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This page covers general rules related to skills. For more specific rules, see the sections on making skill checks, complex tasks, and individual skill descriptions.

Purchasing Skill RanksEdit

Skills are purchased in ranks. Each rank represents an increment of training in a skill’s use. Your character begins with 0 ranks in every skill, but you may begin purchasing skill ranks during character creation at a cost of 1 skill point per rank (for a class skill) or 2 skill points per rank (for cross-class skills). Your character’s class determines his skill points and class skills.

The maximum number of ranks your character may possess in any skill — whether it’s a class skill or a cross-class skill — is equal to his career level + 3.

Example: Kevin is Level 2. He may purchase up to 5 ranks in any skill, whether it is a class skill or a cross-class skill.

Skills vs. Skill ChecksEdit

For making skill checks, see Skill Checks.

Skills and skill checks are two different things. A character purchases skill ranks in a skill, which in turn offers him one or more named skill checks he can make with those ranks, using one or two key attributes. For example,  the Acrobatics skill governs Balance, Falling, Jump, Maneuver (Personal Vehicle), Skydiving, and Tumble checks.

Occasionally, the rules call for an undefined skill check. This is a check without a scripted description — for example, “Falsify (Int).” In such cases, the check follows all standard skill rules, using the key attribute in the parentheses, but no scripted check description applies.

Each skill has either one or two key attributes — the attributes that provide the modifiers for each of the skill’s uses, or “checks.”

Example: The Acrobatics skill’s key attributes are Strength and Dexterity. When making a Jump check, the key attribute is Strength. When making a Skydiving check, however, the key attribute is Dexterity.

For each skill, your character has a skill bonus for each key attribute. Each skill bonus is equal to:

Ranks in the skill + key attribute modifiers + modifiers gained from character options or gear

For convenience, when a skill has two key attributes, the skill bonuses for both are listed together on your character sheet, separated by a slash.

Example: Kevin has a Strength score of 14, a Dexterity score of 12, and 2 ranks in the Acrobatics skill. His skill bonus with Strength-based Acrobatics checks is +4 and his skill bonus with Dexterity-based Acrobatics checks is +3, so his skill bonus is listed on his character sheet as +4/+3.

Focus SkillsEdit

Four skills — Cultures, Drive, Profession, and Science — are sufficiently broad that a character must specify one or more “focuses” when he acquires ranks in them. Except for Profession, each of these skills’ descriptions includes an exclusive list of available focuses (in the case of Drive, these focuses correspond directly to the vehicle categories). A character may not choose a focus outside these options without GC approval.

Focuses are not tracked separately of their parent skill. Further, a character never gains ranks in a focus. He either has one or he doesn’t.

At Career Level 1, the character automatically gains one focus for each focus skill. His Cultures choice must correspond to his homeland, while his other choices simply represent his personal background and preferences.

Also at Career Level 1, the character gains an additional number of focuses equal to his Intelligence modifier (if positive), which may be distributed between his focus skills as he wishes.

Thereafter, the character gains one additional focus for every 4 ranks he purchases in each parent focus skill.

A character may also gain additional focuses from his Origin, his class, or other options.

“Forte ” FocusesEdit

A forte represents dedicated study of only a part of an existing focus.

When a character who already possesses one or more focuses gains one, he may instead flag one part of a previously chosen focus as a “forte.” The division of each focus differs by skill, as follows.

Cultures: Each forte represents dedicated study of one country within the focus region.

Drive: Each forte represents dedicated study of one vehicle type within the focus vehicle category (e.g. sports car).

Profession: Each forte represents dedicated study of one task within the focus profession (e.g. murals within the painting profession).

Science: Each forte represents dedicated study of one gear type within the focus science (e.g. plastic explosive).

This grants the character a +1 bonus with all skill checks involving the forte focus. Further, when taking 10 with a skill check involving the forte focus, the time required is not doubled.

Special Note: A character may never benefit from more than one forte when making any skill check.

Focus Skill ChecksEdit

When a character makes a skill check with any focus skill, the GC chooses which focus is most appropriate. Only one focus may apply to each check.

If the character possesses the appropriate focus, he applies his full skill rank.

If the character does not possess the appropriate focus, he applies only 1/2 his full skill rank (rounded down). The character’s result cap is nevertheless calculated using his full skill rank. Further, he is considered untrained.

Focus Skills and Synergy BonusesEdit

A character’s ranks in a focus skill grant a synergy bonus only if he possesses the focus listed in the target skill description.

Example: Kevin has an Intelligence of 10 and 7 ranks in Cultures, with focuses in Northern America and Oceania. His Cultures skill grants a +1 synergy bonus only with skill checks related to these regions.

Knowledge ChecksEdit

Spycraft 2.0 features no Knowledge skill. Any character may make a Knowledge check at any time about any topic. Knowledge checks are made to determine if a character knows something that the player doesn’t (though the GC is within his rights to call for a Knowledge check even if a player does know something, if he believes the character might not). Knowledge checks are called for during simple tasks driven by basic knowledge, such as navigating through an area. The GC may also call for a Knowledge check when the player forgets something that his character has been told, representing the character’s ability to remember things.

Each Knowledge check must focus on one question or simple task. It operates like a standard skill check, except  that each character’s Knowledge “skill bonus” is equal to:

Career level + Intelligence modifier

The base error range of any Knowledge check is 1 and the base threat range is 20. All Knowledge checks are free actions. Even though a character may call for one, a Knowledge check is always passive.

Each Knowledge check gains a synergy bonus from any one skill in the game — whichever skill the GC rules to be most appropriate. For instance, Security grants the synergy bonus when asking a question about common alarm systems, while Drive grants the synergy bonus when navigating in a vehicle.

The DC of any Knowledge check is determined by the complexity or obscurity of the question asked or task undertaken, as shown on Table 2.6: Knowledge Checks. With success, the character knows the question’s answer or performs the desired task. In the case of information, the character may then relate the information to someone else by spending the relay time shown on Table 2.6.

2.6 Knowledge Checks
With a critical success, the character gains more information than he asked for, at the rate of one additional question answered per action die spent. When navigating, the character finds a shortcut, reducing the travel time by 10% per action die spent (to a minimum of 60% standard travel time, rounded up). Other Knowledge check critical success results should follow this same basic pattern of +1 question or increment per action die spent.

With a critical failure, the GC provides the character with false information, or a simple task goes astray (e.g. to the wrong destination when navigating). If one or more characters rely upon this false information when making another skill check, each suffers a –2 discretionary modifier per action die spent.

Knowledge checks made to determine if a character has information may never be retried, nor may they become opposed, directed, team, or cooperative checks.

Task-based Knowledge checks may only be retried with GC permission, and only once every 5 minutes. These checks may become opposed, directed, team, or cooperative checks.

Skill tags have no effect upon Knowledge checks.


Spycraft 2.0
Characters - Skills - Feats - Gear - Combat - Dramatic Conflict

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