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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 risky situations, 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 four main categories of skills:

Skill Name Applications Potential failures Level 6 Capstone Feature
Animals Skill working socially with animals and making animals obey commands, including mounting and riding animals. Add to pet attack rolls and mounted attacks. In a pinch, can also cover microbiology, bacteria and viruses, and minor veterinarian work. 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. You always succeed to identify animals, animal statistics and animal abilities.
Art Skill and speed in visual art, as well as art history, lore, 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. While your art is visible to allies, they get +1 to all rolls.
Athletics Add this skill to your Initiative and HP. Used for climbing, jumping, swimming, pushing, lifting, throwing, breaking things with your own muscle power. Used 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. You can jump or fall up to 10 meters safely in any direction, with no roll needed.
Computers Efficient computer programming, hacking and rapid data analysis. See the Hacking Actions table below. Computer skill can also be used to control and attack with remote controlled drones. Learning new computer lanuages (i.e. alien) usually takes 1-7 days of study. 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 or has unwanted results. You can attempt to access any device within 10m wirelessly.
Crafting Crafting, modification and repair of all tools, machines, weapons, and vehicles. Also covers architecture knowledge. Good crafting results require time, space, materials, and high skill. Can also be used to pick locks. When you are crafting with peace, 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. You can make one repair attempt on any damaged device without needing parts.
Drive Ability to drive land vehicles, including cars, trucks, trains, tanks, motorcycles, and hovercraft, but not ride animals. Applies equally to all land vehicles, and mostly to speed, safety and maneuvering. Can be used for vehicle jumping, ramming or sideswiping attacks as well. You crash, damage the vehicle, or waste fuel, or take longer to your destination. Your fuel usage becomes twice as efficient.
History Ability to recall historical and social facts and trivia about your world. 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. Once per day you can roll history as another skill to represent a famous historical figure that you describe.
  • Ability to intuitively sense what another person is thinking, feeling, caring about, or hiding, just by listening. You could choose to try to sense what they value, what they care about, what they are protecting, what they love, what is their weakness, what are their abilities, etc.
  • Add this skill to your Initiative value.
You cannot properly read the other person or get the wrong information. You can always Initiativeively sense whether someone is being misleading or not, regardless of roll result.
  • Use this skill to find clues, items, anomalies and curiosities, using your senses and your investigator's intuition.
  • Add this skill to your Initiative value.
You find less information and items (although you will never fail to find plot-critical items and information). You can always sense danger nearby to you or your allies.
Linguistics Use this skill to converse in and translate obscure languages. You use the wrong words or translate improperly or partially. It never takes you more than 24 hours of study to become fluent in a new language.
  • Roll as a social skill to rallying others, motivate groups, intimidate enemy groups, public storytelling, commanding others.
  • In addition, you can make an inspiring speech [skill times] per day by spending 1 minute to inspire one ally use one of their skills with +1.
Your speech causes your audience to become nervous, discouraged, offended or angered. Your inspiring speeches give +2 to rolls instead of +1.
  • General healing, first aid, surgery, amputations, installing implants and cyber-ware, autopsy, diagnosis, anatomy, corpse ID, vaccine development, and microbiology.
  • Additionally, you can spend 15 minutes to apply first aid and heal your skill level in HP to your party's untreated wounds, with a med-kit.
  • This has a 25% chance of consuming the medkit, but does not require a skill roll.
Your medical efforts get less information, are less effective, cannot help, or make the problem worse. All your nonmagical healing abilities never take more than 1 action to use per target.
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. Can be rolled like a social skill to comfort or inspire others. Regardless of its true value, others find your music forgettable, offensive, or irritating. While your music is audible to allies, they all get +1 to all rolls.
Navigation Recognize tracks and trails, navigate from place to place and 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. You get less information or go the wrong way or get lost. You always know where to go to get more information.
Pilot Ability to pilot water, air and space vehicles, including remote controlled drones, but not ride animals or land vehicles. 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. Your fuel usage becomes twice as efficient.
  • Used for chemical 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.
  • You can also roll this skill to figure out where to find the ingredients for the chemical you want to brew--whether that is searching a database or gathering herbs in a forest.
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. You no longer need a lab to craft drugs. When you do have a lab, you get a further +1.
  • Used for sneaking, stealing, being personally unheard and unseen, and criminal history and lore.
  • By default, Stealth skill helps you mask only visual and audio evidence of yourself.
  • You can only hide other evidences like vibrations, body heat and scent if proper tools are available to you.
  • Hiding is an action. In combat, unseen attackers get +1 to hit and damage.
  • This skill can also be used to pick locks if you have the proper tools.
  • Stealth should ONLY be rolled at the critical moment when you may or may not be discovered.
When stealth fails, enemies' alertness level increases. This may be binary or a scale from yellow, orange, to red alert. If picking locks, your tools may break or the lock may jam. You can roll your stealth skill for up to 15 allies in a group, and they will all share your result, regardless of any personal stealth penalties they have, only yours matters.
Talk This social skill covers persuasion, diplomacy, charm, manipulation, deception, distraction, taunting, intimidation, generally with a single target. Your conversation is less effective or offensive. The TN to improve a relationship in some way, is capped at 12.
Mercantile Used for trading, negotiating, bluffing, persuading, and deceiving others in all possible capitalist contexts. You can also use to recall information and work efficiently with businesses, tax forms, balance sheets and bureaucracy. You get a worse outcome on a deal or you don't notice a loophole for the counterparty in the deal. You always get a 25% discount on all prices when you are the negotiator, before any roll.
[Knowledge: Speciality] Knowledge of a specific topic not covered above. For example:
Plants: knowledge of useful herbs, ability to find useful plants, and knowledge of what plant growth patterns imply about the environment of the area. 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. You have an innate sense of in which direction items relating to your knowledge specialty can be found.

Defensive skills help to protect your character in and out of combat, as well as provide add-on benefits. If there is a case where more than one defense skill might plausibly apply, then you can choose your higher defense skill to roll against it.

Defensive Skill Name Applications Degrees of Success/Fail Level 6 Capstone Feature
  • This skill is used to try to avoid physical harm, from either enemies' attacks in battle, or from explosions or falling debris.
  • Add this skill to your Initiative value.
  • Critical success: You take no damage or harm.
  • Basic success: You take half damage, reduced by your armor to a minimum of 1.
  • Fail: You take the enemy's full damage or harm, reduced by your armor.
  • Critical fail: You take a critical hit; you take the enemy's maximum damage, reduced by your armor.
Whenever you successfully dodge something, you can opt to instantly jump or roll up to 5 meters in any direction you choose without provoking attacks.
  • This skill can be rolled to resist magic, resist sonic weapons or mental effects, or to act calm when an opponent is trying to sense your weaknesses.
  • This skill can also be rolled to sustain your concentration on spells and other things whenever it is threatened by attacks and distractions.
  • In both cases, roll vs. the enemy's attack TN.
  • Additionally, if you have at least level 1 in this skill, you will regenerate an amount of Energy Points (EP) equal to your level in this skill per hour of meditation or rest.
  • 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.
You become immune to magical and mental effects that would disable you or control your mind.
  • This skill adds directly to your maximum health points (HP).
  • This skill also improves your health regeneration rate: [1 + Resilience per 8 hours of good food and comfortable rest].
  • This skill can be rolled to resist intense heat, cold, disease, poison, radiation, pressure, and other un-dodge-able hazards.
  • In certain cases, Resilience can also be used as a basic skill representing active endurance, for example in drinking contests or staying silent when hurt.
  • Critically successful rolls result in minimum damage from hazards and superhuman 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 damage from hazards, illness, infection and exhaustion.
You have 5 levels of exhaustion rather than the usual four, with the first resulting only in you looking scruffy.

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 dangerous.

Arcane skills cannot be learned or upgraded without the Caster talent. The Caster I talent allows one arcane skill to be trained, while Caster II allows any arcane skills to be trained.

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 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 sp, 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 effective and may be entirely real.
Metaphysics Detecting & dispelling magical effects, modifying and upgrading other spells, combining and triggering spells. Failed metaphysical manipulations may cost more sp, result in magical explosions, chaos magic effects, dimensional rifts, or anger deities.
Necromancy Spells that primarily create undead minions but also provide weapons and tools related to death, bone, and poison. Losing control of one's undead minions is a constant danger to students of this school, as well as the standard risks.
Pyromancy The use of arcane fire, heat, and smoke primarily to destroy enemies, but also as a tool. You may accidentally burn yourself, your friends, cause a wildfire, or accidentally summon daemons.
Vivithurgy Healing, reshaping and otherwise modifying living biological entities. Failed healing spells often cause unintended mutations.
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 healing, 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 Instant translocation of yourself items, vehicles, animals, and others, with some restrictions. You may not go as far or as accurately as you wanted. You may teleport things you did not intend to teleport. You may be shifted to another dimension or accidentally tear open a portal to an unsafe place.

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 roll damage, with some skills giving lower "graze" damage on a miss as well.

Each time a player advances to a new level of combat skill, their HP is increased by that skill: +1 per level for Shoot, and +2 per level for Brawl and Melee.

All weapon skills allow any fighter to apply a special attack effect on a hit, such as a shove, cleave or grapple. To gain more benefits, check out the weapon mastery talents.

Combat Skill Name Applications Statistics Level 6 Capstone Feature
  • Covers all projectile-launching weapons, from shortbows to fusion cannons. For thrown weapons such as javelins and grenades, use Athletics.
  • Some heavy cannons may require a certain minimum athletics skill to shoot without a fixed mount.
  • Shoot skill can also be used to intimidate with projectile weapons.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your Accuracy roll.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your Damage roll.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your maximum Health Points.
  • Add your Shoot skill to your Initiative value.
  • Starting at level 4, missed shots apply 1d4+skill graze damage.
Gain +2 critical strike chance with Shoot.
  • Covers all attacks with melee weapons such as swords and spears, including the use of objects as melee weapons.
  • 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 Accuracy roll.
  • Add your Melee skill to your Damage roll.
  • Add your 2 x Melee skill to your maximum Health Points.
  • Add your Melee skill to your Initiative value.
  • Starting at level 1, missed swings apply half damage.
Gain +2 critical strike chance with Melee.
Brawl skill
  • Brawl skill covers all martial arts, wrestling and unarmed combat. To use it, you must generally have your hands or feet free, though some species such as reptillians may be able to make tail swipe attacks as well.
  • 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 throws, chokes, pins, etc.
  • Add your Brawl skill to your Accuracy roll.
  • Damage with Brawl is three times your skill level, or 1 if you are untrained.
  • Add your 2 x Brawl skill to your maximum Health Points.
  • Add your Brawl skill to your Initiative value.
  • Starting at level 1, missed swings apply half damage.
Gain +2 critical strike chance with Brawl.

Like the rest of the system, hacking in CPA is handled in a simple and low-power way. To hack a system, you must do the following

  1. Find a local sub-network terminal.

      Typically, the following systems are divided into separate networks, which will need to be hacked separately and locally:
    • Security // Maintenance // Engineering // Robots // Operations // Personnel // Life Support // Central AI // Database etc.
    • You must find a local terminal on the site of your goal; in the future, electronic security protocols are highly developed and easily shut down most cross-internet cracking attempts.
  2. Log in.

    This usually requires credentials, an access card, or a 20-minute crack attempt with a hard-wired or hot-wired connection using Computers skill vs the system TN.
    • As an example, to open a certain locked auto-door, you could steal an officer access card, hack the central security processor, steal a worker access card and reprogram it, or hot-wire your rig to the door lock and try to crack that.
    • Some systems may have layers of access. For example, you may have the dictator's control room passcode but there may be a separate master key-code for the automated killbots.
    • If your attempt fails, you may get feedback damage, your equipment fried, your data lost, raise the alarm level, lock the terminal, raise all TNs for this area, or trigger traps.
  3. Use normal system functions.

    With unfettered access to a system, you can perform normal functions at this point, with a TN of 10-20 based on the simplicity of the interface.
    • For example, if you have full access to the maintenance system, and it is simple to use, you could shut off the lights or redirect ventilation in the officers' room with one click.
    • But if you wanted to reprogam the replicators to make bullets instead of candy bars, that would require a hack.
    • Some actions with unlocked computers may use other skills: social skills for chats, investigate for obscure data, crafting for CAD/CAM and fabricators, etc
    • Adventurers are often breaking into secure areas; for this reason the central security computer is often a hacker's main target. Once down, the enemy cannot confidently rely on patrol bots but may still have a few emergency backup auto-defense systems that are self-powered.
  4. If you intend to destroy or alter the system:

    Prepare to make a Computers check. Declare the intent of your hack, spend 30 minutes of in-game time to work on it, and roll Computers skill vs the system TN.
    • Destroying or altering a system might include actions such as:
      • Completely shutting down a self-checking security network
      • Corrupting an AI persona core
      • Reprogramming an automated factory's work order flow system from one faction to another
      • Inserting a virus that fries all data in an office building
    • System TNs vary from 10-20 from obsolete models to corporate security to self-checking divine AIs.
    • Modifiers can be applied to your roll:
      • Trying to complete the job faster increases TN significantly.
      • Earthquakes, bombardment, or other distractions increase TN significantly and may prompt meditation checks to stay focused.
      • Trying to hack via a remote controlled drone increases TN by +2 due to packet loss.
      • Powerful virus software can reduce your TN but is generally one-time-use as adaptive systems learn from it.
    • Similar to other skills, the effect or magnitude of your success or failure will determine the consequences.
    • High successes allow a greater effect, a longer safe time, etc.
    • Near misses allow an extremely short time window for the hack or allow it but raise the alarm level (i.e., from yellow to orange alert).
    • Failures may give you feedback damage, fry your equipment, raise a high alert, lock out your terminal, raise all TNs for the area, or trigger more traps to activate.