From Star Frontiers Network

Jump to: navigation, search

Top:Star Frontiersman main page | Up: Star Frontiersman Issue 1 main index | Up: New Rules main index

The skill system has been criticized as boxy and restrictive, disallowing many character conceptions and not rewarding high ability scores. This article tries to make skills more playable without breaking the mechanics or giving the game a foreign feel.


Primary Skill Areas

There are still three categories of skill, called PSA. They are: Military, Biosocial, and Technological. The optional Mentalist PSA still exists unchanged. When creating a character, you still must select one of these.

Learning Skills

This goes unchanged. Players spend the necessary experience points (which vary by level and whether or not the skill is in the character’s Primary Skill Area), still require training, etc. Just as before, when you learn a skill, you automatically know and can use all subskills that come with it.

Skill Levels

Skills are still rated in levels, and there are still six degrees of it. The table below gives a summary:

Skill Level Description Education/Experience
1 Basic Knowledge, Intern 1 yr
2 Journeyman, Associates Degree 2 yrs
3 Professional, Bachelors Degree 4 yrs
4 Expert Knowledge, Masters Degree 6 yrs
5 Elite Knowledge, Doctorate Degree 8 yrs
6 Mastery, Frontier Leading Expert 10+ yrs

So a character with a level 4 skill is considered an expert at that skill, and is the equivalent of someone with six years education and/or experience in that specific field.

Using Skills

Ability Mod
01-10 -20
11-20 -15
21-30 -10
31-40 -5
41-50 +0
51-60 +5
61-70 +10
71-80 +15
81-90 +20
91-100 +25
>100 +30

Skills are used differently. Previously, abilities had nothing to do with skill success rates. Thus, a dexterous character had no better chance to move silently than a clumsy one - skill level was all that mattered. In this system, abilities DO matter. Depending on your character’s relevant ability score, you’ll receive a modifier to your chance of success based on the table shown here.

Note: Combat skills do not receive this bonus. Their chance to succeed is already based on your ability score.

Unskilled Skill Checks

If your character doesn’t have a necessary skill, he can still take a stab at using it. Normally, this simply means not receiving a level bonus (do the math but assume his level is zero). Some subskills, however, cannot be used unskilled; they simply require too much training or specialized equipment. Your referee has the final say on whether or not a skill can be attempted.

For example, your character wants to sneak past a guard. The referee tells him to make a Stealth roll (that’s a subskill of the Environmentalist skill, which your character has no levels in) with Dexterity as a modifier. Your character has a DEX score of 75, so you get to add +15 to the base chance. The base chance of Stealth is listed as “20% + level” so your chance of success is 20+0+15=35%.

Specialization (New option)

Some characters in movies and books like to specialize in a specific application of their skills. This allows them extra capabilities in that field (subskill). For example, your character is a skilled Psychosocialist, but you really excel at the art of Persuasion.

Cost. Purchasing Specialization costs a number of experience points equal to what it would cost someone of that skill’s PSA to purchase the skill at Level 1. The following table shows Specialization Cost:

Skill Type Specialization Cost
Military PSA 3 XP
Technological PSA 4 XP
Biosocial PSA 5 XP

Benefits. Whenever you perform an action related to that subskill, you get +10% to your chance of success. You can never specialize in more than one subskill of the same skill. For example, your field medic character might specialize in Minor Surgery. Later, he cannot specialize in Major Surgery because he already has a field of study within the Medic skill.

Weapon Skills. For weapon skills, you specify weapon. For example, your character has Beam Weapons and specializes in Electrostunners. Whenever you use an Electrostunner you receive a +10 bonus to hit, in addition to any bonus derived from your level.

Martial Arts. For this skill, specializing really makes little sense. Martial Arts is virtually a subskill of Melee Weapons in this author’s opinion. However, for the sake of completeness, you can specify specialization in one of the following applications of Martial Arts: Punching, Kicking, or Wrestling.

Other Types of Specialization

With the referee’s approval, you may be able to purchase specialization in other types of actions for which no skill exists. The cost of such a skill-less specialization is 10 experience points. Examples include: Defending, Leaping, Driving, etc. This is the only way to represent personal talent in these areas. You’ll get +10 to any roll relating to your specialization.