Characters can learn nine skills:
Armor Use allows players to equip progressively more powerful forms of armor and to get more out of the armor they already wear.
Athleticsgives the player access to a pool of special abilities that change their physical capabilities, such as increasing land speed or temporarily increasing attributes.
Dodge improves a player’s defense against ranged attacks. The difference between your Dodge and your opponent’s Rifle or Pistol Skill can affect how much damage you take and whether you suffer a critical hit or a glancing blow. Dodge also determines the base value of your Melee Defense.
First Aid gives the player some abilities that heal others and is required to use items created with the Medicine and Mutagenics Skills.
Group Tactics allows the player to activate buffs on teammates during combat that can that can improve defenses, health and stamina regeneration, or speed.
Melee allows players to inflict more damage in melee combat and use more effective melee weapons. The difference between your Melee and an opponent’s Melee Defense affects how much damage you do and determines the victim's chance to be critically hit.
Pistol allows players to inflict more damage with (and use more effective types of) pistols. The difference between your Pistol and an opponent’s Dodge also affects how much damage you do; it also determines your chances of scoring a critical hit.
Rifle is similar to Pistol and Melee in that it affects the damage a character can do with the weapon and also allows him or her to equip increasingly more effective rifles. Like Pistol, the paired ability is Dodge, and the difference between these two skills helps calculate damage.
Social enables the character to finagle better deals from merchants and also imbues them special abilities that allow them to conceal their faction alliance.
Each active skill includes a number of special abilities that the player uses to gain certain temporary powers or effects. Using a special ability consumes stamina, which is slowly deducted from the character’s Stamina Pool over time (rather than in one large chunk on initial activation). All special abilities have a minimum level, so as a character levels up and improves skills, he or she can learn new special abilities. Special abilities can also be learned from books bought from trainers or gained as mission rewards.
The number of special abilities associated with a skill varies, but each ability will always be directly related to the skill in question. For example, all Armor Use special abilities involve armor in some way, whether that of the user or of an enemy in combat. Most special abilities are useful in combat, but won’t replace your primary combat style. For example, Lingering Wound is a melee attack that causes damage over time. It’s just enough to give you an edge, but you’ll still have to pound your target with other attacks. Recognize Weakness would work in the same way. It allows the user to ignore some of the target’s armor, making their victim more vulnerable to attack. Other, less combat-specific items—like the Athletics’ Dash and First Aid’s Stanch Wounds—can round-out a character’s power pool. Dash gives a temporary speed boost, while Stanch Wounds restores hit points.
Some special abilities for specific skills:
- Dash: Increases speed for a short time.
- Second Wind: Recovers Stamina by resting a few seconds and lowering your defenses.
- Shake It Off: Removes debilitating physical effects.
- Duck and Weave: Boosts defensive skills and your Reflex saving throw.
- Stanch Wounds: Restores hit points to the target.
- Treat Poison: Removes poison effects from the target.
- Resuscitation: Restores an incapacitated character.
- Rally: Help your allies recover more quickly in battle by keeping their spirits up.
- Offensive Coordination: Boosts the Rifle, Pistol, and Melee Skills of your group.
- Feint: Reduces your target's defenses and effective armor rating for a short time after you fake them out.
- Rifle Smash: Strikes the target with the butt of the rifle, stunning them for a short time.
Precise Aim: A Rifle stance that increases your chance to critically hit with rifles.