Non combat skills during combat

i just listened to Order66 podcast episode 32 on Knowledge checks providing boosts to combat checks. Has anyone written down their ideas on tactical checks during combat? How to set difficulty?

I have found a few references to it on Reddit and the archives but no write ups.


So you’re specifically talking about Knowledge skills for “tactics” checks, not general non-combat like Mechanics, Skulduggery, etc?

If you’re fighting a military faction (The Empire), Knowledge (Warfare) with a difficulty proportionate to how familiar you are with the units at play.
If you’re fighting a specific species (Tusken Raiders), Knowledge (Xenology) with a difficulty proportionate to how familiar you are with the species in question.
If you’re fighting a criminal faction (Black Sun), Knowledge (Underworld) with a difficulty proportionate to how familiar you are with the faction in question.
If you’re fighting a Planetary Defense Force, an argument could be made for Knowledge (Core Worlds/Outer Rim).
If you’re fighting an ancient faction thought extinct, Knowledge (Lore) with a difficulty proportionate to how well known the faction in question is.


I think I would rule it by how common those enemies. Standard troopers? Average. Troopers lead by Officer? Hard (Or could argue average with setbacks). Death Troopers? Daunting. Unique enemies? Formidable.

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Thanks for the inputs. I went ahead and listened again and took notes, then added a bit more detail.

The Episode was just about Knowledge skills, but with creative PCs and on GM’s approval any non-combat skill could be used in this way.

Primary in-universe source: Thrawn’s use of species-based attack strategies to attack where their methods/thinking is weak.

Successes create facts about your situation (Inspired by the Fate system’s creation of aspects.) and can alter your environment (approved by GM of course); e.g. improved cover or concealment, more or less gravity; Knowlege-Underworld can “know the secret code” or the hailing frequency of their rival gang. Discovered “facts” are mechanically only good for this encounter (e.g. that beast has a genetic difficulty, not all such beasts).

Triumph and Advantage can be spent as normal in EotE Table 6-2: Spending Triumph and Advantage in Combat and Threats/Despair per Table 6-3, but should be narrated appropriately per the skill used.

Two ways to set difficulty, depending on the intent declared by the PC:

  1. For creating facts about about a declared target, use Ranged-Light difficulties. Engaged is 2 :D: because have to avoid being hit! (Note that this is not perceiving established facts; for that use Perception.) Skill must be appropriate to the target or the GM may increase/upgrade the difficulty or recommend a different skill. Still apply any Adversary talents if the target has any, but no Defense bonus (since not actually striking the target). Do apply environmental conditions that make that observation difficult, or due to concealment of the target.

  2. For creating facts about the environment, the GM sets difficulty is based on (a) difficulty of knowing that thing with that skill—many skills might work but some will be easier than others—and (b) difficulty of finding that here in this environment. Example: In a factory, knowing how fuel is refined and where to shoot the pipes to cause steam/explosion that will distract/damage the enemies.

Provided examples:

  • To find some or a mix of caustic/explosive/smoking chemicals would be Easy when standing at a chemist’s desk and using Knowledge-Education, but should probably be upgraded to a Challenge die to reflect the chance of it blowing up in your hand. For this, # successes reflect the damage caused by the mix (refer to EotE Table 6-8), or the size or duration of the smoke. 2 Advantage could give it 1 Burn, Blast, Pierce or Concussive quality.

  • firefight in Imperial factory. AT-AT is attacking your crew. PC asks for Knowledge-Education or -Warfare to study walker for weak points. Long range, Adversary +1, poor lighting +1 yields ppRs. Result: 2 Success, 2 Threat. You spot a maintenance panel that is a weak point. 2 allies get a Boost on their next attack. Threat= have to dodge while looking at it, get 2 strain.

  • Traveling on lost world of Tython in Deep Core, in a grassy plain a vicious predator attacks your party. Knowledge-Xenology to identify it (Lore could have worked). Creature at Medium range, Adversary, and grass obscures view (1 Setback) yields pRs. Wash with Triumph + Despair + 1 Adv. Failed knowledge check, so know nothing about it, but Adv says you see a elevated mud pillar that you deduce is an egg clutch that it is protecting. Triumph= its attack is +1 difficulty since it’s staying close to that; Despair=while trying to draw your party’s attention to it, you draw its attention so your next action is +upgraded diff.

  • Fleeing Imperial space station under attack by pirate corvette & snub fighters, in a system at end of Parlemaine trade route. Kn-Warfare could work or Outer Rim (covering pirates) to know their strategy. This is not observing at all, so use method 2. GM decides Average. Setback for chaotic environment (which Brace talent can remove). Result: 1 Success, 2 Adv. You recognize the pirates and know their history, that they tend to prefer larger cargo vessels. You fly next to those hoping the pirates target them instead. Adv give pilot boost die as he follows your instructions.


  • Knowing something does not give the PC the skill to do that thing. Knowledge checks are most often going to be giving boosts to other PCs who use that fact.

  • None of these checks should accomplish the same things as existing skills or specific talents. Yes, that could be hard. Be sure to read the talent trees of your PCs.