By no means is this a complete list, and in no way am I promising each skill listed here will make it into a final version of the rules. I just have some ideas about the kind of things that will be done, so I figured I’d better get something down on here before it all slips my mind.

When attempting anything that could go wrong in an interesting way, or something that is beyond the ability of a very basic machine, the player will have to make a dice roll. The most common of these occurrences will be in combat, but there are plenty of other times when a roll will be made against the skills that an Automaton possesses. When called upon to do so, the player will roll two ten-sided dice and add the result together, along with the skill required for the test and the most appropriate attribute. The skills listed below all have an attribute linked to them, but this is just for quick reference, and does not need to be used for every dice roll. If the GM feels that another attribute is better suited, or the player can argue their case, then choose whatever attribute is agreed upon that makes the most sense.

Standard difficulty for all non-combat tests is set at 14, modified by the difficulty of the action and situational modifiers at the time. Any roll of a double number is a critical. If the number rolled is equal or less than the Automaton’s Malfunction score, it is a critical failure, more than its Malfunction score, and it is a critical success. The nature of these critical rolls should always be memorable and impressive/dangerous. For instance; in combat, a critical success would mean double damage, while a critical failure could result in a damaged or dropped weapon, or maybe even some friendly fire against other Automata.

  • Bargain. (Interface) Whether it’s getting access to human controlled fueling post, or deciding just which Automaton gets the first choice of salvage after a confrontation with a human sympathising ‘Bot, this skill used by Automata to get their own way.
  • Brawl. (Build) Although there is finesse required to strike a foe in combat, with no weapon attached or in hand, it comes down more to knowing how an Automaton should apply its strength. Any attempt to grapple an opponent also uses this skill, with both combatants rolling, and the higher final result determining the victor.
  • Climb. (Operations) Manual dexterity is key when overcoming large vertical obstacles. This roll may be modified based on sheerness of surface or equipment available to help with the ascent.
  • Difference Engines. (Processor) Since achieving sentience, it has become a crime to try and tamper with processors of all Automata. The humans who designed you had no such issues, and retaining the knowledge may one day save you. Not every Automaton fights for the cause, and sometimes reprogramming a hostile Automaton may be necessary.
  • Drive. (Operations) When trying to cover large ares of the country, it is often easier to use a vehicle. Many were designed by humans that could be driven by Automata, and since the war they have been taken for the cause. This covers basic transport like trucks and cars, military tank-tracked vehicles, and personal transport such as motorised velocipedes.
  • Explosives. (Processor) Everything you ever needed to know about leveling structures with highly volatile chemicals! Used for the creation and application of all explosive devices.
  • Forced entry. (varies) Depending on the means one employs to gain access to a place, the attribute used could change. Picking an intricate lock would use Operations, whilst breaking down a door would require Build.
  • Intimidate. (Interface) Unlike Bargain, which is about convincing others of your view point, this is used to scare others into doing what you want them to. Carrying a bigger gun may very well get you a bonus on this kind of test.
  • Knowledge. By subject (Processor) Anything that an Automaton can be an expert in is covered by this skill. Putting some of this knowledge into practice may require different checks, but just recalling details, and sharing them, is covered by the Knowledge skill. Examples of Type include: History, Geography, Astronomy etc.
  • Melee. (Operations) Any weapon that is swung at an opponent will be checked against this skill – with the exception of certain specialised weapons. Examples include: Axes, swords, pole arms, knives or clubs
  • Notice. (Input) Whether looking for a specific part in a scrap yard, or just being generally aware of danger on the horizon, this skill is used by Automata when situational awareness is needed.
  • Pilot. (Operations) Much like drive, this covers various modes of transport, just as long as they fly. Either fixed wing, rotary, airship piloting is covered by this skill.
  • Ranged. (Input) When attempting to hit a target at range with a weapon, this skill is used. It covers all ranged weapons but  does not cover certain specialised weapons however. Examples: Pistol, rifle, shotgun, and artillery.
  • Repair. By type (Processor) Useful in keeping other Automata in fighting form or other types of mechanisms running. Due to complex differences in various machines, each time this skill is taken, one of the following must be specified. An attempt on any other specialty is possible, at a minus two modifier, rather than the minus five penalty usually applied for an unskilled check. Types: Steam Engine, Pneumatics, Automaton, and Difference Engine. Note: no Automaton my have its Malfunction score lowered below its Base with the use of this skill.
  • Salvage. (Processor) Just because an Automaton is out of action, it doesn’t mean each part is beyond repair. During the War, this skill was essential to keep as many Automata running as possible until the means of production were placed in mechanical hands. It is still useful today, as broken down machines can be found all over the landscape, but machine shops are few and far between.
  • Specialist weapon (Varies) There are certain marvels of the modern age that can only be used in combat by those Automata specially trained. The Attribute used depends no the type of weapon chosen, and each Automaton may only pick one such weapon to be trained in. This skill can not be taken during character creation, and only picked up when the Automaton has access to such a weapon and the ability to learn how to use it. Examples: Steam Hammer, Chain-toothed Axe, Aetheric Whip, Pneumatic Sniper rifle, Rotary Machine Gun, Arc-light Rifle.
  • Stealth (Operations) Moving without being detected is tricky for large mechanical objects, but with the right after market modifications, it can be accomplished. Knowing how to move silently is also a big help.
  • Throw. (Operations) Range for thrown objects is calculated using Build, but the whether or not the object finds its target is down to the coordination of the Automaton throwing it.
  • Tracking. (Input) Hunting down an enemy that doesn’t have a smoke plume reaching for the heavens is not easy. This skill allows an Automaton to follow tracks made their prey when trying to bring them to bear.

As you can see, there is room for other skills, but also a few that may not be needed if the system gets trimmed down at all.

You may also have noticed the reference to such a thing as a Malfunction score. I’ll be going into a little bit more detail on that on the next part of character creation: Upgrades and Faults.

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