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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 Reflex and Resistance, 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 Attribute [Skill/Specialization]. Not all checks include a specialization, or the specialization may depend on the situation. In these cases, that portion will be omitted and the text will describe what specialization if any applies. Certain checks also take Size into account, and can either add or subtract the value. These are notated by including "+ Size" or "- Size" in the brackets.

The same skill can be paired with different attributes for different uses, but specializations can only be applied to a single skill unless the GM rules there is a special case for a cross-skill specialization. For example, a Prs [Deception/Lies] check could be used to tell a convincing lie, whereas a Rsn [Deception/Disguises] check might allow you to create a believable disguise, and a Prc [Deception/Forgeries] check would be used to discern a forgery.

Target Numbers

The GM sets all TNs for skill checks. The table below lists guidelines for what TNs are appropriate based on how difficult a task should be for someone of a given proficiency level.

Target Number Guidelines
Character is... Difficulty
Simple Easy Challenging Impossible
Utterly Inept 2 5 7 11
Incompetent 4 7 9 13
Unskilled 7 10 12 16
Talented 10 13 15 19
Experienced 12 15 17 21
Expert 15 18 20 24
Master 17 20 22 26
Grand Master 22 25 27 31

Improving Skills

Base XP 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 XP. The table to the right shows the base cost of raising each by 1 point. Subtract your Lore from this base cost (to a minimum of 1) to determine the actual XP cost for you. No skill or specialization can be raised higher than 5. Any racial bonuses or penalties do not count as skill levels for the purposes of determining cost or level limits.

Training (Optional Rule)

Improving a skill or specialization may require expenditures of time and/or money in addition to XP. 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 Reflex and Resistance 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 XP 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.


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.



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.



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.



Your athletics skill is used whenever you attempt feats of physical endurance or strength. 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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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. Recognizing the function of a common device requires Lore and 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.



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.



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.



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.



Reflex 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 Dexterity or Speed.



Resistance is mostly a defensive skill used to resist various harmful physical or mental effects, such as magical charms, falling unconscious from wounds, or poisons. You use Vitality when dealing with wounds and Persona to resist most magical effects.



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.



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.