The material below is Open Game Content
The world in OGL Steampunk is caught in the maelstrom of progress and discovery. In such a world, what characters know and what they can do will help them make a difference and distinguish themselves from average citizens. Skills are areas of knowledge and expertise that characters train for, increasing their levels of proficiency from those of mere laymen to those of pundits and renowned experts. Classes and vocations describe the natural leanings of a character but the skills he learns and practices define what he can do to understand and change the world.
At each level, a character gets skill points that are used to buy skills. The character’s class and Intelligence modifier determine the number of points received. If the character buys a class skill, he gets 1 rank in the skill for each skill point spent. If the character buys a cross-class skill, he gets ½ rank per skill point spent. The maximum rank in a class skill is equal to character level + 3. The maximum rank in a cross-class skill is one-half of this number. Half a rank does not add anything to the modifier for using that skill, but it does allow a check when the skill can only be used trained. Specialities are sub-skills that hone a character’s expertise on very specific areas within a skill; a skill point buys two specialty ranks in a class skill and one specialty rank in a cross-class skill.
Using Skills To make a skill check, roll 1d20 and add the appropriate skill modifier. Skill modifiers follow a simple equation:
Skill modifier = skill ranks + ability modifier + miscellaneous modifiers.
Miscellaneous modifiers can be anything from synergy bonuses (we will cover those later on) to circumstantial bonuses and penalties based on where you are employing the skill or how many grenades are going off around you. To be a little more specific:
Skill Ranks: A character’s ranks in a skill are based on the number of skill points the character has invested in the skill. Some skills can be used even if the character has no ranks in the skill; doing this is also called making an untrained skill check.
Speciality Ranks: A character’s specialty ranks in a skill specialty are based on the number of skill points the character invested in that specialty. A character cannot have specialty ranks without having ranks in the parent skill.
Ability Modifier: The ability modifier used in the skill check is the modifier for the skill’s key ability (the ability associated with the skill’s use). The key ability of a skill is noted in its description.
Miscellaneous Modifiers: Miscellaneous modifiers include bonuses provided by specialty ranks, feats and class features and penalties such as the ones associated with the non-proficient use of armour.
Acquiring Skill Ranks
Skill ranks indicate how much training, experience, or innate talent a character has with a given skill. Each skill has a number of ranks. These range from 0, for a skill in which a character has no training at all, to 23, for a 20th level character who has increased a class skill to its maximum rank. Skill modifiers can be much higher than 23 once ability bonuses, equipment bonuses and other factors are added in but skill ranks themselves can never be higher than 23. When making a skill check, a character adds his skill ranks to the roll as part of the skill modifier.
For your convenience, the number of skill points gained by acquiring levels in the various classes is revisited here. Remember that only at the first character level, the value listed is multiplied by four to simulate the amount of experience gained before play begins.
Skill Points per Level
|Class||1st Level Skill Points||Higher Level Skill Points|
|Adventurer||(4 + Int modifier) x4||4 + Int modifier|
|Genius||(8 + Int modifier) x4||8 + Int modifier|
|Investigator||(4 + Int modifier) x4||4 + Int modifier|
|Journeyman||(6 + Int modifier) x4||6 + Int modifier|
|Occultist||(4 + Int modifier) x4||4 + Int modifier|
|Scoundrel||(8 + Int modifier) x4||8 + Int modifier|
|Noble||(6 + Int modifier) x4||6 + Int modifier|
Acquiring Speciality Ranks
Speciality ranks indicate how much extra attention a character devotes to a specific area within a given skill. Not all skills have Specialities, only those that specifically list the available areas of specialisation. Characters cannot have more skill specialty ranks than they have ranks in its parent skill, nor can a character have more than two different specialisations per main skill. When making a skill check, a character adds his skill speciality ranks to the roll as part of the skill modifier ONLY if the area of specialisation applies. For example, Thurdin has six ranks in Craft (mechanical) and four speciality ranks in the steamworks speciality. When making any machine with steam power, he adds +10 skill bonus to his Craft (mechanical) check but for any other kind of machine he only adds the +6 from his general skill ranks.
Skill Checks and Automatic Rolls
Unlike attack rolls and saving throws, a natural roll of 20 on the d20 is not an automatic success when making a skill check and a natural roll of 1 is not an automatic failure. This reflects the fact that bonuses and penalties with skill checks can often be wider than the twenty point margin of the die roll itself and that some tasks become so simple and some people become so adept that skills failing one time in twenty just is not reasonable. By the same token, Morit the ordinary janitor can keep pulling levers on a time machine from now until he retires and never get it to work. The machine is so complex that he cannot ‘get lucky’ and operate it with a natural 20.
Some checks are made against a Difficulty Class (DC). The DC is a number set by the Games Master (using the skill rules as a guideline) that a character must attain to succeed. This number is the sum total of every condition inherent in the check itself and does not include environmental factors or aspects outside the scope of the basic skill. Those are circumstantial or synergy modifiers and they augment the check, not the Difficulty Class.
Difficulty Class Examples
|Difficulty (DC)||Example (Skill Used)|
|Very easy (0)||Notice something large in plain sight, like an oncoming locomotive (Spot)|
|Easy (5)||Climb down a ladder, even while carrying aphonograph (Climb)|
|Average (10)||Hear an approaching automaton (Listen)|
|Tough (15)||Disable a mechanical explosive, preferably before it goes off (Disable Device)|
|Challenging (20)||Swim through the sewers (Swim. The Fortitude save comes later.)|
|Formidable (25)||Perform an earthshattering magic effect (Ritual)|
|Heroic (30)||Leap across a thirty foot access alley with an angry mob at your heels (Jump)|
|Superheroic (35)||Convince hostile guards that you really do belong in His Lordship’s study (Bluff )|
|Nearly impossible (40)||Track a native guide through the jungles of the colonial territories on a moonless night after 12 days of rainfall (Survival, and a lot of ranks in it)|
Opposed (Contested) Checks
Some skill checks are opposed checks. They are made against a randomised number, usually another character’s skill check result. For ties on opposed checks, the character with the higher base skill bonus wins. If those scores are the same, the highest key ability score wins the tie. If these are also the same, every character involved re-rolls the check.
Example Opposed Checks
|Attempted Action||Skill||Opposing Skill|
|Sneak up on a guard||Move Silently||Listen|
|Deceive a guard||Bluff||Sense Motive|
|Hide from a guard when the last two actions fail||Hide||Spot|
|Find food when everyone else in the slum is desperate to eat as well||Survival||Survival|
|Win an ornithopter race||Pilot||Pilot|
|Pretend to be a noble||Disguise||Spot|
|Steal a pocket watch||Sleight of Hand||Spot|
|Create a fake college diploma||Forgery||Forgery|
If a character fails a skill check, he can sometimes try again. Check the applicable skill description to find out if, and under what circumstances, a character can try again. Many skills have natural consequences for failing that must be accounted for. Even if these offer another try, the consequence must be suffered first. Some skills cannot be tried again once a check has failed for a particular task. If the use of a skill carries no penalty for failure, a character can ‘take 20’, as per the rules given below and assume that he keeps trying until he eventually succeeds, assuming he has enough of a modifier to succeed at all.
Untrained Skill Checks
Generally, if a character attempts to use a skill he does not have any ranks in, the character makes a skill check as described. The character’s skill modifier does not include skill ranks because the character does not have any. The character does however receive other modifiers, such as the ability modifier for the skill’s key ability. Some skills can be used only if the character is trained in the skill; there are very few circumstances that will allow a character to use such a skill with only his innate ability and some luck.
Sometimes a character tries to do something for which no specific skill really applies. In these cases, they must make an ability check. An ability check is a roll of 1d20 plus the appropriate ability modifier. Essentially, they are making an untrained skill check, since using a skill that a character does not have any skill ranks in is effectively an unmodified ability check.
In some cases, an action is a straight test of one’s ability with no luck involved. Just as characters would not make a height check to see who is taller, they would also not make Strength checks to see who is stronger. The Games Master is responsible for determining what situations call for ability checks, which ones have skill checks as a more appropriate method of adjudication and when rolls are not required at all.
Favourable and Unfavourable Conditions
Some situations may make a skill easier or harder to use, resulting in a bonus or penalty to the skill modifier or a change to the skill check’s DC. The Games Master can alter the odds of success in four ways to take into account exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances happen all the time in the world of OGL Steampunk, but then, that is what keeps the action flowing and people’s heads behind cover.
- Give the skill user a +2 circumstance bonus to represent conditions that improve performance, such as having the perfect tool for the job, getting help from another character, or working under conditions that are significantly better than normal.
- Give the skill user a -2 circumstance penalty to represent conditions that hamper performance, such as being forced to use improvised tools or possessing misleading information.
- Reduce the DC by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task easier, such as having a friendly audience when making a Perform check or searching for information on an extremely well documented topic with a Research check.
- Increase the DC by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task harder, such as making a Perform check in front of a hostile audience or searching for information on a very poorly documented topic with a Research check.
Conditions that affect a character’s ability to perform the skill change the character’s skill modifier. Conditions that modify how well the character must perform the skill to succeed change the Difficulty Class. A bonus on a character’s skill modifier or a reduction in the DC of the check have the same result – they create a better chance for success – but they represent different circumstances and sometimes that distinction is important.
Time and Skill Checks
Using a skill might take a round, several rounds, or even longer. It might take no time at all. Types of actions define how long activities take to perform within the framework of a combat round (six seconds) and how movement is treated with respect to the activity. See the skill description for specifics on how long a skill takes to use. In general, using a skill that requires concentration while in close combat is dangerous.
Some skill applications require the use of tools. If tools are needed, the specific items required are mentioned in the skill description. If the character does not have the appropriate tools, he can still attempt to use the skill, but the character takes a -4 penalty on his check.
A character may be able to put together some impromptu tools to make the check. If the Games Master allows this, reduce the penalty to -2 (instead of -4) for having a set of impromptu tools. It usually takes some time (several minutes to an hour or more) to collect or create a set of impromptu tools and it may require a skill check as well. The best skill to use in this circumstance is the same one that was being attempted with the tool in the first place.
Checks without Rolls
A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually in the face of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes though, a character can use a skill under more favourable conditions and eliminate the luck factor. Two kinds of ‘diceless’ skill checks exist.
- Taking 10: When a character is not being threatened or distracted, he may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate the result as if the character had rolled a 10 (an average roll on a d20). For many relatively routine tasks, taking 10 results in a success. Distractions and threats make it impossible for a character to take 10. A character also cannot take 10 when using a skill untrained, though the Games Master may allow exceptions for truly routine activities.
- Taking 20: When a character has plenty of time, is faced with no threats or distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalty for failure, a character can take 20. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate the result as if the character had rolled a 20. Taking 20 is the equivalent of attempting the check over and over again until the character gets it right. Taking 20 takes twenty times as long as making a single check. This equates to 2 minutes for a skill that can normally be checked in 1 round.
In some situations, characters can co-operate to accomplish a given task. One character is designated as the leader in the effort, while the others try to aid the character in his efforts. A character aids another by making a skill check at DC 10. This is an attack action, and the character cannot take 10 on this check. If the check succeeds, the character’s ally gains a +2 circumstance bonus to apply to his skill check to complete the task.
In many cases, a character’s help will not be beneficial or only a limited number of characters will be able to help at the same time. The Games Master may always limit aid another attempts as he sees fit.
It is possible for a character to have two skills that work well together. In general, having five or more ranks in one skill gives the character a +2 synergy bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills, as noted in the skill description. In some cases, this bonus applies only to specific uses of the skill in question and not to all checks made with it. Some skills provide benefits on other checks made by a character, such as those checks required to use certain class features.
Skill Synergies in Brief
|Five or more ranks in…||Gives a +2 bonus to…|
|Bluff||Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sleight of Hand and Disguise checks|
|Escape Artist||Use Rope checks|
|Knowledge (all)||(See Text)|
|Sense Motive||Diplomacy checks|
|Tumble||Balance and Jump checks|
|Use Rope||Climb and Escape Artist checks|
Check individual skill descriptions for full details of skill synergies.
Modifier Types and Stacking
A modifier provides a bonus (a positive modifier, such as a steam engine built with nice little plaques on all the important levers) or a penalty (a negative modifier, such as a steam engine built with every lever the same shape or colour or inaccurate labelling) to a die roll. Every applicable modifier, positive and negative, is added to the check result, but special attention must be given to nam ed modifiers.
Bonuses with specific descriptors, such as ‘equipment bonus,’ generally do not stack (combine for cumulative effect) with others of the same type. In those cases, only the best bonus of that type applies.
The only specific bonuses that stack are dodge bonuses, synergy bonuses, and sometimes circumstance bonuses.
Circumstance bonuses stack only if they’re provided by differing circumstances; if two circumstance bonuses caused by similar circumstances apply, they do not stack.
Specific bonuses that do not stack include competence, cover, equipment, morale, natural armour, and size. Any bonus without a descriptor (such as simply a +1 bonus) stacks with other bonuses. All penalties stack, regardless of their descriptors.
Skill Descriptions In OGL Steampunk, skills are presented in alphabetical order in the following format. The first line of every skill listing includes the following:
- Skill Name (Key Ability)
- Trained Only; Armour Penalty (if applicable)
- Key Ability: The abbreviation for the ability whose modifier applies to the skill check. Exceptions: Speak Language and Read/Write Language have ‘None’ given as their key ability because the use of these skills never requires a check.
Below the primary skill line, the following information
- Specialities: If a character can buy speciality ranks in specific areas of the skill, they will be listed here.
- Check: What a character can do with a successful skill check and the check’s DC. The majority of the skill’s entry occurs in this section.
- Try Again: Any conditions that apply to repeated attempts to use the skill for a particular purpose. If this entry is omitted, the skill check can be tried again without any inherent penalty other than taking additional time.
- Special: Any particular notes that apply, such as whether a character can take 10 or take 20 when
using the skill.
- Untrained: Any details about using a skill untrained. If this entry does not appear, it means the skill works the same even when used untrained, or that an untrained character cannot make checks with this skill, which is true for skills that are designated ‘Trained Only’.
- Time: How much time it takes to make a check with this skill.
When reading a skill description, keep the following details in mind:
- Trained Only: If ‘Trained Only’ appears on the line with the skill name, a character must have at least 1 rank in the skill to use it. If ‘Trained Only’ is omitted, the skill can be used untrained. If any particular notes apply to trained or untrained use, they are covered in the Special section (see above).
- Armour Penalty: If ‘Armour Penalty’ appears on the line with the skill name, apply the armour penalty for the armour the character is wearing to checks involving this skill.
Balance (Dex; Armour Penalty)
Whether sliding across rooftops and chimneys or walking over the tubes of a complex mechanical monstrosity, characters often find themselves in a situation where maintaining equilibrium is the best alternative to a gruesome end down below.
Check: The character can walk on a precarious surface. A successful check allows the character to move at half his speed along the surface as a move action. A failure indicates that the character spends his move action keeping his balance and does not move. A failure by 5 or more indicates that the character falls. The difficulty varies with the conditions of the surface. A damaging surface is any walking area that causes the character to take damage while he is in contact with it, such as a burning window ledge or the acid-covered rim of an experimental voltaic battery.
|7–12 in. wide||10|
|2–6 in. wide||15|
|Less than 2 in. wide||20|
|Uneven or angled||10|
*Add +5 to the DC if the narrow surface is slippery or angled; add +10 if it is both slippery and angled.
Being Attacked While Balancing: While balancing, the character is flat-footed (the character loses his Dexterity bonus to Defence, if the character has one) unless the character has 5 or more ranks in Balance. If the character takes damage, he must make a Balance check again to remain standing.
Accelerated Movement: The character can try to cross a precarious surface more quickly than normal. The character can move his full speed, but the character takes a –5 penalty on his Balance check. Moving twice the character’s speed in a round requires two checks, one for each move action.
The character can attempt to charge across a precarious surface. Charging requires one Balance check at a –5 penalty for each multiple of the character’s speed (or fraction thereof ) that the character charges.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Balance check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Focused feat gains a +2 bonus on all Balance checks. A character with five or more ranks in Tumble gains a +2 synergy bonus to all Balance checks.
Time: Balancing while moving one-half the character’s speed is a move action. Accelerated movement, allowing the character to balance while moving his full speed, is also a move action.
Lying and exaggerating can become a way of life amongst many, particularly the less fortunate members of society, although this skill is also disturbingly common amongst the high born who cover up their unseemly peccadilloes and cajole favours out of each other.
Specialities: Lying, feinting in combat, secret messages.
Check: A Bluff check is opposed by the target’s Sense Motive check when trying to con or mislead. Favourable and unfavourable circumstances weigh heavily on the outcome of a bluff. Two circumstances can work against the character; the bluff may be inherently hard to believe, or the action that the bluff requires the target to take goes against the target’s self-interest, nature, personality, or orders.
If it is important, the Games Master can distinguish between a bluff that fails because the target does not believe it and one that fails because it asks too much of the target. For instance, if the target gets a +10 bonus because the bluff demands something risky of the target and the target’s Sense Motive check succeeds by 10 or less, then the target does not 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 has seen through the bluff, and would have succeeded in doing so even if it had not placed any demand on him, that is, even without the +10 bonus.
A successful Bluff check indicates that the target reacts as the character wishes, at least for a short time (usually 1 round or less) or that the target believes something that the character wants him to believe.
A Bluff requires interaction between the character and the target. Targets unaware of the character cannot be bluffed.
|Sense Motive Example||Circumstances Modifier|
|The target wants to believe the character. ‘The parts are legitimate salvage, my good man. I only sell them so that I may lighten my travelling load.’||–5|
|The bluff is believable and does not affect the target much one way or the other. ‘Not sure what you mean, guv’nor. I’m just an ‘umble man doing an ‘umble street-sweeper’s job.’||+0|
|The bluff is a little hard to believe or puts the target at some kind of risk. ‘I assure you, those blood spots on my collar are from a shaving accident.’||+5|
|The bluff is hard to believe or entails a large risk for the target. ‘The beam emitted from the galvanic pulsator will increase your musculature and make you irresistible to the ladies! Step into it, sir, forthwith! It is not dangerous!’||+10|
|The bluff is way out there; it’s almost too incredible to consider. ‘We are requisitioning this ironclad on the direct orders of the King! Our mission is far too secret for us to explain it to the likes of you! Stand aside, my good man!’||+20|
Feinting in Combat: A character can also use Bluff to mislead an opponent in combat so that the opponent cannot dodge the character’s attack effectively. If the character succeeds, the next attack the character makes against the target ignores his Dexterity bonus to Defence (if the opponent has one), thus lowering his Defence score. Using Bluff in this way against a creature of animal intelligence (Int 1 or 2) imposes a –8 penalty on the check.
Against a non-intelligent creature, feinting is impossible. Creating a Diversion to Hide: A character can use Bluff to help him hide. A successful Bluff check gives the character the momentary diversion needed to attempt a Hide check while people are aware of the character. See the Hide skill.
Sending a Secret Message: A character can use Bluff to send and understand secret messages while appearing to be speaking about other things. The DC for a basic message is 10. Complex messages or messages that try to communicate new information have DCs of 15 or 20. Both the sender and the receiver must make the check for the secret message to be successfully relayed and understood. Anyone listening in on a secret message can attempt a Sense Motive check, with a DC equal to the sender’s Bluff check result. If successful, the eavesdropper realises that a secret message is contained in the communication. If the eavesdropper beats the DC by 5 or more, he understands the secret message. Whether trying to send or intercept a message, a failure by 5 or more points means that one side or the other misinterprets the message in some fashion.
Try Again: Generally, a failed Bluff check makes the target too suspicious for the character to try another bluff in the same circumstances. For feinting in combat, the character may try again freely.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a bluff (except for feinting in combat) but cannot take 20. A character with the Deceptive feat gets a +2 bonus on all Bluff checks. A character with five or more ranks in Bluff gains a +2 synergy bonus on Diplomacy, Intimidate and Sleight of Hand checks as well as on Disguise checks when trying to act in character.
Time: A bluff takes at least 1 round (and is at least a fullround action) but can take much longer if the character tries something elaborate. Using Bluff as a feint in combat is an attack action.
Climb (Str; Armour Penalty)
Sailed vessels need someone to shimmy up the masts and man the crow’s nest, just as sweeps ply their trade by squeezing themselves up and down chimneys and adventurers cling doggedly to the faces of cliffs.
Check: With each successful Climb check, the character can advance up, down, or across a slope or a wall or other steep incline, or even a ceiling with handholds. A slope is considered to be any incline of less than 60 degrees; a wall is any incline of 60 degrees or steeper. A failed Climb check indicates that the character makes no progress, and a check that fails by 5 or more means that the character falls from whatever height he had already attained, unless the character is secured with some kind of harness or other equipment.
The DC of the check depends on the conditions of the climb. If the climb is less than 10 feet, reduce the DC by 5. Since the character cannot move to avoid an attack, he is flat-footed while climbing and thus the character loses any Dexterity bonus to Defence. Any time the character takes damage while climbing, make a Climb check against the DC of the slope or wall. Failure means the character falls from his current height and sustains the appropriate falling damage.
Accelerated Climbing: A character can try to climb more quickly than normal. The character can move his full speed, but the character takes a –5 penalty on his Climb check (moving twice the character’s speed in a round requires two checks, one for each move action).
Making Handholds and Footholds: A character can make handholds and footholds by pounding pitons into a wall. Doing so takes 1 minute per piton, and one piton is needed per 3 feet. As with any surface with handholds and footholds, a wall with pitons in it has a DC of 15. In similar fashion, a climber with an ice axe or other proper implement can cut handholds or footholds in an ice wall.
Catching Oneself When Falling: It is practically impossible for a character to catch himself on a wall while falling. Make a Climb check (DC equal to wall’s DC + 20) to do so. A slope is relatively easier to catch on. In this case, the DC is equal to the slope’s DC + 10.
Special: A person using a rope can haul a character upward or lower him down by means of sheer strength. Use twice a character’s maximum load to determine how much weight he can lift.
A character can take 10 while climbing but cannot take 20. A character without climbing gear takes a –4 penalty on Climb checks. At the Games Master’s discretion, certain kinds of climbing attempts might require only a rope or some other implement, or even just one’s hands and feet, rather than a full set of climbing gear to avoid the penalty. A character with the Athletic feat gets a +2 bonus on all Climb checks. A character with five or more ranks in Use Rope gains a +2 synergy bonus on Climb checks when using a rope.
|DC||Example Wall or Surface or Task|
|0||A slope too steep to walk up.|
|5||A knotted rope with a wall to brace against.|
|10||A rope with a wall to brace against. A knotted rope hanging freely. 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, a tree, or a chainlink fence. A rope without any knots. 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 cannot be climbed without special equipment.|
|–10*||Climbing inside an air duct or other location where one can brace against two opposite walls. This reduces the normal Climb DC by 10.|
|–5*||Climbing a corner where a character can brace against perpendicular walls. This reduces the normal Climb DC by 5.|
|+5*||Surface is slippery. This increases the normal Climb DC by 5.|
*These modifiers are cumulative; use any that apply.
Time: Climbing at one-half the character’s speed is a full-round action. Moving half that far (one-fourth the character’s speed) is a move action. Accelerated climbing, allowing the character to climb at his full speed, is a fullround action. A character can move half that far (one-half his speed) as a move action.
In a world of hissing steam engines and clanking machinery, keeping a cool head is of tantamount importance for delicate work, particularly that of magicians and psychics.
Check: A character makes a Concentration check whenever he may potentially be distracted (by taking damage, by harsh weather and so on) while engaged in some action that requires the character’s full attention. If the check succeeds, the character may continue with the action. If the Concentration check fails, the action automatically fails. The check DC depends on the nature of the distraction.
|Damaged during the action *||10 + damage dealt|
|Taking continuous damage during the action **||10 + half of continuous damage 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|
|Entangled in net or snare||15|
|Grappling or pinned||20|
|Weather is a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet||5|
|Weather is wind-driven hail, dust or debris||10|
* Such as an activity that requires more than a single full-round action.
** Such as from catching on fire.
Try Again: Yes, though a success does not cancel the effects of a previous failure, such as the disruption of an action that was being concentrated on.
Special: By making a check against DC 15, a character can use Concentration to attempt an action defensively, so as to avoid attacks of opportunity altogether. This does not apply to other actions that might incur attacks of opportunity, such as movement. If the Concentration check succeeds, the character may attempt the action normally without incurring any attacks of opportunity.
A successful Concentration check still does not allow a character to take 10 on a check when he is in a stressful situation; the character must roll the check as normal. If the Concentration check fails, the related action auto matically fails (incurring any appropriate ramifications) and the action is wasted, just as if the character’s concentration had been disrupted by a distraction.
Since Concentration checks are called for in stressful situations, a character cannot take 10 or take 20 on such checks. A character with the Focused feat gets a +2 bonus on all Concentration checks.
Time: Making a Concentration check does not require an action. It is either a reaction, when attempted in response to a distraction, or part of another action, when at tempted actively.
Craft (Int; Some Trained Only)
This skill encompasses several categories, each of them treated as a separate skill: Craft (chemical), Craft (electronic), Craft (expression), Craft (mechanical), Craft (pharmaceutical), Craft (structural) and Craft (visual arts). Craft skills are specifically focused on creating objects. To use a Craft skill effectively, a character must have a kit or some other set of basic tools. The purchase DC of this equipment varies according to the particular Craft skill. To use Craft, first decide what the character is trying to make and consult the category descriptions below. Make a Wealth check against the given purchase DC for the
object to see if the character succeeds in acquiring the raw materials. If the character succeeds at that check, make the Craft check against the given DC for the object in question. If the character fails the check, he does not make the object and unless otherwise noted, the raw materials are wasted. The created object can be sold with a Purchase DC equal to the raw materials +3. For every 5 points that the character exceeds the DC he can either increase the Purchase DC by +1, or reduce the time needed to create the item by 10% (regardless of the result, the time cannot be reduced to less than 50%); thus, if he exceeds the DC by 10 points, he could either increase the DC by +2, reduce the time by 20% or increase the DC by +1 and reduce the time by 10%.
Generally, a character can take 10 when using a Craft skill to construct an object. He cannot however, take 20, since doing so represents multiple attempts and the character uses up the raw materials after the first attempt. The exceptions are the writing and analytical programming Specialities of Craft (expression); a character can take 20 because the character does not use up any raw materials and thus no Wealth check is required to use the skill.
Craft (chemical) (Int; Trained Only)
Inheriting the ages-old craft of alchemy, contemporary chemists have perfected and refined their trade so that while the product is more accessible to the masses, the preparation still retains its inherent difficulty.
Specialities: Acids and bases, alchemical compounds, explosives, poisons.
This skill allows a character to mix chemicals to create acids, bases, alchemical compounds, explosives and poisonous substances.
Acids and Bases: Acids are corrosive substances that deal acid damage. Bases neutralize acids but do not deal damage. A base of a certain type counteracts an acid of the same type or a less potent type but has no effect at all upon a more potent type.
|Type of Chemical||Purchase DCs||Craft DCs Acid||Craft DC Base||Time|
|Mild (1d6/1d10) *||8||15||10||1 min|
|Potent (2d6/2d10)||12||20||15||30 min|
|Concentrated (3d6/3d10)||16||30||20||1 hr|
* The dice rolls in parentheses are typical splash damage/immersion damage caused per round of exposure to the acid.
Alchemical Compounds: A throwback to the days before the scientific method, alchemical compounds are curious substances that serious chemists learn to create as amusements, though they still retain their usefulness. The effects of the different substances are explained in the Equipment and Wealth chapter.
|Type of Chemical||Purchase DC||Craft DC||Time|
|Holy water (flask) *||12||15||5 min|
|Alchemist’s fire (flask)||12||20||8 hr|
|Tanglefoot bag||14||25||24 hr|
|Gunpowder (horn)||2||20||1 hr|
|Percussion cap (12)||2||15||2 hr|
* Requires the intervention of an ecclesiastic occultist.
Explosives: Building an explosive from scratch is dangerous. If the Craft (chemical) check fails, the raw materials are wasted. If the check fails by 5 or more, the explosive compound detonates as it is being made, dealing half of its intended damage to the builder and anyone else in the burst radius. If the check succeeds, the final product is a piece of solid material, about the size of a brick. An explosive compound does not include a fuse or detonator. Connecting a fuse or detonator requires a Craft (mechanical) check.
|Type of Scratch-Built Explosive||Purchase DC||Craft DC||Time|
|Improvised (1d6/5-ft.) *||6||10||1 rnd|
|Simple (2d6/5-ft.)||12||15||10 min|
|Moderate (4d6/10-ft.)||16||20||1 hr|
|Complex (6d6/15-ft.)||20||25||3 hr|
|Powerful (8d6/20-ft.)||25||30||12 hr|
|Devastating (10d6/25-ft.)||30||35||24 hr|
* The figures in parentheses are typical damage/burst radiuses for each type of explosive.
Poisonous Substances: Solid poisons are usually ingested. Liquid poisons are most effective when injected directly into the bloodstream. Gaseous poisons must be inhaled to be effective. Full information about poisons is on pg 207, in the Adventuring section of the A World of Adventure chapter.
Special: A character without a chemical kit takes a -4 penalty on Craft (chemical) checks. A character with the Builder feat gets a +2 bonus on all Craft (chemical) checks.
Craft (mechanical) (Int; Trained Only)
Construction is the core ability of a Steampunk society. Those with the knowledge and talent to create mechanical devices, from simple toys to complicated contraptions, are greatly valued and are sure to achieve much in life.
Specialities: Clockworks, electrical devices, firearms, motors and engines, steamworks, traps.
This skill allows a character to build mechanical devices from scratch, including engines and engine parts, firearms, clockworks and other gadgets. When building a mechanical device from scratch, the character describes the kind of device he wants to construct; then the Games Master decides if the device is simple, moderate, complex, or advanced compared to current technology.
|Type of Scratch- Built Mechanical Device||Purchase DC||Craft DC||Time|
|Simple (tripwire trap)||5||15||1 hr|
|Moderate (clockwork power source)||12||20||12 hr|
|Complex (clockwork power source, revolver pistol)||16||25||24 hr|
|Advanced (analytical engine, clockthing)||20||30||60 hr|
|Extreme (steam locomotive)||25||35||100 hr|
Special: A character without a mechanical tool kit takes a -4 penalty on Craft (mechanical) checks. A character with the Builder feat gets a +2 bonus on all Craft (mechanical) checks. For truly amazing mechanical devices, genius characters can build amazing machines, see The Power of Steam chapter.
Craft (pharmaceutical) (Int; Trained Only)
Separate from alchemy and its daughter chemistry, the practice of making remedies has come into its own as health and medicine are better understood thanks to scientific development.
Specialities: Medicaments (for disease), antitoxins (for poisons and drugs), drugs.
This skill allows a character to compound medicinal drugs to aid in recovery from treatable illnesses or counter the effects of poison. A medicinal drug gives a +2 circumstance bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of a disease or a poison.
The Craft (pharmaceutical) check is based on the severity of the disease or poison to be countered as measured by the DC of the Fortitude save needed to resist it. The Purchase DC for a given illicit drug in the Equipment chapter is cross referenced with the one listed there to determine how long it takes to make ten doses of the drug and the base Craft DC to do so. Certain drugs have a DC modifier to their craft checks, as noted in their description. Poisons can be created with Craft (chemical), for which see above.
|Disease/Poison Fortitude Save DC||Purchase DC||Craft DC||Time|
|14 or lower||5||15||1 hr|
|23 or higher||20||30||12 hr|
Special: A character without a pharmacist kit takes a –4 penalty on Craft (pharmaceutical) checks. A character with the Treat Injury Expert feat gets a +2 bonus on all Craft (pharmaceutical) checks.
Craft (structural) (Int)
Perhaps the lesser of the crafting trades, the ability to build structures is still greatly valued, as even the most sophisticated machine needs a solid framework to rest upon.
Specialities: Armoursmithing, bowmaking and fletching, buildings, furniture, handicrafts, leatherworking, metalworking, seaming and weaving, weaponsmithing, woodworking.
This catch-all skill allows a character to build nonmechanical objects and structures made of wood, stone, cloth, leather or metal from scratch, including bookcases, desks, suits of armour, non-mechanical weapons like swords and bows, clothes, walls, houses and so forth, and includes such handyman skills as plumbing, house painting and building cabinets.
|Type of Scratch-Built Structure (Examples)||Purchase DC||Craft DC||Time|
|Simple (bookcase, false wall)||5||15||12 hr|
|Moderate (locking armoured gun case, shed with power)||10||20||24 hr|
|Complex (bunker, domed ceiling)||15||25||60 hr|
|Advanced (house, assuming space and permits can be obtained)||20||30||600 hr|
|Extreme (apartment complex)||30||35||6000 hr|
When building a structure from scratch, the character describes the kind of structure he wants to construct; then the Games Master decides if the structure is simple, moderate, complex or advanced in scope and difficulty.
Special: A character without a mechanical tool kit takes a -4 penalty on Craft (structural) checks. A character with the Builder feat gets a +2 bonus on all Craft (structural) checks.
Craft (expression) (Int)
Expressing thoughts and ideas is wholly different than creating practical things, yet experts at such crafts are finding recognition for their talent as their trade emerges and technology helps spread it through the media.
Specialities: Visual arts, telluric sketching, writing, analytical programming, printing operation.
This skill allows a character to express thoughts and ideas through material objects, such as visual media (paintings, photographs, lithographs, cinematography and so on), words (writing and print shop design) and even the more complex disciplines of programming an analytical engine or sketching telluric circuitry to combine the power of magic with the discipline of science.
Visual Arts, Writing and Printing: Unlike other Craft Specialities, expression is both an art and an industry. A character decides what he wants to do, considering that some crafts require very particular equipment like oils and paints, a photographic or cinematographic camera, pen and paper or a large and bulky printing engine. The character rolls a Craft (expression) check, the result of which determines the quality of the work. Unless the effort is particularly elaborate or the character must acquire an expensive piece of equipment, the basic components have a purchase DC of 5.
|Skill Check Result||Synergy bonus granted|
|9 or lower||+0|
|31 or higher||+5|
|Skill Check Result||Effort Achieved|
|9 or lower||Untalented amateur|
|31 or higher||Master|
Creating a work of expression requires a full-round action at the very least and usually takes an hour, a day, or more, depending on the scope of the project.
Reputation Increase: Work of an Expert or Master quality can raise a character’s Reputation score. Make a Reputation test, adding +1 for an Expert work or +2 for a Master work, against a DC of 20. If the test is successful, the artist’s reputation goes up 1 point. Artistic endeavours can never raise a character’s Reputation score by more than +5, and only one test can be made every 6 months.
Analytic Programming: By means of the Craft (expression) skill, a character can teach an analytical engine to perform certain functions. This is only possible with ‘dumb’ analytical engines, which are those found in the Equipment and Wealth chapter and for amazing machines with the Limited Sentience special feature.
More sophisticated engines like those provided by the Full Sentience feature or those that construct characters possess are capable of learning on their own.
A character can ‘teach’ an analytical engine a number of functions, all with their own DC.
|Type of Analytic Instruction||Craft DC||Time|
|Simple (artificial expertise)||15||1 hr|
|Moderate (specific instruction)||20||2 hr|
|Complex (artificial intelligence)||25||4 hr|
Artificial Intelligence: Analytical engines start with a virtual Intelligence score of 10 to 20. This score is not useful for anything but the measurement of the learning capacity of the engine and the provision of a bonus to its other functions. Even so, the Intelligence modifier must be ‘activated’ through programming before the engine can use it. With a successful Craft (expression) check, a character can activate a +1 modifier from the analytical engine’s Intelligence.
A single check activates a +1 modifier, which means that multiple checks activate the engine’s Intelligence modifier until it reaches the maximum for its Intelligence score. An engine with Intelligence
16 thus needs three successful checks to activate its full +3 modifier. A character cannot activate a modifier higher than that which the score could give to a normal character; this limits the modifier to a maximum of +5. Increasing the engine’s Intelligence score is a matter of hardware engineering and depends upon use the Craft (mechanical) skill.
Artificial Expertise: Analytical engines can be taught skills. An analytical engine can learn one skill per point of its activated Intelligence modifier. Success in the Craft (expression) check grants the engine 1 rank in one of the skills it knows or the first rank in a new skill. Appropriate skills for analytical engines are: all Craft skills except Craft (expression), Decipher Script, Disable Device, Drive, Forgery, Gamble, Investigate, all Knowledge skills, Navigate, Perform, Pilot, Profession, Read/ Write/Speak Language, Repair, Research and Treat Injury. A character cannot program more skill ranks in any skill than he himself has, although another character with such skills may assist him with the aid another action, in which case he grants his comrade the ability to input the desired skill ranks into the analytical engine instead of granting him a +2 bonus to the Craft (expression) check.
Specific Instruction: An analytical engine can be taught to perform a simple task that it could possibly perform with the equipment it can control. These instructions are similar to those for the Handle Animal skill. The Games Master decides which instruction is appropriate for any given analytical engine.
Telluric Sketching: This is the ability to trace patterns and diagrams by which telluric power, the name the scientists give to magic, can manifest in specific effects. Only geniuses and occultists have any use for telluric sketching. The former employ them in amazing machinery and the latter to trace magical diagrams for their rituals. Telluric circuitry is fully described in The Power of Steam chapter, along with its uses, as are magical rituals in The Occult chapter.
As an independent discipline, telluric sketching is useful to bolster other scientific or magical endeavours. The character makes a Craft (expression) check to trace a telluric circuit or magical diagram around a power source, workbench or laboratory table, the result of which determines the quality of the circuit and the synergy bonus it grants to the work performed inside the circuit. The basic components cost for a telluric circuit have a Purchase DC of 5, plus the synergy bonus attained; if the character did not provide for materials the roll’s quality would provide, the synergy bonus granted is only equal to the maximum that the components allow. For example, if a character rolls a 21 on his check (which grants a +3 bonus) but only provided for materials with a Purchase DC of 7, his telluric sketch would only grant a +2 bonus. The circuit is burned when telluric energy courses through it to grant the bonus to the roll performed inside.
Special: A character with the Creative feat gets a +2 bonus on all Craft (expression) checks.
Decipher Script (Int; Trained Only)
The ruins of old still hide their secrets from modern explorers and scholars, who must piece together forgotten scripts to discern the language of the ancients. The skill to understand hidden messages also extends to modern times, where secrets are hidden beneath layers of encrypted language.
Specialities: Ancient languages, contemporary codes, text completion.
Check: A character can decipher writing in an ancient language or, more often, in code. This can also be used to interpret the meaning of an incomplete text. The base DC is 20 for the simplest messages, 25 for standard codes, and 30 or higher for intricate or complex codes or exotic messages. Helpful texts or analytical engines can provide a bonus (usually a +2 circumstance bonus) on the check, provided they are applicable to the script in question.
If the check succeeds, the character understands the general content of a piece of writing, reading about one page of text or its equivalent in 1 minute. If the check fails, the Games Master makes a Wisdom check (DC 10) for the character to see if he avoids drawing a false conclusion about the text. Success means that the character does not draw a false conclusion; failure means that the character does. The Games Master secretly makes both the skill check and the Wisdom check so the character cannot tell whether the conclusion drawn is accurate or not.
Try Again: No, unless conditions change or new information is uncovered.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Decipher Script check but cannot take 20. A character with the Studious feat gets a +2 bonus on all Decipher Script checks.
Time: Decryption takes 1 full round or more, depending on the complexity of the code. The Games Master determines how long this skill actually takes to use; mechanical aid usually speeds up the process.
The Empire grows day by day and comes into contact with countless new cultures. The clashes that such encounters cause are rife with opportunity for those with the talent to mediate.
Check: A character can change others’ attitudes with a successful check; see the table below. In negotiations, participants roll opposed Diplomacy checks to see who gains the advantage. Opposed checks also resolve cases where two advocates or diplomats plead opposing cases before a third party.
Diplomacy can be used to influence a Non-Player Character’s attitude.
The Games Master chooses the character’s initial attitude based on the circumstances. Most of the time, the people the heroes meet are indifferent toward them but a specific situation may call for a different initial attitude. The DCs given in the accompanying table show what it takes to change someone’s attitude with the use of the Diplomacy skill. The character does not declare a specific outcome he is trying for; instead, make the check and compare the result to the table on the next page.
Diplomacy is directly affected by the Allegiances rules from the Character Background chapter. Review those rules when adjudicating any use of this skill. Extended use of this skill also influences how Contacts are developed.
See the same chapter for further rules on that aspect of the Diplomacy skill.
Try Again: Generally, trying again does not 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. The Games Master is the final authority on retries of this skill but second chances should be expensive in time, gifts or both. Special: A character can take 10 when making a Diplomacy check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Trustworthy feat gets a +2 bonus on all Diplomacy checks. A character with five or more ranks in Bluff, Knowledge (behavioural sciences) or Sense Motive gains a +2 synergy bonus to Diplomacy checks.
Time: Diplomacy is at least a full-round action. The Games Master may determine that some negotiations require a longer period of time.
|Hostile||Will take risks to hurt or avoid you||Attack, interfere, berate, flee|
|Unfriendly||Wishes you ill||Mislead, gossip, avoid, watch suspiciously, insult|
|Indifferent||Does not much care||Act as socially expected|
|Friendly||Wishes you well||Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate|
|Helpful||Will take risks to help you||Protect, back up, heal, aid|
Difficulty for Diplomacy Checks
|Hostile||19 or less||20||25||35||45|
|Unfriendly||4 or less||5||15||25||35|
|Indifferent||—||0 or less||1||15||25|
|Friendly||—||—||0 or less||1||15|
Bribery and Diplomacy: Offering money or another form of favour can, in the right situation, improve a character’s chances with a Diplomacy skill check. Bribery allows a character to circumvent various official obstacles when a person in a position of trust or authority is willing to accept such an offering.
An illegal act, bribery requires two willing participants – one to offer a bribe and the other to accept it. When a character requires a bribe to achieve a diplomatic task, such as passing a checkpoint in a corrupt republic, then his Diplomacy check automatically fails if a bribe is not attached to it. If a bribe is not customarily required, then a character can add a bribe to gain a bonus on his skill check. This can backfire, as some characters will be insulted by a bribe offer (their attitude changes one step for the worse) and others will report the hero to the proper authorities.
To bribe a character, make a Wealth check. Typical DCs are shown below, but the Games Master may modify the DC as he sees fit. If the hero succeeds in the check, he gains a +2 bonus on the Diplomacy check. For every point by which he beats the DC, increase the bonus by +1 (to a total maximum bonus of +10).
|Bribe Target||Purchase DC|
|Official or Law Man||10|
|Noble or Notable Character||15|
Disable Device (Int; Trained Only)
Machines are flooding the streets and becoming a mainstay of civilisation. Knowing how to deactivate and sabotage them is a boon for many who are jealous of technology’s progress, or for those who know how to abuse it for their own ends.
Specialities: Lockpicking, disable traps, sabotage device. Check: The Games Master makes the Disable Device check so that the character does not necessarily know whether he has succeeded. This skill can accomplish several different things, all of which a given character can attempt, assuming he has the proper equipment on hand to do so.
Open Lock: A character can pick conventional locks and finesse combination locks. The character must have a lockpick set to attempt this task. The DC depends on the quality of the lock.
Difficulty for Open Lock Checks
|Lock Type (Example)||DC|
|Cheap (briefcase lock)||20|
|Average (home lock)||25|
|High quality (business lock)||30|
|High security (average government vault)||40|
|Ultra-high security (mad scientist’s vault)||50|
Traps and Sabotage: Disabling (or rigging or jamming) a simple mechanical device has a DC of 10. More intricate and complex devices have higher DCs. The Games Master rolls the check. If the check succeeds, the character disables the device. If the check fails by 4 or less, the character has failed but can try again. If the character fails by 5 or more, something goes wrong. If it is a trap, the character springs it. If it is some sort of sabotage, the character thinks the device is disabled but it still works normally. With this skill, a character can rig simple devices to work normally for a while and then fail some time later, usually after 1d4 rounds or minutes of use. More permanent modification requires use of the Craft (structural) skill and additional time.
Try Again: Yes, though the character must be aware that he has failed in order to try again.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Disable Device check. A character can take 20 to open a lock or to disable a security device, unless the character is trying to prevent his tampering from being noticed. Possessing the proper tools gives a character the best chance of succeeding on a Disable Device check. Opening a lock requires a lockpick. Disabling traps and conducting sabotage requires a mechanical tool kit or some other equipment, depending on the nature of the device. If the character does not have the appropriate tools, he takes a -4 penalty on his check. A character with the Cautious feat and at least 1 rank in this skill gets a +2 bonus on all Disable Device checks.
Time: Disabling a simple mechanical device is a fullround action. Intricate or complex devices require 2d4 rounds
Appearing to be someone else is not only useful in the stage of theatrics, but also for seedier pursuits like that of the intelligencer infiltrating an enemy stronghold or the swindler enacting a confidence trick.
Check: A character’s Disguise check result determines how good the disguise is. It is opposed by others’ Spot check results. Make one Disguise check even if several people make Spot checks. The Games Master makes the character’s Disguise check secretly so that the character is not sure how well his disguise holds up to scrutiny. If the character does not draw any attention to himself, however, others do not get to make Spot checks. If the character comes to the attention of people who are suspicious, the suspicious person gets to make a Spot check. The Games Master can assume that such observers take 10 on their Spot checks. The effectiveness of the character’s disguise depends in part on how much the character is attempting to change his appearance.
|Minor details only||+5|
|Appropriate uniform or costume||+2|
|Disguised as different sex||–2|
|Disguised as different age category||–2 *|
* Per step of difference between the character’s age category and the disguised age category. Categories proceed as follows: child, young adult, adult, middle age, old and venerable.
If the character is impersonating a particular individual, then those who know what that person looks like are automatically entitled to make Spot checks. Furthermore, they gain a bonus on their Spot checks as indicated below.
|Recognises on sight||+4|
|Friend or associate||+6|
Usually, an individual makes a Spot check to detect a disguise immediately upon meeting the character and each hour thereafter. If the character casually meets many different people, spending a short amount of time with each, the Games Master checks once per day or hour, using an average Spot modifier for the group and assuming they take 10.
Try Again: No, though the character can assume the same disguise again at a later time. If others saw through the previous disguise, they are automatically treated as suspicious if the character assumes the same disguise again.
Special: A character can take 10 or take 20 when establishing a disguise. A character without a disguise kit takes a –4 penalty on Disguise checks. A character with the Deceptive feat gets a +2 bonus on all Disguise checks.
A character can help someone else create a disguise for him, treating it as an aid another attempt. A character with five or more ranks in Bluff gains a +2 synergy bonus to Disguise checks to act in character.
Time: A Disguise check requires 1d4 x10 minutes of preparation. The Games Master makes Spot checks for those who encounter the character immediately upon meeting the character and again each hour or day thereafter, depending on circumstances.
Drive (Dex; Trained Only)
Vehicles that can be operated by a single person, or at least a small crew, are replacing the old ways of travel and the ability to drive such vehicles is now something all selfrespecting citizens must learn, whether they have access to a vehicle or not.
Specialities: Wheeled vehicles, legged vehicles, tread vehicles, hover vehicles, sailed vehicles, mechanical water vehicles, oared water vehicles.
Check: Routine tasks, such as ordinary driving, do not require a skill check. Make a check only when some unusual circumstance exists, such as inclement weather or an icy surface, or when the character is driving during a dramatic situation or an action sequence, such as when the character is being chased or attacked, or is trying to reach a destination in a limited amount of time. When driving, the character can attempt a number of manoeuvres. See the chapter A World of Adventure for more details.
Try Again: Most driving checks have consequences for failure that make trying again impossible.
Special: A character can take 10 when driving, but cannot take 20. A character with the Vehicle Expert feat gets a +2 bonus on all Drive checks. There is no penalty for operating a general-purpose land vehicle. The Drive skill is generic and is thus useful for all land based and water based vehicles.
Time: A Drive check is a move action.
Escape Artist (Dex; Armour Penalty)
Bonds and restraints are as prevalent in the Steampunk age as they ever were; but for every foolproof trap, there is always a better fool. Escaping from captivity is a skill learned by criminals since they were street urchins and cultivated also by more fortunate folk who simply dislike being restrained.
Check: Make a check to escape from restraints or to squeeze through a tight space.
|Restraint||DC of Escape Check|
|Ropes||Opponent’s Use Rope check +10|
|Grappler||Opponent’s grapple check|
For ropes, chains and other restraints, a character’s Escape Artist check is opposed by the Use Rope check result of the opponent who tied the bonds. Since it is easier to tie someone up than to escape from being tied up, the opponent gets a +10 bonus on his Use Rope check. For a tight space, a check is only called for if the character’s head fits but his shoulders do not. If the space is long, such as an airshaft, the Games Master may call for multiple checks. A character cannot fit through a space that his head does not fit through.
A character can make an Escape Artist check opposed by his opponent’s grapple check to get out of a grapple or out of a pinned condition, so that the character is just being grappled rather than pinned. Doing so is an attack action, so if the character escapes the grapple he can move in the same round.
Try Again: A character can make another check after a failed check if the character is squeezing through a tight space, making multiple checks. If the situation permits, the character can make additional checks as long as he is not being actively opposed.
Special: A character can take 10 on an Escape Artist check. A character can take 20 if he is not being actively opposed; a character can take 20 if he is tied up, even though it is an opposed check, because the opponent is not actively opposing the character. A character with the Nimble feat gets a +2 bonus on all Escape checks. A character with five or more ranks in Escape Artist gains a +2 synergy bonus to Use Rope checks when binding someone. A character with five or more ranks in Use Rope gains a +2 synergy bonus to Escape Artist checks when escaping from rope bonds.
Time: Making a check to escape from being bound by ropes, handcuffs, or other restraints (except a grappler) requires 1 minute. Escaping a net is a full-round action. Squeezing through a tight space takes at least 1 minute, maybe longer, depending on the distance that must be crossed.
Forgery (Int; Some Trained Only)
Papers are becoming more important with the advent of the printing press. Documentation floods the halls of organisations with orders, petitions and authorisations. In this bureaucratic mayhem, enterprising ruffians can mimic such works using their trained abilities.
Check: Forgery requires ma terials appropriate to the document being forged and some quantity of working time. In order to forge a document, the character needs to have seen a similar document before. The complexity of the document, the character’s degree of familiarity with it and whether the character needs to reproduce the signature or handwriting of a specific individual all provide modifiers to the Forgery check, as shown below.
|Document Type||Check Modifier||Inspection Time|
|Simple (forged letter)||+0||10 min|
|Moderate (ship manifesto)||-2||20 min|
|Complex (identification papers)||-4||1 hr|
|Difficult (property deeds)||-8||4 hr|
|Extreme (royal decrees)||-16||24 hr|
The Games Master makes the character’s check secretly so the character is not sure how good his forgery is. A forger is allowed to know the check result and gains a retry if the document’s final check is 10 or less. Quality is hard to judge, but a lousy piece of work is recognisable to all.
|Unfamiliar (seen once for less than a minute)||-4|
|Fairly familiar (seen for several minutes)||+0|
|Quite familiar (on hand, or studied at leisure)||+4|
|Forger has produced other documents of same type||+4|
|Document includes specific signature||-4|
* Use all modifiers that apply from this list.
Only moderate level forgeries can be attempted without at least one rank in this skill.
The Forgery skill is also used to detect someone else’s forgery. The result of the original Forgery check that created the document is opposed by a Forgery check by the person who examines the document to check its authenticity. If the examiner’s check result is equal to or higher than the original Forgery check, the document is determined to be fraudulent. The examiner gains bonuses or penalties on his check as given in the table below.
|Type of document unknown to examiner||–4|
|Type of document somewhat known to examiner||–2|
|Type of document well known to examiner||+0|
|Document is put through additional tests *||+4|
|Examiner only casually reviews the document *||–2|
* Cumulative with any of the first three conditions on the table. Apply this modifier along with one of the other three whenever appropriate.
A document that contradicts procedure, orders, or previous knowledge, or one that requires the examiner to relinquish a possession or a piece of information, can increase the examiner’s suspicion (and thus create circumstances favourable to the examiner’s opposed Forgery check) as determined by the Games Master.
Try Again: No, since the forger is not sure of the quality of the original forgery.
Special: To forge documents and detect for geries, one must be able to read and write the language in question; the skill is language- dependent. A character can take 10 when making a Forgery check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Meticulous feat gets a +2 bonus on all Forgery checks. A character without a forgery kit takes a –4 penalty on Forgery checks.
Time: Forging a short, simple document takes about 1 minute. Longer or more complex documents take 1d4 minutes per page or longer.
Rather than plying a respectable trade, many people turn to games of bluff and chance to make their living, particularly in the colonies and other barbaric settings. As well as these back-street sports, there also are refined games of chance that respectable citizens can partake in and gain a reputation as gentlemen (and ladies) of skill and fortune.
Check: To join or start a game, a character must first pay a stake. The character sets the purchase DC of the stake if he starts the game, or the Games Master sets it if the character joins a game. Stakes run from penny-ante (purchase DC 4) to astronomical (purchase DC 24). A character cannot take 20 when purchasing a stake. If the stake is within the character’s means (that is, it is equal to or less than his Wealth bonus) the character stands no chance of winning any significant amount. The character might come out ahead, but the amount is not enough to affect his Wealth bonus. Since paying the stake did not cost any points of Wealth bonus, the character does not lose anything either. If the stake is higher than the character’s Wealth bonus before applying any reductions from purchasing the stake, then the character gets a +1 bonus on his Gamble check for every point the purchase DC is above the character’s Wealth bonus.
The character’s Gamble check is opposed by the Gamble checks of all other participants in the game. If playing at a casino, assume the house has a Gamble skill modifier equal to the stake purchase DC. Regardless of the stake purchase DC, the house does not get a bonus on its Gamble check for the purchase DC. If there are many characters participating, the Games Master can opt to make a single roll for all of them, using the highest Gamble skill modifier among them and adding a +2 bonus to the check.
If the character beats all other participants, he wins and gains an increase to his Wealth bonus. The amount of the increase depends on the difference between the character’s check result and the next highest result among the other participants. Gambling is a risky proposition but it is also one that can only be attempted infrequently with any real success. Every Gamble check made within the same month suffers a cumulative -1 circumstance penalty and a character can never benefit from more than a total of +5 to their current Wealth bonus at any one time.
|Check Result Difference||Wealth Bonus Increase|
|40 or more||+5|
Try Again: No, unless the character wants to put up another stake.
Special: A character cannot take 10 or take 20 when making a Gamble check. A character with the Confident feat gets a +2 bonus on all Gamble checks.
Time: A Gamble check requires 1 hour.
Gather Information (Cha)
Gossip circulates in high places and low. Knowing how to catch it is a valuable tool for those wishing to find their bearings quickly, or to gather clues that their eyes have missed.
Check: By succeeding at a skill check (DC 10) and spending 1d4+1 hours passing out money and buying drinks, a character can get a feel for the major news items in a neighbourhood. This result assumes that no obvious reasons exist why information would be withheld. The higher the check’s result, the better the information. If the situation does not require the expenditure of money, no Wealth check is necessary. Information ranges from general to protected, and the cost and DC increases accordingly for the type of information the character seeks to gather, as given in the table below.
|Type of Information||DC||Purchase DC|
General information concerns local happenings, rumours, gossip and the like. Specific information usually relates to a particular question. Restricted information includes facts that are not generally known and requires that the character 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 answer.
There’s a chance that someone will take note of anyone asking about restricted or protected information. The character can increase the amount of money used to gather information, gaining a circumstance bonus by effectively offering a bribe, though the process might entail buying more expensive drinks, hot food and such like, not necessarily offering a character extra money. Increase the
Wealth check DC by 2 for each +1 circumstance bonus the character wants to add to his skill check.
Try Again: Yes, but it takes 1d4+1 hours for each check, and characters may draw attention to themselves if they repeatedly pursue a certain type of information.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Gather Information check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Trustworthy feat gets a +2 bonus on all Gather Information checks. A character with five or more ranks in Knowledge (local) gains a +2 synergy bonus to Gather Information checks in that area.
Time: A Gather Information check takes 1d4+1 hours.
Handle Animal (Cha; Trained Only)
Although machinery is replacing the old forms of transport and labour, animals remain the friends of common folk and can still be seeing hauling carts, wagons and yokes. Some even serve in battle as their ancestors have for thousands of years. The private laboratories of scientists and the gardens of the nobles have trained dogs guarding them, while adventurers will frequently have to trek out to their remote destinations on horses or camels.
Check: The DC depends on what the character is trying to do.
Handle an Animal: This task involves commanding an animal to perform a task or trick that it knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any non-lethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.
|Task||Handle Animal DC|
|Handle an animal||10|
|‘Push’ an animal||25|
|Teach an animal a trick||15 or 201|
|Train an animal for a general purpose||15 or 201|
|Rear a wild animal||15 + HD of animal|
1 See the specific trick or purpose below.
‘Push’ an Animal: To push an animal means to prompt it to perform a task or trick that it does not know but is physically capable of performing. This category also covers making an animal perform a forced march or forcing it to hustle for more than 1 hour between sleep cycles. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If the check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.
Teach an Animal a Trick: A character can teach an animal a specific trick with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal check against the indicated DC. An animal with an Intelligence score of 1 can learn a maximum of three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence score of 2 can learn a maximum of six tricks. Possible tricks (and their associated DCs) include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following.
Attack (DC 20): The animal attacks apparent enemies. The character may point to a particular creature that he wishes the animal to attack, and it will comply if able. Normally, an animal will attack only humanoids, monstrous humanoids or other animals. Teaching an animal to attack all creatures (including unnatural creatures, such as undead or constructs) counts as two tricks.
Come (DC 15): The animal comes to the character, even if it normally would not do so.
Defend (DC 20): The animal defends the character (or is ready to defend him if no threat is present) even without any command being given. Alternatively, the character can command the animal to defend a specific other character.
Down (DC 15): The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down. An animal that does not know this trick continues to fight until it must flee (due to injury, a fear effect or the like) or its opponent is defeated.
Fetch (DC 15): The animal goes and gets something. If the character does not point out a specific item, the animal fetches some random object.
Guard (DC 20): The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.
Heel (DC 15): The animal follows the character closely, even to places where it normally would not go.
Perform (DC 15): The animal performs a variety of simple tricks, such as sitting up, rolling over, roaring or barking and so on.
Seek (DC 15): The animal moves into an area and looks around for anything that is obviously alive or animate.
Stay (DC 15): The animal stays in place, waiting for the character to return. It does not challenge other creatures that come by, though it still defends itself if it needs to.
Track (DC 20): The animal tracks the scent presented to it. This requires the animal to have the scent ability.
Work (DC 15): The animal pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.
Train an Animal for a Purpose: Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can simply train it for a general purpose. Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a pre-selected set of known tricks that fit into a common scheme, such as guarding or heavy labour. The animal must meet all the normal prerequisites for all tricks included in the training package. If the package includes more than three tricks, the animal must have an Intelligence score of 2.
An animal can be trained for only one general purpose, though if the creature is capable of learning additional tricks above and beyond those included in its general purpose, then it may be trained to do them. Training an animal for a purpose requires fewer checks than teaching individual tricks does but no less time.
Combat Riding (DC 20): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard and heel. Training an animal for combat riding takes six weeks. The character may also ‘upgrade’ an animal trained for riding to one trained for combat riding by spending three weeks and making a successful Handle Animal check (DC 20). The new general purpose and tricks completely replace the animal’s previous purpose and any tricks it once knew. Warhorses and riding dogs are already trained to bear riders into combat and they do not require any additional training for this purpose.
Fighting (DC 20): An animal trained to engage in combat knows the tricks attack, down and stay. Training an animal for fighting takes three weeks.
Guarding (DC 20): An animal trained to guard knows the tricks attack, defend, down and guard. Training an animal for guarding takes four weeks.
Heavy Labour (DC 15): An animal trained for heavy labour knows the tricks come and work. Training an animal for heavy labour takes two weeks.
Hunting (DC 20): An animal trained for hunting knows the tricks attack, down, fetch, heel, seek and track. Training an animal for hunting takes six weeks.
Performance (DC 15): An animal trained for performance knows the tricks come, fetch, heel, perform and stay. Training an animal for performance takes five weeks.
Riding (DC 15): An animal trained to bear a rider knows the tricks come, heel and stay. Training an animal for riding takes three weeks.
Rear a Wild Animal: To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so that it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it is being raised, or it can be taught as a domesticated animal later.
Try Again: Yes, except for rearing an animal.
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do. A character with the Animal Affinity feat receives a +2 bonus on Handle Animal checks. A character with five or more ranks in Handle Animal gains a +2 synergy bonus to Ride checks.
Time: Varies. Handling an animal is a move action, while pushing an animal is a full-round action. For tasks with specific time frames noted above, the character must spend half this time (at the rate of 3 hours per day per animal being handled) working toward completion of the task before attempting the Handle Animal check. If the check fails, the attempt to teach, rear or train the animal fails and the character need not complete the teaching, rearing or training time. If the check succeeds, the character must invest the remainder of the time to complete the teaching, rearing or training. If the time is interrupted or the task is not followed through to completion, the attempt to teach, rear or train the animal automatically fails.
Hide (Dex; Armour Penalty)
Bustling streets or thick foliage are ideal environments for masking one’s presence, a favoured ability of the untrustworthy, yet also valued by those who defend respectable folk from threats that are better not faced openly.
Check: A character’s Hide check is opposed by the Spot check of anyone who might see him. The character can move up to half his normal speed and hide at no penalty. At more than half and up to the character’s full speed, the character takes a –5 penalty. It is practically impossible (– 20 penalty) to hide while attacking, running or charging.
The Hide check is also modified by the character’s size:
If people are observing the character, even casually, he cannot hide, though talents or feats might alter this. The character can run around a corner so that he is out of sight and then hide but the others then know at least where the character went. Cover and concealment grant circumstance bonuses to Hide checks, as shown below. Note that a character cannot hide if he has less than onehalf cover or concealment.
|Cover or Concealment||Circumstance Bonus|
Creating a Diversion to Hide: A character can use the Bluff skill to help him hide. A successful Bluff check can give the character the momentary diversion needed to attempt a Hide check while people are aware of him. While the others turn their attention from the character, he can make a Hide check if he can reach a hiding place of some kind. As a general guideline, the hiding place has to be within 1 foot for every rank the character has in Hide. This check, however, is made at a -10 penalty because the character has to move fast.
Tailing: Also called shadowing, a character can use Hide to tail a person in public. Using the skill in this manner assumes that there are other people present with no interest in the character or the person he is pursuing, among whom he can mingle to remain unnoticed. If the subject is worried about being followed, he can make a Spot check (opposed by the character’s Hide check) every time he changes course, such as when he goes around a street corner, exits a building and so on. If he is unsuspecting, he will generally only receive a Spot check after an hour of tailing.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Hide check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Stealthy feat gets a +2 bonus on all Hide checks.
Time: A Hide check is an attack action.
Intimidate (Cha or Str; Character’s Choice)
A rather uncouth method of having one’s way, intimidation is nonetheless a valuable tool when courteous diplomacy has failed.
Check: With a successful check, a character can forcibly persuade another character to perform some task or behave in a certain way. A character’s Intimidate check is op posed by the target’s level check, resolved as d20 + the target’s character level or Hit Dice. Any modifiers that a target may have to Will saving throws against fear effects apply to this level check. If the character succeeds, he may treat the target as friendly for 10 minutes but only for purposes of actions taken while in the character’s presence; that is, the target retains his normal attitude but will answer questions, offer limited help, or take simple actions on the character’s behalf while intimidated.
Circumstances can dramatically affect the effectiveness of an Intimidate check.
There are limits to what a successful Intimidate check can do. The character cannot force the target to obey his every command or do something that endangers the target’s life. If the character fails by more than 5, the target may actually do the opposite of what the character wishes.
Try Again: No. Even if the initial check succeeds, the other character can only be intimidated so much and trying again does not help. If the initial check fails, the other character has become more firmly resolved to resist the intimidator and trying again is futile.
Special: A character can take 10 when making an Intimidate check but cannot take 20. A character may add a +2 bonus to his Intimidate check for every size category the character is larger than his target. Conversely, the character takes a –2 penalty to his check for every size category the character is smaller than his target. A character with the Confident feat gets a +2 bonus on all Intimidate checks and on level checks to resist intimidation. A character with five or more ranks in Bluff gains a +2 synergy bonus to Intimidate checks.
Time: An Intimidate check is a full-round action
Investigate (Int; Trained Only)
New methods of fighting crime give investigators tools they had not possessed before, to the point of making theirs a respectable and creditable profession.
Check: A character generally uses Search to discover clues and Investigate to analyse them. If the character has access to a laboratory, the character uses the Investigate skill to collect and prepare samples for the revolutionary task of forensic examination. The result of the Investigate check provides bonuses or penalties to the lab workers.
Analyse Clue: The character can make an Investigate check to apply forensic knowledge to a clue. This function of the Investigate skill does not give the character clues where none existed before. It simply allows the character to extract extra information from a clue he has found. The base DC to analyse a clue is 15. It is modified by the time that has elapsed since the clue was left and whether or not the scene was disturbed.
|Every day since event (maximum modifier +10)||+2|
|Scene is outdoors||+5|
|Scene slightly disturbed||+2|
|Scene moderately disturbed||+4|
|Scene extremely disturbed||+6|
Collect Evidence: The character can collect and prepare evidentiary material for a lab. This use of the Investigate skill requires an evidence kit or amazing equipment with the Skill Assist (investigate) special feature. To collect a piece of evidence, make an Investigate check at DC 15. If the character succeeds, the evidence is usable by a crime lab. If the character fails, a crime lab analysis may be performed but the lab takes a –5 penalty on any necessary check. If the character fails by 5 or more, the lab analysis simply cannot be done. On the other hand, if the character succeeds by 10 or more, the lab gains a +2 circumstance bonus on its checks to analyse the material.
This function of the Investigate skill does not provide the character with evidentiary items. It simply allows the character to collect items in a manner that best aids his analysis later, at a crime lab.
Try Again: Generally, analysing a clue again does not add new insight unless another clue is introduced. Evidence collected cannot be recollected, unless there is more of it to take. If either of these eventualities should occur, an investigator can gain another retry but the first check must be made with all the available evidence that has been identified.
Special: A character can take 10 when making an Investigate check but cannot take 20. Collecting evidence requires an evidence kit. If the character does not have the appropriate kit, the character takes a –4 penalty on his check. A character with the Attentive feat and at least 1 rank in this skill gets a +2 bonus on all Investigate checks.
Time: Analysing a clue is a full-round action. Collecting evidence generally takes 1d4 minutes per object.
Jump (Str; Armour Penalty)
Not all routes are smooth and level and people often need to cover impassable distances by jumping over them, whether this involves an adventurer leaping a chasm or a sneak-thief vaulting from roof to roof.
Check: The DC and the distance the character can cover vary according to the type of jump the character is attempting. The character’s Jump check is modified by his speed. The DCs specified below assume a speed of 30 feet, which is the speed of a typical human. If the character’s speed is less than 30 feet, he takes a penalty of –6 for every 10 feet of speed less than 30. If the character’s speed is greater than 30 feet, he gains a bonus of +4 for every 10 feet over 30.
If the character has ranks in the Jump skill and succeeds on a check, the character lands on his feet (when appropriate) and can move as far as his remaining movement allows. If the character attempts a Jump check untrained, the character lands prone unless he beats the DC by 5 or more. Standing from a prone position is a move action. Distance moved by jumping is counted against maximum movement in a round. A character can start a jump at the end of one turn and complete the jump at the beginning of his next turn.
Long Jump: This is a horizontal jump, made across a gap such as a chasm or stream. At the midpoint of the jump, the character attains a vertical height equal to onequarter the horizontal distance. The DC for the jump is equal to the distance jumped (in feet) + 5. The DCs for long jumps of 5 to 30 feet are given in the table below. A character cannot jump a distance greater than his normal speed. All Jump DCs covered for a Long Jump assume that the character can move at least 20 feet in a straight line before attempting the jump. If this is not the case, the DC for the jump is doubled.
|Long Jump Distance||DC *||Long Jump Distance||DC *|
* Requires a 20-foot move. Without a 20-foot move, double the DC.
If the character fails the check by less than 5, he does not clear the distance, but can make a Reflex saving throw (DC 15) to grab the far edge of the gap. The character ends his movement grasping the far edge. If that leaves the character dangling over a chasm or gap, then he may attempt to pull himself up, which requires a move action and a Climb check at DC 15.
High Jump: This is a vertical leap, made to jump up to grasp something overhead, such as a tree limb or ledge. The DC for the jump is 2 + the height x4, in feet. The DCs for high jumps of 1 to 8 feet are given in the table below for convenience. All Jump DCs covered here for the High Jump assume that the character can move at least 20 feet in a straight line before attempting the jump. If this is not the case, the DC for the jump is doubled.
|High Jump Distance||DC *||High Jump Distance||DC *|
* Requires a 20-foot move. Without a running start, double the DC.
If the character succeeds at the check, he can reach the height. He grasps the object he was trying to reach. If the character wishes to pull himself up, he can do so with a move action and a Climb check at DC 15. If the character fails the Jump check, he does not reach the height and lands on his feet in the same square from which he jumped.
The difficulty of reaching a given height varies according to the size of the character or creature. Generally, the maximum height a creature can reach without jumping is given in the table below. As a Medium creature, a typical human can reach 8 feet without jumping. If the creature is long instead of tall, treat it as one size category smaller.
|Creature Size||Maximum Height|
Hop Up: The character can jump up onto an object as tall as his waist with a Jump check at DC 10. Doing so counts as 10 feet of movement. The character does not need a running start to hop up, so the DC is not doubled if the character does not get a running start.
Jumping Down: If the character intentionally jumps from a height, he can take less damage than if he just falls. The DC to jump down from a height is 15. The character does not need a running start in order to jump down, so the DC is not doubled if the character does not have a running start. If the character succeeds on the check, he takes falling damage as if he had dropped 10 fewer feet than he actually did.
Special: Effects that increase a character’s speed also increase the character’s jumping distance, since the check is modified by the character’s speed. A character can take 10 when making a Jump check. If there is no danger associated with failing, the character can take 20. A character with the Acrobatic feat gets a +2 bonus on all Jump checks. A character with the Run feat gains a +2 synergy bonus on Jump checks preceded by a 20-foot move. A character with five or more ranks in Tumble gains a +2 synergy bonus to Jump checks. A character with five or more ranks in Jump gains a +2 synergy bonus to Tumble checks.
Time: Using the Jump skill is either a move action or a full-round action, depending on whether the character starts and completes the jump during a single move action or a full-round action.
Knowledge (Int; Some Trained Only)
The way of science and understanding is more valuable now than in previous obscurantist ages, where lore was held fast behind closed doors. Study and scholarship pave the way for progress through understanding.
This skill encompasses several categories, each of them treated as a separate skill. These categories are identified and defined below. The number of Knowledge categories is kept purposely finite. When trying to determine what Knowledge skill a particular question or field of expertise falls under, use a broad interpretation of the existing categories. Do not arbitrarily make up new categories, as other skills, talents, feats and synergies are based off the categories listed below and new ones may not fit well into a given campaign. Each Knowledge category can have many Specialities; the ones listed here are the most common but, instead of making up new knowledge categories, players can create new Specialities with the Games Master’s approval.
Check: A character makes a Knowledge check to see if he knows something. The DC for answering a question within the character’s field of study is 10 for easy questions, 15 for basic questions and 20 to 30 for tough questions. Appraising the value of an object is one sort of task that can be performed using Knowledge. The DC depends on how common or obscure the object is. On a success, the character accurately identifies the object’s purchase DC. If the character fails, he thinks it has a purchase DC 1d2 higher or lower (determine randomly) than its actual value. If the character fails by 5 or more, he thinks it has a purchase DC 1d4+2 higher or lower than its actual value. The Games Master may make the Knowledge roll for the character, so he does not know whether the appraisal is accurate or not.
The fourteen Knowledge categories and the topics each one encompasses are as follows.
Art (Trained Only)
Knowledge of art includes the names of artists, artistic movements, history, techniques and other facts.
Specialities: Painting, sculpture, photography, printing, theatre, music, dance, art history, artistic techniques, museums, antiques, architecture (as an art form).
Architecture and Engineering (Trained Only)
This discipline encompasses knowledge of building techniques, names of architects and engineers, principles of construction, fortress design and logistics and a smattering of siege warfare.
Specialities: Buildings, aqueducts, bridges, fortifications, roads, railroads, industrial machinery, telluric machinery.
This entails knowledge of how people act and react as individuals or in groups, names of scholars of the mind, therapy, theories of human and non-human behaviour, schools and colleges and so on.
Specialities: Alienism, sociology, criminology, phrenology, therapy, dream interpretation.
Earth and Life Sciences (Trained Only)
This skill covers knowledge of the workings of life itself, how it functions and what influences it, from microscopic entities to whole environments.
Specialities: Biology, botany, genetics, geology, palaeontology, zoology, cryptozoology (magical beasts), medicine, forensics.
Geography (Trained Only)
Geography comprises knowledge of the lay of the land; not how it works so much as where things are in relation to one another.
Specialities: National borders, specific terrains, climate, inhabitants, main roads, shortcuts, rivers and lakes.
History involves knowledge of events and personalities from the past and the products of their industry and culture.
Specialities: Events, personalities, cultures, archaeology, antiquities, mythology.
This useful skill entails knowledge of events, persons and places pertaining to a restricted zone, such as a large city or a province. There are many Knowledge (local) scores, each one pertaining to a different zone.
Specialities: By zone, legends, personalities, inhabitants, laws, customs, traditions, terrain and locales.
Occult Sciences (Trained Only)
This broad skill covers knowledge of occult abilities and traditions, magical and psychic phenomena, mythical creatures, magical rituals, documented psychic powers, famous magicians and psychics, the powers of supernatural creatures and so on.
Specialities: Magic theory, psychic phenomena, places of power, ritual effects, mythic creatures and races, telluric energy, the Laws of Magic.
Physical Sciences (Trained Only)
This discipline confers knowledge of how the universe works, covering its various phenomena and underlying principles. This is one of the areas where much of the revolutionary progress is felt the hardest.
Specialities: Astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, physics, telluric power, theremin performance.
A person schooled in politics has knowledge of the workings of society and its institutions, procedures, rulers and styles of rulership.
Specialities: Law and legislation, litigation, legal rights and obligations, political and governmental institutions, political and governmental processes, lineages, heraldry, personalities.
Tactics (Trained Only)
This is the knowledge of techniques and strategies for disposing and manoeuvring forces in combat.
Specialities: Infantry tactics, artillery tactics, aerial tactics, naval tactics, siege warfare, reconnaissance, logistics, guerrilla tactics.
Technology (Trained Only)
This skill covers current developments in cutting-edge devices, as well as the background necessary to identify various technological devices.
Specialities: Analytical and difference engines, telluric engines, steam power, electricity, transportation, communications, theremin performance.
Theology and Philosophy
A deep discipline, this entails knowledge of schools of thought that delve into the nature of things. Under the Games Master’s consideration, Knowledge (theology and philosophy) may grant synergy bonuses to other Knowledge categories, such as art, behavioural sciences, politics and history; it may also grant synergy bonuses to Craft (expression).
Specialities: Liberal arts, ethics, philosophical concepts, religions, religious rituals, pantheons, mythic history, holy symbols, undead.
The Otherworlds (Trained Only)
This is the knowledge of the worlds that lie beyond the boundaries of this one. Some of the otherworlds may overlap with history, earth and life sciences, and physical sciences.
Specialities: The Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, the Hollow World, The Hells, Lost Worlds, other planets, Celestial Planes, The Abyss, Elemental Planes, the spatial aether.
Try Again: No. The check represents what a character knows, so thinking about a topic a second time does not let the character know something he never knew in the first place.
Special: An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, a character only knows common knowledge about a given subject. A character can take 10 when making a Knowledge check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Educated feat gets a +2 bonus on any two types of Knowledge checks. The Games Master may decide that having five or more ranks in a specific Knowledge skill provides a character with a +2 synergy bonus when making a related skill check. A character with Knowledge (occult sciences) can identify a magic effect if he possesses the corresponding Magic Talent feat for the effect’s discipline.
Time: A Knowledge check can be a reaction but otherwise requires a full-round action. Needing to study to make a Knowledge check is actually a Research check and requires ranks in that skill.
Language (None; Trained Only)
Although it would be ideal for all people of the world to speak the language of the Empire, this is not the case and those that venture away from the shelter of Imperial civilisation must learn to communicate in other tongues.
The Language skill does not work like a standard skill. A character automatically knows how to speak, read and write his native language; he does not need ranks to do so. Each additional language costs 1 rank. When a character adds a rank to Language, he chooses a new language that he can speak, read and write.
A character never makes Language checks. A character either knows how to speak, read and write a specific language or he does not.
A character can choose any language, modern or ancient; see the Language Groups sidebar for suggestions. The Games Master might determine that a character cannot learn a specific language due to the circumstances of the campaign. For example, he might decide that there is just no realistic way for a hardened explorer to find a book on Elven in the depths of the forest.
There are thousands of languages to choose from when a character buys ranks in Language, and the complications multiply when considering the setting for an OGL Steampunk campaign. A few are listed here, sorted into their general language groups as found on a typical fantasy setting. As there is no core setting of OGL Steampunk, each campaign will have to determine what languages are appropriate for character to learn. A language’s group does not matter when a character is buying ranks in Language; they are provided because they pertain to the explorer and scholar vocations’ Linguist talent. This list is by no means exhaustive—there are many more language groups and most groups contain more languages than those listed here.
Common Languages And Their Speakers
|Language (Group)||Typical Speakers||Alphabet|
|Abyssal||Demons, chaotic evil outsiders||Infernal|
|Infernal||Devils, lawful evil outsiders||Infernal|
|Terran||Xorns and other earth-based creatures||Dwarven|
|Draconic||Kobolds, troglodytes, lizardfolk, dragons||Draconic|
|Aberrant||Aberrations with the ability to speak||Aberrant|
|Sylvan*||Dryads, brownies, leprechauns||Elven|
|Common||Humans, any race doing business with humanity||Common|
|Auld Common*||Ancient, Isolated Human and Humanoid Races||Auldish (Humanoid)|
|Goblin||Goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears||Dwarven|
*This is an ancient language. In the Steampunk world, only a few linguistic scholars speak it, along with a few small populations in isolated corners of the world. These groups shrink each year as the encroachment of ‘progress’ chokes them out. Eventually, they will become dead languages, echoed only in the dusty halls of academia.
Being alert to surrounding sounds is key to survival in many quarters, not all of them in the wilderness.
Check: Make a Listen check against a DC that reflects how quiet the noise is that a character might hear or against an opposed Move Silently check. The Games Master may call for a Listen check by a character in a position to hear something. A character can also make a Listen check voluntarily if he wants to hear something in the vicinity. The Games Master may make the Listen check in secret so that the character does not know whether not hearing anything means that nothing is there or that the character failed the check. A successful Listen check when there is nothing to hear results in the character hearing nothing.
|Per 10-ft. of distance||–1|
|5||A person in medium armour walking at a slow pace, trying not to make noise|
|10||An unarmoured person walking at a slow pace, trying not to make any noise|
|15||A 1st level gentleman thief sneaking up on someone *|
|20||A tiger stalking prey *|
|30||A bird flying through the air|
|+5||Through a door|
|+15||Through a solid wall|
* This is actually an opposed check; the DC given is a typical Move Silently check result for such a character or creature.
Try Again: A character can make a Listen check every time he has the opportunity to hear something in a reactive manner. As a move action, the character may attempt to hear something that he failed (or believes he failed) to hear previously.
Special: When several characters are listening to the same thing, the Games Master can make a single d20 roll and use it for all the listeners’ skill checks. A character can take 10 or take 20 when making a Listen check. Taking 20 means the character spends one minute attempting to hear something that may or may not be there to hear. A character with the Alertness feat gets a +2 bonus on all Listen checks. A sleeping character can make Listen checks but takes a -10 penalty on the checks. Time: A Listen check may be a reaction, if called for by the Games Master, or a move action if a character actively takes the time to try to hear something.
Move Silently (Dex; Armour Penalty)
The second part of concealing one’s presence is to hide the sound of moving and while footpads and burglars are the most adept at it, expert hunters find it quite useful when approaching their prey.
Check: A character’s Move Silently check is opposed by the Listen check of anyone who might hear him. A character can move up to half his normal speed at no penalty. At more than half speed and up to the character’s full speed, he takes a –5 penalty. It is practically impossible (–20 penalty) to move silently while attacking, running, or charging.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Move Silently check but cannot take 20. A character with the Stealthy feat gets a +2 bonus on all Move Silently checks. Time: Use of the Move Silently skill constitutes a move action.
Explorers are always finding new boundaries to push. Their ability to navigate towards their destinations has saved many lives and will continue to do so in this new age of discovery.
Check: Make a Navigate check when a character is trying to find his way to a distant location without directions or other specific guidance. Generally, a character does not need to make a check to find a local street or other common urban site, or to follow an accurate map. However, the character might make a check to wend his way through a dense stretch of alleyways or a labyrinth of underground storm drains.
For movement over a great distance, make a Navigate check. The DC depends on the length of the trip. If the character succeeds, he moves via the best reasonable course towards his goal. If the character fails, he still reaches the goal but it takes the character twice as long, as he loses time backtracking and correcting his path. If the character fails by more than 5, he travels for the expected time but only travels approximately halfway to his destination, at which point the character becomes lost.
|Length of Trip||DC|
|Short (a few hours)||20|
|Moderate (a day or two)||22|
|Long (up to a week)||25|
|Extreme (more than a week)||28|
When faced with multiple choices, such as at a branch in a tunnel, a character can make a Navigate check (DC 20) to intuit the choice that takes him toward a known destination. If unsuccessful, the character chooses the wrong path, but at the next juncture, with a successful check, the character realises his mistake.
A character cannot use this function of Navigate to find a path to a site if he has no idea where the site is located. The Games Master may choose to make the Navigate check for the Player in secret, so he does not know from the result whether the Player Character is following the right or wrong path.
A character can use Navigate to determine his approximate position in the world without the use of any equipment by checking the constellations or other natural landmarks. The character must have a clear view of the night sky to make this check. The DC is 15.
Try Again: A character may make a second Navigate check (DC 20) to regain his path. If the character succeeds, he continues on to his destination; the total time for the trip is twice the normal time. If the character fails, he loses half a day before he can try again. The character keeps trying until he succeeds, losing half a day for each failure.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Navigate check. A character can take 20 only when determining his location, not when travelling. A character with the Guide feat gets a +2 bonus on all Navigate checks. Time: A Navigate check is a full-round action.
Refined tastes are hungry for good artistic performances to soothe the soul; performers who show their mettle gain great appreciation and fame.
This skill encompasses several categories, each of them treated as a separate skill. These categories are identified and defined below. The number of Perform categories is kept purposely finite. When trying to determine what Perform skill a particular type of performance falls under, use a broad interpretation of the existing categories. Do not arbitrarily make up new categories. Also keep in mind that the ability to perform does not make a character a trained performer in the thespian sense; take ranks in Profession (performer) if the character should be able to make money and hold known performances with his skill.
Check: The character is accomplished in some type of artistic expression and knows how to put on a performance. He can impress audiences with his talent and skill. The quality of the character’s performance depends on his check result. The eight Perform categories and the qualities encompassed by each one are as follows.
Act: The character is a gifted actor, capable of performing drama, comedy, or action-oriented roles with some level of skill.
Dance: The character is a gifted dancer, capable of performing rhythmic and patterned bodily movements to music.
Keyboards: The character is a musician gifted with a talent for playing keyboard musical instruments, such as piano, organ and clavichord. A musician could play a theremin with this category, albeit with a -2 penalty.
Percussion Instruments: The character is a musician gifted with a talent for playing percussion musical instruments, such as drums, cymbals, triangle, xylophone and tambourine.
Sing: The character is a musician gifted with a talent for producing musical tones with his voice.
Stand-Up: The character is a gifted comedian, capable of performing a stand-up vaudeville routine before an audience.
Stringed Instruments: The character is a musician gifted with a talent for playing stringed musical instruments, such as banjo, guitar, harp, lute, sitar and violin. A musician could play a theremin with this category, albeit with a -2 penalty.
Wind Instruments: The character is a musician gifted with a talent for playing wind musical instruments, such as flute, bugle, trumpet, tuba, bagpipes and trombone.
|10||Amateur performance. Audience may appreciate your performance, but is not overly impressed.|
|15||Routine performance. Audience enjoys your performance, but it is not exceptional.|
|20||Great performance. Audience highly impressed.|
|25||Memorable performance. Audience enthusiastic.|
|30||Masterful performance. Audience awed.|
Try Again: You may not attempt a Perform check again for the same performance and audience.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Perform check but cannot take 20. A character without an appropriate instrument automatically fails any Perform (keyboard), Perform (percussion), Perform (stringed), or Perform (wind) check he attempts. At the Games Master’s discretion, impromptu instruments may be employed but the performer must take a –4 penalty on the check because his equipment, although usable, is inappropriate for the skill. Every time a character takes the Creative feat, he gains a +2 bonus on checks involving two Perform skills he designates. See the feat description for more information.
Time: A Perform check usually requires at least several minutes to an hour or more.
Pilot (Dex; Trained Only)
Just as new land vehicles replace more traditional modes of travel, general developments in transport create entirely new professions to control them. Knowing how to operate a fantastic flying machine or a mysterious submersible is a matter of great prestige.
Specialities: Airship, ornithopter, gyrocopter, submersibles, burrowing vehicles, exotic aircraft.
Check: Typical piloting tasks do not require checks. Checks are required during combat, for special manoeuvres or in other extreme circumstances, or when the pilot wants to attempt something outside the normal parameters of the vehicle. Each vehicle’s description includes a handling score that applies to Pilot checks made by the operator of the vehicle.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Pilot check but cannot take 20. A character with the Vehicle Expert feat gets a +2 bonus on all Pilot checks. This skill is not used for driving hover vehicles of any kind. Though they technically fly, they are dependent on a solid surface and are affected sufficiently by roadway conditions for the Drive skill to be more appropriate.
Time: Making a Pilot check constitutes a move action.
The most important role of a citizen is to contribute to society with honest work. A profession is also a perfect way to earn more money than that which covers the basic necessities of survival.
Just as the Craft, Knowledge and Perform skills have categories, so too does Profession. There is, however, the difference that Players are encouraged to come up with their own professions. Each class vocation lists a number of professions that a member of that class and starting vocation usually practices but it is not necessary for a character to practice those professions, nor indeed to practice any profession at all. The income of characters without professions depends on treasures and rewards gained from adventuring, or from other such inconstant sources like gambling.
Check: A character makes Profession checks to improve his Wealth bonus every time he attains a new level. The DC for the check is the character’s current Wealth bonus. If the character succeeds at the Profession check, his Wealth bonus increases by +1. For every 5 by which the character exceeds the DC, his Wealth bonus increases by an additional +1. A character cannot take 10 or take 20 when making a Profession check to improve his Wealth bonus.
The number of ranks a character has in the Profession skill (including ranks the character may have just acquired after gaining a level) also has a bearing on the Wealth bonus increase the character receives. This translates to a flat increase to his Wealth bonus. In addition to the Wealth bonus increase a character gains from his Profession check result if the check succeeds, the number of ranks the character has in this skill increases his new Wealth bonus as follows.
|Ranks||Wealth Bonus Increase|
|1 – 4||+1|
|5 – 8||+2|
|9 – 12||+3|
|13 – 16||+4|
|17 – 20||+5|
Special: If the Games Master deems it appropriate, a character can add his Profession modifier when making a Reputation check to deal with a work-related or career-related situation. Every time a character takes the Windfall feat, he gets a cumulative +1 increase to his Wealth bonus. The character gains a +2 synergy bonus if his chosen Profession corresponds to a recommended one in his starting vocation.
Psychic Control (Wis or Cha, Character’s Choice; Trained Only)
A few gifted individuals have access to powers beyond the ken of science. Psychic abilities are quite real in the Steampunk world and their possessors control them by the sheer force of their will.
Check: A character makes a Psychic Control check in order to activate psychic powers, which he acquires as feats or as features of the occultist class. The DC of a Psychic Control check is determined by the power the character wants to activate. Psychic powers and the uses of Psychic Control checks are covered in full detail in The Occult chapter.
Try Again: Provided that he does not fall out of his trance, a character can retry any failed use of a psychic power.
Special: Characters cannot take 10 or 20 when making Psychic Control checks. Characters must have the Psychic Sensitivity feat before taking their first rank in Psychic Control. Characters without the feat cannot buy any rank in the skill even if it is a class skill for them.
Time: Psychic Control checks are usually standard actions, although some psychic powers may take several minutes or even hours to work.
Repair (Int; Trained Only)
Machines break down, and with so many making their way into homes and factories, the knowledge of how to repair them makes such a craftsman into a valued technician who will undoubtedly find gainful employment.
Specialities: Steam technology, electrical devices, clockwork devices, automata, vehicles, power sources.
Check: Most Repair checks are made to fix complex mechanical devices. The Games Master sets the DC. In general, simple repairs have a DC of 10 to 15 and require no more than a few minutes to accomplish. More complex repair work has a DC of 20 or higher and can require an hour or more to complete. Making repairs also involves a monetary cost when spare parts or new components are needed, represented by a Wealth check. If the Games Master decides that this is not necessary for the type of repair the character is attempting, then no Wealth check is needed. If damage is being repaired, a successful Repair check restores 1d4 hit or structure points to the object.
|Repair Task (Example)||Purchase||Repair DC||Repair Time|
|Simple (tool, simple weapon)||4||10||1 min|
|Moderate (mechanical component)||7||15||10 min|
|Complex (mechanical device)||10||20||1 hr|
|Advanced (cutting-edge mechanical device)||13||25||10 hr|
|Extreme (rebuilding the analytical engine of a fully sentient automaton)||20+||35||24 hr+|
Jury-Rig: A character can choose to attempt jury-rigged, or temporary, repairs. Doing this reduces the purchase DC by 3 and the Repair check DC by 5. Jury-rigging allows the character to make the checks in as little as a full-round action. However, a jury-rigged repair can only fix a single problem with a single check. In addition, the temporary repair only lasts until the end of the current scene or encounter. The jury-rigged object must be fully repaired thereafter if it is to be repaired at all. A character can also use jury-rig to jump-start an engine or device. The DC for this is at least 15, and it can be higher depending on the presence of security devices. The jury-rig application of the Repair skill can be used untrained.
Try Again: Yes, though in some specific cases, the Games Master may decide that a failed Repair check has negative ramifications that prevent repeated checks.
Special: A character can take 10 or take 20 on a Repair check. When making a Repair check to accomplish a jury-rig repair, a character cannot take 20. Repair requires a mechanical tool kit or a multipurpose tool depending on the task. If the character does not have the appropriate tools, he takes a –4 penalty on the check or may be unable to carry out the repair at all, at the Games Master’s discretion. Genius characters of the inventor vocation can make jury-rig repairs permanent by spending an action point.
Synergies: Craft (mechanical) or Craft (electronic) can provide a +2 synergy bonus on Repair checks made for mechanical or electronic devices. A character with the Gearhead feat and at least 1 rank in this skill enjoys a +2 bonus to all Repair checks.
Time: See the table for guidelines. A character can make a jury-rig repair as a full-round action, but the work only lasts until the end of the current encounter.
Scientists stand on the shoulders of giants, using previous knowledge as the basis for their new theories and discoveries. Finding the proper information can save a lot of time that would be more constructively employed in the proving of new ideas.
Check: Researching a topic takes time, skill and some luck. The Games Master determines how obscure a particular topic is (the more obscure, the higher the DC) and what kind of information might be available depending on where the character is conducting his research. Given enough time (usually 1d4 hours) and a successful skill check, the character develops a general idea about a given topic. This assumes that no obvious obstacles exist that would prevent such information from being available and that the character has a way to acquire restricted or protected information. Research is the skill for finding recorded facts. Learning what other people know is usually more appropriately performed as a Gather Information check.
The higher the check result, the better and more complete the information. If the character wants to discover a specific fact, date, map, or similar bit of information, add +5 to +15to the DC.
Try Again: Yes, though the Games Master may rule that you have exhausted your current research material and that you must find more sources before you can make another attempt.
Special: A character can take 10 or take 20 on a Research check. A character with the Studious feat gets a +2 bonus on all Research checks.
Time: A Research check takes 1d4 hours.
Even when new vehicles are invading the roads and byways, the old tradition of riding will never be lost, as it is not only accessible but also greatly prestigious. Riding is even more flexible than motorised transport, as animals do not break down and their maintenance needs are easier to provide for.
Check: Typical riding actions do not require checks. A character can saddle, mount, ride and dismount without a problem. Mounting or dismounting an animal is a move action. Some tasks, undertaken in combat or in other extreme circumstances, require checks.
In addition, attempting trick riding or asking the animal to perform an unusual technique also requires a check. It should be kept in mind that a horse-like automaton and a horse-like amazing vehicle are two very different things: the first uses Ride but the second uses Drive.
Guide with Knees (DC 5): The character can react instantly to guide his mount with his knees so that he can use both hands in combat or perform some other action. Make the check at the start of the character’s round. If the character fails, he can only use one hand this round because he needs to use the other to control his mount. On machine mounts, the knees press particular plates to guide it.
Stay in Saddle (DC 5): The character can react instantly to try to avoid falling when his mount rears or bolts unexpectedly or when the character takes damage.
Fight while Mounted (DC 20): While in combat, the character can attempt to control a mount that is not trained in combat riding; see the Handle Animal skill. If the character succeeds, he uses only a move action and may use his attack action to do something else. If the character fails, he can do nothing else that round. If the character fails by more than 5, he loses control of the animal. For animals trained in combat riding and machine mounts, the character does not need to make this check. Instead, the character can use his move action to have the animal perform a trick, most commonly to attack. The character can use his attack action normally.
Cover (DC 15): The character can react instantly to drop down and hang alongside his mount, using it as one-half cover. The character cannot attack while using his mount as cover. If the character fails, he does not get the cover benefit.
Soft Fall (DC 15): The character reacts instantly when he falls from his mount, such as when it is killed or when it falls, to try to avoid taking damage. If the character fails, he takes 1d6 points of falling damage.
Leap (DC 15): The character can get his mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use the character’s Ride modifier or the mount’s Jump modifier (whichever is lower) when the mount makes its Jump check, for which see the Jump skill. The character makes a Ride check (DC 15) to stay on the mount when it leaps.
Fast Mount or Dismount (DC 20; armour penalty applies): The character can mount or dismount as a free action. If the character fails the check, mounting or dismounting is a move action. A character cannot attempt a fast mount or dismount unless he can perform the mount or dismount as a move action this round, should the check fail.
Special: If the character is riding bareback, he takes a –5 penalty on Ride checks. A character can take 10 when making a Ride check but cannot take 20. Animals that are ill suited to be mounts provide a –2 penalty to their rider’s Ride check. A character with five or more ranks in Handle Animal gains a +2 synergy bonus to Ride checks. Time: Ride is a move action, except when otherwise noted for the special tasks listed above.
Ritual (Int; Trained Only)
The power of magic only comes to those who devote long hours and hard study towards it, as one of the Laws of Magic states that nothing comes for free. Characters in OGL Steampunk do not develop the ability to work magic automatically. Instead, they gain it through study and practice. With the new era of progress opening the doors that keep all secrets locked away, almost anyone with sufficient dedication can learn to perform a few magic tricks.
Check: Like the Craft and Knowledge skills, Ritual is broken up into six different categories corresponding to the six disciplines of magic. The number of Ritual disciplines is kept purposely finite. When trying to determine what Ritual skill a particular magic effect pertains to, use a broad interpretation of the existing categories. Do not arbitrarily make up new categories. The DCs of Ritual checks depend wholly on the different parameters of the ritual, such as its subject, scope, reach and duration. Magic rituals and effects are described in full in The Occult chapter.
- Divination: Magic that discerns information from past, present and future.
- Enticement: Magic that fools the senses, twists perceptions and affect minds.
- Invocation: Magic that brings forth matter, energy and even life where none existed before.
- Necromancy: Rituals that deal with the dead and the macabre energy of death.
- Protection: Effects that ward from harm and repel enemies and threats.
- Transformation: Magic that change the properties and shape of objects and creatures.
Try Again: No. If a ritual fails, it is over for that effect. Failure may also carry more dire consequences that prevent its repetition.
Special: Characters cannot take 10 or 20 in Ritual checks. The Ritual skill is not included in any class skill list. Instead, characters must have the feat corresponding to each Ritual category before taking their first rank in it. These are the Divination Talent, Protection Talent, Invocation Talent, Enticement Talent, Necromancy Talent and Transformation Talent respectively. Characters without the appropriate feat cannot buy any ranks in the skill.
Time: Ritual checks take 10 minutes. Particular rituals may require more than one Ritual check, depending on their complexity. See the rules for magic ritual effects on pg. 281.
That which lies hidden or lost can be retrieved by anyone with the patience and perception necessary to find it.
Check: The character generally must be within 10 feet of the object or surface to be examined. A character 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 a character to follow tracks, nor does it tell him in which direction the creature or creatures went, nor the direction from which they approached.
|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.|
Special: A character can take 10 or take 20 when making a Search check. A character with the Meticulous feat gets a +2 bonus on all Search checks. A character with five or more ranks in Search gains a +2 synergy bonus to Survival checks to follow tracks.
Time: A Search check is a full-round action.
Sense Motive (Wis)
Perception is not limited to finding things. It also extends to sensing the state of another’s mind. This skill is extremely useful for interrogation and to avoid being fooled.
Check: A successful check allows the character to avoid being bluffed; see the Bluff skill. The character can also use the skill to tell when someone is behaving oddly or to assess someone’s trustworthiness. In addition, a character can use this skill to make an assessment of a social situation. With a successful check (DC 20), the character can get the feeling from another’s behaviour that something is wrong. Also, the character can deduce whether someone is trustworthy and honourable.
Try Again: No, though the character may make a Sense Motive check for each Bluff directed at him.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Sense Motive check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Attentive feat gets a +2 bonus on all Sense Motive checks. A character can use Sense Motive to detect that a hidden message is being transmitted via the Bluff skill, with the DC of the Sense Motive check equal to the Bluff check result of the sender. If the character’s check result beats the DC by 5 or more, the character understands the secret message as well. If the character’s check fails by 5 or more, the character misinterprets the message in some fashion.
A character with five or more ranks in Sense Motive gains a +2 synergy bonus to Diplomacy checks.
Time: A Sense Motive check may be made as a reaction to another character’s Bluff check. When that is the case, the Games Master may roll the character’s Sense Motive check in secret, so the character does not necessarily know someone is trying to bluff him. Using Sense Motive to gain a sense of someone’s trustworthiness takes at least one minute.
Sleight of Hand (Dex; Trained Only; Armour Penalty)
Parlour tricks are certainly entertaining but hardly worth the effort of a lady or gentleman, as they are more useful to the pickpockets and cutpurses that plague the streets in increasing numbers.
Check: A check against DC 10 lets a character palm a coin-sized, unattended object. Minor feats of sleight of hand, such as making a coin disappear, also have a DC of 10 unless an observer is concentrating on noticing what the character is doing. When a character performs this skill under close observation, the character’s skill check is opposed by the observer’s Spot check. The observer’s check does not prevent the character from performing the action, just from doing it unnoticed.
When a character tries to take something from another person, the character’s opponent makes a Spot check to detect the attempt. To obtain the object, the character must score a result of 20 or higher, regardless of the opponent’s check result. The opponent detects the attempt if his check result beats the character’s check result, whether the character takes the object or not.
A character can use Sleight of Hand to conceal a small weapon or object on his body. It can also be used to manipulate a small object in each hand, so long as one is coin sized and the other is no larger than a foot in any dimension. Used this way, it can conceal the manipulation from others, though observers may oppose it with Spot checks as noted above.
Try Again: A second Sleight of Hand attempt against the same target, or when being watched by the same observer, has a DC 10 higher than the first check if the first check failed or if the attempt was noticed.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Sleight of Hand check, but cannot take 20. A character can make an untrained Sleight of Hand check to conceal a weapon or object but must always take 10. A character with the Nimble feat and at least 1 rank in this skill gets a +2 bonus on all Sleight of Hand checks. A character with five or more ranks in Bluff gains a +2 synergy bonus to Sleight of Hand checks.
Time: A Sleight of Hand check is an attack action.
The eyes can be a character’s best friend or worst enemy, so it is recommended that those depending on their sight learn to tell the difference between truth and deception.
Check: The Spot skill is used to notice items that are not immediately obvious and people who are attempting to hide. The Games Master may call for a Spot check from a character who is in a position to notice something. A character can also make a Spot check voluntarily if he wants to try to notice something in his vicinity. The Games Master may make the Spot check in secret so that the character does not know whether nothing is there or that he failed the check.
A successful Spot check when there is nothing to notice results in the character noticing nothing.
Spot is often used to notice a person or creature hiding from view. In such cases, the character’s Spot check is opposed by the Hide check of the character trying not to be seen. Spot is also used to detect someone in disguise, for which see the Disguise skill, or to notice a concealed weapon on another person.
A character’s Spot check is modified by a –1 penalty for every 10 feet of distance between the character and the character or object he is trying to discern. The check carries a further –5 penalty if the character is in the midst of activity.
Try Again: A character can make a Spot check every time he has the opportunity to notice something in a reactive manner. As a full-round action, a character may attempt to notice something that he failed (or believe he failed) to notice previously.
Special: A character can take 10 or take 20 when making a Spot check. A character with the Alertness feat gets a +2 bonus on all Spot checks.
Time: A Spot check is either a reaction, if called for by the Games Master, or a full-round action if a character actively takes the time to try to notice something.
Each new technological boundary broken opens up new horizons. The successful exploration of each and every one of them depends greatly on the explorer’s ability to survive in conditions away from the comforts of civilisation. Specialities: Choose a terrain type or a specific area like a large province.
Check: A character can keep himself and others safe and fed in the wild.
|10||Get along in the wilds of any jungle, concrete or otherwise. Move up to half the character’s overland speed while hunting and foraging (no food or water supplies needed). The character can provide food and water for one other person for every 2 points by which his check result exceeds 10.|
|15||Gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Fortitude saves against severe weather while moving up to half the character’s overland speed, or gain a +4 circumstance bonus if stationary. The character may grant the same bonus to one other character for every 1 point by which his check result exceeds 15.|
|18||Avoid getting lost and avoid natural and industrial hazards, such as quicksand or condemned construction sites. With the Track feat, a character can use Survival checks to track a character or animal across various terrain types.|
Special: A character can take 10 when making a Survival check. A character can take 20 when he is tracking, or if there is no danger or penalty for failure but not on periodic checks to get along in the wild.
A character with the Guide feat gets a +2 bonus on all Survival checks. A character with five or more ranks in Search gains a +2 synergy bonus to Survival checks to follow tracks.
Time: Basic Survival checks occur each day in the wilderness or whenever a hazard presents itself. When using Survival with the Track feat to track a character or animal, checks are made according to distance, as described in the Track feat.
Swim (Str; Armour Penalty)
Water is a hostile environment to air-breathing people but there is a certain attraction to it that is impossible to deny; knowing how to move gracefully in watery environs is not only relaxing, but may also save lives.
Check: A successful Swim check allows a character to swim one-quarter his speed as a move action or half his speed as a full-round action. Roll once per round. If the character fails, he makes no progress through the water. If the character fails by 5 or more, he goes underwater. If the character is underwater (from failing a swim check or because the character is swimming underwater intentionally) he must hold his breath. A character can hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to his Constitution score, but only if he does nothing but take move actions or free actions.
If the character takes an attack action or a full-round action, the amount of breath he has remaining is reduced by one round. Effectively, a character in combat can hold his breath only half as long as normal. After that period of time, the character must make a Constitution check (DC 10) every round to continue holding his breath. Each round, the DC of the check increases by 1. If the character fails the check, he begins to drown. The DC for the Swim check depends on the water:
For each hour that the character swims, make a Swim check against DC 20. If the character fails, he becomes fatigued. If the character fails a check while fatigued, the character becomes exhausted. If the character fails a check while exhausted, the character becomes unconscious.
Unconscious characters go underwater and immediately begin to drown.
Try Again: A new check is allowed the round after a check is failed.
Special: A character takes a penalty of –1 for every 5 pounds of gear he carries, including armour and weapons. A character can take 10 when making a Swim check, but cannot take 20. A character with the Athletic feat gets a +2 bonus on all Swim checks.
Time: A Swim check is either a move action or a fullround action, as described above.
Treat Injury (Wis)
Medicine has advanced greatly from the days of miracle healers and medicine men; medics now study methods to help others recover from harmful conditions, their skills depending on no allegiance save an oath to assist all those in need.
Specialities: Disease treatment, wound and injury treatment, alienist treatment (psychology).
Check: The DC and effect depend on the task attempted. Outside the relative safety of civilisation, this skill can literally be the difference between life and death. A specific intent is needed for a Treat Injury check, chosen from the listed options below. This skill has three Specialities, regular medicine and alienism. The options below, with the exception of the last one, involve regular medicine.
Long-Term Care (DC 15): With a treat injury kit, the successful application of this skill allows a patient to recover hit points and ability points lost to temporary damage at an advanced rate, namely 3 hit points per character level or 3 ability points restored per day of complete rest. A new check is made each day; on a failed check, recovery occurs at the normal rate for that day of rest and care. A character can tend as many patients as he has ranks in the skill. The patients need to spend all their time resting. The character needs to devote at least half an hour of the day to each patient.
Restore Hit Points (DC 15): With a treat injury kit, if a character has lost hit points, he can restore some of them. A successful check, made as a full-round action, restores 1d4 hit points. The number restored can never exceed the character’s normal hit point total. This application of the skill can be used successfully on a character only once per day.
Revive Dazed, Stunned or Unconscious Character (DC 15): With a first aid kit, the character can remove the dazed, stunned or unconscious condition from a patient. This check is a standard action. A successful check removes the dazed, stunned, or unconscious condition from an affected character. The character cannot revive an unconscious patient who is at –1 hit points or lower without first stabilising them.
Stabilise Dying Character (DC 15): With a treat injury kit, a character can tend to a patient who is dying. As an attack action, a successful Treat Injury check stabilises another character. The stabilised character regains no hit points, but he stops losing them. The character must have a treat injury kit to stabilise a patient.
Surgery (DC 20): With a surgery kit, a character can conduct field surgery. This application of the Treat Injury skill carries a –4 penalty, which can be negated with the Surgery feat. Surgery requires 1d4 hours; if the patient is at negative hit points, add an additional hour for every point below 0 he has fallen. Surgery restores 1d6 hit points for every character level of the patient (up to the patient’s full normal total of hit points) with a successful skill check.
Surgery can only be used successfully on a character once in a 24 hour period. A character who undergoes surgery is fatigued for 24 hours, minus 2 hours for every point above the DC the surgeon achieves. The period of fatigue can never be reduced below 6 hours in this fashion.
Treat Disease (DC 15): A character can tend to a patient infected with a treatable disease. Every time the diseased patient makes a saving throw against disease effects (after the initial contamination) the treating character first makes a Treat Injury check to help the patient fend off secondary damage. This activity takes 10 minutes. If the treating character’s check succeeds, the treating character provides a bonus on the patient’s saving throw equal to his ranks in this skill.
Treat Poison (DC 15): A character can tend to a poisoned patient. When a poisoned character makes a saving throw against a poison’s secondary effect, the treating character first makes a Treat Injury check as an attack action. If the treating character’s check succeeds, he provides a bonus on the poisoned patient’s saving throw equal to his ranks in this skill.
Inspire (Alienism; DC 15): By applying his knowledge of alienism in regards to the motivations of a specific individual, the character can inspire them after speaking for one full round to overcome their own flaws or aspire to a greater degree of accomplishment than they were before. Treat this as either providing a target with an additional saving throw against Fear effects (the target can substitute the Treat Injury check for his save if desired) or granting a +1 circumstance bonus to the next skill check the target makes. Inspire can only work as many times per day on a given target as the Treat Injury trained character’s Charisma modifier, to a minimum of once.
Try Again: Yes, for restoring hit points, reviving dazed, stunned or unconscious characters, stabilising dying characters and surgery. No, for all other uses of the skill. Special: The Surgery feat gives a character the extra training he needs to use Treat Injury to help a wounded character by means of an operation. A character can take 10 when making a Treat Injury check. A character can take 20 only when restoring hit points or attempting to revive dazed, stunned or unconscious characters. Longterm care, restoring hit points, treating disease, treating poison or stabilising a dying character requires a treat injury kit. Reviving a dazed, stunned or unconscious character requires either a first aid kit or a treat injury kit. Surgery requires a surgery kit. If the character does not have the appropriate kit, he takes a –4 penalty on the check. A character can use the Treat Injury skill on himself only to administer first aid, treat disease or treat poison. The character takes a –5 penalty on his check any time he treats himself.
Time: Treat Injury checks take different amounts of time based on the task at hand, as described above.
Tumble (Dex; Trained Only; Armour Penalty)
Agility and nimbleness are incredible assets to have during situations when a character finds himself in a tight spot.
Check: A character can land softly when he falls, tumble past opponents in combat, or tumble through opponents.
Land Softly: The character can make a Tumble check (DC 15) when falling. If the check succeeds, treat the fall as if it were 10 feet shorter when determining damage. Tumble past Opponents: With a successful Tumble check (DC 20) the character can weave, dodge and roll up to 20 feet through squares adjacent to opponents, risking no attacks of opportunity. Failure means the character moves as planned, but provokes attacks of opportunity as normal.
Tumble through Opponents: With a successful Tumble check (DC 20) the character can roll, jump or dive through squares oc cupied by opponents, moving over, under or around them as if they were not there. Failure means the character moves as planned, but provokes attacks of opportunity as normal.
Try Again: No.
Special: A character with 5 or more ranks in Tumble gains a +3 dodge bonus to Defence (instead of the normal +2) when fighting defensively, and a +6 dodge bonus (instead of the normal +4) when engaging in total defence. A character can take 10 when making a Tumble check but cannot take 20. A character with the Acrobatic feat and at least 1 rank in this skill gets a +2 bonus on all Tumble checks. A character with five or more ranks in Tumble gains a +2 synergy bonus to Balance and Jump checks. A character with five or more ranks in Jump gains a +2 synergy bonus to Tumble checks.
Time: A character can try to reduce damage from a fall as a reaction once per fall. A character can attempt to Tumble as a free action that must be performed as part of a move action.
Use Rope (Dex)
The fine art of tying knots is not only useful in a ship’s riggings or in animal handling; even decent folk who travel in the wild can find the ability to use a rope supremely valuable.
Check: Most tasks with a rope are relatively simple. The DCs for various tasks utilising this skill are summarised on the table below.
|Use Rope DC||Task|
|10||Tie a firm knot|
|10*||Secure a grappling hook|
|15||Tie a special knot, such as one that slips, slides slowly, or loosens with a tug|
|15||Tie a rope around yourself one-handed|
|15||Splice two ropes together|
|Varies||Bind a character|
* Add 2 to the DC for every 10 feet the hook is thrown; see below.
Secure a Grappling Hook: Securing a grappling hook requires a Use Rope check. The DC is 10 +2 for every 10 feet of distance the grappling hook is thrown, to a maximum DC of 20 at 50 feet. Failure by 4 or less indicates that the hook fails to catch and falls, allowing the character to try again. Failure by 5 or more indicates that the grappling hook initially holds, but comes loose after 1d4 rounds of supporting weight. This check is made secretly, so that players do not know whether the rope will hold their characters’ weight.
Bind a Character: When binding another character with a rope, any Escape Artist check that the bound character makes is opposed by the Use Rope check. Binding grants a +10 bonus on this check because it is easier to bind someone than to escape from bonds. It is not necessary to make the Use Rope check until the bound character tries to escape.
Try Again: Depends; see above.
Special: A silk rope gives a +2 circumstance bonus on Use Rope checks. The Deft Hands feat grants a +2 bonus on Use Rope checks. A character with five or more ranks in Use Rope gains a +2 bonus on Climb checks made to climb a rope, a knotted rope or a rope-and-wall combination and a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks when escaping from rope bonds. A character with five or more ranks in Use Rope gains a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks made to bind someone.
Time: Varies. Throwing a grappling hook is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Tying a knot, tying a special knot or tying a rope around oneself one-handed is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Splicing two ropes together takes five minutes. Binding a character takes one minute.