Skillz

BETA-TEST VERSION OF THESE RULES – EXPECT ISSUES AND PROBLEMS!

Skill rolls succeed on a 1d6 roll of 6 or more. This means that every character, theoretically, has a 1-in-6 chance of succeeding in any of the 12 base skills, but modifiers and restrictions can (and likely will) apply at the Referee’s discretion. Skill rolls where the skill has a net negative “bonus” are determined by rolling 2d6, and both must come up as 6 (“boxcars”) to succeed. Skill rolls where the bonus is +5 or more are determined by rolling 2d6, and both must come up as 1 (“snake-eyes”) to fail. Chances for success assigned by class or by skill points allocated add a +1 bonus per chance or point allocated.

Luck points can be used to either add 1 to any 5’s, or to re-roll dice if a result lower than 6 total is rolled. You can only use Luck once per Skill check, although you can use as many Luck points as you have as needed.

Each of the 12 base skills begins with a +0 bonus. One skill, based on your Failed Profession and/or Backstory, begins with a +3 bonus. If one of the base 12 skills does not match, simply create one that does match (see New Skills Creation below), or randomly roll. A second bonus, at +2, is randomly assigned by rolling a d12 – it’s up to the player to come up with a Backstory, at some point, as to how they acquired that skill.

For each additional skill point the character has, as determined by Intelligence at 13 or above, the player may choose to allocate the points to specific skills for bonuses to their skill rolls. If there is a negative modifier, the -2 modifier for an Int of 4-8 removes the +2 bonus skill, and a -5 modifier wipes out all beginning skill bonuses.

In addition to any Intelligence modifier, Specialists (Thieves, Acrobats, Assassins, Bards, and Rangers) get 4 +1 bonuses to add to their skills as they wish at first level, and +2 points to add to their skills as they wish at every level. No matter how low the Specialist’s Intelligence is, these 4 points, and all future points, are still allocated.

Tools: Some skills require tools or kits. Such items are noted in the skill description.

Some races and classes already start off with “chances out of 6” in skills similar to those listed below. In those cases, their skill modifier is the number of chances minus 1, i.e, an Dwarf with a 2 in 6 in Detect Construction starts off with a +1 modifier in Architecture. Check with the Referee about starting modifiers you might have.

The Skills

1-Arcana: General knowledge of things dealing with magic and the occult in general. Identify a written spell or potion. The DM rolls in secret and on a failure they give a false result. Use Runes: As an Action, pass Arcana to bind to a Glyph. Use Scrolls: As an Action, pass Arcana to use a scroll your class cannot usually cast. On failure, look up your roll on this table:

2-Architecture: Clues, warnings, and rewards can be built into the very structures of a character’s surroundings. Determining if a certain portion of a structure was built at a different time than the surrounding construction, determining if a passage shifts or slopes gradually, detecting if a particular structure is unsafe to travel in/on, determining what culture or even specific method of construction was used for any specific structure, all of these things (and more—this list merely illustrates some possibilities) can be important in keeping explorers alive and/or helping them achieve their goals of unlocking ancient mysteries. Any character has a 1 in 6 chance to note any of these features in the surrounding architecture. Use of this skill is not passive; the character must spend one turn (1o minutes) examining the structure.

3-Bushcraft: For foraging, natural healing, constructing shelters, forecasting weather, and not getting lost. See Living Standards and Hunting on page 5.

4-Climbing: Roll when climbing at speed, without equipment, or otherwise under pressure. Climbing encumbered is difficult, -1 per point of Encumbrance you have.

5-History & General Knowledge: An all-purpose skill for knowing events historical and contemporary. You’re current with the past and the present, such as it is, like being able to recite the lineage of the kings of the Old Kingdom all the way back to its inception, as well as know who the third daughter of the current King is betrothed to for when she comes of age. Book Learnin’: Your H&GL score is the minimum result when you search books for knowledge.

6-Leadership: Used to influence loyalty and morale in retainers. A successful use of this skill gives a +2 bonus to the roll, while an unsuccessful use results in a -2 penalty.

7-Medicine/First Aid: Requires a First Aid/Healing Kit. A successful use doubles recovery of hit points, ability scores, etc. for that day. If the patient has at least half their hit points, a failure means no recovery. If the patient has less than half their hit points, a failure requires a further saving throw to be made by the patient or they take 1d8 damage on a failed save (see below) or 1d4 damage on a partial save (see below). A successful save means no further damage.

Can also be used to remove the Death Tokens taken from poison or physical wounds. Success allows the healer to remove a number of Death Tokens equal to the number rolled. Failing on a roll of 6 means the patient must Tempt Fate. See Death and Dismemberment on page XX.

8-Search: Many items and features of interest are hidden from open view, with secret doors or compartments being the classic example. To find these things, characters must search for them. Under normal conditions, searching takes one turn per character per 10’ of area searched. Hidden items or features have a base 1 in 6 chance of being found per turn of searching. The Referee can create hidden elements that are more difficult (or easier) to detect at his discretion. If a character’s Search skill is greater than 1 in 6, use that as the base chance to find something during a search. Note that finding a secret door does not automatically grant a character an understanding of how it works. The Referee may require additional rolls or other actions to be taken before the door can be opened.

9-Sleight of Hand: Palm objects, pick pockets, and other tasks requiring quick fingers and misdirection. Swift Action - Once per round you can roll Sleight of Hand to do a non-attack action for free, e.g., swapping weapons, drinking a potion, or aiming. Swift Reload - Roll Sleight of Hand to reload a ranged weapon in a single Action.

10-Stealth: While you’re sneaking and might be seen, roll Stealth. On success, you remain hidden. Evade - Gain an advantage against a Flanked or Surprised enemy. See Evade on page 7.

11-Tinkering: Manipulating small mechanisms with skill and finesse. Requires thieves’ tools or the like. Invention: Creation of mechanical traps, devices and other strange inventions is covered by this skill. Agree with the DM what you want the device to do, then roll Tinkering when you’re using it for real and actually really need it to work. On success, it works! +1 to these rolls with the device in future. On failure, it fucks up dramatically.

12-Watercraft: Like Bushcraft, but for bodies of water from river and lake settings to sailing the ocean blue. Generalized knowledge of how boats and ships work, fishing, weather, etc. the scope of knowledge determined by the Referee depending on the setting and particular task at hand.

SPECIAL: Backstab: Grants critical hits against Surprised or Flanked enemies. Unless the Referee allows otherwise, this is a Thieves and Assassins-only skill for bonuses greater than +2 and damage multipliers greater than x2. Thieves and Assassins will need to put 2 skill points for every +2 and x1 additional damage multiplier increase.

New Skills Creation

Here’s where it gets interesting. Let’s go dancing down the Rabbit Hole: A new character may sacrifice two points from any general beginning skill to initiate a specialized skill at +0, such as Glassblowing, Herbalism, Weapons-Crafting, Harlotry, Pig Herding, or Whatever. Once initiated, additional points may be added to increase that skill normally.

All classes may do this when the character is first created, but only Specialists can add their four beginning +1 bonuses to the skills as desired and also get those additional ongoing skill points. Other classes will receive skill points upon advancement as the Referee allows.

So, for example, our Fighter’s random Failed/Former Profession was Chirugeon, which the player and Referee determine gives them a +3 in Medicine. For the second profession, they randomly roll Tinkering for a +2. Yawn. They decide, instead, that they want to start as a Bowyer. They take two points from Medicine (keeping it at +1 bonus) to start “Bowyer/Fletcher” at +0, and transfer the two points from Tinkering to become (and forever remain) a +2 Bowyer. They were dragged off to war from the local bow and arrow shop, fought in the front lines, field-trained to patch up their buddies on occasion, made lots of arrows while drunk, and fixed bows on the side between battles. Now they are a Level 1 Fighter with a few tricks.

A Specialist with the same rolls could take three of their additional beginning skill points to start as a Master (+5) Bowyer/Fletcher, add the fourth point into that remaining +1 Medicine skill for a +2 bonus, and develop their other basic skills as they gain levels. They were dragged off to war from the bow and arrow shop, spent their time behind the lines making bows, made thousands of arrows, hundreds of field bandages, and now begin a life of adventure as a Level 1 Specialist (Bowyer). Characters may simply be “normal” and stick to the basic skills, but this adds some variety: the Cleric studied some Harlotry as a Temple Prostitute while being initiated. The magic-user studied Glassblowing or Cartography as an apprentice. The Elf makes/plays Harps or Flutes, or joined the Cleric in Harlotry. The Dwarf goes for Gold-Smithing, or Gem-Craft. The Halfling dabbles in Brewery, or cough like, wow, Hobbit-Weed. They start with decent skills and stay that way.

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