If a character has no level in a skill, then he is untrained and will suffer a -3 Dice Modifier when trying to use that skill.
If a character has zero level in a skill (Skill 0), then he is competent in using that skill, but has little experience. He does not get any bonus from his skill ranks when using that skill but at least he avoids the penalty for being untrained.
If a character has one or more level in a skill (Level 1, Level 2, and so on) then he is trained in that skill. Each rank represents several years of experience using that skill. A character with Level 2-3 in a skill is a skilled professional in that field.
Some skills have specialities – specialised forms of that skill. A character picks a speciality when he gains level 1 in a skill with specialities. For example, a character might have Engineer 0, allowing him to make any Engineer skill checks without an unskilled penalty. He might then gain a level in Engineer, giving him Engineer (Jump drives) 1. He would make all Engineer checks involving Jump drives at a +1 DM, but would make all other Engineer checks at a +0 DM. A character can have multiple specialities in a skill – an engineer might have Engineer (Jump drives) 1 and Engineer (power plant) 2. He would make checks related to Jump drives with a +1 DM, checks related to power plants with a +2 DM and all other Engineer checks with a +0 DM.
The Referee should only call for checks:
- when the characters are in danger.
- when the task is especially difficult or hazardous.
- when the characters are under the pressure of time.
- when success or failure is especially important or interesting.
To make a check, the player rolls 2d6 and any appropriate Dice Modifiers. If the total is 8 or more, the character succeeds.
The most common forms of task checks are characteristic checks and skill checks.
: These checks are used when the task is one not covered by an obvious skill, or where the character’s innate abilities are the most important influence on the result. To make a Characteristic check, roll 2d6 and add the appropriate characteristic Dice Modifier.
: For a skill check, the character adds both his skill level and an appropriate characteristic DM.
When making a skill check, if a character does not have any levels in that skill, then he suffers a -3 unskilled Dice Modifier.
tasks have a difficulty DM of +6.
tasks have a DM of +4.
tasks have a difficulty DM of +2.
tasks have a difficulty DM of +0.
tasks have a difficulty DM of -2.
tasks have a DM of -4.
tasks have a difficulty DM of -6
If a character has help, such as good tools, competent aids or other beneficial circumstances, he receives a +1 DM to his skill check.
If the degree of success is important, then subtract 8 from the total of the dice roll plus Dice Modifiers. This margin of success is referred to as the Effect.
||Marginal Success: The character barely succeeds at the task, and may have to accept a condition on his success. He fixes the engine but it will overheat. He finds a buyer for the goods but the buyer is a untrustworthy criminal.
|1 to 5
||Average Success: The character succeeds normally.
|6 or more
||Exceptional Success: The character succeeds in an impressive and elegant fashion.
|-6 or less
||Exceptional Failure: The character failed as completely as it is possibly to fail. Anything that can go wrong goes wrong. If attempting to repair a device, the device is further damaged or even destroyed. In a social situation, the character gets into further trouble.
|-2 to -5
||Average Failure: The character has failed the task.
||Marginal Failure: The character has almost, almost succeeded, and the Referee may permit him to scrape a success if he takes a significant consequence. A character trying to jump across a chasm hangs onto the far side by his fingernails but can only pull himself up if he drops his backpack. A character trying to land a ship can bring it down safely but the ship may never fly again. A character hacking a computer gets in but the security programs can trace his location.
To determine how long a task takes, roll 1d6 and multiply it by the increment listed for that action.
Going Faster or Slower
You can choose, before you roll, to move up or down one or two rows on the Time Frames table. Moving up (reducing the time increment) gives you a -1 DM for every row you move; moving down and increasing the time taken gives you a +1 DM for every row you move.
A character can try to do two or more things at once, like firing a spacecraft’s weapons while also flying, or disarming a bomb while hiding from guards. For every extra thing that the character is doing, he suffers a -2 DM to all skill checks.
If two characters are opposing each other directly in a task, then the character who obtains the highest Effect wins.
Aiding Another Character
The result of one check can give a DM to the next.
Task Chain DMs
|Effect -6 or less
|Effect -2 to -5
||Effect 1 to 5
||Effect 6 or more
This skill covers bureaucracies and administration of all sorts, including the navigation of bureaucratic obstacles or disasters.
Advocate gives a knowledge of common legal codes and practises, especially interstellar law.
This skill, rare on industrialised or technologically advanced worlds, is for the care of animals.
- Riding: The character knows how to ride an animal who is trained to bear a rider.
- Veterinary: The character is trained in veterinary medicine and animal care.
- Training: The character knows how to tame and train animals.
- Farming: The character can grow and harvest crops and raise animals.
The character is a trained athlete and is physically fit.
- Co-ordination: Climbing, juggling, throwing.
- Endurance: Long-distance running, hiking.
- Strength: Feats of strength, weight-lifting.
- Flying: Species that fly gain this skill for free at level 0.
The character is trained in a type of creative art.
- Acting: The character is a trained actor, at home on the stage, screen or holo.
- Dance: The character is trained dancer and performer.
- Holography: Recording and producing aesthetically pleasing and clear holographic images.
- Instrument: Playing a particular musical instrument, such a flute, piano or organ.
- Sculpting: Making artistic or abstract sculptures in a variety of media.
- Writing: Composing inspiring or interesting pieces of text.
This skill is for plotting the courses of starships and calculating accurate jumps.
This skill permits the character to operate advanced battle armour.
The Broker skill allows a character to negotiate trades and arrange fair deals.
Carousing is the art of socialising; of having fun, but also ensuring that other people have fun, of infectious good humour.
The Comms skill covers the use of modern telecommunications – opening communications channels, querying computer networks, jamming signals and so on, as well as the proper protocols for communicating with starports and other spacecraft.
The Computers skill is for using and controlling computer systems.
Deception allows a character to lie fluently, disguise himself, perform sleight of hand and fool onlookers.
The Diplomat skill is for negotiating deals, establishing peaceful contact and smoothing over social faux pas.
This skill is for controlling ground vehicles of various types. There are several specialities.
- Hovercraft: This is the skill of operating hovercraft, which behave much differently than conventional vehicles on most surfaces.
- Mole: For controlling vehicles that move through solid matter using drills or other earth-moving technologies, like plasma torches or cavitation.
- Tracked: For tanks and other vehicles that move on tracks.
- Walker: Though usually computer-controlled, walking vehicles require a different set of skills to any other land vehicle. This covers the use of two, four, or even eight-legged walkers.
- Wheeled: For automobiles and similar groundcars.
The Engineer skill is used to operate and maintain spacecraft and advanced vehicles.
- Manoeuvre Drive (M-Drive): Maintaining and operating a spacecraft’s manoeuvre drive, as well as its artificial gravity.
- Jump Drive (J-Drive): Maintaining and operating a spacecraft’s Jump drive.
- Electronics: All forms of computing hardware, sensors and other electronics and electrics.
- Life Support: Covers oxygen generators, heating and lighting and other necessary life support
- Power: Maintaining and operating a spacecraft’s power plant.
The Explosives skill covers the use of demolition charges and other explosive devices, including assembling or disarming bombs.
The various specialities of this skill cover different types of flying vehicles.
- Airship: This is the skill of piloting balloons and airships, of any sort.
- Grav: This covers air/rafts and other vehicles that use gravitic technology. Grav vehicles have theoretically perfect manoeuvrability and can hover, but skill checks may be necessary when performing high-speed aerobatics.
- Rotor: For helicopters, hovercraft and other similar craft. Rotor craft can hover but may require skill checks to keep steady in the face of adverse environmental conditions.
- Wing: For jets and other aeroplanes using a lifting body. Winged aircraft must keep moving forwards or they will stall and fall out of the sky.
The character is familiar with a wide variety of gambling games, such as poker, roulette, blackjack, horse-racing, sports betting and so on, and has an excellent grasp of statistics and probability.
The various specialities of this skill deal with the operation of ship-mounted weapons in space combat.
- Turrets: Operating turret-mounted weapons on board a ship.
- Ortillery: An abbreviation of Orbital artillery – using a ship’s weapons for planetary bombardment or attacks on stationary targets.
- Screens: Activating and using a ship’s energy screens like Black Globe generators or meson screens.
- Capital Weapons: Operating bay or spinal mount weapons on board a ship.
The Gun Combat skill covers a variety of ranged weapons.
- Slug Rifle: Using rifle weapons such as the autorifle or gauss rifle.
- Slug Pistol: Using pistols like the body pistol or snub pistol.
- Shotgun: Using shotguns.
- Energy Rifle: Using advanced energy weapons like laser rifles or plasma rifles.
- Energy Pistol: Using advanced pistol-style energy weapons like laser pistols and stunners.
The Heavy Weapons skill covers man-portable and larger weapons that cause extreme property damage, such as rocket launchers, artillery and plasma weapons.
- Launchers: Rocket launchers and grenade launchers.
- Man Portable Artillery: Man portable fusion and plasma weapons – the FGMP, PGMP and similar.
- Field Artillery: Fixed guns, mortars and other indirect-fire weapons.
The Investigate skill incorporates keen observation, forensics, and detailed analysis.
Jack of All Trades
The Jack of All Trades skill works differently to other skills. It reduces the unskilled penalty a character receives for not having the appropriate skill by one for every level of Jack of All Trades.
There are numerous different Language specialities, each one covering reading and writing a different language. All characters can speak and read their native language without needing the Language skill, and automated computer translator programs mean that Language skills are not always needed on other worlds. Having Language 0 implies that the character has a smattering of simple phrases in many languages.
- Anglic: The common Trade language, derived originally from the English spoken in the Rule of Man.
The Leadership skill is for directing, inspiring and rallying allies and comrades.
The Mechanic skill allows the character to maintain and repair most equipment.
The Medic skill covers emergency first aid and battlefield triage as well as diagnosis, treatment, surgery and long-term care.
The melee skill covers attacking in hand-to-hand combat.
- Unarmed Combat: Whether it is trained martial arts or street fighting learned the hard way, this is the skill for using your body as a weapon.
- Blade: Attacking with swords, rapiers, blades and other edged weapons.
- Bludgeon: Attacking with maces, clubs, staves and so on.
- Natural Weapons: The favoured combat skill of wild animals, this covers fighting with claws, teeth, and other weapons that are a part of you.
Navigation is the planet-side counterpart of astro-gation, covering plotting courses and finding directions on the ground.
Persuade is a more casual, informal version of Diplomacy.
The Pilot skill specialities cover different forms of spacecraft.
- Small Craft: Shuttles and other craft under 100 tons.
- Spacecraft: Trade ships and other vessels between 100 and 5,000 tons.
- Capital Ships: Battleships and other ships over 5,000 tons.
A character trained in Recon is able to scout out dangers and spot threats, unusual objects or out of place people.
Remote operations is the skill of using telepresence to remotely control drones, missiles, robots and other devices.
There are four separate Science skills – Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Space Sciences. Each science skill has a number of specialisations.
- Physics: The study of the fundamental forces.
- Chemistry: The study of matter at the atomic, molecular, and macromolecular levels
- Electronics: The study of circuits and computers.
- Biology: The study of living organisms.
- Cybernetics: The study of blending living and synthetic life.
- Genetics: The study of genetic codes and engineering.
- Psionicology: The study of psionic powers and phenomena.
- Archeology: The study of ancient civilisations. It also covers techniques of investigation and excavations.
- Economics: The study of trade and markets.
- History: The study of the past, as seen through documents and records as opposed to physical artefacts.
- Linguistics: The study of languages.
- Philosophy: The study of beliefs and religions.
- Psychology: The study of thought and society.
- Sophontology: The study of intelligent living creatures.
- Planetology: The study of planet formation and evolution.
- Robotics: The study of robot construction and use.
- Xenology: The study of alien life forms.
The Seafarer skill covers all manner of watercraft and ocean travel.
- Sail: This skill is for wind-driven watercraft.
- Submarine: For vehicles that travel underwater.
- Ocean Ships: For large, motorised sea-going vessels.
- Motorboats: For motorised small craft.
The Sensors skill covers the use and interpretation of data from electronic sensor devices, from observation satellites and remote probes to thermal imaging and densitometers.
A character trained in the Stealth skill is adept at staying unseen and unheard.
The Steward skill allows the character to serve and care for nobles and high-class passengers.
A character with the Streetwise skill understands the urban environment and the power structures in society.
The Survival skill is the wilderness counterpart of the urban Streetwise skill – the character is trained to survive in the wild, build shelters, hunt or trap animals, avoid exposure and so forth.
This skill covers tactical planning and decision making, from board games to squad level combat to fleet engagements.
- Military Tactics: Coordinating the attacks of foot troops or vehicles on the ground.
- Naval Tactics: Coordinating the attacks of a spacecraft or fleet.
A character with a Trade skill is trained in producing some useful goods or services.
- Biologicals: Engineering and managing artificial organisms.
- Civil Engineering: Designing structures and buildings.
- Space Construction: Building orbital habitats and megastructures.
- Hydroponics: Growing crops in hostile environments.
- Polymers: Designing and using polymers.
The Vacc Suit skill allows a character to wear and operate spacesuits and environmental suits. If the character does not have the requisite Vacc Suit skill for the suit he is wearing, he suffers a -2 DM to all skill checks made while wearing a suit for each missing level.
Having the Zero-G skill means the character is adept at moving around in micro-gravity environments and freefall. A character without the Zero-G skill suffers a -2 DM to all checks made in free-fall.
Learning New Skills
A character’s Skill Total is calculated by summing the levels of each skill (level zero skills count as zero). A character with Mechanic 1 and Gun Combat (slug pistols) 2 would have a Skill Total of 3.
To increase a skill, a character must train for a number of weeks equal to his current Skill Total plus the desired level of the skill. So, to advance from Pilot 2 to Pilot 3 with a current Skill Total of 3 would take (three, plus three) six weeks. A character may only train one skill in a given week.
The Jack of all Trades skill cannot be learned.