Abilities

Abilities represent a Character's special training, honed skills, and learned knowledge.

When a Character attempts an action that requires a roll, the number of dice is calculated by adding their rating in an Ability to a relevant Attribute.

Rating

A Character's rank in a given Ability is rated on a scale of one to five. Possessing even a single point in an Ability indicates some competence in the field. The numerical values of an Ability's rating represent the following:

0: No special training

1: A passing familiarity or minimal formal training

2: Hobbiest or novice

3: Baseline professional

4: Leading professional

5: World-class

Primary Abilities

Primary Abilities are the default set of Abilities listed on the Character Sheet. When a Character attempts an action that requires a roll, the GM must call for a roll that utilizes one of these Abilities.

The Character Creation page lists all the Primary Abilities, and you can see them all there if you prefer (hover over the Ability to see a description), but we have also listed them here, along with a brief summary of how they function.

  • Academics: Knowledge of math, humanities, history, linguistics, social sciences, etc... Most things you could learn in a college course which aren't covered by another Primary Ability fall here.
  • Alertness: A trained vigilance of your surroundings. This is rolled frequently, as it determines your ability to notice things happening around you.
  • Animals: Knowledge of animals, including identification, training, zoology, and handling.
  • Athletics: Used for swimming, climbing, running, dodging, jumping, throwing, sports, etc... Any intense physical activity other than unarmed fighting or fighting with melee weapons is covered by this Ability.
  • Brawl: Used for unarmed combat, grappling, and some very small weapons. Can also be rolled to dodge when engaging in close-quarters combat.
  • Computer: Knowledge of technology, including general use, programming, and hacking.
  • Crafts: Used for building, repairing, sculpting, tools, etc...
  • Drive: Used for driving cars, motorcycles, electric scooters, etc... Does not cover advanced piloting and navigation of vehicles such as submarines or airplanes.
  • Firearms: Used for guns and crossbows, or any other weapons where you aim and pull a trigger. Covers both the firing of and general knowledge of these weapons.
  • Influence: Covers both persuasion, intimidation, lying, and trickery. Generally only used for interactions with NPCs, but sometimes will come up between two players as a way to avoid metagaming.
  • Investigation: Covers forensics, tracking, research, etc.
  • Legerdemain: Used for sleight-of-hand, lock-picking, pickpocketing, and other actions demanding manual dexterity.
  • Medicine: First aid, medical care, anatomy, surgery, etc.
  • Melee: Close range handheld weapons, from knives to clubs to battleaxes.
  • Occult: Mythology, legends, religion, rituals, pop-culture magic, etc... This Ability represents knowledge of these topics and does not grant any actual supernatural abilities.
  • Performance: Acting, singing, dancing, working a crowd, etc.
  • Science: Physics, math, chemistry, biology, etc.
  • Stealth: Sneaking around, hiding things, misdirection.
  • Survival: Skills related to obtaining food, water, and shelter, as well as avoiding danger in natural environments.

Not all conceivable actions fit easily into one of the Primary Abilities. It is up to the GM's discretion what roll to use in such cases. If there is something you absolutely want your Contractor to be good at that isn't well-represented by a Primary Ability, consider coming up with a Secondary Ability.

Secondary Abilities

Secondary Abilities are Player-defined Abilities that are more specific than Primary Abilities. To balance their reduced scope, they offer a -1 Difficulty reduction any time they are rolled in place of a Primary Ability. You can invent as many as you'd like.

Secondary Abilities must be more specific than Primary Abilities. "Being Badass" is not a valid Secondary Ability. A Secondary Ability may not grant any supernatural power.

Mechanics of Secondary Abilities

Secondary Abilities may be rolled in place of Primary Abilities in two circumstances.

  1. The Secondary Ability's specialization applies. In such cases, the roll is made at -1 Difficulty. For Example, you have "Baseball" as a Secondary Ability, and you are trying to throw a small object, slide, bat, or sprint. Another example: you have the "Hacking" Secondary Ability and are trying to access someone else's account online, find a security flaw, or disable a security camera.
  2. The Secondary Ability's specialization doesn't directly apply, but it implies skill in the relevant action. In such cases, if the Player decides to utilize the Secondary Ability, the roll is made at +1 Difficulty. For Example, you have the "Baseball" Secondary Ability and are jumping or catching someone who is falling from a window. With the "Hacking" Secondary Ability, perhaps you are trying to convince someone to give you their password or doing some general programming.

In these cases, the roll's dice pool is determined using the rating of the Secondary Ability instead of the Primary Ability.

It is up to GM's discretion whether or not, and how, a Secondary Ability applies to a given action.

Example Secondary Abilities

These are a few examples of Secondary Abilities. There are infinite possibilities.

Skating, Enigmas, Con Artistry, Revolvers, Knives, Hacking, Video Games, Cooking, Art, Swimming, Gymnastics, Physics, Demonology, Basket-weaving, Construction, Electrical Engineering, Being Pitiable, Jumping, Climbing, Farming, Trapping, Tracking, Taming, Digital Surveillance, Breaking-and-entering, Lockpicking, Ju-Jitsu, Piloting Aircraft.

Abilities on the Website

The Create Character Page page has full support for primary and secondary Abilities. The Character sheet calculates Experience costs and tracks all Experience expenditures and stat histories, including for Abilities. Abilities show additional descriptive text when tapped on or hovered over with the cursor.