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Skills and Specializations

Your skills determine your general capabilities in a variety of tasks. Skills represent training, practice, and natural talent in common types of tasks associated with adventuring. Most skills function primarily outside of combat, with the exception of Aim and Melee, which are used when attacking, and Reaction and Focus, which are often used as special defenses.

Specializations are subcategories underneath skills. If you have a specialization appropriate to a specific task, then you add its value to your skill level when making any related checks.

Skill Checks

Skills are typically paired with attributes and specializations in order to make a skill check. The notation this follows is Skill (Attribute). The same skill can be paired with different attributes for different uses, but specializations can usually only be applied to a single skill. For example, a Deception (Prs) check could be used to tell a convincing lie, whereas a Deception (Rsn) check might allow you to create a believable disguise, and a Deception (Prc) check would be used to discern another's lie. Certain checks also take Size into account, and can either add or subtract size. These are notated as Skill (Attribute + Size) or Skill (Attribute - Size), respectively. Additional modifiers may also be included in the parenthesis on occasion.

Target Numbers

The GM sets all TNs for skill checks, keeping the following guidelines in mind. Just about anyone can handle a task with TN of 6 or less with almost no chance of failure. An average, untrained, unskilled person can succeed most of the time on tasks with a TN of 10, but will still have a decent chance of failure. Someone with a natural talent or small amount of training can handle tasks with a TN of 13 or 14 about half the time, but this would be very challenging for an unskilled person. A moderately skilled person can handle tasks with a TN of 15 or 16. Only a master can handle tasks with a TN of 20 or more. The most talented, most highly-trained human can handle tasks up to TN 25 most of the time, or 30 on rare occasions. Such tasks are generally considered to be impossible as far as most people are concerned. No human can succeed on anything with a TN above 30 without additional help or special abilities. The table below has additional guidelines.

Target Number Guidelines
TN Who Can Be Expected to Succeed About Half the Time
5 Anyone but the most inept
7 Someone who is particularly bad at the skill
10 An average person with no particular aptitude for this sort of thing
13 Someone who is naturally talented or has spent a few months training his skill
15 Someone with some natural talent who has practiced his skill
18 Someone who has spent considerable time training and building on his natural talent
20 A master who has spent years honing his craft and pushes the limits of human performance
25 A grand master who has trained to the point of surpassing what most people think possible

Improving Skills

AP Costs to Increase Level
New Level Skill Specialization
-2 50
-1 25
0 15
1 10 5
2 15 15
3 25 30
4 40 50
5 60 75

Skills and specializations are improved by spending AP. The table to the right shows the cost of raising each by 1 point. No skill or specialization can be raised higher than 5. Remove your racial bonuses and penalties before calculating cost or determining if a skill is too high to raise.

Training (Optional Rule)

Improving a skill or specialization may require expenditures of time and/or money in addition to AP. Under this optional rule, training requires a number of weeks of focused study and practice equal to double the level that you are trying to gain, with a minimum of 1 week. For example, improving from level 4 in Healing to level 5 requires 10 weeks of training with access to proper facilities and equipment. Additionally, if the number of weeks training would be greater than your Lore plus your Reason, you must find a trainer whose level is higher than yours. Most trainers will require a fee of 10-100 ep per week depending on the rarity of the skill.

Skill List

The available skills are listed below with guidelines on when each can be applied. They can be used in multiple ways, and part of the fun should be in trying to find creative ways to make use of your strengths. In general, it is good to have at least one person in the party who is good at each skill, and everyone will usually want to have some skill in both Focus and Reaction and at least one of Aim, Arcana, or Melee.

Certain abilities can grant you access to new skills that are not on this list. In such a case, you treat the new skill exactly like any of the standard ones, including spending AP to increase your bonus in the skill.

Specializations are listed under each skill, but these are not exhaustive. With your GM's approval, you may create a new specialization, provided that it is of approximately equal power to those already listed. You may never apply more than one specialization to a single check, even if multiple ones seem to apply. Instead, choose the highest bonus.

Acrobatics

You use acrobatics when attempting any feat of dexterity or balance, such as trying to walk along a narrow ledge, across slippery ground, or through a field of caltrops without stepping on one. You may also use acrobatics for flips, somersaults, tumbling, or similar displays, or to help prevent or reduce damage from falls. Most acrobatics checks use Dexterity, but some may use Strength.

Specializations

Aim

Aim is primarily a combat skill, allowing increased accuracy and damage with missile and thrown weapons. You might also use it to determine your score for archery tournaments or dart games, or to see if you can throw a ball into a basket. Most aim checks use Dexterity.

Specializations

Arcana

Arcana is used to determine your familiarity with magic, be it a spell, object, creature, or location. It is used to increase accuracy or effect when casting spells, to identify the functions of magical items, and to recognize the effects of magic cast by others. Most arcana checks use either Lore to learn about effects in place or Reason to create a new magical effect. Certain types of magical abilities rely on Persona instead of Reason.

Specializations

Athletics

Your athletics skill is used whenever you attempt feats of physical endurance or strength beyond simple raw power. You use it to climb, jump, or swim, and it also helps to determine your base movement rate along with Speed. Athletics is usually used with Strength, but could instead require Vitality if it is an action where endurance is a more important factor, such as swimming long distances.

Specializations

Culture

Culture measures your familiarity with society's structure and rules, as well as general history. You most often use it in combination with Lore to determine your knowledge of common things that don't fit any other skill, or with Persona to see how well you can blend in with a given group of people.

Specializations

Deception

You use deception for any action that involves tricking or misleading others. You can use it to tell a convincing lie, keep a straight face in a game of cards, build an effective disguise, or forge a document. Most deception checks use either Persona when acting or Reason when creating a disguise or copy. Perception is used when attempting to notice if someone else is trying to deceive you.

Specializations

Focus

Focus is mostly a defensive skill used to resist magical charms and other effects, to resist falling unconscious from wounds, or to maintain concentration when distracted by pain or changing conditions. You use Vitality when dealing with wounds, Persona to resist most magical effects, and Reason for other challenging circumstances.

Specializations

Healing

Healing is used to treat all sorts of injuries and counteract toxins. It can also be used to identify plants useful for medical purposes. Most healing checks rely on Lore.

Specializations

Investigation

Your investigation skill allows you to learn additional information about something, whether through physical examination or asking strangers for rumors at the tavern. You may find the mechanisms to open secret doors or traps, recognize the handwriting on a piece of paper, or notice patterns in the footprints on the floor. You usually do not make an investigation check unless you take an action to specifically examine something. Checks involving gathering information from people use Persona, but most others use Perception or Reason.

Specializations

Mechanics

You use mechanics when dealing with all sorts of devices and tools, from clocks and drawbridges to knots and wagon axles or even devious traps. Learning how the items function or figuring out what needs to be done to produce a desired effect usually requires Reason, while attempting to manipulate fine tools or disable or sabotage equipment usually requires Dexterity.

Specializations

Melee

Melee is primarily a combat skill, allowing increased accuracy and damage with melee weapons and unarmed attacks. It also grants increased defensive benefits from using a shield. Melee checks are typically attack rolls, and add Dexterity.

Specializations

Nature

You use Nature whenever dealing with animals, plants, or the natural environment. It can be used to aid in riding mounts, calming angry or frightened animals, finding game trails, identifying edible herbs, predicting the weather, and so on.

Specializations

Persuasion

Persuasion allows you to convince others to follow your suggestions or orders, whether by cunningly crafted arguments, subtle bribery or blackmail, or an intimidating show of force. Depending on your method of persuasion, it can use Reason, Strength, or Persona.

Specializations

Reaction

Reaction is used to determine your starting initiative in combat and in other situations where reaction speed is critical, such as avoiding traps or explosions, or catching a falling object before it hits the ground. When used for initiative, it is paired with Perception, but for most other uses it relies on Speed.

Specializations

Stealth

Stealth is used to hide, sneak quietly, or subtly manipulate objects without being noticed, such as when performing a card trick. It is also used if you are specifically looking for others attempting to do these things. If you are the one being stealthy, you will usually use Dexterity, whereas to notice someone else, you use Perception.

Specializations

Thievery

Thievery allows you to pick locks, steal small items out of someone's pocket, and detect traps meant to protect against thieves and intruders. It also grants familiarity with the criminal underworld. Most thievery checks rely on Dexterity or Perception, but some may use Lore.

Specializations