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Pulp Knowledge Skills

Page history last edited by Michael 5 years, 11 months ago

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base 00%

     This skill provides an understanding of the principles of flight systems and aircraft design and operation. It also covers the ability to operate, repair, and modify aircraft, assuming the availability of the relevant parts and equipment.

      Attempts to repair an aircraft can be made using this skill without the relevant parts and equipment, but are treated as Difficult, and even then can only be attempted for the most basic repairs.



base 00%

     This skill applies to the identification and creation of arcane potions and powders. In addition, this skill imparts to the character the basic principles of working with chemicals like sulfurs, alloys and other alchemical interactions. Access to some sort of working area or lab spaces is required in order to perform it.

      When used to identify or create an compound or potion, it works like any other skill. A successful skill roll against the difficulty of the test determines success.



base 00%

     This is the study of cultures, including customs, art, and behavior. Using this skill, a character may attempt to identify a person or artifact’s native culture. After a week or more of close observation or interaction, a character may gain insight into a culture’s social mores and behaviors.


Arcane Lore

base 00%

     This skill is used to identify spells and spell-like effects as well as to gauge a spell caster’s overall aptitude with the magical arts. Any magic user must have at least 25% in this skill in order to begin to have a chance to cast a spell at the applicable 00% for that spell. This skill is applicable only to cast spells, impendencies, or potions, and cannot be used to identify a magic item or persistent effect.

     Depending on the character, this skill may also be known as Magic or Spell Lore.

     Results for different degrees of success with this skill are as follows:


Arcane Lore skill results


The person attempting to use this skill totally misinterpreted the spell, effect, glyph, or potion. The GM will provide misleading information. Enjoy.


The person attempting the skill roll is not sure about what they think they determined. They may try again next action with a +10% bonus.


The person attempting to use the skill is confident they succeeded in identifying the spell, effect, glyph, or potion.


The person using the skill may not only identify the spell, etc. but can determine the amount of magic points and components used


As Special above, but in addition the person using the skill learns an approximation of how recently the spell was cast as well as any other rare details as determined by the GM.



base 00%

     This skill covers the study of ancient and/or vanished cultures. It provides a character the chance to identify an artifact from a dead culture, spot a fake, or conduct an excavation and make reasonable inferences about the ancient inhabitants of a site or region.


Area Knowledge

base 00%

     This skill may be taken multiple times, with each skill covering a different area or place. This skill can apply to a city, an area, or a particular historical site. This includes the local personalities, how to get around most easily, and best places to eat, drink, or shop. It also includes knowledge of the history and notable locations in the area.


Art History

base 00%

     This is the study of art from various eras and places; including style, prominent or influential artists, and specific works. A character can use this skill to identify the origin of a piece of art, spot a fake, or attribute a work to a known master.



base 00%

     The study of the universe, including the planets, planetary motion, the sun, stellar life cycles, and astronomical phenomena. Use this skill to know which stars and planets will be visible on a given night, predict an eclipse or comet, or analyze the spectrum of a distant star to determine its composition, distance, and intrinsic brightness.



     base 00%

      The study of living organisms, including plants and animals, and their behavior, classification, environment, function, growth, and internal structure.

     This skill includes the basic properties and behavior of enzymes and hormones, and is vital to an understanding of diseases, the effects of drugs, and nutrition. This skill can be used to guess the purpose of an unknown organ or structure, or classify a new organism.

     Biology can be used on its own, or as a complementary skill to, or with, Chemistry and Treat Poison to identify a natural venom or toxin. It can also be used as a complementary skill to Cure Disease to attempt to find a cure or vaccine for an unknown disease.

     This skill may also be referred to as Natural History or Natural World.



base 00%

     This skill covers the study of plants. Successful use allows a character to identify plants and make judgments on their uses and/or misuses. If presented with an unknown plant, the user may employ the skill to attempt to determine its identification, normal habitat, or origin.

     It can be used on its own, or as a complementary skill to or with Chemistry and Treat Poison to isolate the curative properties or hallucinogenic compounds in a local plant. It can also be used as a complementary skill to Cure Disease to attempt to find a cure or vaccine for an unknown disease.

     This skill can also be used as a complementary skill for Wilderness Lore and Treat Disease.



base 00%

     An individual with this skill has received formal training in mapmaking and geography. In addition to the obvious ability of reading and making maps, such a person has basic knowledge of things like topography, climates, tides and environments. This skill may also be referred to as Map Making when taken as a professional skill, and can be used as a complementary skill to Navigation.



base 00%

     The study of the nature of matter; of substances solid, liquid, and gaseous, and the effects of temperature, energy, and pressure on them. Chemistry also deals with the interactions and behaviors of substances and elements. Use this skill to attempt to create or extract chemical compounds, including explosives, poisons, acids, or toxic gasses. Reagents (possibly expensive or rare) are typically required.



base 00%

     For the standard setting of the Pulp campaign, computers are in their infancy at best. Any such machines are likely to be massive, fragile calculation or difference engines taking up whole rooms with their state-of-the-art vacuum tubes and thyratrons. They require constant maintenance and monitoring.

     The Comptography skill permits a character to operate one of these devices, replacing parts as they inevitably fail or burn out, and ensuring that calculations are completed as intended.

     At 50% or greater skill levels, it addresses installing or creating new software, and the operation of basic applications. It can also cover repair, replacement and possibly teasing even new life out of damaged or unreliable components.

     Should a character have access to one of these rare devices, a Comptography roll may be made when working on scientific or cryptographic problems, potentially giving a bonus to any applicable science, Research, or Mathematics skill rolls. Used in concert with Cryptography, a successful roll can aid the cracking of complex or military codes that might normally be impossible by the use of the Cryptography skill alone.

      For some characters or people encountered, this skill may be referred to as Computers, Computer Use, as well as (Computer) Software and/or Hardware.


Comptography results summary


The character’s attempt to use the computer has resulted in a fatal error, burning out a number of components. Not only are the computer’s calculations useless, but the machine must be taken offline for 1d6 days for repair.


The character fails to deduce any meaningful insights from the data produced.


The calculations produced by the computer greatly enhance the character’s project, giving a +15% bonus to the next science, Research, Cryptography, or Mathematics skill roll.


The calculations provide great insight into the project, giving a +30% bonus to the related science, Research, Cryptography, or Mathematics skill roll. In addition, the character has discovered new methods for operating the computer, and may increase his Comptography skill by +5%.


Not only has the computer produced astounding results (+45% to next science, Research, Cryptography, or Mathematics skill roll), but it has also provided a number of insights that allow the character making the skill roll to increase his skill in the science being used, or in Research, Cryptography, or Mathematics, as well as in Comptography by +5%.



base 00%

     This skill deals with the creation, use, deciphering, and cracking of codes. A successful roll allows the character to encode or decode a message if the cipher is already known. To decipher an unknown code user usually requires a team of specialist, large amounts of time and multiple successes at this skill before the code is fully broken.

     A failed roll results in an unintelligible transcript, whereas a Fumble results in a misleading, and potentially dangerously garbled, message being translated.



base 05% + average of INT and CHA bonuses

With this skill, the character knows how to navigate the murky and treacherous waters of life amongst the middle, upper and noble classes in a social setting. All social castes or special groups have their own codes of conduct, defining what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. The skill includes the subtleties and extravagances of courtly behavior, proper dress, modes of speech, specific behaviors, even eye contact, and how best to use them to the player’s advantage.

     This skill may also be referred to as (High) Society or Courtly Manners.



base 15%

     The Evaluate skill enables the character to determine the value placed on something by others, effectively guessing its market value. Any particularly common or rare or obscure objects may receive a bonus or penalty to the roll to estimate their worth but success will allow a character to guess the average monetary value of the object (within 20% of its actual local value). This skill may also be referred to as Appraise.



base 00%

This skill is applicable for selecting and wearing new, socially stylish, good quality, and flattering clothing; as well as for knowing the current styles and trends. This can be used as a complementary skill to aid one’s Persuasion.



base 05%

     This skill covers knowledge of the customs, stories, lyrics, tall tales, beliefs, and legends of an identifiable area, region or people particular people or region. This knowledge is primarily related to cultural traditions and legends, and can be used instead of Anthropology to detect the historical presence of a specific body of people through carvings and other signs. It may possibly be used as a complementary skill for Anthropology or Occult.



base 05%

     This covers the knowledge of and ability to interpret physical evidence at crime scenes, most notably concerning corpses. Characters with this skill have been trained to determine facts about incidents based on the scientific evidence at the scene, while ensuring that evidence remains uncontaminated.

     This skill can be used to search for fingerprints and other hidden evidence at a particular location. However, this is a slow and painstaking process as it takes many hours to conduct properly, so is unsuitable for quick searches. A character using the Forensics skill may learn one hidden piece of information about an incident scene for each 1d6 hours spent carefully analyzing it. This information should be factual, for example identifying the number of people involved in a gunfight, or finding a fingerprint on an iron poker at a murder scene.

     A Special success can provide a second piece of information, while a Fumble indicates the character has contaminated the scene in his rush to find the evidence.

     The Medicine and Chemistry skills may be used to complement Forensics.



base 10%

     The study of the origin, history, and structure of planet earth, from volcanism and plate tectonics to rock strata and erosion. Use this skill to identify types of rock, predict if valuable ores, compounds, or fossils might be found in a given area, or try to predict catastrophic behavior like earthquakes and volcanoes.



base 20% for General History; 05% + Education bonus for a specific subject or period

     Enables an investigator to remember the history of a country, city, or region, with particular reference to pertinent events. Lessen the chance if the investigator needs to remember a particularly obscure fact. A successful History roll might be used to help identify written forms of extinct human languages or to know some ancient technique.

     Examples of specific subjects or periods include History of Medieval Europe, History of Victorian British Politics, History of China, or History of Falconry.


Knowledge/Lore (various)

base 00%

     This skill is used to delineate levels of known or memorized information about specific subjects or fields. This may be for academic, professional, crafting, or personal interest reasons. Each field or subject is listed separately. The range of possibilities for this skill is limited only by player and GM imagination.


Language (Native/Other)

base 00%

     The Language skill is actually several separate skills grouped under a single heading. Individual languages, such as English, German, French, etc. are all individual, separate skills.

     A character starts with their Native Language at 50%, or EDU x 5%, at the choice of the player, in both the spoken and written forms. A character with a Language skill of 60% or more is considered to have passing fluency in that language; though at skill levels below 90% they will likely bear a marked accent of some type (regional, social, foreign, etc.).

     Language skills are tracked separately for Spoken and Read/Write mediums. The Read/Write skill levels for Other Language skills are half the current Spoken skill level for that language.



base is Intelligence bonus, + EDU x 2%

     This is the ability to understand and perform mathematical calculations. A 15% skill probably means one is familiar with basic arithmetic, a skill level of 25% indicates a character is competent with algebra and geometry at the high school level. A 40% skill level means a character has an understanding of college level calculus. At 50%, a character could teach high school or basic college courses. At skill levels of 75% or more, a character is capable of creative, innovative mathematical work


Medical Skills

various base levels

     This category of skills includes Cure Disease, Doctor/Medicine, Diagnose, Medical Expertise (Field), Pharmacy, and Treat Poison. These skills all require specialized training and education. Typically, a character with more than 25% in any of these skills could earn a living performing them in certain societies. Use of these skills enables characters to make a full or more rapid recovery from serious illnesses and injuries.



base 10%

     This skill allows a character to predict local or regional weather conditions for up to three days, providing they have experience with the area’s weather patterns. As well as predicting weather conditions, the Meteorology skill allows the identification of different weather effects, their cause, and the likelihood of danger presented by them. A meteorologist would also easily be able to detect any subtle but unnatural weather conditions, such as unusual fogs or strangely moving clouds, where others might miss them.


Military Science

base 05%

     This skill is typically applicable to characters with military experience only.

     This skill represents a character’s knowledge of the armed forces, including ranks and insignia, protocols and procedures, and concepts such as military strategy and the varying schools of warfare. It encompasses basic tactics, history, and traditions as well as a general knowledge of branch specific military equipment. While a character may not use this skill to operate military equipment or arms, it can provide at least basic knowledge of the equipment's uses, strengths, and weaknesses, effectively removing any negative modifiers for use without formal skill.

     Characters can use this skill to ascertain a specific piece of information relating to military matters, be that the correct chain of command to approach the Quartermaster General, or the standard pattern of attack for infantry assaulting reinforced emplacements. Characters can also attempt to use this skill when trying to cut through red tape or justify actions that would be considered against regulations.

     Military Science is a skill that should be possessed by all military veterans in at least a moderate amount (20% or more). Characters with at least 5 years of formal military service receive 20% + Know bonus without cost.


Morse Code

base 00%

     This covers the use of Morse Code for communications. Radio, Signals and Telegraph may be used as complementary skills for Morse Code. Morse Code may in turn be used as a complementary skill for Signals.



base 10%

     This skill covers the use of a compass, map, and the stars to navigate by. It includes terrain association, pace counts, an understanding of magnetic declination, etc.

     This skill may also be referred to as Basic or Land Navigation, or Orienteering.



base 00%

     This skill covers the knowledge of magical practices, obscure legends, and so-called ‘secret history’ that covers everything from arcane philosophies to conspiracy theories. It comes from having supernatural experiences, reading ancient and forgotten tomes or grimoires, and learning secrets that challenge everything previously learned or understood.

     Successful use can allow a character to realize the significance of alchemical or astrological symbols, identify which magical tradition created a ritual workspace, know the names of powerful spirits, or identify the secret factions conspiring to manipulate a situation. Since these revelations defy logic or commonly accepted fact, it does not matter how intelligent or wise the character is when using this skill.

     This skill may also be referred to as Arcane Lore, Esoteric Lore or Cthulhu Mythos, depending on the situation.

     Note: This skill is not normally available during character creation.



base 00%

     The study of forces, pressure, materials, motion, magnetism, electricity, optics, light, radioactivity, and other related phenomena. Use this skill to chart an object’s orbit or falling arc, predict the breaking point of a material or object, or compute the escape velocity for a rocket. Often used in conjunction with Astronomy.


Poison Lore 

base 00%

     With this lore, the character has knowledge of poisons and their antidotes. A successful skill roll can: reveal the use of a poison; identify the type; and suggest a method of treatment or an antidote. Using plants, herbs, animal organs and the venom of beasts, the character can brew ingestible poisons or blade venoms. A single dose (enough to contaminate a single meal or envenom one weapon) of POT 10 poison, takes one hour to brew with an onset time of 3 combat rounds. Characters may use the Botany, Chemistry and Pharmacy skills as complementary or alternative skills.



base 00%

     The study and knowledge of political systems or other means of governance imposed upon or elected by the citizenry. A character could use this skill to understand the major power blocs in an area, how to influence the political structure, and how citizens will react to political change or influence.



base 00% + Perception bonus

     The study of the mind and human behavior. A successful roll often provides insight into a person’s motives, behavior, thoughts, or plans. At skill levels above 50%, a character may attempt to determine if someone they are conversing with is lying.


Science, Basic

base 05%

      This covers a basic understanding of many fields. It can be considered the equivalent of a period High School education level. This skill may also be referred to as General Science.


Science (Various)

base 00%

     This skill is used to delineate levels of known information about specific formal scientific fields. Each field or subject is listed separately, and may be taken multiple times. Some examples applicable to the campaign include: Anthropology, Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics.



base 05%

     This covers the use of visual signaling devices, such as flags, rods, disks, paddles, etc. for communications. Signals may be used as a complementary skill for Semaphore.



base 00%

     This skill is typically applicable to characters with military experience only.

     Use of this skill enables a character to understand the flow of battle and to guide and deploy forces accordingly. A character may use this skill on up to POW x 5 distinct military units, depending on the chain of command the character belongs to.

     The skill requires 15 minutes to use, and provides the following bonuses or penalties to combat-related abilities for the character and the units or other characters under his or her direction:


Strategy results


The character’s abysmal strategic appraisal gives combat tasks a -25% penalty for 1d4 combat rounds.


The character’s poor understanding gives target unit combat tasks a -10% penalty for 1d3 combat rounds.


The character’s strategic assessment is adequate, and unit combat tasks are performed coherently in accordance with his or her strategic goals.


The character gains valuable strategic insight, providing a +10% bonus to target unit combat tasks for 1d3 combat rounds.


The character makes brilliant strategic and tactical decisions, providing a +25% bonus to target unit combat tasks for 1d4 rounds.


     Note: Bonuses and penalties stack with those provided by use of the Command skill.



base 05% + Knowledge bonus

     The Survival skill is a grab bag of knowledge that includes shelter building, hunting, finding food, finding useable water, starting fires, basic treatment of associated medical problems (such as exposure, frostbite, malaria, or sunstroke), and a number of other things that can help one to survive in hostile and extreme climates and situations.

     This skill is only applicable if the character’s survival is threatened by the environment, such as by a lack of water, food, fuel or shelter. A Survival roll will be required every day in those situations. Success indicates the character manages to find whatever he is lacking. Failure means he or she will go without, which over several days, could result in very serious consequences.

     At the time of their character inception and design, players may also choose to have their character’s skill focused on a specific environment(s), such as Arctic, Desert, Jungle, Mountain, Nordic (aka Polar & Alpine), Ocean, Tropic, Urban, etc. If they do so, they gain the benefit of also having (General) Survival at 50% of the starting level of the environment specific focus without cost. However, the character may be disadvantaged in other environments if the difference from their chosen specialty is significant

     Survival rolls are not used when the character is in a city or town. Natural History, Biology, Botany, Wilderness Lore, Hunting, Doctor, and Pharmacy skills may be used as complementary skills in some situations.

     This skill may also be referred to as General or Wilderness Survival.



base 00%

     Intended for characters with military backgrounds only, this skill allows a character to understand the ebb and flow of battle, and to choose his or her actions accordingly.

     The use of Tactics affects a wide variety of skills, including the choice of which weapon(s) to use, and where the character positions him or herself and others on the battlefield. Used when working at an individual or small group level (a number of combatants equal to half the character’s POW), Tactics can only affect larger troop numbers when combined with the Command skill.


Tactics results


The character’s appalling tactical appraisal of the situation gives his combat tasks a -20% penalty for 1d4 combat rounds.


The character’s flawed understanding gives his combat tasks a -10% penalty for 1d3 combat rounds.


The character is able to make an adequate tactical assessment, and his combat tasks are successfully performed in accordance with his tactical goals. The character and any troops under the character’s control receive a +5% bonus for their combat tasks for one combat round.


The character gains valuable tactical insight from his reading of the situation, providing a +10% bonus to his combat tasks for 1d3 combat rounds.


The character makes sound and effective tactical decisions, providing a +25% bonus to his combat tasks for 1d4 rounds


     Note: For any of the results of an attempt to utilize the Tactics skill, the results and effects on any task or tasks (including attacks and defense, or the use of concealment, sneaking, or forward observer skills) are applicable to the character as well as any troops under his or her control.



basic 00%

     This skill addresses the ability to operate and repair telephone equipment, particularly field telephones and telephone exchanges. Knowledge of this skill allows a character to redirect telephone signals through an exchange, listen in on calls, and make basic repairs and maintenance checks to telephone handsets and exchanges. Characters with this skill may also attempt to place listening devices in telephones, and will be able to recognize the sounds of a telephone that has been bugged.



base 00%

     Theology is the study of the divine, and particularly the use of analysis and argument to help understand and convey religious theories. It covers details of the traditions, doctrines, dogma, mythos, liturgy, and practices of a specific religion.

     A character can use this skill to avoid violating taboos, recall the laws and obligations of a faith, successfully debate points of theology, identify regalia or religious texts, sort orthodoxy from heresy, or even properly lead a religious ceremony.

     Characters trained in Theology should specify the faith for which they have received theological training. However, characters with at least 25% skill are likely to know more about other faiths than the average man.

     A character with over 50% in Theology can also use half their skill for theological inquiries into other similar religions. For example, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all share certain similarities, as do Frisbeetarianism, Jedism, and Pastafarianism; while Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism share a geographical and cultural basis. This skill may also be referred to as Divinity, Faith, or Religious Lore.


Wilderness Lore 

basic 00%

     The knowledge of local plant and animal life in its natural environment. A character could use this skill to identify a species by tracks, spoor, habits, and appearance, predict which fruits and berries are safe to eat, or avoid predators in the wild by knowing their habits.

     This is an elective skill and may always be used to complement Survival or Hunting skills



base 00%

     Zoology is the study of the animal kingdom, and allows a character to attempt to identify animals and to determine their normal habitat or origin. Zoology is a fairly all-encompassing skill that includes the basics of disciplines such as entomology and herpetology.


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