Ability Descriptions

Abilities for most characters range between 0 and 5.   X Untrained   ● Novice   ●● Proficient   ●●● Experienced   ●●●● Exceptional   ●●●●● World class   An asterisk * means that the ability requires the character to accept an area of expertise.

Simple Ability List and Descriptions

  Characters without any dots in a simple ability can roll just the attribute with no penalty.  


  Your general awareness of the sights, sounds, and smells around you.   ● You are seldom taken completely by surprise.   ●● Whispers do not go unheard in your presence.   ●●● You maintain a constant vigil, even when asleep.   ●●●● Few things are hidden from you.   ●●●●● Your senses rival those of the beasts of the field.   Specialties: By environment (crowds, forests, fields) or by situation (noises, paranoia, traps)    

Animal Ken

  Your ability to tame, train, handle, predict the behavior of, or avoid animals. This ability also applies to magical beasts that behave like animals.   ● You work well with domesticated animals   ●● You understand the ways of all the animals that are common in your vicinity, and you can train animals that are susceptible to it such as horses and dogs.   ●●● You are a skilled hunter and tracker, and you can work well even with difficult animals. Everyone in the area knows you are the one to go to when there’s animal trouble.   ●●●● No domesticated animal resists your will and wild animals regard you with at least some good will.   ●●●●● Local folks wonder if you are a spirit of Korus wearing mortal form.   Specialties: Farm animals, dogs, horses, rodents, snakes, birds of prey, bears. You cannot specialize in “monsters” but specializing in snakes will cover snake-like monsters and specializing in "horses" will cover pegasi and hippocampi.    


  Ability to jump, climb, swim, run and throw things.   ● You lead a moderately active existence.   ●● You can compete effectively in local sporting events.   ●●● You can support yourself, to at least a large measure, with the prizes you win in challenges of physical excellence.   ●●●● Stories of your prowess circulate widely.   ●●●●● Your reputation precedes you and would-be rivals feel awe at your ability.   Specialties: Swimming, climbing, running, thrown objects, tumbling    


  Your ability to fight unarmed.   ● You don’t immediately fold in the face of a fight.   ●● You’ve had your share of tussles with neighbors and local brawlers.   ●●● You fight with confidence and competence, and you can count on winning or at least coming through a fight and remaining standing.   ●●●● You can take on most opponents and expect to win.   ●●●●● You can do as much with your fists as many soldiers and knights do with their weapons.   Specialties: Boxing, drunken fighting, grappling, showing off, throws, wrestling, magical touch attacks    


  Ability to move out of the way of harmful things.   ● You reflexively avoid most minor sources of injury and show a measure of grace in your movements.   ●● You’re hard to hurt unless someone or something catches you by surprise.   ●●● It takes serious effort for an opponent to hit you; you get out of the way of most thrown objects as well as immediate dangers   ●●●● Only skilled warriors can expect to hurt you very much.   ●●●●● Wherever a threat is, you’re almost invariably somewhere else.   Specialties: By situation (back step, dive, finding cover, leap) or by attack (pole weapon, brawling attack, thrown weapons, magical bursts)    


  Ability to understand and relate to other people’s feelings and motivation.   ● You seem sympathetic to people with whom you share something in common.   ●● You share other’s joys and sorrows, even when you haven’t made any particular effort at it.   ●●● You display keen insights into others’ souls and enjoy a measure of respect or fear depending on how you use your wisdom.   ●●●● Few people can deceive you. Enemies mutter that your deal with dark powers, and friends believe that you have been blessed with special perception.   ●●●●● Nothing mortal is mysterious to you.   Specialties: Truths, family problems, background emotions, emotions, long-term concerns    


  Your ease at social interactions that do not involve overt deception or coercion.   ● You avoid most social gaffes and seem reasonably well behaved in the culture you know best.   ●● You can conduct yourself without embarrassment in your culture’s version of high society.   ●●● You understand the principles of social organization well enough to respond calmly to unexpected and unfamiliar circumstances.   ●●●● Lords and high priests admire your conduct.   ●●●●● You set the social standards which others try to hew.   Specialties: By setting (court, streets, family traditions, priesthood) or by situation (small talk, carousing, team building).    


  Your ability to express yourself creatively with words.   ● Some times you can find just the right words.   ●● You routinely speak well, and if you are literate, you can correspond reasonably clearly.   ●●● You can make a living with the written or spoken word, and you can count on winning arguments.   ●●●● Your sermons, proclamations, or other acts of expression garner widespread respect and others copy your style.   ●●●●● Your fame runs far and wide among devotees of good style, and others find it nearly impossible to argue against you.   Specialties: Acting, conversation, debates, improvisation, preaching, storytelling, poetry.    


  Your ability to persuade others with the implied threat of force or negative social pressure.   ● You can reliably get your way with much weaker targets.   ●● People around you know that when you make threats, you mean them, and they try not to cross you.   ●●● You exert the commanding presence of an authority figure, regardless of your actual status.   ●●●● Even those who like you feel some nervousness in your presence, and the masses fear your wrath.   ●●●●● You are well on your way to becoming one of the legendary tyrants of the age.   Specialties: Blackmail, veiled threats, physical coercion, politics, stare downs, pulling rank, bluffs.    


Your skill at organized searches and the general gathering of information.   ● You regularly see things that others miss, and it’s hard for the people of your home to keep secrets if you choose to seek them out.   ●● You know how to extract information from others without alarming them, and you can unravel many mysteries.   ●●● You can make a living as a professional investigator for religious and/or secular purposes. Even if you practice some other trade, your acuity is widely respected.   ●●●● The most complex and best concealed matters unravel themselves when you confront them.   ●●●●● When all other means fail and the oracles choose not to intervene directly with supernatural revelations, people who are bedeviled by mysteries turn to you.   Specialties: Searches, stalking, locating informants, accounting, scuttlebutt    


  Your ability to lead and inspire others.   ● You’ve organized small ventures in your hometown with moderate success.   ●● You routinely direct small groups of your neighbors and peers.   ●●● Your duties include the exercise of authority, such as serving as captain of the guard, abbot of a monastery, and you discharge your duties well.   ●●●● You act capably as a leader of people throughout your region.   ●●●●● You are, or can be if you choose, a great warlord or a pillar of a priesthood, or other famous leader of your time.   Specialties: Teaching, military commands, noble courts, friendly, inspirational, stern    


  Your skill with sleight of hand tricks such as fake magic tricks and pick pocketing.   ● You’ve sometimes taken very small items when nobody was looking and gotten away with it.   ●● You can rob alms boxes and steal from blind beggars with impunity. You are good are good enough at sleight of hand to entertain local gatherings.   ●●● You can gracefully make off with nearly anything that isn’t nailed down, and you have the polished manner of a professional entertainer, even if it’s not your chosen livelihood.   ●●●● When you perform your tricks, some people assume you are using magic.   ●●●●● People wonder if perhaps have unique supernatural powers are performing the thefts you commit, thanks to your audacity and the lack of any clues left behind.   Specialties: Conjuring tricks, pick pocketing, juggling, concealed weapons    


  Your ability to avoid the eyes and ears of others. Note that when in the wilderness you cannot roll more dots for Stealth than you have in Survival.   ● You can make your way through familiar places without attracting attention as long as no one’s searching very actively for you.   ●● You can hide yourself fairly well in familiar places, and you can hide reasonably well in unfamiliar places that are related to something you know, such as any temple following the standard orientation.   ●●● You move in mysterious ways and it takes dedicated effort to keep you out of most places you’d like to go.   ●●●● You enjoy the reputation of being able to bypass all barriers… which makes you a frequent target of suspicion, as well as valuable to those who have need of stealthy allies.   ●●●●● Many believe you are using invisibility magic. Your gifts seems holy or wicked depending on how you apply them.   Specialties: By environment (forest, mountain, urban) or by action (shadowing, crawling, stationary hiding)    


  Your ability to spin lies and deceptions.   ● You can get away with small lies most of the time.   ●● You are seldom questioned about your chosen explanations.   ●●● You maintain the trustworthy demeanor of a professional thief or con artist.   ●●●● Even wise and noble souls are pawns in your schemes.   ●●●●● Whenever accusations fly, you’re the last one anyone suspects.   Specialties: Changing the subject, plausible cover stories, selective omission, flattery, seduction, patter    

Trained Abilities List and Descriptions

  Characters rolling a trained ability without any dots in the ability can roll the attribute alone at +1 difficulty  


  Your skill with bows and crossbows.   ● You can shoot adequately as long as the circumstances are not distracting. You can maintain a bow but not repair it.   ●● You can hunt and fight competently with a bow. You can maintain and repair a bow but not build a new one.   ●●● You can handle a bow with grace and style, and you can make weapons that are respected for their craftsmanship.   ●●●● Warlords and others who require superior archers seek you out.   ●●●●● Neither distance, darkness, nor anything else seems capable of stopping your arrows from going precisely where you want them to go.   Specialties: Quick shot, moving targets, hunting, horseback, ambushes, fields, forests    


  Your skills at haggling, figuring out markets, detecting counterfeits, and balancing ledgers.   ● You can get a fair price when you bring the harvest to market.   ●● You an broker exchanges in your field of expertise and know who in the vicinity deals in what trades, legitimate or otherwise.   ●●● You can make a good living as a merchant or moneylender. You can draw on the expertise of those in other trades without difficulty.   ●●●● You are one of the preeminent experts in your field, and you rarely (if ever) taken advantage of. No market is closed to you.   ●●●●● You are a master a merchant, expert in commerce spanning the continent.   Specialties: Appraisals, haggling, swindling, trade routes   Areas of Expertise: Clothing, foodstuffs, Reagents, livestock, mercenaries, spices, stolen goods, wine and beverages    


  Your ability to make things with your hands. Areas of expertise include but are not limited to things such as carpentry, painting, tailoring, cobbling, brewing, and blacksmithing   ● You can repair damaged goods and make gear that does more or less what it is supposed to do.   ●● You can attend to the needs of people in your immediate vicinity for the craft you know.   ●●● You can make a good living as an artisan or craftsman and you enjoy the respect of all who call on your services.   ●●●● You routinely make excellent goods that are treasured for their elegance and durability.   ●●●●● You are one of the leading craftsmen in your field, and you can pick and choose from wealthy and prestigious clients across several lands.   Specialties: Rush jobs, detail work, invention, evaluation, maintenance   Areas of Expertise: Tailor, brewing, blacksmithing, jeweler, masonry, wood working, etc.    


  Your ability to work out riddles or puzzles. This also covers mediation.   ● As a child you loved riddles and puzzles.   ●● You have the wisdom of a respected village elder or learned priest.   ●●● Your reputation attracts spirits and Fair Folk looking for a challenge.   ●●●● You can win contests of logic even with faulty information.   ●●●●● The deep mysteries of the universe are accessible to you.   Specialties: Logical quandaries, riddle contests, games of strategy, meditation.    

Hearth Wisdom

  Your knowledge of peasant wisdom including herbal remedies and superstitions, including Fae lore.   ● You know all the common fireside tales of your home and you can recall them at need.   ●● You know the obscure and traditional lore of your region, and very little—even if it is strange and dangerous –takes you by surprise within the fields you know.   ●●● You quickly acquire the lore of any area you pass through, and others know that when the unseen world makes itself visible, you’re the one who most likely knows what to do about it.   ●●●● You are famous for your knowledge of mysterious affairs, and some fear you because of the potential for pacts with dark forces that your explorations afford.   ●●●●● Your supreme insights into strange matters make you the target of pleas from both high and low who suffer mysterious depredations.   Specialties: Fair Folk, poisons, medicines, by region    


  Your knowledge of historical events covering things like royal lineages, legends of great heroes, and military history.   ● You have a good recall of most of the tales the traveling minstrels that passed through your neighborhood shared.   ●● You have an excellent working knowledge of the noble families, past battles, and monster incursion of your home and beyond.   ●●● You could make a living as a chronicler in a noble’s court.   ●●●● You are among the world’s leading experts in your area of specialization and have a wide working knowledge of other places and times.   ●●●●● You can recite even minor details of past events to such an extent people believe you were somehow there.   Specialties: Military history, noble lineages, classical heroes, by region    


  Your knowledge of the healing arts.   ● You can fix minor wounds and help people recover from fevers, minor infections and the like.   ●● You can deal with most common problems, not providing luxury or instant relief from misery but at least keeping people alive long enough for normal healing to run its course.   ●●● You can make a living as a surgeon or other medical professional. If you do something else for a living, such as mercenary soldiering, you nevertheless regularly get requests for aid.   ●●●● If you devote yourself to treating others, the area in which you live enjoys a particular reputation for health and prosperity. You often achieve new insights into pressing medical problems.   ●●●●● It is rumored that you have made enemies of Void Demons for denying them so many souls of the dead.   Specialties: battle wounds, childbirth, diagnosis, disease, poison treatment, first aid    


  Your skill in close combat with weapons.   ● You can handle simple weapons and any weapon popular in the area you grew up. You can maintain but not repair a weapon.   ●● You can fight moderately well with common weapons. You can do basic repairs on an axe or other simple melee weapon.   ●●● You know how to use a wide variety of weapons well, and you can make a living as a professional soldier if you choose. You can make basic repairs on a sword or more complex melee weapon. You can manufacture simple melee weapons.   ●●●● You routinely distinguish yourself in battles, tournaments, and other martial displays.   ●●●●● Everyone who uses your favored weapons knows your deeds –which may breed challenges as well as respect.   Specialties: By weapon (swords, axes, clubs), by situation (fighting in formation, duels, multiple opponents) or by maneuver (rapid draws, disarms, weapon drills)    


  Your ability to entertain others with performances. Areas of expertise include but are not limited to singing, dance, acting, drums, and stringed instruments.   ● You can entertain friends and family when more skillful alternatives are not available.   ●● You take part in local entertainments on a regular basis and do fairly well in them.   ●●● You can make a living as an entertainer and enjoy a reputation as one to call upon.   ●●●● Your fellow performers study your work carefully. The masses flock to see you in your specialty.   ●●●●● You can pick and choose your audiences since you are almost always in demand wherever you go.   Specialties: Courtly, bawdy, composition, improvisation   Fields of Expertise: Acting, dance, percussion, stringed instruments, singing, wind instruments    


  Your knowledge of the law, practices, and nobility of various nations, priesthoods and organizations.   ● You know how things work in your home community, and you can usually use the system to get what you want.   ●● You deal confidently with the authorities if you are outside the hierarchy, or confidently with the government populace if you hold some local office.   ●●● You know how to make use of the hierarchy at every level that touches your existence, and you can conduct yourself efficiently whenever you need to deal with political manners.   ●●●● You are widely known as a competent governor or advisor, and your comments garner widespread respect.   ●●●●● Your political treatises will be discussed long after your death.   Specialties: By region, ecclesiastical, guilds, formal courts, heraldry, criminal organizations    


  Your ability to ride trained beasts. Areas of expertise include but are not limited to horses, camels, pegasi, wargs, giant spiders, hippocampi, etc. This can be used in place of Animal Ken with the species in question if it is higher than Animal Ken.   Note that when fighting from horseback, you cannot roll more dice for Melee or Archery than you have dots in Ride.   ● You can get around on a good mount as long things don’t get complicated.   ●● You can hunt, chase, and sustain long rides safely, if not always comfortably.   ●●● Horses hold few surprises for you and you have no problem fighting from horseback.   ●●●● You can engage in fancy stunts and keep your horse calm and healthy in he midst of dangerous, rapidly changing situations. You’re the one who gets called on when others fall and fail.   ●●●●● Your kinship with your steed is borderline supernatural. You can make a horse do things it didn’t know it could do.   Specialties: Stealth, speed, stunts, jumping, forests, deserts   Areas of Expertise: Horses, camels, pegasi, hippocampi, elephants    


  Your skill with sailing ships and navigation.   ● You know the poop deck isn’t used for what it sounds like it is used for.   ●● You’ve been on several voyages and can handle routine sailing conditions easily.   ●●● You can handle surviving storms, evading pirates, and navigating with incomplete maps.   ●●●● Your skills are legendary, the sea holds few mysteries for you.   ●●●●● People assume you are a spirit of Mera wearing mortal form.   Specialties: By trade route, navigation, storms, ship maintenance, naval combat    


  Your ability to manage lands, supplies, employees, businesses, and other income producing resources as well as castles.   ● You can keep your family’s household running smoothly and manage a few other resources as long as there’s no intense pressure or stress.   ●● You can manage a business or manor and keep almost everyone involved reasonably happy.   ●●● You successfully oversee multiple properties over an extended area, even in times of war, famine and other calamity.   ●●●● Rulers know that they can give you custody of their lands and goods and get them back in better condition than you received them.   ●●●●● On Scarterra, you are the source material for the Parable of the Talents.   Specialties: Family farms, plantations, noble estates, mines, religious holdings, urban holdings    


  Your ability to avoid dangers and find food and shelter outside of civilization. Also covers tracking in the wilderness.   ● You can cope with the routine challenges of whatever sort of wilderness was closest to your home.   ●● You can survive in most environments though you won’t be comfortable until you get to the next settlement.   ●●● You can get yourself and others to safety in most circumstances, and you can make an effective living off the fruits of hunting, trapping, and the like.   ●●●● You can blaze new paths through unbroken wilderness and cope with almost any challenge the natural world can throw at you.   ●●●●● The dark mysteries in the lands beyond civilization hold no terror for you.   Specialties: By environment (sea shore, forests, desert, mountains, subterranean) or by task (hunting, finding shelter, fishing, trailblazing)    


  Your knowledge of religious practices and spirit lore.   ● You are familiar with the basic religious practices of your home and know the basic lore of the Nine and their spirits.   ●● You have enough knowledge of ritual and lore to qualify as a priest for your faith.   ●●● You could participate in the services of other religions and make a good impression.   ●●●● You are a pillar of your faith and you know a wide variety of lore about different and obscure faiths and the strengths and weakness of rare spirits.   ●●●●● Your wisdom of matters spiritual is unparalleled on the material plane.   Specialties: divergent sects, ranks and titles, demon lore, undead lore, debate      

Rare Abilities

  Rare abilities cannot be attempted at all without training. The first dot of a rare ability costs double (either double freebie points or double experience points)   Alchemy: Your knowledge of alchemical science.   Arcana: Your knowledge of monsters and supernatural anomalies.   Disable Device: Your ability to find, avoid, and dismantle traps. May also be used to pick locks.   Engineering: Your ability to create complex devices and structures including things like fortifications, catapults and aqueducts.   Escape Artist: Your skill at escaping bonds and restraints.   Lip Reading: Your ability to read lips and figure out what people are saying.   Spellcraft: The science of casting spells. This lets you recognize magic other people are using and research new spells for yourself. This can also be used to understand magical items.   Spirit Loa: A Spirit Loa can open himself up to possession by ghosts or the honored dead and tap into the skills of the dead. See the link for the full rules.   Use Magic Device: Your ability to force a magical item to act for you without the proper command word, formula, or innate magical ability.
Types of Abilities   Ability rolls are normally combining an appropriate attribute for the action being attempted. -Simple abilities can be used without training by rolling just the attribute.   -Trained can be used without training, but you receive a +1 difficulty penalty on the attribute roll when doing so.   -Rare abilities cannot be attempted without training at all.   -Specialized abilities are marked with an asterisk*. You must take a specialization when you first take the skill. Unlike taking specializations in other abilities, this is a requirement to avoid a penalty.
Ability Specializations     You can buy an ability specialization for any ability your character possesses. A specialization gives you a one die bonus when acting with that specializes. For instances if you have a Melee specialization in “swords”, you get a one die bonus when using swords.   You can have multiple specializations, but the bonuses are not cumulative. If you have a Melee specialization in “sword” and a Melee specialization in “parry”, you only get a one-die bonus when parrying with an sword.   The first specialization costs one experience point and requires you to have at least one dot in the ability in question. The second specialization costs two experience points and requires you to have two dots in ability. The third specialization costs three experience points and requires you to have three dots in an ability.   You cannot take a fourth specialization.

Cover image: Screenshot from the movie Taken by Europecorp


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