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The rules on task resolution are stated below:

A character’s level of skill is either trained (reasonably skilled) or specialized (very skilled). If you are trained in a skill relating to a task, you ease the difficulty of that task by one step. If you are specialized, you ease the difficulty by two steps. A skill can never ease a task’s difficulty by more than two steps. Anything else that reduces difficulty (help from an ally, a particular piece of equipment, or some other advantage) is referred to as an asset. Assets can never ease a task’s difficulty by more than two steps. You can also ease the difficulty of a given task by applying Effort. (Effort is described in more detail in Chapter 8: Rules of the Game.) To sum up, three things can ease a task’s difficulty: skills, assets, and Effort.

Numenera Discovery. Pg. 15

Does this mean that there is no means through which to ease a task by more than 4 if one does not utilize Effort?

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Per rules-as-written, this is correct.

Discovery discusses the three ways of easing a task on page 103:

Skills:

Skills can never ease a task by more than two steps — any more than two steps from being trained and specialized don’t count.

Assets:

Assets can never ease a task by more than two steps — any more than two steps from assets don’t count.

and Effort:

Effort can never ease a task by more than six steps — any more than six steps from applying Effort doesn’t count.

So, yes, four steps is the most you can reduce a task's level by, without applying Effort.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Curiously, there are 3 instances in Discovery where a task is eased by 3 steps (Stim cypher, Focuses Mind over Matter focus abilities) \$\endgroup\$
    – Xan
    Mar 20 '19 at 12:10

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