Category:Chapter 5 / Skills

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Has your character plumbed the depths of ancient, fallen civilizations whose remains bear mute witness to modern folly? Can you read people well enough to know just when and how to lie to them to your own best benefit? Are you handy with living things, or skillful with your own anatomy? These capabilities are represented in the game by skills. As a spacefaring adventurer, you have a basic level of competence in every skill, and you get more competent as you advance in level. Your ability scores affect your use of skills; an Etecoon recon with a high Dexterity is better at Acrobatics than a Pathomorph spoiler with a low Dexterity. Your aptitude at a skill is measured in the game with a skill check—a d20 roll that determines whether and sometimes how well you succeed at any skill-based task you might attempt.

Skill Training

Training in a skill means that you have some combination of formal education, practical experience, and natural aptitude using that skill. When you select a skill to be trained in, you gain a permanent +5 bonus to that skill. You can't gain training in a skill more than once. The entry for your class in Chapter 4 tells you how many skills you're trained in, and in some cases which. For example, if you're a 1st-level demo, you have training in Endurance and can select two others at first level. You can take the Skill Training feat (See chapter 6, Feats) to gain training in a skill. The table below shows the skills available in the game, the ability score you use when you make that kind of skill check, and which classes (if any) have training in that skill.

Skill Name Key Ability Class
Athletics str --
Acrobatics dex Recon
Biology int --
Endurance con Demo
Engineering int Trapper
Lore int --
Heal wis Medic
Persuasion wis Spoiler
Perception wis --
Skulduggery dex Sniper
Tactics int Tactician

Using Skills

When you use a skill, you make a skill check. This check represents your training (trained or untrained), your natural talent (ability score), your overall experience (one-half your level), other applicable factors (relevant bonuses), and sheer luck (a die roll). The DM tells you if a skill check is appropriate in a given situation or directs you to make a check if circumstances call for one.

Skill Check Bonuses

When you create your character, you should determine your base skill check bonus for each skill you know. Your base skill check bonus for a skill includes the following:

  • One-half your level
  • Your ability score (each skill is based on one of these)
  • A +5 bonus if you're trained in the skill

In addition, some or all of the following factors might apply to your base skill check bonus:

  • Racial or feat bonuses
  • An item bonus from a specialty item
  • A power bonus
  • Any untyped bonuses that might apply

Skill Check

To make a skill check, roll 1d20 and add the following:

  • Your base skill check bonus with the skill
  • All situational modifiers that apply
  • Bonuses and penalties from powers affecting you

The total is your check result.

Difficulty Class

When you make skill checks, high results are best. You're always trying to meet or beat a certain number. Often, that's a fixed number or schedule of numbers called Difficulty Class (DC). The DC depends on what you're trying to accomplish and is ultimately set by the Dungeon Master. The skill entries in this chapter give sample DCs for each skill. The DM sets the DCs for specific situations based on level, conditions and circumstances. All DCs assume acting in situations that are far from mundane; the DM should call for checks only in dramatic—usually time-sensitive—situations.

Opposed Checks

Sometimes, you make a skill check as a test of your skill in one area against another character's skill in the same area or in a different one. When you use Skulduggery, for example, you're testing your ability to delude against someone else's ability to see justly (the Perception skill). These skill contests are called opposed checks. When you make an opposed check, both characters roll, and the higher check result wins. If there's a tie, the character doing the more defensive or passive action wins.

Checks Without Rolls

In some situations, luck does not affect whether you succeed or fail. In a calm environment, when dealing with a mundane task, you can rely on sheer ability to achieve results.

Take 10

When you're not in a rush, not being threatened or distracted (generally when you're outside an encounter), and when you're dealing with a mundane task, you can choose to take 10. Instead of rolling a d20, determine your check result as if you had rolled the average (10.5, rounded down to 10). When you take 10, your result equals your skill modifiers (including one-half your level) + 10. For mundane tasks, taking 10 usually results in a success.

Passive Checks

When you're not actively using a skill, you are considered to be taking 10 for any opposing checks you might make using that skill. Passive checks are most commonly used for Perception when exploring and Tactics when posturing with other martial units. For example, if you're coordinating an assault with a would-be ally who is about to backstab you, you're taking 10 on Tactics to notice the ruse if you aren't actively examining their movements. If your Tactics check is high enough and the commander of that unit rolls poorly on Skulduggery, you might notice the deception even if you weren't actively looking for it.


In some situations, you and your allies can work together to use a skill; your allies can help you make a skill check by making a check themselves. Each ally who gets a result of 10 or higher gives you a +2 bonus to your check. Up to four allies can help you, for a maximum bonus of +8. If you have a choice, let the character in your group who has the highest base skill check bonus take the lead, while the other character cooperate to give bonuses to the check. See "Aid Another," (Chapter 9, Combat) for how to cooperate in combat.

Skill Challenges

A skill challenge is an encounter in which your skills, rather than your combat abilities, take center stage. In contrast to an obstacle that requires one successful skill check, a skill challenge is a complex situation in which you must make several successful checks, often using a variety of skills and sometimes in a specific order, before you can claim success.

In one skill challenge, you might use Persuasion to convince a recalcitrant mercenary master to spend resources on a joint resource extraction venture, a Lore check to remind him what an ancient civilization made use of on the planet, and a Tactics check to learn that his internal security network is too robust to reliably subvert with good to moderate Engineering and Skulduggery. In another challenge, you might use Biology to identify the traces of a game xenomorph, Endurance to forge your way through the harsh planet-bound pathogens, and Athletics to ascend the mountain to the monster's lair.

Whatever the details of a skill challenge, the basic structure is the same. Your goal is to accumulate a specific number of victories in different categories before you get too many defeats. It's up to you to think of ways you can use your skills to meet the challenges you face. In the second example above, some mercenary hunter group may have pitch-perfect scanning tech tuned to the beast you're tracking that you could use Persuasion to get your hands on, easing or relieving your need for successful Biology checks.

Knowledge Skills

Some skills deal with knowledge about a particular topic (if also applied activities of that topic): Biology, Engineering, Lore, Heal, and Tactics. You can use such a skill to remember a useful bit of information in its field of knowledge or to recognize a clue related to it. You can also use such a skill to identify certain kinds of adversaries, as noted in the skill's description. The check DC increases based on the specific topic and how common the knowledge is. Sometimes your DM might decide that the information you seek is available only to characters trained in an appropriate knowledge skill.

Knowledge Checks

Regardless of the knowledge skill you're using, refer to the rules here when making a knowledge check.

  • Common Knowledge: This includes the kind of general information that is commonly known about a given topic.
  • Expert Knowledge: This includes the kind of specialized information that only an expert in the field of study could possibly know.
  • Master Knowledge: Few know such esoteric knowledge.

Knowledge Skill: No action required—either you know the answer or you don't.

  • Common 15
  • Expert 22
  • Master 29

Success: You recall a useful bit of information in your field of knowledge or recognize a clue related to it. Failure: You don't recall any pertinent information. The DM might allow you to make a new check if further information comes to light.

Enemy Fact Checks

Regardless of the knowledge skill you're using, refer to the rules here when making a check to identify an enemy.

Enemy Knowledge: No action required—either you have the facts or you don't. Basic facts include the enemy name, types, and keywords. Advanced facts include powers. Excellent facts are the complete defense listings and special features. Each enemy entry has an internal list of what can be discovered about them, in some cases with falsehoods mixed in. Roll high and check your facts

  • Basic 15
  • Advanced 22
  • Excellent 29

Pages in category "Chapter 5 / Skills"

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