Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Skills Part 2

I wrote a post prior to this, someone issued legit critique, I threw my rattles out the pram. Apologies to Steveg: it would appear that it is I who is the douche, not you.

Lo! It is here:


Nonetheless I feel compelled to complete the list. 

Obligatory pretty picture to keep the blog format intact:

These are all "replicas". A replica spear is not quite the same as a replica gun, is it?

Here's another sentence to entice you in before the line break!

Healing (INT*)

Make people better. In a medical sense, not in any other sense.

18 - stabilise someone at 0 HP. Enable them to be moved without damage. My recover HP overnight.

24 - As above, but the patient may also attempt to heal some HP following a short rest.

30 - As above, but (skill dice) permanent damage becomes temporary.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of WIS may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Heavy Labour (STR*)

Any unopposed strength test can be made with the skill this skill die instead of a D6. A pariah with a core attribute of CON might be able to use this in lieu of their strength in such situations.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of CON may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Herbalism (WIS*)

When foraging for herbs, the pariah can use this skill instead. They can find herbs with medicinal properties (including entheogens), food or poison. They will be able to identify plants with such properties.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of INT may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Horticulture (WIS*)

Similar to herbalism, but pariah has no advantage on foraging: instead they no how to grow and to cultivate plants.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of INT may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Intimidation (CHA*)

Scare a dumb beast or coerce a human using your own presence.

Score indicates the total HP of intimidated creatures (mammalian intelligence or above!) or something similar, but mitigated by circumstance.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of STR may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Jumping (STR)

So if you look hard enough there's a jump mechanic in PARIAH which I pulled out from 5e. You are under no obligation to use it, but if you want to, it's here!

At the end of their move a pariah my leap STR + D6 feet in length—½ that from a standing start.

With the jumping skill, use that die in lieu of the D6!

A strength 13 pariah with D8 jump skill can run and jump 13 + 1d8 feet!

Jump STR modifier + D6 feet vertically (minimum 1’, maximum 9'). The associated die size increases by one step for each rank of skill.

That same pariah could jump 1+D8 feet! 

Languages (INT)

The idea of languages in pariah is still not fully realised, and I'm working with my players to come up with ideas. One thing that's set in stone is that language proficiency is not the same as literacy. Written words, even pictograms, are understood by a select few. 

Listening (WIS)

We use the listening die when rolling for encounters. WIS doesn't really come into it here, but it might be used if you wanted to do an opposed stealth vs listening roll, in the style of 3/5e.


The ability to read and write the complex pictographic language of the settled people's priests. Akin to a magical power, for it allows communication to the future and from the past.

18 - a complex itinerary, a detailed record of goods or labour.

24 - A literary document detailing a great poem or history.

30 - A complex religio-magical text revealing some mystery of the universe.

Mimicry (INT*)

Imitate the voice of a known person or an animal.

18 - to human ears, sound exactly like the chosen animal. Speak short phrases in the voice of a person known to you.

24 - convince an animal that your voice is exactly like the chosen animal. Speak at length in the voice of you, to the point that only those closest to them would realise the ruse.

30 - Convince animals you are their kin but have assumed human form. Drive friends and relatives insane with your uncanny imitations of your nearest and dearest. Fool everyone!

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of CHA may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Musical Instrument (CHA*)

Entertain people with your musical prowess: the higher the roll, the more impressed people will be... or the greater the followers.

Entertainment can be considered a great gift, especially when accompanying food that has been hunted.

18 - Wow a small crowd of people. 

24 - Gain honorary membership of a tribe. Impress a spirit with your music.

30 - All who hear your music will worship you as a spirit rendered material... some will fear your power and covet it for themselves. Spirits may be drawn to you.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of DEX may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Persuasion (CHA)

We don't generally use persuasion rolls but some ideas:

  • Use the skill die in lieu of a D6 for a reaction roll, eg. usual 2d6 +CHA becomes 1d6 +1d10 +CHA (use the bonus)

Poisons (WIS*)

Some understanding of poisons in the wild (including venomous creatures) and their effects, plus cures for those effects?

Follow-up skill rolls to supplant follow-up saves? 

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of INT may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Singing (CHA)

As musical instrument, but the instrument is your voice! Actually, there could be some crossover with storytelling here. 

A song can also be a gift... and a singing voice might also be stolen. Ooh there' an adventure thread.

Sleight of Hand (DEX)

Practical illusions that don't rely upon the intercession of the spirits!

18 - Palm a small object right before someone's eyes. Take something clutched by a sleeping person.

24 - Through distraction and disorientation, convince a normal person that you have a made a rabbit-sized object vanish (it will be within one foot of you). Take a weapon from the belt of a seasoned warrior without them realising.

30 - Pull of a feat of hand-eye coordination of such audacity that the Queen of Dawn, Aziza, will come to whisk you away as her new spouse.

Sprinting (STR)

As with jumping, if you scour the PARIAH text close enough, you get this!

Take 1 STR & 1 CON damage to move 2x Movement + STR + D6 (higher if they have the sprinting skill).

This is PER ROUND. If you wanted to get really granular, you'd doubled the damage it does each round. But who's getting granular?

Note a PARIAH can move double each round without exhausting their STR and CON.

Stealth (DEX)

Thieves get a rough time in OSR circles, I think because they were a later addition to the original game. Also because they set a precedent for silly stuff like I'm writing now: codified skill systems!

The third reason thieves get a hard time is because their chances of succeeding are stupidly low. 

...finally, some people just don't like codifying "running and hiding", as Sean McCoy explains eloquently here:


(no running and hiding mechanics... buuuuuut separate "stress" and "panic" rules... ok...)

Fact is, some people are better at this than others, and if you want that to become a specialisation in game, you can give them a stealth skill, based on DEX, and either it a DC/TN or contest against the opponents listening/WIS etc.

Storytelling (CHA*)

Once again, this is similar to singing or musical performance. However, there's also the chance of a core attribute: WIS pariah starting with this skill, in imitation of didactic storytellers. So you have the chance of an uncharismatic individual still captivating a crowd purely by the power of the story.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of WIS may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Swimming (CON*)

All pariahs can swim. Did I include rules for swimming in PARIAH VOL. 1? I hope not.

The normal move per round speed is probably good, right? 

Perhaps if you need to pursue someone or escape, either CON or STR in feet plus 1d6? Deduct 1 point STR and CON a la sprinting? Increase the die size by skill level?

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of STR may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Tracking (WIS*)

The tracking die is used in some encounter rolls.


*pariahs with a Core Attribute of INT may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

Traps and Snares (DEX*)

Again, narrative is more important: what is the trap's design? How feasible is that? What tools and materials are available that will make this trap a success?

The skill roll can be used (if necessary) to determine things like the difficulty of trap detection, the strength of the construction etc.

*pariahs with a Core Attribute of INT or WIS may start with this skill assigned to that attribute.

* * *

This list is over.

I get it, this is useless nonsense. For advice on how to run a game in a much more entertaining way, listen to my discussion with Jim Parkin of D66 Kobolds. 


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