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CPA: Skills List

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A skill in CPA is a type of player character attribute that symbolizes their knowledge, ability, and intuition with all aspects of a certain craft, trade, vocation, or hobby.

Skills are used to accomplish most things in a typical adventure, such as navigating, negotiating, investigating or fighting.

When skills are used in uncertain situations where success or failure could be interesting, a skill check might be rolled to see how it goes. This is generally rolled as 2d8 + skill level.

Players gain their first skills in character generation, and then may increase their skill levels higher during the game using experience points in advancement.

There are five main categories of skills.

Skill Categories:

Skill Name Applications Potential failures
Animals Skill working socially with animals and making animals obey commands, including mounting and riding animals. Used for pet attack rolls and mounted maneuvers. This skill also covers animal-like aliens or bestial monsters, if they exist. The animals run away, attack, are harmed, or learn the wrong thing.
Art Skill and speed in drawing, painting, tailoring, weaving, sculpting, as well as art history, lore, investigation, understanding and identification of visual art, art tools and methods. Also applies to architecture. It takes longer, or is worth less to other people, or offends the audience.
Athletics Add this skill to your HP. Carry capacity is 6+2*skill. Used for climbing, jumping, swimming, lifting, throwing things with your own muscle power. You can use it for thrown weapons such as grenades and javelins. Some minimum amounts are required for heavy weapons and armor. Generally when you fail it means you can't do the thing without either hurting/fatiguing yourself, breaking something, or simply can't do it this way.
Computers Efficient computer programming, maintenance, hacking and rapid data analysis. See the Hacking Actions table under skill checks. Computer skill can also be rolled to use and attack with remote controlled drones. Learning new computer lanuages usually takes 1d4 days of study, but a skill of 1 means you know all common programming languages.
  • You do not need computer skill for basic computer use in your society.
Your intrustion is detected, your account is locked out, your credentials are banned from the network, your device is fried. Your program is less effective, slow or has unintended results.
Crafting Construction, modification, repair and lore of all tools, machines, weapons, vehicles and buildings. Good crafting results require time, space, materials, and skill. Can also be used to pick locks. See the Crafting Actions table below for specific usages. When you are crafting with quiet and focus, you should generally not roll but just get results based on your skill level. If you fail while crafting under pressure, however: your project may take longer, be less effective, be fragile and prone to backfire, or have intended consequences.
Insight Use this skill to sense when a person is lying, hiding something, stressed, afraid, or any other nonverbal cues they might be hiding. You learn less, nothing, or are perceived as staring rudely.
  • Roll as a social skill to persuade groups and individuals to follow a cause you set forth, or perform public speaking or storytelling.
  • In addition, you can make an inspiring speech by spending 1+ minutes to try to inspire one ally with +1 on a task (Inspire TN is same as their task).
Your speech causes your audience to become bored, nervous, discouraged, offended or angered.
Literacy Ability read and write quickly and well, ability to recall historical and social facts and trivia about your world, including knowing and translating languages. You need not always roll this skill, often just having a certain level will ensure you know things. You recall vague hints or false information, mistranslate, write awkwardly, etc.
  • General healing, first aid, surgery, amputations, installing implants and prosthetics, autopsy, diagnosis, anatomy, corpse ID, vaccine development, and microbiology.
  • First Aid: Expending a medical kit, you can spend 5 minutes to heal [your skill level] in HP to your own or an ally's untreated wounds, thereby treating them. This does not require a roll if you have at least level 1.
  • Surgery: Expending a medical kit, you can spend 1 hour to try to bring someone back from the dying condition (roll vs a TN that is declared based on the situation).
  • Diagnose: Expending a medical kit, you can spend 10 minutes to diagnose and learn what will cure a person afflicted with an ailment (roll vs. TN set based on the situation).
Your medical efforts get less information, are less effective, need more supplies, cannot help, or make the problem worse.
Music Ability to play music with voice and any instrument, as well as music history, lore and ability to identify audio instruments, tools and methods, as well as sounds in general. High rolls will impress more people. Regardless of its true value, others find your music forgettable, offensive, or irritating.
Navigation Recognize tracks and trails, navigate from place to place, know directions. Works in all environments and can represent your understanding of various environments. Applies to any vehicle or mount as well as on foot. Can be used to help find crafting ingredients. You get less information or go a more perilous way or get lost.
Negotiate Use this social skill when you need to get a good deal on a simple purchase or a big contract or treaty. You are rejected; viewed as greedy, selfish and cold. The target might agree but regret their decision or resent being outfoxed.
  • Use this skill to find clues, items, anomalies and curiosities, using your senses and your investigator's intuition.
Though you will never fail to find critically important items and information, you may find less information, accidentally destroy valuable items, or something bad happens when you find what you seek.
Pilot Ability to pilot all types of constructed vehicles, including trucks, hovercraft, aircraft, ships, starships and remote controlled drones, but not riding or driving animals. Applies equally to all such vehicles, and mostly to speed, safety and maneuvering. Can be used for vehicle jumps, rolls, ramming or sideswiping attacks as well. You crash, damage the vehicle, or waste fuel, or take longer to your destination.
Plants Knowledge of useful herbs, ability to find useful plant-related crafting materials, and knowledge of biomes defined by plants. Can also be rolled to improve any plant-related action such as climbing trees, cutting through hedges, swinging on vines, etc. You recall only vague hints or partially incorrect info about plants, or use them in a dangerous or wasteful way.
  • Used for mathematics, chemical/physical science, biochemistry, microbiology, and all crafting of all liquid or powder drugs, potions, batteries and bombs.
  • Can be used to brew cures and vaccines, stimulants and performance-enhanching drugs, explosives and acids.
  • Good brewing results require good time, space, materials, and skill. If you brew a potion with a specific effect, don't roll until it is used.
The drug or potion you brewed takes longer, requires more ingredients, is less effective, or has an unintended and unknown effect, or the ingredients are ruined and you get no result.
  • Used for sneaking, stealing, being personally unheard and unseen, and criminal history and lore.
  • In combat, unseen attackers get +1 free turn, +1 to hit and +1 to damage.
  • Stealth should ONLY be rolled at the critical moment when you may or may not be discovered.
When stealth fails, enemies' alertness increases. This may be from 0 to 100, or from yellow to orange, or something else. If picking locks, your tools may break or the lock may jam.
Talk Use this social skill when you want to build relationships, get people to like you, and ask for favors using casual, friendly conversation. You are viewed as overly needy or ungenuine. The target might agree to a favor but at the cost of respect or trust.

Defensive skills help to protect your character in and out of combat, as well as other benefits.

Defensive Skill Name Applications Degrees of Success/Fail
  • Used to try to avoid physical harm that can be dodged by quick movements: blades, bullets, explosions, falling rocks.
  • Roll vs. the threat's TN. Add a bonus of +1 to +3 if you have cover.
  • Add this skill to your initiative value.
  • Critical success: You take no damage or harm.
  • Standard success: You take half damage, reduced by your armor to a minimum of 1 damage point.
  • Fail: You take the enemy's rolled damage or harm, reduced by your armor.
  • Critical fail: You take a critical hit: Maximum damage, reduced by your armor.
  • Characters with EP will recover [1 + Meditation skill] EP per 4 hours of rest.
  • This skill can be rolled to resist magic attacks, psychic damage, other mental effects, or to be calm and focused in tough scenarios.
  • You can also roll it as a thinking skill to draw conclusions and get ideas.
  • This skill can also be rolled to sustain your concentration on spells and other things whenever it is threatened by attacks and distractions.
  • Add this skill to your initiative value.
  • In both cases, roll vs. the threat's TN.
  • Critical success: You take no effect from the enemy's spell or mental effect, or your concentration is maintained and empowered.
  • Success: You take minimum damage or effect from the enemy's spell or mental effect, reduced by your armor if applicable, to a minimum of 1. Your concentration is maintained.
  • Fail: You take the enemy's full damage or harm, reduced by your armor. Your concentration is lost, with normal consequences.
  • Critical fail: You take a critical hit from the enemy's magic or mental effect, taking more than maximum damage, reduced by your armor if applicable. Your concentration is lost, with extra-dangerous consequences.
  • This skill adds directly to your maximum health points (HP).
  • This skill also improves your health regeneration rate: You regenerate health equal to [1 + Resilience] per 8 hours of healthy food and comfortable rest.
  • This skill can be rolled to resist intense heat, cold, disease, poison, radiation, pressure, and other un-dodge-able hazards.
  • Resilience can also be used to represent proactive endurance, for example in drinking contests or staying silent when hurt.
  • Add this skill to your initiative value.
  • Critically successful rolls result in minimum damage from hazards and peak human endurance.
  • Successful rolls result in half damage from hazards and successful endurance.
  • Failed rolls result in full damage from hazards and failures to endure physical challenges or temptations.
  • Critically failed rolls result in maximum harm from hazards, illness, infection and exhaustion.

Arcane skills are psionic or magical skills used to attempt supernatural powers called spells. These powers are not meant for mortal hands, and each attempt with them is a privilege and a danger.


Arcane Skill Name Applications Potential Failures
Chronomancy Viewing of the past, future, and alternate realities. Modifying these, changing the flow of time. You may be charged more SP, you may be subjected to unwanted time-effects, change the timeline irreparably, or see visions of inevitable doom.
Cryomancy The use of arcane water, ice and cold primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool. Failed cold spells may be less effective against targets, cost more sp, harm allies, or work entirely too well, or invite an unwanted elemental being.
Electromancy The use of arcane lightning primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool. You may accidentally shock yourself, your friends, erase important data, lose additional EP, or start a fire.
Illusion Creating sensory illusions to deceive other beings. The illusion may be less effective, cost more sp, or may be too real.
Metaphysics Detecting & dispelling magical effects, modifying and upgrading other spells, combining and triggering spells. Failed metaphysical manipulations may cost more EP, result in magical explosions, chaos magic effects, dimensional rifts, or anger deities.
Necromancy A cruel school of magic focused on curses, rot, death, and poison. The practice of this school is banned in many places for good reason, nearly every spell is hostile to living things and/or toxic to the environment.
Pyromancy The use of arcane fire, heat, and smoke primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool. Stories of foolish firemages are legendary for causing disasters in many societies. You may accidentally blow up your city or summon greater fiends.
Telekinetics Moving objects without touching them, and transforming or changing things on a molecular level. You may accidentally damage objects, have less control over objects, or move things entirely too quickly.
Telepathy Reading minds, mental communication, mental harm, and mind control. You may accidentally give away your own thoughts and intentions, cause unintended harm or nightmares, summon thought-demons, or engender unintended hostility.
Teleportation Near-instant translocation of yourself and other things, with some restrictions, by use of trans-dimensional shortcuts. Failed teleportations can lead to missing cargo, lost passengers, unwanted arrivals, and worse.
Vivithurgy Healing, reshaping and otherwise modifying living biological entities. Failed vivithurgy spells often cause unintended mutations or undesired homunculi.

Combat skills help the user both attack with and defend from weapons. Levels in combat skills increase your accuracy, damage, Initiative, and health.

In combat, you roll your combat skill to try to hit an enemy's defense target number, which the GM will tell you. If you hit, you apply damage, with some skills giving lower "graze" damage on a miss as well.

Having a weapon skill as a Focus Skill allows a player to apply a special attack effect on a hit, such as a shove, cleave or grapple. To gain more benefits, check out the combat talents.

Combat Skill Name Applications Statistics
  • Covers all projectile-launching weapons, from slingstones to ion cannons. For thrown weapons such as javelins and grenades, you can use this skill or Athletics.
  • Some heavy cannons may require a certain minimum athletics skill to shoot without a fixed mount, and halve your speed.
  • Shoot skill can also be used to intimidate with projectile weapons, but the specific action (trick shots etc) must be described and performed.
  • Unlike melee attacks, missed shots generally do not deal half damage, except for shotguns and focused sharpshooters, below.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your Weapon Damage.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your maximum Health Points.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your Initiative value.
  • This skill covers all attacks with melee weapons such as swords and spears and improvised melee weapons. To make a melee attack, you must be adjacent to an enemy.
  • Can also be used to intimidate, destroy, cut, or lever things.
  • Most special attacks allowed, but Brawl is superior for throws & chokes.
  • Add your Melee skill to your Weapon Damage.
  • Add your Melee skill to your maximum Health Points.
  • Add your Melee skill to your Initiative value.
  • Starting at level 1, missed swings apply half damage.
Brawl skill
  • Brawl skill covers all martial arts, wrestling and unarmed combat. To use it, you must generally have your hands or feet free and hit the enemy with them.
  • Can also be used to intimidate people or destroy things, though punching stone or metal may hurt you.
  • Brawl skill allows a wide variety of special attacks, including grapples, throws, chokes, pins, etc.
  • Damage with Brawl is 5 + your skill level, or 1 if you are untrained.
  • Add your Brawl skill to your maximum Health Points.
  • Add your Brawl skill to your Initiative value.
  • Starting at level 1, missed swings apply half damage.