ARRGS – Skills

Skills are how characters interact with the world. There are innumerable skills, too many to list, that cover everything from hunting to programming a robot, the skills have been grouped into broad categories that should cover the needs of most games.

Each Skill has an ability score associated with it which determines a person’s natural talent for such a skill without any further development. Each skill also has a number of areas of expertise which can only be used if a character has special training in that skill.

Using a skill requires a skill check of some sort ( with the addition of modifiers to determine the final check result which is compared to the Difficulty Class required to determine the degree of success or failure of the skill check.

Using Skills

A character may perform any Skill Check he desires (except for Advanced skills which require the character to be Trained before they can perform Skill Checks for that skill). The success or failure of the Skill Check is determined by the difficulty of the action to be performed and the Check result the character achieves.

There are two methods of using a skill; the first is a passive (Reaction) check indicating that the use requires no active effort, the second is an active (Action) check indicating that the user must actively think about and consciously use the skill to perform the desired task.

The distinction between Action and Reaction skills are as always up to the GM, however, if a player specifically indicates he is performing an action then that indicates a conscious and active effort to perform the task, thereby making it an Action check.

Reaction skill checks are almost always made in response to an Action check, for instance when a character is attacked and forced to react by dodging the blow, the act of dodging is a Reaction check. Other examples of a Reaction check are when a character unknowingly uses a skill, for example when he stumbles into a trap, the check to resist it in some way is instinctive and passive, when a character walks past a hidden doorway without realising it, the act to discover the secret door is a Reaction (unless the character indicated he was actively searching for secrets).

When performing an Action check roll 1d20 and add the modifiers below to obtain the Check result. When performing a Reaction check use a base result of 10 and add the modifiers below to obtain the Check result.

Skill Check: Check (1d20 or 10) + Skill + Ability Bonus + Inherent modifier, + Augmented modifier, + Assisted modifier, + Magic modifier, + Tech modifier, + Size modifier, + Circumstance modifiers, – Check penalty

Trained Skills

A character is considered Trained if he possesses the Skill Training Option in that particular skill. The bonuses from his Skill Training Options determine the base skill level a character has with a particular skill. This Skill level is applied as a modifier to every Skill Check made for that particular skill.

A character with the Skill Training Option in a skill may (with the GM’s approval) use a different Ability modifier for the Skill Check providing he can provide adequate justification (using Intelligence or Wisdom on a Knowledge Skill Check).

A character with a Skill level of 10 in a skill may roll an additional 1d20 for his Action check and take the highest value rolled. At Skill level 20 he gains an additional 1d20 again.

Specialisation

Some skills are so broad and complex that they are further subdivided into specialist areas of expertise. Those characters who choose to focus into an area of expertise do much better with Skill Checks relating to their specialisation than those generalists who attempt a Skill Check but are not specialised in that area.

Characters that do not possess a Specialisation add only half (round down) their Skill level to a Skill Check made using that skill. Characters with a Specialisation may add the full Skill level to a Skill Check made using that skill, but only if it is for that area of expertise. For example, a character with a Skill level of 2 in Martial Weapons will only apply +1 to his Skill Checks using any martial weapon. A character with a Skill Level of 2 in Martial Weapons with a Specialisation in Heavy Blades will apply a +2 to his Skill Checks when using a longsword, and a +1 to his Skill Checks when using a handaxe.

Synergy: Some skills increase a character’s ability to use other skills, granting an Assisted modifier depending upon how many Skill Training Options are obtained for that skill. Where indicated by the Synergy detail, a character gains a +1 Assisted modifier to the indicated skill check for every 5 Skill Training Options he possesses in this skill.

Action: Skill checks require different actions to perform depending upon the situation.

DC: The DC is the target score required by a skill check in order to achieve success, this result can be modified by a number of external factors.

DC Modifiers: A character’s skill check result can only be modified by his own abilities, or the assistance from his allies, or by the magical or equipment based enhancements he possesses. The DC (Difficulty Class) required to achieve success in the skill check is determined by the nature of the check performed and how inherently difficult such a task may be with other modifiers relating to environment and other factors.

Each skill check will list the suggested DC modifiers relating to the difficulty of actions to be performed and what factors may modify that DC. As always the GM is the final arbiter in determining the DC of a skill check but general categories of DC are below.

DC 10 – The default DC for any skill check, a task of this difficulty should be achievable by your average person without any thought or effort required (i.e. a passive Reaction check will be enough to achieve success)

DC 15 – A task of this difficulty should require some training or considerable luck for the average man to perform, such as swimming several metres, picking a lock, reading a sentence in a foreign language, identifying a strange herb, etc

DC 20 – A task of this difficulty should only be possible if performed by an expert with years of training and study or to an extremely lucky individual. Examples include translating for a foreign speaker, disarming a complex trap, performing an acrobatic display.

DC 30 – A task of this difficulty should only be possible if performed by a master who has devoted his life to a single pursuit. Examples include balancing upon a wire, climbing a cliff face, translating a previously unknown language without any experience of it.

DC 50 – A task of this difficulty should be almost impossible for a typical person to perform no matter how much training or time is devoted to it, only the truly exceptional should even attempt this and even then will require considerable assistance (magical or otherwise). Examples include leaping a chasm, walking on water, sprinting for many miles.

DC 100 – A task of this difficulty should be possible only if performed by a divine being. Examples include walking on a cloud, squeezing through a wall of force, speaking to the dead.

Trained Only: The Trained Only label indicates that only a character possessing the Skill Training Option for this skill may perform this particular skill check with any chance of success.

Untrained: A character is considered Untrained in a skill if he does not possess the Skill Training Option for that particular skill.

Untrained characters may not be able to perform the full range of skill checks available as they will be restricted from using any skill check with the Trained Only label.

Retry: It is possible to retry a skill check again and again until success is all but guaranteed. Such a situation may only occur if there is no consequence to failing the skill check, and the skill check does not take a significant amount of time (greater than 1 minute) – unless the character is willing to devote days to accomplishing the task. As a minimum skill check can be retried a minimum of once per character’s turn.

The option to retry a skill check until successful is up to the GM but if allowed assume that the skill check result was 20 (no Critical allowed) and if this is enough to achieve success then the check is successful (minor success only). The time taken to retry the task until successful is a minimum of 1 hour and cannot be achieved if interrupted in any way.

Special: Most skills have special rules that are detailed here.

Acrobatics (Dex)

The Acrobatics skill encompasses  the finesse and speed of movement, and includes such actions as jumping, fighting, dodging, etc.
A general acrobatics check involves usually involves moving in a graceful manner, maintaining balance, posture, avoiding obstacles or attacks or some other acrobatic feat such as swinging from a chandelier or sliding down a stair bannister, etc.

Expertise: None

Synergy: +1 Assisted modifier to Athletics, Thievery, Stealth for every 5 Skill Training Options in the Acrobatics skill.

Action: An Acrobatics check usually requires a Move Action to perform some kind of acrobatic feat (a somersault, grabbing a chandelier). Those acrobatic feats that require movement are Complementary Actions performed alongside whatever action (Full, Standard or Move Action) was used to achieve the desired range of movement. If the character is willing and able (and the GM agrees) he may perform the acrobatics feat as a Swift Action or Immediate Action but with a modified DC.

Example DC: The following DCs and modifiers can be applied to any Acrobatics check if deemed appropriate.

Example TaskBase DC
Jump half your height10
Climb a slope (angle 45 degrees or less)10
Climb a vertical surface15
Climb a horizontal surface20
Catch yourself when falling20
Escape a restraintVaries depending upon the method of restraint (eg manacles are DC 20, rope binding depends upon the Thievery skill of the binder, magical bindings are equal to the magic related skill of the caster.
Free Stand (allows a character to stand from prone as a Complementary Action instead of the normal Move Action)25
Rappel down a slope10
Safe Fall (reduce falling damage by 1d6)15
Squeeze through a gap10
Squeeze through a solid wall30
Squeeze through a wall of force50

DC Modifiers:

Example CircumstanceDC Modifier
Per square of movement+1
Per threatened square passed through+2
Per square of obstructed terrain passed through, per square occupied by enemy passed through+2
Light obstruction (scree, gravel, light rubble), slippery surface (wet floor), sloped surface+2
Severe obstruction (dense rubble, natural cave floor), severely slippery surface (ice)+5
Acrobatics check performed as a Swift Action+10
Acrobatics check performed as an Immediate Action+20
Move across or grab a surface 7-12 inches wide, or a stable surface (solid ground not moving)+0
Move across or grab a surface 2-6 inches wide+5
Move across or grab a surface 1-2 inches wide, or a slightly moving surface (a tree branch or a ships deck)+10
Move across or grab a surface 1 inch wide or less or a moving surface (a ships deck in rough seas)+20
Move across or grab a surface as thin as a hair or a heavily moving surface (a ships deck in a storm)+30
Move or grab across a liquid surface or any surface during an earthquake+40
Move across or grab an insubstantial surface unable to support weight such as a cloud+50
Climbing with a bracing wall or ledges large enough to allow a man to stand-10
Climbing a perfectly smooth surface+15

Major Success: Achieving a major success with an Acrobatics skill check allows the character to continue the result beyond his original specification as much as the check result allows. If the character intended to climb 10 ft (2 squares) but achieved a major success and his check result allowed him to climb 15 ft (3 squares) then he may do so.

Minor Success: Achieving a minor success with an Acrobatics skill check allows the character to achieve the desired result specified for the check (e.g. jump 10 ft), the desired result cannot be improved upon even if the check result allows it.

Minor Failure: Suffering a minor failure with an Acrobatics skill check results in the character provoking Opportunity Actions from every threatened square the character occupies or passes through. The character suffers 1 point of damage from the failed manoeuver and if struck by an  attack from an Opportunity Action then his movement ends in the nearest empty space.

Major Failure: Suffering a major failure with an Acrobatics skill check results in the character failing to perform the specified action. The character suffers at least 1d6 damage from stumbling or otherwise injuring himself, if he is attempting to climb or jump then the character may fall partway through the attempt (but only if such a result does not kill the character outright).

Reflex Save Checks: A Reflex save check is in practice just an Acrobatics skill check and subject to all the modifiers and restrictions that affect other skill checks, typically most Save checks are Reaction checks and the DC is determined by the attack (although persistent attacks of extended duration – such as a binding spell – may allow the target Action Save checks to escape its effects). To perform a Reflex Save check determine the check result as normal for a skill check. Success or failure results are typically determined by the attack.

Retry: A character can retry an Acrobatics skill check as long as he is able to, he cannot however normally retry an Acrobatics skill check until success is achieved because failing an Acrobatics skill check has negative consequences to failure such as falling off a wall or failing to jump a chasm.

Special: Performing an Acrobatics check generally does not provoke an Opportunity Action from anyone whose threatened area the character passes through (unless he suffers a minor or major failure), as the check itself is graceful and dexterous and allows a character to naturally dodge any incoming attacks.

When attempting to Jump using the Acrobatics skill do not apply the +1 DC modifier per square of movement and instead add a +1 Circumstance modifier to the Acrobatics skill check per square of movement.

Appraise

The Appraise skill encompasses the valuation and identification of items.

Expertise: Jewellery, Trade Goods, Art, Magic, Technology (by era).

Synergy: None.

Action: An Appraise skill check usually requires at least a Standard Action, depending upon the rarity and complexity (magical items or advanced technology for instance) the GM may require up to 1 minute of study to perform the action. Merely looking at an item or collection is enough to determine the approximate value and properties of an item, although rare and complex items may require physical handling.

Example DC: The following DCs and modifiers can be applied to any Appraise check if deemed appropriate.

Example TaskBase DC
Appraise an Item10

DC Modifiers:

Example CircumstanceDC Modifier
Item is commonly available+0
Item is rare (specialist item or equipment, precious metals, gemstones, artwork, fine jewellery, all magic items are at least rare)+10
Item is exotic and not found in certain regions (note, familiarity in this exotic region may reduce this category to rare)+20
Item is unique (royal regalia, unique magical items+40
Item is unknown or is an artefact (has only ever been encountered by a handful of people in the Multiverse)+50
For every 10 items in the collection being appraised (not including coins)+1
Per item or magical property the item or item possesses+1

Major Success: Achieving a major success with an Appraise skill check allows the character to continue the result beyond his original specification as much as the check result allows. If the character intended to identify a single magical property or determine the value of a number of items, but achieved a major success and his check result allowed him to identify multiple magical properties then he may do so.

Minor Success: Achieving a minor success with an Appraise skill check allows the character to achieve the desired result, this result cannot be improved upon even if the check result allows it. The character may estimate an item’s value to within 1d10+5 percent of its actual cost price.

Minor Failure: A minor failure with an Appraise skill check allows the character to estimate the value of an item (or items) to within 2d20+10 percent of its actual cost price. The character fails to identify the magical or non magical properties of an item or the GM may reveal details of a property which the item does not possess but is similar to a property the item possesses.

Major Failure: A major failure with an Appraise skill check allows the character to estimate the value of an item (or items) to within 1d100+100 percent of its actual cost price. The character incorrectly identifies up to 3 magical or non magical properties of an item (the GM should select properties that are totally inappropriate such that the character believes the item to be vastly more powerful or less powerful than it actually is).

Retry: A character may retry an Appraise check as often as possible, but must be aware that his original check was incorrect in order to do so. A character may retry a check until successful, however retrying a check until successful requires a variety of information sources be available (specialist books for example) and 8 hours of study time.

Special: None.

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