Skills

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Skills (including stats) are what determines what your character is capable of doing alone.

Checking Skills

If you type score (or sc as a shortcut) you'll see all of your character's stats and skills, among other things.

ss will show the first half of this alone: just your stats, current implants and mutations, and total and spendable XP and IP.

sk will show the second half alone: just your skills. If you are interested in one particular skill only, you can also type sk <skill> or sc <skill> to check that particular skill.

On your score sheet a skill is presented as thus:

Skill      Raw    +   +   Total  Depends  Improve
fuck        6.51  +2  +6   [13]  End,Sen   1120xp  A pretty good fuck.
  • The first number (6.51) is your raw skill level; this reflects how much of the skill your character has learned, either through practice or learning.
  • The next two categories (+2 and +6) are modifiers; the +2 column shows temporary bonuses or penalties from buffs or debuffs, while the +6 column shows permanent bonuses or penalties from mutations.
  • The number in brackets is your total skill, which is the practical skill level used for determining stuff in-game, calculated using your stats, skill raw, and modifiers.
  • The depends column shows the stats which govern the skill.
  • The improve column shows how much XP it will cost to learn the next raw level of the skill from a teacher.
  • The final column is flavor text. If your skill is very high, this will tell you your place in the world rankings with that skill, from fifth best in the world to world champ.

There is a pref to control your skills readout: @prefs shortskills is 1 will prevent sc or sk from showing very low skill totals, which prevents you from clogging up your screen with that one time you accidentally gained 0.01 IP in the throw skill.

Building Skills

All skills are based on stats to the six base stats to some extent: Brains, Brawn, Reflexes, Endurance, Senses and Cool, so higher stats goes hand-in-hand with higher skills based on those stats. Swim, for instance, is based on Endurance, so any character with great End will also have good Swim.

Skills can also be influenced by buffs, debuffs, Mutations, and other modifiers. Some skills lean more heavily on stats, while others can be propped up by modifiers. For example, the focus skill has many buffing options through drugs and mutations, so it's reasonable for a character with relatively unimpressive endurance and senses to reach 30 focus, even though those are the two stats that focus is based on.

Building Skill Raw

All skills can be increased with practice to 6 raw; this is usually called "grinding a skill" (not to be confused with "grinding XP"). After that they must be learned from a professional NPC or player who is willing to teach. Grinding and buffs can only take a character so far; to advance into real mastery of a skill, spending XP on learning skill raw is a mandatory investment. XP can't be spent on anything except for skill raw, so there's no point in hoarding it unless you're saving for a very expensive skill.

Using Skills

The more skill points you have, the more stuff your character can do. Much of the actions you can take in HellMOO depend on dice rolls, which are as random as possible. Having high skills stacks the odds of those rolls in your favor, often quite heavily.

  • Some skills govern how well you can wield a specific weapon, like fists and rifles. Higher skill levels in these skills increases your character's accuracy with those weapons, and often adds damage potential as well. These skills are used automatically whenever your character attacks something while wielding the associated weapon.
    • The fists skill, for example, will increase your accuracy and damage while attacking with your bare hands.
  • Some other skills are passive, and don't usually require a special command to use, like dodge and sneak. These skills run in the background and govern how well you can do whatever that skill is supposed to enable.
    • The dodge skill, for example, will passively decrease your odds of getting hit in a fight.
  • Finally, some skills require a command be typed in order to be used, such as repair and fuck. Higher skill will grant you a higher rate of success in the action you are attempting to perform with the skill.
    • The repair skill, for example, will increase your odds of success when attempting to fix something that's broken.

Mechanics

Skill totals are calculated using a formula that looks something like avg(stats) + raw - M + B, where:

  • avg(stats) is the average of the current totals of the primary and secondary stats that the skill relies on, rounded down.
  • raw is your raw level in the skill.
  • M is the skill's innate penalty, which varies depending on skill and on raw. For most skills, if raw is 0, M = 5, and if raw is 1+, M = 2.
    • Science has an extra penalty: M = 10 at 0 raw and M = 4 at 1+.
    • Fish and Fuck have lower-than-usual penalties: M = 1 for 0 raw and M = 0 at 1+ raw.
  • B represents any direct bonuses or penalties to the skill from mutations or equipment; think B for Buffs. This is where the numbers in the second modifier column on your sk <skill> readout come into play.

Example

Gandalf has the following readout:

focus       9.00  +6  +9 [39] end,sen  5600xp Fifth-best in the world.
  • Gandalf's Senses and Endurance are 26 and 21 respectively. The average of these two numbers is 23.5, but the formula rounds that down to 23.
    • This means that in this case, Gandalf's extra 1 point in senses is not granting him any benefit.
  • Gandalf's raw skill is listed here as 9. 23 + 9 = 32.
  • The focus skill's modifer is a standard 2, so 32 - 2 = 30.
  • Gandalf's bonuses in the second modifier column total +9, so 30 + 9 = 39. Sure enough, that's the total in the brackets of Gandalf's readout.
  • Notice that Gandalf is also getting a +6 bonus to his skill in the first modifiers column, which the formula doesn't appear to touch. This is because Gandalf is wearing his robe and wizard hat, which buff Endurance and Senses by +6 each, boosting focus by +6 total. We already accounted for this when first working out the average of these two stats.

Unfortunately, some saucy elf has seduced Gandalf. This leaves him horny, and the maximum level of horniness penalizes focus by -5. On the plus side, it also buffs senses by 2, which is equivalent to an extra 1 point of focus, so the practical penalty is -4:

focus       9.00  +2  +9 [35] end,sen  5600xp Fifth-best in the world.

Gandalf's raw skill is not affected, since a short fling does not affect his long-standing knowledge of wizardry. His +9 bonus from mutations is also unchanged, but the buffs in his first column have been reduced from +6 to +2. Sure enough, this -4 reduction is reflected in his skill total, which is now 35, down 4 from its initial 39. Blasted elves!

Checking Direct Modifiers

This -4 penalty only makes sense because we know that he was originally at +6, thanks to his robe and wizard hat, and has now been knocked down by -4 thanks to a direct debuff from being horny. There's no way to directly check this penalty; for Gandalf to understand what is affecting his skills at all times, he must rely on his game knowledge. However, he can check his modifiers for the six key stats (as opposed to skills) with the @buffs command.

Skill Table

Skill Depends Notes
Appraise Brains, Senses Checking the value and power of items, clothing, weapons, and creatures.
Blades Reflexes, Cool Using blades weapons.
Bombs Brains, Cool Using bombs and explosives.
Chemistry Brains Mixing chemicals and drugs; crafting.
Climb Reflexes, Endurance Climbing ropes and cliffs.
Clubs Brawn, Reflexes Using clubs weapons.
Craft Brains Crafting and modifying items.
Dodge Reflexes, Senses Avoiding damage in combat and explosions.
Fish Cool, Endurance Catching fish, usually with a fishing pole.
Fists Brawn, Endurance Using fists weapons (or no weapon at all).
Focus Endurance, Senses Using focus mutations.
Fuck Endurance, Senses Controlling buffs and stress with sex.
Hack Brains Picking advanced locks and investigating Cyberspace.
Linguist Brains Crafting a couple items, and advancing a couple quests.
Locksmith Brains, Reflexes Picking locks.
Medic Brains Curing and healing.
Persuade Cool, Brains Scamming people, representing friends in court.
Pilot Brains, Reflexes Flying, boating.
Pistols Cool, Reflexes Using pistols weapons.
Quickdraw Cool, Reflexes Drawing and stowing things from one's inventory, aiming guns at people.
Repair Brains Fixing what's broken.
Ride Cool, Reflexes Skating with a skateboard or driving a motorbike
Rifles Cool, Reflexes Using rifles weapons.
Scavenge Endurance, Senses Searching tiles for loot, cutting things from corpses, and several other things.
Science Brains Advanced crafting, navigating a certain dungeon, using science weapons.
Sneak Cool, Senses Decreases odds of cameras spotting you for a short time.
Spears Endurance, Reflexes Using spears weapons.
Steal Cool, Senses Does nothing, but still shows up if directly queried with sk steal.
Swim Endurance Swimming, not drowning in the ocean.
Teach Brains Teaching people skills.
Throw Brawn, Senses Throwing things fire axes accurately.
Torture Cool, Senses Passively increases crit chances on various weapons; see the linked page.
Track Senses Detecting players in the same zone as you.
Wrestle Reflex, Endurance Grabbing people, stripping stuff from them, and headbutting them with Hooligan.
Whips Reflexes, Senses Using whips weapons.