Skills are more specific applications of an attribute. For example, the skill Dodge is a more specific use of your character’s Agility. Characters learn them through instruction or experience. Skills are areas of expertise that are not necessarily common to every living creature. Some creatures simply don’t have the capacity to learn certain skills.
All skills beneath a given attribute begin at that attribute’s die code. To highlight skills in which the character has trained or has some experience, add pips or dice to the base attribute value.
As with attributes, when creating your character you can either put whole dice in each skill, or you can give each a mixture of whole dice and pips. Remember that each die equals three pips.
Example: You’ve chosen your attribute scores, including putting 2D+1 in Intellect. If you wanted her to be a little better in the Languages skill, you could add one pip to the base attribute to get a Languages skill score of 2D+2. If you decided to add two pips to the base attribute, the Languages score becomes 3D.
A character may not put dice in any skill associated with the Extranormal attribute unless that character already has dice in that attribute.
The maximum number of dice the character may start with in any base skill is 3D greater than the governing attribute, with no more than 3D greater than the base skill in any Specialization.
Skills are denoted in two ways. The first is considered to be the full Skill Score, which is the skill dice added with the attribute. This is what is usually rolled against a difficulty. The other way is simply a measure of the skill and is called the Skill Rank. It is the difference between the Skill Score and ruling Attribute. This is denoted with a + to show it is the Ranks.
For example, a character with a Skill total of 5D in Modern Ranged Weapons and an Agility of 3D+1, the Skill Ranks for this skill is +1D+2
You can also specialize in skills. Specializations reflect a greater familiarity in a particular area covered by a base skill. One skill die equals three Specialization dice. Of course, one Specialization die still equals three pips.
You don’t need to have any extra dice in the base skill in order to take a Specialization in that skill, but when you give your character Specializations in that manner, they are treated as separate skills. If you give your character Specializations in base skills he already has, those Specializations are considered bonuses to the base skill when attempting tasks of that type.
Once you’ve chosen at least one Specialization and put one or two pips or dice in it, you have to use the remaining Specialization dice and pips to either purchase more pips in the same Specialization or purchase one or more pips in other Specializations.
You roll the Specialization’s die code only when you use the specific item or knowledge reflected by the Specialization. Otherwise, you roll the base skill (or attribute if you didn’t put additional dice in the full skill).
Example: If your character’s Intellect is 2D+2 and her Languages is 3D, you could give her a Languages Specialization of Elvish of +1 (which means that, when she’s trying to speak with Elves, you roll three dice and adds 1 to the total). You would then have two Specialization dice and two Specialization pips to place among other Specializations. With these, you could further improve her Languages: Elvish Specialization, or you could pick one or more other Specializations in the same or other base skills.
You decide that with one other Specialization pip, you’ll give your character cultures: Elves, but you won’t take the full cultures skill for her. This allows your character to have cultures: Elves at 3D (add 1 to the die code of the base attribute, Intellect, which is 2D+2). Thus, when your character attempts to determine how best to handle Elvish relations, you roll 3D, but if she tries to figure out what’s an appropriate gift for a Dwarf, you only rely on the attribute’s score, which is 2D+2.
Some skills are Broad skills that require specific Focus. Each Focus is a separate skill. The difference between a Specialization and Focus is that the skill requires this Focus. A Focused skill than can in turn have a specialization.
Example: Devices is a Focus skill. Devices: Computers is a Focus of the skill Devices. Devices: Computer (starship computers) is a specialization for that skill.
Some skills have a more focused skill use listed under it (and in most cases a Skill Synergy associated with that skill use). These ways to use the specific skill and optional difficulties are listed where applicable. Skill uses can be used as specialties if the character so chooses.
Some skills work well together and this is represented through Skill Synergy. This is represented by Synergy applications listed with the skill. They have a prerequisite Skill dice from another skill listed. There are two types of Synergy: Special Knack and Skill Bonus. The Special Knacks are special abilities where skills work well together and are explained on a case by case basis. Skill Bonus synergy all wor1k the same. The character has the option to roll the synergetic skill listed (if he meets the prerequisites) and gains the following bonus to the Primary skill test.
Using the Difficulties & Modifiers
Unless otherwise stated, the listed modifiers are to the difficulty. The minimum difficulty is 1. Modifiers may be cumulative, depending on the situation – the tenser they are, the more important the minutia become. The associated attributed is listed after the skill name.
This is used for an activity covered by another skill which the character does not have. The character spends the round before examining the situation, performing no other actions, and making a roll of either Intelligence or Perception (GM’s choice or whichever is higher) versus the difficulty set for the action. The character gets neither the unskilled modifier nor the preparing modifier.
Within the next 30 seconds (six rounds), the character may add the difference between the difficulty and the know-how skill roll to total roll for the attribute dictated by the actual skill required. The character may not use this skill in place of a skill she already has. The gamemaster may limit the number of times per hour this skill may be used on the same action.
If a character doesn’t have dice in the skill required to attempt an action, he generally may use the die code of the attribute under which that skill falls. This is sometimes referred to as defaulting to the attribute or using the skill unskilled. The gamemaster may include an unskilled modifier to the difficulty. This modifier takes into account that people who aren’t trained or don’t have experience in certain tasks usually have a harder time doing them. Typically, this modifier is +5, but it could be as low as +1 for simple tasks or much higher for complex plans. The gamemaster may rule that some situations, such as building
a spaceship or performing brain surgery, are impossible for anyone to attempt without the proper training and the correct skills.
When attributes are given in the text along with the skill, such as in spell descriptions, resisting Wounds, and so on, do not apply the untrained modifier. This also includes most uses of dodge and brawling in combat situations, attempts to find clues in a room with search, and resisting interaction attempts or mental attacks with willpower.
Taking Your Time
Increasing the time it takes to perform a particular feat can make the task easier to accomplish. This is represented in game mechanics by giving the character
extra dice for his skill attempt. As a general guideline. a character gets an additional die for extra time period he takes to perform the skill. One time period is equal to the amount of time it normally takes to accomplish the task (i.e. 5 seconds. 1 hour, 1 month. and so on.)
If he doubles the time period. Therefore he receives one extra die; if he triples the time, he gets an extra 2D; and so forth. Be careful with this rule If you decide it shouldn’t apply in a certain situation. then don’t let the player do it.