Skills

Buying Skills
To acquire skills, use the character points allocated to the skills category as determined by the Character Type. Skills cost one point per level for levels one through five. After level five, each additional level costs three points.

EXAMPLE: Lorna wants her character to be an excellent driver—in fact, she could race cars for a living! Such expertise would require a skill of five or higher. Lorna decides to go for broke and give the character a Driving skill 7. This costs five points for the first five levels, and six points for the other two, for a total of 11 character points. Lorna’s character will be an ace driver, but she is unlikely to have very high skills in anything else.

The Meaning of Skill Numbers
Like most numbers in the Unisystem, high is good and low is bad. The higher a skill level, the more proficient the character is at using that skill. In general, a level one indicates a beginner or amateur, somebody who has just learned the rudiments of the skill. A level two or three represents general competency—the ability to perform average tasks with ease. A level four or five indicates extreme competence in the subject, the result of a lot of study or practice. Higher levels indicate true mastery of the skill or craft, and the ability to perform the most difficult tasks with relative ease. An absurdly talented master of Kung Fu would have a skill level in the 7-10 range, for example.

Skill Chart

Skill Ranks Example
0 Untrained. Skill can still be used but defaults simply to an Attribute roll.
1 Novice. Basic training in a skill.
2 Hobbyist. You know more than some but less than others.
3 Competent. You have received advanced training in this skill.
4 Professional. You could make a living through the use of this skill.
5 Expert. You could teach others how to use use this skill on a professional level.
6 Elite. Best in a geographic area.
7 Master. Best in a country.
8+ Best of the best. Considered best in the world in skill.

ACROBATICS

This skill isn't just for performance type acrobatics, but also anything that one would think a contortionist or acrobat should be good at (sneaking through a ventilation duct for the former, diving out of a moving car, for the latter). Crime can also slightly overlap Acrobatics, in terms of sneaking around.

USING THE SKILL: Acrobatics is used with Dexterity to perform most maneuvers, including avoiding close combat attacks and gunfire. When jumping for distance, climbing, or swimming, use Strength alongside Acrobatics instead.

ART

This pretty much covers just about anything that would fall under the realm of "art", be it sculpting, painting, poem-writing, singing, interpretive dancing, et cetera. About the only thing it doesn't cover is constructing useful things, which falls under Repair. Obviously, things can get a little hinky when you're trying to make something that is both fashionable and functional — in those instances, try the higher of Art or Repair (or roll for appearance and roll for construction?)

USING THE SKILL: There are two types of rolls that use this skill. First, to create art, use Intelligence and Art for writing and painting, Dexterity and Art for dancing or playing an instrument, or Constitution and Art for long-term singing. The Success Level determines how good the creation or performance, for things like music or dance, is. To judge someone else’s art, use Perception and Art.

BRAWL

Combatty things that don't involve bonking/stabbing weapons (that'd be Weapons skill) or shooting weapons (that'd be Firearms skill).

USING THE SKILL: Dexterity and Brawl for hitting someone or avoiding being hit. Intelligence and Brawl may be used to identify a fighting style, or to feint an opponent. Perception and Brawl counter such feints.

COMPUTERS

This covers doing "virtual" computer things (programming, hacking, et cetera), as well as the more fiddly electronic sorts of Repair.

USING THE SKILL: Intelligence and Computers to write a program or hack into a secure system. For hacking, the system’s security imposes penalties, from -1 for a high school record system to -8 or worse for the FBI database. Perception and Computers help diagnose software or hardware problems without having to call a help line and being on hold for two to three days.

CRIME

If it’s illegal, this skill probably covers it, with two major exceptions: computer hacking uses the Computers skill, and conning people the Influence skill. Your character doesn’t have to be a criminal to have this skill; cops, private investigators, and other honest but street-wise folks have it as well.

USING THE SKILL: Dexterity and Crime are used for things like moving stealthily (although Acrobatics can replace Crime here), lifting someone’s wallet, and picking locks. Victims resist such activities with their Intelligence or Perception and either Notice or Crime (whichever is better). Intelligence and Crime are used to identify criminals and street contacts (as modified by familiarity with the local criminal scene).

DRIVING

Much like 'Crime' or 'Art', this covers a broad range of things. Driving a car, a motorcycle, a boat, a helicopter, a jet plane, or the space shuttle would all fall under 'Driving'. That said, one should be able to play it be ear concerning which sorts of vehicles one is or isn't familiar with.

And before anyone asks, one can still drive a car without any Driving. It's just that one won't be impressing anyone with their driving abilities.

USING THE SKILL: Dexterity and Driving for your basic high-speed chases, dodging rush hour traffic, and other complex maneuvers (there is no need to roll for routine driving). Use Intelligence and Driving for basic mechanic maintenance stuff —for the big stuff, you’ll need the Repair skill.

FIREARMS

This skill covers your basic things that go "bang" — shotguns, pistols, and the like. It'd probably also pertain to close-range archery (long-range has to figure in arcs, so that'd fall under Weapons).

USING THE SKILL: Dexterity and Firearms for pointing and shooting. Aiming slows your character’s attack to the end of the Turn, but you add the Success Levels of a Firearms and Perception roll to the shooting roll. Intelligence and Firearms help clear a jammed gun.

INFLUENCE

The ability to deceive, seduce, intimidate, or manipulate people. Influence allows your character to pick up somebody at a bar, scare people into giving up important information, or otherwise persuade others to do what she wants.

USING THE SKILL: Intelligence and Influence for fooling, scamming, or fast-talking others. Willpower and Influence to intimidate people. If your character is trying to seduce somebody, for example, any Attractiveness and/or Charisma Quality levels act as bonuses or penalties to the roll. Equally, other circumstantial situations can add or remove from the roll (work it out with your fellow players with characters in the scene).

KNOWLEDGE

Generally, this covers studies that don't fall under the other Skill departments (EG: Computers, Repair, etc..).

USING THE SKILL: Knowledge is used with Intelligence for the most part. Knowledge skill rolls often add their Success Levels to Occultism or Influence rolls.

LANGUAGES

Another broad-range Skill, this covers linguistics & etymology and suchlike for not just your native language, but also other languages. Much like with Driving, one should play it by ear, concerning how many languages one knows (although one 'extra' language per Languages level is often used).

USING THE SKILL: When trying to decipher some arcane inscription, use Intelligence and Languages (knowing more languages helps). When trying to use a known language that you are familiar with, but less than fluent in, use Intelligence and Knowledge instead.

MEDICAL

This skill covers the ability to heal injuries and cure disease through modern medicine. A full-fledged doctor has a skill of four or higher. Anything below that represents some training in first aid or emergency treatment.

USING THE SKILL: An Intelligence and Medical roll is used to treat injuries (SEE: '+help heal' in-game); each Success Level restores one Life Point of damage (only one roll per patient per day). The victim also does not lose any more Life Points from bleeding and such. Perception and Medical can be used to diagnose a medical problem, or determine the cause of death of some unfortunate victim.

NOTICE

This skill covers both literal observation (spotting the sniper in the trees), as well as more abstract observation (spotting which dollar bill in a pile is of a slightly different color). Generally, it's "More Perception, but cheaper than buying up an Attribute".

USING THE SKILL: Perception and Notice to spot things. Intelligence and Notice to remember something your character saw before but didn’t realize was important until now. Notice is an active skill; it is relevant when a character specifically focuses her attention on something. Without the Notice skill, active sensing rolls suffer penalties from -1 to -3. For passive sensing, a Perception and Notice roll or a Perception (doubled) roll may be used, whichever is more beneficial to the character.

OCCULTISM

Since some of the supernatural world is known to the average person on the street, not all of Occultism covers the rare and exotic things. In a sense, it can also cover being more familiar with the world of the supernatural than an average person (biology of a werewolf, what happens to blood once it gets in a vampire, et cetera).

USING THE SKILL: Intelligence and Occultism to recognize or research some supernatural name. Perception and Occultism to identify a creature on first sight. Occultism is also used to cast spells, with bonuses from the character’s Sorcery Level.

REPAIR

This skill doesn't just cover actually repairing things, but also building useful things from scratch.

USING THE SKILL: Perception and Repair for spotting a problem. Intelligence and Repair to do the repairs or construction work.

SCIENCE

This covers the more practical angles of things not covered under the broad Knowledge skill. In some cases, it could overlap with the 'Supernatural Science' of Occultism.

USING THE SKILL: Intelligence and Science for most things, from mixing a chemical formula to inventing a new device to repairing another device. Perception and Science are used to spot science-oriented clues, like identifying an unusual biochemical residue.

SPORTS

General athletics that aren't used for combatty purposes (like Brawl or Acrobatics). It would be plausible for a construction worker to take some 'Sports' to cover bonking static things with a whacking huge sledgehammer.

USING THE SKILL: Depending on the nature of the sporting event, one of the three physical Attributes is used. Coordination- and agility-based tasks (throwing a baseball) depend on Dexterity, brute force activities (weight lifting or tackling) relies on Strength, and endurance sports (marathon running) use Constitution.

WEAPONS

This covers weapons that aren't guns (SEE: Firearms) nor basically just something that makes you hit folks better (SEE: Brawl, with brass knuckles in mind). Close-range archery could fall under this or Firearms, but long-range archery would fall under Weapons.

USING THE SKILL: Dexterity and Weapons cover most combat maneuvers. Feints use Intelligence (or Perception) to recognize them.

WILDCARD

If there's something that the other skills don't seem to cover, try buying up this and then adding an +info field on your character to explain it.

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