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Rolling for something not exactly under a Skill. Roll Attribute?

QUESTION Does anyone roll against SAttributes if a SKILL is not listed. ie…

We have had the same scenario come up a few time. our Characters are trying to remember something. What Skill is akin to remembering? I thought it is definitely under the INTELLIGENCE attribute. The closest skill under “INTELLIGENCE” would be LORE possible. But I feel for something that does not have a listed Skill we should simply roll the atribute what it would be under. in this case roll on the Attribute Number.

Second scenario is if asleep what skill or attribute would trigger for you to awaken. “AWARENESS” obviously but no specific skill for that is listed. so Roll on AWARENESS Nuber.

Any insight. PUN intended. Is this a hard and fast rule to NOT roll on an attribute?

Yes, you would use Lore if it is about remembering something. But there are exceptions, as there is an Observation Talent “Perfect Memory” to recall Information the character might have observed any time before.

In 2d20 you never make any kind of “Attribute test”, it is always a Skill test - and if you don’t have at least Expertise 1 in that skill it is made untrained, so that a 19 and a 20 cause a Complication.

Example: Character has Intelligence 9 and no Expertise rank and no Focus in the Lore skill. If he wants to recall something he might know, this would be Intelligence + Lore = 9 + 0 => Target Number 9.
Complication range would be 19 and 20. No Focus would apply.

Example: Character wants to remember the fitting rites to participate at the public funeral of an important person. Intelligence plus Society (not Personality plus Society, as this is only about remembering facts, not actually performing the correct behaviour).

Example: Character wants to remember the specific abilities of different horse breeds: Intelligence plus Animal Handling (not Personality plus Animal Handling, as this is not about actually handling the horses, but only to know about their qualities).

So, find a fitting skill, and make a skill test - that is how you make any tests in Conan 2d20.

Most Skills can be combined with multiple Attributes depending on the actual task to be performed.

Formal dancing: Society + Coordination.
Identifying ship types at a distance: Sailing + Awareness.
Judging the quality of a sword: Melee + Intelligence.
Showing off as a strong man in a circus: Athletics + Personality.
Sewing a wound on a war mammoth: Healing + Brawn.

Awareness and Observation.
In some outdoor settings it could be Awareness and Survival, too.

You never make any Attribute test, you always make Skill tests in Conan 2d20.

Thanks! That is a big help w/ the tallent info! But what would you roll to see if you wake up from a sleep for example?

I answered that in my second post, right above your second one.

Sleeping in the wilds where wild animals might be a constant danger: Awareness + Survival.
Sleeping in a tavern, where some thief might be stealing your stuff while you are sleeping: Awareness + Observation or Awareness + Thievery.
Sleeping on a ship at free watch, while the ship is scraping on a rock that could cause a leak: Awareness + Sailing.

It depends on the situation.

Great points thanks, Frank! I have never seen your second reply but great thoughts on it. One thing I don’t agree with is the words. “Always” or “Never” really apply to this Game.

But I do get your points. and agree for the most part. The one difference in my thinking and what i percieve is your thinking is You have to pick out of the 4 or five skills the one closest to what you are trying to accomplish even if they do not fit the actual meaning or skill. I think that if there is NOT a skill that mtaches or really even close enough, by definition of skill in Players handbook, then there is no reason why not use the attribute roll because there is not explicitly denied any where. It may be but I have not read it anywhere.

That is why i try my darnest to always never use the two words “Always and Never” when explaining games.

I really took my time reading through this again. Being sincere, This might actually be a good way. I never thought of Combining the Skill a from another attribute with another attribute. Walk me through how in your example #1 you combine the Society Skill with the Coordination Attribute?
Coordination = 11
Society = 2 EX / 1 foc / 11 T#
or any example you have there.

For Conan 2d20 this is actually the case, you always make a Skill test, never an Attribute test.
For John Carter of Mars 2d20 you never make a Skill test, there are no Skills there, only Attributes, and you always roll against a Target Number of the sum of two Attributes.

Those are - depending on which 2d20-based game you are looking at - some basic principles that always apply.

As I said, if you need to make a skill test and you don’t have the Skill, then you roll your Attribute + 0 (no ranks in Expertise for this Skill), so your Target Number is identical to your Attribute value, BUT (big “but” here) your Complication range is increased, too!
So it might look like an Attribute test, if your Target Number is identical to the Attribute value, but it still is a Skill test, and you still have no Expertise, so you still have an increased Complication range.

If one were to allow a pure Attribute test, this would clash with penalizing the characters who don’t have a Skill and who get an increased Complication range, as it is nowhere defined how to make an Attribute test in Conan 2d20, so the Complication range increase would not apply, as this is linked to the lack of Skill Expertise.

I stand by NEVER make an Attribute test in Conan 2d20, as this is not part of the Conan 2d20 rules. (Other 2d20-based games may differ.)
You could, of course, house rule this, but then some things like replacement skills etc. would no longer apply, Complication range increase would be applied differently or not at all, so mechanics will start to chafe and cause problems. Your game, your rules. The Conan 2d20 core rules as written never use Attribute tests, always Skill tests.

Situation: the character is required to participate in a formal dance of the noble debuttantes at the court of Aquilonia, hence the Society Skill is used.

This is not to impress someone, but to correctly perform the required steps to show you are a character of learning, of control and virtue. So this is not the usual challenge of Personality + Society, but more the Coordination + Society combination (like in the stage fighting aspects of Coordination + Parry, see the respective Talents there, though this is not a “choreographed fight”, it is an actual choreography for a dance in a stressful societal environment at the royal court).

The character with Coordination 11 and Society Exp 2, Foc 1 would roll the dice pool against a Target Number of: Attribute + Skill Expertise Rank = Coordination + Society = 11 + 2 = 13, having Focus 1 this is a roll of TN 13 (1).


That was a great explanation, thanks! Going on your stand with “Never” or “Always” in the rules of Conan and can respect it since it is a rule. Can you show me, (because we may incorporate this) the Cross Attribute and Skill testing in the rules?

I have made such a ruling a few sessions ago.

The alchemy talent (alchemist) states that « you can also substitute Alchemy for ranged weapons when using an alchemical weapon. »

I assume this should be read as you use you Alchemy skill instead of ranged weapons but still add your Coordination attribute to the pool, not your Intelligence. Is that correct ?


That is how all skill substitutions are handled.

It remains a certain type of Skill test, like a Ranged Combat test in the case of using an alchemical ranged weapon.
As a Ranged Combat test, this is (usually) carried out by combining the Ranged Combat Expertise rank with the Coordination Attribute value to get a Target Number.
Replacing the Alchemy Skill for Ranged Combat would add the Alchemy Skill Expertise rank to the Coordination Attribute value to get the Target Number.
In all regards, this is still a Ranged Combat test, not an Alchemy test.

No matter how smart the alchemist is, to actually hit something requires hand-eye coordination.

There are quite a few Talents that allow Skill substitution.
For example “Master of Disguise” in the Stealth Talent tree allows for substituting Command or Persuade by Stealth while impersonating someone.
When an impersonator tries to order some guards around, this is not a Stealth test, it is a Command test. But in this case, the Command test could be performed by using Stealth Expertise (and Focus) plus Personalty Attribute value to get the Target Number.

As it still is a Command test, you could only apply Talents from the Command Tree for that test.
So you won’t get Bonus Momentum from the “Living Shadows” Talent, but, if you have the “Captain” Talent from the Command Talent tree, you get the re-roll of 1d20 this Captain Talent allows you.

Maybe @Modiphius-Nathan could clarify on this one (and the above case of switching the Attributes in a Skill test, too)?

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Thank you very much for this quick and detailed answer.

You’re welcome. But it is, of course, totally unofficial, it is how I understand it and how I use it in my games.

Yes Thank you these are great explanations. The real scenarios help perfectly to understand. And Especially if you have the ear of Officials it helps because some are sticklers for official rules and dislike house rules, I only use them if they make sense and NOT because they make it easier for the player. Such as the cross Attrib and Skill rolls you mention… even if NOT official it would be a reasonable house rule to help my initial problem of not having a skill to match my delema. . I have not read thouroughly all the Conan extra books so I know there are large gaps of rules I no doubt miss.

You can always offer the players a chance to have their characters remember something for a Fortune point. Even Doom/Momentum.

Didn’t one of the Modiphius people clarify in another thread that when you have a talent that lets you substitute one skill for another you actually use the new skill and it’s base stat for the roll?
(I remember be relieved because I run the game on Roll20 and there is no easy way to assign one skill to another stat on their character sheets.)

Modiphius-NathanModiphius Staff

Jun '19

So, there are two specific rulings here, for the sake of clarity:

  • When you have a talent that lets you replace which skill you roll for a test, use the new skill’s normal TN and Focus. This is for the sake of simplicity.
  • When you have a talent which lets you replace which skill you roll for a test, that test still counts as what it was originally: if you’re using Persuade on a Command test, it’s still a Command test, you just get to use your Persuade skill instead. Again, this is for simplicity - I’ve seen people try to justify using one skill replacement talent to set up a second skill replacement talent so they could get all sorts of sneaky extra bonuses.

That was from the other thread.


Yes, there is no “cascading” Skill replacement.
And in taking the replacing Skill’s Attribute, Expertise and Focus, this makes any “re-calculating” unnecessary.