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 dice to the base attribute value.
Unlike attributes, when creating your character you will only have Ranks in a skill (see below) that represent whole dice in each skill. You will not have a mixture of whole dice and pips. However each skill will have a Pip Box to make investment of experience in and once 3 are filled, the Rank can be increased.
Example: Given an Intellect of 2D+1 in Intellect and a Languages skill with Rank 1, this character has a 3D+1 as a Skill Score for Languages.
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 Rank the character may start with in any base skill is 3 greater than the governing attribute Dice total, with no more than 3 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 Rank in Dice added with the Attribute Dice. 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, which is the general measure of the character’s proficiency in that skill.
For example, a character with a Skill Rank of 3 in Modern Ranged Weapons and an Agility of 3D+1, the Skill Score of 6D+1
You can also specialize in Skills. Specializations reflect a greater familiarity in a particular area covered by a base skill. One skill Rank equals three Specialization Ranks. Of course, one Specialization die still equals three pips.
You don’t need to have any extra Ranks 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 Ranks 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 Ranks in it, you have to use the remaining Specialization Ranks to either purchase more Ranks in the same Specialization or purchase one or more Ranks in other Specializations.
You roll the Specialization’s Skill Score 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 Base skill).
Example: If your character’s Intellect is 2D+2 and her Languages is 1, you could give her a Languages Specialization of Elvish of 3. You would then have a Specialization Skill Score of 5D+2 in Elvish and 3D+2 in all other languages.
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 Focus 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 additional skill use listed under it as well as 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. The Synergy applications are listed with the skill. There are two types of Synergy.
The Skill Knacks are special abilities where skills work well together and are explained on a case by case basis. In all cases, the Synergetic skill must be equal to our higher than the Primary skill to use this Knack.
Skill Bonus synergy work the same. If the character has a skill rank higher in the Skill Bonus skill listed than the skill in question, he gains the bonus to the roll equal to the difference in the Synergetic Skill Rank and the skill rank of the Primary skill test.
For example, one can acrobatically climb. The Primary skill is Athletics (for Climbing) and the Synergetic skill is Acrobatics. For a character with a Athletics skill rank of 1 and a Acrobatics of rank 3, the the character gains a bonus of +2 to his Climbing roll if he wishes to Climb acrobatically.
Using the Difficulties & Modifiers
Unless otherwise stated, the listed modifiers are to the Die Roll. 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 Intellect 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 Skill Roll. 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 -1D, 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.