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This isn't a hard and fast list, so if you have some ideas about skills that you think you want/need, let me know. (Yes, I know a few of these are out of order)
|Sleight of Hand||Subterfuge|
Modified from Spirit of the Century
- Alertness is a measure of the character’s regular, passive level of awareness. Specifically, it is the perception skill to notice things the character is not looking for. In an exchange where characters are surprised (and as such, are prevented from choosing which skill to roll), Alertness is the skill which is rolled. In conflicts of an active, physical nature, Alertness determines initiative. Characters with high Alertness include bodyguards, outdoorsmen and criminals of a sneaky variety.
- Players will rarely ask to roll Alertness – if they are actively looking for something, Investigation is usually more appropriate. Alertness is more appropriate for things that players and characters do not expect or are not looking for, such as whether they notice a surprise, or if they happen to spot a hidden clue. In short, it is reactive perception. As such, it’s a skill that, more often, the GM calls for people to roll.
- Avoiding Surprise : Whenever ambushed (see Stealth), a character may make one final Alertness check against the Stealth of his attacker, in order to see if he is surprised. If he fails this check, his defense skill is considered to be Mediocre for the first exchange.
- Art measures the character’s overall artistic ability, covering the gamut of endeavors, from painting to dance to music. This includes knowledge, composition, and performance. Characters with high Art include artists (obviously), aristocrats, and those of the avant garde.
- Art is usually either used as a knowledge skill, for knowledge about art, artists, and what it takes to make art, or as a crafting skill, to create a work of art, or as a social skill to entertain.
- Things you can do: Knowledge about art; Craft a piece of art (without a stunt, they will not be masterpieces); Communicate raw emotions; Can modify the skills of someone speaking in public (using Rapport, Intimidate, Leadership, or Deciept); Perform some performance art; Forgery (with Deceit complimenting it)
- This measures the character’s general physical capability, excepting raw power, which is a function of Might. Athletics covers running, jumping, climbing, and other broadly physical activities you might find in a track and field event. Characters with high Athletics include athletes, soldiers and outdoorsmen.
- Athletics is often the “when in doubt” physical skill, and it can get a lot of use. There’s sometimes confusion as to when to use Athletics and when to use Might. As a rule of thumb, Athletics is used to move yourself, Might is used to move other things and people. When an action calls for both, they may modify one another. If there is no clear indication which should be primary, default to Athletics as primary and Might as secondary.
- Things you can do: Jump, Sprint, Climb, Dodge, Fall
- The ability to overcome security systems, from alarms to locks, falls under the auspices of this skill. This also includes knowledge of those systems and the ability to assess them. Characters with a high Burglary include burglars, private eyes and even some cops.
- Other things you can do: Case a joint
- Contacting is the ability to find things out from people. A character may know a guy, who knows a guy, or maybe he just knows the right questions to ask. Whatever his methods, he know hows to find things out by asking around. Characters with high Contacting include reporters, private eyes and spies.
- A character with a high Contacting skill knows a wide variety of people and has at least a mild amount of connection with virtually any organization. There are Contacting stunts which give a character deep ties to a specific field like crime or business, and those allow a deeper level of contact within that field.
- Contacting does not work in a vacuum. The character needs to be able to get out and talk to people for it to be useful, and when that isn’t possible, neither is Contacting. Contacting is also limited by familiarity – a character finding himself in an entirely unfamiliar environment may encounter difficulties increased by as much as +4. Thankfully, Contacting also covers the skill for building new social networks, so if a character stays in an area for any amount of time, he can diminish the difficulty by one per week spent.
- Things you can do: Gather Information, Get the Tip Off, Rumors,
- Deceit is the ability to lie, simple as that. Be it through word or deed, it’s the ability to convey falsehoods convincingly. Characters with high Deceit include grifters, spies, and politicians.
- For simple deceptions, a contest between Deceit and an appropriate skill (usually Empathy, Alertness or Investigation) is all that is necessary, but for deeper deceptions, like convincing someone of a lie or selling someone the Brooklyn Bridge, a social conflict is appropriate, complete with Deceit attacks and social stress being dealt. Sometimes, Deceit is the undercurrent rather than the forefront of an action, and as such, the skill may be used secondarily to modify, restrict, or complement another skill’s use.
- Other things: Disguise, Cat and Mouse (turning a social contest)
- Riding is the ability to ride a mount without embarrassing yourself. Riding is pretty easy to use. Trying to do something while mounted? Roll Riding, simple as that. If a character trying to do something fancy, like ride and shoot a bow at the same time, Riding will restrict the skill being used (not modify, as a high Riding skill won’t make someone a better shot).
- Whether the character personally commands a mount may be subject to character concept or judicious application of the Resources skill. Truly exceptional mounts are the domain of stunts.
- This is the ability to understand what other people are thinking and feeling. This can be handy if a character is trying to spot a liar or wants to tell someone what that person wants to hear. Empathy is usable as a defense against Deceit, and is the basis for initiative in a social conflict. Characters with a high Empathy include gamblers, reporters and socialites.
- Other things: Reading People (takes some time, though)
- Endurance is the ability to keep performing physical activity despite fatigue or injury. It’s a measure of the body’s resistance to shock and effort. In addition to fatigue, Endurance measures how well a character shrugs off poisons and disease. Characters with a high Endurance include explorers, athletes, and sailors.
- Endurance is a passive skill. Players will very rarely need to ask to roll Endurance; instead, the GM will call for rolls when appropriate.
- Endurance can particularly come into play in long-term actions, as a secondary, restricting skill, where the character’s ability to keep performing at peak is limited by how able he is to overcome fatigue and pain; this is why top athletes have their Endurance skill on par with (or better than!) their Athletics skill. Someone without a solid Endurance skill may be a good sprinter, but will find themselves winded and falling behind in a marathon.
- Endurance also determines a character’s Health capacity (the length of a character’s Health stress track), since Health stress represents physical wounds and fatigue.
- By default, players have 5 boxes for their Health stress track. Better-than- Mediocre Endurance increases the number of boxes as shown here.
- This is the ability to hold one’s own in a fistfight, with no weapons available but one’s two mitts and a load of attitude! With specialized training, this may include the practice of more disciplined fisticuffs, such as the martial arts of the Orient. As a combat skill, Fists allows characters to defend themselves as well as attack. Fists fighters are also well-versed in a variety of fighting styles from all over the world, and may use this skill as a limited sort of knowledge skill covering those areas. Characters with high Fists include sailors, thugs, and martial artists.
- Some games are pure luck, but a good gambler doesn’t play those. Gambling is the knowledge of how to gamble and moreover, how to win when gambling. It also includes knowledge of secondary things like bookmaking. Characters with a high Gambling include gamblers and dapper secret agents.
- You can usually find a game.
- When using Healing as first aid in the middle of a fight, the character must take a full action with a target who’s not trying to do anything else active (i.e., forfeiting his next action). Make a roll against a target of Mediocre; if it succeeds with at least one shift, the subject may remove a checkmark in his one-stress box on his physical stress track. Every two shifts beyond the first improves this effect by one; for example, with five shifts, a character can remove a checkmark in his target’s three-stress box. Success can also be used to “stabilize” someone who has taken a severe or lesser consequence that would appear to be life-threatening (e.g., a Bleeding to Death aspect) – in game terms, this has the effect of limiting the extent to which the aspect can be compelled. A given person can’t be the target of more than one first aid action in an exchange.
- When using Healing to address someone’s long-term injuries, the character must spend a scene providing proper medical attention. This is a use of Healing to directly address someone’s physical, long-term consequences. If the roll is successful, then the time it takes the subject to recover from the consequence is reduced by one step on the time table. Multiple such attempts may not be made.
- The difficulty of the roll depends on the severity of the consequence; starting at moderate, the difficulty increases by two steps for each level of severity:
- Mild = Mediocre
- Moderate = Fair
- Severe = Great
- There are more graceful social skills for convincing people to do what a character wants, but those skills tend not to have the pure efficiency of communicating that failing to comply may well result in some manner of harm. Nothing personal.
- Using Intimidation is a blatant social attack, which someone can defend against with their Resolve. This is the skill for interrogation (as opposed to interviewing) as well as scaring the bejeezus out of someone. Even without a basis for fear, Intimidation can occasionally be used as provocation, to produce a strong “burst” of negative emotional response (such as provoking someone into a fight, or at least to anger). Regardless, it’s never pretty.
- Characters with high Intimidation include mob enforcers, bouncers and “bad” cops.
- Investigation is the ability to look for things and, hopefully, find them. This is the skill used when the character is actively looking for something, such as searching a crime scene or trying to spot a hidden enemy.
- Investigation is the skill most commonly called for when the character wants to look for something like clues. It is also useful for eavesdropping or any other activity where someone is trying to observe something over a period of time. When looking for deep patterns and hidden flaws, Investigation may be used as an assessment action.
- This makes Investigation the flipside of Alertness; it is mindful, deliberate perception, in contrast to Alertness’s passive mode of operation. This also means that an equivalent Investigation effort is nearly always going to yield better, more in-depth, information than an Alertness effort would; the downside is that Investigation is far more time consuming.
- Leadership is a multi-faceted skill. A good leader knows how to direct and inspire people, but he also understands how to run an organization. As such, the Leadership skill covers acts of both types. Characters with a high Leadership include military officers, politicians, bureaucrats, and lawyers.
- Lore (anything that references Academics means this skill ;)
- Lore is a knowledge skill. It measures the character’s “book learning”. Any knowledge that would not explicitly fall under any other skill falls under this skill (though some overlap may exist). Characters with high Lore include scholars of antiquity, Ancient Mages and know-it-alls.
- The main use of Lore is to answer a question. Questions covered by Lore include those: of history, literature, sociology or any of the “soft” sciences – in short, most information that is neither art nor science.
- The player can ask the GM “What do I know about this subject?” or “What does this mean?” Often, there will be no need to roll, especially if the subject is within the character’s specialty (see Scholar, page XX) but if the GM feels the information is something that should be hard to attain (such as a clue) then she may call for a roll against a difficulty she sets. If the character succeeds, he receives the information. If he fails, he does not, but he may still attempt to research the topic (see below) – or, perhaps more entertainingly, may stumble onto a false lead that gets him deeper into trouble.
- Some things you can do with Lore: Research, Exposition and Knowledge Dumping (Sometimes the GM just needs to give the group a lot of information, and the character with a high knowledge skill tends to be the conduit of that- and get a fate point), Declaring Minor Details
- Languages: A character may speak a number of additional languages based on his Lore score. Each step of Lore above Mediocre gives the character knowledge of one additional language (so one at Average, two at Fair, and so on). The player does not need to choose the languages when the character is created; instead, he may simply choose languages in the course of play, as is convenient.
- Magic is the ability to cast spells. The use of this will be pretty flexible, but you need to take an aspect that is related in order to take this skill. It COULD be used in place of Lore, or really any other skill if the situation warrants. Magic is pretty limited in Orth, so what you can do will have a fairly high difficulty... esp if you try to do it quickly.
- Fortune-telling is a form of declaration. The character may, once per session, make a prediction, and make a roll against a difficulty set by the GM. If the roll is successful, it’s a true fortune, and there is now an aspect that represents it. If the target of the fortune was a person, they receive the temporary aspect for the duration of the adventure.If it was a general prediction, it is considered to be a scene aspect on every scene for the duration of the adventure.
- Some Stunts
- Personal Artifact: See SotC Personal Artifact
- Rare Artifact: See SotC Rare Artifact
- Object of Power: See SotC Gadgets
- Potions: As Personal Artifact, but only one use. Taking the stunt once will give you two named and approved potions or one potion to be determined in game. Taken twice it gives you three to be named potions or 1 to be named and four named potions.
- Secrets of the Arcane: See SotC stunt of same name
- Psychic: See SotC stunt of same name
- Minor Words of Power : Requires Psychic (taken from Fate of the Rings) The character may make a Declaration, placing a tag on a character, group or scene. Instead of the usual way of setting difficulties, they may use the Assessment rules. Thus, the invoker may place an [Enfeebled] tag on a subject, a [Dazed] tag on a group, or a [Foggy] aspect to a scene, or a [Searing hot] aspect on a sword.
- For example,
- Scene : Aspects that add or modify to the weather of a scene: eg. Foggy, Darkened, Brightened, Windy.
- Objects : Aspects that alter the physical integrity of an item: Searing hot, cold as ice, hardened, weakened.
- People and Groups : Aspects that add or modify a mood to the character: Angry, Friendly, etc. Aspects that make harder or easier to inflict stress: Magical Armor, Enfeebled, Sleepy, Awe Inspiring, Fearful gaze. Aspects that create or modify a vinculum to another group or character:Hatred, In love, etc… This last kind is playing with the free will of a person, so it will definitely be contested- if it's even allowed
- Counterspell : Removing an aspect created by another use of Minor Words of Power.
- Major Words of Power : requires Minor Words of Power
- This works like the Universal Gadget stunt (p. 148), except that there is no actual gadget, but the results are the actual working of deep magic. The resulting effect may use three advancements or follow the rules of Wonderful Toys. It may be purchased more than once.
- This is a measure of pure physical power, be it raw strength or simply the knowledge of how to use the strength one has. For lifting, moving and breaking things, Might is the skill of choice. Might may be used indirectly as well, to modify, complement, or limit some skill uses. Characters with a high Might include strongmen, laborers, and lords of the jungle.
- Fighting People : In combat, Might can be used to help with particular applications of Fists and Weapons – if force is a very significant element at play, Might will modify the primary skill. Furthermore, someone successfully engaging an opponent in a one-on-one exchange can potentially switch from Fists to Might, if executing a hold or other wrestling move where it’s less about hitting someone as it is about overwhelming them with physical force. Such a switch would result from a maneuver of some sort.
- Breaking Things, Lifting Things
- Sometimes characters just need to shoot things. Thankfully, there’s a skill for that. With a bow, characters can shoot up to two zones away. Unfortunately, without a bow in hand, or at least close at hand, the skill isn’t much use.
- The Missles skill does not allow characters to defend themselves as well as attack; it trades the a defense component for ability to act over greater range. A character who’s both a good shot and good at getting out of the way will also want to invest in either Athletics or Fists (or both!).
- Characters with high Missles might include soldiers, assassins, and hunters. If someone is devoted to using Bows as a strong component of their fighting style, it can safely be assumed that they possess at least one Bow, regardless of Resources rating
- The flipside of Intimidation, this is the ability to talk with people in a friendly fashion and make a good impression, and perhaps convince them to see one’s side of things. Any time a character wants to communicate without an implicit threat, this is the skill to use, which makes it appropriate for interviewing. Characters with high Rapport include grifters, reporters, and good cops.
- First Impressions...
- Closing Down
- Rapport controls the face the character shows to the world, and that includes what they choose not to show. As such, when a character tries to use Empathy to get a read on a character, it is opposed by Rapport. If the character wishes to simply reveal nothing, they may use Rapport and take the equivalent of a defensive action, gaining a +2 on their roll.
- This is over and above the “default” of a Rapport defense because it is openly obvious: the character is wiping all emotions off of his face. It also requires that the character be consciously aware that someone’s trying to get a read off of him. If the character is trying not to look like he’s actively warding off the read, or isn’t really aware he’s being read, then he isn’t taking a full defensive action, and does not get the +2.
- Opening Up
- Characters skilled in Rapport are able to control which side of their personality is shown to others, seeming to open up while actually guarding their deepest secrets. Since true things are still revealed about the character, this is not an inherently deceptive action. When a character opens up, he defends against an Empathy read with Rapport, as usual. If his opponent succeeds and generates at least one shift, he finds something out, as usual. If not, he still discovers an aspect – but it’s one of the defending character’s choice.
- This can effectively be used to stonewall someone without the obvious poker face of Closing Down. On top of it all, the character opening up can always choose to reveal something that the other character already knows about.
- Resolve is a measure of a character’s self-mastery, as expressed through things like courage and willpower. It’s an indicator of coolness under fire and also represents the drive not to quit. It plays a key part in efforts to resist torture or the strange mental powers of psychic villainy.
- Resolve is almost always rolled in response to something, rather than on its own. Its primary role is as defense against most kinds of social manipulation or distraction. Resolve also shines in situations which have spun very much out of control. Characters with a high Resolve have a distinct advantage in continuing to keep their head about them and respond calmly. Similarly, when all seems lost, a character with a strong Resolve is often capable of soldiering on. Resolve is the mental or social parallel to physical Endurance.
- Resolve also determines a character’s Composure capacity (the length of the Composure stress track), indicating the character’s resilience in the face of mental, emotional, and social stress. By default, players have a Composure capacity of 5, but they may increase that capacity based upon their Resolve. Better than Mediocre Resolve adds more boxes to the stress track as shown here.
- Usually Resources is simply a measure of available wealth, but the specific form this takes, from a secret family silver mine to a well invested portfolio, can vary from character to character (and may be indicated and enhanced by their aspects). Usually this skill passively informs the GM what the character’s available resources are, but Resources may still be rolled for large expenditures, like purchases and bribes. Some large-scale conflicts may be about trying to out-spend the other guy; here, Resources can act as an attack or defense skill.
- Note: characters who have access to a fairly sized organization's resources can act as if they have Resources at Fair and, with the backing of the organization, can potentially make bigger purchases. These expenditures are tracked by the organization, and as such, if subterfuge is important, personal resources are a wiser choice.
- Characters with high Resources include robber barons, royalty and successful criminals.
- This determines how much you can buy, what your lifestyle is, what kinds of tools/spaces you have access to
- Sleight of Hand
- The hand can certainly be quicker than the eye. This skill covers fine, dexterous activities like stage magic, pickpocketing, and replacing an idol with a bag of sand without tripping a trap. While Athletics is appropriate for gross physical activities, most things requiring manual speed and precision falls under this skill (that said, if you’re picking a lock, use Burglary). Characters with a high Sleight of Hand include stage magicians, pickpockets, and jugglers.
- Picking a pocket is a quick contest between Sleight of Hand and the target’s Alertness (which may be complemented by the target’s own Sleight of Hand). Due to the difficulty of this sort of work, the target usually receives a +2 bonus, as if he were performing a full defense against the action. If the target is distracted by something else, he loses the +2 bonus. If anyone else is in a position to observe the attempt, they also may make Alertness rolls to spot the attempt (though they don’t gain the +2).
- Art of Distraction
- Characters may use Sleight of Hand to try to hide things in plain sight, and may use Sleight of Hand to oppose any perception check for something that they could try to hide, misplace, or distract attention from. When a character uses this skill to hide something, his skill roll indicates the difficulty of any Investigation rolls to find it.
- This is the ability to remain unseen and unheard. Directly opposed by Alertness or Investigation, this ability covers everything from skulking in the shadows to hiding under the bed. Characters with a high Stealth include burglars, assassins, and sneaky children.
- Hiding, skulking, ambush
- This is the skill of outdoorsmen. It covers hunting, trapping, tracking, building fires, and lots of other wilderness skills that a civilized man has no use for. Characters with a high Survival include explorers, hunters, scouts, and lords of the jungle.
- Animal Handling
- Survival also covers the breadth of interaction with animals, from training them to communicating with them, albeit in a limited fashion. This includes handling beasts of burden and carriage animals, as well as common pets. Survival serves as a stand-in for all social skills when dealing with animals. Not to say animals are great conversationalists, but when one is trying to soothe or stare down an animal, Survival is the skill to roll.
- Camouflage, Scavenging fall under Survival
- This is the skill for fighting with weapons, from swords to knives to axes to clubs to whips. The exact weapon is more of a choice of style than anything else, as this covers everything from fencing in European salons to sailors using knives and batons on the docks.
- The Weapons skill also covers the ability to throw small handheld weapons up to one zone away, or to use weapons (like a whip) with unusually long reach to attack adjacent zones, so a character would use this skill to be a good knife fighter and knife thrower. This gives Weapons-focused characters a small leg up on folks who fight with their Fists, with the downside that a Weapons user needs to have a weapon in hand in order to make much use of the skill.
- As a combat skill, Weapons inherently carries the ability to defend oneself in a fight and as such, may be rolled for defense. Weapons users are also well-versed in a variety of fighting styles and weapons, and may use this skill as a limited sort of knowledge skill covering those areas.
- Characters with high Weapons include sailors, fencers, and some kinds of athletes and circus performers.
- If someone is devoted to using Weapons as a strong component of their fighting style, it can safely be assumed that they possess the sufficient weaponry in order to make use of the skill, regardless of Resources rating. This is, of course, subject to the rigors of character concept and GM approval.