Characters each have Skills and Skill Specialties. Skills are separated into Mental, Physical, and Social categories and are used in conjunction with a character’s Attributes for most draws. Skills rate from 0 to 5 dots; the more dots in a Skill that your character has, the better they are at it. If a character has zero dots they take a further penalty—for Physical and Social Skills this is -1 and for Mental Skills this is -3.
At character creation, you select which category of Skills—Mental, Physical, or Social—is your primary, secondary, and tertiary Skill set. This ranking need not match up to how you ranked your character’s Attributes. You start with 11 points to allocate among your primary Skill group, 7 for your secondary, and 4 for tertiary. These points are allocated on a 1-to-1 point basis (so, to have 2 dots of a Skill costs 2 points.)
Your character can do a thing covered by a Skill even if they have zero dots in it. Any character can tell a Lie or Drive a car; draws only happen when things are stressful, challenging, or there is a possibility for interesting failure.
Below is list of the skills, with some example uses and draws. The penalty for having zero dots is in parenthesis at the title of that section.
- Apply knowledge from your studies (Intelligence + Academics), Identify relevant research material in a library (Wits + Academics)
- Hack someone’s computer (Wits + Computer), Code a program (Intelligence + Computer)
- Repair an item (Dexterity + Crafts), Paint a painting (Presence + Crafts)
- Examine a crime scene (Wits + Investigation), Crack a code (Intelligence + Investigation)
- Create an antidote (Intelligence + Medicine), Stitch up wounds (Dexterity + Medicine)
- Know about a monster (Intelligence + Occult), Invoke a spirit (Presence + Occult)
- Rig an election (Wits + Politics), Campaign for office (Presence + Politics)
- Make an improvised bomb (Wits + Science), Conduct controlled experiment (Intelligence + Science)
- Long-distance running (Stamina + Athletics), Scale a fence (Dexterity + Athletics)
- Throw a punch (Strength + Brawl), Analyze a boxing match (Intelligence + Brawl)*
- Outrun the cops (Dexterity + Drive), Tail someone else’s car (Composure + Drive)
- Shoot a gun (Dexterity + Firearms), Scope out a hunting perch (Wits + Firearms)*
- Steal a small object (Dexterity + Larceny), Plan a heist (Intelligence + Larceny)
- Hide behind a couch (Dexterity + Stealth), Disguise yourself (Manipulation + Stealth)
- Navigate the woods (Wits + Survival), Endure exposure to the elements (Stamina + Survival)
- Use a non-firearm weapon (Strength + Weaponry) (see combat rules)*
- Animal Ken
- Discern animal’s emotional state (Wits + Animal Ken), Gain animal’s trust (Presence + Animal Ken)
- Tell if someone is lying (Wits + Empathy), Read someone’s emotional reaction (Manipulation + Empathy)
- Win a dance-off (Dexterity + Expression), Recite a moving poem (Presence + Expression)
- Scare a nice old lady (Presence + Intimidation), deliver a veiled threat (Manipulation + Intimidation)
- Convince workers to walk out and strike with you (Presence + Leadership), Motivate someone to act (Manipulation + Leadership)
- Deliver a speech (Presence + Persuasion), convince someone to buy a car (Manipulation + Persuasion)
- Find a black market (Wits + Streetwise), Ingratiate yourself into a gang (Presence + Streetwise)
- Run a con (Presence + Subterfuge), Lie (Manipulation + Subterfuge)
*See combat rules for more details.
Skill Specialties represent more specific abilities your character has due to their training, interests, background, innate personality, etc. A Skill reflects broad knowledge or ability; a Skill Specialty would be a more focused expertise within a Skill.
If you are making a draw to use a Skill in a way that involves a relevant Specialty, you gain an additional +1 on the draw. There is no penalty for using a Skill that has no Specialty, or on a draw using a Skill for which you have a Specialty that isn’t relevant to the challenge.
At character creation, you have 3 free Skill Specialties to assign. Subject to Storyteller approval, these are up to your imagination. You may assign a Specialty to any Skill, and there is no limit on how many Specialties a character can have for the same Skill. If you think a certain Skill Specialty could fit under multiple Skills, put it where it feels right for the character, or ask a Storyteller!
Some example Skill Specialties include:
- Skill: Academics; Skill Specialties: Anthropology; Math; Linguistics
- Skill: Crafts; Skill Specialties: Whittling, Sewing, Forgery
- Skill: Medicine; Skill Specialties: Field Medic, Surgery, Psychiatry
- Skill: Politics; Skill Specialties: Community Organizing, Elections, Bureaucracy
- Skill: Athletics; Skill Specialties: Parkour, Gymnastics, Skiing
- Skill: Drive; Skill Specialties: Motorcycles, Buses, High-Speed Chases
- Skill: Larceny; Skill Specialties: Sleight of Hand, Breaking & Entering, Lockpicking
- Skill: Survival; Skill Specialties: Navigation, Foraging, Finding Shelter
- Skill: Weaponry; Skill Specialties: Improvised Weaponry, Knives, Whips
- Skill: Empathy; Skill Specialties: Counseling, Sensing Motive, Detecting Lies
- Skill: Expression; Skill Specialties: Debate, Violin, Rap
- Skill: Streetwise; Skill Specialty: Black Market, Gangs, Word on the Street
- Skill: Subterfuge; Skill Specialties: Con Jobs, Telling Lies, Disguise