Four skills — Cultures, Drive, Profession, and Science — are sufficiently broad that a character must specify one or more “focuses” when he acquires ranks in them. Except for Profession, each of these skills’ descriptions includes an exclusive list of available focuses (in the case of Drive, these focuses correspond directly to the vehicle categories). A character may not choose a focus outside these options without GC approval.
Focuses are not tracked separately of their parent skill. Further, a character never gains ranks in a focus. He either has one or he doesn’t. Check boxes are provided on the character sheet to record each character’s skill focuses.
At Career Level 1, the character automatically gains one focus for each focus skill. His Cultures choice must correspond to his homeland, while his other choices simply represent his personal background and preferences.
Also at Career Level 1, the character gains an additional number of focuses equal to his Intelligence modifier (if positive), which may be distributed between his focus skills as he wishes.
Thereafter, the character gains one additional focus for every 4 ranks he purchases in each parent focus skill.
A character may also gain additional focuses from his Origin, his class, or other options.
A forte represents dedicated study of only a part of an existing focus.
When a character who already possesses one or more focuses gains one, he may instead flag one part of a previously chosen focus as a “forte.” The division of each focus differs by skill, as follows.
Cultures: Each forte represents dedicated study of one country within the focus region.
Drive: Each forte represents dedicated study of one vehicle type within the focus vehicle category (e.g. sports car).
Profession: Each forte represents dedicated study of one task within the focus profession (e.g. murals within the painting profession).
Science: Each forte represents dedicated study of one gear type within the focus science (e.g. plastic explosive).
This grants the character a +1 bonus with all skill checks involving the forte focus. Further, when taking 10 with a skill check involving the forte focus, the time required is not doubled.
Special Note: A character may never benefit from more than one forte when making any skill check.
fOCuS SkIll CHECkS
When a character makes a skill check with any focus skill, the GC chooses which focus is most appropriate. Only one focus may apply to each check.
If the character possesses the appropriate focus, he applies his full skill rank.
If the character does not possess the appropriate focus, he applies only 1/2 his full skill rank (rounded down). The character’s result cap is nevertheless calculated using his full skill rank. Further, he is considered untrained (see page 92).
fOCuS SkIllS ANd SyNERgy BONuSES
A character’s ranks in a focus skill grant a synergy bonus only if he possesses the focus listed in the target skill description.
- Example: Kevin has an Intelligence of 10 and 7 ranks in Cultures, with focuses in Northern America and Oceania. His Cultures skill grants a +1 synergy bonus only with skill checks related to these regions.