Thursday, February 7, 2013

HEROIC: D6 Supers - Part 3 Skills


All skills start at the same rank as their parent Attribute, and then dice are added to them during character creation (they can be improved later).  Normally skills are added to the parent Attribute to determine the dice pool, though in some cases they might be added with a power.

Specializations are purchased at 1D higher than the parent skill, but can never be more than +3D over the parent.

Any skill with a * attached cannot be used untrained.

The following is the list of what Skill levels mean;

Die Code        Description
1D                   Below Average: untrained human average
2D                   Novice: below average human level
3D                   Average: average level of training for a human
4D                   Competent: above average level of expertise
5D                   Skilled: professional level of training for a human
6D                   Professional: considered among the best in a city or geographic 
7D                   Exceptional: considered among the best in a state, region or            
8D                   Brilliant: considered among the best on a continent
9D                   Nationally Renowned: among the best in the world
10D                 World Renowned: among the top few individuals possessing this 
                        skill in the world
------------------ Cosmic Beyond 10D**
11D                 Master: the world’s best seek advice from this individual
12D                 Sector Renowned: among the best in a star system
13D                 Galactically Renowned: among the best in several star systems
14D                 Legendary: stories of the individual’s skill will be passed down 
                        for generations
15D                 Mythical: the individual will be known for all time as one of the 
                        greatest in this skill

**Normally Cosmic ranks (11D+) are not available unless the players has taken the Cosmic Perk with Narrator approval.


Brawling – This is the raw untrained skill at fighting.  No technique, not style, just bash it until it stops moving.  Specializations would be chosen from the list of Combat Maneuvers found later.

*Martial Arts – Formal training that might include everything from Kung-Fu to Boxing to Street Fighting.  For every 2D in this skill a character has, they gain an extra Hand-to-Hand action per round.  This could be an attack or a parry and if they are capable even a dodge (see Master of the Martial Arts Perk later).  This is only given for every full 2D they character has in Martial Arts; someone with 3D would only gain 2 actions, while 4D would get 2, etc…  Specializations for this skill are chosen from the Combat Maneuvers list.

Melee Combat – This skill covers all handheld weapons, including improvised ones (such as mail boxes, cars, and street lights). It represents the ability to both attack and defend with such weapons.  Specializations include specific weapons or even Weapons of Opportunity.


Athletics – Athletics is a catch-all skill for a lot of different physical abilities, but at its base it covers the character’s base ability to move their body.  Possible specializations include specific sports, acrobatics, gymnastics, etc… unless it is covered by an existing skill, if it is physical, Athletics covers it.

Ranged Combat – Need to hit that guy over there with a rock, a bullet, an arrow or an energy blast?  This is your go-to skill for such acts.  Specializations include specific types of weapons (pistols, rifles, bows), powers (Self) and hand-eye-coordination (thrown) attacks.

Piloting – This is the skill of movement without walking, running or swimming.  Aka, driving, riding, flying, etc…  Specializations include the previously mentioned as well as boating and self (for fliers).

Slight-of-Hand – Now you see it, now you don’t.  Need to palm that key card?  Follow the alien into thinking you threw the detonator off the roof-top?  Here it is.  Specializations include palming, juggling, pick-pocketing, etc…

Stealth – A hero who wants to move silently, leaves false trails and slips past surveillance devices undetected uses this skill. Sneak only covers the ability to be stealthy and quiet; its results affect all senses. Sneak is opposed by Awareness/Notice or Tracking.  Specializations include terrain type (jungle, urban, etc…), hiding and even shadowing.


Climbing - The hero knows how to scale a vertical surface. She can move up the surface at her normal movement rate (barring environmental factors) with this skill; otherwise she moves at half her normal rate.  Specializations include rock climbing, indoor wall climbing, rope climbing, wall-crawling, etc…

Feat-of-Strength – When a hero has to push themselves or dig down deep and get that burning car off their teammate, or hold up the crumbling building, etc… this is the skill that is used.  Note it does not increase the amount the character can lift, unless they are making a Push roll to increase their Strength for a specific action, then this skill would be used as well.  Specializations are things like carrying, dead-lifting and pressing.

Leaping – This skill governs leaping over pits, chasms, or other obstacle gaps, as well as jumping up and grabbing an outcropping. Specializations include things like long jump, high jump and such.

Wrestling – The only hand-to-hand style that doesn’t use Fighting as its base.  Wrestling is used primarily for grappling attacks (see Combat for more details) and specializations include specific maneuvers.


Resistance – Need to resist the effects of a poison?  Need to see if that power nullifying field is stronger than you?  Need to hold out against an alien plague?  This is the skill.  Specializations are toxins, diseases and energies.

Running – When you need to go a little faster or last a little longer in the race, this is the skill for you.  Specializations include sprinting, marathon and pacing.

Stamina – When all else fails and you have pushed yourself to your limits, this is when stamina is called into question.  Specializations are Pushing and Exhaustion.

Swimming – This skill helps the hero float as well as move quickly through water. For every round the hero wants to float or cover some distance, she must make a swimming roll.  Specializations include long distance, short distance, diving and treading.


Computers – This skill represents more than just using computers, but in fact programming them as well.  Specializations include programming, specific system types, or hacking.

Engineering – A must have for gadgeteers and inventors this skill relates to the hero’s ability to build new items and alter existing ones. Combined with sciences and/or medicine skills, the engineering skill allows the hero to create entirely new items, for buildings to spaceships to new life forms.  Specializations for this skill include mechanical, electrical, theoretical, etc…

Knowledge (Type) – If there is a type of knowledge or trivia that is not covered by another Reason skill, this is your catch all.  When taking this skill you must select a type.  There are no specializations for this skill.  Types include such things as Occult, History of, Area Knowledge of a specific city, nation, etc… cultural knowledge as well are part of this skill.

Language (Type) – Other than their native language (which they are assumed to speak at Reason level), any extra languages are covered by this skill and must be selected when taken.  There are no specializations for this skill, type examples are French, German, Japanese, etc…

*Magic – All spell-casters and sorcerers require this skill to perform magic castings.  Specializations include such things as summoning, alternation, protection, counter-spell, etc…  This skill cannot be used untrained.

*Medicine – More than just first aid, this skill represents a working knowledge of medicine and training in the field.  Specializations include first aid, diagnosis, surgery, etc… this skill cannot be used untrained.

Repair – This skill covers the hero’s general ability to fix things. The difficulty is based upon the hero’s familiarity with the object he’s trying to repair.  Specializations include electronics, robots, engines and other technologies.

Sciences – This skill covers knowledge and education related to hard science and theoretical technology.  Specializations include specific scientific disciplines and even theoretical ones such as the metaphysics and other things related to superheroes.


Awareness – An all purpose noticing things skill, Awareness can be used to test for surprise, finding hidden things or even noticing personality quirks.  Specializations include; Search, Notice, Sense Motive, etc…

Disguise – Using disguise allows a hero to alter her features so that she is unrecognizable/recognizable as else. Heroes can use makeup, wigs, costumes, or whatever they have at hand to make the disguise. This skill is opposed by Awarness to attempt to see through disguise.  Specializations include, costuming, makeup usage, accents, body movement, etc…

Gambling – This includes a working knowledge of games-of-chance, odds calculation and how to manipulate these things.  Gambling checks are made mostly when trying to cheat or trying to detect cheating.  Specializations include, Bluff, Cheat, or a specific game.

Streetwise – This skill is used to find information, goods, and contacts in an urban environment. Typically, streetwise is used in large cities where a shadowy underworld element exists. Using streetwise, a hero can gain information not accessible through more conventional means of research.  Specializations include specific city, specific criminal organization, specific neighbourhood, etc…

Survival – A successful survival roll allows the hero to learn about his surroundings and its inherent dangers. In a situation where the danger is coming from a local source, the hero can roll to see if he knows how to handle the situation.  Specializations include specific terrain types (not that Urban is handled by Streetwise).

Tracking – A hero uses tracking to follow the trail of any person, animal, or alien being.  Specializations include specific terrain types (not that Urban is handled by Streetwise).


Animal Handling – This skill measures the hero’s ability to control common animals, though not to ride them. It is generally used to make animals perform tricks and follow commands. Specializations include specific types of animal, or specific types of tricks/training with animals.

Artistic Expression (Type) – The artist skill involves all aspects of creating a work of art, from paintings to sonatas.  There are no specializations for this skill.  A type must be chosen and can include drawing, painting, photography, singing, playing a musical instrument, journalism, creating forgeries, etc…

Persuasion – This is the overall skill for manipulating people through various means.  It is a catch-all skill that mostly benefits from its specializations, which can include seduction, intimidation, fast talking, command, charm, interrogation, etc…

Willpower – This skill measures the hero’s strength of will and determination. It is used to oppose mental attacks and coercion attempts (that is Psyche-based skills and powers related to Psyche if no appropriate power is present).  It can also be used as a last ditch effort to keep going.  A hero may also use this skill to continue to stand and fight, even after her Wounds have dropped to zero. (Note: Wounds cannot fall below zero; all extra damage is disregarded.) The hero makes a willpower skill roll during each round following the one in which she dropped to zero wounds. This roll counts as an extra action for determining multi-action penalties. If the hero fails her willpower roll, she falls unconscious.  Specializations include the specific kind of coercion to be resisted (bluff, charm, intimidation, interrogation, etc…), torture, mental attacks, pain tolerance, etc…


This is just a first run assortment of skills that I feel are most important for a game.  It was cobbled together from the D6 Legend document.  If there are skill missing that you feel are important to be their own and not just a specialization of an existing skill, feel free to add them to your games.

Up next: Statistics


  1. Hmn, does a super-hero game really need a Swimming skill?

  2. Off the top of my head it would come in useful for Aquaman, Namor, the SHIELD Frogmen, GI JOE Frogmen, COBRA Frogmen, etc...

    Is it NEEDED? No. But then really, in the most simplistic systems, attributes are all you really need. :)

  3. I'm not asking if water-adventures are needed; of course! But, to me, swimming in a supers-game is like driving - everyone can do it just fine (unless they can't, and then its a disad). Subbie don't have swimming anyway - they have Super-Swimming or Super-Movement (Swimming) or whatever.

  4. I'm going to have to go with to each their own, but given that I know people in my own life who can't swim (my finacée for example) and anyone could try based on their BODY, it would still be a disad to not be able to swim I guess.

    Not such a big deal that I would chop it out myself, and I would use the skill for control over the swimming of Super Movement (Swimming), just like Pilot: Self would be a control skill for Super Movement (Flight) :)


  5. Fair enough; just a suggestion. I'm a guy who likes having the least number of skills possible. In this case, spending points of Swimming just seems like a Knight-Boat kind of situation: it either never comes up (how many supers games take place while swimming?) and thus the points spent are wasted OR it comes up often enough to justify the points in which case it's, like, "How come there's ALWAYS a pool or a pond or a reservoir in these stories?"

    It would be totally different in a different genre.

  6. Or a fjord! ;)

    I totally understand your positioning on this, but at the same time if you aren't a doctor, you don't need to take Medicine right? It's there for those who would need it and like to shine.

    Though I think Super Friends proved the uselessness of Aquaman on a team... still ;)

    I have often thought of putting ALL physical skills like that (Climbing, Jumping, Running, Swimming, etc...) under a catch-all skill called Athletics.

    You given me thought.

  7. For what its worth: I like the idea of Athletics. I mean, supers is not D&D. In D&D-type games, it makes sense to parcel out skills. But people in comics are omni-competent. ANY weakness is a disad. I also think - in a supers game - SCIENCE! is one skill. Mr. Fantastic doesn't need to spend points on every damn branch of science. It's all just, you know, Science!.

    Re Aquaman - yeah...just yeah. I really like Namor, but he only sort of works on a team (i.e. the Defenders which was only sort of a team). Aquaman even less so. Unless you're doing the Brave and the Bold, but, in that case, Aquaman gets "Outrageous +10d" so, you know. :)

  8. I agree with you on the Athletics concept and as such will make the changes later in a new post.

    Thanks for the back and forth on this one :)