War in the Heavens: Dark Energy
Because it is understood that characters are meant to be adventurers, they all begin at Average (+0) in the following skills:
- Vigor (For things like running, swimming, jumping, throwing, holding breath)
- Fight (unarmed fighting)
- Technologies (See below)
Most Other skills are understood to start at Mediocre (-1).
Academia (library research)
Artisan: (Any skill with material products.)
Artist: music composition
Artist: stained glass
Artist: (anything creative/aesthetic)
Cultures (see below)
Focus (good for tedious and intricate mental tasks)
Inquiry (aka detectivework)
Knavery (all things sly and underhanded)
Languages (see below)
Lore: (A particular culture/planet)
Lore: The Jumpweb
Lore: (Particular regions, planets, terrains)
Lore: (Almost anything else purely informational)
Redemption: Craft Redemption (low tech)
Redemption: Mech Redemption (machines)
Remedy (emergency first aid)
Ride (astride animals)
Sleight of Hand
Stoic Body (mental and physical adaptation to tough situations)
Stoic Mind (mental fortitude, aginst for example torture and psi powers)
Xenos (see below)
Guild and other Restricted skills
A few skills default to poor (-2):
Biomes (see below)
Redemption: Volt Redemption (electronics)
Redemption: High Tech Redemption (exotic stuff)
Think Machine (Computers)
Terraforming (see below)
Physick (long-term, deliberate medical care)
Alchemy (see below)
Psi Skills (See below)
Theurgial Skills (See below)
Some skills measure not so much the depth of your ability in a given area, but the breadth of your expertise in a number of different but related areas. Language, Xenology(/Culture/Biome), and Technology are elements from Fading Suns that needed work for adaptation to FATE, and were made into distribution skills, which measure the number of specialization “areas” you know in that skill. Those areas can be specific langauges, specific “standard” technologies, specific sentient alien races, worlds (in the biological sense), or cultures. Each of these skills assumes you have a familiarity with one area— your native language, culture, biome, species, and world. Hence the default “Mediocre” rating provides one area automatically, with higher levels of the skill providing further areas:
Languages: For Language, each language in which you’re fluent, and each writing system you’re able to use, constitutes 1 area. For reference, “Urthish” is spoken throughout known space including by aliens, while Latin is a universal language in the Church, and Urthtech is often a second language for members of the Merchant League. The average person speaks only his native tongue, and is not literate. An adventurer will often be at least “average” in lanaguage— with 2-3 languages/dialects, and possibly literacy.
Technology areas are divvied up into tech level and specific cultures/areas/manufacturers/eras. The baseline level of technology is tech level 2. An additional tech level “costs” 4 additional areas. Hence at:
- Mediocre (1 area), which is most NPCs, would be TL2 with one area.
- Average (5 areas), which most PCs begin at, a character would be TL3 with 1 area.
- Fair (9 areas) is TL4 with 1 areas or TL3 with 5 areas
- Good (13 areas) is TL5 with 1 area, or TL4 with 5 areas
- Great (18 areas) is TL6 with 2 areas, or TL5 with 6 areas
- Superb (24 areas) is TL7 with 3 areas, or TL6 with 7 areas
- Epic (30 areas) is TL9 with 2 areas, or TL8 with 6 areas
- Legendary (36 areas) is TL10 with 4 areas, or TL9 with 8 areas.
Xenos ( & Cultures & Biomes): For Xenos, every sentient alien species you’re familiar with— and this makes skills like anthropology, psychology, medicine, and ettiquette apply to that species— is one area. The skill applies, too, to any roughly similar animal species from that alien’s homeworld, and to all cultures in which the alien has heavily influenced. It doesn’t mean knowledge of every culture or every species that can be found in proximity to the alien.
Probably Xenos is the best bet for most players, since it’s more common in the setting to think in terms of which sentient species one is dealing with— moreover it’s the cheapest in most senses, as you could readily know every species in the Chronicle at “Good (+2).” But Culture and Biome potentially overlap with Xenos. For strictly cultural or medical specialists, these might be better:
Cultures: Culture pertains to any community, regardless of what planet or aliens are involved, but almost never to biological matters. You can use ettiquette and anthropology with cultures you know, but it won’t help with Physick or Melee.
Biomes: Biome pertains to a planet and its indigenous species, sentient or otherwise, but almost never to cultural matters. It will certainly help with Biology, Physick, Melee, Beastlore, etc. But almost never applies to skills like ettiquette.
Psychic and Theurgic abilities come in a number of different paths, each of which requires a seperate occult skill. However, the only thing the skill is good for is for controlling the results of invoking a Theurgy or Psi aspect. See psi and theurgy for paths.
Terraforming: Terraforming is not a seperate skill, it is something that can effectively only be done at a skill level equal to the minimum skill you have among Meteorology, Geology, Biology, and Biomes.
Alchemy: Alchemy is a quasi-occult skill that combines piety and intellect into a series of intuitions about physical substances and their “subtle,” or “spiritual” properties. Don’t expect pyrotechnics if you specialize in Alchemy, but as an addendum to occult powers, medicine, or science, it can be interesting