Federation: Apocalypse. Skill and Purchase Benchmarks

   This benchmark list is for the Federation-Apocalypse setting. Since that setting, in the interests of speed and convenience, divides task difficulties into a limited set of categories, here are a selection of examples of where things go.


Trivial (10):

  • Athletic Feats: anything normal people can reliably do when not under stress, broad jump 10 feet, lift a hundred pounds, cross a fair-sized board laid over a gap.
  • Knowledge: recall really basic information, type blood, read documentation and follow most directions accurately.
  • Other Skills: read a map accurately, get basic points across in a conversation, perform simple “magic tricks”.
  • Purchases: bicycle, minor current weapons, canoe, virtual business setups, a nice night out on the town, small pets, movie matinee, dedicated religious service, getting minor legal documents drawn up.


Easy (15):

  • Athletic Feats: basic mountain climbing, balance on your hands, ignore basic intoxicants.
  • Knowledge: answer basic questions, teach a current high school or college freshman class.
  • Other Skills: sketch a recognizable picture, build a usable boat, basic animal training, locate food in a reasonable environment, skilled first aid, make a serviceable bit of primitive gear, rduce the damage from a fall.
  • Purchases: archaic hand weapons, intermediate current weapons, minor artworks and handicrafts, an expensive night out on the town, exotic wines and pets, minor cosmetic surgeries, get a ticket to a distant world, pay a small fine, basic toolkits, massage, minor charms.


Average (20):

  • Athletic Feats: swimming against a powerful current, leap into the saddle, run five miles nonstop, maintain your balance while fighting on a narrow ledge.
  • Knowledge: assess the value of an antique, recognize obscure references, recognize a common spell,
  • Other Skills: produce an adequate work of art or craftsmanship, repair an engine, advanced animal training, basic slave training, paramedic-style first aid, hold an audience for a time, make basic repairs on a damaged item, avoid natural hazards, find shelter from severe weather, treat a disease, get people who are currently indifferent to you to help you out, notice a magical sensor, reconstruct a recent even from reasonable amounts of evidence, do something complicated while pinned, cut a purse, dodge past an enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity.
  • Purchases: force weapons, heavy hand weapons, light flit, small waterborne yacht, trivial implants (time, telecommunications, etc), a really big party, hiring a bodyguard for a few days, major cosmetic surgeries, original fashion designs, charter a spacecraft for a trip, pay a moderate fine, ordinary horses, get a minor spell cast in the Manifold, minor luxuries, advanced toolkits, apprenticeship fees.


Difficult (25):

  • Athletic Feats: walk a tightrope, climb a cliff, perform impressively at difficult games, break a log, bend a crowbar with your bare hands, ignore the effects of LSD, maintain your balance while fighting on a rolling log,
  • Knowledge: make decent explosives, get a professional license, recite an obscure legend.
  • Other Skills: open common locks, break basic computer security, maintain concentration during a major earthquake, escape from rope bonds, forge a basic document, perform surgery, raise a wild animal to be domesticated, inspire defeated men, safely fence stolen or illegal goods, turn the local bureaucracy to your advantage, pilot a small sailing craft safely through a severe storm, obtain a minor sinecure, pick a pocket, dodge through an enemy-occupied square or hex without provoking an attack of opportunity, use a minor device that you couldn’t normally operate.
  • Purchases: military infantry weapons, heavy flit, notable cybernetic implants, small physical buildings, hiring a skilled worker for several months, pay off a major personal fine, buy a minor illegal item, exotic pets, get a notable spell cast in the Manifold, get a minor spell cast in the Core, notable luxuries, talismans.


Extraordinary (30):

  • Athletic Feats: Jumping a 40-foot chasm, leaping 20 feet straight up, crossing a ceiling with few handholds, lift a car, perform complex somatic components with your toes, dance like a virtuoso, punch through a heavy door.
  • Knowledge: answer difficult questions, pass the tests for an advanced degree or professional license, analyze what went wrong with an experimental device, recognize rare plants and animals with a casual glance, describe the abilities of an exotic creature, recognize a rare or exotic spell.
  • Other Skills: crack a basic safe, escape from handcuffs, contact the local crime syndicate or obtain other secret information, advanced slave training, shoot an apple off someone’s head at 40 yards with a cheap, warped, bow, identify someone by the sound of their footsteps, target a sniper by tracing back the likely path of the bullet.
  • Purchases: primitive trading vessels (waterborne sailing vessels, etc), moderate physical buildings, minor missiles, antique combustion-engine car, in-system shuttle, shops and small facilities, purchasing a slave, old mystical tomes, set up a retirement fund, pay off a major lawsuit, examples of extinct species, power armor, get a major spell cast in the Manifold, major luxuries, notable local magic items.


Remarkable (35):

  • Athletic Feats: lift a small truck, jump a 60-foot chasm, leap twenty feet straight up, remain afloat while swimming in a hurricane, halve the damage from a fall.
  • Knowledge: answer obscure questions, well up on current research, locate an obscure passage in a great library within a day, recognize minor mythical figures without prompting, analyze an enchantment given a few hours.
  • Other Skills: create a masterpiece, crack a bank vault, domesticate a dangerous wild animal, spot concealed weapons, find rare and potent illegal items, manipulate the local government subject someone to massive legal harassment, obtain a notable appointment, hear an owl gliding by, use a major device that you couldn’t normally operate.
  • Purchases: jet fighters, tanks, interstellar scoutships, small factories, industrial fusion/recycling plants, getting a mythical creature imported for your zoo, get a high-level but non-epic spell cast in the Manifold, intermediate local magic items.


Incredible (40):

  • Athletic Feats: Smash a concrete wall, lift a large truck, jump an 80-foot chasm, run 50 miles without stopping.
  • Knowledge: extremely obscure questions, cutting-edge research, find an antidote for an exotic poison before the victim dies, evaluate the effects of an unheard-of spell on the fly.
  • Other Skills: break advanced computer security, negotiate a safe contract with an archdemon, crack advanced military security systems, pull off Houdini’s stunts, navigate precisely by naked-eye sightings on the stars over a long voyage at sea, spread rumors untraceably and have almost everyone believe them, fight without penalty while blinded by listening to sounds.
  • Purchases (upper limit for Core Wealth checks): armed merchantman/privateer starships, orbs, castles, fusion warheads, orbital installations, large factories, dragons, Thralls, ancient mystical tomes, funding a mercenary company, major local magic items.


Broad skills cannot be used to attempt skill checks of beyond Incredible difficulty.

Amazing (50):

  • Athletic Feats: Walk a loose rope in a violent storm, lift many tons, out-drink a dragon, run up a wall, outsprint a shockwave, surf across an ocean riding a tidal wave.
  • Knowledge: analyze a proof or quantum equation in your head, recognize an innocuous-looking item that’s been lost for a thousand years, list every known major historical personage, provide extensive background detail on an obscure item, creature, location, time, or situation.
  • Other Skills: follow a month-old trail left by someone skilled in evasion, crack military computer security, tame “untamable” monsters, outmaneuver a fleet in a decrepit freighter, transplant brains.
  • Purchases: antimatter warheads, rescue missions into hell, minor military vessels, lesser artifacts and relics, get an epic level spell cast in the Manifold.


Legendary (55-65):

  • Athletic Feats: rip off a vault door, lift a hundred tons, swallow an entire ham, run on water, run 200 miles without stopping.
  • Knowledge: analyze an alien technology within hours, analyze an enchantment at a glance, provide a precise chemical breakdown from a slight taste or scent.
  • Other Skills: beat an AI in a programming contest, navigate an unknown deadly reef at night in a fog at full speed, sense who is watching you, penetrate illusions.
  • Purchases (Upper limit for Manifold Realm Wealth checks): Major military vessels, secret strongholds, mighty artifacts and relics, mystical armies, get an epic level spell cast in Core.


   Narrow skills cannot be used to attempt skill checks of beyond Legendary difficulty. Tasks of Impossible difficulty may only be attempted if an appropriate magical, psionic, or technological enhancement is in use.


Impossible (70):

  • Athletic Feats: leap a mighty chasm, lift an ocean-borne destroyer, throw something into orbit, walk on mist or a beam of light, swim up a towering waterfall, take no damage from a long fall onto a hard surface.
  • Knowledge: recall or deduce intimate and unrecorded details about obscure ancient figures, analyze an alien technology on the spur of the moment, provide a detailed route to a place of legend,
  • Other Skills: persuade a hostile army to come over to your side, climb a smooth, oiled, surface, escape from a sphere of force, slip across the realms of the manifold without a gate, expel poison through meditation,
  • Purchases: small military fleets, the “death star”, terraforming or planetary colonization, continental-scale engineering projects.


   Skills normally require a certain amount of time to use: reducing that time will increase the difficulty by one to three levels.

   Sadly, most arcane and psychic methods of obtaining bonuses on skill checks – including Luck – don’t work on the Wealth skill. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any ways of getting bonuses: a highly-skilled part-time job, any full-time job, or maintaining a small business (either through effort or buying special abilities) is worth a +5 bonus. A highly-skilled full-time job or maintaining a large business is worth a +10 bonus. Jobs which are especially dangerous (or which provide plenty of adventure hooks) are worth an additional +5 bonus.

   Characters may only make one wealth check per week, but items with a base expense equal to or below your wealth rating need not be rolled for – although the GM may suspend this privilege if a character goes overboard with it.

   Characters may also acquire Windfalls and Grants.

   Windfalls are classical treasures – rare artworks, mystic gems, lottery prizes, salvaged ships, and similar items. Windfalls are always unique (minor windfalls, such as winning at poker night, are subsumed in the character’s Wealth skill) and have a value set by the game master (“The Chalice of the Four Seasons”, value: Incredible): – although some can be “broken up” into multiple lesser treasures. Once you trade one in for something, its gone, since finding something of value doesn’t do much for your financial skills.

   Grants are stipends, trust funds, sinecures, titles, and other positions with incomes but no real responsibilities – money that’s managed by someone else. While they’re usually relatively small, they’re an independent wealth rating that a character gets to use as if it belonged to them. They don’t have to pay for it, and they can’t change it. If you’re a Knight of Avalon, a position which carries a Stipend of Wealth 8, then you have access to Wealth 8 – whether your personal wealth rating is 2 or 32.

4 Responses

  1. … Thank you. :3

  2. Much appreciated!

  3. Do these make sense as stunts? I feel vaguely like this is roughly what stunts should be able to do, though the DCs seem a bit low. I’m kinda curious as how this fits into a normal point buy framework

    • Most of what’s listed would indeed fit in as stunts – but you’re quite right; the DC of most of them would be considerably higher in a “normal” setting. That’s because the Federation-Apocalypse setting basically placed all the major personal action out in the Manifold – realms created by and for human fantasies. Every character shaped the reality around them to some degree, allowing even relatively “normal” (or low-level) characters to accomplish incredible feats with their skills. That’s also why high attributes were the norm and why reality-bending skills like “Identities”, “Faith”, and “Gadgetry” were treated as normal skills in the setting. It’s also why your strength modifier acted as Damage Reduction, your wisdom modifier was automatically added to your AC, and so on.

      And thus, as a quick estimate….

    • Trivial and Easy tasks can be left alone. They won’t be as quite easy for a standard-setting D20 character as they were in the Manifold, but that fits perfectly well.

      Average Tasks would be DC 25. Outside of the Manifold. most of those tasks are jobs for serious experts.

      Difficult Tasks would be DC 30. Most of those tasks are jobs for experts, usually with specialized (“masterwork”) equipment, assistants, and other special bonuses.

      Extraordinary Tasks would be DC 40 – out of reach of normal people without bonuses from things like “specific knowledges”. Thus things like “jumping a forty-foot chasm” when the world record long jump is just under thirty feet.

      Remarkable Tasks would be DC 50 – still easy enough for a character with the proper boosts and special powers, but things that a normal human being can only dream of doing without extremely specialized help. (And “Create a Masterpiece” is on there since – for these purposes – that’s things like the Sistine Chapel. A work a great master spent many years on).

      Incredible Tasks would be DC 60 – and represented the practical limits for “broad” skills even in the Federation-Apocalypse setting.

      Amazing Tasks would be DC 75 – and are generally getting pretty absurd.

      Legendary Tasks would be DC 100 or so, and were on the verge of what even fantasy found unbelievable.

      Finally, Impossible Tasks – things that could only be attempted in conjunction with special powers that made them less than impossible – would generally equate to Epic Stunts.

    • And I hope that helps!

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