Skills

In Seed Overdrive, most of your actions exist in conversation with the narrative - for the most part, as long as you're doing things that are well within the scope of things that your character would be successful at, you'll simply succeed, and you and the GM will cooperate to move the events of play along.

However, sometimes you'll do something that you really want to feel pop - maybe not something especially risky, but something that especially matters, that you want to hang the weight of a mechanic on. So you roll dice about it. That's a skill check! It feels like you do something and a brass-whiring-into-place noise happens. You can make that noise with your lips, if you want. "Ka-ching!" Sometimes the GM will ask for a skill check to make you feel the tension of a moment, too.

To make a skill check, you roll a pool of six-sided dice. You always get your two dice just for being a hero, and you get another die for each point you have in the relevant skill - the skill you have that you feel best matches what you're trying to do. You might get bonus dice from using useful items, or from making arrangements in advance, too.

After rolling, read out the values. You want to have 5s and 6s, which you can count as successes. After seeing the results, you can spend LP to adjust any of your dice by +1. Because you can always spend LP, when you have lots of LP, you'll succeed at most of your skill checks. As you spend your LP, skill checks will get riskier — heroes can't be stopped when they're raring to go, but make mistakes when they're tired.

When you're in a particularly advantageous state, such as due to a trait or a condition, you can make some skill checks with Advantage: when you do so, you get to count a result of '4' on a die roll as a success, too.

When you make a skill check, you interpret successes in one of three ways: "Acting Under Pressure", "Figuring Something Out", or "Completing a Project". Many skills offer specific examples of ways these checks can be structured (called "skill modes"), but you can negotiate new ones, too. Traits might offer specific and more powerful skill modes.

The Basic Skill Modes

Acting Under Pressure

When you're rolling to see if you succeed despite risk, you're Acting Under Pressure.
If you get two successes, you're golden.
If you get one success, the GM offers you a tough choice: "Like, yeah, you can do that, but…"
You'll have to spend something you don't want to, suffer a consequence, get hurt a little…
If you accept it, you accomplish your aims and move forward, but you had to pay a price.

Figuring Something Out

When you're rolling to examine a situation, you're Figuring Something Out.
For each success, ask the GM a specific question about the situation, from what you can see.
Many skills have lists of useful questions associated with them, but generally speaking, if you ask questions you can act on - "what's dangerous about this?" "what's a secret about this?" "How will this affect X?" - you'll get answers.

If the GM asks you to roll to figure out the answer to a specific question, your first success gets you that, and you can ask follow-up or related questions with additional successes.

Completing a Project

When you're rolling to do something complicated, you're Completing a Project.
The GM will create a list of costs and possible successes - for each success you score, you can pick a cost to avoid or a success to attain.

Other Considerations

Assisting

When you assist someone in completing a skill check, you can give them the dice you get from your skill. (Not your base two.)
If they're acting under pressure, the dice you lend need to be 1 higher to score successes. (So, 5s are failures - unless you have advantage, then they're okay, but 4s are failures.)
Of course, if you lend them your tools, they work just fine.

Skill Mismatch

When you use a skill to do something that skill isn't quite appropriate for make a case for it, and the GM might let you do it at a one die penalty. Or they might not!

Scope

At the beginning, the phrase "things that are within scope for your character" was used. Strictly speaking, some things you're going to always succeed when you try, some things you're going to have to roll for, and some things are utterly impossible for you. These things depend on the style of your campaign, the character you've built, and what feels right in the moment. The combination of these things is called "scope" — it's the stuff that feels right to do for the game!

However, it's been said that a miracle is when only one thing can possibly happen, and it doesn't.

Therefore, when all seems lost, if you stand up to impossible odds, and stake your all on it…

…Instead of "that's impossible", you might hear "please make a skill check", or even "you do that."…

As long as your heart is burning fiercely for it…At least, that's what it says here.

THE SKILL LIST

A level 1 character starts with eight skill points. Each point purchases one rank in a skill, giving them one die when making those skill checks.
Characters gain an additional skill point at levels 4, 8, and at 12.

Below is the default skill list, appropriate for standard Seed games. Optionally, the GM might alter this list for specific campaigns, to represent games in which heroes do different sorts of things, or to focus on certain themes or genres.

Strength (Smashing, lifting, throwing, cutting)

When you hold back a tremendous force with your strength, roll Strength under pressure:
2. You push it back and buy the needed time!
1. It's too strong. Choose: Yield your ground, or take a Wound - probably [10].

Agility (Running, dodging, leaping)

When you give pursuers the slip, roll Agility under pressure:
2. They're left on the other side of a jump or climb they can't make.
1. You'll have to scramble. Choose: Go someplace you'd rather not go, or end up caught.

Stealth (avoiding attention, sneaking into places, detecting alarms, picking pockets)

When you sneak past watchful eyes, roll Stealth under pressure:
2. You're unnoticed.
1. Choose. Either back off, or leave a sign (a brief glimpse, a clattering noise, a scrap of clothing, incriminating footprints) - someone will come investigate.

When you scope out an area under cover or in disguise, roll Stealth to gather info:
- What's the best escape route?
- What's the route to my objective?
- What's worth stealing?
- What's a danger I better watch out for?
- …And you get back out without raising suspicion.

Lying (false pretenses, disguises, forgery)

When you snooker someone with a lie, roll Lying under pressure:
2. They bought it, at least for a bit.
1. They question a key detail. Choose: Blow your cover, or invent a bigger, more elaborate lie.

When you prepare your party to act under-cover, give everyone a disguise, a false identity and roll Lying to complete a project:
- One more person's disguise stands up under close scrutiny

Streetsmart (fast talking, bribery, underworld politics)

When you feel out the lay of the land, hitting up contacts and fishing for info, roll Streetsmart to gather info:
- who's winning and cocky?
- who's losing and desperate?
- what trouble is brewing?
- how can I meet the real players?
- who's on the take, and who can't be bribed?
- whose loyalties are different from what they pretend?

When you bribe someone who could ruin your day, make it worth their while and roll Streetsmart under pressure:
3. They'll remember who scratches their back, at least for a week,
2. They'll give you what you want, right now
1. Choose: Sweeten the deal, or be sorry.

Survival (foraging, hunting, tracking, you roll it when resting in the wilderness)

When you hunt or forage while camp is being made, roll Survival to complete a project:
Spend successes, with options repeatable.
- You don't run into trouble
- Your hunting gathers food (lush areas are 3 units, wastelands are 1, most areas are 2)
- You gather some trade goods (worth 2d6+10 gold when you bring them to a shop, one item slot. generally horns / hides.)
- Also, you scouted the area

When the party is preparing to rest, and you make camp, roll Survival to complete a project:
Spend successes.
- The night passes uneventfully
- No one suffers from the weather (if any)
- Everyone recovers +10HP.
- Everyone recovers +10HP.
- Everyone recovers +4MP.
- Everyone recovers +4MP.

Navigation (reading the weather, finding the way, steering a ship or caravan)

When you consider a possible journey, roll Navigation to figure things out, asking:
- What's the simplest route to the destination?
- What risk could we take for faster travel?
- How long will it take to get there?
- What hazards should we be cautious of?

Mechanisms (Opening locks, sabotaging devices)

When you set your tools to a lock, roll Mechanisms under pressure:
2. You spring the lock, no problem.
1. Choose: Someone sees you working, or there's a nasty surprise on the other side. Either way, the lock is open.

When you arrange a trap through craft or sabotage, roll Mechanisms to complete a project, spending successes:
- Enemies won't notice your trap till it's too late,
- Enemies that fall into your trap will be wounded instead of merely delayed, or killed if the trap is very dangerous.
- The springing of your trap will draw attention away from you instead of towards
Any trap involving explosives can be considered very dangerous.

Operation (Use and understanding of complex machines.)

When you inspect a complex machine, roll Operatio to figure it out:
- What was this machine designed to do?
- What situation will this machine fail under?
- How much can I safely use it, right now?
- How could I hack or modify it to do something it's not supposed to?

When you use a machine in a calm situation, you often don't need to roll.
When you use a machine or a system in a tense situation, roll Operations under pressure:
2. It works like a charm! If you push it to breaking, work wonders.
1. Choose: Push the machine to breaking, or back off.

Experimentation (Identifying and analyzing something through experimentation)

When you test something with your tools, roll Experimentation to figure it out:
- Under what circumstances will this activate?
- what's the greatest danger?
- what power does it offer?
- how can one use this safely?
- why does this thing do what it does?
- how can one reverse the effect?

Sorcery (Solving a problem though magic)

When you call down elemental force through a spell you know to shape what lies before you, roll Sorcery under pressure:
2. Your magical force freezes, burns, washes, etc as appropriate what lies before you, with the effect fading, like a phantom, when you are out of sight of it.
1. Your sorcery is fragile or chaotic: The GM will offer you a compromise or a consequence to your success. If you do not accept it, you back off.

Mysticism (Spirits and the protocols of the unreal)

When you call upon an unnatural entity to show its true form, roll Mysticism to figure it out:
- What class of entity is it?
- What desire seems to fill it?
- What is its known name?
- ….And it doesn't gaze back upon you and learn your heart.

When you perform the sacred rite of burial, roll Mysticism to complete a project, and spend successes:
- The person will not rise as a ghost or monster
- No one can deny that it was a good and sacred burial
- You understand if they died peacefully, or through murder
- The weather will be overcast but still for three days.

Lore (Knowledge and History)

When you consider the historical knowledge of a place, roll Lore to figure things out:
- What was great and virtuous about this place?
- What strife and struggle lurked in its history?
- What was the last great catastrophe that occurred here?
- What old treasures here would still be of interest, even now?
- What am I looking at, right now, that doesn't fit with what I know to be true?

Insight (Seeing to the heart of things, piecing things together)

When you concentrate in a suspicious situation, roll Insight to figure things out:
- what's more important than it seems?
- what truth hides beneath the surface?
- what happened here?
- what danger lurks?
- what's some way I can use this?
- who caused this?

When something seems amiss, and you quietly voice your suspicion, roll Insight under Pressure:
3. You determine whether your suspicion is true, and can prove it
2. You determine whether your suspicion is true, and know what you'd need to do to prove it to others
1. The GM tells you what you would need to do to confirm your suspicion, though

Charm (Likability and social finesse)

When you meet and mingle with a person or group, make small talk and roll Charm to figure them out:
- what's their deal?
- what are they hoping for today?
- how have things been?
- how am I expected to act?
- who is suspicious of me?
- who wants to be closer to me?

When you see the sights and explore a town, roll Charm to figure it out:
- What do people seem to be worried about?
- What do people seem to be proud of?
- What do people hope to ignore or forget about?
- How do they treat outsiders?
- Who's popular recently?

Coercion (Intimidation and leverage)

When you pressure and needle someone, roll Coercion to figure them out:
- what do they fear the most, right now?
- what would they do anything to get?
- what are they hoping I won't say?
- what do they hate about themselves?
- what do they hate about their fellows?

Determination (Stamina, endurance, and willpower)

When you stand up and push forward against an impossible force, roll Determination under pressure:
3. You suffer no consequence and stand strong.
2. You push forward towards victory. Choose a lesser consequence for the force to inflict on you: You suffer that instead of what the force would normally levy.
1. You push forward and make headway, but choose: You are cracked and wounded by the force but unbroken, or you falter in will but not in body.
0. You are overwhelmed by the force.

If multiple people assist on a roll to figure things out, you have to stop and confer and share your findings. This takes time!

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