2. Skills

Dekahedron is a skill-based game. There are no professions or classes or attributes. Everything a character can (or can't!) do is described by his skills, stengths, and weaknesses.

2.1 Skill Levels

Skill levels are numerical abstractions of the character's ability in any given skill. A level of 0 represents the level of knowledge or ability represented by the average man on the street. Higher levels indicate that the character is more proficient at the skill, while lower levels indicate just the opposite. This is illustrated in the following table.

Skill Level Description
-4 Inept
-3
-2
-1 Average Untrained Person
0
1
2 Amateur/Hobbyist
3
4
5 Average Profession/Accomplished Amateur
6
7
8 Accomplished Professional
9
10
11 Best of the Best
12
13

While there are no hard limits on how high or low skills can range, the levels shown above are the practical limits.

These levels are relative to the basic campaign setting, and the same level can represent a different level of proficiency based on the specific skill and the campaign's time and setting. For example, in a modern early 21st Century setting, a level 0 in Knowledge(Nuclear Physics) represents virtual ignorance, while a level 0 in Driving(Automobile) represents a very usable skill level. Likewise, in the 19th Century western United States, a level of 0 in Animal Handling(Riding/Horses) is a very functional level, but that same level in the modern day is all but useless.

2.2 Areas of Expertise

Most skills in Dekahedron are not individual skills, but rather broad categories of skills. People, however, tend to study small subsets of the broader skills. Such a subset is called an area of expertise or AoE. We denote a task's AoE in parenthesis after the skill name. For example, Craftsman(Woodworking) is used to indicate that the task requires a roll on the character's Craftsman skill, in the Woodworking AoE.

A character only performs at his full capacity if the task at hand falls within his area of expertise. Other areas within that skill are at a -3 penalty, though an effective skill level may not drop below 0 because of non-expertise. For example, if the character's Craftsman skill is 6, and his AoE is Leather-working, that character will have an effective skill of 3 in Craftsman (Woodworking). Because the effective skill level can not drop below 0, if the character's Craftsman (Leather-working) skill is only a 1 or 2, then his effective Craftsman (Woodworking) skill level will be 0.

Base Skill Level Non-expertise Penalty
0 or less No Penalty
1 -1
2 -2
3 or more -3

It is possible for a character to have multiple Areas of Expertise in the same skill.

The skills listed below will list some AoEs, and more are shown on a table in the Appendix, but these lists are not all-inclusive. Players should be encouraged to use other AoEs even if they are not listed.

2.3 Skill Listing

Dekahedron is built around a finite skill-listing. One of the inspirations for the game was the frustration of trying to keep characters up to date with an ever-growing number of skills in other RPGs. The skills listed below are sufficient for most role-playing needs. Certain campaigns might need to add a few skills, such as Starship Operations or Spell-casting. When adding skills for your campaign, remember that in Dekahedron skills are very broad and that AoEs are used to add detail. So in the case of a space-faring campaign, rather than having separate skills for engineering, helm, weapon systems, etc., it's more appropriate to have a single Starship Operations skill with those others being AoEs.

Aim:
This is the general skill of being able to hit someone over there without going there to do it. Each type of aimed weapon is its own area of expertise.
Animal handling:
This is the skill used to work with animals of all sorts. Each type of animal (horse, dog, cattle, etc.) is its own AoE, as are things like training, riding, etc.
Artist:
The ability to make decorative or recognizable items. Areas of expertise would include sculpture, painting, and drawing.
Athletics:
This is the catchall skill that includes the physical skills not covered by other, more specific, skills. It includes things like running, jumping, and swimming.
Balance:
Useful for things like tightrope walking, narrow ledges, and log-rolling. Also can be used to allow a character to catch himself from falling into a pit or other such hazard.
Carousing:
This is a social skill, but differs from diplomacy in that carousing is mainly the skill of vices. It includes such dubious talents as drinking, seduction, and gambling.
Craftsman:
The basic skill for converting raw materials into finished goods. Woodworkers, leather-workers, blacksmiths, silversmiths, and potters are all craftsmen. This skill is specialized in making sound, functional items. For decorative items, the craftsman also needs skill in Artist.
Diplomacy:
This is the primary social skill of interacting with other people. Remember that not all diplomats are highbrow society; it can be argued that the most diplomatic are those who have to walk the mean streets every day.
Dodge:
Useful for quickly moving your body out of something's way. Perhaps the most rewarding use of this skill is to make yourself harder to hit while being shot at.
Driving:
All vehicles need their drivers. This skill is mainly for land-based vehicles, be they chariots or wagons or automobiles or tanks. Each vehicle type is an AoE unto itself.
Entertain:
This is the ability to hold the attention of others. It includes things like acting, joke telling, singing, dancing, etc.
Fast draw:
A combat related skill. Allows a character to draw a weapon and use it on the same round. Each weapon type is its own AoE.
Fighting:
This is the skill of hand-to-hand combat, be it with open fists of mighty swords. Each fighting style is its own AoE, thus sword is different from sword and shield. Certain situations, such as fighting multiple opponents, would also be suitable AoEs.
Healing:
This is the art of treating injuries, and diagnosing and treating illnesses. How effective effect attempts at the tasks might be is largely dependent on the technology employed.
Health:
It's not really a skill, but in game terms the distinction is moot. This skill is an overall measurement of your body's attempt to resist poisoning, to heal itself, etc. It can be improved through good diet and regular exercise rather than through study, but in games terms the advancement mechanic is identical.
Knowledge:
A general skill that represents everything a character knows. Areas of Expertise could be any subject, such as chemistry, history, or geography.
Merchant:
The skill of buying low and selling high. It is used for commercial transactions. Such things as haggling, appraising, and marketing fall under this skill.
Observation:
A measurement of a character's general awareness of their surroundings. Each sense is its own AoE.
Sleight-of-Hand:
The ability to move the hands quicker than the eye. All such skills are resisted by the higher of the observer's Observation (Sight) or Sleight-of-hand (same AoE) skill.
Sneaking:
This skill represents the character's ability to avoid being noticed. All sneaking rolls are resisted by the would-be observers' Observation skill. The sneaking character gets a +3 bonus if the would-be observer is not specifically looking (or listening, etc.) for a sneaky character.
Stamina:
The ability to endure long periods of physical labor without stopping. The mental form of stamina is covered under Will Power.
Strength:
Some might argue that strength is more of an attribute than a skill, but the distinction, in game terms, is moot. After all you can study (workout) to improve it. In any case, strength is the ability to use muscle to lift, bend, and break things.
Survival:
This is the skill of living in wilderness areas. It covers the basics of food, water, heat, and shelter.
Unlawful Entry:
This is the skill of by passing security precautions in order to gain access to a building or container.
Will Power:
Will power is the ability to sacrifice your short-term interest in favor of your long-term interest. This includes such things as enduring torture to protect your comrades, turning down a bribe, resisting seduction, and staying awake on guard duty. Unlike most skills, there are no Areas of Expertise.

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