Abilities measure your character's capability to undertake specific kinds of tasks. Whereas Attributes measure raw potential in broad fields, each Ability is a much more focused area of knowledge or expertise. Abilities let your character use his potential most effectively and compensate for underlying deficiencies in some cases. A weak but experienced knife fighter can make mincemeat out of a big burly opponent who has no clue how to fight well, for instance, and a priest who lacks personal charisma but understands the principles of rhetoric can defeat a charming but unskilled opponent in debate.
Specialty and ExpertiseEdit
Most Abilities (with exceptions note in their respective descriptions) start out with a common body of lore, with many variations and separate branches available depending on a character's culture and circumstances. Specialties measure this property in game mechanics. When your character has a relevant specialty, you roll one more die than usual on tasks that involve it. You purchase specialties with bonus points or experience points; the cost for each appears in the relevant chart. You may have up to three specialties in any given ability, but no more than one can apply to a single roll. So if your character who has Melee with both the "swords" and the "multiple opponents" specialties, is fighting off three brigands with his broadsword, you still only roll one extra die.
Expertise is a special form of specialty that applies to the Crafts Skill and a few other catch-all Abilities. It is a field of endeavor the character has studied, such as woodworking, foraging or boat-building. Expertise works just like a specialty, granting an extra die when it applies, except that it can be combined with a specialty (for a maximum bonus of two dice), and that a character can have only as many fields of expertise as he has dots in the governing Ability. Most catch-all Abilities grant one free field of expertise and require that you purchase others with experience or bonus points. They also usually limit the ways in which you can use the Ability if your expertise does not apply. Few architects can hope to forge iron successfully without knowing how, for example. See the individual Ability descriptions for full details.
More than HumanEdit
Vampires who are close enough in lineage to Caine, their Father in Darkness, can develop their prowess to heights that are literally unobtainable by any mortal man or woman. The scale of one to five dots measures the range of human potential. Characters who master Abilities at the sixth dot or above all produce the same sort of effect on others who see them as demonstrating this mastery: the awe that accompanies the fifth dot, only magnified. All but the most careless or distracted observers can see that someone with six dots in an Ability does something that no one else can, with an unparalleled grace and confidence. It may seem angelic or demonic, but it never looks mundane unless the character makes a deliberate effort to conceal the full extent of his competence. For roleplaying purposes, use the descriptions provided for the fifth dot in each Ability and amplify them.
Abilities are Broken into 3 CategoriesEdit
Acting without an AbilityEdit
- Missing Talent: No additional penalty.
- Missing Skill: +1 difficulty.
- Missing Knowledge: No roll possible (automatic failure).