It is better to master a small skill, than to attempt to build a large fortune with nothing.
- Kong Tzu (Confucius)
One major difference between the computer Fallout games and the SPECIAL system introduced here is the inclusion of skill families and slightly different skills. Weapons especially are now organized differently, to reflect a more realistic approach to weapons knowledge – if you are good with a regular pistol, you are equally as good with an Energy pistol, for example. Also, the formulas for determining initial skill levels have been changed to reflect the latest SPECIAL changes. Everything else remains basically the same, with the exception of skills added for a more complete role-playing experience, such as Climbing and Swimming.
Every character gets three tag skills to start out with. These skills could best be described as the character's "gifted" areas, or areas of study in youth. Every character must take three tag skills, and only three, no more, no less (unless the character gets an extra tag skill because of a trait). Each tagged skill gains an increase to its base value by 15 points.
This is a complete description of skills, and how one finds the base skill percentage. Base percentage is figured before ANY other skill adjustments are made - from tag skill adjustments, to traits, to addition of skill points. Skill points are added only after a character goes up a level (see Advancement: Experience in Chapter V: Advancement). Skills are based entirely upon one base stat
– and have starting values ranging from 11 to 45.
Simple Weapons skills cover the most basic of attack tools – bare fists, claws, teeth, rocks, sticks, and clubs. It also covers more advanced versions of simple weapons, and the ability to throw weapons and other objects accurately. Factors such as strength levels and the ability to quickly land blows affect Simple Weapons skills.
This is the skill of beating people up with your fists and feet, from boxing to brawling to the martial arts. The better you are at this skill, the more likely you are going to hit them in combat. This skill also covers the use of weapons that enhance unarmed combat such as brass knuckles, spiked knuckles, and the legendary Power Fist. At higher skill levels, you will learn new techniques of fighting. See the Special Unarmed Attacks section directly below for a guide to the advanced martial arts techniques skilled users can learn. Initial level: Starting Unarmed skill is equal to 10 + (2 x AG+STR).
Special Unarmed Attacks Edit
These attacks only become available to the true student of the unarmed arts. The requirement for each attack is listed, along with a description of the attack and the damage incurred.
Primary Punch Attacks:
- Effects: +3 damage
- AP Cost: 3
- Requires: Unarmed 55%, Agility 6
- Effects: +5 damage, +5% critical chance
- AP Cost: 3
- Requires: Unarmed 75%, Agility 6, Strength 5, Level 6
- Effects: +7 Damage, +15% critical chance
- AP Cost: 3
- Requires: Unarmed 100%, Agility 7, Strength 5, Level 9
Secondary Punch Attacks:
- Effects: +3 damage, +10% critical chance
- AP Cost: 3
- Requires: Unarmed 75%, Agility 7, Strength 5, Level 5
- Effects: +7 Damage, +20% critical chance, armor piercing (ignores armor class when dealing damage)
- AP Cost: 6
- Requires: Unarmed 115%, Agility 7, Strength 5, Level 12
- Effects: +10 damage, +40% Critical chance, armor piercing
- AP Cost: 8
- Requires: Unarmed 130%, Agility 7, Strength 5, Level 16
Primary Kick Attacks:
- Effects: +5 damage
- AP Cost: 4
- Requires: Unarmed 40%, Agility 6
- Effects: +7 Damage
- AP Cost: 4
- Requires: Unarmed 60%, Agility 6, Strength 6, Level 6
- Effects: +9 Damage, +5% Critical chance
- AP Cost: 4
- Requires: Unarmed 80%, Agility 6, Strength 6, Level 9
Secondary Kick Attacks:
- Effects: +7 Damage
- AP Cost: 7
- Requires: Unarmed 60%, Agility 7, Strength 6, Level 6
- Effects: +9 Damage, +10% critical chance, armor piercing
- AP Cost: 7
- Requires: Unarmed 100%, Agility 7, Strength 6, Level 12
- Effects: +12 Damage, +50% Critical chance, armor piercing
- AP Cost: 9
- Requires: Unarmed 125%, Agility 8, Strength 6, Level 15
This covers the use of melee weapons – basically, any weapon used in close combat to bludgeon, stab, slash, or wallop a target. Knives, spears, hammers, and crowbars are all melee weapons. Initial Melee Weapons skill is 10 + (2 x STR).
Quite simply, this covers your ability to throw things. It is a measure of your accuracy while chucking things at people. Initial Throwing skill is 0 + (4 x AG)
When facing an opponent with a gigantic curved knife, it’s usually better to shoot them from afar rather than run up and see how close you can get. Ranged Weapons cover the art of plinking a target from a distance, whether the method of missile delivery be a hunting bow or a personal grenade launcher. Factors such as speed in combat, eyesight and targeting, understanding complex parts, and dealing with recoil all affect Ranged Weapons skills.
This skill covers not only arming or disarming explosive weapons such as mines; C4-explosives; dynamite; IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device), but also the use of explosives weapons from grenades, to grenade rifles, and even the Fatman mini nuke launcher. Initial level: Starting Explosives skill is equal to 10 + (2 x PER).
This skill covers the use of any weapon that uses conventional ammo...such as .45, .308, 9mm, 50 cal, etc. higher your Guns skill, the easier it will be for you to hit your target, and the longer the effective range you will have in combat. Initial level: Starting Small Guns skill is equal to 10 + (PER + AGL). Big Guns skill is equal to (STR) +(ENx2) + (PE)
Energy Weapons Edit
The use of energy weapons is not a very common skill in the post-nuclear world. Energy weapons were just coming into actual warfare when the world blew up. Lasers and plasma weapons are covered by the Energy Weapons skill. Basically, if it uses an energy cell or power pack, and not cartridge ammunition, it falls under this skill. Initial level: Starting Energy Weapons skill is equal to 10 + (2 x PER).
The ability to protect life can be just as important in Fallout as the ability to take life. These skills represent a character’s medical training as well as basic biological intuition and the ability to properly diagnose causes of illness and wounds that are not immediately apparent.
First Aid Edit
The skill of minor healing. You will be able to heal minor wounds, cuts, and bruises with this skill. You can only use it three times a day, and it takes a little while to work. You can use it on yourself, or anyone you are feeling particularly nice to at the time. Each use of this skill takes 1d10 minutes and heals 1d10 Hit Points. In addition, a character can use a successful First Aid roll to prevent someone from taking damage from bleeding in combat. You can only use this skill 3 times a day regardless of how it is used. For more information, see Healing in Combat: Damage and Death, below.10+(2 X INT)
A more advanced form of healing. You can heal serious damage and crippled limbs but not poison or radiation damage. Using this skill on crippled limbs takes a while to perform. Every crippled limb will add to the time required to use the Doctor skill. You can play Doctor with yourself (except if you are Blind), or any other person / critter you choose to be kind to. In addition, a character can prevent hit point loss from bleeding by successfully using the Doctor skill in combat, or restore those lost hit points by using the Doctor skill for 1d10 minutes after combat. You can only use the Doctor skill twice a day, regardless of how it is used. Initial Level: Starting Medicine skill is equal to: 10 + (2 x INT)
While First Aid is used to treat wounds, Chems are used to craft medicine and other drugs. This is similar to Survival's ability to craft medicine with herbs, however it differs by using manufactored chemicals, drugs, toxins, etc. Initial Level: Starting Chems skill is equal to 10 + (2 x INT)
No one ever said life in the Wastes would be easy. Some characters tend forego hard work in favor of the dishonest route to wealth and fame. The Thieving skills cover all the ways a character can pilfer, purloin, and place painful things on her rise to the top. These skills are derived from a character’s ability to move quickly, notice surroundings, and to use brains instead of brawn.
The skill of being able to move quietly or out of sight. When you are sneaking, other people will be less likely to notice you - at a distance. If you get too close to a dangerous creature, no matter how good you are at sneaking, they will notice you. Of course, whether someone notices you is based on what direction they are facing, the amount of light in the area, the amount of cover you have, and a hell of a lot of luck. Such is the life of a thief. Successfully sneaking up on a person means you get a bonus should you want to try to steal from them. Your sneak skill is rolled when you start sneaking, and once a minute while still sneaking. Initial Level: Starting Sneak skill is equal to 10 + (2 x AGL)
If you need to open locks without the proper key, this is the skill for you. Use it to get what you want, but other people don't want you to have. Having an actual lockpick will improve your chances, but it is not necessary. There are two types of locks in the Fallout world: normal and electronic. Lockpicks work against normal locks, but to even attempt an electronic lock, you need an electronic lockpick. Certain locks can be harder to pick than others, and certain locks require that the picker has a lockpick. Initial Level: Starting Lockpick skill is equal 10 + (2 x PER)
If you desire something that isn't yours this is the skill for you. Use it to grab that shiny thing off the counter while the cashier is occupied. Be careful not to get caught. Initial Level: Starting Steal skill is equal 10 + (LCK + AGL)
Sometimes hiding and being silent just isn't enough. Sometimes you need to be someone else entirely. Disguise covers both hiding your identity as well as impersonating someone. With the proper tools you can use your full level in Disguise. With makeshift tools you can still use your full level in Disguise when trying to hide your identity or half your level in Disguise when trying to impersonate someone. Without any tools you can only hide your identity at half your level. You can always use your full level when impersonating someone else's voice. Initial Level: Starting Disguise skill is equal to 10 + (PER + CHA). Note that this is essentially a special use of the Deception skill, below.
The Fallout universe is still a fairly technical place. Machines are everywhere, some in working condition, some just pieces of junk, and others waiting for the right repairperson to come along to make them work again. Technical skills cover everything from computers to cars, and the scientific ability to reason logically and solve problems. A character’s ability to examine a problem, solve it using reason, and to manipulate small parts all influence Technical skills.
Science is the skill of working with electronic devices such as computers. It also covers how intuitive a character is. Characters with a high Science skill will notice things that others might miss, and characters who actively apply their Science skill to tasks can intuit answers to problems. Science skills are used when rolling to use (or break into) computers, determine what part a vehicle might need to run properly again, or to notice a vein of silver in an otherwise unremarkable rock. Science skill can also be used like First Aid to repair robots. Initial Level: Starting Science skill is equal to 10 + (2 x INT).
Repair is the practical application of the Science skill. As things are constantly breaking in the wastes, and there aren't customer service hotlines anymore, a person with a high Repair skill is always good to have around. Repair covers fixing all manner of mechanical things, from guns to vehicles, arming and disarming traps, and can also be used to intentionally sabotage or disable mechanical things. The Repair skill can also be used like Doctor to repair robots. Initial Level: Starting Repair skill is equal to 10 + (2 x INT).
This skill is how well a character can drive land-based vehicles (from Brahmin-driven carts to tanks), sea-based vehicles (from canoes to oil tankers), and air-based vehicles (from hang-gliders to vertibirds). Initial Level: Starting Pilot skill is equal to 10 + (2 x AGL).
Pilot can be divided into:
- Personal Craft, where the vehicle is typically only large enough for the occupant or perhaps one more, and the primary skill involved in operating it is body control, such as a motorcycle, waterski, or hang-glider; initial level 10 + (2*AGL).
- Group Craft, large enough for a small group, such as a car, rowboat, or small helicopter, where the skills involved are a mix of body control and operating the controls intelligently; initial level 10 + AGL + INT.
- Capital Craft, large enough for multiple groups of people, such as a train, yacht, or blimp, where the skills involved are almost exclusively competent operation of the controls; initial level 10 + (2*INT).
Social skills cover everything characters use in social situations. While combat may be a fun part of the Fallout world, most of the time characters will deal with NPCs on a more personable level, and a certain amount of social grace and tact will be necessary to successfully interact with most NPCs. The Social skills take into account a character’s witty nature, his general likableness, the ability to read another person, and plain dumb luck when choosing what another person wants to hear.
This is the skill of dialogue. The better your Speech skill, the more likely you will be able to get your way when talking to people. When there is a chance that an NPC might take your word, believe your lie, or just follow your instructions, this is the skill that is used. Initial Level: Starting Speech skill is equal 10 + (2 x CHA).
Speech can be divided into:
The skill of trading. In the post-nuclear world, currency is not always commonly used. Barter will allow you to get more for less when trading equipment, weapons, and other items. A high Barter skill will lower the prices you pay for items you purchase, and increase the money you get for selling excess equipment. A good Barter skill isn't important if you're killing everyone, but it certainly is a valuable skill for the non-berserkers out there. Initial Level: Starting Barter skill is equal to 10 + (2 x CHA).
The Gambling skill covers a knowledge of and adeptness at games of chance. Someone with a high Gambling skill tends to win these games more often, or might notice if the game is dirty or rigged. Initial Level: Starting Gambling skill is equal to 10 + (PER + LCK).
Everyone has a built-in survival instinct, but how well those skills are honed is another story. Survival skills cover everything your character learned at summer camp: how to hunt, fish, build shelters, and survive in adverse and unusual conditions. They also include swimming and climbing, two of the most important skills when a character is out in the wilderness and cannot, for whatever reason, travel by road. A character’s stamina, resourcefulness, and pure physical prowess all contribute to his Survival skills.
This is the skill of outdoor living and survival in hostile environments. Basically, what they teach in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, modified for the post-nuclear world. Outdoorsman has many uses, from finding food and water in the middle of a vast wasteland to avoiding hostile creatures to knowledge about what plants and animals will help you or kill you. It's always good to have someone in the party who's an avid outdoorsman. Initial Level: Starting Survival skill is equal to 10 + (2 x END)
This skill not only covers the ability to do high and long jumps but also to survive falls. With a running start you can perform a long jump equal to a 1/4 of your skill in feet rounded up or a high jump equal to 1/10 of your skill in feet rounded down. This distance is cut in half if you do not have a running start. You can survive any fall without damage equal to 1/10 of your skill in yards or half damage equal to 1/5 of your skill in yards. Initial Level: Starting Jump skill is equal to 10 + (STR + AGI).
As you might expect, the Climbing skill measures how well a character can climb. This includes not only finding purchases on sheer rock walls, but also covers avoiding falling when high above ground, either in combat or otherwise. If you plan on doing most of your fighting on top of buildings, Climbing is an important skill to learn. Initial Level: Starting Climb skill is equal to 10 + (STR + END)
Naturally, the Swim skill measures how well a character can swim. Swim includes distance swimming, diving, and swimming underwater. Since the majority of the planet is still underwater, chances are your character will eventually encounter some of the wet stuff, and Swimming will be important when she does. Initial Level: Starting Swim skill is equal to 10 + (STR + END).
Examples: Assigning Tag Skills and Calculating SkillsEdit
Jack and Jane first of all assign Harry and Maverick three tag skills. Jack decides that Harry will be extra-skilled in Unarmed Combat and Throwing. Jack considers that Harry might get into some long-ranged combat situations, so he gives Harry some Big Guns skills. Jane's diplomat needs Speech and Barter, and she decides that Maverick will be a good Gambler, too, so she tags that skill as well.
When the skills were all calculated, this is how the characters measured up to each other.
Harry: SPECIAL 220.127.116.11.5.8.6
- Explosives 20%
- Small Guns 26%
- Big Guns (tag) 36%
- Energy Weapons 20%
- Unarmed Combat (tag) 35%
- Melee Weapons 24%
- Throwing (tag) 47%
- First Aid 20%
- Doctor 20%
- Chems 24%
- Sneak 28%
- Lockpick 20%
- Disguise 20%
- Steal 24%
- Traps 23%
- Science 20%
- Repair 20%
- Pilot 26%
- Speech 18%
- Barter 18%
- Gambling 21%
- Outdoorsman 20%
- Jump 25%
- Climb 22%
- Swim 22%
Maverick: SPECIAL 18.104.22.168.7.5.7
- Explosives 18%
- Small Guns 22%
- Big Guns 18%
- Energy Weapons 22%
- Unarmed Combat 18%
- Melee Weapons 18%
- Throwing 20%
- First Aid 24%
- Doctor 24%
- Chems 24%
- Sneak 20%
- Lockpick 22%
- Disguise 23%
- Steal 22%
- Traps 21%
- Science 24%
- Repair 24%
- Pilot 20%
- Speech (tag) 39%
- Barter (tag) 39%
- Gambling (tag) 38%
- Outdoorsman 22%
- Jump 19%
- Climb 18%
- Swim 18%