Skills are the foundation of almost all dice rolls in Starguild. There are twenty four skills in all, arranged so that there are eight associated with each ability. Each skill covers a broad range of competency under a single heading.
When someone has been trained in a skill, either because of their background or an advancement, a check mark is placed by that skill on their character sheet. Training means that you apply a +5 bonus to any check that you make with that skill – whether you are using the skill as a whole or any of its specialties.
When someone receives a specialty in a skill, that is noted down next to that skill on their character sheet. Some skills provide specialties in modes of operation – so the pilot skill has specialties in pursuit, targeting, ECM, navigation and so on, while others provide specialties in certain equipment so driving has specialties for skimmers, watercraft, wheels, dirigibles and so forth.
It is perfectly possible to have a specialty in a skill you are not trained in. You might have a specialty in dirigibles but haven’t leaned the general principles of driving anything else. In this case you are as good with dirigibles (+5) as someone with general drive training. If you have both training and a specialty, then you are extremely good, gaining +5 from the training and +5 for the specialty for a total of +10.
The basic rule for using a skill is that you will have a target difficulty class (abbreviated to DC) and you want to equal or exceed that DC by rolling 1d20 +ability score, + level, +5 if trained, +5 if specialty can be used, + any benefit from assistance 1, inspiration 2 or conviction 3.
Standard difficulty levels are:
|10||Routine||something that an experienced, trained person should be able to accomplish with ease|
|20||Difficult||something that is going to be a challenge unless you are specialised|
|30||Exceptional||something that requires specialisation and experience to even attempt|
|40||Impossible||something which is virtually impossible (not actually impossible!). A really difficult accomplishment|
Describing the result
If you make the check, you have succeeded. If you fail the check, but fail it by less than ten, then the referee may offer the player the option of achieving success at a cost – perhaps some equipment is broken, they receive a mark on one of their damage tracks or something else. If they fail the check by more than ten there may be a disaster, especially if they are attempting something hazardous like disarming a bomb or climbing a cliff face.
If a player succeeds by ten or more, then this may be considered a master stroke or critical result, and they gain some additional benefit at the referees discretion. Perhaps they complete the check more quickly, or they achieve a better result than they hoped for.
Sometimes there are activities which it doesn’t make sense to treat as a single all or nothing check. For dramatic purposes it is advantageous to treat this as a skill task. What is the difference? Well, in order to complete a skill task, you need to accumulate four successes before you reach four failures. There is still a difficulty DC, and you gain a success for equalling or exceeding that DC. Furthermore, for every ten points over the DC you get an extra success. For example, if making a routine DC10 check and your skill check was 19, you would receive one success. If your skill check was 20 you would receive two successes. If your skill check was an 8, you would accumulate one failure. Every ten points under the DC is an extra failure too.
You do not add plus and minus values to one total, otherwise you might never end! Keep separate totals, and the first one you reach is the result.
Opposed skill tasks
Sometimes two or more people will be working against one another on a task. In this case the first one to gain four successes is the victor.
Degree of victory
When a task is completed, look at the difference between the success and failure totals, and use this to help describe the degree of triumph or failure. If there is only one point difference you just squeaked through. If there is a full four points difference then the result was comprehensive.
- Assistance can be offered by another person who is collaborating and using the same skill. The person giving assistance makes a skill check and divides the result by ten, rounding up. The resulting figure is provide as an assistance bonus. E.g. If the person assisting makes a skill check of 13, they would give a +2 bonus. If they made a 10 they would give a +1 bonus. ↩
- inspiration is a specialty of the Leadership skill, which allows a someone to assist others through canny leadership – whether it be inspirational speeches, barked commands or some other methodology. ↩
- Conviction will be covered in detail in another article. You can spend a point of conviction to add +1d6 to your skill check by pushing yourself that bit extra. ↩