Skills for my campaign

My houserules make some small changes to the available skills in Savage Worlds and Sprawlrunners. Below is a complete reference to all the skills, including the ones in core SWADE. It also has some clarifications of which skill applies to some common actions where it’s perhaps not immediately obvious (eg. is a Matrix search Electronics, Hacking, or Research?)


A small number of skills have specialisations available. This works as follows:

  • When you take the skill, you get one specialisation for free.
  • Purchasing extra specialisations costs 1 skill point.
  • All use of the skill when one of your specialisations applies is rolled as normal.
  • For any use of the skill when you don’t have the appropriate specialisation, you take a -2 penalty on rolls.

Specialisations are also available for Common Knowledge. As for other specialisations, they cost 1 skill point per specialisation you take. Unlike other specialisations, they don’t change the roll, but they provide considerably more information on a Success or a Raise than if you didn’t have the specialisation. The narrower the specialisation, the more information you’ll get on a Success. You can purchase as many of these as you want.

If a skill doesn’t specifically mention specialisations below, then it doesn’t have any. You can ignore the “add specialisation” button in

Common skills

All characters get a d4 rank in these skills for free, without having to spend any skill points. You can, of course, spend points to improve them further.

  • Athletics (Agility): Running, climbing, jumping, balancing, throwing (including weapons), catching.
  • Common Knowledge (Smarts): General knowledge of daily life in the Sixth World.
    • See note above for specialisations.
  • Etiquette (Smarts): see specialisations below. Only one specialisation is included in the core skill.
  • Notice (Smarts): Awareness and perception; the ability to spot trouble coming, find non-obvious clues, or read body language to guess at someone’s emotional state.
  • Persuasion (Spirit): The ability to convince others to do what you want; via negotiation, orders, or lies. (But not threats; see Intimidation, below, for that.)
  • Stealth (Agility): The ability to sneak and hide, tail people without being noticed. (But not spot a tail that’s following you - that’s Notice.)
  • One of either Fighting or Shooting, at your choice. Only one specialisation is included in the core skill.

Combat skills

  • Battle (Smarts): Strategy, tactics, and understanding military operations. Particularly important in the Mass Battles game mechanic.
  • Fighting (Agility): Skill in armed and unarmed melee combat. Specialisations:
    • Unarmed (including Killing Hands and cyber-implant weapons)
    • Blunt (any crushing weapon)
    • Blades (all knives and swords)
    • Exotic (eg. mono-filament whips)
  • Shooting (Agility): Precision with any type of ranged weapon, including bows (but not thrown weapons). Specialisations for this skill:
    • Projectile weapons (bows, crossbows, etc)
    • Handguns (including all tasers, pistols, machine pistols, compact SMGs)
    • Longarms (normal SMGs, all rifles and light/medium machine guns)
    • Heavy (any turret-mounted gun; heavy machine guns; launchers of all kinds; flamethrowers; assault cannons)

Vehicle skills

  • Boating (Agility): Ability to sail or pilot a boat, ship, submarine, or any other watercraft.
  • Driving (Agility): The ability to control, steer, and operate ground vehicles - whether with wheels, treads, or legs (eg. walker drones).
  • Piloting (Agility): Skill with maneuvering vehicles that operate in three dimensions, such as airplanes, helicopters, spaceships, etc. Includes ground-effect vehicles like t-birds. Also includes rotordrones and fixed-wing drones.
  • Riding (Agility): A character’s skill in mounting, controlling, and riding a tamed beast. Probably not very useful in an urban cyberpunk game!

Physical active skills

See also “Athletics” and “Stealth” under common skills, above.

  • Gambling (Smarts): Skill and familiarity with games of chance.
  • Healing (Smarts): The ability to treat and heal Wounds and diseases, and decipher forensic evidence. Note that dealing with cyberware systems might also need Electronics and/or Repair, depending on what you’re doing.
  • Survival (Smarts): How to find food, water, or shelter (including in urban environments).
  • Thievery (Agility): Sleight of hand, pickpocketing, lockpicking, setting/disabling traps, and other such ethically dubious feats of legerdemain.

Social skills

See also “Persuasion” under common skills, above.

  • Etiquette (Smarts): A character’s ability to blend in with the background, dress and carry themselves so they don’t stand out, or talk the right lingo to appear to be part of the crowd. Some specialisations are below; let me know if you want more:
    • Academic
    • Corporate
    • Organised crime
    • Street/gang
    • Security/military
    • Socialite/elites/high society
  • Intimidation (Spirit): The ability to threaten others into compliance.
  • Performance (Spirit): Singing, dancing, acting, or other forms of public expression.
  • Taunt (Smarts): Insulting or belittling another. Can be done during combat to distract opponents.

If using a social skill in a language other than the character’s native tongue, if their language dice is lower than their social skill dice, roll the language dice instead. Sprawlspeak (a pidgin made up of English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, and many others) never counts as a native language for this rule, as it’s somewhat clumsy and not suited to rhetoric. If you’re playing a social manipulator role, strongly consider taking the Linguist edge so you can talk to people in their native language.

Magical skills

  • Astral (Smarts): The skill to assense living beings' auras or engage in combat on the Astral Plane.
  • Conjuration (Spirit): The skill for summoning or banishing spirits, for all magical traditions.
  • Sorcery (Smarts): The spellcasting skill for Arcane Background (logical spellcaster).
  • Sorcery (Spirit): The spellcasting skill for Arcane Background (intuitive spellcaster).

See also “Arcana” under knowledge skills, below.

Technical skills

  • Electronics (Smarts): The use of electronic and computerised devices and systems. Their manipulation, repair, and sabotage. Anything involving computer hardware (as opposed to software, which is Hacking.)
  • Hacking (Smarts): Legal and illegal computer use; coding, programming, and breaking into computer systems. (NB: simple, everyday Matrix actions fall under Common Knowledge and do not require a Hacking roll. Complex Matrix searches fall under Research.) Two specialisations:
    • Sleaze: used to discreetly break into systems, take control of devices, and hide your presence on the Matrix or in hosts.
    • Cybercombat: used to violently crash systems, disrupt Matrix signals, and interfere with device’s functionality.
  • Repair (Smarts): The ability to fix, build, and modify mechanical and electrical gadgets, including weapons, vehicles, etc. Also used for setting and using explosives and demolitions.

When repairing or modifying electronics, use the lowest of the characters' Repair and Electronics skills.

Knowledge skills

See also Common Knowledge, above.

  • Language (Smarts): Knowledge and fluency in a particular language.
  • Arcana (Smarts): Knowledge of magical theory, supernatural events, creatures, history, and ways. (Renamed version of “Occult” in core SWADE.)
  • Corps (Smarts): Knowledge of corporate structures, management theories, economics, accounting, the law. Knowledge of specific corps and their areas of expertise and specialities.
  • Research (Smarts): Finding written information from various sources. Used for Matrix searches.
  • Science (Smarts): Theoretical knowledge of scientific fields such as biology, chemistry, geology, engineering, etc.

For reference: what I’ve changed

  • Added some skill specialisation options
  • Added Astral and Conjuration to magic skills, renamed Occult to Arcana.
  • Reshuffled the boundaries between Hacking, Electronics, and Repair to make them slightly more intuitive (to me, at least.)
  • Added Etiquette
  • Added Corps knowledge skill.