Skills (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play

Skills in Action are used for almost all actions, including Stunts and combat rolls. The skills are wide and not very many, each encompassing a wide field of ability, with Schticks used as enablers to let you do more specialized things.

Besides covering wide fields, each skill also has multiple uses; in particular the Knowledge and Contacts elements of skills can do unexpected things.

Each skill has the following elements; a data block describing how the skill can be used.

Attribute

Each skill is linked to an Attribute. This does not affect the skill value in any way, but this is also the default Soak Attribute and the outcome needed for a setback on a stunt directed against the skill.

Use in Action

This is a general description of what the skill is good for and what you can do with it when you are trained. This is less specific than Stunts below and foes not contain specific rules as much as a general description to base new stunts off.

Knowledge

Basic Action

In Action each skill has a knowledge element; things you know because they are a part of the lore of the skill. Even without training in Know, a character will know a lot of things relating to his fields of experience; you don't go to a scholar to ask about gang colors if you have a street fighter on your team. Knowledge rolls are important because they give a character a background and makes them a part of the world. They should be heavily modified based on background, and the information gained should be colored to the source.

An olympic fencer making a Melee roll to gauge the fighting style of a street gang would be able to gauge their approximate skill and perhaps anticipate some tricks, while a street fighter making the same roll has a lower difficulty and might learn details about what gangs they belong to, who leads the gang, if they fight fair, and some hints on how to impress them.

By the same token, any Schticks that opens up new fields of experience in a skill also opens up the corresponding knowledge element.

You get only one chance per scene at recalling something with Knowledge; if you do not remember it at once, you will have to use Research or wait until later. This is similar to, and in addition to, any Lore rolls your skills may entitle you to do - you can do one Lore and one Knowledge Element check for each topic, but the difficulty might well be different depending on how scholarly the information is.

The difficulty of knowledge rolls can vary depending on the GMs whim and the needs of the story, but the following is a rough guideline.

Roll Knowledge
5 Common knowledge
10 General context and background
15 Detailed knowledge
20 Detailed context, background, and motivations

Contacts

Limit Break

No character is an island. Each of us has a background full of old friends, allies, mentors, and antagonists. In Action, this is represented trough the Contacts element of skills. This overlaps with the Gather Information stunt.

You hang out with the pros, do a few practice stunts to show of your skills, and get in on the local gossip. This gives you the inside information of your group, and possibly find some help as well. You can make a skill roll to find an ally, informant, or source of gear. The result of the roll indicates the quality of help you find; an exceptional roll has a larger impact on the plot than a mediocre one. Looking for contacts is usually done in a setting where your peers gather, but might work in unexpected places with an exceptional roll and then often leads to very unexpected results. Who expected the midwife bystander in the baby-kidnap scene to be a black-belt hobby karate master?

Low contacts rolls result in information; similar to what you get from a Knowledge element roll, but more specific to the locale and situation you are in. On a slightly better roll, you find allies willing to provide material help; lend you the tools of the trade, offer you a ride and a place to crash. Depending on your background and wealth, they may do so for free or demand money or favors for their trouble - which can be a great plot hook for a later time. A really good roll gets you direct help; characters willing to take on side tasks or in exceptional cases even help you take on the main enemy.

Any information gained this way is heavily colored by the viewpoint of your skill, and the more involved the situation is with the skill, the more information there is to get. If you use Know to ask about a local gang boss, all the info you can ever learn trough contacts might be that he's an uneducated bum.

Roll Allies
6 Rumors and general information
9 Detailed information, basic gear and assistance but not in the field
12 Inside information and exceptional equipment, minor favors, low-risk tasks such as Keeping Watch
15 Exotic gear, gear not strictly related to your skill, secret information, risky tasks such as providing a distraction or assisting in a getaway
18 Major favors, great risk

Assistance you get this way is generally Minion Extras with skill values around 12 but might be much more exceptional if it suits the plot.

When gathering information about a specific person or organization, make an opposed skill check (the mark's skill in your area determines how much respect he garners there) to learn their whereabouts and general information about them. On an Outcome matching the target's Mind you catch wind of some secret or unusual information. If the roll fails, you still learn general information, but not his current whereabouts, and friends of the mark may inform him of your nosing around. This information is very much colored by the skill you are using - using Shoot to dig up dirt on a corporate CEO will tell you if he is a good shot and how he treats his bodyguards, not about what kinds of deals he makes.

The contacts element of a skill also lets you talk the talk and walk the walk; it can be used as a social skill against your peers in the profession. Opposed skill rolls lets you impress others with your skill and professionalism. Again, this works best against someone skilled in and respectful of what you do; it is hard to impress a Judge with your mastery of the dirty tricks of street fighting.

Perception

Basic Action (Inherent)

Each skill has a perception element. This means that you are able to discern what you are familiar with. If you are an expert physician, you are sensitive to people's health. If you are a stealth specialist, you are good at spotting others' who are sneaking, and so on. This is mainly manifested as a difficulty of actions directed at different skills. The basic difficulty of staying out of sight of someone is that person's Recon skill because of the perception element of Recon. But you can spend a Basic Action to try to learn more about a situation at hand. This is similar to the Knowledge element above, but applies to the immediate situation at hand. The difficulty is generally that of the creature who's actions (or result of their actions) you are trying to understand.

Stunts

Stunts are specific examples of how to Use the skill in Action. Anyone with the skill can try these stunts. Each is described as if it was a Schtick and has detailed rules. These stunts are only examples of typical situations; it is always possible to invent more stunts.

Schticks

Each skill has a list of Schticks associated with it; tricks and signature moves you have to learn as well as fields of knowledge that can expand the scope of the skill. You must learn a Schtick before you can use it and you must be trained is a skill before you can learn Schticks based on it. If you lack a particular schtick when a good opportunity comes up, the GM will often let you improvise at a penalty or by spending a Fortune point or even spend saved experience points to pick it up during play.

Powers

Like Schticks, Powers must be learned before they can be used, and learning powers is more complex, requiring a Traditions and Forms to use.

Skill List

This is the skill list of Action. It is rather short and each skill is rather narrow, but various tricks can greatly expand what the various skills can do.

Charm

The ability to influence by wit, charm, and deceit.

Create

The ability to create, repair, and design objects.

Dodge

The ability to avoid attacks.

Impress

The ability to make an impression, scare, and awe others.

Know

All skills have knowledge elements; the Know skill signifies the deeper knowledge of human and social sciences.

Maneuver

The ability to do complex body maneuvers, climb, balance, sneak and so on.

Melee

The ability to fight effectively at close range.

Ride

The ability to ride vehicles and animals, to navigate, and to use movement powers.

Shoot

The ability to hit others at range.

Spot

Perceptiveness, intuition, and the ability to understand what you see.