A Dark Moon Rising
Dark Moon Rising uses a list of 24 skills, with a cap of Superb (+5). Thus, a starting character may take 1 Superb skill, 2 Great skills, 3 Good skills, 4 Fair skills, and 5 Average skills, for a total of 15 trained skills.
- Alertness: A measure of a character’s passive awareness—one’s ability to stay on one’s toes and react to sudden changes in the environment. In short, it is the perception skill to notice things that one is not looking for. Common uses of Alertness are avoiding surprise (typically opposed by Stealth), determining combat initiative, and casually noticing elements in the environment (usually when the GM calls for a roll). For active perception, see Investigation
- Athletics: Represents a character’s general level of physical fitness and agility. Athletics covers running, jumping, climbing, and other broadly physical activities. It does not include activities that focus on raw strength or endurance – for that see Physique. Athletics also comes into play for tasks such as dodging and mitigating falling damage.
- Brawling: One’s ability to engage in unarmed combat, both for attack and defense. Despite the name, this is not necessarily undisciplined fisticuffs – with the proper stunts and aspects, Brawling might represent formal training in martial arts of some kind as well. Brawling may also substitute for Melee with improvised weapons if appropriate.
- Burglary: Covers a character’s aptitude for stealing things and getting into places that are off-limits. Typical applications include lockpicking and pickpocketing, but Burglary may also substitute for Investigation when “casing” a target to gather information about the optimal method of infiltration. Aspects revealed by casing can be invoked to aid in Stealth, and sometimes checks against Contacts or Deceit.
- Contacts: Represents who a character knows and how good one is at finding things out from them. The Contacts skill doesn’t work in a vacuum—you need to be able to get out and talk to people for it to be useful; when that isn’t possible, neither is the skill. Contacts are also limited by familiarity. Finding yourself in an entirely unfamiliar environment means drastically increased difficulties on your Contacts rolls. Contacts may be used to gather information either actively (going out to the people you know and asking them questions about something) or passively (the GM may call for a roll on Contacts to see if someone you know brings a bit of news to you), to judge whether there is someone on-hand that you know and can bring into play during a scene, or even to spread information (or rumors) of your own.
- Deceit: A measure of a character’s ability to lie and misdirect, whether through word or deed. Deceit may be used not only to tell falsehoods, but also to create disguises, conceal objects, and as a key skill in social conflicts. In this last mode, Deceit may be used to inflict mental consequences, to defend against others trying to discover information from you, or to modify other social skill checks.
- Driving: Covers knowledge of vehicles. This includes, broadly, wagons, chariots, boats, and ships. However, knowledge of a particular kind of vehicle will require that a character have aspects that reasonably support it, otherwise the skill is effectively at Mediocre. Driving may also be used for navigation – if a character is familiar with a route or given area, Driving may be used to find the fastest course to take between points, even if one is on foot. Driving may also substitute for Riding when it comes to basic care for any animals related to a known vehicle.
- Empathy: The ability to understand the motives and feelings of others. This can be used to guess at what another is thinking in a social situation or conflict, to defend against social attacks from skills like Deceit, and to heal mild mental consequences in others – but special aspects or stunts are required for moderate or severe ones. Empathy is also the skill used to determine initiative in social conflicts.
- Faith: Represents a character’s strength of conviction in a higher power. Most often this is their chosen deity, though sometimes it can be towards a nationality, race, or other organization – sometimes even a close-knit group of friends or family. Faith’s greatest application is in divine magic, but it can also come into play for certain characters and situations when testing a character’s mental fortitude, much like Will.
- Investigation: The ability to look for things, discover new information, and uncover hidden elements. Where Alertness covers passive awareness and the ability to notice surface details, Investigation is the skill of actively searching things out, whether it is a hidden door, a missing item, a concealed enemy, or even elements that are not actively hidden, but merely too subtle for a casual examination to detect. However, Investigation is not limited to sight – it may also be used for tasks such as eavesdropping and surveillance.
- Lore: Put simply, knowledge of the arcane. It’s primary purpose is as the key skill in Magery, but it can also cover the more academic knowledge of the supernatural, such as magical theory, the study of supernatural creatures, and so forth. Lore is used not only in the casting of quick spells, but in the crafting and implementation of rituals, researching arcane subjects, and even perception checks that rely on supernatural ability.
- Melee: Broadly, this is proficiency with weapons, though excluding those used at range such as bows and crossbows – for that see Shooting. This includes anything from a tiny dagger up to a poleaxe – any weapon held in the hands that does not fire a projectile – though stunts and aspects may influence one’s skill with a particular implement. Melee may also be used with improvised weapons, such as a broken bottle or a fallen branch, though such implements are available to the Brawling skill as well.
- Performance: Represents your overall artistic ability, covering the gamut of endeavors that involve putting creative works before an audience, whether that’s painting, writing, dance, music, or even acting. This can include more academic knowledge such as the rules of form or composition, as well as the practical performance itself. Performance may be used to modify social skills in certain situations, as well as adding aspects to scenes through the performance itself. Of course, different characters will be skilled at different kinds of art – this is dictated by aspects and stunts. Attempting to perform an art without background in the right field is treated as Mediocre.
- Physique: A measure of a character’s physical power and endurance. Physique is used when engaging in tests of strength such as lifting, moving, or breaking heavy objects. It may also be used to assist combat skills in certain situations, where greater strength might be of aid. Physique also represents endurance – the ability to keep at a physical task despite fatigue or injury. As such, it can be rolled as a defense against shock, disease, poison, or certain kinds of magical assault. High Physique also adds to a character’s physical stress track and consequence slots.
- Provoke: The techniques surrounding inducing negative emotions in another, including fear, anger, shame, etc. Provoke requires an aspect to invoke, whether it is one of your own, your target’s, or a situation aspect. Provoke may be used to intimidate an opponent into backing down, frightening them into submission, or goading them to attack, whether the conflict is physical or social. Of course, doing so successfully requires that you be able to at least appear capable of backing up your implied threat. Provoke may even be used to deal direct mental stress if the circumstances are right.
- Rapport: The flipside of Provoke, Rapport is all about inducing positive emotions in others, making good impressions, building trust, convincing them to a new point of view through persuasion rather than threats, etc. Rapport may be used to charm one’s way past a social obstacle, inspire others to follow one’s lead, calming volatile situations, or talk someone into sharing a secret. Rapport may also be used to defend against efforts to damage one’s reputation or sour a mood, but may not defend against direct mental attacks – that requires Will.
- Resources: An abstraction of a character’s general level of material wealth. This most often takes the form of money, but can also represent access to credit, property, vassals, trade investments, and so forth. Most often, this skill is simply a representation of a character’s ability to buy things. See Buying Things for more detail. However, Resources may also be used in social situations, from subtle things such as influencing others’ reaction to a social skill (if you are known to be wealthy and influential, that can sometimes sway someone’s opinion), to performing more direct actions such as bribery. Resources also serves as a passive representation of a character’s general lifestyle, indicating what sort of home, workspace, tools, and other items one already owns.
- Riding: The ability to handle and care for a mount. Most often, this is a horse, but occasionally it may be another creature. This is distinct from Driving, which covers things such as wagons and chariots, even though they typically feature a beast of burden pulling them. Riding is, of course, a key skill during mounted chases or combat, but may also be used for navigation. When traveling in a known location, whether mounted or on foot, Riding may be used to determine the fastest route to take between points. If a character is not familiar with an area, the skill is treated as Mediocre, however.
- Scholarship: Broadly covers most forms of academic knowledge. Depending on a character’s aspects, this may mean they have expertise in history, law, the arts, or any number of other fields of study. This is distinct from Lore, which is limited to the fields of arcane study, and Smithing, which handles applied knowledge of artificial physical objects. Though largely limited to mundane areas of study, scholarship can be used to cover purely academic familiarity with certain kinds of supernatural knowledge, such as magical creatures, or an entirely theoretical understanding of the principles of sorcery, but at a -1 penalty. Scholarship may be used to research the answer to a question or uncover more about a subject, to determine if a character knows another language, to enable a player to declare facts as minor details of the setting if the GM has not already determined them, or as a vehicle for the GM to reveal background information to the players. With the proper justification it may also be used to administer first aid and heal minor consequences, though stunts are necessary to manage more without magical abilities.
- Shooting: Proficiency with weapons that fire projectiles. This most often means bows and crossbows, but may also include thrown knives, darts, blowguns, or even improvised items such as rocks. It is also the skill used for most kinds of siege weapon, though this requires an aspect to justify familiarity.
- Smithing: The understanding of how tools and machines, both simple and complex, function and are put together. Smithing can be used both for making and breaking such objects, as well as repair, assuming the right materials are available. This includes all kinds of weapon. Typically, a character specializes their knowledge in some way, such as a material type, or a class of tool – this is dictated by aspects. Attempting to work with tools outside one’s familiarity may require a penalty, or be outright impossible.
- Stealth: The ability to go undetected. Stealth covers both being silent and hidden from sight, and is directly opposed by both Alertness and Investigation. Stealth may be used for infiltration, hiding, following another without detection, and creating an ambush.
- Survival: Encompasses the various skills associated with getting along in the wilderness, including hunting, trapping, tracking, building shelters and fires, etc. This also covers things such as animal handling, scavenging basic materials or food, and certain kinds of camouflage. Survival may be used to substitute for Riding, but only for basic use – to perform well in a mounted chase or combat, Riding is necessary.
- Will: Indicates a character’s ability to stay focused under stress, and represents one’s general level of mental fortitude, much as Physique handles physical fortitude. Will comes into play when a character is attempting to overcome fear, resist mental assaults, or concentrate on a task through distraction. A high Will adds to one’s mental stress tracks and consequence slots. Will is also the key skill in Manashaping magic.