Abilities describe a character’s raw potential or overall capabilities. Skills are a refinement of those basic abilities into specific areas of endeavor. For example, Agility defines how quick and agile your hero is, but the Acrobatics skill focuses on specific feats of agility like gymnastics, doing back flips, and so forth. Think of abilities as providing a certain baseline, while skills focus in on a particular area of expertise.

Characters are said to have training in a skill if they have a rank in that skill. A character not trained in a skill has no rank; only the character’s basic ability applies to checks involving the skill, and more difficult tasks will suffer Disadvantage as well. Trained characters have a skill rank that adds to the actual d20 roll when making checks, instead of being applied as Advantage or Disadvantage like all other modifiers. In the previous example, we said Acrobatics skill applies to specific feats of agility. If a hero has Agility 4 and is trained in Acrobatics (with a rank of 7) then the character’s bonus for checks involving feats of agility covered by Acrobatics is 7 +d10 Advantage. Obviously, training in a skill makes characters more effective at checks involving that skill, often much more. In addition performing more advanced actions (any action with a Hard DC) may require training in a skill to attempt.

Each Skill is assigned a Rank from 0 to 40 (though you can increase or even decrease this number with Heritage ranks or negative ranks), measuring its effectiveness. Every Skill has a corresponding Ability. Whenever a Skill check is rolled add Advantage and subtract Disadvantage equal to any positive or negative ranks from the corresponding Ability. Remember, every check in the game is a Skill check at its base, but the type of check determines what sources of Advantage and Disadvantage are used for that particular check. Below are the Skills listed by corresponding Ability.

Use for athleticism and fitness, like climbing, jumping, riding, and swimming.

Use for brute strength and might, like carrying, bending, lifting, and Sundering.

Use for pain tolerance and ignoring physical distractions, like minor wounds, heat, cold, and other external stimuli.

Use for stamina and ignoring fatigue, like being sleepy, holding your breath, fatigue from exertion, and the effects of thirst and starvation.

Use for acrobatics and flexibility, like balancing, tumbling, contorting, and gymnastics.

Use for manual dexterity and coordination, like throwing and catching, arming or disarming traps or locks, and basically anything that requires a steady hand or good eye hand coordination.

Use for reaction time and quickness, like catching something before it falls to the ground, timing a jump or movement just right, and reacting before someone else.

Use for stealth and chicanery, like hiding, sneaking, feinting, and pilfering.

Use for guile and foresight, like thinking quickly and reacting to new challenges, planning and thinking ahead, predictions, and scheming.

Use for ingenuity and creative thinking, like solving puzzles or traps, figuring out how devices work, jury rigging repairs, and creative problem solving.

Use for investigating and research, like finding clues or hidden items, doing research on items, people, or places, gathering information, and noticing small details.

Use for recalling information and remembering events and details, like rumors or stories you've heard, recalling a key piece of information or critical detail, remembering someone's name, or specifics of culture like laws or customs.

Use for remaining calm and keeping your composure, like not getting angry, acting surprised, centering, and meditating.

Use for sensing motive and determining lies, like what someone is guarding, what things do they like, what do they hate, and why are they lying.

Use for perception and noticing things, like hearing, spotting, noticing a trap or secret door, and following tracks.

Use for survival and healing, like knowing what plants to eat, hunting, first aid, and building shelters.

Use for bluffing and lying, like feints, seduction, deceiving a guard, and pretending you didn’t do anything.

Use for luck and intuition, like to see if you notice that rock before it hits you, getting a gut feeling, narrowly avoiding disaster, and noticing somethings not right.

Use for flattery and persuasion, like haggling, flirting, speaking in court, and making friends.

Use for bearing and presence, like leading a group, calming an animal, drawing people to you, and intimidating others.


You choose your hero’s Skill ranks by spending character points on them. Increasing a skill rank by 1 costs 1/2 a character point, so 1 character point buys 2 ranks in any skills you want. The number of ranks you can buy in a skill is capped at 2 x level. If you lack an Ability, you cannot take ranks in any of its corresponding skills.

You can also buy up to 4 Heritage ranks in a skill at 1st level or below, or even after if you have Affinity in that skill. These Heritage ranks are not affected by the normal rank cap. You can also lower one or more of your character’s starting Skill ranks from the starting value of 0. Each 2 ranks you lower a skill gives you an additional one character point to spend elsewhere. You cannot lower a skill rank below -4, these negative Heritage ranks do not affect the rank cap for your skills.

Certain Checks, called interaction checks, are aimed at dealing with others through social interaction. Interaction checks allow you to influence the attitudes of others and get them to cooperate with you in one way or another. Since interaction checks are intended for dealing with others socially, they have certain requirements.

First, you must be able to interact with the subject(s) of the check. They must be aware of you and able to understand you. If they can’t hear or understand you for some reason, you have a –5 disadvantage to your skill check.

Interaction checks work best on intelligent subjects, ones with an Intellect rank of –4 or better. You can use them on creatures with Int –5, but again with a –5 disadvantage; they’re just too dumb to get the subtleties of your point. You can’t use interaction checks at all on subjects lacking one or more mental abilities. (Try convincing a rock to be your friend—or afraid of you—sometime.) The Immunity effect (see Powers) can also render characters immune to interaction checks.

You can use interaction checks on groups of subjects at once, but only to achieve the same result for everyone. So you can attempt to use Deception or Persuasion to convince a group of something, or Presence to cow a crowd, for example, but you can’t convince some individuals of one thing and the rest of another, or intimidate some and not others. The GM decides if a particular use of an interaction check is effective against a group, and may apply advantage or disadvantage depending on the situation. The general rules for interaction still apply: everyone in the group must be able to hear and understand you, for example, or you suffer a –5 disadvantage on your skill check against them. Mindless subjects are unaffected, as usual.

Some checks, called manipulation checks, require a degree of fine physical manipulation. You need prehensile limbs and a Strength rank or some suitable Precise power effect to use manipulation checks effectively. If your physical manipulation capabilities are impaired in some fashion (such as having your hands tied or full use of only one hand), the GM may impose disadvantage based on the severity of the impairment. Characters lacking the ability to use manipulation checks can still have ranks in them and use them to oversee or assist the work of others (see Team Checks).

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