Entries in this colour are "Mindgames"-expansion only.
Entries in this colour are "Gold"-expansion only.
Entries in this colour are "The Pilgrim"-expansion only.
Skills represent your aptitude at any given task, whether it involves shooting a gun, lockpicking a door, hacking a computer or decrypting alien language. Most actions in the game will put a specific skill to the test, commonly known as a Skill Check. Increasing a skill will usually increase a check's chance to succeed by 1% per point, but there are many exceptions.
For device interactions, failing a skill check puts you on the failed check roll table, which has consequences ranging from disastrous to minor. If your success % was particularly low and/or the task was particularly risky, you could permanently lose Stats, severely damage your equipment or disintegrate yourself.
How to increase skills
Skills can be increased in 5 main ways:
- By increasing their governing Stat by 5 points, which increases all related skills by 1. Stat bonuses allow skills to exceed their base 100 point cap up to 120 (see below).
- By training them through practice. Weapon and Psionic skills increase randomly when used, while utility skills increase every time they are used successfully. Utility skills also have a very small chance to increase when you've failed at using them.
- By allocating skill points to them after leveling up. If you used a Weapon or a non-combat skill before leveling, the corresponding skill(s) will only cost 1 point to increase instead of 2. When you increase a skill this way, it will randomly go up by +1,+ 2 or +3.
- By using permanent boost Consumables such as the Liir Edu-Pet, Tarka Martial Trainer and serum Bio mods.
- By using limited boosts, such as Tools or skill-boosting Equipment. Different tools grant varying amounts of extra skill for a task, with the Lockpick Set giving the largest boost in the game.
Skill caps and in-depth information
Skills have 2 values on the character sheet: Base Value, which is grey, and Total Value, which is blue:
The Base Value increases through practice, skill point allocation and permanent boosts. You cannot "practice" a skill anymore once its grey (Base) value reaches 45, and you cannot allocate points into a skill whose Base Value is at 100. (An exception is Psionics, which can continue to be "practiced" until the cap of 100.)
The Total Value is your effective skill and it grows along with the Base Value. This skill value has no limit, so a maxed out Pistol skill (100) added with max Finesse bonus (+20) and a Targeting Helm equipped (+15) would equal 135 Pistol skill. In similar fashion, some non-combat skills can reach a Total Value upwards of 200, which is mostly beneficial on higher difficulties or when trying to Lockpick secured doors.
Please note that the 7 Psionic skills are in a category of their own. The only way to increase them is through psionic ability practice, skill consumables or skill point allocation. They only have a Total Value, which never exceeds 100.
- If you'd like to improve a skill but that skill costs 2 points, it's often advantageous to wait for future levels instead. For example, let's say you want your Marine to be more proficient with Pistols, but didn't use his starting Auto Pistol before leveling up. You can spend those 2 points elsewhere or "bank" them, then make sure you hit something with your Auto Pistol before your next level-up. It will then cost 1 point.
- While it is certainly savvy to use level-up healing to your advantage, beware of accidentally "skipping" a level-up. If you are level 3 and hit level 4, then forget to open the character screen and hit level 5 in the meantime, all skills will cost 2 points once you level from 3 to 5.
- The chance to gain a point through weapon usage is completely random. No other factors have an influence on your chances to increase a weapon skill through practice until the skill reaches 45. So it doesn't matter what your Brains stat is or if you have already received a point from use or even if you switch between multiple weapons of the same type, practice points are awarded randomly.
Increasing the following skills bring several advantages with the relevant weapons;
- Higher Accuracy, which helps negate range-related penalties and prevents wasted ammo.
- Average & max Damage increased by a small amount, which helps kill monsters in fewer turns / hits.
- Reduced likelihood to damage your weapon when using it.
- Helps counter hidden penalties incurred for wielding Morrigi / Alien weapons.
- Melee: This skill should be most character's default means of attack as long as possible. Enemies you can safely kill with your base melee attacks mean ammunition and durability saved for later. Unless you acquire high-quality melee weapons, however, enemies will become too dangerous to rely on melee for long. The Tarka Ranger's AoE Tail Swipe is an exception, as the ability to strike multiple enemies can be of value the entire game. Affects grenades (accuracy only) as well, but for that purpose alone a skill of ~65 is usually sufficient, so long as you don't try to hit a precise spot 10 tiles away.
- Blade: Affects the most powerful melee combat weapons. Since most AoE Blades are inaccurate and won't consistently hit every target in range, you can never have enough blade accuracy. Higher blade skill goes a long way towards preserving their durability.
- Spear: Spears generally do less damage than blades, especially to armored targets, but are more versatile and durable. They can attack beyond normal melee range and even inflict potent Status Effects. The Starlance rivals or surpasses the best Blades, albeit for different reasons.
- Knife: Since knives are already accurate and deal low single-target damage, this skill is generally best left alone, unless you find the Ishak Blade or Maab. The Engineer and Scout can benefit from a few early points though, as it will make their starting Knife last longer.
- Pistol: A good early skill, particularly with the Auto Pistol. Helps pistols hit targets that are far away. Mindgames brings a wide variety of new pistols as well, making long-term investment in this skill worthwhile. Gold added even more pistols, including a high end pistol capable of dealing high damage and moderate penetration. With Gold, pistols are useful for the entire game, though some higher tier enemies will require more powerful equipment or combos.
- Rifle: Good rifle skill helps Shotguns hit everything in their AoE radius, and allows you to fire long-distance weapons at close range without missing. Such weapons are usually your bread-and-butter, and useful in all situations. Gold (and Mindgames) added more rifles, cementing the skills value for virtually every run.
- Assault Weapons: Improving this skill when you use one of these makes a large difference since assault weapons burn ammo quite fast. You want every shot to hit when multi-targeting, and the higher the damage of those shots, the less likely you'll waste ammo on overkill when facing multiple monsters. Gold (and Mindgames) added more Assault Weapons, cementing the skills value for virtually every run. Acquiring proficiency remains costly for some classes, however.
- Heavy Weapons: Ammo with such weapons tends to be limited and precious, so they need to hit their marks. Most of them scale really well with skill-related extra damage, and accuracy helps ensure that explosive weapons send their projectiles where they will inflict the most damage.
Utility / Interaction skills
You can't survive in The Pit without feeding yourself, tending to your wounds or knowing how to operate certain devices. Every non-combat task in the game will put at least 1 of these skills to the test. Most utility skills can be boosted with the use of a Tool, with a limited amount of uses.
- Mechanical: The only utility skill you get from boosting Might. Mostly food and ammo-related. Checked when prying open Freezers, minor Ammo boxes and when repairing Cookers or Ammo dispensers. Also checked when accessing Hiver Larders. Many crafting recipes use this skill.
- Lockpick: A nice source of experience at the start, however as doors become more difficult to lockpick you will have to specialize in this to keep up. You can use Lockpick Set for a massive, albeit limited, boost. Mostly navigation, weapons and ammo-related. Checked for the highest quality containers.
- Electronics: Every device in the game can spawn in "damaged" form. To use them, you will have to repair them first, usually by passing an Electronics check. Most Classes have a low starting Electronics score, but there are many items that can help. The Engineer depends on this skill quite a bit to help him level up. Many crafting recipes use this skill.
- Traps: Used for skill checks when disarming, crafting and setting Floor Traps. As of update 1.1.7 and 1.1.9, this skill now plays a larger role in the game. Used when calibrating Disintegration Bays, and can be a nice source of extra XP. Best improved once the Manipulation Psionic is acquired.
- Foraging: Helps improve the quality of the loot you find in a Containers, if you find any. In some cases, such as with Food Pellets or common ammo, this can also mean finding more. Each increment of 8 will boost your loot dice rolls, while a skill of 40 and then 80 provide guaranteed benefit.
- Decipher: Used for translating Messages found in computer terminals, unless you're interested in learning Zuul-to-english. Also used for Augmentation Bays. Checked when opening Tesseract Wells, Meditation chambers and operating Ammo Dispensers. Decent jack-of-all-trades utility skill.
- Computer: Used when accessing Computer consoles, Charging hubs, Medical bays and Stasis containers for food or a potential ally. Also dictates your chances with Repair Stations. Easily leveled to 45 with the use of a Purifier. A Coding Avatar somewhat removes the need to level this skill. Checked when reversing Indoctrinators.
- Biotech: This skill only really begins to have a purpose once you've discovered a few good Recipes. Until then, you are usually better off leveling Decipher. Mostly crafting-related, checked for advanced cooker recipes which can, among other things, replenish health and psi points.
- Medical: Affects the amount of healing you receive from Med-Kits. The Tarkan Field Surgery and Master-Kit also require good Medical skill to use, which makes this skill well worth an occasional investment in the mid and late-game. Certain crafting recipes use this skill.
- Engineering: Exclusive to the Engineer, this skill allows him to fiddle with Mindgames' new creature protection props, the Stim Tower and Master Mind. Reverse-engineering these bring several benefits (see Devices for more information). Certain crafting recipes use this skill.