Skills and Fortes represent specialized training that your character has received, which allow them to perform better in certain fields than those who haven’t. Skills and Fortes both function identically to each other—their only difference is in how quickly they advance.
Whenever performing a Test, you may ask the ST if a certain Skill or Forte is relevant (if they don’t tell you when they ask for the Test). If it is, you may add the Skill or Forte’s Rank as an additional number of Successes when determining your Final Result for that Test. If you have a Specialization that is also relevant, you may add an additional 4 Successes to your Final Result. Only one Specialization may be purchased per Rank in a Skill or Forte. Therefore, if a character has Rank 1 in a Skill or Forte and already has one Specialization, they must increase its Rank before they can purchase another Specialization.
Skills are made up of one word (combat, armor, etc) and various Specializations. You buy a rank in a Skill at the cost of 1xp. Every rank after that costs the character’s current rank x 2 in xp. You can buy a Specialization at the cost of 2x your current rank in a Skill.
Fortes work much like Skills (including having their own Specializations), but can be purchased at a noticeably reduced cost. Though purchasing a Specialization is still priced the same (2x current Rank in XP), actual Ranks in the Forte are equal in cost to the new Rank in XP (going from Rank 5 to 6 would only cost 6 XP). This is because Fortes are much more limited than Skills in their application, and are only useful in a very narrow range of situations.
Characters may find at some point, that multiple skills are potentially relevant to a given situation (such as a warrior who has been using swords for years, who attempts to forge the perfect sword—it is possible that her experience will give her valuable insight to the process). Synergy allows for multiple useful skills to be combined into one Test. In such a situation, still use the Ranks from your most relevant Skill or Forte, but your Ranks in the other, potentially relevant Skill or Forte becomes a number of dice that you add to your Pool before rolling. In cases where more than two Skills or Fortes are relevant, work with your ST to determine which two are the most relevant, and use those two. In the case of having ranks in a relevant Skill or Forte and Specialization, you may add an additional 4 dice to the Pool before rolling.
In situations where multiple characters want to work together to perform the same action, the rules for Collaboration come into play. In order to Collaborate, the group must determine which character is the Primary, which makes all other participating characters Secondaries. The Primary is the only character who actually makes the Test, but for every Secondary, they add 2 dice to their Pool before rolling. If any Secondary has 4 or more Ranks in the Skill or Forte that the Primary is using, they contribute an additional 2 dice to the Pool. If any Secondary has 4 or more Ranks in the relevant Skill or Forte and has the Test’s most relevant Specialization, they contribute another additional 2 dice to the Pool.
The following section is a list of example Skills and Fortes, each with their available Specializations and descriptions thereof. STs are encouraged to look carefully over this list to determine what Skills and Fortes are best for their game. Don’t be afraid to create your own Skills or Fortes, especially if you don’t see something below that you want! Each category has helpful guidelines for creating your own.
Skills are broad, sweeping, and call upon a wide range of experience and training. Skills should be something that takes lots of time and devotion to learn, and years upon years of focused practice to master. Skills should have five Specializations each, and if you find yourself struggling to come up with a full five, you may consider making it a Forte instead. Please use the examples below to inspire you.
ARMOR: The use of mail and shields, usually in combat, to protect oneself. This Skill also includes using armor offensively, and performing intense athletics while armored.
Athletics – Performing intense athletics while armored. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Mobility or Stealth).
Heavy – Using Heavy armor (see The Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Light – Using Light armor (see The Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Medium – Using Medium armor (see The Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Offense – Using armor offensively in combat. This Specialization allows you to substitute your Armor Skill for the Weaponry Skill when making an attack.
AWARENESS: The use of sensory perception, memory, and understanding to establish and maintain a strong awareness of your surroundings. This Skill also includes searching for something, and tracking people or animals.
Deduction – Using available information to reach a logical conclusion. You may make a Test using this Specialization (with the ST’s permission) to figure something out that your character may understand, even if you do not.
Find – Searching for something specific that is not immediately visible (either hidden, camouflaged, or otherwise difficult to notice.)
Memory – Memorizing and recalling specific information. You may make a Test using this Specialization (with the ST’s permission) to recall a piece of information that your character may remember, even if you do not.
Notice – Becoming aware of something quickly and completely. This Specialization is not simply limited to vision, but encompasses all senses.
Track – Following a creature or character’s trail. This Specialization is not limited to wilderness tracking, and can be performed in any environment (for example, urban tracking would be done more by asking questions and using vantage points than by following footprints).
COMBAT MAGIC: The use of magic in violent situations.
Defense – Using magic to protect yourself or others.
Distraction – Using magic to influence enemies into thinking something that is not true.
Empowerment – Using magic to enhance your physical ability and make yourself a deadlier combatant. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Armor or Weaponry).
Offense – Using magic to attack your enemies. Treat Offense attacks made with this Skill identically to those made with Weaponry.
Siege – Using magic to attack enemy fortifications, vessels, or formations. Treat Siege attacks made with this Skill identically to those made with Warfare.
COMMUNICATE: The use of lingual and non-lingual cues to communicate with other characters. Tests with this Skill are always performed with a
4 penalty to the character’s Final Result. This penalty can be offset through the Language Forte (see below).-with the ST’s approval.
Coercion – Using verbiage and body language to convince another character to do something they do not want to do. Intimidation, bribery, deception, and manipulation are all covered under this Specialization.
Guile – Using misleading statements and half-truths to convince another character of something that is not true.
Negotiation – Using offers and demands to convince another character to reach an agreement they may be resistant towards. Arbitration and diplomatic discussion are both covered under this Specialization.
Oration – Delivering motivating, empowering, enlightening, or otherwise moving speeches to multiple characters at the same time. Most performances would also fall under this Specialization (ST’s discretion).
Written – Using skill with words to write effectively. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with other Communicate Specializations).
MEDICINE: The use of anatomical knowledge and applied science to aid the sick, injured, or infirm. See the Adventuring chapter for more information on how to use this Skill.
Animal Care – The application of medical knowledge in a veterinary environment.
First Aid – The use of medicine as a first-responder to treat non-critical injuries. This Specialization will be most relevant when treating Wounds of Severity 5 or lower.
Herbology – The use of herbs and other plants to create ointments, medicine, poisons, and antidotes.
Recovery – The application of long-term medical care to assist in recovery from severe injury or sickness.
Surgery – The use of medical knowledge to repair critical injuries or life-threatening illnesses. This Specialization will be most relevant when treating Wounds of Severity 6 or higher.
METTLE: The ability to withstand and endure external punishment, both physical and mental.
Grit – Using superior endurance and pain tolerance to simply “absorb” Wounds, rather than dodge or block them. This Specialization can also allow a character to fight through the pain of a Wound, reducing its penalty by half (see the Adventuring chapter for more information).
Fortitude – Fighting off poisons and illnesses without the aid of medicine.
Patience – Waiting for extended periods of time without becoming restless or disruptive. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Medicine, Stealth, or Science).
Resolve – Not allowing substantial emotional punishment to shake your motivation or morale.
Stamina – Performing intense athletics for extended periods of time without becoming tired or running out of energy.
MOBILITY: The use of one’s body to perform feats of balance, speed, and agility.
Acrobatics – Jumping, balancing, swinging, and tumbling through the environment.
Airborne – Using aerodynamics, magic, or wind resistance to fly, fall, or glide effectively.
Climbing – Using your limb strength to scale surfaces that cannot be walked up.
Ground – Running and sprinting across the ground. Attempts to dodge incoming attacks are usually made through this Specialization.
Water – Diving, swimming, and floating. Holding your breath is usually done through this Specialization.
SCIENCE: The use of advanced research and education to learn more about your surroundings.
Animal – Knowledge pertaining to any living organisms within the animal kingdom.
Historical – Knowledge pertaining to regional or cultural history.
Mathematical – Knowledge pertaining to numbers and the study thereof, including physics, engineering, and astronomy.
Mineral – Knowledge pertaining to rocks and the earth, and the study of both, including metallurgy, geology, and geography.
Vegetable – Knowledge pertaining to any living organisms within the plant or fungus kingdoms.
STEALTH: The use of shadow and misdirection to remain undetected.
Ambush – Using shadow and surprise to quickly and quietly kill someone, often by using small weapons to rupture critical organs. When making an attack against a character or creature that hasn’t noticed you, you may use this Skill and Specialization instead of Weaponry.
Hide – Using shadow, camouflage, and/or distraction to remain in a single location unnoticed, likely for setting up an ambush. This Specialization is only useful while remaining still. This Specialization does not explicitly require you to be hiding in shadow, it simply means you are difficult to detect (for example, in a crowded room).
Legerdemain – Using misdirection and skill to perform small visual tricks. Picking pockets and “lifting” items also fall under this Specialization.
Lockpicking – Using stealth and skill to open locked doors. This Specialization can also be used to disable any other sufficiently complex mechanism (ST’s discretion).
Sneak – Using shadow, camouflage, quickness, and/or misdirection to pass through an area undetected. This Specialization is only useful while on the move. This Specialization does not explicitly require you to be skulking through shadow, it simply means you are difficult to detect (for example, in a crowded room).
UTILITY MAGIC: The use of magic to aid you or others in non-violent situations. Unlike other Skills or Fortes, Utility Magic can be used to participate in Collaboration, even when the Primary is using a different Skill or Forte
Charm – Using magic to make others more suggestible, and more willing to cooperate with and accommodate your desires. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Communicate).
Movement – Using magic to enhance your mobility, or grant you methods of movement you might not otherwise have (such as fins, or wings). This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Mobility).
Subterfuge – Using magic to minimize your presence, and make you harder to detect. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Stealth).
Toughness – Using magic to amplify your ability to withstand punishment, from natural and supernatural sources alike. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Mettle).
Understanding – Using magic to expand your comprehension, and complete thoughts with superhuman acuity and speed. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Awareness).
WARFARE: The use of training and experience to outperform enemy forces.
Artillery – Using extremely large weapons (such as catapults or trebuchets) to engage enemy defensive fortifications, vessels, or formations.
Battlefield Preparation – Altering the battlefield to your advantage before a large-scale engagement.
Materiel – Managing equipment and supply flow to ensure combatants are adequately equipped.
Strategy – Managing large-scale engagements, with no fewer than 100 total combatants.
Tactics – Managing small-scale engagements, with no more than 100 total combatants.
WEAPONRY: The use of weapons or your own body to cause physical harm to enemies.
Hand Skirmish – Using small, one-handed weapons (See the Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Huge Skirmish – Using very large, specialized weapons (See the Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Large Skirmish – Using large, two-handed weapons (See the Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Ranged – Using projectile or projectile-based weapons (See the Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Unarmed – Using your own body (See the Builder chapter for more information) in combat.
Fortes are narrow, guided, and can usually be taught in a minimal amount of time (compared to Skills), with true masters needing only a few years of focused practice to hone their craft. Fortes should have two Specializations each, and if you find yourself struggling to narrow it down to two, you may consider making it a Skill instead. Please use the examples below to inspire you.
COMMERCE: The use of business knowledge and buying/selling tactics to deliver goods to those who need them, and make a profit while doing so.
Bookkeeping – Using mathematics and ledgers to track money, and help maximize profits by minimizing expenses. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (such as with Communicate).
Economics – Using applied knowledge of supply & demand and resource flow to determine the most profitable good or service in a given area.
CRAFT: The use of material knowledge and training to create, alter, or fix physical objects.
Manufacture – Refining raw materials into something useful.
Repair – Fixing or altering an already existing item.
LANGUAGE: The ability to communicate in a given language. This Forte has a maximum of 4 ranks, but can be taken multiple times (once for each language). However, unlike other Skills or Fortes, Language exists to reduce the penalty to a character’s Final Result when making any Communicate Test (targeting characters who use this Language), based on the difference between 4 and the character’s Rank in this Forte (So if a character with 1 Rank in this Forte attempts a Social-based Test, they must subtract 3 Successes from their Final Result, because 4 – 1 = 3). Upon gaining their first Rank in Language, a character automatically gains the Speech Specialization. Characters may purchase the Literacy Specialization at any time for 1 Experience (though this must be done for each Language).
RESTORATIVE MAGIC: The use of magic to heal the wounded and cure the sick.
Mend – Using magic to close wounds and mend broken bones. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Medicine).
Vitae – Using magic to counteract ill processes within your or another’s body, like poison, disease, or even old age. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Medicine).
RIDING: The use of strong, fast beasts to grant you increased mobility in a wide variety of situations.
Combat – Using trained mounts to ride into dangerous situations. This Specialization will rarely be the most relevant, and will more likely be used to gain good Synergy bonuses (Such as with Weaponry or Armor).
Dressage – Using trained mounts to ride skillfully (such as through small openings, or across narrow walkways. This Specialization also covers pushing a mount to run quickly, or over great distances.
WILDERNESS: The use of knowledge and applied experience to survive in the wilderness for extended periods of time.
Forage – Using knowledge and training to gather edible food. This encompasses not only berries, roots, and the like, but also includes small game, such as rabbit and fowl.
Navigate – Using sunlight, topography, landmarks, and weather conditions to determine heading and navigate the wilds without a map or compass. This Specialization is useful not only in untamed forests or mountains, but also while at sea.