Normal Abilities, Skills, and Specializations

There are six normal abilities that describe characters and most opponents: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Perception, Presence, and Wits. Each of these abilities has five untrained skills; each skill has three untrained specializations. Untrained skills and untrained specializations do not require ranks before they can be used.

Strength (normal ability)

Strength describes a character’s overall athleticism, the ability to exert physical force, and the ability resist damage or fatigue. This ability is used to calculate damage in unarmed combat, overcome obstacles that test endurance, and shift objects through applied leverage. The Strength ability, without any skill modifiers, is used to resist damage and to inflict unarmed damage.

strikemartial weaponsclimbingshiftrecover
blocklong weaponsjumpingcarryendure
Normal Strength Skills and Specializations

Brawling (Strength skill)

Brawling is the untrained skill of unarmed close combat. Unlike formal martial arts, brawling lacks structured training and discipline, relying more on instinct, brute strength, and adaptability. Brawling is used for attack and defense in unarmed close combat.

Strike (brawling specialization)

Striking in the context of brawling involves delivering powerful and effective hits meant to incapacitate an opponent and take them out of action. A strike includes attacks such as punches, kicks, elbows, knees, and even headbutts. This skill also includes attacks with improvised weapons such as broken bottles or steel chairs. Strike is used primarily to make an attack roll in close or melee combat when unarmed or considered unarmed.

Block (brawling specialization)

Blocking is the defensive counterpart to striking; it protects against unarmed and close weapon attacks. Blocking maneuvers involve ducking, weaving, side-stepping, and controlling where a blow strikes to protect vulnerable areas. Block is used primarily to provide a fixed or full-action defensive value in close or melee combat.

Grapple (brawling specialization)

Grappling involves close-quarters combat techniques focused on gaining control over an opponent, restraining them, or forcing them to move. Grappling includes arm or leg locks, shoves, throws, and takedowns. Grapple is used primarily to force an opponent to move, prevent them from moving, and to defend against grapple attempts.

Melee (Strength skill)

Melee is the untrained skill of using weapons for attack and defense in melee combat where fighting tends to involve multiple nearby combatants with a limited ability to move around. Weapons used in melee combat take advantage of weight, leverage, or a cutting edge to act as a force multiplier. A melee weapon may be considered martial, long, or both. Melee is used for attack and defense in melee combat when armed with martial weapons or long weapons.

Martial weapons (melee weapons specialization)

Martial weapons are designed for combat and personal defense. They have an effective reach between 5 feet and 10 feet, and they require 5 feet of clearance in order to be used effectively. Martial weapons include most swords, axes, and clubs. Martial weapons is used primarily to make an attack roll when armed with a martial weapon.

Long weapons (melee weapons specialization)

Long weapons emphasize reach and leverage to provide a combat advantage. They have an effective reach between 10 and 15 feet, and they require 10 feet of clearance in order to be used effectively. Long weapons include most spears, polearms, and staffs. Long weapons is used primarily to make an attack roll when armed with a long weapon.

Deflect (melee weapons specialization)

Deflecting attacks involves using weapons to block or redirect an opponent’s strikes, minimizing damage and creating openings for counterattacks. Both martial weapons and long weapons may be used to deflect attacks; deflect may only be used against martial, long, or light weapons. Deflecting requires a minimum distance of 5 feet from the attacker and requires 5 feet of clearance to be used effectively. Deflect is used primarily to provide a fixed or full-action defensive value in melee combat.

Athletics (Strength skill)

Athletics is the untrained skill of navigating a location using strength and endurance. It is used during exploration to overcome obstacle, move around terrain, and perform athletic feats. It can be used to throw objects accurately and with force, including weapons. Athletics is used to move during exploration and combat.

Climbing (athletics specialization)

Climbing involves rapidly and safely ascending vertical or near-vertical surfaces, such as rock faces, walls, or trees. It involves grip strength, footwork, and body positioning. Climbing is used primarily to overcome vertical obstacles during exploration or for positioning during melee combat or pursuit.

Sprint (athletics specialization)

Sprinting involves covering open terrain, with the ability to start quickly, stop rapidly, and change direction fluidly. It involves controlled breathing, stride, and balance. Sprint is used primarily to cover short distances quickly during exploration or for positioning during melee combat or pursuit.

Jumping (athletics specialization)

Jumping involves powerful leaps and precise landings, which can be used both to overcome physical obstacles and to gain strategic advantages in combat. It is used to reach high places, to clear horizontal gaps, to cross obstructed terrain, and to land safely. Jumping is used to overcome obstacles in exploration, and for positioning during melee combat or pursuit.

Lifting (Strength skill)

Lifting is a foundational skill in strength training and physical conditioning, involving the ability to move, carry, and manipulate heavy objects. Lifting is used during exploration to move objects or to alter the terrain during melee combat.

Shift (lifting specialization)

Shift involves moving or adjusting the position of heavy objects without necessarily lifting them entirely off the ground. It focuses on leverage and positioning to alter an object’s balance or location. Shift is used to change aspects of the terrain or to use objects that are part of the terrain to make an attack during melee combat.

Carry (lifting specialization)

Carry allows a character to maintain control and stability of an object while relocating it and lifting it completely off the ground. It relies on proper distribution of weight and balance. Carry is used to relocate obstacles during exploration, placing them quickly and securely in new locations.

Crush (lifting specialization)

Crushing includes any form of object manipulation that forcibly changes the shape or function of an item. It emphasizes leverage and pressure to maximize the force that may be brought to bear on an object. Crush is used to overcome obstacles during exploration by changing them, or to enhance social interaction through feats of strength.

Stamina (Strength skill)

Stamina is the skill of overcoming physical limits; it is essential for maintaining physical and mental resilience during combat and exploration. It involves the capacity to resist fatigue, toxins, and stress, recover from physical and mental damage, and endure challenging conditions. Stamina is used during exploration and combat to resist damaging effects and to recover from damage.

Recover (stamina specialization)

Recover focuses on the ability to heal and regain strength after physical or mental exertion or damage. It is crucial for bouncing back quickly from injuries, stress, and fatigue. Recover is used during combat to remove damage and fatigue conditions.

Endure (stamina specialization)

Endure focuses on sustaining performance under prolonged hardship or challenging conditions. It emphasizes pain tolerance, training for physical improvement, and cultivating the ability to adapt to adverse conditions without breaking down. Endure is used during combat and exploration to resist fatigue.

Resilience (stamina specialization)

Resilience involves building resistance against toxins, pain, and other harmful influences, including extranormal effects. Resistance training helps the body and mind withstand environmental effects with the potential to cause immediate or long-term harm. Resilience is used during exploration to overcome environmental effects and to resist non-damaging area effects during exploration and in combat.

Dexterity (normal ability)

Dexterity describes a character’s agility, reflexes, coordination, balance, and the ability to act with precision. This ability is used to dodge ranged attacks, use light weapons, pilot vehicles, and to navigate obstacles that require precise body control.

light weaponshandgunstumblehidechase
close weaponsriflesbalancecoveraccelerate
parryheavy weaponsthrowingfollowmaneuver
Normal Dexterity Skills and Specializations

Skirmish (Dexterity skill)

Skirmish combat involves close-quarters fighting that relies on speed, agility, and precision rather than brute strength. Characters proficient in skirmish combat excel in dodging, quick strikes, and using lighter melee weapons. Skirmish combat involves multiple opponents spread out over the battlefield and with the ability to move around relatively freely. Skirmish is used for attack and defense in melee combat when armed with light or close weapons.

Light weapons (skirmish specialization)

Light weapons focuses on the use of small, agile weapons that allow for quick strikes and fast maneuvers. These weapons are typically easy to wield and allow the user to attack rapidly and move swiftly. This skill can be used with any balanced weapon up to 24 inches. Light weapons is used primarily to make an attack roll when armed with a light weapon.

Close weapons (skirmish specialization)

Close weapons involves the use of weapons designed for extremely close-quarters combat. This includes weapons that are effective in confined spaces, where range and reach are limited. Close weapons occupy a hand, and the user counts as armed. Close weapons is used primarily to make an attack roll when armed with a close weapon.

Parry (skirmish specialization)

A parry is a defensive technique that uses a weapon to deflect or block incoming attacks by redirecting but not interrupting the attack. This allows the skirmisher to protect themselves while setting up counterattacks. Both martial and light weapons may be used to parry; a parry may only defend against attacks by martial or light weapons. Parrying requires a minimum distance of 5 feet from the attacker but requires no minimum clearance to be used effectively. Parry is used primarily to provide a fixed or full-action defensive value in melee combat.

Acrobatics (Dexterity skill)

Acrobatics is the skill of moving over, around, or through obstacles in a location. Tumbling techniques dodge attacks and move unpredictably, making it harder for opponents to land hits. Acrobatic skills allow a character to escape from dangerous situations or to navigate through difficult terrain. Throwing techniques use the whole body to place objects with accuracy and force at a distance. Acrobatics is used to move during exploration and combat, and to attack with thrown weapons.

Tumble (acrobatics specialization)

Tumble focuses on the ability to roll, flip, and maneuver quickly to avoid attacks and navigate obstacles. It allows a character to evade ranged attacks and rapidly change position. Tumble is used to overcome obstacles in exploration, resist damage from falling, and for positioning in melee combat.

Balance (acrobatics specialization)

Balance focuses on maintaining stability and control on precarious surfaces and during complex maneuvers. It allows a character to navigate narrow or unstable terrain such as slippery, uneven, or shifting surfaces. Balance is used to overcome obstacles during exploration or during movement in melee combat.

Throwing (acrobatics specialization)

Throwing involves placing objects at a distance with force and accuracy. The whole body is used to generate power, with emphasis placed on grip, stance, and follow-through. Throwing is used primarily to overcome distant obstacles during exploration or for short ranged attacks.

  • Shooting is the skill of fighting in ranged combat. It is used for attacking in ranged combat.
    Specialties: handguns, rifles, heavy weapons.
  • Stealth is the skill of remaining unseen and avoiding attention. It is used for defense in ranged combat and to aid infiltration.
    Specialties: hide, cover, follow.
  • Pilot is the skill of guiding vehicles or mounts. It describes horsemanship, driving, flying, and boating. It is used to maneuver a vehicle during a dogfight and to overcome obstacles during movement.
    Specialties: chase, accelerate, maneuver.

Intelligence describes the breadth of a character’s knowledge and their ability to apply that knowledge to problem solving and procedural navigation. This ability is used repair and manipulate devices, integrate with social customs, research subjects, and treat injuries.

The normal skills associated with Intelligence are: communications, technical, research, repair, and contacts.

  • Communications is the skill of understanding and manipulating information systems. It is used to obtain or defend against sensor sweeps or target locks, defeat security systems, and manipulate information banks.
    Specialties: computer hacking, security systems, sensors.
  • Technical is the skill of evaluating and applying information to solve problems. It is used to evaluate locations, examine items or information, and apply knowledge in practical ways.
    Specialties: medicine, forensics, construction.
  • Research is the skill of discovering information and sifting through logical constructions. It is used discern weakness, establish patterns and reveal information.
    Specialties: mysteries, memory, puzzles.
  • Repair is the skill of building, rebuilding, and changing equipment. It is used to construct gear, repair vehicle damage, and disable traps.
    Specialties: traps, gear, vehicles.
  • Contacts is the skill of using and navigating social networks. It is used to gather allies, collect information from people, and learn about behavior.
    Specialties: streetwise, allies, resources.

Perception describes a character’s ability to anticipate actions, gather information from their surroundings, focus the mind, and influence the perceptions of others. This ability is used for sleight of hand, recovering willpower, searching, and resisting sensory manipulation.

The normal skills associated with Perceptions are: tradecraft, operations, surveillance, tactics, and survival.

  • Tradecraft is the skill of physical deception and misdirection. It is used to perform sleight of hand, construct a disguise, and forge documents.
    Specialties: sleight of hand, disguise, forgery.
  • Operations is the skill of using heavy machinery and following system processes. It is used to fire ship weapons, operate ship defenses, and set up all kinds of complex systems.
    Specialties: gunnery, shields, systems.
  • Surveillance is the skill of gathering information through observation. It is used to trail a suspect, examine a location for dangers or traps, and spot hidden people or objects.
    Specialties: trail, search, camouflage.
  • Tactics is the skill of anticipating and controlling the choices available in a situation. It is used to provoke actions or remove options in a conflict.
    Specialties: fire team, cavalry, arena.
  • Survival is the skill of situational awareness and knowledge of the wilderness. It is used to determine initiative in close or ranged combat, to track a target through a location, and to interact with the environment.
    Specialties: awareness, tracking, wilderness.

Presence describes the force of a character’s personality, their determination, their ability to influence others, and their ability to resist influence. This ability is used to endure hardship, inspire others, ingratiate oneself with them, and to overawe them.

The normal skills associated with Presence are: discipline, command, charm, intimidate, and pressure.

  • Discipline is the skill of self-control. It is used to resist coercion and mental effects.
    Specialties: callousness, resolve, conviction.
  • Command is the skill of leadership through force of personality. It is used to create conditions that inspire and embolden allies or to impress and demoralize opponents.
  • Charm is the skill of creating admiration through one’s behavior. It is used to create conditions that evoke empathy and sympathy.
  • Intimidate is the skill of provoking reactions as a result of fear or surprise. It is used startle opponents with sudden movements, demoralize them with physical force, or threaten them with potential actions.
  • Pressure is the skill of coercing behavior through continual requests and judiciously applied reasoning. It is used to compel behavior by wearing down resistance and discouraging argument.

Wits describes a character’s ability to adapt and react to their environment and to the influence of others. This ability is used to deceive others, perceive their deceptions, provoke a reaction, and to lay out a convincing argument.

The normal skills associated with Wits are: insight, rapport, bluff, fast-talk, and taunt.

  • Insight is the skill of discerning motivations and methodology. It is used to resist persuasion and deception attempts.
    Specialties: cues, logic, ego.
  • Rapport is the skill of connecting with people and finding common interests. It is used to calm and reassure allies or to make opponents more susceptible to deception.
  • Bluff is the skill of deceiving people by showing them what they expect and allaying suspicions. It is used to prey upon people’s willingness to believe and to aid in infiltration.
  • Fast-Talk is the skill of laying out an argument or course of reasoning that sounds believable. It is used to gain cooperation through agreement or persuasion.
  • Taunt is the skill of provoking a reaction by appealing to pride or greed. It is used to cause an opponent to act in a way or at a time that does not benefit them.

FreeD6 Articles

© February 13, 2024 Winston

This game build for the OpenD6 Project is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International