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LOCATIONS TRANSLATIONS FAQ & RULES UPDATES
By AARON SKETCHLEY (aaronsketch@HOTdelete_thisMAIL.com) Ver 2.4 2019.04.30

Official Setting information is in darkgreen. Extended Universe information is in steelblue.

Character Generation: Skills

Table Of Contents
  • Task Difficulty
  • Attributes and Skills
  • Outstanding Success and Catastrophic Failure
  • Different Skill, Same Action
  • Skill Programs
  • Improving Skills
  • Not The Right Skill & Learning New Skills
  • Master List of Skills
  • Skill Percents, New Skills and Changes to existing Skills
  • Hand to Hand Combat
  • Mecha Combat Bonuses
  • Secondary Skills
  • Task Difficulty

    Divided tasks into three basic categories - Easy, Average, and Difficult. Any easy action with a skill over 50% pretty much automatically succeeds - which is the point: that when you get good at something, doing the little things is just second nature.

    E.g.: if my character has Auto Mechanic 60%, he'd do an oil change at 120% (an easy task), an alignment at 60% (an average task) and an engine rebuild at 30% (a difficult task).

    There are also a lot of things that can turn a perfectly simple, easy roll, into one of epic proportions:


    Optional über-simple Rules:

    1 unless otherwise indicated, use the vehicle's G Limit.

    Attributes and Skills

    IQ Bonus to Skills:
    The bonus should only be applied to mental skills, not physical skills. Simply because physical skills are a function of different attributes (ME for the mental aspects) rather than raw processing power (IQ).


    Optional Rules

    Ignore the traditional system, and use the following:


    Optional über-simple Rules:

    Ignore any and all bonuses, and use the following:

    1 unless otherwise indicated, use the vehicle's G Limit. Refer to the G-Factor Rules for further details.

    Outstanding Success and Catastrophic Failure

    If the task roll succeeds by less than 10% of the target number (natural 20 in über-simple) --for example, a 6 or less for an average task roll for Mechanic 60%-- then an outstanding success has occurred. Generally some sort of unintended beneficial effect occurs (GM's discretion). Perhaps the engine is not only repaired, but gets better mileage now.

    If the character fails the task by a roll of 90 or higher (natural 1 in über-simple), a second task roll is made. If the second one also fails (a regular fail), a catastrophic failure has occurred. In the above example, perhaps not only does the engine remain damaged, but the head is cracked and won't run, ever again.

    Note: the catastrophic failure shouldn't be used every single time; only in dramatic situations. Its real purpose is to dissuade players from trying tasks far above their character's skill level.

    Different skills, same action?

    Different skills at different difficulty levels can be used to solve the same basic task in this rearrangement of the system - at the GM's discretion.
    E.g.: if I had to tune up an engine, it would be an easy Automotive Mechanics skill roll. The same action would be an average Basic Mechanics skill roll, or a difficult General Repair & Maintenance roll.

    Sometimes, you will find a task that is equally suited to two different skills - players can use whichever one they like. In many cases, the players can pick the character in their group who has the highest ability in the skill needed to perform the action.

    Skill Programs

    Skill Programs are considered to be work experience and school, university, and technical college courses. Available skill programs:

    Improving Skills

    Instead of leveling up -- improving all skills and abilities at the same time -- skill improvement and experience points are handled in the following way:

    At some point, the GM decides it is time to reconcile the skill experience. This is done by subtracting the skill level from 100, and then dividing it by 100. The result is the experience multiplier, which is then used to multiply by the Skill Experience Points, to result in the final gain. Use the Skill Experience Multiplier Chart to avoid the evil math.

    E.g.: if you accumulated 6 Skill Experience Points in Auto Mechanics, and have Auto Mechanics 43%, then:

    Skills, when they are low, will tend to raise quickly. However, a little past the midpoint, the Skill Experience Points needed to raise the skill start to increase (representing the fact that you already know a lot). As professionals (60%+), characters will then have more realistic chances of failure or success.

    Adding task difficulties and linking skills to attributes makes it very clear to the player how hard or easy something is for their character to do. This also allows skills to rise above the 98% limit in canon Palladium, because difficult tasks with heavy situational modifiers can be better attempted by characters with 100%+ in their skills. Getting any skill to 100%, much less beyond, is quite a task, but it's quite possible. Superior NPCs can certainly already be there with some skills.

    While it seems like it would be slow, the GM can easily control the rate of growth by how many Skill Experience Points given out. You could theoretically pace a character at the standard skill improvement rate, if you gave out enough. Also, you can alter the rate the points are given in different ways - if you want characters to initially skill up quicker, give out more points to start with, and then give less as they pass 60%. The pacing is entirely up to the GM.


    Ammendment 1:
    In PBP RPGing, until the character reaches 100%, the Skill Experience Points will be applied as is. After a skill has passed 100%, the calculation will be applied to the skill after it's subtracted from 100. E.g.: Auto Mechanics 143% becomes 143-100=43. The 43 is used for determing the % improvement.

    Not The Right Skill & Learning New Skills

    Not The Right Skill?
    It's impossible for someone to start with training in all skills. Therefore, if a player doesn't have the applicable skill -- or doesn't have a similar skill that can produce a similar result (see Different skills, same action? above) -- an attribute can be used in place of the skill, if reasonable.

    E.g.: if my character has IQ 17 and PS 18, they would be able to do Basic Math, Radio Basic, and Computer Operation at 17%, and Swimming, Climbing, and Prowl at 18% (not including any situational modifiers).

    More complex skills fall to random luck: a half attribute value could be used.

    E.g.: my character can attempt complex skills like Advanced Math, Radio Scramblers, and Computer Hacking (if they know what a radio or computer is) at 9% (not including any situational modifiers).


    Learning New Skills
    New skills are learnt starting from the same percentage (%) value as indicated in Not The Right Skill? and Different skills, same action? above -- whichever is higher -- as per the normal skill improvement rules.

    E.g.: if the character went to school for 10 days to learn Radio Scramblers (a complex skill starting at 9% - half the attribute value), the skill would be at 18% at the end of the schooling.

    Master List of Skills

    The following is a list of the available skills.

    Communications Skills
  • Cryptography (Scramblers, ECM and ECCM)
  • Radio (Basic, Laser, Construction, Satellite, Microwave, Fold Communication & more)
    Cultural/Domestic Skills
    Note: Characters can attain professional quality by selecting the same domestic skill twice.
  • Art - choose type: Acting, Calligraphy, Dance, Drawing, painting, Photography, Sculpting, etc.
  • Cook - choose specialty area: Chinese, English, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, etc.
  • General Repair/Maintenance
  • Play Music Instrument: choose instrument
  • Sewing
  • Sing
    Electrical Skills
  • Basic Electronics (Computer Repair)
  • Electrical Engineer. Requires: Math
  • OverTechnology (mecha) Electronics. Requires: Electrical Engineer
    Espionage & Rogue Skills
  • Escape Artist (Binding)
  • Gambling (Cardsharp)
  • Impersonation (Disguise, Forgery, Imitate Voice)
  • Intelligence (Interrogation)
  • Palming (Concealment, Pick Pockets)
  • Pick Locks (Safecracking)
  • Streetwise
    Mechanical Skills
  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Automotive Mechanics
  • Basic Mechanics
  • Boat Mechanics
  • OverTechnology (mecha) Mechanics (Spaceship Mechanics). Requires: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineer (Armorer, Locksmith). Requires: Basic Electronics, Math
    Medical Skills
  • Criminal Sciences & Forensics. Requires: Biology, Chemistry, Math
  • First Aid
  • Medical Doctor (Field Surgery). Requires: Biology, Paramedic, Pathology, Chemistry, Math
  • Paramedic (Holistic Medicine). Requires: First Aid
  • Pathology: Requires: Biology, Chemistry
  • Psychiatry (Psychological Warfare)
    Military Skills
  • Camouflage (Detect Ambush, Detect Concealment)
  • Demolitions (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
  • Sniper
    Physical Skills
  • Acrobatics
  • Aerobics
  • Athletics (Running, Sports, Surfing, Water Skiing)
  • Body Building and Weight Lifting
  • Climbing & Rappelling (Mountaineering, Spelunking)
  • Contortionist
  • Gymnastics
  • Meditation
  • Prowl
  • Running (:= Marathon?)
  • Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Scuba Diving. Requires: Swimming
  • Tai Chi
  • Track and Field
  • Yoga
  • Zero Gravity Movement (EVA)
  • Hand to Hand Combat
  • Basic
  • Boxing. Requires: Hand to Hand Expert
  • Expert. Requires: Hand to Hand Basic
  • Martial Arts - choose type: Aikido, Commando, Karate, or Kendo. Requires: Hand to Hand Expert
  • Wrestling (Judo). Requires: Hand to Hand Expert
    Piloting Skills - AIR
  • Aircraft (Airplane, Jet Aircraft, Jet Fighter, Lighter-than-Air Vehicles)
  • Helicopter
  • Parachuting (Jet Packs)
    Piloting Skills - GROUND
  • Destroids
  • Horsemanship
  • Motorcycle (Hover Craft)
  • Power Armour
  • Tracked Vehicles (APC, Construction Equipment, Tanks)
  • Wheeled Vehicles (APC, Automobile, Truck)
    Piloting Skills - SEA
  • Boat (Hydrofoil, Motor, Sail, Ship)
  • Submarines
    Piloting Skills - SPACE
  • Mecha - choose one: Variable Vehicle, Destroid, Power Armour (Micron & EX-Gear, or Zentraadi) , Varohta Variable Fighter, Zentraadi, other
  • Mecha Combat - choose type. E.g.: VF-25
  • Spacecraft (Shuttle, Space Fighter, Spaceship)
    Pilot Related Skills
  • Land Navigation
  • Navigation (Navigation Space). Requires: Math
  • Read Sensory Equipment (Optic Systems, Surveillance Systems, Surveying, TV/Video)
  • Weapon System
    Science Skills
  • Astronomy
  • Biology (Marine Biology)
  • Botany
  • Chemistry. Requires: Math
  • Geology. Requires: Math
  • Math (Basic & Advanced)
  • Physics. Requires: Math
    Technical Skills
  • Computer Engineer. Requires: Computer Operation, Computer Programming
  • Computer Operation
  • Computer Programming (Artificial Intelligence, Avionics Repair, Computer Hacking). Requires: Computer Operation, Math
  • Construction (Carpentry, Fortification) - choose specialty area: Buildings or Vehicles
  • Language
  • Lip Reading (Sign Language)
  • Lore - choose area of knowledge
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Tracking (animal & people)
  • Trap/Mine Construction & Detection
  • Wilderness Survival (Fishing, Identify Plants and Animals, Hunting)
    Ancient Weapon Proficiencies
    Note: GM approval is needed to select skills other than Blunt, and Knife.
  • WP Blunt (Chain)
  • WP Bow
  • WP Knife (Small Thrown Weapons, Juggling)
  • WP Staff/Spear
  • WP Sword
    Modern Weapon Proficiencies
  • WP Pistol (Automatic Pistol, Energy Pistol, Revolver, Sub-Machinegun)
  • WP Rifle (Bolt Action, Energy Rifle, Semi/Fully automatic Rifles)
  • WP Heavy (Heavy Energy Weapons)
  • Skill Percents, New Skills and Changes to existing Skills
    Communications Skills: use IQ


    Domestic Skills: use IQ


    Electrical Skills: use IQ


    Espionage & Rogue Skills: use IQ, unless one of the following:
  • Escape Artist: use PP
  • Impersonation: use MA
  • Palming: use PP
  • Pick Locks: use PP
  • Mechanical Skills: Use IQ


    Medical Skills: use IQ unless one of the following:
    • Psychiatry: use MA


    Military Skills: use IQ, unless one of the following:
    • Sniper: use PP
      20% +1 aimed
      50% +1 aimed and burst
      80% +1 aimed
      115% +1 aimed and burst
      150% +1 aimed
      185% +1 aimed and burst
      194% +1 aimed


    Physical


    Pilot: use ME, unless one of the following:


    Pilot Related Skills: use IQ


    Science Skills: use IQ
    Technical Skills: use IQ. The following provide bonuses to other skills:

    • Computer Programming: +5% all other computer skills
    • Wilderness Survival: +5% tracking, +5% cook (the catch)

    Weapon Proficiencies

    Hand to Hand Combat

    Mecha Combat Bonuses

    Secondary Skills

    Secondary Skills are skills learnt and developed on one's own through observation, practise and self education. Secondary Skills may be limited to the following list (ask your GM). If limited to the following list, skills that are not in the list may be selected, with GM approval, and possibly a negative modifier.

    Non-humanized Zentraadi characters can choose any Secondary Skill that is reasonable for a non-humanized Zentraadi, as per the rules outlined above. There are some Secondary Skills (E.g.: domestic) which are not possible, given their (lack of) culture.

    Secondary Skill List
  • Communications
    Radio
  • Domestic
    Art
    Cook
    General Repair/Maintenance
    Play Musical Instrument
    Sew
    Sing
  • Electrical
    Basic Electronics
  • Espionage & Rogue
    Escape Artist
    Gambling
    Impersonation
    Palming
    Pick Locks
    Streetwise
  • Mechanical
    Basic Mechanics
    Automotive Mechanics
  • Medical
    First Aid
    Paramedic
  • Military
    None (any if in the military)
  • Physical
    Athletics
    Body Building and Weight Lifting
    Climbing and Rappelling
    Meditation
    Prowl
    Running
    Skiing
    Swimming
    Tai Chi
    Track And Field
    Yoga
    Zero Gravity Movement
    Hand to Hand: Basic
    Hand to Hand: Martial Arts (costs 3 skills with Basic)
  • Pilot
    Airplane
    Helicopter (costs 2 skills)
    Parachuting
    Automobile
    Horsemanship
    Motorcycle
    Tracked Vehicles
    Wheeled Vehicles
    Boat
    Mecha - choose one: Destroid, Power Armour, Variable Fighter (costs 2 skills)
  • Pilot Related
    Land Navigation
    Navigation
    Read Sensory Instruments
  • Science
    Astronomy
    Biology
    Botany
    Chemistry
  • Geology
    Math
    Physics
  • Technical
    Computer Operation
    Computer Programming
    Construction
    Language
    Lip Reading
    Lore
    Research
    Teaching
    Wilderness Survival
  • WP
    WP Blunt
    WP Knife
    WP Pistol
    WP Rifle

  • REFERENCES
  • Based on the Palladium Books Game Engine
  • The numerous players of the MRG and MRC over the years who have play-tested these rules.
  • Sections condensed from "Rifts Attributes: A Closer Look" (http://spleen.mearcair.net/rifts/attributes.htm) and "House Rules for Rifts" (http://spleen.mearcair.net/rifts/houserules.htm).

  • © Aaron Sketchley
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