The VAST skill system is based on the Storyteller system by White Wolf, and is built with character points represented as Dots on the character sheet. Each Dot represents one ten-sided dice (d10). The more Dots in a skill, the better the character is at that skill. A set of dice representing Dots in a selection of skills forms a dice pool that the character uses to make a skill check to see if they succeed or fail in a given task.

Primary Skills

There are nine primary skills grouped into three categories: mental, physical, and social.

  • Mental
    • Intelligence
    • Wits
      Skill Example

      The primary skills, social skills, and merits for Lucy Bard

    • Resolve
  • Physical
    • Strength
    • Dexterity
    • Stamina
  • Social
    • Presence
    • Manipulation
    • Composure

All primary skills begin with one Dot. Normally, skills can have up to 5 Dots. With one Dot, a character is "poor" in that skill and gets one die. With two Dots, they are "average" and get two dice. Three Dots, they are "good". Four Dots, they are "exceptional", and with five Dots, they are "outstanding" and have five dice.

Once set upon character to creation, the number of Dots in primary skills is very difficult to change. This usually requires a major character event to take place.

Secondary Skills

Secondary skills represent a character's abilities in more specialised areas of knowledge. Like primary skills, secondary skills are grouped into the same three categories.

  • Mental
    • Academics
    • Computers
    • Field Engineering
    • Investigation
    • Medical
    • Xenoanthropology
    • Politics
    • Science
  • Physical
    • Athletics
    • Hand-to-Hand
    • Helm/Drive
    • Ranged Combat
    • Larceny
    • Stealth
    • Survival
    • Weaponry
  • Social
    • Empathy
    • Expression
    • Intimidation
    • Persuasion
    • Socialize
    • Streetwise
    • Subterfuge
    • Xenozoology

Unlike primary skills, secondary skills start with zero Dots. Having zero Dots in a skill will add a negative dice penalty for dice pools built using that skill.

Characters can spend experience points to increase the number of Dots they have in specific secondary skills.


Like skills, merits use Dots to represent a character's proficiency in a specialised set of skills. Merits are more highly specialised than secondary skills, and there is no default starting number of Dots for merits - characters only gain the merit if they buy into it using experience points.

In addition to adding Dots to specific skill checks, merits can also add extra functionality and abilities. For example, the merit Fast Reflexes allows a character to pull a weapon without using an action to do so.

Dice Pools

A dice pool is built from the combination of Dots in primary skills,secondary skills, and merits, and is used to make a skill check to see if a character succeed or fails in a given task.


  • Medicine check = Intelligence + Academics + Medical
  • Intelligence = 4
  • Academics = 2
  • Medical = 4
  • Dice pool = 4 + 2 + 4 = 10 dice

Known Dice Pools

  • Initiative = Dexterity + Composure
  • Medicine = Intelligence + Academics + Medical