Skills are more specific applications of an attribute. For example, the skill Dodge is a more specific use of your character’s Agility. Characters learn them through instruction or experience.
Skills are areas of expertise that are not necessarily common to every living creature. Some creatures simply don’t have the capacity to learn certain skills.
All skills beneath a given attribute begin at that attribute’s die code. To highlight skills in which the character has trained or has some experience, add pips or dice to the base attribute value.
As with attributes, when creating your character you can either put whole dice in each skill, or you can give each a mixture of whole dice and pips. Remember that each die equals three pips.
Example: You’ve chosen your attribute scores, including putting 2D+1 in Intellect. If you wanted her to be a little better in the speaking skill, you could add one pip to the base attribute to get a speaking skill score of 2D+2. If you decided to add two pips to the base attribute, the speaking score becomes 3D.
You can also specialize in skills. Specializations reflect a greater familiarity in a particular area covered by a base skill. One skill die equals three specialization dice. Of course, one specialization die still equals three pips.
You don’t need to have any extra dice in the base skill in order to take a specialization in that skill, but when you give your character specializations in that manner, they are treated as separate skills. If you give your character specializations in base skills he already has, those specializations are considered bonuses to the base skill when attempting tasks of that type.
Once you’ve chosen at least one specialization and put one or two pips or dice in it, you have to use the remaining specialization dice and pips to either purchase more pips in the same specialization or purchase one or more pips in other specializations.
You roll the specialization’s die code only when you use the specific item or knowledge reflected by the specialization. Otherwise, you roll the base skill (or attribute if you didn’t put additional dice in the full skill).
Example: If your character’s Intellect is 2D+2 and her speaking is 3D, you could give her a speaking specialization of Elvish of +1 (which means that, when she’s trying to speak with Elves, you roll three dice and adds 1 to the total). You would then have two specialization dice and two specialization pips to place among other specializations. With these, you could further improve her speaking: Elvish specialization, or you could pick one or more other specializations in the same or other base skills.
You decide that with one other specialization pip, you’ll give your character cultures: Elves, but you won’t take the full cultures skill for her. This allows your character to have cultures: Elves at 3D (add 1 to the die code of the base attribute, Intellect, which is 2D+2). Thus, when your character attempts to determine how best to handle Elvish relations, you roll 3D, but if she tries to figure out what’s an appropriate gift for a Dwarf, you only rely on the attribute’s score, which is 2D+2.
A character may not put dice in any skill associated with the Extranormal attribute unless that character already has dice in that attribute.
The maximum number of dice the character may start with in any base skill is 3D greater than the governing attribute, with no more than 3D greater than the base skill in any specialization.
You can find the list of skills and their descriptions in the Skill List section.
Some gamemasters prefer narrower skill categories, requiring characters to select more specific abilities, such as animal handling: horses or reading/writing: Gnomish. If that’s the case, players’ characters start with 21 skill dice or 93 creation points. Players need to get gamemaster approval on any subcategories they choose, while gamemasters need to insure that the subcategories are neither too broad (all mammals) or too narrow (a single type of poison). Players may take specializations of these narrower skills, as described in the rules. Characters under this rule may never take the general skill without selecting a subcategory.
As this skill list includes broad definitions not applicable in all eras or worlds for which Six-Sided Fantasy could be used, the gamemaster has the final say on actual skill applications. For difficulties associated with each skill, see the “Example Skill Difficulties” section.
- Acrobatics: Performing feats of gymnastics, extraordinary balance, and dance (and related performance arts), as well as breaking falls Useful for running obstacle courses or doing courtly promenade.
- Fighting: Competence in unarmed combat.
- Climbing: Scaling various surfaces.
- Contortion: Escaping from otherwise secure physical bonds by twisting, writhing, and contorting the body.
- Dodge: Slipping out of danger’s way, whether avoiding an attack or a sprung booby trap.
- Flying: Maneuvering under one’s own power (such as with wings).
- Jumping: Leaping over obstacles.
- Melee Combat: Wielding hand-to-hand weapons.
- Riding: Controlling and riding domesticated mounts.
- Stealth: Moving silently and avoiding detection, whether through shadows or crowds.
- Charioteering: Accelerating, steering, and decelerating chariots (in particular) or any kind of cart-and-animal vehicle.
- Lockpicking: Opening a mechanical lock without possessing the key or combination.
- Marksmanship: Shooting any kind of mechanical device — such as a bow or sling — that projects missiles across a distance.
- Pilotry: Operating any water-faring vehicle, including steering, applying the oars, or managing the sails.
- Sleight of Hand: Nimbleness with the fingers and misdirection, including picking pockets, palming items, and stage magic.
- Throwing: Hitting a target accurately with a thrown item, including stones, javelins, bottles, and knives. Also used for catching thrown items.
- Lifting: Moving or lifting heavy objects, as well as representing the ability to inflict additional damage with strength-powered weapons.
- Running: Moving quickly on the ground while avoiding obstacles and keeping from stumbling.
- Stamina: Physical endurance and resistance to pain, disease, and poison.
- Swimming: Moving and surviving in a liquid medium.
- Cultures: Comprehension of customs, traditions, art, history, politics, and views on outsiders of various regions or groups, as well as the ability to generalize about common cultural forms.
- Devices: Using and designing complex mechanical equipment. Actually building items requires crafting.
- Forgery: Creating and noticing false or altered documentation in various media (paper, electronic, plastic card, etc.), including counterfeiting, though tasks may require other skills to help detect or make the forgery.
- Medicine: Using first aid techniques to treat injuries, as well as an understanding and application of medical procedures, including diagnosing illnesses and performing surgery.
- Navigation: Determining the correct course using external reference points, such as stars, maps, or landmarks, as well as creating maps.
- Reading/Writing: Familiarity with and ability to understand various forms of written communication, as well as the ability to create literary compositions, including forging papers and identifying such forgeries. Characters do not begin with the ability to read or write.
- Scholar: This skill represents knowledge and/or education in areas not covered under any other skill (such as alchemy, cooking, arcane lore, etc.). This may be restricted to a specific field (represented by specializations) or a general knowledge of a wide range of subjects. It is used to remember details, rumors, tales, legends, theories, important people, and the like, as appropriate for the subject in question. However, the broader the category, the fewer the details that can be recalled. It covers what the character himself can recall. Having another skill as a specialization of the scholar skill means that the character knows the theories and history behind the skill but can’t actually use it. Scholar can be useful with investigation to narrow a search for information.
- Speaking: Familiarity with and ability to understand various forms of verbal communication. Characters know the Trade Speech (assuming the setting has one) and one “native” language in which they have spoken fluency. Additional languages in which a character has proficiency can be represented by specializations of this skill.
- Tech: Using and designing (not making) complex mechanical or electronic equipment, such as programming and operating computers and manipulating communication devices.
- Trading: Knowledge of business practices, exchange rates, the monetary value of goods and opportunities, and other information regarding barter and sales, including the ability to determine how to make money with another skill the character has. Trading can complement bluff, charm, and persuasion when haggling over prices for goods and services being bought or sold.
- Traps: Installing, altering, and bypassing security devices, as well as identifying various kinds of traps (gas, pit, wire-triggered, etc.).
- Artist: Making works of art, like paintings, music compositions, and dance choreographies.
- Bargain: Haggling over prices for goods and services being bought or sold, as well as bribery.
- Crafting: Creating, fixing, or modifying equipment, weapons, armor, and vehicles, as well as woodworking, metalworking, constructing buildings, and the like.
- Disguise: Altering features or clothing to be unrecognizable or to look like someone else. Also useful in acting performances.
- Gambling: Playing and cheating at games of strategy and luck.
- Hide: Concealing objects, both on oneself and using camouflage.
- Investigation: Gathering information, researching topics, analyzing data, and piecing together clues.
- Know-how: Figuring out how to perform an action in which the character does not have experience, as well as a catch-all skill encompassing areas not covered by other skills (such as utilitarian sewing or cooking).
- Search: Spotting hidden objects or people, reconnoitering, lipreading, or eavesdropping on or watching another person.
- Streetwise: Finding information, goods, and contacts in an urban environment, particularly through thieves’ guilds and similar criminal organizations, black markets, and other illicit operations. Also useful for determining possible motives and methods of criminals.
- Survival: Surviving in wilderness environments, including the ability to identify plants, animals, and their nutritional and medicinal uses.
- Tracking: Following the trail of another person, animal, or creature, or keeping after a moving target without being noticed.
- Animal Handling: Controlling animals and making them perform tricks and follow commands.
- Bluff: Lying, tricking, or deceiving others, as well as verbal evasion, misdirection, and blustering. Disguise can complement uses of this skill. Also useful in putting on acting performances.
- Charm: Using friendliness, flattery, or seduction to influence someone else. Also useful in sales and bartering transactions, putting on performances (such as singing, acting, or torytelling), and situations involving etiquette.
- Command: Effectively ordering and coordinating others in team situations.
- Intimidation: Using physical presence, verbal threats, taunts, torture, or fear to influence others or get information out of them.
- Mettle: Ability to withstand stress, temptation, other people’s interaction attempts, mental attacks, and pain. The gamemaster may allow a specialization in a specific faith tradition or belief system to enhance many, though not all, applications of mettle.
- Persuasion: Influencing others or getting information out of them through bribery, honest discussion, debate, diplomacy, or speeches. Also useful in negotiations, business transactions, storytelling, and oration.
- Willpower: Ability to withstand stress, temptation, other people’s interaction attempts, mental attacks, and pain. The gamemaster may allow a specialization in a specific faith tradition or belief system to enhance many, though not all, applications of willpower.
Magic is one possible Extranormal attribute. For specific information on Magic, see the sections dealing with Magic.
- Alteration: Casting spells involving change.
- Apportation: Casting spells involving movement.
- Divination: Casting spells involving knowledge.
- Conjuration: Casting spells involving creation.
Miracles is another possible Extranormal attribute. For specific information on Miracles, see the sections dealing with Miracles.
- Divination: Requesting divine aid to gain knowledge of the past, present, or future.
- Favor: Requesting divine aid to help, improve, heal, or benefit someone or something.
- Strife: Requesting divine aid to cause injury or destruction.
Untrained Skill Use
If a character doesn’t have dice in the skill required to attempt an action, she generally may use the die code of the attribute under which that skill falls. This is sometimes referred to as defaulting to the attribute or using the skill untrained or unskilled. The gamemaster may include an unskilled modifier to the difficulty. This modifier takes into account that people who aren’t trained or don’t have experience in certain tasks usually have a harder time doing them. Typically, this modifier is +5, but it could be as low as +1 for simple tasks or much higher for complex plans. The gamemaster may rule that some situations, such as building a spaceship or performing brain surgery, are impossible for anyone to attempt without the proper training and the correct skills.
When attributes are given in the text along with the skill, such as in spell descriptions, resisting Wounds, and so on, do not apply the untrained modifier. This also includes most uses of dodge and fighting in combat situations, attempts to find clues in a room with search, and resisting interaction attempts or mental attacks with mettle.
Example Skill Difficulties
Main article: Example Skill Difficulties