Dec 21, 2012
The ability to perform tumbles, somersaults and other complex maneuvers. This skill teaches balance, flexibility and speed. Use Acrobatics and Dexterit for most Tasks. This skill is commonly known by circus performers, dancers, martial artists, gymnasts, and athletes. Also, Acrobatics can be used instead of the Dodge Skill to avoid attacks.
The ability to play a role and successfully counterfeit behaviors, emotions and other character traits. A talented actor can weep on demand, or convincingly display an array of emotions. This skill is useful to both legitimate artists and criminals and con men. Use Intelligence and Acting to give a good performance, and Perception and Acting to spot or judge someone else’s act.
The basic skills a character needs to grow and harvest crops and raise animals. Rquired success levels may be based on types of crops being grown, poor soil, etcetera. Note that Veterinary Medicine is considered a seperate skill when it comes to raising animals.
This is the ability to use make-up, hair dressing, and cosmetics to enhance a person’s appearance. Use Intelligence and Beautician for the Task; each Success Level adds a +1 to a person’s Attractiveness by hiding blemishes and enhancing a person’s good points. Modifiers to these Tasks include the materials available (a +2 in a fully stocked beauty salon, -2 or worse with improvised materials) and the subject’s basic Attractiveness level. Beautician Skills can also be used to help change a person’s appearance (Beautician and Intelligence). A skilled character can use hair dyes, contacts and make-up to change a person’s look greatly. This skill can be used to replace the Disguise Skill, or can add a +1 bonus to Disguise Tasks for each level of success in the Beautician and Intelligence Task. Using Beautician and Perception allows the character to see how extensively a person is made up, and may be used to identify a disguise (this Task is resisted by the disguiser’s own Intelligence and Beautician or Disguise Skills).
Brawling covers basic street fighting, karate-parlor “martial arts” training, and similar combat skills. In hand-to-hand combat, Dexterity and Brawling are used for kicks, punches, and similar maneuvers. Strength and Brawling are used for take-downs, wrestling and slamming people around.
This skill provides familiarity with the organization of, and procedures used by, bureaucratic institutions. With this skill, the character can find ways to improve an organization’s service and performance, or otherwise obtain their services or products more efficiently. Use Intelligence and Bureaucracy to devise ways to make a large group or organization more (or less) efficient; use Willpower and Bureaucracy to “cut through red tape.”
The Camerawork skill allows a character to use all sorts of film and video cameras, including professional grade TV and movie cameras. They know how to move to avoid Shakey-Cam, and know where to position themselves for optimum shots. They can also troubleshoot problems with cameras and operate remote cameras. Smooth photography while moving rapidly or irregularly uses Dexterity and Camerawork, troubleshooting requires Intelligence and Camerawork, and positioning requires Perception and Camerawork. Still photography falls undeer the Fine Art (Photography) skill.
The skill of breaking the rules and tricking an opponent. Mostly used in games of chance and other forms of gambling. Use Intelligence and Cheating to perform the trick, or Perception and Cheating to spot such a trick.
A character with the Climbing Skill knows how to best use any surface to get to the top. Climbing Tasks use Dexterity, Strength or Constitution, depending on the type of climb attempted.
This is the skill to penetrate computer systems through a modem, overcome protection and password programs, and steal information or inflict damage on the system. Most tasks use Intelligence and Computer Hacking, although spotting a specific type of defense or password system may use Perception and Computer Hacking instead.
The skill to write a set of commands in one of the many computer languages. Writing a program uses Intelligence and Computer Programming; Perception and Computer Programming is used to recognize elements of another program.
This is the basic skill with computers, including how to use a keyboard and mouse, basic commands, and so on. As computers become more “user-friendly,” Zombie Masters can assume that most Computer Tasks are Routine or Easy, except where they involve unfamiliar programs and operating systems.
The Craft Skill covers numerous types of skills such as those employed by carpenters, seamstresses, weavers, weaponsmiths, woodworkers, etc. When the Craft Skill is purchased, a particular Skill Type must be specified. Characters may further want to specialize. For example, Gunsmith is the Specialty of the Craft (Weaponsmith) Skill focusing on guns. Bowyer would likewise relate to bows. Intelligence and Craft is used to conceive and plan an item. Dexterity and Craft is tested to create the item, or repair a damaged item. Perception and Craft serves to appraise an item. The Fine Arts, Electronics, Engineering, Mechanic and other Skills may be used to supplement the Craft Skill. Note that devising and creating a particular item may be a time consuming and difficult task. Often, it is far easier to simply buy a mass produced item.
This skill is not necessary to gyrate to a catchy tune. Dancing represents training in a form of dance, and includes anything from ballet to tribal rituals to high accomplishment on the disco floor. The character must indicate the specific Type of Dancing he is familiar with. Other Types have a default level equal to the Dancing level -2. Dancing and Dexterity are used to actually dance; Dancing and Perception are used to recognize a type of dance and to judge the quality of another’s performance.
The ability to set and disarm explosives. Use Intelligence and Demolitions to set up an explosive charge, Perception and Demolitions to understand the setup of an unfamiliar bomb, and Intelligence and Demolitions (resisted by the bomber’s own Intelligence and Demolitions) to disarm an enemy bomb. Zombie Masters may restrict this skill to those with access to military or espionage training.
The ability to change one’s appearance using wigs, make-up and clothing. High-tech spies can also use rubber masks, implants and other gadgets to completely alter their face and even body (such high-tech aids may give bonuses of +2 to +6, at the Zombie Master’s discretion). Use Intelligence and Disguise to apply a disguise, and Perception and Disguise to spot somebody else’s disguise.
This is a basic combat skill, representing the ability to move out of the way of attacks. Dodges include sidestepping a blow, “hitting the dirt” to avoid gunfire, ducking behind cover, etc. As a skill, Dodge is learned by people with some practice in diving for cover. Dodge is used with Dexterity for most Tasks.
The skill to control any land vehicle of the specific Type. Each kind of vehicle (Car, Truck, Tracked Vehicle, and Motorcycle, among others) requires a separate Driving Skill Type. Most driving Tasks use Dexterity and Driving.
The skill to set up, use and detect electronic “bugs” — sophisticated microphones and even cameras hidden in a location to spy on or detect people. Use Intelligence and Electronic Surveillance to set up and use a “bug,” and Perception and Electronic Surveillance to detect one (resisted by the operator’s original Intelligence and Electronic Surveillance Task result). Zombie Masters may wish to restrict this skill to those with military or espionage backgrounds.
This skill allows a character to build and repair all manner of electronic devices and tools, and grants the character knowledge about electronic systems and the like. The difficulty of repairing an electronic device depends on how intricate the device is, and how damaged it is. Constructing an electronic item is also more difficult the more advanced and complex the device. Zombie Masters should apply a penalty or bonus depending on these factors. Finally, an electronic tool kit must be available for all but the most rudimentary repairs. A lab or workshop may also be required. All repair or construction attempts take time, ranging from a couple of hours to days. This too should be determined by the Zombie Master. Understanding an existing electronic device calls for a Perception and Electronics Task; repairing or constructing a device requires an Intelligence and Electronics Task. It should be noted that this skill and the Mechanic Skill complement one another, and are often used together.
This skill reflects the general knowledge of structural design, material strengths, and construction techniques in a variety of fields and applications. Examples of the Types of Engineering Skill include Architecture, Civil, Construction, Mechanical, Electrical, and Biological. In some games, the Zombie Master may just lump them all into one category, depending on how big a role such skills play in the course of a Story. Alternatively, separation between Engineering Skill Types (and even Specialties) may be important to the storyline. Planning or devising an object, structure or device within the character’s Engineering Type demands an Intelligence and Engineering Task.
This is the ability to escape from ropes, handcuffs and other restraints. Most of these Tasks use Dexterity and Escapism, with each attempt taking between 1 and 5 minutes, depending on the complexity of the bonds. A simple rope tie would have no modifier, but complex knots might have penalties of minus 1 to minus 5, police handcuffs involve a penalty of
4, and a straitjacket/strap/chain combo might have penalties of -5 to -8. Expert escape artists also use visualization techniques - they carefully think about their method of escape before attempting it. This is an Intelligence and Escapism Task that takes two minutes; each Success Level adds a +1 to an immediately subsequent Dexterity and Escapism Task.
Fine Arts (Type):
There are many Types of Fine Arts Skill, such as Drawing, Painting, Computer Graphics, etc. In some games, the Zombie Master may lump them all into one category, depending on how big a role such skills play in the course of a Story. Alternatively, separation between Fine Arts Skill Types (and even Specialties) may be important to the storyline. Rolls to conceptualize a work of art, or to produce it from memory, improvisation or imagination require Intelligence and Fine Arts. Rendering a concept that is recorded, such as using models or plans, requires Dexterity and Fine Arts. Appreciating another’s work uses Perception and Fine Arts. The Success Levels of a Fine Arts Task indicate how good the artistic expression is. Regardless of the final Task result, the Success Levels cannot exceed the skill level of the artist. For example, a character with Fine Arts (Drawing) 2 cannot accumulate more than 2 Success Levels on a drawing.
This skill allows a character to treat basic injuries, and use such techniques as CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver. A successful Intelligence and First Aid Task heals some damage to an injured person (see Medical Healing, p. 113). Typical Tasks include identifying the problem (use Perception and First Aid), performing First Aid (Intelligence and First Aid), and using CPR or applying the Heimlich Maneuver (Dexterity and First Aid).
This is the knowledge of most common games of chance, their rules and techniques, and the best strategies to win the games. A character needs both Gambling and Cheating to effectively break the rules.
This skill allows the character to use one type of firearm. The most common Types include Handgun (pistols and revolvers), Rifle, Shotgun, Submachine Gun, and Assault Rifle. If the skill is taken for one Type, the character can use other types of guns, but at a -2 penalty to all Tasks. Dexterity and Guns are used to fire the weapon. Aiming rolls use Perception and Guns; each Success Level adds +1 to the Guns Skill on the next shot fired at the aimed target.
The skill provides the character with the ability to deal for goods and services, or otherwise bring two or more parties to some common ground. It may be applied when buying, selling or bartering goods or services. Often used in a Resisted Task, each level of success modifies the price of the subject by 10%. It may also be used for less tangible exchanges, such a political dealmaking. In such circumstances, the Zombie Master should adjudicate the result given the goal and the levels of success. Haggling can also be used to determine whether the character is being misled or conned. Use Willpower and Haggling to get the best deal; use Perception and Haggling to spot a con.
Hand Weapon (Type):
Each basic type of weapon is a separate skill. Hand Weapon Skill Types include Axe, Club, Foil/Rapier, Knife, Spear, Staff and Sword. Pre-modern missile weapons like Bow and Crossbow are also Types. They must be learned separately. When using an unfamiliar weapon, use the most closely related Hand Weapon Skill at -2 to -4 (depending on how dissimilar the weapons are).
Each of the various Humanities disciplines (archeology, anthropology, economics, history, law, political science, sociology, theology, etc.) counts as a separate Humanities Skill Type. In some games, the Zombie Master may just lump them all into one category, depending on how big a role such skills play in the course of a Story. Alternatively, separation between Humanities Skill Types (and even Specialties) may be important to the storyline, and a variety of penalties may be applied when trying to use a specific Type outside its range. In any event, most Humanities Tasks use Intelligence or Perception and Humanities. Humanities Skill Types can include many Specialties. For example, Humanities (Law) includes a number of different subjects, any one of which may be a Specialty (i.e., corporate law, environmental law, criminal law, etc.). Other than giving a character the normal +2 Task bonus for Specialties, Zombie Masters may wish to penalize Tasks attempted outside the specialization. For example, a character with Humanities (Ancient History) gains a +2 bonus for Tasks involving the Spartan wars, but may incur a -1 penalty for a question concerning the Renaissance, or a -3 penalty for a question about World War I.
Teaching is a skill and an art. The subject matter is important but conveying that information in an interesting, stimulating and comprehensive manner is the heart of the Instruction Skill. The first step in using the Instruction Skill is to pick a subject matter to teach. This may be any skill known by the teacher, but it must be at least two levels higher than the student’s level. If the required skill level is possessed, the teacher and student must spend a certain period of time on lessons. Every week of game time that the two spend at least 10 hours studying the skill, the teacher can attempt an Intelligence and Instruction Task. The Success Levels of this Task are cumulative; for example, if the teacher and student spend three weeks working on the skill, the Success Levels of all three rolls are added together. When the teacher accumulates five Success Levels in the Task, the student gets 1 Experience Point toward improving that skill. For example, Rolando is an accomplished singer (level 5), and a decent teacher (level 3). Maria wants to learn to sing better; she has Singing 1. Rolando’s Singing Skill is more than two levels higher than Maria’s, so he may teach her. After they spend a good deal of time working together during one week, Rolando tests his Instruction Skill. He rolls a 6, adds 3 for the skill level, and 2 for his Intelligence for a total of 11, or 2 Success Levels. The next week, they study together again, and Rolando rolls particularly well — gaining three Success Levels. Maria gains 1 experience point dedicated to the Singing Skill.
The skill to make people afraid, Intimidation is used by bullies or others in most confrontational situations. A good Intimidation Task result may stop a fight before it starts by convincing the opponent that he doesn’t want to mess with the character. Use Willpower and Intimidation for “real” intimidation attempts, or Intelligence and Intimidation to bluff.
Every character is assumed to have level 5 in their native or primary language. Each additional language must be purchased as a separate Skill Type. The skill level in a language determines not only basic fluency, but the “thickness” of the character’s accent. Most of the time, the character need not pass a Task to see if he communicates; as long as the character knows the language, assume that he can talk in it without needing to roll. A Task roll would be necessary in situations involving highly technical or scholarly speech (which may use a lot of words the character doesn’t know) or when dealing with extreme regional accents or slang.
Lock Picking (Type):
This skill covers all the basics in breaking and entering. There are two Types: Mechanical and Electronic. Most Tasks use Lock Picking and Dexterity, modified by the difficulty of the lock. Lock Picking (Electronic) uses Perception and Intelligence for the most part, to spot and neutralize electronic locks and security systems.
Students of the occult arts often learn this skill, which covers the elements and techniques of Magic. Ceremonial Covenants like the Rosicrucians study Magic like a science, and are more likely to have this skill, although some among the Wicce also have this systematic knowledge. Magic Theory is used with either Intelligence or Perception to identify and recognize styles of Magic. Gifted characters with this skill can judge the strengths and weaknesses of any Magical matrix (such as that of an ongoing or maintained Invocation). This allows practitioners to best plan a way to counteract or dispel the Magic abilities of an enemy. Use Perception and Magic Theory for this purpose; every level of success adds a +1 bonus on any task involving resisting or counteracting a Magical effect.
Martial Arts (Special):
This is the skill of using an advanced system of hand-to-hand combat. Characters with Martial Arts can do more damage with their hands and feet. Kicks and punches performed with the Martial Arts Skill have a damage bonus equal to the character’s skill level. So, a character with Martial Arts level 3 does an additional 3 points of damage with a kick or punch. This bonus is added when the rest of the damage has been calculated, after any multipliers and dice rolls. See Martial Arts thread for abilities.
This skill allows a character to build and repair all manner of mechanical devices and tools, and grants him knowledge about mechanical systems and the like. The difficulty of repairing a mechanism depends on how intricate the device is, and how damaged it is. Zombie Masters should apply a penalty or bonus depending on these factors. Constructing a mechanical item is also more difficult the more advanced and complex the device. Again, modifiers should be imposed by the Zombie Master. Finally, a mechanical tool kit must be available for all but the most rudimentary repairs. A lab or workshop may also be required. All repair or construction attempts take time, ranging from a couple of hours to days. This too should be determined by the Zombie Master. Understanding an existing mechanical device calls for a Perception and Mechanic Task; repairing or constructing a mechanism requires an Intelligence and Mechanic Task. It should be noted that this skill and the Electronics Skill complement one another, and often are used together to make repairs to an item or to construct an item.
This skill covers medical knowledge, including basic surgery skills, diagnosis and general medicine. Most doctors also specialize in one type of medicine, such as cardiovascular, surgery, or neurosurgery. These are treated as Specialty Skills. Diagnosis Tasks use Perception and Medicine, general treatment calls for Intelligence and Medicine, and surgery uses Dexterity and Medicine.
Myth and Legend (Type):
This is the knowledge of t.he mythology and folklore of a specific culture or nation. This skill can be used to identify supernatural creatures, but the information gleaned from myth and legend may be completely wrong or at least very inaccurate. Each culture or nation is a separate Skill Type.
Notice represents the degree of alertness a person has about him. A character with this skill can use it with Perception to see what is happening around him, or with Intelligence to remember something he noticed some time ago. A character with Notice can use it with Perception to spot or hear another character using Stealth.
Occult Knowledge (Special):
This is the skill of true arcane knowledge. It covers most of the basic Metaphysical facts of whatever world serves as the background for the game, including a working knowledge of Essence and other specific supernatural features. Myth and Legends is a comparatively broader skill covering a variety of topics. Much of that information with be contradictory, false or misinterpreted. Occult Knowledge, on the other hand, is less inclusive (the character will not know as much), but that information, at least as relates to Essence and mystical powers, will be essentially true. The character may also know some information about a number of cults and supernatural creatures, although some of that information may be flawed or incomplete.
While intimidation uses the threat of violence to motivate someone, and Smooth Talk uses guile and deception to convince others, both skills apply to individuals. Use Persuade to convince groups of people (from one to one thousand) using either emotional arguments or cold logic. When trying to persuade the town of survivors to convert the high school gym into a greenhouse when they want an armory, this is the skill to use.
The skill of taking another person’s hard-earned money or things without him noticing it. Most rolls use Dexterity and Pick Pocket, resisted by the victim’s Perception and the highest of his Notice, Streetwise or Pick Pocket Skills (if any, or Perception alone — not doubled — otherwise).
The skill to control any aircraft or water vehicle of the specific type. Each type of vehicle (propeller plane, jet plane, sailboat, ocean liner) requires a separate Piloting Skill Type. Most Piloting Tasks use Dexterity and Piloting, or Intelligence and Piloting for very large vessels.
Play Instrument (Type):
The character is able to play a musical instrument of one type, chosen when the skill is taken. The character may choose more than one type of instrument to play, but each instrument is counted as a separate Skill Type. At the higher levels of the skill, the character is more proficient in tonal quality, rhythm, and improvisation. In order to play for pleasure, the character would use Dexterity and Play Instrument. If performing a complex piece of music, the attempt would use Intelligence and Play Instrument. If the character is performing a long piece of music, use Constitution and Play Instrument. In all circumstances the quality of the performance is reflected in the levels of success. No matter what the ultimate roll, no musician may enjoy more Success Levels than he has skill levels.
This is the ability to interrogate, spot lies, and otherwise extract the truth from people. This skill is quickly learned by police officers, private investigators, and investigative reporters. Most interrogations should be roleplayed. If a Task or Test is needed, how well the player roleplayed the interview should give him bonuses or penalties of +5 to -5, at the Zombie Master’s discretion. Tricking somebody into revealing something uses the questioner’s Intelligence and Questioning, resisted by a Simple Intelligence Test. Spotting a lie uses Perception and Questioning, also resisted by a Simple Intelligence Test. Breaking a victim’s will to resist uses Willpower and Questioning, resisted by a Simple Willpower Test. The use of torture and drugs may give bonuses of +1 to +6 to the questioner’s Task.
Eventually, items and equipment break down. It is a natural happening from use and time. Repair allows a character to make simple repairs to a number of different items – Television sets, refrigerators, ripped jeans; it is the skill used by repairmen. Typical subtypes for this skill could include Electronics, Textiles, Carpentry, Masonry, and so on. Electronics skill applies to all kinds of electronics, while Mechanic most often applies to large pieces of heavy machinery. Repair is appropriate for the TV Repairman, the furnace guy, plumbers, tailors, and so on. Talk with the ZM to discuss types of repair before putting points into it.
This skill allows a character to search out information or follow a series of clues and leads to a reasonable conclusion through deduction, source checking, going to libraries, searching on the Internet, and the like. Alternatively, this skill can be used by the character to do legwork — running down leads on a story, questioning contacts and sources of information (the latter would incur some penalties; this aspect would best be left to the Questioning Skill). In all cases, the use of this skill takes time. The amount of time is determined by the Zombie Master, based on the nature of the search being undertaken by the character. Most uses of this skill involve Intelligence and Research Tasks. In other cases, it is possible that Constitution and Research (in the case of searching through dusty old tomes for long periods of time or walking the length and breadth of a library for the better part of a day), or Perception and Research (in the case of researching obscure facts in voluminous materials, such as finding a certain name in a room full of documents) can be used.
The skill to ride horses, carts, chariots and other animals or animal-driven vehicles. Each type of animal or vehicle requires a separate Riding Skill Type.
The skill to perform rituals and ceremonies of a particular culture, religion or mystical group (each counts as a separate Skill Type). Rituals that require dancing or other complex physical activity use Dexterity and Rituals; most others use Intelligence and Rituals to remember all the appropriate steps or activities involved.
There are two Types of Running. The first one is Running (Marathon). This skill covers running for endurance and distance. A good marathoner can cover ten or more miles (15 or more kilometers) without stopping. An official marathon usually covers 25 miles (40 kilometers). The best runners can cover that distance in about two hours. A character with Running (Marathon) can use this skill and his Constitution Attribute to resist the effects of fatigue after a long period of extensive physical activity. Also, add 1 Endurance Point to the character’s pool for every level in Running (Marathon). Running (Dash) trains the character to increase speed for short distances. On a dead run, use Constitution and Running (Dash) to increase maximum running speed. Each Success Level acquired adds +1 to the character’s Speed Secondary Attribute.
The ability to find useful materials may become paramount to the survival of your Cast after the fall of civilization. The survival skill only applies to finding edible foods or constructing rudimentary shelters, while Scavenging deals with digging up those still working D-Batteries for your flashlight, or a bottle of ’67 cabernet. Scavenging allows a player to locate items of a general or specific nature in places they may not normally be located. Anyone can find bandages in a hospital, but a scavenger might find them in the glove compartment of an overturned car. Finding an item is a Scavenging and Perception Task, modified by the area being searched. Intelligence and Scavenging could be used to figure the best places to scavenge for a specific thing, or identify items that could be used in a pinch.
Each science (biology, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, physics, etc.) counts as a separate Science Skill Type. In some games, the Zombie Master may just lump them all into one category, depending on how big a role such skills would play in the course of a Story. Alternatively, separation between Science Skill Types (and even Specialties) may be important to the storyline, and a variety of penalties may be applied when trying to use a specific Type outside its range. See the description of the Humanities Skill for more information. Most Sciences Tasks use Intelligence or Perception.
The ability to make oneself sexually attractive to other people by saying the right things and putting on the right act. Intelligence is used, modified by any Charisma or Attractiveness bonuses or penalties the character might have. Other skills may give bonuses to Seduction attempts. For example, previous Tasks using Beautician and Smooth Talking add their Success Levels to the Seduction attempt.
While everybody can try to sing, this skill is necessary to do it right. This skill reflects the training of the character’s voice. Use Constitution and Singing for the quality of the song, Intelligence and Singing to remember every verse of a long or complex song, and Perception and Singing to recognize and measure the quality of someone else’s singing.
Sleight of Hand:
This is the ability to perform sleight of hand and legerdemain, and is known mainly by stage magicians. With this skill, a character can fool the audience into looking at one thing while she does something else. Most Sleight of Hand Tasks use Dexterity, and are resisted by a Perception Test (Simple or Difficult depending on the circumstances) or a Perception and Notice Task. To plan a complex magical trick (e.g., sawing a woman in half, diverse death traps) requires an Intelligence and Sleight of Hand Task, often supplemented by assorted Craft Skills to actually build the contraptions or gadgets needed.
This skill allows the character to lie convincingly or to confuse and deceive others. This skill is commonly known by con men, salesmen and politicians. Use Intelligence and Smooth Talking for most Tasks.
This skill covers all types of competitive sports, from football to ping pong. Each Sport must be learned as a separate Type. Depending on the Task, use Strength or Dexterity and Sport. For example, a football pass would use Dexterity and Sport (Football); a tackle would use Strength and Sport (Football). To come up with a good strategy or game plan, use Intelligence and Sport; to spot a rules violation, use Perception and Sport.
The ability to move quietly and to take advantage of cover and concealment. Most Task rolls use Dexterity and Stealth; Perception is used to find good hiding places.
This skill allows a character to sway or influence an audience, be it one individual or a group of people, from one emotion to the next by means of a tale. It can be used for the purpose of educating an individual or a group of people, as well as merely for entertainment. In some cultures, storytelling is the means by which knowledge and lore are passed down, and so the skill has uses for some primitive societies, but is also quite useful under certain circumstances when dealing with Myth and Legend and Occult Knowledge and the like. The character may tell a tale that is true or fictional, although the audience will generally not know the difference. The character must constantly be aware of how the listeners are reacting to the tale and thus may alter his pacing, volume, or even change the course of the story to elicit a better or greater response. Storytellers use Willpower and Storytelling Tasks. The Success Level dictates the effectiveness or entertainment value of the story. If the people listening to the story are familiar with the tale, they may resist the attempt of the storyteller character to influence them with a Difficult Willpower Test.
The general knowledge of the lore and rules of the streets. A character with this skill knows how to behave in a given situation, knows the names and most of the faces of the more notorious local members of the underworld, and can identify most illegal transactions and operations. Use Intelligence and Streetwise to recognize a local street name, gang color or criminal, and Perception and Streetwise to spot trouble or detect criminal activities nearby.
This is the ability to follow and keep people under observation. A character with Surveillance can attempt to keep sight of a target while following him through a crowded street, and remaining unobserved. By the same token, this skill allows a person to know if he is being followed or observed. Use Surveillance and Perception for either activity.
This is the skill of living off the land. Each kind of terrain requires a separate Skill Type. Attempts to use a Survival Skill in the wrong place or type of terrain are at a -3 penalty. Common Types include Forest, Mountain, Jungle, Desert and Arctic.
Swimming is the skill that allows a character to stay afloat and to move in the water without drowning. Floating is an Average difficulty Constitution and Swimming Task when fully clothed; it becomes Easy with little or no clothing. Each 2/1 EV of equipment or weight effectively reduces a character’s Swimming Skill level by one. If the Task is failed, the character sinks and drowns in a number of Turns equal to his Constitution. Shedding clothing or equipment (which requires one Turn) allows a character to attempt the Task anew. If the character succeeds, he stays afloat and may swim at a speed equal to his Swimming Skill in yards (meters) per Turn. Swimming is an exhausting activity. Floating with little clothing uses 1 Endurance Point per 10 minutes. Floating while fully clothed uses 1 Endurance Point per minute. Swimming unclothed takes 1 Endurance Point per minute at halfspeed and 5 Endurance Points per minute at full speed. Those who swim clothed, or who carry equipment when they swim, use double the Endurance cost and move at half speed. Towing another person while Swimming imposes a -1 modifier, doubles the Endurance cost, and halves the swimmer’s speed.
This skill has three basic types, but others may be added as desired. Thrown (Knife) includes all small-sized edged weapons. Thrown (Axe) covers any top-heavy object with a longish handle, such as maces, baseball bats and similar projectiles. Thrown (Sphere) provides expertise in targeting rocks, grenades or any such hand-sized object. The latter also defaults directly to Sport (Baseball), if that skill is possessed. All skill Tasks use Strength and Thrown.
This is the skill used to follow the trail of an animal or person, usually in wilderness terrain, but also in an urban setting if snow or dust are present in enough quantity to leave a trail. Most Tracking Tasks use Perception and Tracking; attempts to hide one’s tracks use Intelligence and Tracking.
Trance is often used by those that claim to be shamans and mystics. It enables the character to enter a meditative state that transcends physical limitations. Among other things, someone in a trance can withstand pain, hunger and thirst better than the average human being. A trance is also helpful when sensing the influence of the supernatural. To enter into a trance, use Willpower and Trance. If successful, the character becomes extremely focused on the task at hand, which gives him a -2 penalty on all non-related Perception Tests. On the other hand, the character is not affected by pain and shock penalties, and he gains a +2 bonus on all Tasks and Tests he is concentrating on. Acharacter in Trance also regains Essence more rapidly; characters gain double the normal Essence amount per hour of meditation.
This is the knowledge to detect, disarm and set traps, snares and the like. It is commonly known by Special Forces soldiers, guerrillas, hunters, trappers and others. Use Traps and Intelligence to devise a trap, Traps and Perception to detect a trap, and Traps and Dexterity to disarm a trap.
Unconventional Medicine (Type):
This skill covers all methods of healing not widely accepted by Western Science, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, etc., each of which is considered a different Skill Type. The effectiveness of each type of unconventional medicine is determined by the Zombie Master. If the skill is effective in treating disease and injury, use the same skills and effects as the conventional Medicine Skill.
Just like the Medicine Skill, but applies to animals. A Veterinarian can treat humans, but is at a -3 penalty to all Task rolls, and despite the results of rolls, cannot gain more than two Success Levels.
When trying to exceed Strength limits, Weight Lifting is very helpful. Use Strength and Weight Lifting instead of Strength times two, or, if the Strength Attribute is higher than the Weight Lifting Skill, add one-third of the Weight Lifting Skill level (rounded up) to the base number.
This skill allows the character to construct and write entertaining and/or meaningful written accounts and narratives. The character is able to write text in a convincing manner to suit whatever goal or presentation is required. Types of skills would include Academic (learned expositions of the arts, humanities or sciences), Advocacy (legal arguments, ad copy or promotional materials), Creative (such as novels, poems or plays), Journalistic (informative discussions of newsworthy topics), and Technical (precise descriptions using nomenclature specific to a certain technology). Using an Intelligence and Writing Task, the character is able to write documents, items, notes, or whatever the type of specialization implies. The quality of the writing depends on the Success Levels obtained. The Success Level of such a work cannot exceed the writer’s skill, however. Using a Perception and Writing Task, the character can critique writing of the style with which he is familiar.
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