The following Skills are not used in Savage Battlestar Galactica: Any arcane skill.
Skills in Battlestar Galactica have a maximum die type limited by their rank.
|Rank||Max Die Type|
Skills are very broad for ease of play, but sometimes it’s dramatically appropriate to emphasize when a character is out of his element.
When a hero finds himself using a skill in a dramatically different way than he’s used to, he suffers a –2 penalty to his rolls. How long this lasts depends on the skill, but should typically be at least a few days of casual use, or a few hours of more intensive use.
What a character is familiar with should be based on his background and any character history the player has written up, with the Game Master having the final say. If you want more in-depth rules, see the Skill Specialization Setting Rules on page 95.
Instead of asking characters to have dozens of background skills they rarely need in actual play, we use the concept of “Common Knowledge.”
Your hero knows the basic history of his land, common etiquette, how to get around geographically, how to operate common machinery or equipment native to his time period and location, and who the major players in his locality are. A Common Knowledge roll is made by rolling the adventurer’s Smarts attribute.
If a character’s background suggests he should know something about a subject and he must make a roll, add +2 if most in his area or profession would know the answer. If the subject is foreign to a character, subtract 2 or more from the roll. Everyone else breaks even and gets no modifier.
If it becomes important to know how well a character performs a common task, the GM can ask for whatever roll is appropriate. Knowing how to do a dance, for example, is a Common Knowledge roll. If it becomes important to see how well a character performs the dance, the GM might ask for an Agility roll (with no bonuses or penalties).
For example, an adventure might read: “Anyone who makes a Common Knowledge roll detects that this cavern was carved by civilized hands, not formed naturally.” A dwarf knows more about stonework than an elf, so give the dwarf a +2 on the roll. A human has about average knowledge, so no bonus is granted. An elf who has spent most of his life in a forest won’t know much about stonework, so the roll is at a –2 penalty.
The Knowledge skill represents deeper specialization in a chosen subject. A dwarf with Knowledge (Stonework), for example, not only knows the dungeon was carved, but might just know what race did it and the era in which it was first excavated. He might also be able to locate stress points that can cause a cave-in! Knowledge of a particular region is also handy. In a fantasy campaign, for example, locals might know the Dread Mountains are home to vicious harpies. A hero with Knowledge (Dread Mountains) might know a safe route or the specific peak the creatures’ aerie is in. Knowledge skills should be used for subjects that have a significant impact during the game. If the subject comes up very rarely, use Common Knowledge instead.
Characters with this skill can handle most any boat or ship common to their setting and character background. They generally know how to handle common tasks associated with their vessels as well (tying knots, rigging sails, etc.).
Characters may sometimes have to climb tall objects under duress, perhaps to scale a cliff to attack archers stationed above, or to evade a terrifying creature on the ground below! No roll is usually needed to ascend ladders, ropes, or trees with lots of limbs unless the GM feels there’s a good reason (being chased, wounded, etc.). In more stressful situations, a character makes a Climbing roll and checks the results below.
Remember that these measurements are listed in table-top inches, with each inch representing two yards in the real world.
• Fail: The character makes no progress. If the Climbing roll is a total of 1 or less, he falls to the next level below—whatever that may be. See Falling damage on page 88. If the hero was secured by a rope or other restraint, he falls half the length of the restraint and suffers a Fatigue level instead.
• Success: The hero ascends a number of vertical inches on the table-top equal to half his Strength. A hero with a d6 Strength, for example, can climb 3” in a round if he makes his Climbing roll.
• Raise: As Success, above, but the character moves an additional 2”.
+2 Antique or medieval climbing equipment
+4 Modern climbing equipment
–2 Scarce or thin handholds
–2 Wet or slippery surface
►Falling Damage: See page 88.
►Prepared Climbs: Break lengthy ascents into three roughly even sections. Failing a Climbing roll after a break point typically means the hero falls that distance if free climbing.
►Ropes: Those secured with a rope typically only suffer a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises (see page 86). Of course the Game Master might decide the rope has a chance of breaking under a sudden strain. This is rare in reality, but for dramatic effect, roll a d6. On a 1, the rope breaks and the character falls the entire length of the last section climbed.
Driving allows your hero to control ground and hover vehicles common to his setting. Rules for handling vehicles on the table-top can be found on page 98. Driving is also frequently used with the Chase rules, described on page 82.
Fighting covers all hand-to-hand (melee) attacks, whether it’s with fists, axes, laser swords, or martial arts. The TN to hit an opponent is his Parry (2 plus half his Fighting). See Chapter Three for the combat rules and numerous maneuvers your warrior might attempt.
Gambling is useful from the saloons of the Old West to the barracks of most armies. Here’s a quick way to simulate about a half-hour of gambling without having to roll for every single toss of the dice or hand of cards.
First have everyone agree on the stakes, such as $10, 10 gold coins, etc. Now have everyone in the game make a Gambling roll. The lowest total pays the highest total the difference times the stake. The next lowest pays the second highest the difference times the stake, and so on. If there’s an odd man left in the middle, he breaks even. Example: Kali rolls highest with a 10 and Yuri rolls lowest with a 4. The difference is 6, so Yuri pays Kali 6 x the stake of $10, or $60.
►Cheating: A character who cheats adds +2 to his roll. The GM may raise or lower this modifier depending on the particulars of the game or the method of cheating. If the player
ever rolls a 1 on his skill die (regardless of his Wild Die), he’s caught. The consequences of this depend on the setting, but are usually quite harsh.
Gives the ability to use and operate the various systems onboard a starship e.g. engines, generators, life support etc. Also allows minor repairs and is used instead of Boating for firefighting and damage control.
Healing is the art of stopping wounds and treating existing injuries. In general, every success and raise on a Healing roll eliminates a wound. The healer must subtract not only his own
wounds from the roll as usual, but those of his patient as well. See the Healing rules on page 78 for specific information.
Intimidation is the art of frightening an opponent with sheer force of will, veiled or overt threats, or sometimes just really big guns. This is an opposed roll between the hero’s Intimidation and his opponent’s Spirit. See Tests of Will on page 75 for game effects.
A character skilled in Investigation knows how to make good use of libraries, newspaper morgues, the internet, or other written sources of information. To get information from people rather than books and computers, use the Streetwise skill.
Knowledge is a catch-all skill that must have a focus of some sort, such as Knowledge (Occult) or Knowledge (Science). The player can choose the focus of his character’s knowledge, which might reflect his background and education.
The skill can be taken multiple times with different focuses to reflect different areas of expertise. An archaeologist, for example, should have knowledge (History) and Knowledge (Archaeology).
General focuses such as Knowledge (Science) are acceptable, but the GM should give a bonus to a character who has a focus more relevant to a particular task, such as using Knowledge (Biology) to identify a plant or animal.
Some Common Knowledge focuses are: Area Knowledge, Battle (used in Mass Battles, see page 92), Computers, Electronics, History, Journalism, various languages, Law, Medicine (though actually caring for someone is the Healing skill), or Science.
►Common Knowledge: Characters don’t need a Knowledge skill to know something about a particular field. Basic information should be covered by Common Knowledge (see page 23) assuming it makes sense within a character’s background. A mercenary with a penchant for reading or a young history student, for example, doesn’t necessarily need Knowledge (History). If tasked with a historical question, however, the two might roll normally while those without such a background roll at a penalty.
Lockpicking is the ability to bypass mechanical and electronic locks. Lockpicking is also used to disarm the catches and triggers on traps, unless a more relevant skill seems appropriate for a particular trap.
Notice is a hero’s general alertness and ability to search for items or clues. This covers hearing rolls, detecting ambushes, spotting hidden weapons and even scrutinizing other characters to see if they’re lying, frightened, and so on.
The more raises a character gets on a Notice roll, the more information the Game Master should reveal.
Persuasion is the ability to convince others to do what you want them to do. Nonplayer characters start at one of five different attitudes: Hostile, Uncooperative, Neutral, Friendly, or Helpful. A successful Persuasion roll improves the Extra’s attitude one step, or two with a raise. Failure, on the other hand, decreases the character’s attitude by a step, or two if a 1 is rolled on the Persuasion die (regardless of the Wild Die). Most Extras won’t change their reaction more than one or two levels during a single exchange, but that’s entirely up to the Game Master
and the situation.
►Charisma: Persuasion is always modified by a character’s Charisma.
►Player Characters: Persuasion should never be used on other player characters. Their attitudes should be decided entirely by their players.
►Reaction Table: If the Game Master doesn’t already have an initial attitude in mind for the Extra, he can roll on the chart below.
2d6 Initial Reaction
2 Hostile: The target is openly hostile and does his best to stand in the hero’s way. He won’t help without an overwhelming reward or payment of some kind.
3-4 Uncooperative: The target isn’t willing to help unless there’s a significant advantage to himself.
5-9 Neutral: The target has no particular attitude and will help for little reward if the task at hand is very easy. If the task is difficult, he’ll require substantial payment of some kind.
10-11 Friendly: The target will go out of his way for the hero. He’ll likely do easy tasks for free (or very little), and is willing to do more dangerous tasks for fair pay or other favors.
12 Helpful: The target is anxious to help the hero, and will probably do so for little or no pay depending on the nature of the task.
Piloting allows a character to fly airplanes, helicopters, jet packs, and any other flying devices common to his setting and background.
Repair is the ability to fix gadgets, vehicles, weapons, and other machines. Characters suffer a –2 penalty to their rolls if they don’t have access to basic tools. A raise on a Repair roll halves the time required by the specific task.
Riding allows a hero to mount, control, and ride any beast common to his setting. Players should note that mounted characters use the lowest of their Fighting or Riding skills when fighting from horseback. Additional rules for fighting while mounted can be found on page 73.
Shooting covers all attempts to hit a target with a ranged weapon such as a bow, pistol, or rocket launcher. The basic Target Number to hit is 4 as usual, though there are a number
of important modifiers such as range that frequently come into play. See Chapter Three for more details.
Starship Gunnery (Agility)
Starship gunnery allows you to fire the various weapons on a fighter or Guns on a ship. The basic target number is 4 before modifiers.
Stealth is the ability to both hide and move quietly, as well as palm objects and pick pockets. In many Savage Worlds games, knowing exactly when your hero has been spotted and when he hasn’t can be critical. For a character to sneak up on foes and infiltrate enemy lines, start by figuring out if the “guards” the heroes are sneaking up on are “active” or “inactive.” Inactive guards aren’t paying particularly close attention to their surroundings. The group need only score a standard success on their individual Stealth rolls to avoid being seen. Failing a Stealth roll in the presence of inactive guards makes them active.
Active guards make opposed Notice rolls against the sneaking characters’ Stealth skills. Failing a roll against active guards means the character is spotted.
Apply the following modifiers to all Stealth rolls:
Dim light +1
Pitch darkness +4
Light cover +1
Medium cover +2
Heavy cover +4
►The Last Step: Sneaking to within 6” of a foe (usually to get close enough for a melee attack) requires an opposed Stealth roll versus the target’s Notice, whether the guard is
active or inactive.
►Movement Rate: Out of combat, each Stealth roll covers moving up to five times the character’s Pace. In combat, the Stealth roll covers only a single round of movement.
►Stealth for Groups: Out of combat, make only one Stealth roll for each like group of characters (see Group Rolls on page 63). Use the lowest movement rate to determine how much ground is covered. The observers also make a group roll to Notice their foes. Once a combat breaks down into rounds, Stealth and Notice rolls are made on an individual basis.
Streetwise characters are able to gather information from the street, saloons, or other contacts through bribes, threats, or carousing. Finding written information in libraries and the like is covered by the Investigation skill. Streetwise is always modified by a character’s Charisma modifier.
Survival allows a character to find food, water, or shelter in hostile environments. A character may only make one roll per day. A successful roll finds sustenance for one person, a raise on the roll finds food and water for five adults. Horses and other large beasts count as two adults. Children, camels or others with small appetites count as half. Those who benefit from the roll do not have to make Fatigue rolls for the day for food, water, or shelter.
Swimming determines if a character floats or sinks in water, as well as how fast he can move within it. A character’s Pace is half his Swimming skill in inches per turn in normal water (round
up). Choppy water counts as rough terrain and halves this rate. Characters may not “run” while swimming for extra movement.
►Holding Your Breath: Characters can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to 2 plus their Vigor die, or half that if they weren’t prepared for being submerged and didn’t have time to get a good breath.
►Drowning: The rules for drowning are found on page 87.
Taunt is a Test of Wills attack against a person’s pride through ridicule, cruel jokes, or one-upmanship. This is an opposed roll against the target’s Smarts. See Tests of Will on page 75 for the effects of a successful Taunt.
Throwing governs all sorts of thrown weapons, from hand grenades to knives, axes, and spears. Throwing works just like the Shooting skill, and uses all the same modifiers, including those for Range. The Rate of Fire of a thrown attack is 1 per hand, so a human character could throw two items at once (one with each hand), suffering the usual multi-action and off-hand penalties (see page 75).
Tracking allows a character to follow the tracks of one or more individuals in any type of terrain. Each roll generally covers following the tracks for one mile, but the GM may adjust this dramatically for more specific or small scale searches.
+2 Tracking more than 5 individuals
+4 Recent snow
+1 Dusty area
–2 Tracking in poor light
–2 Tracks are more than one-day old
–2 Target attempted to hide tracks