Each skill represents a wide range of potential game play applications, and so the uses of some skills overlap. While Active Skills tend to have specific game uses, Knowledge Skills (as well as other relevant skills) can offer benefits and, in some cases, direct support for an Active Skill. Skills that do this are called Complementary Skills.
If a player has a Knowledge Skill that can legitimately support an Active Skill, then the player can roll dice for the Knowledge Skill against the same target number as for the Active Skill. Every 2 successes rolled on the Knowledge Skill Test count as an additional success toward the Active Skill’s Success Test. At least one success must have been scored with the Active Skill for the Complementary Skill successes to have had an effect. Background Skills are generally not considered Complementary Skills.
In a very few cases, an Active Skill can act as a Complementary Skill—for example, Active Skills serving as complements to the corresponding Build/Repair Skill. For the purpose of reducing the base time to build or repair something, the player can roll dice for the character’s Active Skill as a complement to the Build/Repair Skill. Players cannot use the Active Skill to make the initial Build/Repair Success Test; if that test fails, any successes from the Complementary Skill Test do not count. If the B/R Success Test succeeds, however, successes from the Complementary Skill Test help reduce the time it takes to perform the task in question. (This rule assumes that the character has the Active Skill being used as a complement; characters cannot default to an Attribute, as they would if using the Active Skill under normal circumstances.)
Another Active Skill that can act as a Complementary Skill is the Electronics Skill when making tests using certain Device Ratings. This use reflects the ability of characters skilled in electronics to coax better performance from their devices. The Electronic Warfare Specialization in particular can aid certain devices in tests to defeat jamming and so on. All such uses of Electronics Skill are subject to the gamemaster’s discretion.
Cheshire is going into negotiations for her team. Since her last meeting with Mr. Johnson, she has spent some time learning psychology. The gamemaster allows her to use Psychology as a Complementary Skill for her Negotiations Test. Cheshire’s Negotiations Skill Rating is still 5 and the Johnson who out-dealt her last time still has the same skill at 7. The target numbers remain the same at 5 (the Intelligence Rating of both characters). Cheshire makes two tests: a Psychology (5) Test and a Negotiations (5) Test. Mr. Johnson makes a Negotiations (5) Test. Cheshire only has the Psychology Skill at 2, but her test yields 2 successes. She rolls 3 successes on the Negotiations Test, for a total of 4 successes (3 + [2 ÷ 2 = 1] = 4). Mr. Johnson gets only 3 successes. Cheshire won this time, using negotiation and psychology to beat her opponent.