Chapter 5: Skills (First Draft)

Chapter 5: Skills

Skills are the primary way characters interact with the world around them.  Each level, characters receive a number of skill points with which to improve old skills or learn new ones.  Skills have ranks.  Each rank costs one skill point and you may not have more ranks in a skill than your character level. You may put ranks in any skill at the standard price.

Trained/Untrained: If you have one or more ranks in a skill, you are considered trained.  If you have no ranks, you are untrained.  Being untrained has consequences as listed for each skill.  Most skills can be used untrained, you're simply not much good at it.  See each skills description for whether it can be used untrained and what penalties you suffer, if any.

Class skills: Each class has a list of skills that define its core area of competence.  These are its class skills.  If you are trained in a class skill from any of your classes, you gain a +3 bonus with all uses of that skill.

Effect Dice:  Effect dice are used to determine the magnitude of success in situations where simply succeeding isn't enough.  Your base effect die is set according to table 5-1.  Class abilities and feats may affect your Effect dice as can spending Determination on a critical success.
Skill Level
Effect Die Size
 Untrained 1d6
 Trained 2d6
 Trained Class Skill

Skill areas: There are five regular skill areas: Basic, Military, Technical, Exploration, and Social. These areas are used by classes and do not restrict what skills a character may have.  Some optional subsystems (Psionics for example) may have their own skill areas with restrictions on how those skills may be purchased.

Focus: A focus is a sub-skill, an area of specialty within a broader skill.  Having a focus gives you a +2 on skill checks that use that focus.  Exotic focuses are marked with an asterisk.  If you do not have an exotic focus, you are considered untrained when using that focus.

Skill tricks: A skill trick is a action that a character can learn based on his skills.  Examples include trick shots, evasion, and kit-bashing These are bought using focuses.

Standard Rules
Some situations occur frequently and across several skills.  Thus there are standard rules to accomodate these situations

Standard Healing Rule
First Aid Check

Long Term Check

Surgery Check

Standard Repair Rule
Build Check

Repair Check

Hasty repairs made in stressful situations like combat have a chance to fail unless a critical success is scored. 

Scavenge Check

Skill Descriptions

Basic Skills
: Basic skills have fewer skill checks than normal skills and in most d20 systems are provided by class or derived from abilities.  There is no penalty for being untrained in a basic skill. 

Defense(Fit): Defense represents your ability to avoid taking damage from attacks. 
Initiative(Mox): Adds to initiative rolls.
Perception(Mox): Used for Surprise and Search checks.
Reflex(Acu): Used for Reflex Saves
Fortitude(Fit): Used for Fortitude Saves
Will(Res): Used for Will Saves

Exploration skills: These skills deal with natural or low tech creatures and environments.

Acrobatics(Mox): This skill deals with graceful movement, precise and smooth actions in combat, as well as controling vehicles that rely on body movement.  This skill can be used to climb, jump, swim, hold your balance, or fit through areas you could not normally.
Animal Handling(Mox): This skill allows training, riding, and commanding animals in combat.
Biology(Prc):  This skill deals with plants and animals.  It can be used to heal animals as well as analyzing entire ecosystems.
Linguistics(Acu): Learning languages and figuring out what aliens speaking in unknown tongues are saying.
Melee Weapons(Fit):  Using hand-to-hand and thrown weapons, either primitive or modern.
Stealth(Fit): Skill at moving undetected.  Covers both seeing and hearing and uses equipment that can extend that range.
Survival(Res): This skill deals with surviving outside of civilization.  Skilled survivalists can find or make food, clothing, shelter, and primitive weapons.

Military Skills: Military skills deal with the core competencies of soldiers and modern armies.

Athletics(Fit): Climbing, jumping, swimming, feats of strength or endurance.  Powerful movement and forceful actions in combat.  This skill is used by those on foot in chases.
Intimidate(Res):  Getting your way through force and threat or simply scaring others into leaving you alone.
Ordnance(Acu): Skill with the big guns: explosives, heavy, vehicle, and starship weapons.
Rifles(Prc):  Skill with rifles, generally larger but high damage and long range.  Also includes bows and crossbows.
Sidearms(Prc): Light personal ranged weapons are covered here.
Tactics(Res):  Battle planning and inspiration as well as issuing commands in combat. 
Unarmed(Fit):  Fighting with one's body or natural weapons. 

Social Skills: These skills deal with people directly.

Acting(Mox):  Lying by word, voice, deed, or appearance.  Covers bluffing, disguise, going unnoticed in crowds.  If you get your way by lying or telling people what they want to hear, this skill is for you.
Diplomacy(Res):  Negotiation by compromise. If you get your way by getting people some of what they want or promises, this is your skill.
Haggle(Acu): Negotiation and appraisal by value.  Bribing and reaching a fair trade are what this skill is about.
Impress(Mox):  Getting your way by being liked.  Also covers entertainment like dancing, juggling and simply getting people to think better of you.  PR.
Medicine(Prc): Healing and treating injuries, diseases, and poisons in intelligent creatures.
Psychology(Acu): Treating (or causing) stress, mental illness, as well as hypnosis and other mind control techniques.
Detective(Res): This skill combines the "BS detector" of Sense Motive with some investigative and questioning skills.

Technical Skills: Technical skills deal with the products of civilization.

Archeology(Acu):  Understanding and translating ancient languages, technologies, and cultures.
Astrogation(Prc): Navigation inside of and between star systems as well as astronomy and planetary geology.
Drone Control(Acu):  This is the non-repair part of Robotics. Commanding drones and robots as well as writing robot-specific programs.
Electronics(Prc):  Repair and programming of any electronic device, including robots and computers.  If you want to be the person who fixes everything, you need this skill and Mechanics.
Ground Vehicles(Mox):  Driving vehicles that move primarily across planetary surfaces.
Mechanics(Res):  Repairing and using non-electronic machines.  Most repairs of vehicles need only this skill.  Most large machinery is repaired and controlled using this skill.  Note that a vehicle could have an electronic repair problem just as a robot could have a mechanical problem. 
Piloting(Prc):  Control areospace vehicles.  Spaceships should be exotic focuses.