Skills

Skills represent the things your character can do. This game doesn’t make a distinction between innate attributes and learned skills; they’re all treated in exactly the same way. While a few are clearly one or the other, many more are a bit of both. All skill are rated on the eight-level trait scale.

  • Terrible: Somebody that lacks both aptitude and experience for the skill in question.
  • Poor: An average person with no training for a skill, or someone that’s significantly worse than average in an innate ability. Any skill that’s not listed on your character sheet can be assumed to be Poor.
  • Mediocre: The level of an average person after some practice, or a talented beginner
  • Average: The minimum level at which someone could earn a living from the skill.
  • Fair: The level of a typical professional.
  • Good: The level of an experienced professional.
  • Great: Stands out even amongst professionals.
  • Superb: The level of a widely recognised master or expert.

The following is a list of skills, with the sorts of things you might use them for within the game.

Administration

Covers any aspect of dealing with or running a large structured organisation, whether it be a guild, city government, large temple, or a legion barracks. You can use it for managing your own organisation, trying to get an appointment with an official, or carry out an investigation into possibly crooked finances. It also covers an understanding of the detailed workings of Kalyr law and legal procedure, pretty essential for an administrator that needs to resolve disputes. Finally it covers knowledge of the names and personalities of major political figures both within your own city, and throughout Kalyr.

Athletics

Athletics covers acrobatics, climbing, running and swimming, and perhaps most important of all, the ability to dodge in combat. You can use this skill for movement in combat, jump out of that third storey window without suffering injury, jump that yawning chasm without falling to your doom, swing on a chandeliers in the middle of a fight, climb a sheer cliff or wall, swim across a fast-flowing river or between the shore and a ship anchored in the bay. You can use this skills to avoiding missile fire; this doesn’t mean that you can literally dodge arrows or beams, more the ability to get out of the line of fire before before being shot.

Art

The ability to express oneself in an artistic medium such as music, performance, painting and sculpture. You can use this to create works or art or performances, appraise the work of another artist, sway a crowd with your art, or earn a living as an artist.

For each skill level above poor, you’re proficient in one medium, form or instrument. Examples are:

  • Painting – Kandar art is almost exclusively abstract in form, with portraiture almost unknown, but humans have their own styles of art.
  • Singing
  • Musical instrument – Kalyr’s musical instruments are not those of our own world, and players taking this skill are encouraged to make up their own instruments for their characters. Classes of instruments include stringed instruments, wind instrument, percussion, keyboard instruments and any other exotic instrument of the player’s devising.
  • Musical composition
  • Performance – For a musician it covers the ‘showmanship’ side of things; a good tavern performer can win over an audience even if his or her musical Ability isn’t up to much. But it’s just as important a skill for a city-lord, priest or rabble-rouser to sway a crowd.

Breaking and Entering

The ability to get inside buildings without the owner’s consent. Covers breaking holes in roofs, identifying weak spots, removing windows from their frames, or picking locks. It’s not enough on it’s own for situations where athletic feats or brute force is required, although it can be used to support skills like Strength or Athletics — it helps to know just
where you need to kick that door to break it down.

Charm

The ability to sway or influence individuals or small groups with by a combination of personality and physical attractiveness. You can certainly use this to flirt with members of the opposite sex, although the ability is broader than that.

Deceit

The ability to lie, whether it’s an attempt to fool people with clever words, even if you’re talking complete nonsense, or to maintain a deception over an extended period of time. You can also fake emotional reactions, or pretend to be someone or something you’re not. It includes coming up with convincing disguises, and being able to fake accents in non-native languages. It’s a very useful ability for many spies, double agents, or anyone trying to keep a dark secret.

Endurance

The ability to keep up a strenuous activity for a long period of time. It’s also used to resist diseases poisons, and some psionic abilities that effect the body.

Engineering

The skill of maintaining any kind of machinery. You can diagnose faults, carry out repairs, build copies of machines given the necessary plans and tools, and try to adapt machines for purposes other than those for which they were originally designed. Except for simple pre-industrial machines, this skill is restricted by your skill to use that machine (e.g. Vehicles for the drive mechanisms of a power-waggon, or Artillery for an artillery piece). You can remove this restriction by taking an “Advanced Technology” stunt. You also need to take a stunt to be able to design and build completely new machines.

Melee Combat

The Ability of using a weapon in hand-to-hand combat. Each combination of weapon and style is a separate skill; for instance, fighting with a sword and shield is not the same ability as fighting with just a sword. It’s possible for a character skilled in using one weapon to use a similar weapon, at a penalty to his or her ability. Typical penalties as follows (which are cumulative):

  • Different style (one handed versus two handed, with or without shield etc): -1
  • Edged weapon versus blunt instrument: -1
  • Balanced (swords or clubs) versus unbalanced (axes or maces): -1
  • Light weapon versus medium weapon, or medium vs. heavy: -1
  • Light weapon versus heavy weapon: -2

Merchant

Covers both the ability to bargain, haggle and negotiate, regardless of the what sort of money, goods or favours are involved, and assessing the value of something. It’s pretty essential for a merchant, although a customer can find it useful to avoid paying over the odds for something. While an artist or craftsman can appraise something within their own field, a merchant needs to evaluate a wide range of different goods.

Human Lore

The human population of Kalyr have a rich culture of their own, quite distinct from that of their kandar overlords. Much of it is very secretive, passed down by word of mouth. This skill covers that secret history and knowledge of the religious beliefs and practices of the various human cults and sects. You might use this ability to identify a cult, pass oneself off as a member of a cult, or recognise a would-be cultist is an imposter. Having this ability doesn’t necessarily mean you actually follow the cult’s beliefs.

Insight

The ability of reading someone through speech or body language in a social situation. You can tell if someone is lying or pretending to be someone or something they’re not, or to tell whether or not they’ve believed your lies. If you can engage the subject in conversation for a few minutes you can also perform an assessment or declaration to reveal one of their aspects.

Intimidation

Influencing someone by the threat of force. You must at least be able to imply that you’ve got some kind of force to back up the threat, even when you haven’t.

Kandar Education

Represents the cultural side of a typical Kandar education. It covers knowledge of the many centuries of kandar history, going right back to the wonders of ancient times, where known history shades into myth. It also covers the great classics of kandar literature, ignorance of which may well mark you out as an uncultured lout. It also it covers the religious teaching and rituals associated with worship of The Guardians. Finally, it covers the ability research things. The information you’ll be able to get is only as good as the library you’ve got access to, which will be rated on the same Terrible-Superb scale as is used for abilities. This ability also covers knowledge of the existence and quality of various libraries.

Kandar Social Graces

The ability to get along in the social minefield of kandar high society, mastering complex rules of etiquette without committing the sort of faux-pas that might get you challenged to a duel, or knowing the rules for that formal duel. It also covers knowledge of the places and personalities in high society for the city where the character lives or came from.

Languages

The ability to speak and read languages other than your own. See the Languages of Kalyr section for a list of languages.

  • Each level above poor gives you fluency in one additional language, enough to understand everyday subjects without needing a skill roll. You still speak with a noticeable accent.
  • For languages other than your native language, you still need to roll against your skill to understand highly idiomatic or technical speech.
  • You can roll against your skill to understand or be understood in a language you don’t know, but is in a language group containing a language you do.

Medicine

Kalyr’s medical technology is slightly above that of a typical pre-industrial society, although much of the more advanced treatments are beyond the reach of the majority of the population, who rely on more basic remedies. This skill covers everything from first aid and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases to knowledge of the effect, antidotes and treatment of poisons, the last of which may be of interest to characters other than doctors. The physiology of kandar, humans and zughru are sufficiently similar that the most treatments are pretty much the same.

Military

Covers the knowledge gained from fighting as part of a group rather than in single combat, be it a small unit or a much larger force. It covers things such as setting up ambushes, planning attacks and defending buildings or encampments, planning and executing plans for larger-scale battles and campaigns, understanding the capabilities of different weaponry on the battlefield, logisitics, and last but not least, leadership.

Missile Combat

The Ability of using a missile weapon in combat. Like Armed Melee Combat, each class of weapon is treated as a separate Ability, which covers the basic care and maintenance of the weapon as well actually using the weapon to shoot with. The following classes of weapons are common in Kalyr

  • Muscle-powered bows and crossbows
  • Flamelances, which project a gout of flame.
  • Hand-held beam weapons, such as the “Lightning wands” used by The Academy of Knowledge
  • Building or vehicle-mounted energy weapons.

Natural Science

Kalyr doesn’t really have a scientific world-view; whatever sciences originally produced Kalyr’s technology have largely been forgotten, and modern sciences such as physics, chemistry or biology don’t really exist any more. This Ability represents what bits of science remain. You can also use this skill to research scientific subjects.

Perception

The ability to notice things, such as someone trying to hide from you, or concealed objects in a room.

Profession

Covers the skills and expectations of any profession that’s not already covered by one or more other skills, be it farmer, brewer, stable-hand, cook, swordsmith, vyrn-maker, architect or whatever. A character might use such a skill to earn a living, make things, appraise the work of another craftsman or value their work. A professional skill might come in useful in adventuring situations – a farmer might recognise something suspicious is happening on a plantation, an architect might spot something unusual about a building, or a stable-hand would be skilled in dealing with domesticated animals.

Psionic Theory

An understanding of the what is known about the nature of psionic powers. You don’t actually need to have psionic powers yourself to learn this Ability, although it’s both easier and more useful of you do. Use it to know what psionic powers can and can’t do, and recognise the evidence and effects of use of a psionic ability.

Rank

Rank is your standing within any organisation, be it a noble clan, guild, temple, the legion or even a street gang or other criminal enterprise. It’s a combination of the power and reach of the organisation, and your position and standing within it. If you take this skill it should be paired with an aspect which names the organisation and defines the position you hold within it, whether it’s a formal rank or not. The skill represents your ability to draw upon the resources of that organisation, and can amplify or limit various social skills.

Riding

There are two common riding-beasts in Kalyr, the slow but dependable zarandar, and the fast but ill-tempered yakka, and a rider should specialise in one or the other. Poor is enough to get from A to B on a good road without falling off, but a higher skill will be needed if you’re in a hurry, or trying to fight while mounted.

Stealth

The ability to hide in available cover, either in an urban or rural environment, and to move quietly enough to be able to creep up to something or someone without been seen or heard.

Streetwise

The ability to get along in rough company without getting oneself into serious trouble. It includes getting a ‘feel’ for the rougher end of town in an unfamiliar city. It also covers knowledge of the rough end of town in any city in which the character grew up, works or currently lives. It lets you recognise ‘important people’, tells you which are the best inns and taverns, which part of the city to avoid at night, where that alleyway goes, etc.

Strength

This is ability to lift or carry heavy objects. Fair ability allows you to lift a man-sized object, each level above fair multiples this by 1.5, and each level below divides by 2/3. It doesn’t have any effect in combat; if you want to do a lot of damage when you thump someone, define a Stunt and/or take high levels in combat abilities.

Survival

The ability to live off the land, away from the so-called security of the kandar cities. Covers such things as finding water and shelter, avoiding dangerous wild animals, tracking, and knowing which plants are safe to eat, and which are poisonous.

Technical Devices

Covers knowledge of the technological devices made and used by the Academy of the Knowledge. Use this ability to operate any device, identify any common device, or figure out what an unknown device is supposed to do. You can’t use this ability to repair, modify or use a device for other than it’s intended purpose.

Thlan

Knowledge of the tactics of the popular board game of that name, which is said to represent a microcosm of the power struggles of Kalyr itself. Although the basic moves are simple, the tactics and strategies can be extremely complex, and can take a lifetime (or at least a seriously misspent youth) to master.

Unarmed Combat

The skills of fighting with hands, feet (or head-butts). A character taking this skill should specify a style, be it the complex unarmed martial arts practised by kandar warriors, or the rough-and-ready unarmed combat typically practised by humans, sacrificing finesse for brutal effectiveness.

Vehicles

The skill of driving or piloting anything with wheels, or which floats or flies. It covers not only physical manoeuvring, but knowledge of what the vehicle can and cannot do, and basic maintenance. You must specialise in a particular class of vehicle, and will be at a GM-determined penalty attempting to drive or pilot something you’re not familiar with — a cart is not exactly the same thing as an ocean-going sailing ship. The classes of vehicle are.

  • Animal-drawn wagons
  • Power-waggons
  • Small one-or-two man rowing boats
  • Large river boats, both those powered by engines supplied by the Academy of Knowledge, or those pulled by tentacled beasts known as glethnu.
  • Sea-going ships, both sailing ships and powered vessels.
  • Airships
  • Heavier-than-air aircraft.

You only need mediocre skill to drive a power-waggon along a decent road or make a rowing boat move in the desired direction. But a ship that takes to sea piloted by someone with an ability of less than Good is probably a shipwreck waiting to happen.

Willpower

A measure of mental toughness, used mainly to resist things, be it mundane influence abilities like Charm or Intimidation, psionic powers affecting the mind.

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