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A modular Skills system for MEGS


Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This system is an alternate take on the Skills and Subskills in DC Heroes/Blood of Heroes/MEGS. It is an attempt to allow Players to focus on the Skills that their Characters have, rather than those they haven’t.

It is a different take than most rules discussion on writeups.org, since it :

  1. Directly addresses the system and how it behaves in actual play. WORG articles are usually more about patching weaknesses in the system when it comes to modelling published characters.
  2. More freely reorganises the system than other WORG articles, which seek to minimise the amount of change.
  3. Isn’t synched with other WORG rules article. For instance it does’t use the Evasion Skill or the Acrobatics Skill reorganisation. This document has Blood of Heroes: Special Edition (2nd printing) as its only reference.

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A change in focus

For clarity’s sake, what the rulebook calls Skills will be renamed “Skill Groups”, and what the rulebook calls Subskills will become “Skills”.

Furthermore:

  • Some Skills (formerly Subskills) have been renamed.
  • Some have been added.
  • Some have had their costs altered.
  • Some have had their Link Attributes changed.
  • Others have been moved to Skill Groups other than those corresponding to the original MEGS Skills.

Much of this information can be reviewed by viewing the quick reference table at the end of this document. Descriptions of new Skills or major changes also appear toward the end of this document.


System elements

Skills

Unlike most Abilities, the Factor Cost of a Skill may be reduced to 0. If this is the case, the APs of the Skill may be freely increased up to the APs of the Skill Group (see below). Unless otherwise noted, individual Skills have no Base Cost.

When using the APs of a Skill as a Value (AV, EV, OV, or RV) in a Dice Action, the maximum Expenditure is limited by the Skill’s Link Attribute rather than by the APs of Skill.


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Skill Groups

To purchase a Skill, a Character must first purchase the Skill Group to which the Skill belongs. APs in a Skill Group are the maximum APs allowed for any Skill in that Skill Group. If a Character wishes to increase the APs of a Skill to more than the APs of the Skill Group to which it belongs, they must first increase the APs of the Skill.

The costs for Skill Groups are :

Skill group BC FC
Accuracy 5 1
Acrobatics 15 2
Animal Handling 5 2
Artist 5 1
Charisma 20 3
Detective 10 2
Gadgetry 25 3
Martial Artist 20 2
Medicine 5 2
Military science 10 2
Occultist 20 1
Perception 5 1
Performance 5 1
Scientist 10 3
Thief 10 1
Vehicles 5 1

The Factor Cost of a Skill Group may not be reduced below 1. If, however, the Factor Cost modifier to a Skill Group is greater than is necessary to reduce the Factor Cost of the Skill Group to 1, any excess Factor Cost modifier beyond that which reduces the Factor Cost of the Skill Group to 1 may be applied to the Factor Cost of the Skill with the highest APs in the Skill Group.

If this Skill is reduced to FC 0, and if there is still excess modifier, it may be applied to the Factor Cost of the Skill with the next highest APs, and so on.

Linking

Skill Groups may be purchased with one of two Linking Limitations — Linked or Attribute-Linked — which provide a –1 or a –2 Factor Cost modifier, respectively, to the cost of the Skill Group. These modifiers are doubled if the Character also possesses the Intensive Training Advantage.

Indicate that a Skill Group is Linked by placing an L after its listed APs; indicate that it is Attribute- Linked with an A.

If a Skill Group is Linked, then all Skills in the Skill Group are tied to their Link Attributes such that if the APs of an Attribute are ever reduced, then so are the APs of every Skill in the Skill Group that has that Link Attribute, on a 1-for-1 basis. If any Skills in a Linked Skill Group have more APs than their Link Attributes, and if the Link Attribute is reduced to 0, then any effect that would target the Link Attribute may also target those Skills with no Multi- Attack penalty and using the same OV and RV as for targeting the Link Attribute.

If a Skill Group is Attribute-Linked, then not only are the above effects in place, but each Skill in the Skill Group must also have APs equal to the APs of its Link Attribute. It is unnecessary to list the APs for individual Skills in an Attribute-Linked Skill Group; it is sufficient just to note the Attributes to which the Skills are Linked.

If a Character wishes to have both Linked and un-Linked Skills – or Skills with different degrees of Linking (see above) – from the same Skill Group, he must purchase the Skill Group separately for the different degrees of Linking, though he need not pay the Base Cost for any repeated Skill Group beyond the first. However, the Factor Cost modifier for Linking any repeated Skill Group is 1 less than the modifier for the first Skill Group (2 less, if the Character has Intensive Training).

Synergy

Some Skills are extremely similar to other Skills in their Skill Groups. These Skills are said to have Synergy with each other. A Character who possesses at least four Synergistic Skills receives a –1 Factor Cost modifier to some of his Synergistic Skills. The number of Synergistic Skills that receive this modifier is summarized in the following table.

Number of synergistic Skills (X) Number of Skills that may receive -1 FC
4 1
5-8 X-4
9-16 X-5

Unlike the Factor Cost modifier from Linking, however, the Factor Cost modifier from Synergy must be applied to the Skills with the lowest APs in the Skill Group.

Skills that have Synergy to each other include:

  • All Skills in the Artist Skill Group.
  • All Skills in the Occultist Skill Group.
  • All Skills in the Performance Skill Group.
  • All Exotic Weapons Skills.

Changes to Skills

Accuracy

The Skill with the greatest number of APs in the Accuracy Skill Group receives a –1 FC modifier.

Perception

Perception has been placed in its own Skill Group (the Perception Skill Group), and has an innate Factor Cost of 0. Meaning that it may always have as many APs as the APs of the Skill Group. As such, it is unnecessary to denote the Perception Skill and the Perception Skill Group separately.

Artist & Performance

Additional Skills may be added as needed to the Artist or Performance Skill Groups. Each new Skill should work essentially like the other Skills in the Artist and Performance Skill Groups insofar as impressing an audience is concerned.

These new Skills will have a Factor Cost of 1 (unless they can be used for something besides impressing an audience; consult the GM for final approval), and always have Synergy with other Skills in the Artist or Performance Skill Groups as appropriate.

Aerial Superiority

Aerial Superiority enables a Character with the power of flight (Flight, Gliding, Air Walking, etc.) to perform daring maneuvers — many in the style of dogfight duels — that are beyond what the Character’s raw DEX would allow. Aerial Superiority can be used in three ways:

  1. If the Character wants to perform an aerial maneuver that is difficult enough to require a Dice Action (flying very quickly between obstacles, for example), the Character may substitute his APs of Aerial Superiority in place of of DEX as the AV/EV.
  2. A Character may substitute his APs of Aerial Superiority for DEX as the OV vs. Physical Attacks while performing aerial maneuvers and during aerial combat provided the Character is not performing a Dodge Maneuver in that Phase. ”Aerial combat” is combat conducted while the Character is fully in flight, including swooping attacks on targets that are on the ground.
  3. While the Character is in flight, Aerial Superiority can be used just like the Dodging Skill to enhance a Dodge Maneuver.

Juggling and Jumping

Juggling and jumping have been divorced from the Gymnastics Skill. Instead, the Juggling and Leaping Skills have been added to the Performance and Acrobatics Skill Groups, respectively, which handle all the juggling and jumping aspects formerly handled by Gymnastics.

In addition to the description as given in the Gymnastics entry of BoHSE, a Character using Leaping applies a +1 Column Shift modifier to the OV/RV if the Character is leaping up, and a –1 Column Shift modifier to the OV/RV if the Character is leaping down. Leaping Unskilled uses an AV/EV of DEX/STR (with the usual +2 CS modifier to OV/RV). Traversement now requires Climbing and Leaping, rather than Climbing and Gymnastics, and Speed is limited to the APs of Climbing, APs of Leaping, or 7 (whichever is least).

Animal Training & Charisma

For short-term use, the Animal Training Skill can mimic Charisma Skills, but only on animals. Doing so imposes a +1 CS OV/RV penalty. When Animal Training is used in this manner, complex commands and information cannot be exchanged unless the Character also has the Speak with Animals Power.

Charisma Skills may be used on animals, but doing so imposes a +2 CS OV/RV penalty, and complex commands and information cannot be exchanged unless the Character also has the Speak with Animals Power.

Clue Analysis & Identification Systems

Where Clue Analysis and Identification Systems refer to OV/RV as a Character’s APs of Thief, use APs of Stealth.

Martial Artist Skills

The Assault and Blocking Skills do not automatically add anything to a Character’s Initiative. Instead, a Character may purchase the Martial Reflexes Skill. APs of Martial Reflexes are added to the Character’s Initiative. Martial Reflexes does not require an Action to use.

A Character using the Assault Skill with a weapon receives a +1 Column Shift modifier to the OV of the Action Check unless he possesses at least half as many APs of Melee Weapons as the APs of Assault being used.

Substitution of APs of Battery for EV does not automatically constitute Killing combat unless the genre specifies a “yes” for killing combat.

The Blocking and Defense Skills may also be used against thrown objects.

Techniques has been eliminated. Instead, a Character may purchase each individual Martial Technique as an Advantage for 5 Hero Points with a prerequisite that the Character has at least 0 APs in the Martial Artist Skill Group. Concentrated Attack may be purchased multiple times, which determines the maximum number of Column Shifts it can grant.

Purchasing the Focus of Will Bonus for Martial Artist changes the Link Attributes of Assault (to INT), Battery (to WILL), Blocking (to INT), Defense (to MIN), and Martial Reflexes (to INT).

Medicine Skills

A Character using the Brainwashing Skill receives a +1 Column Shift modifier to the OV of the Action Check unless he possesses at least half as many APs of Medical Treatment as the APs of Brainwashing being used.

A Character’s APs of Surgery may not exceed his APs of Medical Treatment; a Character’s APs of Medical Treatment may not exceed his APs of First Aid.

Occult Knowledge

Occult Knowledge has been eliminated. It is simply a normal knowledge Check (AV/EV = INT/WILL) to which a Character may apply occult-oriented Scholars.

Forgery

A Character using the Forgery Skill to copy artwork receives a +1 Column Shift modifier to the OV of the Action Check unless he possesses at least half as many APs of the appropriate Artist Skill as the APs of Forgery being used.

Exotic Weaponry

The Exotic Weapon Skill must be purchased for each type of exotic weapon the Character wishes to be able to use. However, all Exotic Weapons Skills have Synergy with each other.

Specialisation

A Character may not Specialize in more than one type of weapon within any given Skill Group.

Notation

Skills are listed on a character sheet by first noting the Skill Group with its APs, then, indented beneath, each Skill possessed by the Character with its Link Attribute and APs. For example:

Scientist: 8
 Analysis (INT): 6
 Drawing Plans (WILL): 8
 Observation (INT): 8

If the above Skill had been Linked (using the –1 FC option), it would look like this:
Scientist: 8L
 Analysis (INT): 6
 Drawing Plans (WILL): 8
 Observation (INT): 8

In this case, the Skill Group would be purchased at FC 2 (or FC 1 if the Character also possessed Intensive Training).

If it had been Linked using the –2 FC option, it would look like this:
Scientist: 8A
 Analysis (INT)
 Drawing Plans (WILL)
 Observation (INT)

In this case, the Skill Group would be purchased at FC 1, and, if the Character also possessed Intensive Training, the two Skills with the highest APs would be purchased at FC 0. That is, the Character would have to pay only for the Skill Group and for the Skill with the fewest APs.


Skill costs (sorted by Skill Group)

Skill Skill Group Link Unskilled? FC
Mental Targeting Accuracy INT   2
Mystical Targeting Accuracy INF   2
Physical Targeting Accuracy DEX   2
Aerial Superiority Acrobatics DEX   2
Climbing Acrobatics STR Y 1
Dodging Acrobatics DEX   3
Leaping Acrobatics STR Y 1
Animal Training Animal Handling INF   1
Riding Animal Handling INF Y 1
Graphic Design Artist INF   1
Painting Artist INF   1
Photography Artist INFL   1
Sculpture Artist INF   1
Writing Artist AUR   1
Brainwashing Charisma WIL   1
Interrogation Charisma INF   1
Intimidation Charisma AUR   1
Persuasion Charisma AUR   1
Clue Analysis Detective WIL Y 1
Counterfeit Recognition Detective INT   1
Identification Systems Detective INT   1
Law Detective WIL   1
Legwork Detective INF   1
Police Procedure Detective INF   1
Build Gadget Gadgetry WIL   3
Identify Gadget Gadgetry INT Y 2
Assault Martial Artist DEX   1
Battery Martial Artist STR   1
Blocking Martial Artist DEX   1
Defense Martial Artist BODY   1
Martial Reflexes Martial Artist DEX   5
First Aid Medicine INT Y 1
Forensics Medicine INT   1
Medical Treatment Medicine INT   1
Surgery Medicine INT   1
Camouflage Military Science INT Y 1
Cartography Military Science INT Y 1
Cryptography Military Science WIL   1
Danger Recognition Military Science INT   1
Demolition Military Science INT   1
Field Command Military Science INT   1
Tracking Military Science INT Y 1
Create Artifact Occultist AUR   3
Identify Artifact Occultist INT   2
Mentor Occultist AUR   1
Premonition Occultist INF   1
Ritual Magic Occultist INF   2
Perception Perception INT   0
Acting Performance INF   2
Dancing Performance DEX   1
Gymnastics Performance DEX   1
Juggling Performance DEX   1
Music Performance INF   1
Analysis Scientist INT Y 1
Drawing Plans Scientist WIL   1
Observation Scientist INT   1
Research Scientist INT Y 1
Concealment Thief INT Y 1
Escape Artist Thief DEX Y 1
Forgery Thief WIL   1
Locks and Safes Thief DEX Y 1
Pickpocketing Thief DEX Y 1
Security Systems Thief INT   1
Stealth Thief DEX Y 2
Air Vehicles Vehicles DEX Y 1
Land Vehicles Vehicles DEX Y 1
Pilot Power Armor Vehicles DEX   1
Space Craft Vehicles DEX   1
Water Vehicles Vehicles DEX Y 1
Exotic Weapon Weaponry DEX   1
Firearms Weaponry DEX Y 1
Heavy Weapons Weaponry DEX Y 1
Melee Weapons Weaponry DEX Y 1
Missile Weapons Weaponry DEX Y 1
Power Armor Weapons Weaponry DEX   1

Skill costs (sorted by Skill)

Skill Skill Group Link Unskilled? FC
Acting Performance INF   2
Aerial Superiority Acrobatics DEX   2
Air Vehicles Vehicles DEX Y 1
Analysis Scientist INT Y 1
Animal Training Animal Handling INF   1
Assault Martial Artist DEX   1
Battery Martial Artist STR   1
Blocking Martial Artist DEX   1
Brainwashing Charisma WILL   1
Build Gadget Gadgetry WILL   3
Camouflage Military Science INT Y 1
Cartography Military Science INT Y 1
Climbing Acrobatics STR Y 1
Clue Analysis Detective WILL Y 1
Concealment Thief INT Y 1
Counterfeit Recognition Detective INT   1
Create Artifact Occultist AURA   3
Cryptography Military Science WILL   1
Dancing Performance DEX   1
Danger Recognition Military Science INT   1
Defense Martial Artist BODY   1
Demolition Military Science INT   1
Dodging Acrobatics DEX   3
Drawing Plans Scientist WILL   1
Escape Artist Thief DEX Y 1
Exotic Weapon Weaponry DEX   1
Field Command Military Science INT   1
Firearms Weaponry DEX Y 1
First Aid Medicine INT Y 1
Forensics Medicine INT   1
Forgery Thief WILL   1
Graphic Design Artist INFL   1
Gymnastics Performance DEX   1
Heavy Weapons Weaponry DEX Y 1
Identification Systems Detective INT   1
Identify Artifact Occultist INT   2
Identify Gadget Gadgetry INT Y 2
Interrogation Charisma INFL   1
Intimidation Charisma AURA   1
Juggling Performance EX   1
Land Vehicles Vehicles DEX Y 1
Law Detective WILL   1
Leaping Acrobatics STR Y 1
Legwork Detective INFL   1
Locks and Safes Thief DEX Y 1
Martial Reflexes Martial Artist DEX   5
Medical Treatment Medicine INT   1
Melee Weapons Weaponry DEX Y 1
Mental Targeting Accuracy INT   2
Mentor Occultist AURA   1
Missile Weapons Weaponry DEX Y 1
Music Performance INFL   1
Mystical Targeting Accuracy INFL   2
Observation Scientist INT   1
Painting Artist INFL   1
Perception Perception INT   0
Persuasion Charisma AURA   1
Photography Artist INFL   1
Physical Targeting Accuracy DEX   2
Pickpocketing Thief DEX Y 1
Pilot Power Armor Vehicles DEX   1
Police Procedure Detective INFL   1
Power Armor Weapons Weaponry DEX   1
Premonition Occultist INFL   1
Research Scientist INT Y 1
Riding Animal Handling INFL Y 1
Ritual Magic Occultist INFL   2
Sculpture Artist INFL   1
Security Systems Thief INT   1
Space Craft Vehicles DEX   1
Stealth Thief DEX Y 2
Surgery Medicine INT   1
Tracking Military Science INT Y 1
Water Vehicles Vehicles DEX Y 1
Writing Artist AURA   1

By Eric Langendorff.

Writeup completed on the 24th of November, 2010.

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