Priest Soldier Sorcerer Spy 3e EN:Skills

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Skills allow a character to apply their attributes to solve a specific problem or accomplish a specific task. Skills cost one character point each. Expertise in a skill costs an additional character point. We suggest spending about 10 character points on skills.

Skill Dice

If the character has the needed skill, the player rolls 2d6. If the character has expertise with the needed skill, re-roll any 1s and 2s until all dice have a 3 or higher.

A character may attempt a task in which they have no skill, if the GM says it is possible. For example, anyone can tell a lie (attempted with a Deception roll), but not everyone can recite an epic poem and keep the audience's attention (attempted with a Performance roll). If a character attempts a task in which they have no skill, the player rolls one die instead of two. For example, if a character is attacked by an enemy with a knife, but the defender does not have the Close Combat skill, the defender rolls 1d6 and adds their Brawn.

Making skill rolls is covered in the Actions chapter.

Typical Skills

Priest Soldier Sorcerer Spy divides skills into broad disciplines. This list of skills is not exhaustive, nor is it objective: skills are divided by their usefulness in a game, not by any objective taxonomy. This is why "Nature" is a very broad skill, while "Lockpicking" is relatively specific. A character may have a skill not listed here, subject to GM approval. However, any new skills should be approximately as useful as these skills in order to maintain a sense of fairness with other characters.

Note that skills are quite broad. However, just because a character could do everything encompassed by a skill does not mean that they should. For example, a character with the Tradesman skill could, in theory, do everything from forging a painting to designing a bridge. That doesn't mean it makes sense for them to do so. A character who is a whiz with masonry does not necessarily know how to cook a fine meal, even though both tasks use the same skill, Tradesman. It's up to you as the player to know what makes sense for your character and what doesn't, and to communicate that information to the GM.

The attribute typically associated with a skill is listed here, but keep in mind that the relevant attribute might change depending on the circumstances. Also note that the same task might be accomplished in more than one way. Climbing a tree might be an exercise in Athletics (Brawn), but it might also be accomplished with the proper application of Survival (Brawn).


Table: Typical skills
Skill Attribute Examples
Athletics Agility or Brawn Climbing, gymnastics, riding, running, swimming, throwing objects
Close Combat Brawn Axes, clubs, knives, spears, swords, unarmed strikes, whips; close combat spells
Culture Reason Art, fashion, history, music, philosophy, politics
Deception Presence Bluffing, disguise, lying, sales
Diplomacy Presence Carousing, conversation, etiquette, negotiation, streetwise
Investigation Reason Analyzing evidence, collecting evidence, identifying clues
Lockpicking Agility Disabling a trap, picking a lock, repairing a tiny clockwork
Manipulation Presence Bribery, interrogation, leadership, persuasion, seduction
Medicine Reason Apothecary, diagnosis, field medicine, surgery
Mental Combat Presence Command Undead, Evil Eye, Fear, Repel Undead, Sleep, Word Of Command
Nature Reason Animals, fish, plants, rivers, weather
Perception Reason Eavesdropping, identifying an odor or taste, noticing a tail
Performance Presence Comedy, dancing, music, singing, theatre
Ranged Combat Agility Bows, crossbows, knives, slings, spears, thrown weapons; ranged spells
Riding Agility Dolphins, dragons, elephants, goats, horses, mules, yaks
Sleight Of Hand Agility Cheating at cards, pickpocketing, shoplifting, stage magic
Stealth Agility Hiding, shadowing, sneaking
Survival Reason Foraging, hunting, navigation, orienteering, tactics, tracking
Thaumaturgy Reason Cosmology, curses, magic objects, magical symbols, spells
Theology Reason Cults, deities, religious hierarchies, rites and rituals
Tradesman Agility or Reason Appraisal, carpentry, cartography, cooking, forgery, masonry, smithing


Athletics

The Athletics skill covers the entire spectrum of non-combat sports, as well general feats of athleticism such as running, jumping, climbing, swimming, and throwing.

Generally, an athletic competition is simply a matter of who has the highest relevant attribute. In the case where two competitors in a sport have the same attributes, the winner would be decided with a roll, or perhaps a series of rolls. In some sports, the difference between the winner and second place may be as little as one one-hundredth of a second.

Athletics typically requires an Agility or Brawn roll.

Examples: Climbing, gymnastics, riding, running, swimming, throwing objects

Close Combat

The Close Combat skill covers the myriad ways that humans have found to hurt, maim, and kill one another in hand-to-hand combat. Any form of hand-to-hand combat is covered by the Close Combat skill.

Close Combat typically requires a Brawn roll.

Examples: Axes, clubs, knives, spears, swords, unarmed strikes, whips; close combat spells

Culture

The Culture skill covers the wide range of information that provides the backdrop of our lives. It includes literary, artistic, and political tidbits of information, such as the name of the second cousin to the Emperor, or the history of the phrase Ansaru kitnul, ifridî bekâr!

Culture typically requires a Reason roll.

Examples: Art, fashion, history, music, philosophy, politics

Deception

The Deception skill is used to convince someone of the truth of a given statement or situation, usually with the aim of getting them to act on it.

Deception typically requires a Presence roll.

Examples: Bluffing, disguise, lying, sales

Diplomacy

The Diplomacy skill is used to adapt to one's social environment. It enables a character navigate through red tape, know the proper manners for a given environment, or survive an excursion to the dark side of civilization. A Diplomacy roll might be required to circumvent a bureaucratic obstacle, to socialize with a group without offending them, or to get the word to the local thieves' guild that the shipment of swords at midnight is a set-up.

A failed Diplomacy roll could result in the character being snubbed by polite society, or possibly in being maimed by a coarser crowd.

Diplomacy typically requires a Presence roll, and is sometimes opposed.

Examples: Carousing, conversation, etiquette, negotiation, streetwise

Investigation

The Investigation skill covers most of the tasks involved in solving mysteries and researching obscure topics. This includes searching for clues, collecting and analyzing evidence, sifting through notes and journals, and so on.

Investigation typically requires a Reason roll, or perhaps a series of rolls.

Examples: Analyzing evidence, collecting evidence, identifying clues

Lockpicking

Lockpicking covers the skills which use a delicate touch and fine control of the hands to manipulate small mechanical devices. A Lockpicking roll might be required to pick the lock on a cell door, to disable the trap on a chest, or to repair a tiny clockwork device.

Failing a Lockpicking roll indicates that the character triggers the trap, or that the lock resists the attempt to pick it.

Lockpicking typically requires an Agility roll.

Examples: Disabling a trap, picking a lock, repairing a tiny clockwork

Manipulation

The Manipulation skill pertains to eliciting cooperation or information from others by using flirtation, threats of violence, or just verbal trickery. Interrogation usually hinges on convincing the subject that hope is futile and that resistance will only make things worse, while seduction can sometimes be successful even if the target is aware that they are being seduced.

Failure of a Manipulation roll could result in the subject of interrogation convincingly giving false information, or in the target of a seduction finding the would-be seducer repugnant.

Manipulation typically requires a Presence roll, or perhaps a series of rolls.

Examples: Bribery, interrogation, leadership, persuasion, seduction

Medicine

A knowledge of Medicine can be very useful in the violent world of Priest Soldier Sorcerer Spy. Any medical procedure, from treating a scrape to amputating a limb, is covered by the Medicine skill.

Medicine typically requires a Reason roll.

Examples: Apothecary, diagnosis, field medicine, surgery

Mental Combat

The Mental Combat skill covers mental and psychic combat. Any form of mental combat is covered by the Mental Combat skill.

Mental Combat typically requires a Presence roll.

Examples: Command Undead, Evil Eye, Fear, Repel Undead, Sleep, Word Of Command

Nature

The Nature skill covers knowledge of the natural world, including understanding the behaviour of animals, being able to identify herbs and their uses, and being able to predict the weather based on changes in temperature and the observation of clouds.

Nature typically requires a Reason roll.

Examples: Animals, fish, plants, rivers, weather

Perception

The Perception skill pertains to noticing subtle things, identifying sensory input, and generally being aware of one's surroundings. Perception can reflect the keenness of one's senses, one's powers of observation, or both.

Perception typically requires a Reason roll.

Examples: Eavesdropping, identifying an odor or taste, noticing a tail

Performance

The Performance skill is used to entertain an audience, making them forget their worries for a brief while.

Performance typically requires a Presence roll.

Examples: Comedy, dancing, music, singing, theatre

Ranged Combat

The Ranged Combat skill covers the myriad ways that humans have found to hurt, maim, and kill one another from a distance. Any form of ranged combat is covered by the Ranged Combat skill.

Ranged Combat typically requires an Agility roll.

Examples: Bows, crossbows, knives, slings, spears, thrown weapons; ranged spells

Riding

The Riding skill pertains to controlling an animal (or perhaps a floating object like a barrel) while using it as transportation. A Riding roll might be required to stay mounted in difficult terrain, to urge a mount to head toward danger, or to make a mount perform a trick or stunt.

Riding typically requires an Agility roll.

Examples: Dolphins, dragons, elephants, goats, horses, mules, yaks

Sleight Of Hand

Sleight Of Hand covers the skills which use fine control of the hands and fingers to mislead observers. A Sleight Of Hand roll might be required to slip a note to an ally, to pick someone's pocket, or to slip an ace into a hand of cards.

Sleight Of Hand typically requires an Agility roll.

Examples: Cheating at cards, pickpocketing, shoplifting, stage magic

Stealth

Stealth is the art of sneaking around. A Stealth roll might be required to hide from a monster in an old house, to sneak up on a sentry, or to shadow a suspect back to the criminal's hideout. Terrain, available cover, camouflage, and background noise will all affect the difficulty of the Stealth roll.

Failing the Stealth roll indicates that the furtive prowler is easily spotted by a casual observer.

Stealth typically requires an Agility roll, and is usually opposed by a Perception (Reason) roll by the person the character is hiding from.

Examples: Hiding, Shadowing, Sneaking

Survival

The Survival skill pertains to living off the land, coping with adverse environments, and finding one's way based on landmarks, the stars, and dead reckoning. The difficulty is dependent upon the terrain, temperature, and availability of food and shelter, and on how well equipped the character is for the particular area. Survival in a temperate environment with available sources of food and water would require a moderately difficult (DV 3) Survival (Reason) roll. Harsh, hostile environments, such as a desolate or an icy tundra, would have a higher difficulty, depending on how prepared the character is. Surviving in very mild environments, such as the woods just outside of town, would not require a roll at all.

Failing a Survival roll once might mean that the character has caught a cold, lost the trail of their prey, or eaten a plant that has made them sick. Failing numerous Survival rolls could be lethal.

Survival typically requires a Reason roll, or perhaps a series of rolls.

Examples: Foraging, hunting, navigation, orienteering, tactics, tracking

Thaumaturgy

Thaumaturgy allows the character to identify magic objects, find cures for curses, and decipher ancient arcane manuscripts.

Thaumaturgy typically requires a Reason roll.

Examples: Cosmology, curses, magic objects, magical symbols, spells

Theology

Theology allows the character to identify a cult by the trappings of the cultists, to understand religious hierarchies, and to perform the appropriate rites and rituals for each of life's milestones.

Theology typically requires a Reason roll.

Examples: Cults, deities, religious hierarchies, rites and rituals

Tradesman

Tradesman is the relevant skill whenever a character attempts to design and build structures, machines, devices, or materials. A Tradesman roll might be required to cut and plane lumber, to repair a damaged pump, or to design a cathedral.

Failing the Tradesman roll might indicate that the device or structure simply does not work, or that it will fail catastrophically during use.

Tradesman typically requires an Agility or Reason roll.

Examples: Appraisal, carpentry, cartography, cooking, forgery, masonry, smithing