From Obscura

If you're looking for the basic rules you should start with the Quickstart Rules.

Skills are a major way in which you customise your character, deciding what special skills they have that set them apart from others.

If you take any magic skills you can't take science skills and vice versa.

The Combat Training skill gives access to the Rogue, Warrior and Invoker combat schools, and is an important skill if you intend to play a combat character.

Free Skills

Every Player Character starts with these (however NPCs may not).

One-Handed Training You can use one melee weapon of 8”-42”.
Sense Magic
You've been trained to spot magical and alchemical anomalies. You can spot whether items and locations have magical or alchemical properties (you can see lammies and ribbons).

With 5 seconds of touch range appropriate roleplay, you can ask a ref if an item or location has an EFFECT or ask a character "OC are you under an EFFECT or COMPEL?", for a yes or no answer. Using this on a person is quite uncomfortable for them, like having your soul prodded.

You’ve undergone physical training, or have unusual determination or fortitude, or maybe you’re just lucky. You can sustain an additional two mortal wounds than most before succumbing, becoming terminal on your fourth.
First Aid
With 30 seconds of stationary touch range appropriate roleplay with both hands you can CURE ALL another character.

With 5 seconds of touch range appropriate roleplay inspecting a character you can ask "OC are you incapacitated, terminal or dead?".

Patch Up
With 5 seconds of touch range appropriate roleplay inspecting a character you can ask "OC please show me your wounds".

Twice per day, with 30 seconds of appropriate roleplay you can patch up a single wound on another character to suppress it until a dramatically appropriate time during the next event. You do not have to follow the treatment on the wound card, but feel free to use it as inspiration for your patch up job.

Use Alchemical You can use alchemicals up to third rank with 5 seconds of roleplay.

You can use one alchemical per encounter safely, if you use more than this see a ref after the encounter.

Inflict Wound With 5 seconds of very clear touch range appropriate roleplay you can call WOUND.

Do not do this roleplay on the head or neck.

Search You can search a character with 30 seconds of touch range appropriate roleplay miming a search; do not actually rifle through the target’s belongings without permission. At the culmination of the search the target must offer you any game items they have on them. Foci should be shown on a search, but can’t be removed.
Carry You can carry an unresisting character with two hands, which need not be empty but can’t be used for anything else while carrying. Carrying people is physrepped by telling them you’re carrying them and them walking, not actually carrying or dragging people.
Summon You can summon an elemental with one minute of roleplay. You might want to find out more about this before trying it.

This skill is usable while Terminal.

Disarm You can render visible weapons, natural weapons and foci unusable with 5 seconds of touch range appropriate roleplay breaking them (please don't actually bash them on the ground or bend them). This can't be done in combat. This is the preferred method of disarming monsters, by breaking their weapon and dropping it back next to them.

Broken things can be repaired with 30 seconds of appropriate roleplay.

Unless briefed otherwise, NPCs have at least One-Handed Training, Carry and First Aid. Note that many NPCs do not have Sense Magic, so can't detect alchemicals or magical effects on sight. NPCs should not loot PCs unless briefed to do so and not use Inflict Wound unless very explicitly briefed to do so.

General Skills

Skill Prerequisites Description
Combat Training
You have trained in one of the three combat schools. Choose a school from Rogue, Warrior and Invoker. Receive the Free Skills for that school, and you can now learn the Combat Skills for it.

This is an important skill for combat characters.

Melee Training
You can use two 8”-42” weapons, one in each hand.

You can use a buckler up to 15” in diameter.

You can use a weapon 42”-60” with both hands.

Polearm Training Melee Training You can use a weapon 60”-84” with both hands. These can be stab safe and if so can be used for thrusting.

You can use a stab-safe spear 60”-84” in one hand to thrust only.

You must pass an out of character safety check to use a polearm for thrusting.

Thrown Training You can carry up to five thrown weapons and use them.
Extra Toughness
You have one extra hit.
Exceptional Toughness
Extra Toughness You have one extra hit.
Extreme Toughness
Exceptional Toughness You have one extra hit.
Alchemical Resistance You can consume an additional alchemical per encounter before suffering from overdose.
With one minute of touch range appropriate roleplay you can gather materials from a dead non-human. You can only do this once per target. Materials in bodies must be removed and preserved extremely quickly, such that each dissector can usually only gather materials from a single body at the end of an encounter before the rest are spoiled. Not all body types yield useful material.
Personal Income
You gain two Ducatto before each interactive, and this income will never be affected by political factors.

Sometimes you may be offered to exchange your personal income for an exotic income.

Insightful Observer
You can spend 5 seconds inspecting roleplay you can clearly see and hear to ask "OC what skill are you using and what's the intended outcome?". If there's a ref overseeing the skill, ask them rather than interrupting the player using the skill.

For example, a thaumaturge performing the Ruination ritual would respond with "Lead Ritual. Shoot 3 MAGIC TRIPLEs".

Once per day you can ask COMPEL: Tell me, was that the truth?

Spend at least one minute of appropriate roleplay, potentially with other characters, discussing or meditating on a particular problem or what lies ahead, or examining a scene. Using alchemical mood enhancers as meditation aids may allow you to come to greater revelations and yield more information. Investigating the same target twice on the same day won't give new information.

You can quickly assess a scene to see if an investigation might provide useful information.

You will sometimes spot that things are out of place and get a hint that an Investigation might yield information, but this shouldn't be relied upon.

Preparation You have an excellent memory for skills, and with one minute of appropriate roleplay can learn a skill from a character that can perform it. You can only remember two skills at a time, but you can forget one in order to learn a new one. You can only learn skills that you could learn yourself (so you can’t learn a skill you’re locked out of due to science or magic path and you must have any prerequisites, but one of your prepared skills can be the prerequisite for the other). You will remember a prepared skill until the end of the next interactive you attend after learning it. You can activate this skill once per day for each skill to to gain that prepared skill for an encounter. If one of your skills is the prerequisite for the other, you must activate them at the same time. You cannot use any per-day abilities granted by the skills you’re replicating. You cannot learn Combat Training or Personal Income with this.
Tricks of the Trade
You can identify well-known items. Sometimes you may be able to identify interesting mundane information about an item.

You can make a quick assessment of a character to determine if they are carrying any valuables, or specifically weapons (you can ask “OC do you have any unsmuggled game items?” and “OC do you have any unsmuggled weapons or a focus?”). This can't be used in combat.

You can smuggle one item up to the size of a one-handed weapon or buckler, and a second item up to the size of a dagger. Do not hand over those items to a searcher on the completion of a search, unless you are terminal or dead. You must plausibly physically conceal the items.

You can send messages to characters in uptime by asking a ref for a contact to meet you and pick up the message. This is primarily for delivering to NPCs, but you may deliver messages to PCs with this skill, in which case the contact will attempt to deliver it anonymously. Your contacts are only able to deliver messages to people on this plane, though cultivating contacts that can work extraplanar may be possible.

This can also be used to find someone who can perform a service for you, provided that service is relatively common (if uncommon, you may be able to contact someone who knows someone). If a character who can do your desired service is known to be in the interactive, you will almost certainly just receive their name.

Once per day you can use this skill for free, but otherwise it will require payment. Your contacts may not always be available (for example on linears).

Hearts and Minds
Following 30 seconds of appropriate roleplay conversing with them you can call “EFFECT: <Emotion>” to a single character. Once per day after 5 seconds of appropriate roleplay you can call “MASS EFFECT: <Emotion>”. These abilities can’t be performed in combat. This skill does work on creatures that can't understand you, though unintelligent creatures may not react sensibly to some emotions.

Available emotions are: Anger, Fear, Courage, Envy, Pride, Ambition.

Iron Will
You can RESIST non-EPIC emotion EFFECTs by instead responding with an emotion of your choice.

Once per encounter you can RESIST a non-EPIC COMPEL with a declaration of resistance, individuality or other roleplay appropriate to your character.

You can use these skills while performing other skills.

Iron Will With one minute of appropriate roleplay you can prepare any number of characters (optionally including yourself) to grant them EFFECT: You can RESIST one non-EPIC COMPEL or emotion EFFECT that would interfere with a specific goal or plan until sunrise. A person can only be the target of this skill once per day.

Once per day with one minute of appropriate roleplay you can prepare any number of characters (including yourself) for the upcoming encounter, granting them EFFECT: +1 Hit for the next encounter.

Smooth Talker
You know how to quickly de-escalate a situation. Following 5 seconds of appropriate roleplay orating, you can call “MASS EFFECT: Don’t start a fight.” once per encounter. The targets of this effect don’t necessarily feel any more friendly, but are willing to talk instead of fighting. Note the prohibition is only on starting a fight; if someone not subject to the effect starts one around them, they are free to join in, and the skill is ineffective if combat has already started.

You can spend at least one minute of appropriate roleplay to spread a rumour or plan a campaign to attempt to influence a group of NPCs who are not present, but are on this plane. Other characters can assist with this. Spending Ducatto can also help. It is likely to take time for any influence to take effect.

Magic Skills

Skill Prerequisites Description
Lead Ritual Choose an element. You can lead formulaic rituals of that element that you’ve learned and you learn the Consecrate ritual for that element. Once per day you can improvise a ritual for an element you can lead. This skill can be taken multiple times, choosing a different element each time.
Learn Ritual Lead Ritual Learn an additional two formulaic rituals of elements for which you have Lead Ritual. This skill can be taken multiple times, learning new rituals each time.

Science Skills

Skill Prerequisites Description
You can perform alchemy to manifest first and second rank partials of alchemicals. You can use 2 ingredients safely. You can experiment with new recipes once per day.

You can identify a known alchemical with a few moments of roleplay. You can identify an unknown alchemical with one minute of appropriate roleplay, destroying it.

Improved Alchemy Alchemy You can use 3 ingredients safely. You can experiment with new recipes twice per day.

Once per day you can consume an additional alchemical before suffering from overdose.

Advanced Alchemy Improved Alchemy You can manifest third rank partials of alchemicals and use 4 ingredients safely. You can experiment with new recipes 3 times per day.

You can use alchemicals that are Advanced Alchemist Only.

Master Alchemy Advanced Alchemy You can use 5 ingredients safely. You can manifest fourth rank partials of alchemicals and use fourth rank alchemicals. You can experiment with new recipes 4 times per day.
With one minute of touch range appropriate roleplay you can reanimate a deceased mostly complete human corpse to allow a conversation with it. This may fail.

With one minute of touch range appropriate roleplay you can restore a terminal character to full capability, but they will still die at the end of their terminal state unless they find a way to avert it. With extra materials you may even be able to increase their capabilities.

Once per day you can CURE 1 yourself. You can use this while healthy or in the first 10s of incapacitation.

Surgery Surgery is a very common requirement for the treatment of wounds.

Three times per day with one minute of touch range appropriate roleplay you can examine a dead human and ask one question about it. You can also use this ability when dissecting non-human corpses. You can only do this once per corpse.

Field Medic Surgery You can suppress wounds with the Patch Up skill two more times per day.
Rapid First Aid Surgery With 5 seconds of stationary touch range appropriate roleplay you can CURE 1 another character.
Graft Surgery With one minute of touch range appropriate roleplay you can graft elemental material on to people, or yourself (or another surgeon can do the operation under your direction if self-surgery is impractical), which can grant new abilities, usually with drawbacks.

Your knowledge of grafts means you can use one basic graft with lessened mechanical drawback.

You can spend a minute analysing an advanced resource to get an idea what sort of grafts can be done with it.

If the target is unwilling the graft may be rejected.

Advanced Grafting Graft You can perform advanced grafts on yourself (or another surgeon can do the operation under your direction if self-surgery is impractical). There is no set list of advanced grafts, but consulting with a Keeper or task force staff could give insight on what is possible and what would be required to do it. Advanced grafts can be based on elemental grafts, or altering your own tissue with an alchemical.

If you lose access to this skill for any reason, you no longer benefit from your advanced grafts.

Skill Rules

  • If you take any magic skills you cannot then take science skills, and vice versa.
  • Skills can only be taken once unless otherwise specified.
  • Per-encounter skills refresh after 5 minutes. On a linear also after a clear encounter change (changing location is a sure sign, if in doubt ask a ref).
  • An Unresisting target is one who cannot or chooses not to make any attempt to resist a roleplayed action made against them. Incapacitated, Terminal and dead characters are always unresisting. Any level of resistance is enough to disrupt a skill that requires an unresisting target; you should assume a target is resisting if able, unless they are roleplaying acceptance or playing possum.
  • Any skill that requires touch range appropriate roleplay requires an unresisting target unless otherwise specified.
  • When performing any roleplay that requires an unresisting target, it should be clear to close observers, and especially the target, that you’re performing a skill on them.
  • Another character can resist for an unwilling target; placing their hands in the way is sufficient, as is hitting them with a harmful call. You cannot resist for a willing target.
  • Touch range skills can be used on yourself unless otherwise specified.
  • If you are leading a skill and stop roleplaying the skill is cancelled with no consumption of resources.
  • If participating in but not leading a skill and you stop roleplaying your contribution is lost from the result and you cannot rejoin.
  • You automatically stop performing a skill if incapacitated.
  • When performing a skill you cannot use another active skill (with a small number of exceptions specified in the skill description) or attack. You can block or parry as long as you otherwise continue your roleplay.
  • You cannot combine the effects of skills that grant calls. For example you can't perform Melee Expertise and Two-handed Prowess at the same time to strike for TRIPLE STUN, or use a weapon skill and a weapon oil in the same strike.
  • You can only non-consensually take items from another character using the Search skill. You can however demand a character give you something, and threaten them if they don't.
  • When participating in a skill led by another character (such as an Investigation or a ritual), you are aware of which skill they are using.
    • Note that for rituals the skill is always simply “Lead Ritual”. A ritual lead may mislead you as to the exact ritual you are participating in.
    • When participating in a skill led by another character, you will understand the true effect at its conclusion.
    • If you plan to perform a ritual in a covert or obfuscated way you should inform a ref.
  • If you believe you're having the same ritual cast on you a second time in a day, inform the caster.
  • If you believe you're casting the same ritual on a target the second time in a day, inform a ref.
  • Skill, trick, technique, focus power and ritual slots can be left empty and then learned later.
  • Skills, tricks, techniques, focus powers and rituals can be learned freely between events. You can also learn them in uptime from a character who knows it with at least 5 minutes of teaching roleplay.