The athletics skill covers your basic physical ability; it determines how well you run, jump, climb and so on. This is all to the good; the higher your athletics score, the better shape you're in, and the better able you are to deal with the perils of adventuring. Some basic rules: you can climb a number of yards per round equal to your athletics rank. You can swim at Athletics step yards per round. Quick time movement takes an Athletics check per hour with a difficulty of 3 per hour marched to maintain, but it doubles your walking pace. Running costs nothing in a combat round, but outside combat you have to make an athletics check per minute to maintain it, difficulty 3 per minute. You can jump your Athletics step in feet horizontally, half that vertically or twice that with a running start.
The Sub-skills for athletics focus your time and effort into specific aspects of athletic training making you disgustingly good at certain things.
This is the basic "Get the Hell out of the Way" maneuver. Whether it's because of martial prowess or a finely honed instinct for not getting you skin punctured, Avoid Blow is the ability to not get hit. Any time you're hit by an opponent, once a turn, you can try and dodge the blow at the last second. Make an Avoid Blow test against your attackers roll to hit you. If you beat his roll to hit, you slipped out of the way at the last second and took no damage. Fail, and you were hit; worse, you automatically get knocked down.
The Balance sub-skill lets you keep your balance under adverse situations. Whenever you're precariously placed (on a tight rope, at the edge of a cliff, etc.) roll your Balance rather than your Agility to resist falling. The same applies when you have to make a knockdown test in combat.
This sub-skill skill covers the fun uses of swimming. You can act normally underwater without surfacing one minute per rank in this sub skill. You can roll your step in this skill and subtract the result from any falling damage into a deep enough body of water.
Never mind the normal jumping rules, just make a Great Leap test. The result is the number of yards you cover with a jump. As before, double it with a running start and half it to determine height.
Whenever you're surprised by something (be it an ambush, a trap or what have you), you can make a Lighting Reflexes test. If your result beats the initiative of whatever surprised you, then you get to act first in a purely defensive matter. This gives you your full Physical Defense against the attack, or might let you evade the trap entirely by jumping out of the way.
With normal Athletics, people can climb rocks, trees, maybe crude walls with lots of handholds. With Scale Walls, you can climb darn near anything. The GM will set a difficulty for the wall based on its construction and the prevailing conditions. If you make the roll, you end up at the top. You can climb your rank in this sub-skill (or Athletics) +3 in yards per round.
This lets you temporarily bump up your movement rate. Make a Sprint check against (the number of rounds you've been sprinting)*3. If you succeed, add five times your Sprint rank to your movement rate for the round.
This sub-skill covers acrobatics and knowing how to take a fall. If you take a defensive stance during a combat round, you can make a Tumbling check against your opponent's attack skill step. If you succeed, the increase in your Physical Defense is 5 points, not 3. You can also roll your Tumbling step to reduce the damage of taken from a fall to solid ground; subtract your test result from the damage taken.
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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers