Abilities

Rating

0    The character has no training or significant experience in this Ability.
•    The character has been trained in the fundamentals of the Ability, or is experienced enough to be familiar with using it.
••    The character has trained in the Ability to a professional level, or has experience equivalent to a professional.
•••    The character’s training in the Ability surpasses the competence expected even of professionals.
••••    The character’s mastery of the Ability sets her above even experts in her field.
•••••    The character is a legendary master of the Ability.

Archery
This Ability is important in combat. Archery is the discipline of using ranged weapons.

Athletics
This Ability is important in combat. Athletics is the discipline of physical fitness and acrobatic maneuverability. It is used in performing feats of strength, such as lifting up a fallen cart or bending the metal bars of a prison cage. It is also used for movement both in and out of combat—racing towards a distant enemy, jumping over a gaping chasm, climbing a brick wall, and swimming against a powerful tide are all uses of Athletics.

Awareness
This Ability is important in combat. Awareness is the practiced discipline of alertness and wariness of one’s surroundings. It is used for rolls to notice or pick up on sensory information, but is also important in combat, adding to the Join Battle roll that determines a character’s starting Initiative and allowing her to notice hidden enemies.

Brawl
This Ability is important in combat. Brawl is used by unarmed combatants who fight based on instinct and a natural talent for violence, rather than any particular discipline or style. It’s used for punches, kicks, head-butts, shoulder thrusts, grappling, and all similar methods of using one’s own body as a weapon. Brawl also conveys an aptitude for brawling aids such as brass knuckles and improvised weaponry such as chairs and broken bottles. In addition to covering attacks, Brawl can also be used to calculate a character’s Parry rating in combat, although parrying a weapon capable of inflicting lethal damage with one’s bare hands requires a stunt.

Bureaucracy
Bureaucracy represents a character’s acumen in organizational, mercantile, and legal endeavors. Bureaucracy is used to assess and evaluate the resources—both wealth and manpower—available to one’s self or one’s rivals, as well as to understand the legal codes of a society or the bureaucratic structure of an organization.

Craft
This Ability is necessary to create artifacts. Craft is used to create or repair objects through skilled labor, whether forging a sword, cutting the gem for a merchant prince’s brooch, or planning and overseeing the construction of a temple. The Exalted and other supernatural beings are capable of using this Ability to create artifacts, treasures of legendary quality that possess powerful magic of their own. Special rules: When a character first buys this Ability, she must declare an area of expertise to which her crafting skill applies. Potential areas of expertise include weapon forging, armoring, architecture, tailoring, woodwork, carpentry, cooking, and anything else a player might come up with, covering similarly broad (but not all-encompassing) concepts. Additional areas of expertise must be purchased as independent Abilities—thus, a character might have Craft (Weapon Forging) 4, and Craft (Gemcutting) 2. Of note are Craft (Artifacts) and Craft (Geomancy); these two craft skills in specific are needed to craft artifacts and design and raise manses, respectively. For mundane crafts projects, Storytellers are encouraged to be generous in interpreting logical edge cases for uses of Craft. If a character needs to repair a horseshoe, but only has Craft (Armoring), it’s reasonable to declare that the character’s Craft rating encompasses basic metal fabrication and to allow her to use her Craft rating anyway, perhaps at +1 difficulty.

Dodge
This Ability is important in combat. Dodge is the skill of evading one’s enemies, deftly maneuvering out of the way of attacks or managing to avoid the dangers of fighting on hazardous terrain. In combat, a character’s Dodge rating contributes to her Evasion, but is also used to escape from close-quarter conflicts with enemies or to take cover from the attacks of far-off foes.

Integrity
This Ability is important in social influence. Integrity is the Ability to remain resolute in one’s beliefs, principles, and decisions when they are challenged, an active discipline of self-assurance and refuting opposing arguments. It contributes to a character’s Resolve, which is used to resist the persuasion of socially skilled characters.

Investigation
Investigation is used to uncover hidden or obscured details through close surveillance or examination.

Larceny
Larceny covers a range of talents that fall under the general penumbra of criminal activity. Pickpocketing, lock picking, and sleight of hand are all uses of Larceny that rely on physical deftness, but it also applies to more intellectual tasks such as creating an effective disguise, hiding evidence at the scene of a crime, or navigating a society’s criminal underworld.

Linguistics
This Ability is important in social influence. Linguistics is the Ability used to compose works of writing—literary epics, poetic verse, propaganda pamphlets, or even a simple conversational letter. It can be used to influence the thoughts and feelings of characters who read the work using social actions. A character must have at least one dot of Linguistics to be able to read.

Lore
This Ability is necessary to create artifacts. Lore represents a character’s understanding of the world, covering academic disciplines of history, mathematics, geography, literature, science, philosophy, and similar scholarly pursuits. It can be used both to recall useful pieces of academic knowledge, as well as to perform scholarly research in a library or archive. It is also important in the forging of artifacts and the raising of manses. Players must note the subject of their character’s education when selecting Lore, as this impacts the scope of what the Ability may cover for them (see p. 237 for more details on using Lore)— Lore 5 alone makes the character a world-class savant, but doesn’t mean she knows everything. Lore areas of expertise can be expanded with specialties and roleplaying.

Martial Arts
This Ability is important in combat. Martial Arts covers formal study of martial systems, such as the styles detailed in Chapter Seven. In addition to providing mastery of unarmed techniques, Martial Arts also facilitates the use of certain exotic weapons, such as the staff, the rope dart, sais, and hook swords. Like Brawl, it can be used to calculate a character’s Parry Defense. Special rules: Martial Arts is a special Ability, which a character must possess the Martial Artist Merit (pgs. 163 – 164) to purchase. Martial Arts cannot be taken as a Caste or Favored Ability by itself. Instead, if Brawl is a Caste or Favored Ability, then so is Martial Arts. If Brawl is a Caste Ability, then Martial Arts can be taken as a character’s Supernal Ability, if desired—but if Brawl is a character’s Supernal Ability, this benefit does not extend to Martial Arts. Like Craft, when a character first buys this Ability, she must declare a martial arts style which her Martial Arts dots represent mastery of. Chapter Seven contains a number of example martial arts styles characters might choose from. Additional styles must be purchased as independent Abilities—thus, a character might have Martial Arts (Snake style) 5, and Martial Arts (Tiger style) 3.

Medicine
Medicine is used to diagnose and treat wounds, sickness, poisoning, and other ailments.

Melee
This Ability is important in combat. Melee is the Ability of hand-to-hand weaponry, covering swords, knives, hammers, axes, lances, and any other weapon used in close quarters. It is used both to attack with these weapons and to calculate a character’s Parry rating when she blocks enemy attacks.

Occult
This Ability is necessary to create artifacts or to use sorcery. Occult represents an instinctive facility for dealing with Creation’s mystical and otherworldly elements. This includes understanding of the nature, powers, and ways of gods, ghosts, and demons, but also a sense of those things beyond the ken of Heaven and the gods. Occult is vital to the exorcist and the shaman, whose arts cannot be taught to those lacking proper sensitivity, and also to the sorcerer, whose senses pierce the veils of the universe.

Performance
This Ability is important in social influence. Performance is the Ability of influencing others through creative or artistic displays, covering both traditional forms of artistic expression such as music, dance, and poetry, as well as rhetorical speaking through prepared speeches or oratory. It can be used to influence the thoughts and feelings of other characters through social actions.

Presence
This Ability is important in social influence. Presence is the Ability to effectively lead, intimidate, or persuade through force of personality. It can be used to influence the thoughts and feelings of other characters through social actions.

Resistance
This Ability is important in combat. Resistance is the learned Ability of coping with pain, disease, fatigue, and other forms of physical weakness. In combat, it is useful for fighting through the deleterious effects of poisons used by dishonorable foes, or weathering the perils of fighting over hazardous terrain.

Ride
This Ability is important in combat. Ride is used to ride on a horse, ox, or more exotic mount, as well as to maneuver in vehicles such as chariots or carts that are led by horses or beasts of burden. In combat, the Ride skill is used for moving across the battlefield while mounted.

Sail
Sail is used both for maneuvering a vessel and for plotting a course using sea charts and navigational instruments. While the vast majority of vehicles in the Second Age are ocean-faring ships, the Sail Ability can also be used to pilot more exotic vessels, such as the hot-air balloon skyships used by the Haslanti League or many of the ancient, wondrous vehicles lost with the First Age.

Socialize
This Ability is important in social influence. Socialize is a character’s understanding of the social context in which she acts, encompassing both knowledge of decorum and etiquette as well as how to use them to one’s advantage in persuasion or manipulation. Socialize is also used both to read the emotional tells or body language of other characters to discern their inner thoughts, and to conceal such tells on one’s self, contributing to a character’s Guile rating.

Stealth
This Ability is important in combat.
In combat, it can be used to catch foes unawares with sneak attacks or to hide from threatening enemies. Outside of combat, it can be used for covert surveillance, silently infiltrating a guarded building, or blending into a crowd after committing a crime.

Survival
Survival covers the basic rudiments of outdoor survival, such as finding shelter, finding fresh water, and gathering food, as well as tracking, navigation, and handling animals.

Thrown
This Ability is important in combat. Thrown is the Ability used for weapons designed to be thrown at an enemy, throwing knives, shuriken, javelins, chakrams, and nets are all used with this Ability.

War
This Ability is important in combat. It is used both to direct the long-term progress of a war, planning battles to gain the upper hand over enemy forces, as well as to command the soldiers or warriors that serve a character directly in battle.

Abilities

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