TSoY in space – skills

16 October, 2009 at 7:57 pm (Solar system) (, , , , )

This post contains the skill list for the scifi version of the Shadow of Yesterday that I’ve been running.


These are copied from the tSoY wiki, with removed and added entries.

Innate Abilities

Every character in this game has three innate abilities: natural reactions and quantifications of the character’s physical and mental stability.

Ability Name Uses Pool Summary
Endure Vigor This is your character’s ability to push on and persevere though pain and fatigue. It is used to test the limits of a character’s physicality and fitness.
React Instinct This measures the quickness of a character’s body and mind. It is as much “how quick the character notices something” as “how quick the character moves.”
Resist Reason “Resist” is the strength of a character’s will, and is used to prevent compulsion of a natural or supernatural type. This includes physical compulsion: “Resist” would be used for a character to keep her cool under torture, for example, while “Endure” would be used to see how long she could stay conscious under the same torture.

Other Abilities

Open abilities follow a few guidelines:

  • They are either innate abilities to a person (Athletics) or things that can be easily learned. Usually, they’re both, as in the aforementioned case of Athletics, or Scrapping.
  • They are rather wide in scope, encompassing a field of actions, without being overly broad. Movement is too broad; Climbing Fences is too narrow. Fighting is too broad; Broad-sword Usage is too narrow.
  • They are not specialized knowledge that applies only to a certain people or culture. These are the Species and Cultural Abilities, which are much more narrow in scope. Do note that academic skills are open: Internet and various projects for the freedom of information did pay off to significant degree.
  • They often overlap with other abilities, which is great. Two abilities may describe different styles of performing similar tasks.

The pre-made open abilities are below. Examine them to get ideas for your own. They’ve been organized by category. Any character can take abilities from any category, but it may be easier to choose a category or two that define your character and take most of the abilities from them.

Artistic Abilities

Freeload (Instinct)
Freeload is used to get free meals and shelter. Your character can’t really get wealthy using Freeload, but you can manage to survive even if broke, which isn’t bad.
Create (Instinct)
Create is used for painting, sculpting, and other arts where a concrete item is created.
Story-tell (Reason)
Story-tell is used for creating or telling stories, including ballads.
Music (Instinct)
Music is used for singing and playing instruments, and represents musical talent, not lyrical talent. Music and Story-tell are often used together to make an effective song.
Sports (Vigour)
Athletic activities for keeping in shape, as a job, or impressing others. Specialisation is common.

Technical Abilities

Mechanics and electronics (Reason)
Mechanics and electronics is used in building and maintaining various gadgets, equipment and vehicles.
Pilot (Instinct)
Operating vehicles. Everything between motorcycles and huge spaceships, the extreme cases included.
Hacking (Reason)
Operating and manipulating a computer effectively. Programming and gaining access where one should not have it are notable activities.

Military Abilities

First Aid (Reason)
First Aid is simple medicine: bandaging cuts, binding broken bones, and washing out wounds. If someone’s been physically hurt, this can be used to heal them.
Melee (Vigor)
Killing and surviving in close quarters combat with or without weapons. Weapons are highly recommended, though. Also, using exoskeletons and such in melee combat.
Sense Danger (Instinct)
This ability is used to perceive anything that might physically harm your character. It is not a “sixth sense”: the danger must be somehow perceivable, if only barely. Here’s where you get those cat-like reflexes.
Tactics (Reason)
Tactics is the basic skills and techniques known by any military commander. It is used for giving orders in combat and planning attacks, including ambushes.
Shooting (Vigour)
Using and taking care of weapons that shoot targets from a range. Includes weapons installed in various vehicles.
Military training (Vigour)
The daily routines, etiquette, basic combat and technical skills, rough knowledge of organisation. Can be used when fighting in orderly situations. Generally useful as an auxiliary skill.
Explosives (Reason)
Controlled and precise use of explosives. Timed explosives, mines, excavation and sabotage. Nuking it from the orbit just to be sure.

Black ops Abilities

Stealth (Instinct)
Stealth is used to sneak up on people, hide from other characters, and conceal objects on your character’s body.
Theft (Instinct)
Theft is used for picking pockets, cutting purses, lockpicking, breaking and entering without being noticed, and safecracking, as well as any other theft-related activity.
Deceit (Reason)
Deceit is used to fool other characters, including pretending to be someone else, forge a document, or straight-out lie well.
Underworld (Reason)
Underworld is used to know information about the illegal underground, including where to buy illegal things, sell stolen goods, or know who controls organized crime.
Security (Reason)
Security is used for building, recognising, analysing, avoiding and disabling various electronic security implements, such as cameras and locks.
Assassination (Instinct)
The art of killing someone unaware of the menace. Common equipment includes poisons, long-range weaponry, discreet explosives and various fancy gadgets.

Outdoor Abilities

Surival (Reason)
Survival is used to track people or animals, know what sorts of plants and animals are present in an area and their properties, as well as set traps.
Animal Ken (Instinct)
Animal Ken is the social skill for dealing with animals, and is used to deal with domesticated animals or wild ones. Domesticated animals are much easier to control, of course, and this may be used to give them commands. For wild animals, on the other hand, this works about as far as scaring them off, or convincing them not to eat you.
Outer planets (Reason)
Measure of the character’s familiarity with strange, unexplored and hostile planets, asteroids and moons. Settling them, using them and surviving therein to the extent possible.

Academic Abilities

Psychology (Reason)
Psychology can be used to bring peace to someone via private conversation. It is the spiritual equivalent of First Aid. It also is the academic knowledge of mind and workings thereof.
Rhetorics (Reason)
Rhetorics is used to sway opinion with speech or demagoguery, and is generally used with crowds. Media makes it an effective tool for crowd manipulation.
Biochemistry (Reason)
Biology and chemistry. Knowledge and research of nature (of several worlds) and processes happening therein.
Physics (Reason)
Knowledge of space, relativity, quantum mechanics and various less exotic fields of physics. Used for surviving the process of gating.
Research (Reason)
Research is the valued skill of finding and interpreting highly specific and useful information to solve a particular problem.
Diplomacy (Instinct)
Diplomacy is used for negotiating treaties between corporations, nations and other large groups.
Politics (Reason)
Knowledge of the various political parties, shadowy or influential organisations, military establishments and important people. Manipulating the aforementioned for one’s selfish benefit.

Social Abilities

Sway (Instinct)
Sway is used to affect individuals through conversation. Unlike Orate, this works better one-on-one, and the character being swayed may not even realize your character’s intentions.
Savoir-Faire (Instinct)
Savoir-Faire is used to act smooth, dance, get a kiss from a lady, and get another character into your character’s bedchambers.
Etiquette (Reason)
Etiquette is used to know your way around a society, including knowing who is important and where to get favors. It is the non-illegal society equivalent of Streetwise.
Pray (Vigor)
Pray is used for meditation, blessing actions, and performing religious rituals. It involves the character’s belief that she is connected to something better than her.
Discern Truth (Instinct)
Discern Truth is used to tell if someone is being honest, or read a person’s intentions.
Athletics (Vigor)
This is a measure of raw physicality and fitness. It is used for running, jumping, swimming, climbing, or any other strength-based task not listed as a separate ability.
Finances (Reason)
Investments, stock markets, accounting, keeping one’s finances in order, finding items of quality at affordable prices.

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