Skills

Boating (Agility)

This skill covers pretty much all physical tasks with the operation of a silt skimmer, to include manning the rudder or wheel. Finding one's way on the trackless seas of sand, however, will require Knowledge (Navigation).

Driving (Agility)

Don't bother having anyone waste points on this. If they have reason to be able to manage a cart, wagon, or howdah, let it be a Common Knowledge or Riding default.

Gambling (Smarts)

This skill is used frequently in the gladiatorial arenas where bets are made on the games. This is generally a bet between two people, one of which is usually a bookee. Cheating is generally not possible as it would involve the throwing of a match and the pre-arranged death of a gladiator. Cheating may be possible if extremely large sums of money are involved, at the GM's discretion.

Guts (Spirit)

Fear is not a defining aspect of the setting, so the Guts skill is dropped and all uses are replaced with a Spirit roll.

Investigation (Smarts)

This skill requires a character to be literate and have access to libraries or large stores of information (which are secret, illegal, or owned by the sorcerer-kings).

Knowledge (Smarts)

The following are some Knowledge focuses that are of regular use on Athas.

  • Bureaucracy: A successful check shortens the time a character spends in a city dungeon awaiting judgement. It can also speed the process of gaining an audience with an important templar or other official. It helps a character understand political hierarchies and who to consult to get a job done. A successful check also allows the character to pay 10% less on a tax levied against him; a raise allows him to avoid the tax altogether. In addition to these example uses, the skill focus functions in countless other ways to let a character understand and use (or abuse) bureaucratic systems.
  • History: An incredibly useful skill that would effectively permit the player to recall just about anything on the Timeline (not covered by another Knowledge skill focus) when needed.
  • Legend Lore: A variant of Knowledge (History) that deals primarily with tales of heroic adventure, magic artifacts, and mysteries of the ancient world.
  • Navigation: The very specialized (and highly-prized) skill of navigating the silt seas and trackless desert wastes.
  • Path Lore: Path Lore is the accumulated knowledge concerning the Paths of wizardry. Defiler Lore tells the pertinent facts about defiling magic (how it works, some of the potential power to be had through its use, etc.), stories of a few famous defilers from the past, the role of obsidian and a little about dragons — especially lore about becoming a dragon. Preserver Lore tells just the opposite — information on preserving magic, great preservers of the past, the dream of restoring Athas, and some lore about avangions. In practical terms, this skill could allow the character to know a little about great figures from the past, possible hiding places of ancient preserver magical items, or perhaps a hint on how to defeat a dragon (whether accurate or not). Wizard characters may not start the game with this skill; they must find a teacher who is willing to teach them the lore. Learning defiler lore teaches the wizard nothing about preservers and vice versa. If a character wishes to learn both defiler and preserver lore, he must take this skill twice. Preservers who know defiler lore without being familiar with preserver lore seem very suspicious to members of the Veiled Alliance.
  • Planes Lore: This knowledge provides its user with information concerning other planes. The lore which is known concerns the Gray, the Black, the Hollow, and the four Elemental planes. With this skill, characters have a chance to know some germane fact about all these planes. If the character is intimately concerned with that plane (such as Necromancers with the Gray and the Black or clerics with their corresponding elemental plane), they get a +2 bonus to the roll. Until the character has actually interacted with the plane in some form, the chances to know information concerning them remain the same. Interaction raises the chance of specific knowledge about the plane with which the character interacted by +1. Necromancers and clerics capable of casting Seasoned level spells are considered to have interacted with the specific plane(s) from which they draw their spells. Without this skill, characters know nothing of these realms.
  • Planetology: The planetology skill focus gives the character knowledge of the relationship between living organisms and their environments on a planet-wide scale. Rather than focusing on small-scale interrelationships, such as how the soil type, amount of available moisture and pollination combine to produce a grove of trees or a field of grass, planetology studies how all things affect one another. Planetologists would study how the elements that produced the trees or grass also produced other plant life, what they all had in common, and how differences in any of the elements produced variants in the type of growth the land could support. Further, they would study what insects and animals were likely to live in any given terrain and how each part contributed to the continuing cycle of growth, death, decay and regrowth. Then they would consider the various problems faced by the ecosystem — the excessive heat, lack of moisture, and effects of defiling magic in determining how best to preserve the planet and keep it from further harm. The planetology skill focus grants a little bit of knowledge about a great number of things. In some cases, knowledge of the usual structure of land masses might give the character a clue as to which direction water might be found, while familiarity with various ecosystems might suggest what sort of predator could be encountered in various terrain types. In any situation involving knowledge that the skill might grant, the GM should roll a . On a roll of 1 on the Trait die, the character remembers some wildly inaccurate information (something that could cause a serious inconvenience if acted upon, but nothing truly deadly), on a 2-10, no knowledge is gained. On an success, some small bit of information is known or can be remembered, on a raise, the character remembers some very pertinent piece of information which may be quite helpful. The information to be gained is up to the GM.
  • Poisoncraft: This skill is used in the manufacture and application of poisons.

Lockpicking (Agility)

This skill covers not only picking locks and disarming traps, but also picking pockets (which is opposed by the target's Notice roll).

Persuasion (Spirit)

A character with the Persuasion skill can haggle over cash, service, and barter transactions to capture a better deal. In a cash transaction, a successful check allows the character to purchase an item for 10% less or sell one for 10% more than the going rate. In a simple barter transaction, a successful check improves the perceived value of the bargainer's goods by 10%. In protracted barter, a successful check allows the bargainer to roll 3d6 instead of 2d6 for that round of barter; a separate check initiates every round. (See Money and Equipment). In a service transaction, a successful check provides the bargainer 10% more than the going rate for his services. The GM should require players to roleplay the bargaining session to gain the benefits of this usage of the skill.

Piloting (Agility)

No character on Athas would have reason to have this skill, except for the wind-riding halflings of the Jagged Cliffs region.

Repair (Smarts)

This skill applies to almost every application of tools to a task. The lack of metal on Athas leaves armorers, blacksmiths, and weaponsmiths to concentrate on other materials, namely chitin, bone, and stiffened leathers. Metal armor is so rarely constructed that, when such a task is undertaken, it is usually done so by a team of armorers and blacksmiths.

Stealth (Agility)

Though spell casters can mumble verbal components and hide material components in their hands or robes, somatic components are harder to hide. The somatic component of any spell, magical or clerical, is apparent to any character watching the spell caster. On Athas, where spell casting is sometimes illegal, the ability to hide the necessary gestures becomes important. If movements can be concealed, a spell can be unleashed without calling attention to the caster. A character using Stealth must announce to the GM his intention to do so at the beginning of the round. Then, when the character casts his spell, he must make a Stealth roll in addition to his Arcane skill roll (suffering the -2 multi-action penalty as usual to both rolls). A successful check indicates that anyone who could normally view the wizard doesn't recognize his gestures as magical in nature. A failed check means that all who can view the casting wizard see his movements for what they really are.

Survival (Smarts)

Each die type of Survival that a character has lets him use the skill with a specific type of terrain. Athas contains sandy wastes, stony barrens, rocky badlands, salt flats, mountains, jungles, and steppes. Survival gives the character a chance to locate food and water in that particular terrain, but only in minuscule amounts. Characters may still attempt a Survival check in terrain types they are not familiar with, but this is treated as an Unskilled Attempt.

Survival also helps a character avoid poisons. A successful check informs the character whether a plant or animal is poisonous, provided the food source is native to the skill's terrain type.

Swimming (Agility)

This skill applies rarely; for example, in the decadent pools of nobles or small bodies of natural water in exotic locales.

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