You are keenly aware of your surroundings and virtually impossible to take unaware. You have an instinctive alacrity of response that helps you act before less wary persons can think to move.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Notice skill. You cannot be surprised, nor can others use the Surprise Attack option on you.
Level 2: You always act first in the first round of combat unless someone else involved is also this Alert. Redraw an initiative card once per scene, but you must use the new card.
You are practiced at sudden murder, and have certain advantages in carrying out a surprise attack.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Sneak skill. You can conceal an object no larger than a knife or pistol from anything less invasive than a strip search, including normal TL4 passive weapon detectors. You can draw or produce this object as an Instant action, and your point-blank ranged attacks with it cannot miss the target.
Level 2: You can take a Move action on the same round as you make an assassination attempt, closing rapidly with a target before you attack. This movement happens too quickly to alert a victim.
You have an uncanny kind of charisma about you, one that makes others instinctively follow your instructions and further your causes. Where this focus refers to followers, it means NPCs who have voluntarily chosen to be in your service. PCs never count as followers.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Lead skill. Once every 24 hours, you can make a request from an NPC who is not openly hostile to you, rolling a Lead skill check at a difficulty of the NPC’s Morale score. If you succeed, they will comply with the request, provided it is not harmful or extremely uncharacteristic.
Level 2: Those who follow you are fired with confidence. Any NPC being directly led by you gains a Morale bonus equal to your Lead skill and a +1 bonus on all skill checks and hit rolls. Followers will not act against your interests unless under extreme pressure.
You’ve had all too much practice at close-in fighting and desperate struggles with pistol or blade. You’re extremely skilled at avoiding injury in melee combat, and at level 2 you can dodge through a melee scrum without fear of being knifed in passing.
Level 1: Gain a rank in any combat skill. You can use pistol-sized ranged weapons in melee without suffering penalties for the proximity of melee attackers. You ignore Shock damage from melee assailants, even if you’re unarmored at the time.
Level 2: The Shock damage from your melee attacks treats all targets as if they were AC 10. The Fighting Withdrawal combat action is treated as an On Turn action for you and can be performed freely.
You’re remarkably gifted at making friends and forging ties with the people around you. Wherever you go, you always seem to know somebody useful to your ends.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Connect skill. If you’ve spent at least a week in a not-entirely-hostile location, you’ll have built a web of contacts willing to do favors for you that are no more than mildly illegal. You can call on one favor per game session and the GM decides how far they’ll go for you.
Level 2: As above. Once per game session, if it’s not entirely implausible, you meet someone you know who is willing to do modest favors for you. You can decide when and where you want to meet this person. You are not limited to the number of favors you can call in from this individual, but the GM provides boundaries.
You are surprisingly hard to kill. You can survive injuries or bear up under stresses that would incapacitate a less determined person.
Level 1: You gain an extra 2 maximum hit points per level. This bonus applies retroactively if you take this attribute after first level. You automatically stabilize if mortally wounded by anything smaller than a Heavy weapon.
Level 2: The first time each gaming session that you are reduced to zero hit points by an injury, you instead survive with one hit point remaining. This ability can’t save you from Heavy weapons or similar trauma.
You know how to get your way in personal negotiations, and can manipulate the attitudes of those around you. Even so, while smooth words are versatile, they’ll only work if your interlocutor is actually willing to listen to you.
Level 1: You speak all common languages (English, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi) and can learn new ones to a workable level in a week, becoming fluent in a month. Reroll 1s on any skill check related to negotiation or diplomacy.
Level 2: Once per game session, shift an intelligent NPC’s reaction one step closer to friendly if you can talk to them for at least thirty seconds.
You have a gift with small guns.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Shoot skill. You can draw or holster a Stowed small projectile or energy weapon as a free action. The weapon must be 1 encumbrance or less. You may add your Shoot skill level to a small projectile or energy weapon’s damage roll.
Level 2: You can reload a small projectile or ranged weapon as an On Turn action if it takes no more than one round to reload. Even on a miss with a Shoot attack, you do an unmodified 1d4 damage.
You have a remarkable fluency with digital security measures and standard encryption methods. You know how to make computerized systems obey you until their automatic failsafes come down on your control.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Program skill. When attempting to hack a database or computerized system, roll 3d6 on the skill check and drop the lowest die.
Level 2: Your hack duration increases from 1d4 plus your Program skill in rounds to that many minutes. You have an instinctive understanding of the tech; you never need to learn the data protocols for a strange system and are always treated as familiar with it.
Healing comes naturally to you, and you’re particularly gifted at preventing the quick bleed-out of wounded allies and comrades.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Heal skill. You may attempt to stabilize one adjacent person per round as an On Turn action. When rolling Heal skill checks, roll 3d6 and drop the lowest die. Level 2: Stims or other technological healing devices applied by you heal twice as many hit points as normal. Using only basic medical supplies, you can heal 1d6+Heal skill hit points of damage to every injured or wounded person in your group with ten minutes of first aid spread among them. Such healing can be applied to a given target only once every 24 hours.
You have an distinct knack for picking up lost souls who willingly do your bidding. You might induce them with promises of money, power, excitement, sex, or some other prize that you may or may not eventually grant. A henchman obtained with this focus will serve in loyal fashion until clearly betrayed or placed in unacceptable danger. Henchmen are never “important” people in their society, and are usually marginal sorts, outcasts, the desperate, or other persons with few options. You can use more conventional pay or inducements to acquire additional henchmen, but these extra hirelings are no more loyal or competent than your pay and treatment can purchase.
Level 1: You can acquire henchmen within 24 hours of arriving in a community, assuming anyone is suitable hench material. These henchmen will not fight except to save their own lives, but will escort you on adventures and risk great danger to help you. You can have one henchmen at a time for every three character levels you have, rounded up. You can release henchmen with no hard feelings at any plausible time and pick them back up later should you be without a current henchman.
Level 2: Your henchmen are remarkably loyal and determined, and will fight for you against anything but clearly overwhelming odds. Whether through natural competence or their devotion to you.
Whether through uncanny reflexes, remarkable luck, gengineered skin fibers, or subtle telekinetic shielding, you have natural defenses equivalent to high-quality combat armor. The benefits of this attribute don’t stack with armor.
Level 1: You have an innate armor class of 15 plus half your character level, rounded up.
Level 2: Your abilities are so effective that they render you immune to unarmed attacks or primitive melee weapons as if you wore powered armor.
You have an unusual competence with throwing knives and stabbing weapons. This attribute’s benefits do not apply to unarmed attacks or projectile weapons.
Level 1: Gain a rank in the Stab skill. You can draw or sheath a Stowed melee or primitive thrown weapon as an Instant action. You may add your Stab skill level to a melee or thrown weapon’s damage roll or Shock damage, if any.
Level 2: Your melee and primitive thrown weapons count as TL4 weapons for the purpose of overcoming advanced armors. Even on a miss with a melee weapon, you do an unmodified 1d4 damage to the target, plus any Shock damage. This bonus damage doesn’t apply to thrown weapons or unarmed attacks.
You’ve had special training in a particular psychic discipline. You must be a Psychic or have taken the Partial Psychic class option as an Adventurer to pick this focus. In the latter case, you can only take training in the discipline you initially chose as a Partial Psychic. As with most attributes, this attribute can be taken only once.
Level 1: Gain a rank in any psychic skill. If this improves it to level-1 proficiency, choose a free level-1 technique from that discipline. Your maximum Effort increases by one.
Level 2: When you advance a level, the bonus psychic skill you chose automatically gets one skill point put toward increasing it or purchasing a technique from it. You may save these points for later, if more are required to raise the skill or buy a particular technique. These points are awarded retroactively if you take this focus level later in the game.
Savage Fray You are a whirlwind of bloody havoc in melee combat, and can survive being surrounded far better than most combatants. Level 1: Gain Stab as a bonus skill. All enemies adjacent to you at the end of your turn whom you have not attacked suffer the Shock damage of your weapon if their armor class is not too high to be affected. Level 2: After suffering your first melee hit in a round, any further melee attacks from other assailants automatically miss you. If the attacker who hits you has multiple attacks, they may attempt all of them, but other foes around you simply miss.
Shocking Assault You’re extremely dangerous to enemies around you. The ferocity of your melee attacks stresses and distracts enemies even when your blows don’t draw blood. Level 1: Gain any combat skill as a bonus. The Shock damage of your weapon treats all targets as if they were AC 10, assuming your weapon is capable of harming the target in the first place. Level 2: As above, but you gain a +2 bonus to the Shock damage rating of all melee weapons you use. Your regular hits with a weapon never do less damage than this Shock would do on a miss.
Sniper You are an expert at placing a bullet or beam on an unsuspecting target. These special benefits only apply when making a surprise attack, as described on page XX. Level 1: Gain Shoot as a bonus skill. When making a surprise attack skill check with firearms or bows, roll 3d6 and drop the lowest die. Level 2: A target hit by your sniping attempt takes a -4 penalty on the Physical saving throw to avoid immediate mortal injury. When making a surprise attack skill check with firearms or bows, roll 4d6 and drop the two lowest dice.
Specialist You are remarkably talented at a particular skill. Whether a marvelous cat burglar, a world-famous athlete, a brilliant engineer, or some other savant, your expertise is extremely reliable. You may take this focus more than once for different skills. Level 1: Gain a non-combat, non-psychic skill as a bonus. Roll 3d6 and drop the lowest die for all skill checks in this skill. Level 2: Roll 4d6 and drop the two lowest dice for all skill checks in this skill.
Star Captain You have a tremendous natural talent for ship combat, and can make any starship you captain a significantly more fearsome opponent. You must take the captain’s role during a fight as described on page XX of the Ship Combat rules in order to benefit from this focus. Level 1: Gain Lead as a bonus skill. Your ship gains 2 extra Command Points at the start of each turn. Level 2: A ship you captain gains bonus hit points equal to 20% of its maximum at the start of each combat. Damage is taken from these bonus points first, and they vanish at the end of the fight and do not require repairs to replenish before the next. In addition, once per engagement, you may resolve a Crisis as an Instant action by explaining how your leadership resolves the problem.
Starfarer You are an expert in the plotting and execution of interstellar spike drills. While most experienced pilots can manage conventional drills along well-charted spike routes, you have the knack for forging new drill paths and cutting courses too dangerous for lesser navigators. Level 1: Gain Pilot as a bonus skill. You automatically succeed at all spike drill-related skill checks of difficulty 10 or less. Level 2: Double your Pilot skill for all spike drill-related skill checks. Spike drives of ships you navigate are treated as one level higher; thus, a drive-1 is treated as a drive-2, up to a maximum of drive-7. Spike drills you personally oversee take only half the time they would otherwise require.