Skills and Specialties
Most skills fall within the realm of general knowledge. Very few true specialists exist, even in the Marvel Universe. If a character has a competent but basic understanding of a type of training, field of study, talent or profession they would be considered to have a general knowledge level in that particular skill group.
General Skill knowledge is represented by a d6 addition to the dice pool. Specialties however, focus on a particular aspect of a General Skill, allowing you to use a die greater than a d6—but only within that field. For example, a character with Athletics d6 might have a Specialty in Running and thus use a d10 when undertaking actions involving that aspect of athletic endeavor. Specialties start at d8 and may then be improved. There is no limit to the number of Specialties you can have under a given General Skill.
If an action would involve a Specialty that you don’t have, roll the General Skill die. If even that is missing, you may attempt the skill untrained using a d4, except in special cases—some Skilled actions, marked [Skilled Use Only] can’t be taken unless you have at least some skill with them. Your Watcher always has the option of allowing you to spend a Plot Point to attempt it, but you would have to work hard to justify it.
Specialties may fall under more than one General Skill. For example, a dancer could train the Dancing Specialty under Athletics if they compete professionally, or under Perform if they are practicing for a ballet performance. Once you choose to train a Specialty under a certain General Skill, it can’t be moved to another, and you can’t take the same specialty more than once. If you have a Specialty under one General Skill but no die rating in another General Skill that also offers that Specialty, you can’t use your Specialty to default to the other General Skill.
Because Specialties have such a narrow focus, it would be impossible to list all possible Specialties under each General Skill. The lists provided here are suggestions covering the most common Specialties. They should not be considered a complete listing. It is even possible that your Watcher may also wish to remove some after further thought, making them unavailable under a certain General Skill, or simply nonexistent. If you want a Specialty not listed, or want to place it under a different General Skill be sure to clear it with your Watcher first.
Benchmarks of Proficiency
To give you an idea of how well trained your character is, and what they might be capable of in general, see the Skill Level Table below. It lists each die type, and gives an appraisal of Skills rated at that level.
- d4 – Untrained – You may have watched others perform this skill or may have some rudimentary knowledge of the basics.
- d6 – Competent – You are reasonably effective at performing essential tasks.
- d8 – Professional – You can earn a decent living or compete on a recognized public level.
- d10 – Expert – You have few equals in your area, and are highly regarded in your field.
- d12 – Master – Others look to your skill and experience to inspire them.
XP Costs for Skills and Specialties:
10 XP to add a new Broad Skill at d6. Anything beyond general knowledge requires a focused specialty.
15 XP to add a new Specialty at d8 to an existing broad skill group or to step up an existing Professional Specialty to Expert.
25 XP to upgrage an Expert Specialty to Master.
This Skill covers the training, care, breeding, or raising of animals of all kinds. In the Marvel Universe, this Skill may extend to some very strange or bizarre creatures.
Specialties: Animal Care, Animal Training, Riding, Veterinary Medicine, Zoology.
Artistry is the Skill that covers artistic expression with media, from writing fiction to sculpting marble statues as well as the application of a trade towards creating something of utility. It does not cover singing, dancing, or acting, which are all grouped under Performance, though it does include composing music and choreographing a dance recital.
Specialties: Appraisal, Cooking, Composition, Forgery, Painting, Photography, Poetry, Sculpture, Writing, Architecture, Brewing, Carpentry, Cooking, Leatherworking, Metalworking, Pottery, Sewing
Working out, staying in shape, and moving out of harm’s way usually all involve Athletics. Physical coordination, distance running, and other major activities make frequent use of this Skill.
Specialties: Climbing, Contortion, Dodge, Juggling, Jumping, Gymnastics, Parachuting, Riding, Running, Sports (choose one), Swimming, Weight Lifting.
Knowledge and even experience with other worlds and other races beond the stars. You have some sense of what alien cultures exist and the sheet scope of the Marvel Universe.
Specialties: Astrophysics, Alternate Realities, Temporal Mechanics, Negative Zone, The Power Cosmic, Celestials, Kree, Skrull, Shi’ar, Inhumans, Galadorians, Universal Entities
Covert covers both physical and mental expressions of deception, whether in a criminal sense or as a means of evading and overcoming obstacles.
Specialties: Camouflage, Con, Disguise, Forgery, Investigation, Pickpocketing, Sabotage, Safecracking, Slight-of-hand, Stealth, Streetwise.
They may be a superstitous and cowardly lot, but the criminal world is still a complex and varied quagmire of lethal power struggles and degenerate social rules. Knowledge of active criminal organizations, contacts, informants, law enforcement procedures are covered under this broad skill.
Specialties: Capers, Criminal Organizations, Informants, Legal, Lingo, Police Procedures.
With this Skill, you know how to use ground transport, ranging from motorcycles and sedans to trucks and construction vehicles. Most routine uses by casual drivers do not require this skill, and are not usually rolled at all. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, however, you will have this Skill.
Specialties: Boat (choose general type), Bus, Car, Motorcycle. Sedan, Tractor, Truck.
You are proficient with personal firearms, from pistols to sniper rifles. This Skill includes not only the use of guns to shoot others, but related training—gun maintenance, for instance, is a necessity when your life depends on the bullet leaving the chamber. This Skill does not usually include the use of large, vehiclemounted weapons or indirect fire weapons; Heavy Weapons is the appropriate Skill in those cases.
Specialties: Assault Rifle, Energy Weapon, Flamethrower, Machine Gun, Pistol, Repair, Rifle, Shotgun, Sniper Rifle.
Heavy Weapons (Skilled Use Only)
This Skill covers large-scale weaponry from mortars and field artillery such as cannon to vehicle-mounted railguns and rocket launchers. If you have this Skill, you also know how to conduct indirect fire and engage in forward observer actions. Most weapons covered by this Skill are at least Large Scale if not larger.
Specialties: Bombards, Demolitions, Forward Observation, Grenade Launchers, Mortars, Rail Guns, Repair, Rocket Launchers, Siege Engines.
Influence lets you win friends, lie to enemies, and persuade potential allies to join your cause. This skill also measures your ability to resist attempts from others to sway your character as well as maintaining such levels of control over your own urges. This can be especially important in a political situation, where the right words can escalate or diffuse a problem in moments. This Skill also helps when your opponent has all the guns, or when you need to deal with social bureaucracy.
Specialties: Administration, Barter, Bureaucracy, Conversation, Discipline, Interrogation, Intimidation, Morale, Law, Leadership, Persuasion, Politics, Resistance, Seduction, Self-Control.
Mechanic (Skilled Use Only)
This Skill might let you build an engine from scratch, redesign a machine, or perform other feats involving mechanical devices. Mechanic differs from Tech in that it doesn’t concern itself with electronics, computers, and related devices.
Specialties: Automobile Repairs, Construction, Customization, Jury-Rigging, Mechanical Repairs, Plumbing.
Medicine (Skilled Use Only)
You have the training required to patch people back together, treat disease, or work in a medical lab. You might not be a doctor, officially, but you’re quite capable of stepping in to help others. With a d6 level in this Skill, you are most likely licensed to practice medicinewhile further Specialties allow for specialist practitioners.
Specialties: Dentistry, First Aid, Forensics, General Practice, Genetics, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Pharmaceuticals, Physiology, Psychiatry, Rehabilitation, Surgery, Toxicology, Veterinary Medicine.
This Skill provides basic proficiency with knives, clubs, swords, and anything else you can swing, poke, or bludgeon with in a fight. Specialists are known for their martial talents, and can impress or intimidate their foes before they even land the first blow.
Specialties: Chains, Clubs, Intimidation, Knives, Pole Arms, Repair, Shields, Swords, Whips.
The mystic involves the world in the shadows, beyond the veil of the mundane. An understanding-beyond simple forlkore or myth-of magi, sorceries, mystical dimensions, and the beings that reside there. A student of the mystic arts may know cleansing spells, wards against evil, rituals to contact benign beings, a library of occult books, and the good sense not to try anything dangerous.
Specialties: Antiquarian, Astral Plane, Bibliophile, Demonology, Extra-Dimensional Energies, Mesmerism, Necromancy, Occult Lore, Ritual Magics, Theogony, Universal Energies, Voodoo
This Skill lets you notice someone sneaking around, find a hidden clue, or spot the “tell” when your opponent is bluffing. It’s especially important in investigative or action-oriented campaign settings. If you have a professional rating in this Skill, your senses have been honed to a significant level, although Specialties reflect that even the most astute individual must focus his talents somewhere.
Specialties: Aim, Deduction, Empathy, Gambling, Hearing, Intuition, Investigation, Read Lips, Search, Sight, Smell/Taste, Tactics, Tracking.
Dancing, singing, acting, playing an instrument, and other forms of physical expression are covered by this Skill. It’s also what you use to tell a convincing lie, which can go a long way toward getting you out of a tight spot. Performance does not cover the composition or planning of performances, which is part of Artistry, though there is some degree of overlap (Improvisation, for instance, is all Performance.)
Specialties: Acting, Dancing, Costuming, Impersonation, Instrument (pick one), Oratory, Singing, Sleight of Hand, Stage Magic.
Pilot (Skilled Use Only)
If you have this Skill you understand how to control aircraft under adverse conditions and deal with small problems. Serious mechanical trouble requires Mechanic, and using the weapons mounted on an aircraft requires Heavy Weapons.
Specialties: Commercial Airliner, Gunship, Gyrocopter, Helicopter, Hovercraft, Jet Fighter, Single-Prop Airplane, Zeppelin.
This Skill covers the use of hurled or physically propelled weapons such as throwing axes, slings, spears, and bows. It does not include guns, which have their own Skill.
Specialties: Blowguns, Bolos, Bows, Crossbows, Darts, Grenades, Javelin, Repair, Slings, Throwing Knives.
Science (Skilled Use Only)
You possess advanced scientific knowledge and understand complex processes and concepts. Chemists, physicists, and botanists, among many others, use this Skill. Specialties are usually broad categories of study, though taking a narrower field should translate to a deeper understanding of the field. For application of computer science and physics, you are more likely to want the Tech Skill.
Specialties: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Space Sciences, Life Sciences, Math, Physical Sciences.
With this Skill, you can find food, water, shelter, and your way around when civilization isn’t available. You can even stay alive in the face of extremes of weather or when hindered by minor injuries.
Specialties: Camouflage, Find Shelter, First Aid, Foraging, Outdoor Life, Specific Environment, Tracking, Trapping, Woodcraft.
Tech (Skilled Use Only)
Complicated electronics, computer systems, and programming are all within your area of expertise if you have a rating in this Skill. You’re able to hack through a database, rewire a security system, create a computer network, or even work on electronic sentience. This Skill assumes that the training you have received scales appropriately with the level of technology in your game’s setting; if you are exposed to more advanced technology, such as that used by aliens or time travelers, your available die would be restricted to the relevant die in the Cosmic Knowledge skill group until that technology level becomes a regular part of the setting or XP is used to unlock an Event Resource.
Specialties: Communications Systems, Computer Programming, Create Technical Devices, Electronics, Hacking, Jury-Rigging, Repair Electrical Systems.
Whether you know a number of fancy moves or just slog ahead until the other guy throws in the towel, this Skill reflects training in physical combat. If you’re in the sort of game setting that has characters with claws, teeth, and other natural weapons, this also covers those Traits. Specialties represent different styles of combat. They’re used the same way most of the time, but your Watcher may wish to differentiate between different martial styles, and whether the Specialty would apply to a specific attack action. This Skill doesn’t cover the use of hand held weapons such as swords or clubs; for these, use Melee Weapons.
Specialties: Boxing, Brawling, Clawing, Judo, Tae Kwan Do, Wrestling.
Learn about Updating Skills and Specialties on your Existing Datafile or return to the Main Page.