1. Hero Creation >

2. Skills

Heroes slip unseen past the guards of a villainous mastermind. They tame and train the beasts of the wild. They piece together clues to a tyrant’s latest plot. They run along ledges in the dead of night in pursuit of their enemies. They change minds and win hearts.

They do so through the use of various skills, described in this chapter.

Skill Basics

Skills are learned abilities acquired through a combination of training (skill ranks) and natural talent (an ability). These factors combine to form the parts of a skill check, which is a roll of the die, plus the skill’s rank, key ability score, and any applicable modifiers.

Skill check = d20 + skill rank + key ability score + modifiers

The higher the roll, the better the result. You’re usually looking for a total that equals or exceeds a particular Difficulty or another character’s check total.

Skill Rank

Your rank in a skill indicates how well trained you are with it. You assign ranks from your role and level to skills, and the maximum rank you can have in any skill is your level +3. You can use some skills even if you aren’t trained in them (having no rank). This is known as using a skill untrained.

Ability Score

Each skill has a key ability, applied to the skill’s checks. Each skill’s key ability is noted in its description.


Miscellaneous modifiers to skill checks include favorable or unfavorable conditions, bonuses from feats, and penalties for not having proper tools, among others.

Acquiring Skills

You choose a certain number of skills your character knows at 1st level, based on your role and Intelligence score. For example, a warrior knows four skills at 1st level, plus or minus the character’s Intelligence score, so a warrior with Intelligence +1 is trained in five skills at 1st level. A 1st-level character is always trained in at least one skill, regardless of Intelligence. These starting skills begin at four ranks, the maximum rank for 1st level.

Improving Skills

As your hero advances in level, you gain additional ranks to assign to skills. You can assign these ranks to existing skills your hero knows, improving them up to the maximum rank of (level +3) or you can assign earned skill ranks to entirely new skills, making your hero trained with a rank in that skill.

Example: A 1st level adept has Concentration, Diplomacy, Knowledge (supernatural), and Stealth as her starting skills, all at rank 4. At 2nd level, the adept gains 4 more skill ranks. She may add one rank to each of her known skills, increasing them to 5 ranks each (the maximum rank for 2nd level), apply all 4 ranks to an entirely new skill, or split them up, perhaps adding a rank each to Concentration and Diplomacy, while applying the remaining 2 ranks to learning a new skill.

Untrained Skills

Characters can perform some tasks without any training in a skill, using only raw talent (as defined by their ability scores), but trained characters tend to be better at such things. If a skill description doesn’t include “Trained Only,” you can attempt tasks involving that skill even if you have no training in it. Your bonus for the skill check is just the key ability score for that skill, with no ranks added in. Untrained characters can still hide or swim, for example; they’re just not as good at it as those with training.

Skills that cannot be used untrained are designated as “Trained Only” in their descriptions. Attempts to use these skills untrained automatically fail. In addition to trained only skills, some skills given in this chapter may be inappropriate to certain settings, and the Narrator should feel free to limit access to those skills or ban them entirely. For example, a medieval knight isn’t going to learn the Computers skill and while a peasant might pick up ranks in Drive for his ox-cart, he won’t be using it to compete in the Indy 500.

How Skills Work

When you use a skill, make a skill check to see how well you do. The higher the result, the better the outcome. Based on the circumstances, your check result must equal or beat a particular Difficulty number. The harder the task, the higher the number you need to roll. See Checks in the Introduction for more information.

Interaction Skills

Certain skills, called interaction skills, are aimed at dealing with others through social interaction. Interaction skills allow you to influence attitudes and get others to cooperate with you. Since interaction skills are intended for dealing with others socially, they have certain requirements.

First, you must actually be able to interact with the subject or subjects of the skill. That means the subject must be aware of you and able to understand you. If you don’t speak the same language, or they can’t hear you for some reason, that’s the same as working without the proper tools, imposing a –4 on your skill check, since you have to convey your meaning through gestures, body language, tone, and so forth.

Interaction skills work best on intelligent subjects, ones with Intelligence –3 or higher. You can use them on creatures with lower Intelligence (–4 or –5) but with a –8 penalty on your check; they’re just too dumb to get the subtleties of your point. You can’t use interaction skills at all on subjects lacking a mental ability. (Try convincing a rock to be your friend—or afraid of you—sometime.)

Some interaction skills last a particular amount of time. Using Intimidate to demoralize an opponent, for example, lasts for only a few seconds (one round). In these cases, the time is always measured from the subject’s point of view. If you successfully demoralize an opponent, the effect lasts one full round starting on the target’s initiative and ending on the target’s place in the initiative order on the following round.

You can use interaction skills against groups, but you must be trying to influence the entire group in the same way. You can use Diplomacy, for example, to sway a group of people and improve their attitude toward you, but you must be trying to convince all of them about the same thing. Everyone in the group must be able to hear and understand you. You make one interaction skill check and the Narrator compares it against each person in the group (or against an average value for the group, to speed things up).

Specialty Skills

Some skills cover a wide range of knowledge or techniques. These skills are actually groups of similar skills, called specialty skills. When learning one of these skills, you must choose a specialty or a particular aspect of the skill your character is trained in. For example, you might choose the history specialty of Knowledge or the leatherworking specialty of Craft. Skill ranks in one specialty do not provide training in the skill’s other specialties.

Skill Descriptions

This section describes each skill, including its common uses. You may be able to use skills for tasks other than those given here. The Narrator sets the Difficulty and decides the results in those cases.

The format for skill descriptions follows. Items that don’t apply to a specific skill are left out of its description.

Skill Name

Key Ability, Trained Only, Interaction, Requires Specialization, Requires Tools

The skill name line and the line below it contain the following information:

Skill Name: What the skill is called. The skill name line is followed by a brief description of the skill and five other categories:

Check: How to make a check for the skill, what the results of the check are, and the basic Difficulty.


Each skill has a number of special rules which may or may not apply. If a skill has a particular dependency or requirement, this will be indicated in the Traits line.

  • Key Ability: The ability applied to the skill check.
  • Trained Only: If “Trained Only” is included, you must be trained in the skill in order to use it. If “Trained Only” is absent, characters may use it untrained.
  • Interaction: If “Interaction” is included, the skill is an interaction skill.
  • Requires Specialization: If “Requires Specialization” is included, you must choose a specialty for the skill.
  • Requires Tools: If “Requires Tools” is included, you need to have the proper tools to use the skill. Not having the proper tools results in a –4 penalty to the skill check.

Challenges: Any specific challenges associated with the skill and their effects.

Try Again: Conditions on retrying a check with the skill. If this section is absent, the skill can be retried an unlimited number of times.

Action: The type of action required to use the skill, how long it takes.

Special: Any extra information about the skill.

Skill Ability Untrained? Specialization? Action Take 10/20
Acrobatics Dex No No React or move 10
Bluff Cha Yes No Standard or full 10
Climb Str Yes No Move or full 10
Computers Int No No 10/20
Concentration Wis Yes No React
Craft Int No Yes 10 (20 on repair)
Diplomacy Cha Yes No Full 10
Disable Device Int No No Full 10/20
Disguise Cha Yes No 10
Drive Dex No No Move 10
Escape Artist Dex Yes No Full 20
Gather Information Cha Yes No 10
Handle Animal Cha Yes No 10/20
Intimidate Cha Yes No Standard or full 10
Jump Str Yes No Move 10
Knowledge Int No Yes React or full 10/20
Language No Yes
Medicine Wis No No 10/20
Notice Wis Yes No React or move 10/20
Perform Cha Yes Yes 10
Pilot Dex No No Move 10
Ride Dex No No Move 10
Search Int Yes No Full 10/20
Sense Motive Wis Yes No React 10
Sleight of Hand Dex No No Standard 10
Stealth Dex Yes No Move 10
Survival Wis Yes No 10
Swim Str Yes No Move or full 10

An “—” entry in the Action column means the skill takes longer than a full round. See the skill description for details.


Dexterity, Trained Only

You can flip, dive, roll, tumble, and perform other acrobatic maneuvers.

Check: You can make an Acrobatics check (Difficulty 5) to lessen the damage from a fall. Subtract the amount your roll exceeds the Difficulty (in feet) from the distance of a fall before determining damage. For example, an Acrobatics check of 20 (15 more than the Difficulty) reduces the effective distance of a fall by 15 feet. A fall reduced to 0 feet does no damage. You can make an Acrobatics check (Difficulty 25) to move through a space occupied by an opponent or obstacle (moving over, under, or around). A failed roll means you don’t get past the obstacle.

Surface Difficulty
More than 12 inches wide 5
7–12 inches wide 10
2–6 inches wide 15
Less than 2 inches wide 20
Uneven or angled +5
Slippery +5

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Acrobatics:

  • Accelerated Acrobatics: You can try to cross a precarious surface faster than normal. If you increase the Difficulty by 5, you can move your full speed as a move action. Moving twice your speed in a round requires the penalty plus two skill checks, one for each move action. You can also accept this penalty to charge across a precarious surface; this requires one skill check per multiple of your speed (or fraction thereof) that you charge.
  • Avoiding Being Tripped You can make an Acrobatics check in place of the normal Strength or Dexterity check to avoid a trip attack (see Trip in Chapter Six). You cannot use Acrobatics to make trip attacks, however.
  • Balancing: You can walk on a precarious surface. A successful check lets you move half your speed along the surface as a move action. A failure indicates you spend your move action just keeping your balance and do not move. A failure by 5 or more indicates you fall. The Difficulty is based on the surface. You lose your dodge bonus to Defense while balancing. If you take any damage while balancing, you must make another Acrobatics check to avoid falling.
  • Instant Stand: You can make an Acrobatics check (Difficulty 20) to stand up from a prone position as a free action rather than a move action.
  • Perfect Balance: In return for increasing the Difficulty of your Acrobatics check by 5, you move with such grace and agility that you maintain your dodge bonus while balancing.
  • Performance: You can use Acrobatics as if it were the Perform skill to impress an audience. See Perform later in this chapter.
  • Perilous Balance: You can shake or disturb the surface on which you are balancing (e.g., swaying on a tightrope). If your check succeeds after increasing the Difficulty by 5, you keep your balance and impose a +5 modifier on the Difficulty of all Acrobatics checks others must make on the surface until the next round.

Try Again: No.

Action: You can try to reduce damage from a fall as a reaction once per fall. Balancing while moving one-half your speed is a move action. Accelerated movement, allowing you to balance while moving your full speed, is also a move action.

Special: The balancing aspects of Acrobatics can be used untrained.


Charisma, Interaction

Bluff is the skill of making the outlandish seem credible. It covers acting, fast-talking, trickery, and subterfuge.

Check: A Bluff check is opposed by the target’s Bluff or Sense Motive check, whichever is higher (it’s harder to bluff someone who knows all the tricks). Favorable and unfavorable circumstances weigh heavily on the outcome of a bluff. Two circumstances can work against you: the bluff is hard to believe, or the action the bluff requires goes against the target’s self-interest, nature, or orders.

If it’s important, the Narrator can distinguish between the two. For instance, if the target gets a +10 bonus because the bluff demands something risky, and the target’s Sense Motive check succeeds by 10 or less, then the target didn’t so much see through the bluff as prove reluctant to go along with it. If the target’s Sense Motive check succeeds by 11 or more, he sees through the bluff, and would have even if it had not placed any unusual demands on him (that is, even without the +10 bonus).

A successful Bluff check indicates the target reacts as you want, at least for a short time (usually 1 round or less), or the target believes something you want him to believe.

Circumstances Sense Motive Modifier
The target wants to believe you. –5
The bluff is believable and doesn’t affect the target much one way or the other. +0
The bluff is a little hard to believe or puts the target at some kind of risk. +5
The bluff is hard to believe or entails a large risk for the target. +10
The bluff is way out there; it’s almost too incredible to consider. +20

Diversion: You can use Bluff to help you hide. A successful Bluff check gives you the diversion needed to attempt a Stealth check while people are aware of you.

Feint: You can use Bluff to mislead an opponent in combat. If your Bluff check succeeds, the next attack you make against the target ignores his dodge or parry bonus to Defense.

Innuendo: You can use Bluff to send secret messages while talking about other things. The Difficulty for a basic message is 10. Complex messages have Difficulties of 15 or 20. The recipient of the message, and anyone listening in, makes a Bluff or Sense Motive check against the same Difficulty to understand your message. Whether trying to send or understand a message, a failure by 5 or more points means the receiver misinterprets the message in some fashion.

Seduction: You can use Bluff to convince someone else you are a potential romantic partner, provided they could possibly be attracted to you (in the Narrator’s judgment). Make a Bluff check against your target’s Sense Motive check. Success improves the target’s attitude like a use of the Diplomacy skill. Seduction is a one-time modification of the target’s attitude, not a long-term change.

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Bluff:

  • Conversational Paralysis: In return for a –5 penalty to your Bluff check, a successful check dazes your target for one round. Your claims are so outlandish the target can do nothing but sputter or reel in confusion. This skill challenge does not work in combat situations. Each additional –5 check penalty you accept increases the duration of the effect by one round.
  • Durable Lie: In return for a –5 penalty on your check, your target believes your bluff longer than usual. The target continues to act as you wish for an additional round. You can apply another –5 penalty to extend this to two rounds. This challenge does not work with the feint use of Bluff.

Try Again: Generally, a failed Bluff check makes the target too suspicious to try again in the same circumstances. For feinting in combat, you may try again freely.



Action: A bluff takes at least a full round, but can take much longer if you try something elaborate. Using Bluff as a feint in combat is a standard action, as is using Bluff to create a diversion to hide.

You’re skilled in scaling angled and uneven surfaces.

Check: With each successful Climb check, you can move up, down, or across a slope, wall, or other steep incline at one-quarter your normal speed. The Difficulty of the check depends on the conditions of the climb. If the climb is less than 10 feet, reduce the Difficulty by 5.

A failed Climb check means you make no progress, and a check that fails by 5 or more means you fall from whatever height you attained (unless you are secured with some kind of harness or other equipment).

If you fall, make a Climb check (Difficulty equal to climb’s Difficulty + 20). Success means you arrest your fall about halfway and suffer no damage.

It’s somewhat easier to catch someone else who falls, assuming they are within arm’s reach. Make a Climb check (Difficulty equal to climb’s Difficulty +10) to do so. If you fail the check, you do not catch the other person. If you fail by 5 or more, you fall as well.

Difficulty Example Wall or Surface or Task
0 A slope too steep to walk up. A ladder.
5 A knotted rope with a wall to brace against.
10 A rope with a wall to brace against. A knotted rope. A surface with sizable ledges to hold on to and stand on, such as a rugged cliff-face.
15 Any surface with adequate handholds and footholds (natural or artificial), such as a rough natural rock surface or a tree. An unknotted rope. Pulling yourself up when dangling by your hands.
20 An uneven surface with just a few narrow handholds and footholds, such as a coarse masonry wall or a sheer cliff face with a few crevices and small toeholds.
25 A rough surface with no real handholds or footholds, such as a brick wall.
25 Overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds.
A perfectly smooth, flat, vertical surface can’t be climbed.
–10 Climbing inside a chimney, or other location where you can brace against two opposite walls (reduces normal Difficulty by 10).
–5 Climbing a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls (reduces normal Difficulty by 5).
+5 Surface is slippery (increases normal Difficulty by 5).

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Climb:

  • Accelerated Climb: You can try to climb more quickly than normal. By accepting a +5 Difficulty modifier to your check, you can move half your speed instead of one-quarter your speed while climbing. You can accept this challenge twice, for a total Difficulty modifier of +10, to move at your normal speed while climbing.
  • Fighting While Climbing: Since you can’t easily avoid attacks, you are flat-footed while climbing (losing your dodge bonus to Defense). Any time you take damage while climbing, make a Climb check against the Difficulty of the climb. Failure means you fall.
  • Fighting Climb: You can accept a +5 Difficulty modifier to a Climb check to maintain your dodge bonus to defense while climbing.
  • Secured Climb: If you take a +5 Difficulty modifier to your Climb check, you do not have to make a Climb check to maintain your position if you take damage. You climb in such a way as to brace yourself for any attacks.
  • Action: Climbing is a move action.


Intelligence, Trained Only

Special: Someone using a rope can haul a character up (or lower a character down) by sheer strength. Use a character’s carrying capacity to determine how much weight he can lift in this way (see Carrying in Chapter Six: Playing the Game).

You’re trained in the operation of computers and modifying or creating software.

Check: Most normal computer operations—using software, getting your e-mail—don’t require a Computers check and can be done untrained. However, searching an unfamiliar network for a particular file, writing programs, altering existing programs to perform differently, and breaking computer security all require skill checks (and training).

Find File: The Difficulty and the time required to locate a file on an unfamiliar system are determined by the size of the site, from 10 for a personal computer to 25 for a massive network. Finding public information on the Internet does not fall under this category; this only pertains to finding files on unfamiliar computer systems.

Defeat Computer Security: The Difficulty of the check is determined by the quality of the security installed to defend the system, from 20 for minimal security to 40 for the best-defended systems. If the check fails by 5 or more, the system immediately alerts its administrator that there has been an unauthorized entry. An alerted administrator may attempt to identify you or cut off access to the system.

Defend Security: If you are the system administrator for a site (which may be as simple as being the owner of a personal computer), you can defend it against intruders. If the site alerts you to an intruder, you can attempt to cut off the intruder’s access or even to identify the intruder. To cut off access, make an opposed Computers check against the intruder. If the check succeeds, the intruder’s session is ended. The intruder might be able to defeat your security and access your site again, but has to start over. Attempting to cut off access takes a full round. One surefire way to prevent further access is to simply shut the site down. With a single computer, that’s no big deal, but on a large site with many computers (or computers controlling functions that can’t be interrupted), it may be time-consuming or even impossible. To identify the intruder, make an opposed Computers check. If the check succeeds, you learn the site from which the intruder is operating (if it’s a single computer, you learn the name of the computer’s owner). Identifying the intruder requires 1 minute and is a separate check from cutting off access. This check can only be made if the intruder is accessing your site for the entire length of the check—if the intruder’s session ends before you make the Computers check, your attempt fails.

Degrade Programming: You can destroy or alter programs on a computer to make it harder or impossible to use. Crashing a computer with a Difficulty 10 check simply shuts it down. Its user can restart it without a skill check, although restarting takes at least 1 minute. Destroying programming with a Difficulty 15 check makes the computer unusable until the programming is repaired. Damaging programming with a Difficulty 20 check imposes a –4 penalty on all checks made with the computer (sometimes this is preferable to destroying the programming, since the user might not know anything is wrong, and won’t simply decide to use a different computer). Fixing damaged programming requires an hour and a Computers check against a Difficulty equal to the Difficulty for damaging it + 5. Destroyed programming must be re-installed.

Write Program: You can create a program to help with a specific task. Doing so grants a +2 bonus to the task. A specific task, in this case, is one type of operation with one target. The Difficulty to write a program is 20; the time required is one hour.

Action: Computers requires at least a full-round action, usually a minute or more.

Special: You can take 10 when using the Computers skill. You can take 20 in some cases, but not those involving a penalty for failure. You cannot take 20 to defeat computer security or defend security, for example.



You can focus your mind and concentrate despite distractions.

Check: Make a Concentration check whenever you might be distracted (by damage, harsh weather, and so on). If the check succeeds, you may continue what you are doing. If the check fails, the action you’re attempting also fails. The check Difficulty depends on the nature of the distraction.

Distraction Difficulty
Damaged during the action 10 + damage bonus
Taking continuous damage during the action 10 + half of continuous damage bonus last dealt
Vigorous motion (bouncy vehicle ride, small boat in rough water, below decks in a storm-tossed ship, riding a horse) 10
Violent motion (very rough vehicle ride, small boat in rapids, on deck of storm- tossed ship, galloping horse) 15
Extraordinarily violent motion (earthquake) 20
Bound, grappling, or pinned 20
Weather is a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet 5
Weather is wind-driven hail, dust, or debris 10

Concentrating on Powers: Using or maintaining various supernatural powers often requires Concentration checks, particularly when distracted. See Chapter Four for more information.

Try Again: Yes, though a success doesn’t cancel the effects of a previous failure, such as the disruption of an action you were concentrating on.


Intelligence, Trained Only, Requires Specialization, Requires Tools

Action: Making a Concentration check doesn’t require an action; it is either a reaction (when attempted in response to a distraction) or part of another action (when attempted actively).

Craft is actually a number of separate skills involving arts and crafts. You must choose a specialty, such as chemical, electronic, mechanical, pharmaceutical, structural, or visual art, or others, as chosen by the Narrator. Training in one Craft specialty does not provide skill in other specialties.

Check: Craft skills are specifically focused on making things. To use a Craft skill effectively, you must have an appropriate set of tools.

Making Items: The Difficulty, time, and resources required to make an item depend on its complexity. Make a Wealth check against the Wealth Difficulty to acquire the necessary raw materials, and then make your Craft check. (Example Difficulties are given in the table.) If your Craft check succeeds, you make the item. If the Craft check fails, you do not produce a usable end result, and any raw materials are wasted.

Complexity Craft Difficulty Wealth Difficulty Time Examples
Simple 15 5 1 hr. Garment, household item
Moderate 20 10 12 hrs. Fine garment, lock, weapon
Complex 25 15 24 hrs. Plate armor, mechanism
Advanced 30 20 60 hrs. Building, vehicle


Charisma, Interaction

If you don’t have the proper tools, you take a –4 penalty on Craft checks.

You’re skilled in dealing with people, from proper etiquette and social graces to a way with words and public speaking. Use this skill to make a good impression, negotiate, and win people over.

Diplomacy can influence a character’s attitude. The Narrator chooses the character’s initial attitude based on circumstances. Most of the time, people the heroes meet are indifferent toward them, but a specific situation may call for a different initial attitude. The Difficulties given on the Influence table in Chapter Six show what it takes to change someone’s attitude with a use of Diplomacy. You don’t declare a specific outcome; instead, make the check and compare the result to the table to see what you’ve accomplished. For more information, see Social Actions in Chapter Six: Playing the Game.

Check: You can change others’ attitudes with a successful Diplomacy check. In negotiations, all participants roll opposed Diplomacy checks to see who gets the advantage. Opposed checks also resolve cases where two advocates plead opposing cases before a third party.

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Diplomacy:

  • Combat Diplomacy: You can make a Diplomacy check in combat as a full-round action by accepting a +10 modifier to the Difficulty. Opponents in combat with you are considered hostile. An unfriendly opponent doesn’t attack you unless you give him reason to do so. Indifferent foes stop fighting altogether, while a helpful one actually joins your side, even turning against former allies.

Disable Device

Intelligence, Trained Only, Requires Tools

Action: Diplomacy is at least a full-round action. The Narrator may determine some negotiations require a longer period of time, perhaps much longer.

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Craft:

  • Fast Craft: You may add +5 or +10 to the indicated Difficulty to craft an item. This increase allows you to make the item faster than usual, reducing the time to half or one-quarter normal, respectively.
  • Masterwork: By increasing Difficulty and cost by +5, you can make a masterwork item. These items are especially well made and provide a +1 bonus when used. For making masterwork weapons and armor, see Chapter Five: Equipment.

Try Again: Yes, although in some cases the Narrator may decide a failed attempt to repair an item has a negative effect, preventing further attempts.

Action: The time to make something varies depending on its complexity, as shown in the table. The Narrator may increase or decrease the time for a particular Craft project as necessary.

Special: Generally, you can take 10 when using a Craft skill, but can’t take 20 since doing so represents multiple attempts, and you use up raw materials with each attempt. You can take 10 or take 20 on repair checks.


You can use Craft skills to repair damaged items. In general, simple repairs have a Difficulty of 10 to 15 and require no more than a few minutes to accomplish. More complex repair work has a Difficulty of 20 or higher and can require an hour or more to complete. The repairs have a cost 5 lower than making the item (negligible for simple items).

Forgery: Characters can use Craft to produce forgeries in their areas of specialty. The result of the Craft check becomes the Difficulty for a Notice check to detect the forgery. The Narrator can modify either the Craft or Notice check based on the conditions and the characters’ familiarity with the original subject.

Try Again: Generally, trying again doesn’t work. Even if the initial check succeeds, the other character can only be persuaded so far. If the initial check fails, the other character has probably become more firmly committed to his position, and trying again is futile. At the Narrator’s discretion, you can try again when the situation changes in some way: you find a new approach to your argument, new evidence appears, and so forth.

You can disarm or sabotage various devices, including locks and traps.

Check: The Narrator makes Disable Device checks secretly so you don’t necessarily know whether you have succeeded.

Open Lock: You can pick locks. You must have thieves’ tools. The Difficulty depends on the quality of the lock.

Lock Quality Difficulty
Simple 20
Average 25
Good 30
Amazing 40
Traps and Sabotage

Disabling a simple mechanical device has a Difficulty of 10. More intricate and complex devices have higher Difficulties. The Narrator rolls the check. If the check succeeds, you disable the device. If the check fails by 4 or less, you have failed but can try again. If you fail by 5 or more, something goes wrong. If it’s a trap, you set if off. If it’s some sort of sabotage, you think that the device is disabled, but it’s not. You can rig simple devices to work normally for a while and then fail later, if you choose.

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Disable Device:

  • Hide Tampering: If you add +5 to your Difficulty, you can conceal any tampering with a device. Anyone who inspects the device must make a check against your Disable Device check result to notice your tampering. On a failed check, it goes unnoticed.

Try Again: Yes, though you must be aware you have failed in order to try again.

Action: Disabling a simple device is a full-round action. Intricate or complex devices require multiple rounds at the Narrator’s discretion.

Special: You can take 10 when making a Disable Device check. You can take 20 to open a lock or to disable a device, unless trying to prevent your tampering from being noticed, or if there is a consequence for failure (such as setting off a trap).


Charisma, Requires Tools

If you do not have the proper tools, you take a –4 penalty on your check.

You can use makeup, costumes, and other props to change your appearance.

Check: Your Disguise check determines the effectiveness of your disguise. It is opposed by others’ Notice checks. Make one Disguise check even if several people make Notice checks. The Narrator makes the Disguise check secretly so you are not sure exactly how well your disguise will hold up under scrutiny.

If you don’t draw any attention to yourself, however, others don’t get to make Notice checks. If you come to the attention of people who are suspicious, they get to make a Notice check. (The Narrator can assume suspicious observers take 10 on their Notice checks.)

The effectiveness of your disguise depends in part on how much you attempt to change your appearance.

Disguise Modifier
Minor details only +5
Appropriate uniform or costume +2
Disguised as different sex –2
Disguised as different age –2

If you are impersonating a particular individual, those who know the subject automatically get to make Notice checks. Furthermore, they get a bonus on the check.

Familiarity Bonus
Recognizes on sight +4
Friend or associate +6
Close friend +8
Intimate +10

Usually, an individual makes a Notice check to detect a disguise immediately upon meeting you and each hour thereafter. If you casually meet many different people, each for a short time, the Narrator checks once per day or hour using an average Notice modifier for the group (assuming they take 10).

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Disguise:

  • Face in the Crowd: With a –5 penalty to your check result, you can craft a disguise that is less likely to draw attention. Only people who specifically single you out and try to notice your deception receive Notice checks to do so. Guards and other passive observers take no special notice of you unless you draw attention to yourself or interact directly with them.
  • Quick Change: You can adopt a disguise as a full-round action by taking a –5 penalty to your check. However, anyone who comes within one visual range increment of you (usually 10 feet) automatically sees through your disguise due to its makeshift nature.

Try Again: No, though you can assume the same disguise again at a later time. If others saw through the previous disguise, they are automatically treated as suspicious if you assume the same disguise again.

Action: A disguise requires at least 10 minutes of preparation. The Narrator makes Notice checks for those who encounter you immediately upon meeting you and again each hour or day thereafter, depending on circumstances.


Dexterity, Trained Only

Special: If you don’t have any makeup, costumes, or props, you take a –4 penalty on Disguise checks.

Use this skill to operate any ground or water vehicle. Vehicles that move through the air or space are coverd by the Pilot skill.

Check: Make a check only when some unusual circumstance exists or when driving in a dramatic situation (being chased or attacked, for example, or trying to reach a destination in a limited amount of time). While driving, you can attempt maneuvers or stunts.

Maneuver Difficulty
Easy (low-speed turn) 5
Average (sudden reverse, dodging obstacles) 10
Difficult (tight turns) 15
Challenging (bootlegger reverse) 20
Formidable (high-speed maneuvers, jumping obstacles) 25

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Drive:

  • One Hand on the Wheel: By taking a +5 Difficulty increase to your Drive check, you can perform a standard action in the same round as your Drive check with no penalty.

Try Again: Most Drive checks have consequences for failure that make trying again impossible.

Action: A Drive check is a move action. You can perform a standard action during the same round, but suffer a –4 penalty due to the distractions involved in driving.

Escape Artist


Special: Routine tasks, such as ordinary movement, don’t require a skill check and may be done untrained.

You’re trained in escaping from bonds and other restraints.

Check: Make a check to escape from restraints or to squeeze through a tight space.

Restraint Difficulty
Ropes Opponent’s Dexterity bonus +20
Tight space 30
Grapple Opponent’s grapple check

Challenges: You can take these challenges with Gather Information:

  • Discretion: While seeking out news and information, you keep a low profile. You increase your Gather Information check Difficulty by +5, but you avoid leaving any clues about the information you seek. If your check fails, you may be detected as normal, but you still avoid spreading clues about what you seek.
Tight Spaces

For a tight space, a check is only called for if your head fits but your shoulders don’t. If the space is longer than your height, such as a chimney, the Narrator may call for multiple checks. You can’t fit through a space your head doesn’t fit through. You can also reach through a tight space that your hand fits through but your arm normally does not by making an Escape Artist check.

Escaping Grapples: You can make an Escape Artist check opposed by an opponent’s grapple check to get out of a grapple or out of a pinned condition (so you are just being grappled). Doing so is a standard action, so if you escape the grapple you can move in the same round.

Action: Making a check to escape from being bound by ropes or other restraints requires 1 minute. Escaping a grapple is a standard action. Squeezing or reaching through a tight space takes at least 1 minute, maybe longer, depending on the distance.

Try Again: Yes, but it takes additional time for each check, and you may draw attention to yourself if you repeatedly pursue a certain type of information.

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Escape Artist:

  • Conceal Efforts: In exchange for a +5 to the Difficulty, you can conceal your efforts to escape. Anyone who inspects your bindings must make a Notice check with a Difficulty equal to your Escape Artist check result. If the Notice check fails, they do not notice your efforts to escape. So, for example, you could leave your bonds apparently in place so a villain doesn’t realize that you’re actually free.

Gather Information

Charisma, Interaction

Action: A Gather Information check takes at least an hour, possibly several, at the Narrator’s discretion.

You know how to make contacts, collect gossip and rumors, question informants, and otherwise gather information from people.

Check: By succeeding at a skill check (Difficulty 10) you can get a feel for the major news and rumors in an area. This assumes no obvious reasons exist why information would be withheld. The higher the check result, the more complete the information. Information ranges from general to protected, and the Difficulty increases accordingly for the type of information you want to gather, as given in the table below.

Information Difficulty
General 10
Specific 15
Restricted 20
Protected 25

General information concerns local happenings, rumors, gossip, and the like. Specific information usually relates to a particular question. Restricted information includes facts that aren’t generally known and require you to locate someone who has access to such information. Protected information is even harder to come by and might involve some danger, either for the one asking the questions or the one providing the answers.

There’s a chance someone takes note of anyone asking about restricted or protected information. The Narrator decides when this is the case. In some situations, opposed Gather Information checks are appropriate to see if someone else notices your inquiries (and you notice theirs).

Handle Animal


You know how to handle, care for, and train various types of animals.

Try Again: You can make another check after a failed check if you are squeezing through a tight space. If the situation permits, you can make additional checks as long as you are not being actively opposed.

Check: The time required to get an effect and the Difficulty depend on what you are trying to do.

Task Time Difficulty
Handle an animal Move action 10
“Push” an animal Full-round action 25
Teach an animal a trick 1 week See text
Train an animal for a purpose 4 weeks See text

Handle an Animal

This means to command an animal to perform a task or trick it knows. If the animal’s condition is something other than normal (it’s fatigued or injured, for example), the Difficulty increases by +5. If the check is successful, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

“Push” an Animal: Pushing an animal means getting it to perform a task or trick it doesn’t know but is physically capable of doing. If the check is successful, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

Teach an Animal a Trick: You can teach an animal a specific trick, such as “attack” or “stay,” with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal check (Difficulty 15 for simple tricks, 20 or more for complex tricks). An animal with an Intelligence of –5 can learn a maximum of three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence of –4 can learn a maximum of six tricks.

Train an Animal: Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can train an animal for a general purpose, like combat, guarding, riding, and so forth. This requires a Difficulty 20 skill check. Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a set of tricks fitting a common scheme. An animal can be trained for one purpose only.

Try Again: Yes.

Action: See above.


Charisma, Interaction

Special: An untrained character uses Charisma checks to handle and push animals, but can’t teach or train animals.

You know how to use threats (real or implied) to get others to cooperate with you.

Check: Your Intimidate check is opposed by the target’s modified level check (d20 + target’s total level + target’s Wisdom score + target’s modifiers on saves against fear). If your check succeeds, you may treat the target as friendly for 10 minutes, but only for purposes of actions taken while in your presence. That is, the target retains his normal attitude, but will talk, advise, offer limited help, or advocate on your behalf while intimidated. Your target will only cooperate so much, and won’t necessarily obey your every command or do anything that would directly endanger himself.

If you perform some action that makes you more imposing, you gain a +2 bonus on your Intimidate check. If your target clearly has a superior position, you suffer a –2 penalty on your Intimidate check.

If your Intimidate check fails by 5 or more, the target may actually do the opposite of what you wanted.

Demoralizing: You can use Intimidate in combat to demoralize an opponent, shaking their confidence. Make an Intimidate check as a standard action. If it succeeds, your target is shaken (–2 on all attack rolls, checks, and saving throws, except Toughness saves) for one round.

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Intimidate:

  • Mass Intimidate: You can attempt to intimidate more than one subject at a time. You suffer a –2 penalty to your check per opponent beyond the first.
  • Power Intimidate: In return for a –5 penalty to your Intimidate check, you can increase the penalty you inflict for demoralizing a foe by –1 or force your subject to take an action that is against his interests (but not life threatening). You can take this challenge multiple times to increase the demoralize penalty. However, you can’t use Intimidate to force someone to accept a life-threatening order.

Try Again: No. Even if the initial check succeeds, the other character can only be intimidated so much, and trying again doesn’t help. If the initial check fails, the other character has become more firmly resolved to resist, and trying again is futile. You can make Intimidate checks to demoralize an opponent in combat until you fail, after which the target is no longer intimidated by you.

Action: An Intimidate check is a full-round action. Demoralizing in combat is a standard action.



Special: You add a +2 bonus to your Intimidate check for every size category you are larger than your target. Conversely, you take a –2 penalty to your check for every size category you are smaller than your target (see Size in Chapter Eight).

You can jump further than usual.

Action: Jump is a move action.

Check: Distance moved by jumping, which is a move action, is counted against your maximum movement in a round. You can start a jump at the end of one turn and complete the jump at the beginning of your next turn.

Long Jump: This is a horizontal jump. At the midpoint of the jump, you attain a vertical height equal to one-quarter the horizontal distance. The Difficulty of a long jump is 5 plus the distance in feet.

High Jump: This is a vertical leap, made to jump up to grasp something overhead, such as a tree limb or ledge. The Difficulty of a high jump is 10 plus twice the distance in feet.

Hop Up: You can jump up onto an object of half your height or less with a Difficulty 10 Jump check. Doing so counts as 10 feet of movement.

Try Again: No.


Intelligence, Trained Only, Requires Specialization

This skill encompasses several specialties, each of them treated as a separate skill. These specialties are defined below.

Check: Make a Knowledge check to see if you know something. The Difficulty for answering a question is 10 for easy questions, 15 for basic questions, and 20 to 30 for difficult questions. The Narrator sets the difficulty for a particular question. Knowledge specialties, and the topics each one encompasses, are as follows:

  • Art: Fine arts and graphic arts, including art history and artistic techniques. Antiques, modern art, photography, and performance art forms such as music and dance, among others.
  • Behavioral Sciences: Psychology, sociology, and criminology.
  • Business: Business procedures, investment strategies, and corporate structures. Bureaucratic procedures and how to navigate them.
  • Civics: Law, legislation, litigation, and legal rights and obligations. Political and governmental institutions and processes.
  • Current Events: Recent happenings in the news, sports, politics, entertainment, and foreign affairs.
  • Earth Sciences: Geology, geography, oceanography, and paleontology.
  • History: Events, personalities, and cultures of the past. Archaeology and antiquities.
  • Life Sciences: Biology, botany, genetics, medicine, and forensics.
  • Physical Sciences: Astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and engineering.
  • Popular Culture: Popular music and personalities, genre films and books, urban legends, and trivia.
  • Streetwise: Street and urban culture, local underworld personalities and events.
  • Supernatural: The supernatural, whatever it may encompass in the setting (and regardless of whether it is true or not).
  • Tactics: Techniques and strategies for disposing and maneuvering forces in combat.
  • Technology: Current developments in cutting-edge devices, as well as the background necessary to identify various technological devices.
  • Theology and Philosophy: Liberal arts, ethics, philosophical concepts, and the study of religious faith, practice, and experience.

Try Again: Usually no. The check represents what a character knows; thinking about a topic a second time doesn’t let you know something you didn’t know before. The Narrator may allow another Knowledge check if a character gets access to a better source of information. For example, a hero who doesn’t know the answer to a particular question on his own might get another check with access to a library (and could take 20 on that check, depending on the circumstances).

Action: A Knowledge check can be a reaction, but otherwise requires a full-round action. Taking 20 on a Knowledge check requires at least an hour, longer if the Narrator decides the information you’re looking for is particularly obscure or otherwise restricted.

Special: An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, a character can only answer easy or basic questions about a topic. Trained Only, Requires Specialization

Player versus Character Knowledge: Knowledge skills measure what your character knows about various things, whether you know anything about them or not. It’s fairly easy to measure what your character knows by making the appropriate Knowledge skill check. However, players may know things their characters do not, either because of the player’s life experience or knowledge of the game and its rules. In this case, the Narrator may prefer players limit themselves to what their characters know via their skills and senses rather than what they may or may not know about a given situation as players of the game. If there’s a question as to how to handle an issue of player versus character knowledge in the game, consult your Narrator.


You can take 10 when making a Knowledge check. You can take 20 only if you have access to the appropriate research materials (such as a library).

Languages are unusual skills. They are not based on an ability score and do not require checks. Instead, your rank in Language measures how many languages you can speak, read, and write. Unskilled characters can speak, read, and write their native language, plus one additional language per point of Intelligence. Your Narrator will tell you what languages your hero can learn.


Characters are assumed to be literate in their native language and any other language they know. At the Narrator’s discretion, characters may have to spend an additional rank or bonus language to be literate in a language that uses a different alphabet or style of writing from the character’s native language (such as Japanese kanji or Greek for an English speaker).


Wisdom, Trained Only, Requires Tools

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Medicine:

  • Diagnosis (Difficulty 10): You can diagnose injuries and ailments with an eye toward providing treatment. At the Narrator’s discretion, a successful diagnosis can provide a +2 bonus on Medicine checks for treatment. This takes at least a full-round action, if not longer.
  • Heal Thyself: Taking a –5 penalty on your check, you can use the Medicine skill on yourself to diagnose, provide care, or treat disease or poison.
  • Provide Care (Difficulty 15): Providing care means treating a wounded person for a day or more or providing routine medical care, such as assisting in the delivery of a baby. If successful, the patient adds your Medicine rank to any recovery rolls (see Recovery in Chapter Six). You can tend up to your skill rank in patients at one time.
  • Revive (Difficulty 15): With a medical kit, you can remove the dazed, stunned, or unconscious condition from a character. This check is a standard action. A successful check removes the condition. You can’t revive an unconscious character who is dying without stabilizing the character first.
  • Stabilize (Difficulty 15): With a medical kit, you can tend to a character who is dying. As a standard action, a successful Medicine check stabilizes the dying character.
  • Treat Disease (Difficulty 15): You can tend to a character infected with a treatable disease. Every time the diseased character makes a saving throw against disease effects (after the initial contamination), you can first make a Medicine check requiring 10 minutes. If your check succeeds, you provide a bonus on the diseased character’s saving throw equal to your Medicine rank.
  • Treat Poison (Difficulty 15): You can tend to a poisoned character. When a poisoned character makes a saving throw against a poison’s secondary effect, you first make a Medicine check as a standard action. If the check succeeds, you provide a bonus on the poisoned character’s saving throw equal to your Medicine rank.

Retry: No, because there are no Language checks. You either know a language, or you don’t.

Try Again: Yes, for reviving dazed, stunned, or unconscious characters, and stabilizing dying characters. No, for all other uses of the skill.

Action: Medicine checks take different amounts of time based on the task at hand, as described above.

Special: You can take 10 when making a Medicine check. You can take 20 only when giving long-term care or attempting to revive dazed, stunned, or unconscious characters. If you do not have the appropriate medical equipment, you take a –4 penalty on your skill check.



You use this skill to notice and perceive things.

Check: Make a skill check to notice something. Notice checks generally suffer a penalty of –1 per 10 feet between you and the thing you’re trying to notice. If you’re distracted, you take a –5 penalty on Notice checks. Making out details—such as clearly hearing a conversation or reading text—requires you to beat the Difficulty of the Notice check by 10.

The Narrator might make Notice checks secretly so you don’t know whether there was something to notice. The most common sorts of Notice checks are as follows: You’re trained in understanding the body and treating injuries and illness.

Check: The Difficulty and effect depend on the task attempted.

Difficulty Sound
–10 A battle
0 People talking
10 A person walking at a slow pace, trying not to make any noise
30 A bird flying through the air
+5 Through a door
+10 Listener asleep
+15 Through a solid wall

Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Notice:

  • Listening: Make a check against a Difficulty based on how loud the noise is or against an opposed Stealth check.
  • Spotting: Make a check against a Difficulty based on how visible the object is. Spot is often used to notice a person or creature hiding from view. In such cases, your Notice check is opposed by the Stealth check of the character trying not to be seen. Spot is also used to detect someone in disguise (see the Disguise skill) or to notice a concealed weapon on another person.
  • Other Senses: You can make Notice checks involving smell, taste, and touch, as appropriate. Use the same guidelines as listen and spot checks above. Noticing something obvious is Difficulty 0. Subtle things are around Difficulty 10, hidden things Difficulty 20 or more. Noticing subtle supernatural phenomena requires special powers (see Chapter Four: Powers for details).
  • Locate Noise For a –5 penalty on a Notice (listen) check, you can attempt to pinpoint the source of a sound. A successful check tells you the exact location. The source still gets the benefits of total concealment, but you can attack it even if you can’t see it. Among other things, this allows you to attack while blinded or fighting an invisible foe. If your check fails, you become confused as to the location of the source of the sound.
  • Try Again: You can make a Notice check every time you have the opportunity to notice something new. As a move action, you can attempt to notice something you failed (or believe you failed) to notice previously.

    Action: A Notice check is either a reaction (if called for by the Narrator) or a move action (if you actively take the time to try to notice something).

    Special: When several characters are trying to notice the same thing, the Narrator can make a single d20 roll and use it for all the characters’ skill checks.


    Charisma, Interaction, Requires Specialization

    You can take 10 or take 20 when making a Notice check. Taking 20 means you spend 1 minute attempting to notice something that may or may not be there.

    This skill encompasses several types of performance, each treated as a separate skill.

    Check: You are accomplished in some type of artistic expression and know how to put on a performance. The quality of your performance depends on your check result.

    The Perform specialties are as follows:

    • Acting: You can perform drama, comedy, or action-oriented roles with some level of skill.
    • Comedy: You are a comedian, capable of performing a stand-up routine or skit for an audience.
    • Dance: You are a dancer, capable of performing rhythmic and patterned movements to music.
    • Keyboards: You can play keyboard instruments, such as pianos, organs, and harpsichords.
    • Oratory: You can deliver dramatic and effective speeches and monologues.
    • Percussion Instruments: You can play percussion instruments, such as drums, cymbals, triangle, xylophone, and tambourine.
    • Singing: You can sing with some level of skill.
    • Stringed Instruments: You can play stringed instruments, such as banjo, guitar, harp, and violin.
    • Wind Instruments: You can play wind instruments, such as flute, bugle, trumpet, tuba, bagpipes, and trombone.

    Furthermore, since the Perform skill requires specialization, Narrators and players shouldn’t feel restricted to the instruments on the list provided. New specialties can be created as required by the campaign setting.

    Check Result Performance
    10 Amateur performance. Audience appreciates your performance, but isn’t impressed.
    15 Routine performance. Audience enjoys your performance, but it isn’t exceptional.
    20 Great performance. Audience impressed.
    25 Memorable performance. Audience enthusiastic.
    30 Masterful performance. Audience awed.

    Try Again: Not for the same performance and audience.

    Action: A Perform check usually requires at least several minutes to an hour or more.

    Special: If you don’t have an appropriate instrument, you automatically fail any Perform check requiring it. At the Narrator’s discretion, impromptu instruments may be employed, but you take a –4 penalty on the check.


    Dexterity, Trained Only

    Use this skill to pilot any vehicle that travels through the air or space, such as planes, helicopters, or spacecraft.

    Check: Routine tasks, such as ordinary movement, don’t require a skill check. Make a check only when piloting in a dramatic situation (being chased or attacked, for example, or trying to reach a destination in time). While piloting, you can attempt simple maneuvers or stunts.

    Action: A Pilot check is a move action. You can perform a standard action during the same round, but suffer a –4 penalty due to the distractions involved in piloting.

    Maneuver Difficulty
    Easy (low-speed turn) 5
    Average (sudden reverse, dodging obstacles) 10
    Difficult (tight turns) 15
    Challenging (loop, barrel roll) 20
    Formidable (high-speed maneuvers, dodging obstacles) 25

    Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Pilot:

    • One Hand on the Wheel: By taking a +5 Difficulty increase to your Pilot check, you can perform a standard action in the same round as your Pilot check with no penalty.

    Try Again: Most Pilot checks have consequences for failure that make trying again impossible.


    Dexterity, Trained Only

    Use this skill to ride a mount, like a horse or even a dolphin or griffon.

    Check: Routine tasks, such as ordinary movement, don’t require a skill check. Make a check only when some unusual circumstance exists (such as inclement weather or an icy surface) or when you are riding in a dramatic situation (being chased or attacked, for example, or trying to reach a destination in a limited amount of time). While riding, you can attempt simple maneuvers or stunts. Easy riding maneuvers, like staying in the saddle in a fight or guiding a mount with your knees, have a Difficulty of 5. An average maneuver, like a full gallop or dodging around an obstacle, has a Difficulty of 10. Difficult maneuvers, like using your mount as cover, jumping, or suffering no harm in a fall, have a Difficulty of 15. Challenging maneuvers, like a fast mount or dismount (as a free action) or controlling a panicking mount, have a Difficulty of 20.

    Try Again: Most Ride checks have consequences for failure that make trying again impossible.

    Action: A Ride check is a move action.



    Special: If you lack the appropriate saddle, tack, and harness for your mount, you suffer a –4 penalty on your Ride checks.

    You can search an area looking for clues, hidden items, traps, and other such details. The Notice skill allows you to notice things immediately, while Search allows you to pick up on details with some effort.

    Check: You generally must be within 10 feet of the area to be examined. You can examine up to a 5-foot-by-5-foot area or a volume of goods 5 feet on a side with a single check.

    A Search check can turn up individual footprints, but does not allow you to follow tracks or tell you which direction the creature or creatures went or came from (see the Track feat).

    Difficulty Task
    10 Ransack an area to find a certain object.
    20 Notice a typical secret compartment, a simple trap, or an obscure clue.
    25+ Find a complex or well-hidden secret compartment or trap. Notice an extremely obscure clue.

    Finding Concealed Objects: The Difficulty for a Search check to find a deliberately concealed object is usually based on the Stealth or Sleight of Hand check of the character who hid it. The Narrator can assume that characters with the time take 20 on their check to hide the object.

    Sense Motive


    You can tell someone’s true intentions by paying attention to body language, inflection, and intuition.

    Action: A Search check is a full-round action.

    Check: A successful Sense Motive check allows you to avoid the effects of some interaction skills. You can also use the skill to tell when someone is behaving oddly or assess their trustworthiness.

    Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Sense Motive:

    • Evaluate: You can use this skill to make an assessment of a social situation. With a successful check (Difficulty 20), you can get a feeling when something is wrong. You can also tell if someone is trustworthy and honorable (or not) with an opposed Sense Motive and Bluff check.
    • Notice Influence: You can make a Sense Motive check to notice someone acting under supernatural influence. The Difficulty is 10 + the power’s rank.
    • Notice Innuendo: You can use Sense Motive to detect a hidden message transmitted via the Bluff skill (Difficulty equal to the Bluff check result). If your check result beats the Difficulty, you understand the secret message. If your check fails by 5 or more, you misinterpret the message in some fashion. If you are not the intended recipient of the message, your Difficulty increases by 5.
    • Resist Interaction: Make a Sense Motive check to resist or ignore the effects of certain interaction skills, such as Bluff or Intimidate. If the result of your check exceeds your opponent’s check result, you are unaffected.
    • Read Situation: For every +5 you increase the Difficulty of your Sense Motive check, you learn one fact about the situation at hand when evaluating a situation or individual. The Narrator may tell you things like someone’s apparent goal(s), the nature of an interaction, and so forth.

    Try Again: No, though you can make a Sense Motive check for each interaction attempt against you.

    Action: A Sense Motive check may be made as a reaction to notice or resist something. (When that’s the case, the Narrator may roll the Sense Motive check in secret, so you don’t know if there’s something to notice or not.) Using Sense Motive to evaluate a person or situation takes at least 1 minute.

    Sleight of Hand

    Dexterity, Trained Only

    You can perform feats of legerdemain such as picking pockets, palming small objects (making them seem to disappear), and so forth.

    Check: A check against Difficulty 10 lets you palm a coin-sized, unattended object. When you perform this skill under close observation, your skill check is opposed by the observer’s Notice check. The observer’s check doesn’t prevent you from performing the action, just from doing it unnoticed. If using Sleight of Hand to do tricks to impress an audience, you can treat it as a Perform specialty.

    Special: You can make an untrained Sleight of Hand check to conceal a weapon or object, but must always take 10 when doing so, so you can’t do it while under stress.

    Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Sleight of Hand:

    • Quicker Than the Eye: In melee combat, you can make a Sleight of Hand check as a move action to slip past an opponent’s defenses. Your foe opposes this check with a Notice or combat bonus check. If you succeed, your opponent loses his dodge bonus against your next attack. If you fail, you suffer a –2 penalty to attack rolls for the next round. The Quicker than the Eye challenge does not have a ?5 challenge penalty. This is intentional; it’s intended to work like a feint. If the Narrator wants to keep the challenge less common, imposing a challenge penalty should do it.
    • Thievery: When you try to take something from another person, your opponent makes a Notice check to detect the attempt. To obtain the object, you must get a result of 20 or higher, regardless of the opponent’s check result. The opponent detects the attempt if his check result beats your character’s check result, whether you take the object or not.
    • Planting: You can make a Sleight of Hand check to plant a small object on a person, slip something into their pocket, drop something into their drink, and so forth. This has the same Difficulty and Notice check as thievery.
    • Concealment: You can use Sleight of Hand to conceal a small weapon or object on your body, making your check result the Difficulty of a Search check to find the object.

    Try Again: A second Sleight of Hand attempt against the same target, or when being watched by the same observer, has a Difficulty 10 higher than the first check if the first check failed or if the attempt was noticed.

    Action: A Sleight of Hand check is a standard action.



    You’re skilled in moving about unseen and unheard.

    Action: Stealth is a move action.

    Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Notice check of anyone who might notice you. While using Stealth, you can move up to half your normal speed at no penalty. At more than half and up to your full speed, you take a –5 penalty. It’s practically impossible (–20 penalty) to use Stealth while attacking, moving all out, or charging.

    Size Modifiers Apply the modifier from your size category to your Stealth checks to represent the difficulty and ease of noticing smaller and larger targets, respectively: Fine +16, Diminutive +12, Tiny +8, Small +4, Medium +0, Large –4, Huge –8, Gargantuan –12, Colossal –16.

    Hiding: If others have spotted you, you can’t use Stealth to remain unseen. You can run around a corner so you are out of sight and then use Stealth to hide, but others then know at least where you went. Note you can’t hide if you have no cover or concealment (since that means you’re standing out in the open).

    Creating a Diversion to Hide: You can make a Bluff check to gain the momentary diversion needed to attempt a Stealth check while people are aware of you. When the others turn their attention from you, you can make a Stealth check if you can get to a hiding place of some kind. (As a general guideline, the hiding place has to be within 1 foot for every rank you have in Stealth.) This check, however, is at a –5 penalty because you have to move fast.

    Tailing: You can use Stealth to tail someone at your normal speed. This assumes you have some cover or concealment (crowds of people, shadows, fog, etc.). If the subject is worried about being followed, he can make a Notice check (opposed by your Stealth check) every time he changes course (goes around a street corner, exits a building, and so on). If he is unsuspecting, he only gets a Notice check after each hour of being tailed. If the subject notices you, you can make a Bluff check, opposed by Sense Motive. If you succeed, you manage to pass off your presence as coincidence and can continue tailing. A failed Bluff check, or being noticed a second time, means the subject knows something is up.

    Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Stealth:

    Accelerated Stealth: You can move up to your normal speed in exchange for a –5 penalty to your Stealth check. In return for a –20 penalty to your check, you can move faster than your normal speed, such as by running or charging.

    Slip Between Cover: You can make a Stealth check at a penalty to quickly cross an area lacking cover or concealment without automatically revealing yourself. For every 5 feet of open space you cross, you take a –5 penalty to your Stealth check. You also take the normal Stealth penalties for moving faster than half your normal speed and such. So, you can slip past a 5-foot open doorway without being seen, for example, or duck from shadow to shadow.

    Vanishing: You can “disappear” when no one is watching you. This is essentially a use of Stealth to hide when the character has concealment or a distraction (no one looking directly at him, essentially). It requires a Stealth check with a –5 penalty, and the character must be within a normal move action of an exit, or some cover or concealment (a window, skylight, ventilation duct, etc.). A successful check means the character seems to disappear; an observer turns around only to discover that he is gone. Characters can use Bluff or Intimidate to gain the momentary distraction needed to vanish in this way.



    You use this skill to survive in the wilderness, finding food and shelter and safely guiding others.

    Action: Survival checks occur each day in the wilderness or whenever a hazard presents itself.

    Check: You can keep yourself and others safe and fed in the wild.

    Difficulty Task
    10 Get along in the wild. Move up to half your overland speed while hunting and foraging (no food or water supplies needed). You can provide food and water for one other person for every 2 points your check result exceeds 10.
    15 Gain a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves against severe weather while moving up to half your speed, or a +4 bonus if stationary. You may grant the same bonus to one other character for every point your check result exceeds 15.
    18 Avoid getting lost and avoid natural hazards, such as quicksand.

    Try Again: No.



    You can swim and maneuver underwater.

    Check: A successful Swim check allows you to swim one-quarter your speed as a move action or half your speed as a full-round action. If the check fails, you make no progress through the water. If the check fails by 5 or more, you go underwater. If you are underwater, you must hold your breath to avoid drowning. The Difficulty for the Swim check depends on the condition of the water:

    Condition Difficulty
    Calm water 10
    Rough water 15
    Stormy water 20

    Each hour you swim, make a Swim check (Difficulty 20). If the check fails, you suffer from fatigue. Unconscious characters go underwater and immediately begin to drown.

    Challenges: You can take the following challenges with Swim:

    • Accelerated Swim: For a +5 Difficulty increase, you increase your swimming speed by one-quarter your normal speed. You can take this challenge up to three times to increase your swimming speed up to your normal speed. You suffer the normal effects of failing your Swim check.
    • Rescuing: Rescuing another character who cannot swim (for whatever reason) increases the Difficulty of your Swim checks by +5, but allows both of you to remain afloat.

    Action: A Swim check is either a move action or a full-round action, as described above.