Attributes and Skills
Making a Skill Check
Whenever your character needs to perform a task covered by one of his skills, you generate a number by rolling a 20-sided die and consulting the bonus chart. The number from the chart is added to the character’s attribute or skill value to arrive at the action total, sometimes also called the skill total. Your gamemaster then compares your number to the difficulty number of the task to see if your character succeeds or fails.
You’ll note that the bonus chart goes higher than 20. How can you roll more than a 20 on one die? Torg allows characters to sometimes reroll the die and add the second roll to the first. High die totals over 20 become possible, giving characters large bonus numbers and allowing them to perform the same kind of amazing and death-defying feats as the heroes in adventure fiction. Whenever a Hero character rolls a 10 or a 20 on the die when using a skill that they have, they get to reroll. If the second roll is also a 10 or 20, the player may keep rolling and adding if she wishes, or she may stop if she’s satisfied with the total. The final total of all the rolls is then used on the bonus chart. Mooks are not so lucky; they only get to reroll when the player (usually the gamemaster) rolls a large total is still possible, but less likely than it is for a Hero character.
Skill Adds Versus Skill Values
Sometimes people with similar amounts of training and experience nonetheless have noticeable differences in what they’re actually capable of doing. Similarly, there are cases where the new rookie proves to be just as good if not better than the old pros. Situations like this are handled in Torg by using skill values rather than skill adds to indicate a character’s overall ability in a particular field. The number of adds in a skill can be used to gauge a character’s level of education and experience in a field but his overall capabilities are measured by his skill value. Characters who are more naturally talented in a particular area, represented by a higher attribute value, can have skill values as good as or better than characters with more skill adds but a lower attribute.
Example: Both Magoth and Terrill have a divination magic skill value of 15, so they have similar capabilities in the field. Magoth has Perception 11 and four adds in the skill while Terrill has Perception 13 and two adds in the skill. Terrill has not put as much effort into learning divination magic or has less experience with it than Magoth but his natural aptitude as represented by his higher Perception attribute makes up the difference.
Example: Barbara is making a stealth skill check for her Character. She rolls a 10, gets lucky and rolls a 20 on the reroll so she gets to roll again, getting an 8 on her next reroll. The final die total is 38. Barbara checks the bonus chart and sees that this produces a bonus of +11. She adds this to her character’s skill value of 15 for an action total of 26. The difficulty was only 15 so Becky tells Barbara that her character was very successful. If Barbara had been rolling a skill check for a mook, she would have rerolled after the 10 but would not have rerolled after the 20. Her final die roll total would have been 30 instead of 38 and the bonus number would have been +9 instead of +11. Heros may also use Hero Points to gain rerolls when generating action totals and the Hero and Drama cards in the Drama Deck can also be used for this purpose. The rules for this can be found in Chapters Four and Five.
What if Your Character Doesn’t Have a Skill?
Just because a character does not have a particular skill does not mean that he cannot perform tasks associated with that skill. When a character wishes to use a skill he does not possess, his base attribute is used for the skill value. There are drawbacks for attempting a task without having the appropriate skill; some abilities are more difficult when used unskilled and some cannot be used at all unskilled. Additionally,
when rolling the die a character’s chance of getting rerolls is reduced. Heroes do not roll again on a 20, only on a 10. Mooks never roll again.
Example: Tina’s priest, Father Wagner, wants to sneak up on a camp of warriors but he doesn’t have the stealth skill. In this case, Tina uses his Dexterity attribute value. If she rolls a 20, she does not get another roll because Father Wagner doesn’t have the skill.
Skills that are more difficult when used unskilled are indicated in boldface in the Master Skill List. Skills that cannot be used at all unskilled are indicated in boldface italics in the Master Skill List. The individual skill descriptions will also specify if a skill is more difficult when used unskilled or if it cannot be used at all
unskilled. Some skills may penalize or not permit unskilled use of only a particular ability that falls under that skill. Acrobatics for example has two specific functions listed, Vaulting/Springing and Falling. Vaulting/Springing can be done unskilled at a penalty but Falling cannot be done at all unskilled. Skills that have partial or separate restrictions like this are marked with a cross (+) in the Master Skill List and the skill description will explain what part of the skill is restricted.
Result Points and Success Levels
Most of the time, a character succeeds at a task when their action total equals or exceeds the difficulty number set by the gamemaster. But occasionally success isn’t such a cut-and-dried matter; it may be a matter of barely squeaking by or succeeding with flying colors. In these cases, the amount by which the action total exceeds the difficulty number is called the result points of the action. For example, if the difficulty number is 8 and the player generates an action total of 12, she got four result points. Result points are often used to determine the success level of an action with the General Results Table in Chapter Four.
Active and Passive Skill Use
Whenever a player generates an action total for their character that constitutes an active use of the skill. Skill and attribute values are also used in some instances without requiring the generation of an action total. This is called a passive use of the skill. Passive skill use most often occurs during opposed actions, when one character is trying to affect another character. For example, the difficulty number for hitting someone with the unarmed combat skill is the other person’s unarmed combat skill value. The defending character passively uses his unarmed combat skill to avoid being hit by the other character. Because passive use of skills occurs most often during opposed actions, it is also known as passive defense.
Unskilled Use Penalties
When a character attempts an unskilled use of a skill, the gamemaster will assign a modifier to the difficulty number of the attempt using the Difficulty Number Scale found in Chapter Four. Depending on the skill being used and the exact circumstances of the situation, the modifier should range somewhere from Complicated (+2) to Extremely Hard (+10). As a rule of thumb, a complicated skill is one where it helps if you know what you’re doing but it isn’t essential. At the other end of the spectrum, an Extremely Hard skill is one where it’s almost, but not quite, impossible for an untrained person to figure out how to do something.
Round Skills and Macro Skills
Skills use can occur on two different time frames. Round skills are those that are used from round to round, generating action totals each time the action is performed. Most skills are round skills. A round in Torg is ten seconds. Macro skills are skills or uses of skills that require only one roll to determine the outcome over a long period of time instead of requiring a skill check every ten seconds. Examples include climbing when used to climb in non-combat situations and survival. Macro skills are noted in their individual descriptions.
Normal Skills and Limited Skills
Skills falls into one of two categories depending on how many activities it encompasses. Normal skills encompass a broad range of abilities; a character with a normal skill is able to attempt to perform any task that falls under that skill. A character with Sailor for example can pilot any boat or ship. Most skills are normal skills. Limited skills require a player to limit their character’s skill to a specific type of ability or area of knowledge covered by the limited skill. A scholar, for example, would have the scholar skill but it would be limited to their field of knowledge. Characters may have multiple versions of limited skills, such as having both scholar (ancient civilizations) and scholar (Norse cultures), indicating that the character is knowledgeable in several different fields. Limited skills are marked in this chapter with an asterisk (*) and examples of possible fields are provided in the individual skill descriptions.
Characters from fiction sometimes have a type of weapon with which they are particularly familiar, or of which they are quite fond, such as Elric’s sword Stormbringer or Green Arrow and bows. Sometimes characters have a singular item, such as the Lone Ranger and his trusty horse Silver, with which they are particularly familiar. These are specializations of more general skills. Skill specializations are optional; characters do not have to be specialized if the player does not want it. But they can help define a character’s personality and behavior. Using the custom character creation rules in Chapter Two a specialization could even count as a distinguishing characteristic or a behavior tag. There are two types of specializations, type specialization and trademark specialization. Elric’s sword Stormbringer is an example of a type specialization with the melee combat skill. The Lone Ranger’s horse Silver is an example of a trademark specialization with beast riding.
A character may choose one type of equipment (or animal or whatever), and specializes in that equipment. Think of type as “make” or “brand” or “species.” The player spends one Hero Point to specialize in a type. That character’s skill value is one higher when using that type of equipment, though the skill add is not increased for purposes of buying future adds. A skill can only have one type specialization associated with it.
A character may choose one trademark item, or animal, in which to specialize by spending two Hero Points. The skill value for that single item is increased by an additional two, though adds are not increased for purposes of buying future adds. The item cannot be replaced. If it is permanently lost or destroyed, the specialization is lost, and must be bought again for another such item. Only one “trademark” item may be specialized per skill, and if the character has a type specialization as well, the trademark must be of that type. It is not necessary though to have a type specialization before getting a trademark specialization. If a character does get both they are cumulative, the trademark specialization will be two points higher than the type specialization, which is one point higher than the base skill. If the character only has the trademark specialization, it is two points higher than the base skill.
Master Skill List
Skills listed in boldface are more difficult when used unskilled. Skills listed in boldface italics cannot be used unskilled. A cross (+) indicates a partial restriction on unskilled use. An asterisk (*) indicates a limited skill.
Test of Wills
Improving Skills and Attributes
Improving a skill costs a variable number of possibilities or takes a variable amount of time depending on the character’s current number of skill adds or her attribute value. The better the character is already, the more difficult it is to improve. You improve a character’s skill one add at a time, i.e. if you want to improve a skill from four to seven you would have to buy skill five, then six, and finally seven. You may not skip steps, although you may improve more than one level at a time if you have enough time or Hero Points.
Improving and Learning Skills with Hero Points
To increase a skill Hero Points costs a number of Hero Points equal to the skill add being purchased. Increasing a skill add from three to four would cost four Hero Points. This increase is considered to happen immediately. The cost of gaining the first add of a new skill depends on the type of skill and whether the character has someone to teach him or her skill. For skills that can be used unskilled, it costs two Points if your character has a teacher, five points if self-taught.
Gaining the first add of a skill that is harder to use unskilled or cannot be used unskilled, a boldface or boldface italics skill on the Master Skill Chart, costs five Points with a teacher and ten Points if self-taught.
Example: Juan wants his character, Marco, to pick up test of will. He cannot find a character that will teach it to Marco so the first add costs five possibilities for being self-taught. Juan is also interested in having his character learn divination magic, which Alan’s character can teach him. It cannot be used unskilled, so the
first add will also cost five possibilities even though he has a teacher.
Improving and Learning Skills over Time
While spending Hero Points is the normal method by which players will increase the skills of their characters, skills may also be improved or gained by the method most people are familiar with, spending a lot of time studying, practicing and learning. In fact this is the only way Mooks can improve their skills since they don’t
Get Hero Points, so this information is being provided even though player characters will rarely make use of it. To calculate how much time must be spent to improve a skill or to learn the first add of a new skill, a rough estimate can be made with the following chart. Look up the Hero Points cost for the desired add in the first column. The corresponding number in the second column is the number of months that must be spent training to gain the skill add.
If times for higher costs are needed, the gamemaster can determine the time by finding the measure of the cost on the Value Chart in Chapter Four.
Attributes may also be improved, but at a far greater cost. An attribute may never be improved beyond the attribute limits of the character’s race as given in Chapter Two. Improving an attribute with Hero Points has its cost figured in the same manner as improving a skill, but the cost is tripled. Increasing an attribute from 10 to 11 would cost (11 x 3) 33Hero Points. As with skills, the increase is considered to happen immediately. Improving an attribute by training over time can be done but the method for calculating the required amount of time is different than it is for skills. The value the attribute is being increased to is the number of months that the character has to train. So increasing an attribute from 10 to 11 requires 11 months of training. The definition of a month is the same as for skills, eight hours of effort a day for 25 days. Unlike skills though, this cannot be stretched out over a greater amount of time, the 25 days of training must all occur within the span of one calendar month. Increasing an attribute over time requires intense effort and dedication, often at the cost of having time for doing anything else. Olympic weightlifters and professional bodybuilders are examples of the types of people who have this time— they do nothing but train. Most people, especially player characters, will not have this much free time.
Skill Description Format
Each skill is described in the following format. Not every skill will have all of the fields indicated below:
Skill name (Limited skills are indicated with an asterisk (*) for clarity.)
Use: If a skill cannot be used unskilled, or unskilled use is at a penalty, it will be indicated here. Macro skills are also indicated here.
Sample limitations: If this is a limited skill, some examples are provided of the possible fields covered by the skill.
Some examples of possible type specializations for the skill are provided.
Attribute and Skill Descriptions
Dexterity is a measure of a character’s speed, agility, coordination and reflexes. Almost all of the physical skills are based on Dexterity. Characters with a high Dexterity can walk tightropes, do flips and somersaults easily and are good in combat. Characters with a low Dexterity tend to be clumsy, don’t move very fast and have a hard time in combat.
Use: Unskilled use of Vaulting/Springing penalized; Falling cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: Tightrope walking, swinging on ropes, gymnastics, Vaulting/Springing, Falling
This is the skill used by gymnasts and circus acrobats to perform their flips, rolls, and falls. It can also be used for more practical purposes such as leaping over obstacles, through narrow openings and knowing how to land from a fall to reduce injury. Many martial artists, cat burglars and swashbuckling fighters have use for acrobatics. In game play, acrobatics has two specific functions, Vaulting/ Springing and Falling. Most applications of the skill fall into the Vaulting/Springing category.
Vaulting/springing: a character skilled in acrobatics has the ability to use the natural scenery to vault and spring over physical obstacles. The difficulty number of such an action depends upon the obstacle.
Obstacle Difficulty #
Hopping a fence 3
Swinging on a rope 5
Grabbing an overhang and swinging over a pit 8
Vaulting or swinging over a tricky obstacle 10
Performing a backflip 12
Bouncing off an awning during a free fall to reach a specific destination 15
Falling: a character skilled in acrobatics can reduce the damage that he sustains in a fall. The difficulty number depends on the distance fallen. Successful use of the skill indicates that any wound damage sustained in the fall is reduced by one level (heavy wound becomes a wound; mortal wound becomes a heavy wound, etc.). This part of the skill cannot be attempted unskilled. Rules concerning falling damage are in Chapter Four.
Distance fallen Difficulty #
1 Story () 3
2 Stories (16-) 8
5 Stories (31-) 12
Over 5 stories 15
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill use for long-distance travel.
Sample specializations: Horse, camel, unicorn, elephant, dolphin) or whatever other “beasts” may be used as mounts in a land.
This skill is used to ride horses, camels, and other mounts. When a rider first climbs aboard an animal, he generates a beast riding total using the mount’s Mind value as the difficulty number. If this check succeeds, the rider gains control of the mount and may proceed. If the check fails, the beast runs away, bucks, or throws the rider off (at the gamemaster’s discretion).
The rider must make a similar roll whenever a situation would spook the mount. The difficulty of getting the mount to perform a specific task, such as jumping over a fence, is determined by the gamemaster using the Difficulty Number Scale and should be based on the animal and the task itself. Getting a horse to jump a fence might be an Average task but getting a camel to perform the same maneuver might be a Very Hard task, and it would be better to just let an elephant go through the fence (elephants can’t jump.) Besides controlling the mount, beast riding can be used to increase the animal’s speed with a speed push (see Chapter Four) in place of the animal’s own running skill. The macro version of this ability, the forced march, will increase the animal’s movement value by one with a successful skill check against the mount’s Mind. The forced march will last for a maximum of three hours and can only be used once a day. A character’s beast riding skill can be substituted for a character’s dodge and maneuver skills while the character is mounted in combat. If engaged in close-range combat while mounted, the character’s beast riding skill may be substituted for the character’s normal defensive skill value. The difficulty of all beast riding checks is increased by 8 on an untrained/undomesticated animal.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Ballet, ballroom dancing, square dancing, tap dancing, choreographed dances
The dance skill covers a character’s ability to move rhythmically to music or song, in either a free-form or choreographed manner. Dancing can be an important part of the rituals practiced by many cultures as well as something done for enjoyment or to entertain others. Performing a carefully choreographed dance routine, such as a dance used as part of an important religious ritual, requires making a dance skill check against a difficulty number determined by the gamemaster using the Difficulty Number Scale. When used to entertain or otherwise evoke a reaction in an audience, even if that audience is just your dance partner, dance uses the rules given in the performance arts skill to determine the quality of the performance and reaction of the audience. Dance only covers a character’s ability to perform a dance, not design one; choreographing a new dance routine is covered by the artist skill instead of dance. Dancing simply for personal enjoyment does not usually require a skill check.
Sample specializations: By type of ranged attack (missile weapons, etc.)
This skill gives its user the ability to avoid ranged attacks. Dodge skill can be used in one of two ways. Only one of the options may be selected by a dodging character each round.
Passive dodge: during each round of combat, a skilled character may use his dodge value for the difficulty number of all shots aimed at him.
Active dodge: instead of selecting a passive dodge, a character may actively try to avoid being shot. characters who choose this option generate an action value with their dodge skill. When rolling for the total, any bonus number generated which is less than +1 is treated as a +1. The action total becomes the difficulty number for all shots taken at the defending character.
Example: A squad of town guards attacks Alan’s character, Terrill the magician. Terrill has a dodge value of 11. During each combat round he can either passively dodge, in which case the difficulty number for all the bow shots the town guards aim at him is equal to Terrill’s dodge skill of 11 or he can actively dodge, in which case Alan generates a dodge total, with bonuses less than +1 being treated as +1. Alan decides that Terrill will actively dodge and rolls a 7, which on the bonus chart is a result of -2. Since this is less than +1 it is ignored and Alan instead adds one to Terrill’s dodge value, to arrive at an action total of 12. Terrill’s active dodge will always be at least 12 and could be considerably higher if Alan rolls well.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Types of restraints (such as ropes, chains) This skill gives the character the ability to manipulate her body so as to be able to slip free from otherwise secure bonds by twisting, contorting, and writhing her body into a variety of “impossible positions”. A character with this skill may attempt to escape from almost any sort of confinement that physically restrains the body, so long as the character is not completely immobilized. The skill also allows a character to fit into and through spaces that would normally be too small or confined for a character. The gamemaster should adjust the difficulty of any escape attempt if it is occurring under any unusual conditions, such as if the character is underwater, locked inside a steamer trunk, has a bundle of TNT strapped to her body or is in any other way not operating under optimal conditions.
ESCAPE ARTIST CHART
Restraint Difficulty number
Multiple bindings +2 to highest DN
Size of space compared to character
Use: May be used unskilled, but only by characters capable of self-powered flight. Macro skill use for long-distance travel.
Sample specializations: Types of maneuvers (speed push, dive bombing, gliding, etc.)
This skill is a measure of a character’s ability to move through the air under her own power.
Characters who possess a non-innate ability to move through the air, such as those who use a magical flight spell also use this skill. Flying characters can use the skill to increase their movement value with a speed push (see Chapter Four) and it can be substituted for the character’s dodge and maneuver skills while the character is in flight.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled without the appropriate tools. Unskilled use with tools penalized. Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Door locks, padlocks, chests
This skill gives its user the ability to surreptitiously open locks with physical tumblers and mechanisms. The use of the lock picking skill requires a set of picks or tools, though a skilled character can improvise tools out of hairpins, fishbone, etc. Unskilled characters cannot improvise and so are unable to use lock picking if they do not have a proper set of tools. Some types of locks, Locks that do not have physical mechanisms for the character to manipulate, such as a magical ward, cannot be defeated with this skill. Magical wards fall under the divination magic skill. Lock picking cannot be used to disarm traps and alarms that may be around or attached to locks, but a character can detect the presence of an alarm or trap on a lock by making a successful skill check against the difficulty of the lock itself. Disarming the trap or alarm will require the use of another skill
LOCK PICKING CHART
Sample locks Difficulty
Typical interior residential door 5
Padlock, exterior door 10
Poorly constructed lock -3
Well constructed lock +2
No short time limit -3
Specialized tools -1 to -5
Sample specializations: Standing broad jump, running long jump. This is the ability to leap and jump over its, chasms, and other obstacles. Every character has a jumping limit value (see Chapter One) which represents how far they can jump without much effort. The long jumping skill helps characters jump farther than their limit value and to make jumps in less than optimal conditions. Increasing the distance the character jumps is treated as a speed push (see Chapter Four) while making difficult jumps that are within the character’s jumping limit value is done against a difficulty number determined by the gamemaster based on the circumstances. The following modifiers are used when a character has to make a push roll with long jumping. The gamemaster can also take them into account when determining the difficulty number for non-push jumps.
LONG JUMPING MODIFIERS
Flat surface to flat surface +0
Unlimited landing area -2
Limited landing area +2
Very small landing area +4
Rough/unsteady terrain +2 or more
Downhill landing site -2
Uphill landing site +4
Carrying a heavy load +2 or more
The jumping limit values in Chapter One assume that the jumper had the time and space to take a running start. Standing jumps subtract two from the distance value jumped. Being able to take off at less than full speed reduces the distance value by one.
Sample specializations: Unarmed, armed, balance
This skill represents a character’s mobility in combat. While its specific use is to tire out opponents, it can also be used to put opponents off balance by “faking them out” and provide the character with a tactical advantage. Maneuver is defended against by the maneuver skill. Maneuver may also be used in some circumstances like the acrobatics skill for activities that involve balance, such as remaining standing on a rolling ship’s deck during a bad storm or not slipping and falling while moving over treacherous terrain.
Use: Active defense cannot be attempted unskilled, passive defense and attacks can be done unskilled.
Sample specializations: Knife, sword, club, axe, Florentine fighting, shield defense, improvised weapons
This skill measures a character’s ability to use all sorts of melee weapons, pretty much anything that can be picked up and swung or jabbed at someone. A character generates a melee weapons total to hit with a melee weapon in combat. Melee weapons also serves as the defensive skill against unarmed and melee attacks, as long the defender is wielding a melee weapon. If the defender is not wielding a melee weapon, then the unarmed combat skill is used to defend against melee weapons attacks. The skill can also be used to make minor repairs to melee weapons as well as perform routine maintenance tasks to keep a weapon in good working condition. Unskilled characters armed with a melee weapon may attack and passively defend with their Dexterity but cannot make an active defense.
Sample specializations: Bows, slings, crossbows, shurikens, throwing knives, rocks,
This skill measures a character’s ability to use all types of thrown weapons and simple mechanical and strength-powered projectile weapons. A character generates a missile weapons total to hit when attacking with a missile weapon. Dodge is the defensive skill used against missile weapons. The skill can also be used to make minor repairs to missile weapons as well as perform routine maintenance tasks to keep a weapon in good working condition.
Use: Unskilled Use penalized.
Stage magic, card tricks, pick pocketing, concealing items
This is the ability to manipulate small items with slight-of-hand without attracting any attention, frequently through the use of misdirection to distract the target. Pickpockets and stage magicians commonly have high skill values in prestidigitation. Prestidigitation uses the target’s Perception for the difficulty number, or the target’s find skill if she is on the alert. Situational modifiers should be applied by the gamemaster as appropriate, some examples are provided in the following chart:
Watchful target ready to catch the prestidigitator +4
Suspicious target +2
Confused or distracted target -3
Oblivious target (such as someone who’s asleep) -5
Difficult act (picking a zipped pocket, concealing a large or bulky object) +1 to +5
Easy act (palming a small object, sliding a hand into one’s own pocket unnoticed) -1 to -5
The success level of the prestidigitation total determines how well the character did. If the prestidigitator earns a minimal or average success, she successfully conceals or gains hold of the item, but is noticed by the target. If she has a good success, the item has been successfully concealed or taken without immediately alerting the target. With a superior or spectacular success, the target will remain unaware for some time about what has happened. All failed prestidigitation attempts automatically alert the target without acquiring the item. Prestidigitation may also be used in place of the trick skill in situations where the trick involves slight-of-hand. For example, a character that is cheating at cards could roll on his prestidigitation skill instead of trick.
Use: Macro skill use for long-distance travel.
Sample specializations: Sprinting, long distances
Running is primarily used for speed pushes (see Chapter Four) when a character wants to move faster than her running limit value as given in Chapter One. It can also be used as a macro skill to determine how long it takes a character to run a certain distance or how far she can get in a certain amount of time. It may also be used to determine if a character can successfully run over difficult terrain. The following modifiers are used when a character makes a speed push roll with running. The gamemaster can also take them into account when determining the difficulty number for non-push runs.
Smooth track -2
Rough/uneven terrain +2 Or more
Yielding obstructions (tall grass, brush) +2
Unyielding obstructions (boulders, trees) +4
Uphill, gentle grade +3
Uphill, steep grade +5
Downhill, steep grade +2
In non-combat situations, characters can move at their full running speed for only a short amount of time. For macro uses of the skill, reduce the character’s running limit value by two for distances over and reduce it by three for distances over (about three miles).
You can find out the time value for how long it takes a character to move a particular distance by subtracting the appropriate movement limit value (or speed value if the character is moving at less than his limit value) from the distance value, then adding five. That value, when converted through the Value Chart in Chapter Four, is about how long it takes the character to cover that distance. Characters can increase their speed above their limit value with a macro use speed push, reducing the amount of time required, but they will suffer the detrimental effects of the speed push at the end of their movement (see Chapter Four for the details.)
Example: Paul’s character Quin is trying to run a kilometer as fast as he can. His running limit value is 9, reduced by two because of the distance involved, to a 7. Quin does not have the running skill so his Dexterity is used to generate the action total for the speed push. Paul rolls fairly well and Becky tells him the result of his speed push is a +2 bonus to his speed value. This brings his speed value back up to 9.A kilometer has a distance value of 15, so subtracting nine from that and then adding five produces a time value of time value of 11 is 150 seconds, so the run takes Quin about two and a half minutes. If Quin was not trying to run as fast as possible and just ran at his running limit value, his time value would have instead been 13 which converts to about six minutes. It takes longer, but Quin doesn’t suffer the side effects from making a speed push. To calculate how far a character can travel in a specific amount of time, the formula is only slightly different. The time value is added to the character’s limit (or speed) value and five is subtracted from that number. That value, when converted through the Value Chart, will be the distance covered in that amount of time. For example, a character with a speed value of 8 who runs for one minute (a time value of 9) will cover a distance value of (8 + 9 - 5) 12, which is . These formulas work with all of the macro use movement skills; beast riding, climbing, flight, running and swimming. They can also be used with Sailor
Use: Macro skill. May sometimes be used as a round skill.
Sample specializations: Concealment, trailing, ambush
Characters with stealth can sneak about or hide without attracting attention. Characters who use stealth are not necessarily being quiet or invisible; the goal is to be unnoticed. A character can stealth through a large crowd of people and be in plain sight the whole time, but by “blending in” she is able to pass through the crowd without anyone really noticing her doing so. To use stealth, the player generates an action total against a difficulty number equal to the Perception of the character whose attention is being avoided. An alert target, such as an on-duty guard, is usually harder to avoid and the difficulty number is instead equal to the target’s find skill value. Success means the character remains undetected, failure means she is automatically detected. If there is more than one target involved, such as trying to sneak past a patrol of two guards, the stealth attempt is handled with the multi-action rules in Chapter Four. If the character is being actively searched for, stealth becomes a round use skill instead of a macro skill and the character will have to make several stealth checks to avoid detection. The conditions around the character can affect the difficulty of attempts to use stealth. The chart below lists some common modifiers. Keep in mind that some modifiers can be negated by certain circumstances. For example, if a sentry can see in the dark, the modifiers for darkness should not be applied.
Rain, sleet, snow -1
Dawn or dusk, fog, trees, crowd, etc. -2
Inattentive guards -3
Dense concealment (jungle, large crowd) -5
Attentive guards +3
Open terrain +3
Broad daylight, brightly lit area +4
*This includes guards who are actively searching for the character.
Use: Speed pushes may not be attempted unskilled. Macro use for long-distance travel.
Sample specializations: Sprint, long distance
This skill is a measure of a character’s ability to stay afloat and move in the water. It is also used for speed pushes (see Chapter Four) when a character wants to move faster than their swimming limit value as given in Chapter One. As a macro skill it can also be used to determine how long it takes a character to swim a certain distance or how far they can swim in a certain amount of time. The following modifiers are used when a character makes a speed push roll with swimming. The gamemaster can also take them into account when determining the difficulty number for moving in the water without pushing.
Calm water -2
Rough water +2
Strong undercurrent +2
Dangerous undercurrent +4
Inappropriately dressed +2
Carrying a heavy load +2 or more
Swimming equipment (fins, water wings, etc.) -1 to -5*
Character can breathe water -5
In non-combat situations, characters can move at their full swimming speed for only a short amount of time. For macro uses of the skill, reduce the character’s swimming limit value by two for distances over and reduce it by three for distances over (about two miles).
Use: Active defense cannot be attempted unskilled, passive defense and attacks can be done unskilled.
Sample specializations: Punching, kicking, grappling
This skill represents proficiency in normal types of hand-to-hand fighting: boxing, barroom brawling, wrestling, popular forms of martial arts like Judo and Karate, etc. A character’s unarmed combat total is used to see if he hits whenever the character is fighting without a weapon; his Strength serves as his base damage value. Unarmed combat also serves as a defensive skill against unarmed attacks as well as armed attacks made with the melee weapons skill. Unskilled characters may make unarmed combat attacks and passively defend with their Dexterity but they cannot make an active defense.
Strength is a measure of physical strength and power, though Strength does not include the ability to take and absorb damage (that ability is covered by Toughness). Weight lifters, wrestlers, and barbarians are examples of characters with high Strength values. Strength is used to determine the damage value for attacks made with the melee weapons and unarmed combat skills.
Use: Macro use for long-distance climbing.
Sample specializations: Rope, wall, mountain, cave
This skill is used when a character wishes to climb or scale vertical or near-vertical obstacles, be it a rope, ladder, wall or mountain. A successful skill check indicates that the character climbs a distance equal to their climbing limit value. Failure indicates that the character falls at the start of that round of climbing. The base difficulty number for a climb is 8, which is modified by the conditions of the climb. A character may choose to “be careful” and climb at a speed less than their climbing limit value (given in Chapter One), which will reduce the difficulty of the climb. Characters who miss a climbing check can catch themselves and avoid the fall with a successful Strength check of difficulty 12. Characters who fail to catch themselves will fall and may take damage when they land. The rules for determining falling damage are in Chapter Four. Characters may attempt to climb at a faster rate than their climbing limit value by making a speed push (see Chapter Four) as part of their climbing skill check.
Tree, rough surface with plenty of handholds -3
Cracked wall, lots of handholds +0
Wall with handholds, natural rock +2
Flat but not smooth surface +4
Smooth stone, metal surface +7
Less than 90-degree angle -2
Less than 60-degree angle -4
Less than 45-degree angle -6
Slick surface +2
Character is pushing speed +2
Character is being careful -2 Per -1 speed value
Climbing equipment (ropes, pitons, etc.) -1 To -5
Example: Marco needs to climb over a tall stone wall to break into a building. The base difficulty of the climb is 8. The stone wall is flat but not polished smooth which increases the difficulty to (8 + 4) 12. Its night, which further increases the difficulty to (12 + 2) 14. Marco elects to take his time and be careful. He will climb the wall at a speed value of 1 instead of using his full climbing limit value of 3. By reducing his speed value two points, he lowers the difficulty by four points down to (14 - 4) non-combat situations, characters can climb at their limit value for only a short period of time. For macro uses of the skill, reduce the limit value by one if they are climbing more than and by two if they are climbing more than . If a character “fails” a macro climb, she falls from a point with a height value two less than the top, which is about midway in the climb. If the character catches herself, she is assumed to limp to the top from there. Climbs in which there is a failure (but in which the character catches himself) add one to the calculated time value of the climb.
Example: Magoth and Father Wagner are both trying to scale a mountain peak. Father Wagner’s climbing limit value is 3 while Magoth’s is 6 thanks to giants being bigger and stronger than normal humans are. The top of the peak is high, a height value of 16. Because of the height of the climb, both characters have their limit values reduced by two. Magoth successfully makes his climbing skill check. He did not push his climbing speed so his limit value remains at 4 and is subtracted from the height value of 16. Five is then added, resulting in a time value of 17, which is only forty minutes. He zips right up to the top! Father Wagner however fails his climbing skill check but does manage to catch himself. The fall occurred at a height value of (16 - 2) 14, about up. His modified limit value of 1 is subtracted from 16, five is added and then another one is added because of the fall for a final time value of 21, about four hours. Magoth has plenty of time to enjoy the view from the top before Wagner arrives.
Use: Can be used as a macro skill for carrying heavy loads over a long period of time.
Sample specializations: Weight lifting, load bearing. The lifting skill is used to increase the amount of weight a character can lift beyond their lifting limit value. This is accomplished with a power push as described in Chapter Four. A character who wants to hold up or carry a load greater than their lifting limit value has to make a power push every round. Characters do not have to make lifting skill checks to lift an amount equal to or less than their lifting limit value as given in Chapter One. For macro uses of the skill, characters cannot carry an amount greater than their lifting limit value. Lesser amounts can be carried but the heavier the load, the more strain it can have on the character. The difficulty for macro uses of lifting is the weight value of the load plus three. If the skill check fails, the character carries the load to his destination but collapses from exhaustion upon arrival. If the skill check succeeds, the result is treated as a power push to determine any detrimental effects on the character.
Toughness is a measure of a character’s endurance, stamina and physical fortitude. It is most often used to determine the effects of damage upon a character; whether she is even affected by it and if so, how much of an effect it has on her. This function of Toughness is always passive; characters cannot actively resist taking damage by generating an action total with their Toughness. The only way to increase a character’s resistance to taking damage, beyond increasing their Toughness attribute, is to have some sort of protective armor. This is covered in Chapter Four and a variety of armor types can be found in Chapter Thirteen. Some creatures, may possess natural armor that makes them more resistant to taking damage. A high Toughness indicates someone with lots of energy, a healthy physique and the ability to shrug off minor injuries. A low Toughness character probably gets winded climbing a flight of stairs, catches colds all the time and injures easily.
Sample specializations: none
This skill allows a character to temporarily ignore the detrimental effects of physical damage. The character is not getting rid of the damage; its effects just don’t bother him for a little while. The more severe the injuries, the harder it will be for a character to ignore the effects. The skill can only be used to ignore the penalties caused by wound damage; it cannot be used against shock damage or knockout conditions. Because the skill represents a physical increase in the body’s capacity to handle pain, it can only be used against physical wound damage; it will have no effect on any penalties caused by mental or spiritual wounds. The character generates a resist pain skill total against a difficulty equal to 10 + his wound level and the results are read through the power push table in Chapter Four. This result indicates how much of a wound penalty the character can temporarily ignore. For example, if a character is suffering from a -3 wound penalty and generates a result of +1 on a resist pain check, his wound penalty is temporarily reduced to -2.
This skill cannot be used as a macro skill as the pain can only be ignored for a maximum of ten combat rounds, or until the character takes any more physical damage. Once the effects of resist pain have ended, the character cannot attempt to use the skill again until after he has rested and healed some of his damage. At gamemaster’s discretion, the willpower skill can be used in the same manner as resist pain.
Perception measures several abilities; how quick a character is mentally, how observant she is, and how effectively she can use learned knowledge. Characters with a high Perception have excellent memories and notice minor details others miss. Characters with a low Perception tend to forget things and often overlook important information without realizing it.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None
Alteration magic is magic that uses existing matter and energy and changes it into a form or condition more desirable to the caster. A spell that changes a character’s Strength attribute is an example of alteration magic, it “alters” the pre-existing Strength of the spell’s recipient. A spell that changes a character into stone is another example of alteration magic; the matter that makes up the character’s body is altered into a different substance. Teleportation spells are another type of alteration magic, which work by altering the target’s physical location rather than altering an attribute or quality possessed by the target. The alteration magic skill is used to cast alteration spells. Specializations are not allowed because this is already covered by the magic system through the use of arcane knowledges. Detailed rules for using alteration magic and the other magic skills can be found in Chapter Ten.
Use: Macro skill
Using natural cover, using man-made tools, by terrain type (arctic, desert, jungle, urban, etc.)
The camouflage skill allows characters to conceal large structures and objects from distant observers. Wagons, and even small buildings can be concealed using this skill. This skill does not apply to a character’s ability to conceal her, which is covered by the stealth skill. Think of camouflage as stealth or possibly disguise for anything other than the character. Camouflage can be used to conceal other characters from observation.
When attempting to camouflage an object, the character generates a skill total. This value becomes the difficulty number for anyone trying to locate the concealed object with a Perception or find skill check. The gamemaster can apply modifiers to this difficulty number based on the surrounding terrain, the size of the object and the type and availability of materials used to conceal the object. Some of the modifiers listed under the stealth skill may also be appropriate. If the find total exceeds the camouflage total used to hide the object, the observer sees the object.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample limitations: Swordsmith, armorsmith, weaver, potter, tailor, cook
The craftsman skill is used to manufacture items of the appropriate limitation by hand. A craftsman can build or produce any item within her limitation as well as repair the same items if applicable. The amount of time involved will vary depending on the specific limitation, the item being built or repaired and the materials available to the character. Forging a sword for example may take a couple of days while cooking a small meal may only take an hour or less. A seven-course banquet though may require as much time and effort as the sword! In most situations, the gamemaster should call for only one craftsman check when repairing an item. When building a new item, the general rule is to require one skill check per day of work. For items such as weapons and armor, the item’s modifier can serve as an indicator of how many days it takes to manufacture by hand. A short sword with a damage value of STR+3 would then take about three days to create and require three craftsman skill checks. Failing a check adds a day to the process. Failing two checks in a row ruins the item and the craftsman has to start over. A Spectacular success will shorten the process by one day. The base difficulty for craftsman is 12. Items with modifiers add their modifier to the difficulty. For items without modifiers, gamemasters should use the Difficulty Number Scale to determine appropriate modifiers based on the complexity of the item being produced or repaired.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Orienteering, map reading, landmark recognition, sea navigation, specific locales.)
Direction sense is the ability to determine relative positions between a character’s current location, where she has traveled from, and where she is going. It is most often used in wildernesses, at sea and in strange environments. The skill covers use of maps, determining routes, finding the points of the compass (i.e., which way is north), recognizing landmarks and estimating distances.
Instead of forcing gamemasters to keep detailed maps of all the areas characters might travel though, the rules for navigating a trip and not becoming lost are kept abstract. Time is determined for the completion of a trip from one point to another without getting lost rather than keeping track of how far a character travels and in what direction. Should a character become lost en route, the exact time and location it occurs during the trip can be determined by the gamemaster as best benefits the flow of the story rather than stranding the character somewhere boring. Whenever a character is in a situation where they could become lost, the gamemaster should call for a direction sense skill check. The base difficulty is 6 but any number of possible conditions can modify this:
DIRECTION SENSE MODIFIERS
Clear day +0
Darkness (night) +2
Overcast skies +3
Surroundings obscure the view (forest, jungle, etc.) +3
In the living land +3
Traveling by vehicle +2
Traveling on foot or mount +0
Character familiar with area -3
On minor roadway (back roads, rural areas, etc.) -3
On major roadway (freeway, interstate, main city streets, etc.)
No distinctive landmarks (open fields, large bodies of water, etc.)
Detailed map of the area/route -5
Crude map of the area/route -3
If the skill check is successful, the character continues on her voyage. The gamemaster should make additional direction sense skill checks as seems appropriate over the duration of the trip. To keep a trip from being just a boring series of skill checks, the gamemaster should prepare a few minor, nonessential story ideas that they can use along the route to liven up the experience. If the skill check fails, the character may not initially realize that she is lost. If it failed by more than three points, the gamemaster should assume that the character travels a significant way off-course before realizing her mistake. She will have to successfully determine her current location compared to where she is supposed to be before she can try to back on course. This requires two successful direction sense skill checks; the first to determine her current location and the second to travel in the right direction to get back on course towards her destination. If the skill check failed by only one or two points, the character realizes that she has become lost soon enough that she only has to make one successful skill check to get back on course. Several direction sense failures in a row can get a character completely lost; the gamemaster should assume that after three or four successive failures the character needs to make a fresh start in Order to get anywhere. The character either needs some outside assistance (asking for directions, road signs, acquires a map, etc.) or will have to stop traveling for a while and try again after resting for a while, at least several hours.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Costumes, makeup, impersonations The disguise skill gives a character the ability to use makeup, wigs and costumes to appear as another person, or as a specific person. It does not include the ability to speak or act like a specific person, only their appearance. Imitating a person’s voice or mannerisms falls under the performance arts skill. To create a disguise, the character must have access to appropriate equipment. Depending on the desired disguise, this could be as minor as a wig or a set of appropriate clothing, or it may require the use of special makeup and elaborate costumes to create a very different appearance, such as appearing taller or shorter. When creating a disguise, the character generates a disguise skill total. This total is then modified based on the circumstances of the disguise:
A specific person -5
Opposite sex -3
Different race/skin color -3
Different species, close resemblance (human as elf, etc.) -4
Different species, some resemblance -6
Different species, little resemblance (human as Dwarf, etc.) -10 or more
Great age difference (+/- 30 years) -3
Much larger build -3
Much smaller build -5
Character already bears a resemblance +3
Good disguise kit +5
No disguise kit -5
Using disguise on another character -2
This final skill total becomes the difficulty number for anyone seeing through the disguise with their perception''or find skill. A Perception check is automatically granted the first time that an individual meets the disguised character. If that check fails, the observer is fooled and will only get to make another Perception check if the character says or does something that does not match his disguise. If the check is successful, the observer realizes that the character is wearing a disguise.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None
Divination Magic is magic involving information gathering. A spell that lets a character observe distant locations close-up is a type of divination spell. Communication spells are another type of divination magic. Spells that block the obtaining of information are also divinatory in nature. The divination magic skill is used to cast divination spells. Specializations are not allowed because this is already covered by the magic system through the use of arcane knowledges. Detailed rules for using divination magic and the other magic skills can be found in Chapter Ten.
Use: Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Clue analysis, physical evidence, forensic evidence, researched evidence, deductive reasoning, puzzle solving, forgeries
The evidence analysis skill measures a character’s ability to analyze physical evidence and deduce information about events that occurred in the past. A detective might be able to look at a room and guess how many people have been in it recently, for example, or she might be able to look at an object and determine something about where it was made. The skill may also be used to solve puzzles of both the physical and mental kind. The evidence must first be detected, either through the find skill, player characters roleplaying a search or by being rather obvious, such as a corpse in the middle of a room. Evidence may also be gathered by research (another use of the find skill), questioning witnesses or from analyzing the efforts of other investigators. The difficulty of an evidence analysis skill check is usually determined by the gamemaster using the Difficulty Number Scale, taking into consideration the nature of the question(s) being asked and the actual course of events that the character is attempting to deduce. In some cases, an attribute or skill of another character may determine the difficulty. For example, figuring out a riddle left at a crime scene might have a difficulty equal to the Perception attribute, or a skill such as scholar(riddles), of the person who left the riddle behind. Some example difficulty numbers are provided in the following chart:
EVIDENCE ANALYSIS CHART
Physical evidence Difficulty
Object is familiar or evidence is fairly clear (a knife at a murder scene, lock picks near an open door) 8
Object is somewhat familiar or evidence is only partly clear (a bloodstain near a closet where a body is hidden) 10
Evidence is reasonably obscure (water stains on a carpet forming a faint trail from the door to the window) 12
Evidence is unusual or not obviously related (Window sill is cold indicating that someone opened it recently) 15
The success level of the evidence analysis check should be used to gauge how much useful information the character receives from analyzing the evidence. If the character receives minimal or average success, she can identify all of the objects or physical evidence by generic type:
A weapon, rope, a poison, or blood for example. If she gets a good success, she knows precise information on the origin of the object, substance, or evidence, and specific information on its type. If she gets a superior success, she knows to what use all of the objects in the room were put. With a spectacular success she can accurately reconstruct events from the evidence, fitting in all the evidence to the explanation. Good players may be able to discover this information on their own through roleplaying and solid induction. The gamemaster can encourage such behavior by feeding them a quality level of information at a time when they are on the right track.
Use: Macro skill. May sometimes be used as a round skill
Sample specializations: Gather evidence, spot ambush, search, and reconnoiter
This is the ability to find hidden or concealed objects or persons. It is also used to recognize something as unusual if it is in plain sight, such as a footprint at a crime scene or the fact that someone is wearing a disguise. Many times the difficulty of a find skill check will be based on an attribute or skill used by another character, such as stealth, camouflage and disguise. For objects that have not been deliberately concealed, the gamemaster should use the Difficulty Number Scale to determine an appropriate difficulty for locating the item. If the character successfully beats the difficulty with their find skill, they spot the object.
Find versus Stealth
The stealth skill says that the difficulty of sneaking past a character is that characters find skill value. The find skill says that the difficulty of detecting a stealthing character is that character’s stealth skill. Which character makes the skill check, the one trying to be sneaky or the one trying to be observant? In situations where the skills are being used as macro skills, it’s easiest to let the player character be the one who makes the skill check with a difficulty number equal to the opposing skill value of the non-player character. So if a player character is trying to sneak by a guard, she makes a stealth skill check against the guard’s perception''or find value. If a non-player character is trying to sneak past a player character, the player character makes a Perception or find skill check against the non-player character’s stealth skill. When events are in round play, such as when a character tries to hide from someone actively searching for him, it should be treated in the same manner as a combat situation. A character can choose to actively or passively “defend” with their appropriate skill against the “attack” being made by the other character.
Use: Macro skill. May be used in round play to prevent death from injuries
Sample specializations: Fatigue, unconsciousness, wounds. This skill measures a character’s ability to quickly diagnose and treat traumatic wounds, keeping characters alive and functioning until they can heal. It is normally a macro use skill but it can be used in round play under certain conditions. The difficulty of a first aid skill check depends on the severity of the wounded character’s injuries. Gamemasters should also consider applying situational modifiers based on the Difficulty Number Scale when treatment is attempted in adverse conditions, such as on a battlefield or without anything resembling a first aid kit. Wound levels are explained in Chapter Four.
FIRST AID CHART
Wound level Difficulty
Shock damage only 8
K, O, KO condition 10
Heavy wound 13
Mortal wound 15*
Dead (four wounds) 18*
Dead (five or more wounds) First aid not possible
*These two conditions can be treated in round play.
Successful use of first aid during round play will stop the bleeding caused by a mortal wound and prevent the wounded character from dying, but will not help the wounded character in any other way. A character at four wounds can sometimes be saved by immediate emergency treatment (such as CPR and similarly drastic methods). Successful first aid treatment within one round of the character’s “death” will improve her condition to mortal wound. The injured character will still be bleeding so first aid will need to be applied a second time to treat that problem. When used as a macro skill, first aid will remove all shock and KO conditions and reduces any action penalties caused by wound damage by one level (characters with a mortal wound only suffer heavy wound penalties, characters with a heavy wound only suffer wound penalties.) It does not reduce the wound level, only the penalty. The penalty reduction is temporary and will go away the next time the character that takes any damage. Each character attempting first aid on wounded characters is only allowed one attempt per victim per day. If this attempt fails, he must wait until the next day (though someone else could try to aid the victim today). Characters that have only taken shock and KO conditions can be treated as often as necessary.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill. May be used in round play to simulate highly competitive gambling.
Sample specializations: Specific games of skill, specific games of chance
Gambling is the ability to successfully play the odds in games of skill and chance against other people. The two types of games are handled in separate ways since one is based on the character’s active participation in events while the other involves wagering on random chance or on the abilities of someone other than the gambler. In games of skill, such as most card games, each participant in the game makes a gambling skill check and the character with the highest total wins. For a more dramatic, back-and-forth game of
gambling, the skill can be used in round play and combined with the use of other skills such as trick, test of will and prestidigitation where the gamblers attempt to influence the odds more in their own favor. In games of chance, the gambler tries to predict the outcome of an event that she is not directly involved in, such as picking who will win a fight or the determination of random numbers in games. In these games, the gambler makes a gambling skill check against a difficulty determined by the gamemaster based on the odds of winning using the Difficulty Number Scale.
Cheating: The gambling skill can be used to detect cheating in both games of skill and games of chance. It does not allow a character to cheat though, which has to be done with other skills. Prestidigitation, for example, can be used to roll loaded dice or “stack the deck” in a card game without anyone noticing. The trick skill could also be used for the same effects. In games of skill, the difficulty to detect cheating is the skill value generated by the cheater. In games of chance, the gamemaster should set the difficulty using the Difficulty Number Scale based on the difference between the normal odds and the illegitimate odds.
Use: May be used as a macro skill.
Sample specializations: chariot, wagon, carriage, sled
This skill reflects a character’s ability to operate, pilot and make minor repairs to all types of wheeled, or sled based Vehicles. The difficulty of any particular driving task is determined by the gamemaster using the difficulty Number Scale. The land vehicles skill is also used to increase a vehicle’s speed beyond its normal capabilities. This is accomplished with a speed push similar to the type characters can do with their own movement rates. All vehicles have a speed value that is essentially the same as a character’s limit value. It is not the maximum possible speed of the vehicle, just the maximum speed possible without putting stress on the vehicle’s structure. The rules for speed pushes can be found in Chapter Four. The macro use of this skill is handled with the same rules that apply to the macro movements of characters in the “Timed movement” sidebar. In vehicle combat, a driver’s land vehicles skill is used in place of combat skills such as dodge and maneuver. In the case of a vehicle being attacked by someone using melee weapons or unarmed combat while the vehicle is in motion, the pilot’s land vehicles skill substitutes for the normal defensive skill values. Animal-drawn land vehicles are normally controlled with this skill instead of beast riding since being attached to the vehicle restricts the animal’s free movement. Under appropriate circumstances, gamemasters may allow characters to use beast riding in place of land vehicles.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled though linguistics can be used in its place. Macro skill.
Sample limitations: English, French, Gaelic, Norse
Sample specializations: reading, writing, archaic, formal
Language gives the character the ability to speak another language (characters do not need the skill for their native language.) It can be taken multiple times to represent the ability to speak several additional languages. As a macro skill, language skill checks usually only have to be made once per conversation, players do not have to roll every time their character says or hears something in a foreign language.
To speed play even further, gamemasters may wish to assume that a character’s base language skill value represents the character’s normal level of fluency in the language and skill checks are only required when the character needs to communicate “above her level”. The following charts can be used to gauge a character’s fluency and the difficulty numbers for communicating at a certain level of fluency:
The number of different languages in Torg that are available under the language skill is being left for each gaming group to decide on their own. Having to work through a communications barrier can provide some interesting roleplaying challenges. But it can also slow down play and hinder the flow of the action. How both sides of the equation get balanced will depend on how each group wants to play it.
Fluency Skill value/difficulty
Minimal fluency—Basic phrases and important words, the type of things found in phrasebooks (“Please help me, I’m lost.” “Don’t shoot!”)
Average fluency—Remedial ability, knows basic grammar has a fair vocabulary of words and phrases (“Can you recommend an inn?” “I need to find the nearest tavern.” “Don’t shoot, I’m not dangerous.”)
Good fluency— Can carry on a normal conversation with a little difficulty, still stumbles over the occasional word or concept. Knows enough to get through normal, everyday situations. Speaks with a noticeable accent.
Superior fluency— Knows the language as well as the average native speaker. May still have trouble with archaic or specialized words and ideas such as slang, technical terminology or an offshoot dialect. Has a neutral accent.
Spectacular fluency— Has mastered the language, is indistinguishable from a well-educated native speaker. Speaks with a native accent.
Use: Macro skill.
Sample limitations: Herbalisum, Castle engineering, history, literature, art, religion, arcane, music lore, any specialized field of knowledge.
Sample specializations: A more specific area of knowledge within a limitation, such as a specific religion
The scholar skill represents a character’s knowledge in a specific field of study. In many cases it represents “book learning”, academic facts and figures that the character has memorized. Scholars are adept at using research libraries and remembering or locating obscure facts. But it can also represent knowledge that the character has picked up through experience and being knowledgeable in areas that other people might deem “trivial”. Players may purchase the scholar skill multiple times to represent additional areas of expertise for their character. Limitations can be about as broad as the subjects in which universities typically offer undergraduate degrees. A narrower focus within a field would normally involve a specialization but isn’t required. If the player wishes to limit his character’s knowledge to just a narrowly defined field she does not have to take a broad limitation and then apply a specialization.
Success level Information level
Minimal General information known to most scholars
Average More specific information but nothing obscure
Good A decent amount of obscure information
Superior Detailed information known only to experts in the field
Spectacular Highly specific information known only by a few
Use: Cannot be used unskilled without the appropriate tools. Unskilled use with tools penalized. Macro skill
Sample specializations: Detecting traps, disarming traps, setting traps
The Trap use skill lets a character work with mechanical traps. A character with this skill knows both how to set traps and how to defeat them. Specialized tools are often helpful to disable traps but may not be necessary. Detecting traps usually does not require specialized equipment. This skill does not cover things like opening locks that involve physical tumblers and mechanisms; those are covered by the lock picking skill. Trap Use can get the character open access to the lock, but not any farther. Difficulty numbers for detecting traps can be based off of the Difficulty Number Scale or based on the Trap Use skill of the person who set the trap. Difficulty numbers for deactivating or bypassing traps should be based on the Difficulty Number Scale.
Use: Macro skill.
Sample specializations: By terrain type (mountain, desert, forest, jungle, urban)
This skill gives its user the ability to follow a trail left by another creature or vehicle. It combines the ability to notice details of the environment with the processing of that information to recognize signs of recent or not so recent passage A character using just Perception or find might see all the clues, but not put the information together correctly. To use the skill, the tracker generates a total against a difficulty number of 8. If the target tries to conceal her trail, she generates a tracking skill total of her own and this becomes the difficulty of following her trail. The difficulty number of a tracking attempt is modified by the following factors:
Trail is a day old +2
Trail is a few days old +5
Trail is a week old +8
Trail passes through a trafficked area +
Tracking during inclement weather +5
Tracking over a hard surface (cement, rock) +10
Per person being tracked -1
Tracking through mud or snow -5
Tracking a vehicle -5
Per vehicle -2
A tracker is required to make a new tracking skill check every time conditions of the trail change, such as the trail crossing from one type of surface to another or a change in the weather. Gamemasters should consider requiring a couple of skill checks be made for following any trail regardless of length and even if none of the conditions change along the trail. As a minimum, following a trail should involve three skill checks; one to find the trail and get started, one along the trail, and one close to the end so that there’s a risk of losing the trail.
Sample specializations: Misdirection, distraction, non-verbal, feint, fast-talk
The trick skill is used to unbalance or fool a target for a brief period of time. Trick is most commonly used in round play to put opponents off guard rather than as a macro skill due to the short duration of its effects, but it can be used in macro situations to cover a quick lie or deception. Trick is also the defensive skill used against trick, though the willpower skill could be used instead during macro uses of trick. If the target does not have trick then Perception is used instead. The results of a trick attempt are determined by using the Interaction Results Table found in Chapter Four. When a character attempts to trick someone, the player should specify to the gamemaster the effect he wants it to have on his character’s opponent before rolling the die. This is known as the player’s call and lets the gamemaster better judge the results of the trick.
The gamemaster, in relation to circumstance and believability as well as the player’s roleplaying ability, should modify trick skill totals. If the character uses a simple but believable trick he should get a bonus to his skill total. If it’s something unbelievable or inappropriate to the situation then a small penalty should be applied.
Use: May be used as a macro skill.
Sample specializations: Raft, sailboat, ship
This skill reflects a character’s ability to operate, pilot and make minor repairs to all types of waterborne craft. The difficulty of any particular piloting task is determined by the gamemaster using the Difficulty Number Scale. Sailor skill is also used to increase a vehicle’s speed beyond its normal capabilities. This is accomplished with a speed push similar to the type characters can do with their own movement rates. All vehicles have a speed value that is essentially the same as a character’s limit value. It is not the maximum possible speed of the vehicle, just the maximum speed possible without putting stress on the vehicle’s structure. The rules for speed pushes can be found in Chapter Four. The macro use of this skill is handled with the same rules that apply to the macro movements of characters in the “Timed Movement” sidebar.
In vehicle combat, a pilot’s Sailor skill is used in place of combat skills such as dodge and maneuver. In the case of a vehicle being attacked by someone using melee weapons or unarmed combat while the vehicle is in motion, the pilot’s water vehicles skill substitutes for the normal defensive skill values.
Mind represents the character’s problem-solving capabilities, force of will and ability to concentrate. A character’s “IQ” would be based primarily on her Mind, though Perception would also contribute to it. Characters with high Mind values can be found in professions that require the application of knowledge and experience to analyze and figure out new approaches to old problems or to solve new ones.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None
Apportation magic is the magic of motion, the magic that moves an object or a quality from one place to another. A flying carpet uses apportation magic to move through the air. A spell that gathers the ambient light of an area and concentrates it all in one place is an example of apporting a non-physical object, the light itself is being moved by the spell. A “haste” spell which allows a person to move faster is not an Apportation magic spell because the spell is not conferring motion to the person; the ability to move faster is a change to the character’s natural movement rate and so would be an alteration magic spell instead. A spell which transferred a movement rate from one character to another, slowing one character down to speed the other up, would be an apportation magic spell because it is moving a quality from one location to another. The apportation magic skill is used to cast apportation spells. Specializations are not allowed because this is already covered by the magic system through the use of arcane knowledges. Detailed rules for using apportation magic and the other magic skills can be found in Chapter Ten.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill
Sample limitations: Painting, sculpting, fashion, music, writing, dance choreography, flower arrangement
Sample specializations: Specific field within a limitation (writing poetry, composing music, watercolor painting, etc.), forgery
This skill gives its user the ability to create a work of art. “Art” is a broadly defined category but for this skill generally refers to designing, arranging or creating something which provokes a response from observers. Tastes vary and not all artists will produce works for the same reason; some may want to entertain and please, others shock, still others may try to communicate a message with their work. Some categories that fit this definition of art do not fall under the artist skill. While dance choreography falls under this skill, the actual application of the artist’s work is done instead with the dance skill. Similarly, forms of art which involve speaking, singing and anything else which involves performing for an audience are covered by the performance art skill. Creating a work of art generally does not involve making an artist skill check against a difficulty number. Because perception of art can be very subjective, when a character creates a work the player generates an artist skill total and that value is then used to gauge the effectiveness of the work however seems most appropriate. A painting intended to invoke feelings of anger in the observer could use the artist skill value like the taunt skill, while a song meant to convey a message and convince people of something could use the artist skill value like the persuasion skill. As a general guideline, “good” or at least “effective” artwork should have a skill total of at least 15. The amount of time involved in creating a work can vary, anywhere from a few days to years. The artist skill can also be used to judge other works of art, perhaps to determine a monetary value, to detect a forgery or to gain a better appreciation of the artist’s talent (or lack thereof.) The difficulty of judging another piece of art is usually equal to the artist skill value of the piece though gamemasters may adjust the difficulty of the task depending on circumstances using the Difficulty Number Scale. Producing a forgery of a piece of art will use the artist skill.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None
Conjuration magic involves the production or creation of something that did not previously exist. A spell that allows a magician to produce and throw a fireball at an opponent without a nearby source of flame is conjuration magic because it is creating the fireball from “nothing”. Similarly, a spell that animates a normally inanimate object is creating life or at least a semblance of life where it did not exist before and is therefore conjuration magic. The effects produced by conjuration magic do not have to be physical. A spell that creates fear in a target when previously there was no fear is a conjuration spell. A common use of conjuration magic that produces a non-physical effect is the creation of a pathway to another dimension; spells that summon creatures from other dimensions are conjuration spells. These summoning spells
are not creating a creature from “nothing”, they are creating a bridge across the gap between dimensions, allowing access to the desired creature. Conjuration magic can also be used for the reverse effect, destruction instead of creation. Instead of creating something from “nothing”, “nothing” is created from something. A disintegration spell that completely eliminates a target from existence is conjuration magic. Spells that banish summoned creatures back to their home dimension work by destroying the bridge that allows the creature to cross over in the first place. Without that bridge, the creature reverts back to its own dimension. The conjuration magic skill is used to cast conjuration spells. Specializations are not allowed because this is already covered by the magic system through the use of arcane knowledges. Detailed rules for using conjuration magic and the other magic skills can be found in Chapter Ten.
Use: Unskilled use penalized.
Macro skill. May be used in round play as per first aid.
Sample specializations: (acupuncture, herbal medicine, etc.).
Medicine is used to help a damaged character recover and heal from her physical injuries. Its can represent a wide range of medical treatments, ranging from traditional “western” treatments, acupuncture, herbal medicine, or other similar treatments for the sick or injured. It can also be used in place of the first aid skill for quick treatment of injuries. In play medicine has two primary uses.
Wound level Difficulty #
Heavy wound 17
If the medicine skill check is successful, it is treated like a power push (see Chapter Four again) and the power push result is added as a bonus to the injured character’s recovery check. If the check is not successful, the injured character makes a normal recovery check - there is no penalty for a failed medicine check. Only one medicine check may be made per day on a character.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Normally used as a macro skill.
Sample specializations: Specific urban location, street gangs, criminal organizations, survival, black markets
Streetwise is used to get information, goods and/or make contacts in urban areas large enough to support a “shadowy” side of life. It can also be used like the survival skill for finding food, water and shelter in urban areas. When attempting to gain information with the streetwise skill, the difficulty is based on the size of the city the character is in and modified by the legality of the information being sought:
Large city 8
Small city 10
Small town 13
Very small town 15
Legal information -5
Illegal, but generally inoffensive (asking how big of a bribe is appropriate for local law enforcement) +0
Illegal (seeking out a pickpocket) +2
Very illegal (seeking out a safecracker) +4
Highly illegal (seeking an arms smuggler) +7
Strict law enforcement +5
Moderate law enforcement +4
Light law enforcement +2
Little enforcement of the law +0
Corrupt law enforcement -
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Specific type of terrain or climate (desert, forest, arctic, mountains, urban, etc.)
Survival is the ability to find shelter, procure food, water and other supplies, and avoid natural dangers such as disease, sunstroke, quicksand or other environmental hazards exclusive of creature encounters.
Each general type of wilderness environment has a difficulty number listed on the chart below. The first day a character spends in the hostile environment, she makes a survival skill check. If she succeeds, the result points earned indicate the number of days she can remain in the environment before making another such check. Characters who fail a survival check must make another survival check the day after their failure.
Failing a survival skill check means the character does not find adequate shelter, food or stumbles into some kind of dangerous situation. This can either be roleplayed, such as finding a way to escape from a patch of quicksand, or the gamemaster can assess an appropriate amount of damage to the character that cannot be healed until a successful survival check is made or the character returns to “civilization”.
Wilderness type Difficulty
Easy environment (woods, grasslands) 3
Moderate environment (aquatic, swamps) 5
Moderately difficult (mountains, ghost town) 8
Difficult environment (high mountains) 10
Barren environment (desert) 12
Inhospitable environment (tundra) 13
Hostile environment (arctic) 15
Test of Wills
Sample specializations: None
Test of wills, often shortened to just test, is used to unbalance an opponent by pitting their confidence against the tester’s confidence and resolve. A successful test causes the opponent to doubt that his own determination or that his control of a situation is equal to that of the testing character. Two drivers playing a game of “chicken”, for example, are engaged in a test, In westerns, a gunfight always begins with the two gunslingers staring each other down, trying to take each other’s measure. This is an example of test being used in a combat situation, each gunslinger showing his resolve to see things through and confidence in his own ability to draw and shoot first. Test is not the same as intimidation though sometimes the line between the two is blurry. Intimidation is more often based on an overt physical threat, such as pointing a weapon at someone, or a display of violent emotion. Test is subtler, the character implying or creating an impression of being the one who is calling the shots. Test is the defensive skill used against test, though in some situations the willpower may be used to defend against test. Willpower cannot be used to perform a test though; characters without the test skill must use their Mind attribute. The exact results of a test attempt are determined by using the Interaction Results Table found in Chapter Four. When a character attempts to test someone, the player should specify to the gamemaster the effect she wants it to have on her character’s opponent before rolling the die. This is known as the player’s call and lets the gamemaster better judge the results of the trick. The gamemaster, in relation to circumstance and believability as well as the player’s roleplaying ability, should modify test skill totals. If the character appears calm, cool and unruffled before and during the test attempt, she should get a bonus to her skill total. If the character is nervous, panicky and obviously not in control of a situation then a penalty should be applied.
Use: Normally a macro skill.
Sample specializations: Specific defense (against charm, against persuasion, against hypnosis, etc.), ignoring pain, self-control, disbelieving illusions Willpower represents a character’s strength of mind and ability to remain true to a decision or course of action. It is most often used as defense against character interaction skills such as charm and persuasion and in some cases other interaction skills like trick, test, taunt and intimidation. For the latter skills, willpower can only be used as a defense against macro uses of those types of interactions; during round play the normal defenses must be used. This is because during round play characters must react based on their instincts and do not have time to apply their willpower to the situation. Similarly, willpower may be used to disbelieve the existence of illusionary magic, but only outside of round play. During round play disbelieving illusionary magic defaults to the character’s base Mind attribute. See Chapter Ten for more information on disbelieving illusionary magic. Willpower may be used as an active skill in situations where the character faces a difficult temptation, needs to control an impulse or has to overcome a natural reaction or instinct.
Charisma measures the strength of a character’s personality: not just how likable she is but also how effectively she can communicate and her ability to form a bond or connection with someone. Charisma can be used to gauge a character’s attractiveness but is not necessarily an indicator of physical beauty, rather the combination of personality and appearance. Characters whose professions involve communication, swaying opinions or convincing people about something would want a high Charisma. Successful salesmen, politicians, actors and teachers are examples of characters with good Charisma values. A low Charisma indicates someone who appears unlikable, untrustworthy and probably unpleasant to be around. They’re always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, have little empathy for other people’s feelings and opinions and have difficulty expressing themselves in ways other people can easily understand.
Use: Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Seduction, “making friends”, establishing trust, gaining respect Charm represents the ability to change the attitudes of acquaintances and onlookers. Characters with a high charm value can turn enemies into friends and friends into devoted followers. Characters generate a charm total against the willpower or Mind value of the target character. Successful use of charm improves the attitude of the target character toward the charming character. Failures with charm though can make things worse! Charm can require a significant amount of time; at least five minutes spent communicating with the target if not longer. The more time spent on a charm, the more effective it might be and the longer the effects may last. The complete rules for the use of charm can be found in Chapter Four.
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample limitations: Acting, singing, storytelling, public speaking,
Sample specializations: Specific field within a limitation (singing opera, interpretive reading, dramatic acting, comedic acting, etc.)
This skill gives its user the ability to perform a work of “art”, which is broadly defined as anything spoken, sung or otherwise communicated that is designed to invoke some kind of response in the audience. For example, a public speaker may want to convince people to support a certain political or moral position or a singer may want to lift people’s spirits with an upbeat song. See the artist skill for guidelines on how to determine the effects of a character’s performance. In some situations a performer will be interpreting someone else’s work of “art”, such as an actor performing from a script written by someone else. In cases like this, two skill values are generated. The first skill value is for the piece of art being performed; the second is for the performance itself. The skill check for the piece of art will be an artist skill check based on the skill value of whoever created the artwork. The second skill check will be the performance art skill check of the performer. The lower of the two values is then used to gauge any reactions or effects of the overall performance. The individual totals can also be used to determine any reactions to the individual components of the performance.
Use: Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Con, bargain, diplomacy, negotiation, interviewing, salesmanship Persuasion is the ability to convince or sway an acquaintance or onlooker. The exact nature of what it is the character wants the target to do can be almost anything; buy a product from the character, answer a question, do the character a favor, loan the character something, change their opinion about something to match the character’s view, and so on. A character generates a persuasion total against the willpower or Mind of the target character. The difficulty may be modified by the gamemaster using the Difficulty Number Scale based on the nature of what the character wants the target to do. Generally the more that a target has to do, especially if it might be dangerous, the harder it will be to persuade them. The attitude of the target affects how successful a persuasion attempt will be. If the character has the time, it is usually a good idea to first charm a target and improve their attitude towards the character, thereby increasing the chance of a successful persuasion. The complete rules for using persuasion can be found in Chapter Four.
Sample specializations: Non-verbal, insults, sarcasm
Taunt is used to make opponents upset and thus unable to think or act as clearly as they normally would. Taunt is normally used in round play to unsettle opponents, annoying or angering them to the point that they act without thinking. Taunt is also the defensive skill used against taunt, though in some situations the willpower skill could be used instead. If the target does not have taunt then Charisma is used instead. The results of a taunt are determined by using the Interaction Results Table found in Chapter Four. When a character attempts to taunt someone, the player should specify to the gamemaster the effect she wants it to have on her character’s opponent before rolling the die. This is known as the player’s call and lets the gamemaster better judge the results of the taunt. Taunt skill totals should be modified by the gamemaster in relation to circumstance and appropriate nature of the taunt, as well as the player’s roleplaying ability. Taunts should be kept simple in most cases so that that the meaning will be clear to the target. If the target doesn’t understand the taunt, they may not even realize they’ve been insulted.
Use: Macro skill.
Sample specializations: Skills of a particular attribute
(Dexterity, Perception, etc.), a particular set of skills (combat
skills, knowledge skills, etc.), a single skill.
One of the major factors in determining the cost for the first add of a new skill is whether the person acquiring the skill is being taught the skill or learns it on their own. Training is used by a character to instruct another character so that they can acquire that first skill add at the lower cost. One training skill check is used to cover an entire training session. When a training session begins, several decisions must be made. First, if the skill is being acquired by spending possibilities the amount of time spent on training must be decided. If the skill is being learned over time, then the duration of the training session is equal to the amount of time determined using the normal rules earlier in this chapter. One week is the minimum amount of time required when spending possibilities, but spending more time will decrease the difficulty of the training skill check. The modifier is found by subtracting the time value spent on training from 29, the time value for a week, creating a negative modifier to the difficulty number. Second, the teacher and the student must decide if they are training to the exclusion of all other activities. If not, they are considered distracted which increases the difficulty. If the skill is being learned over time, the distracted penalty applies if the training does not occupy at least eight hours a day and 25 days out of a month’s time. Third, if the skill is being acquired using possibilities the student must decide if she is committed to learning the skill. Being committed means that at the end of the training session the character can and will purchase the first add of the skill even if the teacher fails his training skill check. In other words, the character has enough possibilities to pay the self-taught cost for the first skill add and will pay that cost if the teacher fails.
A character who is not committed can choose whether or not to buy the first add of the skill at the self-taught cost if the teacher fails his skill check. If the skill is being learned over time, the student is automatically considered to be committed but the only effect this has is to reduce the difficulty number. If the training skill check fails, the student does not learn the skill. At the end of the training session, the teacher makes a training skill check against a difficulty of 8, modified by the following conditions:
Teacher has skill at only one add +2
Teacher or student is distracted +4
Teacher and student are distracted +5
Student is committed -3
Skill can be used unskilled at a penalty +2
Skill cannot be used unskilled +4
Skill is not native to teacher’s or student’s reality +5
Skill is not native to teacher’s and student’s reality +7
Training session longer than one week (only when
spending possibilities to learn skill)
29 - Time value
Example: Terrill is going to teach Marco divination magic. They decide to spend two weeks on it rather than the minimum of one week. Marco is going to devote all of his time to learning the skill but Terrill has other things he needs to do so the teacher is considered distracted. Marco really wants to learn the skill so he is committed to learning it. Terrill only has one add in divination magic and the skill cannot be used unskilled. The base difficulty for Terrill’s training skill check is 8. It is modified by +2 for Terrill only having one add, +4 for Terrill being distracted, -3 for Marco being committed, +4 for being unusable unskilled and two weeks is a time value of 31 so (29 - 31) a -2 modifier for that. The final difficulty is 13. Unfortunately, Terrill only generates a skill total of 12 and fails. Because Marco was committed, he has to buy the skill add at the self-taught cost, which is 10 possibilities instead of the five he would have paid if Terrill had succeeded.
Spirit represents the force of a character’s personality. Unlike Charisma, Spirit does not relate to how well a character communicates with others but how well they communicate at others. Spirit represents the “backbone” of a character’s personality, the power of their beliefs and convictions, their ability to impose their thoughts and opinions onto other people and even onto the world around them sometimes.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample limitations: Celtic, Christian, Fey, Judaism, Norse
Sample specializations: None.
Faith measures the strength of the character’s religious beliefs and convictions. In game play, faith is most often used as part of the miracles system, which is described in Chapter Eleven. Faith does not give a character the ability to reliably perform miracles, which requires the focus skill. What faith does is it allows the character to participate in a miracle, usually as the recipient of the miracle. It is important not to mistake faith for knowledge about a religion. It is possible to know a religion’s beliefs, history and rituals without accepting its principles or acknowledging its validity. Knowledge about a religion is covered with the scholar skill; faith only deals with belief
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None.
The focus skill represents a character’s ability to tap into the spiritual energies of a religious belief system and somewhat reliably create “miracles” with that energy. It is not used alone however; miracles are not possible without the faith skill also being involved (though in some cases miracles can occur without needing the focus skill.) The complete rules for performing miracles can be found in Chapter Eleven. Focus is an unusual skill in that it cannot normally be taught to another character. In most belief systems, the ability to perform miracles is seen as a gift or a blessing, not something that can simply be learned like any other ability. Players who wish to have their characters acquire the focus skill during gameplay will need
to discuss the matter with their gamemaster and determine how, and if, the character can get the skill.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None
Frenzy is a special ability that allows a character to work himself into a deadly, berserk rage.
When frenzied, the character becomes little more than a killing machine. They will attack all enemy characters or creatures without hesitation and if there are no enemies nearby, they may attack anyone close by, even their own comrades and allies. Frenzied characters may not make ranged attacks, all combat must be conducted with either melee weapons or barehanded. Frenzied characters may not use interaction skills such as maneuver, trick, test or taunt though intimidation is allowed. Frenzied characters cannot perform an active defense against any kind of attack, they may only passively defend. Shields however may be used during combat. The difficulty of entering frenzy is based on the character’s wound level. The more injured a character is, the easier it is for him to frenzy. A character already involved in a combat situation receives a +5 bonus to his skill total. A frenzied character has his Dexterity, Strength and Toughness temporarily increased while frenzied. The amount of the increase is based on the success level of the skill check. On a Minimal or Average success, the increase is +1; Good success +2; success +3; Spectacular success +4. This is not a bonus, it is an actual increase in the attribute and will affect any game values based off of an attribute (such as the base damage value of melee weapons and the amount of shock damage a character can take before being knocked unconscious.) While frenzied, characters are immune to fatigue results and ignore any action penalties from wound damage (see Chapter Four for details on fatigue and damage penalties.)
A frenzied character that has no enemies to attack may lash out at anyone who is nearby, even if they are on his side. To keep himself from attacking an ally, the frenzied character must make a willpower check against a difficulty of 12. If the character fails, he will attack the nearest person with the same ferocity he used on his enemies. If the frenzied character succeeds, he doesn’t attack anyone that round. Another willpower check is required the next round and in subsequent rounds until the character has someone to attack or the frenzy comes to an end. A Frenzy lasts for no more than 12 rounds, though a character can attempt to come out of it sooner. The difficulty for ending frenzy is based on the character’s wound level, though in this case the more injured the character is the harder it is to come out of it.
Wound level Entering difficulty Ending difficulty
None 22 13
Shock and/or KO conditions only 18 15
Wound 15 18
Heavy wound 13 22
Mortal wound 12 25
If the character is attempting to end a frenzy while there are no enemies around, he does not have to make a willpower check in that round to avoid attacking the nearest target. If a character attempts to end frenzy and fails by ten or more points, he can no longer attempt to end the frenzy and it must run its full course. Allies of the frenzied character can attempt to bring him out of his rage by making persuasion attempts against the same difficulty number for the character bringing himself out of the frenzy. These must be people the character knows and trusts, not just people who were fighting on the same side with him. If there are no enemies present, the frenzied character may attack the people trying to bring him out of it! After a character comes out of frenzy, he immediately suffers a fatigue result that lasts for thirty minutes, though this shock damage may be healed normally with the first aid skill.
Use: Interrogation may only be performed as a macro skill.
Sample specializations: Interrogation, threats, non-verbal, bullying, against a specific type of target (men, women, students, military recruits, etc.)
Intimidation is used to threaten another character and unbalance them by making them feel in danger from or inferior to the intimidator. In combat it can cause an opponent to hesitate or back down. Out of combat, it can be used to force someone into doing something the intimidator wants them to do such as follow his Orders, answer questions or hand over something to the intimidator, such as money. Intimidation is also the defensive skill used against intimidation, though in some situations the willpower skill could be used instead.
If the target does not have intimidation then Spirit is used instead. The results of an intimidation are determined by using the Interaction Results Table found in Chapter Four. When a character attempts to intimidate someone, the player should specify to the gamemaster the effect she wants it to have on her character’s opponent before rolling the die. This is known as the player’s call and lets the gamemaster better judge the results of the intimidation. Intimidation skill totals should be modified by the gamemaster in relation to circumstance and appropriate nature of the action, as well as the player’s roleplaying ability. Intimidation can be as simple as looking dangerous, or involve use of a position of authority, such as the shouting and abuse a drill sergeant heaps upon recruits during military basic training, or the threat of jail time a policeman might use to scare someone into cooperating. Interrogation attempts are handled a bit differently from most other uses of intimidation. For an interrogation to work, the target must believe himself to be at a significant disadvantage, such as being captured or arrested, or at the mercy of the interrogator. Some characters are arrogant or self-assured enough to prevent most forms of interrogation from succeeding; player characters and most major villains fall into this category. Interrogation does not involve the use of player’s call and uses a different column on the Interaction Results Table than other uses of intimidation. Interrogation is only necessary to gain information that the target is not willing to freely divulge, if they are willing to answer questions then the persuasion skill is used instead. More information on interrogations can be found in Chapter Four.
Use: Cannot be used unskilled.
Sample specializations: None.
Shapeshifting is the ability (or curse) of changing form between human and animal. Most transformations are involuntary and the skill is used primarily to not change rather than to deliberately change. During Character creation, any character with shapeshifting must take it as her tag skill. The Rules for designing the animal form of the shapeshifter, the special abilities the shapeshifter has while in animal form and the rules for using shapeshifting can be found in chapter xxx
Use: Must be combined with a magic skill (alteration magic, apportation magic, divination magic, conjuration magic.) Cannot be used unskilled
Sample specializations: None.
The arcane knowledges are a type of subskill used in conjunction with the four magic skills to determine the types of spells a character can learn and cast with her magic skills. They are also used in the creation of new spells designed by player characters. The various types of arcane knowledges and how they are used are described in Chapter Ten.
Action and Effect Totals
As described in Chapters One and Three, success of an action is determined by comparing an action total the character generates against a difficulty number. If the action total equals or exceeds the difficulty then the action is successful. Sometimes the amount by which the character succeeds is important. When this is the case, the difficulty is subtracted from the action total. The difference is known as the result points of the action and can be used in a variety of ways depending on the type of action. (Negative result points obviously indicate a failure since the action total would be less than the difficulty number.)
Determining Difficulty Numbers
There are two basic types of difficulty numbers and both are used quite often in Torg. The simplest difficulty numbers are opposed actions. With many skills and types of actions, the difficulty is determined by some value of the object or person being affected. For example, the missile weapons skill is opposed by the dodge skill. The difficulty of trying to shoot someone with a bow is equal to his or her dodge skill.
Determining damage in combat is also an opposed action. The damage value of an attack is opposed by the Toughness or armor value of the target. If the damage value does not equal or exceed the target’s opposing value, no damage is inflicted even if the attack successfully hit. The second type of difficulty number is used when there isn’t a measurable value opposing the character’s actions. For example, the difficulty of treating an injured character with the first aid skill is based on the extent of their injuries but damage in Torg isn’t expressed in game terms by values. In these situations, the difficulty number is based on how hard the action should be for an average person to successfully perform the task. For the purposes of determining these various difficulty levels, “average” means a Mook with no skill adds (unskilled use modifiers are not considered since they vary so much depending on what kind of task is being performed.) Since mooks have an average attribute value of 8, an “average” difficulty level is considered to be a difficulty of 8. On the Difficulty Number Scale, the description is a qualitative term for the difficulty level. The difficulty is the action total necessary for the average person to successfully perform a task of that difficulty level. An odd indicate the percentage chance of the average person being able to successfully perform the task and is based on what kind of a die roll is necessary to generate the bonus number needed for the average person to match or exceed the difficulty number. A “-” means that the average mook cannot succeed at that difficulty level unskilled (because mooks do not get any rerolls when unskilled. +7 is the highest bonus number they can achieve.) The modifier is used by gamemasters when they have a difficulty number already determined by another means but the circumstances are unusual. For example, shooting a target in combat normally uses the target’s dodge skill as the difficulty number. But what if the fight is taking place on the deck of a ship being tossed about by the waves of a fierce storm? Hitting a target under those circumstances should be more difficult than normal. The gamemaster can decide how much more difficult it is based on the circumstances and then apply an appropriate modifier. Many of the skills listed in Chapter Three have sample difficulty numbers and modifiers provided in their descriptions. Those numbers are all based off of the Difficulty Number Scale.