Fate of the Old Republic
Skills are the way your character interacts with and changes the game world. Any time there’s a question of whether or not your character can successfully do what you want her to, a skill roll is called for.
Your skills form a pyramid, with a single skill rated at Great (+ 4)—which we’ll usually refer to as the peak skill—and more skills at each lower rating on the ladder going down to Average (+ 1):
• One Great (+ 4) skill
• Two Good (+ 3) skills
• Three Fair (+ 2) skills
• Four Average (+ 1) skills
Mediocre (+ 0) is the default for any skill you do not take. Sometimes, a skill will state that it’s unavailable if a character didn’t take it; in those cases, it’s not even at Mediocre.
The list of skills below should cover any action you choose to undertake. Each skill describes the circumstances where you can use it. Skills can generally be used in several ways:
1 . Overcome (Obstacles)
2 . Assessment
3 . Declaration
4 . Place Maneuver
5 . Attack
6 . Defend
7 . Block
Not every skill can be used in all of these ways. Each skill description specifies how the skill can be used to achieve each of these goals. If one of these goals isn’t mentioned in a skill description, the skill can’t be used to achieve the goal.
Skills are tested when a character is presented with a problem or challenge and uses one of her skills to overcome it. This kind of challenge should be familiar to most players. If a character wants to use a grapple to swing across a deep chasm, she’ll use her Athletics skill.
If a character wishes to override an airlock’s security mechanism to open both doors at once, she’ll use her Burglary skill. If a character wishes to sweet-talk that good-looking docking bay administrator, she’ll use her Rapport skill. The skill description specifies what types of obstacles you can try to overcome with this skill.
Some skills allow a character to create or repair items, and these uses count as obstacles to overcome—the main description of the skill covers these situations.
Some skills let you assess a situation in advance of taking action, as part of putting together a plan or simply observing a target long enough to learn something that’ll give a critical advantage. This approach is usually used with skills that have an element of perception— including Investigation, Empathy, even Burglary.
With assessment, the skill isn’t used to place a temporary aspect so much as discover an existing one. You can tag this aspect once for free.
All assessment efforts require the use of a significant chunk of time, usually indicated in the skill description. This lets you use skills that normally aren’t particularly useful in more time pressured environments (like a fight), thanks to the time invested in advance.
Importantly, only one assessment can be made with a skill. A character can’t use Investigation to make assessment after assessment about a spacecraft, for example. Once one skill is used to make an assessment about a target, it can’t be reused. If you want to make a second assessment about the same target, you need to use a different skill.
Any aspects brought into play through assessment don’t have to go away after they’re used, if circumstances make it reasonable that they hang around or if the GM finds them useful or interesting.
Any subsequent uses of such aspects, however, will cost (or grant!) a fate point, as usual. This does mean that occasionally assessments will backfire, leading to a compel. Since aspects are involved, such things are easily double-edged!
Assessments only allow the discovery of what already exists. By contrast, some skills allow a declaration—in other words, using a skill successfully allows a player to introduce entirely new facts into play and then use those facts to his advantage. The new facts take the form of a temporary aspect.
For example, a xenoanthropologist with a solid Academics skill might use the declaration ability to state new truths about an alien culture your crew has just encountered—if successful, suddenly the scene or the culture has an aspect on it that reflects the fact the player just invented. As with assessment, this aspect can be tagged once for free.
Unlike assessment, declaration doesn’t take any actual in-game time at all— just the knowledge skill to make use of it. Like assessment, each skill may be used only once per scene to make a declaration.
A maneuver is similar to assessment and declaration, but it usually occurs during an extended conflict and the aspects created are often fragile or transitory. A maneuver is an attempt to change the situation in some way, affecting the environment or other people, but without damaging or forcing the target—if force is used or damage is dealt, it’s an attack and an attempt to cause stress.
Trying to climb to higher ground, blast a hole in a steam pipe, distract someone with a clever lie, or negotiate a resolution to a standoff could all be maneuvers.
When in conflict with another character, many skills can be used to attack an opponent and mark off boxes on the other character’s stress track. That attack may be physical, mental, emotional, or social in nature. When a skill can be used to attack an opponent, this is noted in its description.
When one character attempts to use a skill on another, there’s always a chance to defend. Certain skills are used to defend against specific attacks, and these uses are discussed in the skill description.
A character can use a skill to set up a blocking action. A block tries to prevent something from happening, rather than taking direct action to make something happen. Blocks can be declared against any sort of action or actions and may theoretically use any skill, although the GM may establish a difficulty based on the likelihood such a block would work.
Some skills have other special uses that fall outside the ordinary. These are usually just automatic advantages conferred by the skill and rarely require a roll. Any such special uses will be noted in the skill description.
Sleight of Hand (Physical)