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Skills in Psi-punk

If attributes represent what your character is like, skills represent what your character can do. Skills come in to play any time your character would need to make an appropriate check. For example, you would roll against your Athletics skill any time you attempt to scale a mountain, scurry up a rope, or clamber over a fence.

Skill Costs and Build Points

Skills start at a default level of Poor (-2) and are raised using Build Points. The number listed in the Cost column indicates the total number of Build Points you must expend to increase a skill to the level indicated in the Level column.


Table: Skill Cost
























*  Characters may not start with a skill of this level. Instead, the character must spend this number of Build Points through the character advancement process.

** These trait levels are restricted. No player character may have a trait level above Phenomenal or below Poor; these levels exist merely as a reference point for rolled results outside of the typical range.

Each character begins play with 45 Build Points to apply to skills as he chooses, bearing in mind that no skill may start with a level greater than Superb (GMs who wish to allow more heroic starting characters may choose to increase the number of BP available to 55 instead of 45).

Each time a character increases a trait level he reduces his remaining number of Build Points by the amount shown on the Skill Cost table above. When a character has 0 Build Points left to spend, he may no longer improve any skill, but it’s okay to “bank” leftover BP for later use as well (see Character Advancement).

When choosing a skill to improve, you must decide which of the six secondary attributes will link to it. Once chosen, the associated attribute may not be changed without the GM’s approval. The skills listed below are intentionally left uncategorized because many skills are capable of falling under more than one attribute umbrella.

Use your common sense (and the GM’s permission) to make logical selections. The Climb skill, for example, would not logically benefit from a high Status attribute, but it may be suitable as either a Strength or a Dexterity skill, depending on the way your character handles its use.

For every 15 Build Points you spend on any number of skills associated with a specific secondary attribute, that attribute’s level increases by +1. For example, if I choose to associate the Athletics skill with the Strength attribute and I raise the Athletics skill from Poor (-2) to Superb (+3), my Strength attribute will raise from Fair (the default level) to Good (+1), because I spent 15 Build Points to raise the skill from Poor to Superb.

Alternately, I may choose to increase Athletics from Poor (-2) to Good (+1) and Melee Combat from Poor (-2) to Great (+2) for a total of 16 points in Strength attributes, which would also increase my Strength from Fair (0) to Good (+1). Note that the one “leftover” Build Point will apply to the same attribute once 14 more Build Points have been spent on associated skills.

When writing skills down on your character sheet, it is a good idea to indicate which attribute you chose to associate it with. For example, when writing down the Athletics skill on my character sheet, I might write down Superb Athletics [Strength], to indicate that I have an Athletics level of Superb and that it is associated with the Strength attribute. This way, it will be easy to remember which attribute applies to the skill when spending Luck Points.

With few exceptions, the skills listed below don’t need detailed rules to tell you how to apply them to your game. If you have questions about when to use a skill, ask the GM; he can help you determine under what circumstances a given skill is appropriate. The GM reserves the right to restrict skills from being used “untrained”; that is, using a skill at the default level of Poor without allocating any levels to it. Medical skills are good examples of skills to restrict from untrained use.


Skill Groups and Specialized Skills

Most characters specialize in certain skills but are proficient with a broad range of associated skills. For example, a character who is very good at Climbing might also be a well-rounded athlete capable of performing most athletic skills with some degree of proficiency, even if he hasn’t focused his energy on learning them. This is represented by a two-tier skill selection system in which characters select a Skill Group (listed in bold, below) and a Specialized Skill (from the list of options following the Skill Group entries).

When choosing your character’s skills, spend your Build Points on Skill Groups in the manner outlined above. These Skill Groups will represent your character’s broader range of abilities and help you to feel like a more well-rounded and flexible individual when skill checks are called for during play.

When purchasing skills with your Build Points, you may select 2 free Specialized Skills from any Skill Group which you have increased. If you have enough Build Points leftover and wish to specialize in additional skills, you may spend 5 Build Points to gain an additional specialization; BP spent in this way counts toward increasing your associated attribute.

Editor’s Clarification: You may select two total free Specializations during character creation, not two free Specializations per Skill Group.

Any time you make a skill check during play that would be appropriate for one of your Specialized Skills, you may freely reroll 1dF without using a Luck Point. For example, Ron is attempting to scale a wall. To do so, he will check against his Athletics skill, but since he chose to specialize in the Climb skill he may reroll one die result for that check.



  • You have 45 Build Points (BP) to spend on Skill Groups.
  • You may choose 2 free Specializations. Those Specializations must be in a Skill Group on which you have spent BP.
  • You may spend 5 BP to purchase additional Specializations.
  • When you spend BP on a Skill Group, select a Secondary Attribute to link to that Skill. For every 15 BP you spend on Skills linked to a given Attribute, that Attribute increases by 1.

Example List of Skills

Skill names listed in bold are Skill Groups, while those listed afterward are Specializations.

Artistic: Aesthetics, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Literary Arts, Performing Arts (music, theater, storytelling, jester, dance, etc., and such skills as Choreography, Composition, Costuming, etc.), Visual Arts (painting, drawing, sculpting, etc.)

Athletic: Acrobatics, Aerial Acrobatics, Balance, Boating, Climbing, Endurance, Free-running, Jumping, Pole-vaulting, Swimming, Throwing, Various Sports

Combat (Melee): Boxing, Grappling, Hand-to-hand, Martial Arts, Melee Weapons, Pugilism, Thrown Weapons, Wrestling

Combat (Non-physical): Astral Combat, Combat Tactics, Verbal Combat (epithets, insults, etc.)

Combat (Ranged): Automatics, Handguns, Rifles, Shotguns, Thrown Weapons

Covert: Breaking & Entering, Conceal, Detect/Deactivate Traps, Demolitions, Infiltrate, Lockpicking, Pickpocketing, Poisoning, Shadowing, Sleight of Hand, Stealth

Craft: Armory, Basket Making, Bowyer/Fletcher, Carpenter, Cooking, Knots, Leatherworking, Masonry, Pottery, Smith, Tailor, Weaving

Knowledge: Criminology, Cultures, Detective Fiction, Film, Folklore, Geography, History, Literature, Occultism, Political Situations, Psionics, Supernatural, Trivia, Sciences (pick one, such as Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Oceanography, Physiology, Psychology, Volcanology, etc.)

Language: All characters are automatically Fair at their native language, which represents a college literacy level. Increasing the skill level represents an improved reading/writing proficiency with their own language.

Characters with a Language skill of less than Fair still speak their native language, but they are increasingly less literate than other members of their culture. A Mediocre Language skill represents someone with only a high-school reading level, while a character with Poor skill may speak only one or two words, at best.

Characters may select a new language each time they select this skill. Each language starts at a default level of Poor. Without levels in a specific language their skill is non-existent, meaning the character does not speak it at all. Increasing a Language level beyond Poor improves the character’s ability to speak, read, and write that language, as outlined above.

Manipulation: Act, Bluff, Bribery, Con Artist, Disguise, Exhort, Extort, Fast-talk, Flattery, Forgery, Interrogate, Intimidate, Impress, Intrigue, Lying, Oratory, Persuade, Seduction

Medical: Anatomy, Antidotes, Diagnosis, Doctoring, Field Dressing, First Aid, Medicine, Nursing, Surgery

Characters without levels in a Medical skill are at a level of non-existent, meaning they have no knowledge of the skill at all. Attempting to use a Medical skill without levels assumes that the character has a skill level of Abysmal.

Merchant: Bargain, Barter, Business Sense, Evaluate Goods, Haggle, Innkeeping, Marketing, Salesmanship, Shopkeeping

Notice: Feel, Hear, Intuition, Search, See, Smell, Taste, Touch

It is important to note that Notice checks shouldn’t be called for just to spot clues, uncover plot items, or to generally just spot something that isn’t out-of-the-ordinary. Notice is best used for opposed actions (when specifically trying to spot a hidden foe, for example) or to determine unusual properties of something (such as tasting a chemical ingredient that most people wouldn’t notice). See Game Mastering for additional advice on when to call for a Notice check.

Professional: Accounting, Begging, Bureaucracy, Consultant, Economics, Gambling, Investing, Law, Photography, Publishing, Seamanship

Rank: Corporate, Government, Law Enforcement, Military

Rank is a skill that is rarely, if ever, checked against. Characters may hold rank with a specific entity, such as a specific corporation, government, or branch of the military. Sometimes a character may require a certain rank within an organization to have access to top secret information (such as CIA clearance) or may need a specific rank with law enforcement to carry restricted weapons in public.

Generally, Rank is only checked against if one is trying to influence an inferior-ranking member in the same organization. In this case, roll a rank check with a difficulty equal to the target’s rank level. Success means you were able to influence the character in some way.

Reputation: Fame, Infamy, Notoriety, Popularity, Repute, Respect, Street Cred

Social (Informal): Bar Etiquette, Camaraderie, Carouse, Choosing just the right Gift, Control Libido, Flirting, Game Playing, Hold your liquor, Make Amusing Faces or Noises, ‘Net Etiquette, Tall Tales, Uplift Spirits, Witty Insults

Social (Formal): Detect Lies, Diplomacy, Etiquette, Interviewing, Parley, Repartee, Savoir-Faire, Servant

Spiritual: Astral Projection, Communing with Nature, Fasting, Giving Comfort, Listening Deeply, Meditation, Patience, Praying for Miracles, Rituals, Shamanic Journeying, Theology

Survival: Camouflage, Camping, Fishing, Hide Traces, Hunting, Mimic Animal Noises, Nature Lore, Navigation, Tracking, Wildcraft, Woodcraft

Technical: Computer Security, Computer Use, Electronics, Engineering, Mechanic, Repair Vehicle, Research

Urban: Barroom Savvy, Gang Smarts, Shady Contacts, Street Etiquette, Street Gossip, Streetwise, Urban Survival, Urban Tracking

Vehicles (Drive/Pilot): Boats, Busses, Civilian Cars, Commercial Jets, Fighter Jets, Helicopters, Military Land Vehicles (Armored Cars, Tanks, etc.), Motorcycles, Race Cars, Semi-trucks, Trains