There are a total of 24 skills. Skills are raising upon practice (combat, crafting, tools usage), but only when character have at least [skill level]+1 points in his experience pool. Every 10 turns (in-game minute) experience in pool is increased at one point. For every 20 morale, this gets one turn faster, until at 180 morale character is gaining 1 XP every turn. Experience pool is capped at 800 points. Books and teaching by NPC can be used to learn and maintain skills without spending experience pool.
Skills can degrade without practice. Practice percent has a 25% (33% with Forgetful trait) chance to be decremented each certain turn, which calculated from current skill level. The higher skill is, the faster it can be forgotten. Skills that are displayed as red have dropped below 0% practice and will eventually degrade a level if not used (when they reach -100% practice). Using the skill (or bumping it up via reading) will quickly bring it to or above 0%. Skill rusting can be stopped with Enhanced Memory Banks bionic.
Note that the Melee and Firearms skill will improve both accuracy and damage of the weapon but not as much as the weapon main skill. (handguns, cutting weapons etc.)
The skills that you can learn from books (until a certain level) are underlined.
- Your skill at dodging whether it be from an attack, a trap, or a natural occurrence. It is also used when attempting to fall gracefully, or in other acrobatic feats. Dodging is only practiced either if your skill level is lower than the attacking monster's melee skill, or if you fail the dodge check. Total dodge parameter with all bonuses cannot be higher that half of current dexterity plus doubled skill level.
- Your skill at hand-to-hand combat, both with and without a weapon. At low levels this merely increases your change to hit, but at higher levels it also increases the damage done significantly.
- Unarmed combat
- Your skill at combat without a weapon. While at low levels, unarmed combat is a good way to die quickly, those skilled in it can eventually use throws and crushing blows to quickly dispatch enemies.
- Bashing weapons
- Your skill at combat with weapons that club or bash your enemies. This includes everything from rocks to baseball bats, and even the butt of rifles. This increases damage, and at higher levels will improve your change to hit.
- Cutting weapons
- Your skill at combat with weapons that cut or slice your enemies. At first this will simply slightly increase accuracy and damage, later on it will help you bypass armor and thick hides.
- Piercing weapons
- Your skill at combat that involves piercing weapons. This includes spears, which only have a stabbing attack, and things like knives, which can cut or pierce. This increases your accuracy and chance of a deadly critical.
- Your skill at throwing items and getting them to go where you want. Increases both accuracy and, at higher levels, range. Throwing costs 125 moving points.
- Your general skill at firearms. This increases your accuracy with any gun, but not as much as the skill associated with the gun in question.
- Your skill with handguns. These have poor accuracy, but generally are fired and reloaded faster than any other guns, and are good in close quarters.
- Your skill with shotguns. Shot is easy to hit with, and does massive damage, but has short range. Shotguns may also be loaded with slugs, which go further and do as much damage, but are not very accurate.
- Submachine guns
- Your skill with submachine guns and machine pistols. Halfway between a pistol and an assault rifle, these weapons fire and reload quickly, and may fire in burst, but they are not very accurate.
- Your skill with rifles, both assault rifles and semi-auto hunting rifles. These have terrific range and accuracy, but are very slow to fire and reload, and are not very good in close quarters.
- Your skill with crossbows and longbows.
- Grenade launcher
- Your skill with computers, both in terms of legitimate use, and hacking. This will help you use complex systems, and bypass their security.
- Your skill with repairs to mechanical systems such as vehicles, and the crafting of many items that use complex parts, but are not electronics.
- Your skill with repairs to electrical systems, and the crafting of many items that use electrical parts.
- Your skill in combining food ingredients to make other, tastier food items. This may also be used in mixing chemicals and other more esoteric tasks.
- Your general knowledge in construction. This is used primarily when building terrain, via the screen.
- Your skill in butchering and skinning. This decides how much meat and pelts or furs you get from a corpse. Skill level lower than 3, dexterity lower than 8, strength lower than 4 and non-ideal butchering item give randomized, but relative penalties; skill level from 3 and dexterity from 8 - bonuses.
- Your skill at setting and disarming traps safely and effectively. Note that this does not help you detect traps, or avoid their effects if you activate them.
- Your skill at repairing clothing, and at higher levels, creating clothing from basic materials. Generally a sewing kit is needed. Also applies to other methods of clothing repair and textile crafting.
- First Aid
- Your skill at emergency medical treatment, such as that from first aid kits and bandages. High levels of this skill help you heal more HP. Some drugs may be more effective as well.
- Your skill at talking to people, convincing them of things, lying, and many others. Works best in conjunction with a high intelligence.
- Your skill at getting a good deal when trading with others. Very high levels might even see you getting freebies.
- Your skill at swimming. This affects speed, your ability to swim while wearing clothes or carrying weights, and in-water combat.
- Your skill at driving. This affects how well you can control a vehicle, as well as the penalty of shooting while driving.