawn, dusk, fog, many trees, large crowd, etc.+2
Inattentive observer+5
Dense concealment (thick jungle, crowd of people in costume)+5
Many distractions (party, parade, combat)+5
Attentive observer-6
Open terrain-6
Good lighting-6
Several observers-9


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