Academics:(Laws of the Night) You possess a level of education and general knowledge beyond rudimentary schooling. With Academics, you can express artistic criticism, debate the classics, consider philosophy and indulge in studies of culture. This broad Ability covers all sorts of humanities in learning. Academics allow you to recognize historical, art and cultural references. You can use Academics when working in such fields, when developing a critique or researching. Calling on the Academics Ability may require a Mental or Social Challenge to determine your exact level of competence. You may further direct your studies by choosing a specific field, such as Art, Criticism, Classical Studies, History, Journalism, Theology or anything else that could be studied with higher education. Directing your studies in Academics counts as a specialization, although there is no cost to do so.
Archery:(Laws of the Hunt) you have studied the difficult skill of using a bow or crossbow. You can care for weapons of this type and identify the quality of various bows and arrows. When firing a bow, you can choose to use your Mental Traits to attack instead of testing with Physical Traits. You may also use this Ability for retests when firing a bow. Also, wooden bolts and arrows are quite effective in staking vampires through the heart.
Athletics: (Laws of the Night) Whether due to a background in sports or just personal talent, you are skilled in all manner of athletic endeavors. You can throw a ball, sprint, climb, jump and swim. Your Athletics ability is used for retests on most forms of raw physical activity: acrobatics, swimming, jumping, throwing (use the throwing ability in lieu of this), climbing and running. You may choose to focus on something you do especially well.
Awareness: With Awareness, you can notice when things are not as they should be. This is useful in detecting evidence of Arcanoi or Spectres, seeing if other supernatural beings have been about, and sensing when something contrary to the laws of nature is about to happen. Awareness requires a Mental Challenge to see if you are able to detect the strange and out-of-the-ordinary.
Blindfighting: (Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide): You’ve trained to accommodate yourself to low-light conditions, or perhaps you just have naturally good night vision. Whatever the case, you can compensate for darkened conditions through the use of your other senses. Blindfighting allows you to mitigate the two-Trait penalty for taking actions in darkness; each level of Ability removes one penalty Trait. Additionally, you can expend a Trait of Blindfighting when in total darkness to avoid having to retest after a successful challenge. For each Trait of Blindfighting remaining, the Trait penalty for darkness is reduced by one. Blindfighting ability can be expended to negate the retest required by darkness or to force another character to make the test if neither of you can see. This does not prevent you from using another ability retest in the challenge.
Brawl: Brawl is the gentle are of hitting something and watching it fall down. It serves as a catchall term for any form of unarmed combat, from martial arts to two drunks blindly wrestling on a pool table. This Ability covers everything from haymakers to eye gouging to spinning side-kicks, pretty much any combat maneuver that doesn’t require a weapon. Brawls are generally less lethal than armed combat, but this Ability can be quite dangerous.
Bureaucracy: Bureaucracy, a.k.a. the System, is theoretically an organization for getting things done more efficiently. With the proper knowledge of how that System functions and how to utilize it to achieve your ends, you can get permission to do what you want and prevent others from getting theirs. Bureaucracy is also a measure of your organizational skills and knack for getting things done, and of your efficiency at manipulating the System in both the Underworld and the Skinlands. Bureaucracy often requires a Mental or Social Challenge, depending upon the type of roleplaying the character performs or what a Narrator deems fit. The challenge’s difficulty depends on such factors as security, accessibility of the information, and the cooperativeness of the target.
Computer: This is a general measurement of a wraith’s aptitude with computers and all things related to them. It takes into account the skills necessary both to program new software (or create new hardware) and the mental dexterity required to use existing equipment and programs. There’s more to this Ability than just hacking into mainframes. In a world where the operation of basic word processing software is still a mystery to many adults, even a modicum of knowledge of how to use a computer can be a very powerful thing. Wraiths with Computer Ability find the electronic superhighway an easy way to access the Skinlands. Maneuvering through systems, gathering (or deleting) data, printing out messages to the living and manipulating computers for their own purposes through the higher levels of Inhabit are ways in which this Ability is useful to the Restless. A Mental Challenge is required to accomplish these and other similar acts. The difficulty is a function of system security and accessibility, equipment, time and rarity of information as assigned by a Storyteller. Failure can lead to investigation by possibly hunters and supernatural agencies that also operate in the computer sphere.
Crafts: (Laws of the Night) You can build things. Depending on your area of expertise, you know how to manufacture items and make handy tools or decorations. You must choose a focus for Crafts, specifying your form of creation: Carpentry, Clockworks, Blacksmithing, Leatherworking and the like are all possibilities. You can fashion works of art, studying Painting, Drawing or similar physical media. Crafts also cover more technical skills done with labor, such as Mechanics and Electronics.
Demolitions: You are trained or experienced in the use of proper use of explosives, such as C-4, dynamite and possibly white phosphorous. When setting an explosive, you have a decent chance of arming the device without accidentally setting them off. You can also try to disarm explosives with a Static Mental Challenge; the difficulty equals the total Mental Traits of the individual who set the explosive. If you do not possess this Ability, you cannot use or disarm explosives at all. Similarly, Demolition does not help you to aim a thrown bomb or grenade, it simply allows you to build, arm, and disarm explosive devices. Note that the use of explosives in The Camarilla's Sanctioned games is strictly regulated. While in reality it is quite easy to acquire or create a myriad of explosive devices and substances, we must acknowledge that such things rarely aid in the telling of stories. Explosives are not to be used as tools to kill characters, but rather as story aids rarely allowed by the Storytellers, and carefully monitored even then.
Dodge: (Laws of the Night) when trouble rears its ugly head, you know how to get out of its way. Unhesitating reactions let you evade blows and shots, getting out of the way of injury. You can use Dodge against any attack that you’re aware of: diving for cover as someone fires a gun or twisting away from a sword, for instance. Dodge may be used as a retest when defending against an attack that you can see or sense coming. Dodge can be used to retest physical attacks on you as long as you are aware of the attack and you are not attempting to harm or otherwise affect the attacker. This includes unmatched attacks created by an opponent's use of Celerity or similar powers.
Drive: It is assumed that all modern characters have a base familiarity with Drive, allowing them to handle and automobile with reasonable ease in normal situations. Instead, Drive allows you to perform tricky maneuvers, drive at high speeds and engage in car chases. On the other hand, just because you are familiar with one type of land vehicle doesn’t mean that you can handle another; there’s a world of difference between a sub-compact and a troop carrier. Older wraiths can be considered to have base familiarity with wagons or horseback riding in the same way modern characters are familiar with cars. These actions often require a Physical or Mental Challenge. Factors influencing difficulty could include vehicle type, road (or Tempest) conditions and the sort of stunt desired. Furthermore, the Drive Ability can allow a character to move from one game scene to another quickly. A Storyteller can reduce and “out-of-game” travel time usually assigned for moving from scene to scene if the character has this Ability and access to a relic vehicle.
Empathy: (Laws of the Night) You are sensitive to the moods and emotions of people around you. When you listen to someone, you understand her feelings. You can identify with others and tell when people are lying or holding back while talking to you. With a Social Challenge and the expenditure of Empathy Ability, you can determine if the last thing that someone said was a lie (although Subterfuge can defend against this expenditure). Alternately, you can attempt to determine the subjects current Demeanor.
Enigmas: The Enigmas Ability concerns your ability at solving mysteries and puzzles. In essence, it is a measurement of your problem-solving skills and how well you combine the vital details into a coherent solution. Enigmas comes in handy when solving mazes, answering riddles and the like. This Ability is used with Mental Challenges in order to see if you figure out the problem before you.
Etiquette: (Laws of the Night) Even though knowing which fork to use isn’t as important to Kindred society, you do know the proper way to greet someone, when to rise and how to make introductions. You can hold a toast with the best of them, and you keep your cool in any social scenario, from high tea to a gang’s rally. The Etiquette Ability can be used with Social Tests to impress or blend in at parties. If you make a social faux pas, you may expend an Etiquette Ability immediately to negate the gaffe – your character knew better than to make the mistake.
Expression: (Laws of the Night) Words and feelings flow freely from you. When the muse strikes, you put pen to paper (or fingers to instrument) and pour out a torrent of emotion and stirring imagery. You can convey message and meaning in your art, form symphonies to poetry, and whatever you write is both clear and moving. When writing or composing, you can sink true Expression into the work. Works created with Expression x 3 or more have the potential to entrance Toreador, as per their clan weakness.
Firearms: This Ability covers both how well you can shoot and your skill at maintaining and repairing firearms. Artillery pieces, mortars, and so on are not covered by this Ability; nor are archaic weapons such as bows or slings. The most common use of this Ability is in combat, but a Storyteller can also allow you to attempt a Mental Challenge to perform other functions. You not only understand how to operate firearms, but you can also care for them, repair them and possibly make minor alterations. A character without this Ability may still use a firearm, but cannot benefit from any other Ability-based advantages like retests. Those with the Firearm Ability may also choose to use Mental Traits instead of Physical Traits during a challenge in which a firearm is involved. At Narrator discretion, Firearms can also be used when scarfing for relic ammunition and similar gun-related phenomena that have no Skinlands comparison.
Fortune-telling: (Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide)
Intimidation: (Laws of the Night) Intimidation represents any of a broad variety of techniques of terrifying people into compliance. This could be anything from physical size, to a particularly frightening grin, to knowing which emotional buttons to push. You can use Intimidation when trying to scare someone with a Social Challenge, or with certain Disciplines.
Investigation: Investigation allows you to call upon basic knowledge of criminology to locate evidence and perform forensic analysis. With sufficient expertise, you can conduct a proper criminal investigation, deduce modus operandi and reconstruct a crime scene. Particularly in conjunction with a few Arcanoi, this Ability can be invaluable to wraiths seeking to protect or rescue their Fetters. With a Mental Challenge, you can tell if a person is carrying a concealed weapon or the like. When dealing with plots, you may also request a Mental Challenge with a Storyteller to see if any clues have been overlooked, piece together clues, or uncover information through formal investigation. Hunters often employ this Ability to track down Wraithly disturbances.
Law: Law is the measure of how well you understand the legal system in which you are entangled. A knowledge of Law will allow you to manipulate the legal system to your ends, confounding your enemies and helping your friends. The difficulty of the Mental Challenge necessary to accomplish these tasks depends on factors like precedents, the severity of the crime, the interference of outside factors and the punishment called for.
Leadership: Leadership is more than barking orders. It measures how well you can get others to obey your decisions, whether they are issued as memos, orders, or polite requests. It also covers how willingly people accede to your wishes, as reluctant followers are worth far less than willing ones. You may use the Ability to cause others to perform reasonable tasks for you. These requests may not endanger the subject or violate the subject’s Nature or Demeanor. Leadership works with a Social Challenge.
Linguistics: More a record of how many languages you speak than how well you understand the theory of languages. Linguistics measures how many languages you are fluent in besides your native tongue. Linguistics also allows for identifying accents, reading lips, picking up slang, and a certain amount of linguistic mimicry. This Ability allows you and anyone who also knows the language to speak privately. Furthermore, you can translate written text in one of the languages you know. This may or may not require a Mental Challenge, depending upon the clarity of the text.
Lore: You have gained some inside knowledge about a particular subject, such as vampires, werewolves, wraiths or changelings. You know what is true and what is folklore concerning their strengths and weaknesses. You even have some knowledge of their society including any divisions within it. You must specify what creature types this Lore concerns when it is taken. Having it more than once allows knowledge of more than one type of creature, or more in-depth knowledge of a particular supernatural entity. Specific types of Lore include, but are not limited to, Vampire Lore, Wraith Lore, Faerie Lore, Spirit Lore and Infernal Lore. A character does not need to take a Lore Ability for knowledge that she could reasonably have due to personal capabilities. Thus, any vampire other than the rankest neonate does not need Vampire Lore in order to know that sunlight is dangerous and that blood is necessary for survival. Similarly, a werewolf who has already undergone a Rite of Passage knows the names for the various changing forms, auspices and tribes without Werewolf Lore. This is not an excuse to come up with reasons why your character should have Lore Abilities for free; it simply indicates that vampires, werewolves and the like have no need to study Lore that relates to their own species, unless they desire particularly esoteric knowledge. Mortals generally have to learn supernatural Lore the hard way. Each particular Lore is considered a separate Ability for the purposes of maximum ratings. The Storyteller may also award Lore to characters at their discretion for no cost in order to reflect things learned in play. This award is not to be more than one free level per month that the character has been in play. Lores at levels five and six require High Approval, while level seven requires Top Approval.
Medicine: This Ability details how well you know the workings of the mortal body and how to repair it in case of injury. Of course, that also implies knowledge of what is harmful to the human form as well. While Medicine might seem to be a useless Ability to the Restless Dead, there are multiple uses for it, both benign and malicious. Understanding of this field, combined with Deathsight, can help determine what steps need to be taken to protect a living Fetter, while an appreciation of physiology could combine with Outrage to produce some devastating results. Also, you can help (say, by giving knowledge to someone) a living creature to recover a single Health Level per night with rest and a Mental Challenge.
Meditation: In an existence in which the voice of your Shadow is a constant threat, Meditation, the ability to focus and center one’s thoughts, can be an essential skill. To meditate, one does not necessarily need to be in the lotus position. This is a very personal Ability, and one for which you develop your own technique. Meditation can be used to catch up on lost Slumber. A wraith makes a series of Simple Tests against a Narrator, with each win counting as one hour of effective Slumber. If you tie or lose, you are not able to gain any more hours of Slumber this way. If you do win, you may test again to see if you are able to gain more Slumber through Meditation. Each level of Meditation allows one “tie” to count as a win (i.e., two levels of Mediation means that you can tie twice and it will still count as a win).
Melee: Melee is the broad term for all sorts of combat that involves hand-to-hand weapons. The definition of a hand-to-hand weapon is a loose one, as it includes knives, swords, broken bottles, chains, saps and just about anything else that can be used to inflict damage on another Wraith. With the Melee Ability comes knowledge of proper care for your chosen weapon as well. A character without this Ability may not use any of the advantages of Abilities in armed combat, including retests.
Occult: There are many supernatural secrets in the World of Darkness, and with the Occult Ability, some of them are yours. Occult implies a general knowledge of things such as voudoun, curses and fortune telling, as well as information more specific to the supernatural beings that inhabit the world. Most uses of the Occult Ability involve a Mental Challenge. The difficulty of this challenge can be subject to many factors, such as obscurity, amount of existing data, and the character’s individual scope of understanding (wraiths know more about their own Arcanoi, etc.).
Performance: Performance covers the entire gamut of live artistic expression. Singing, acting, dancing, playing musical instruments, and similar skills are all covered under this rubric. In addition to actual performing ability, this Ability also measures how well you know the society surrounding your particular art form and how you fit in. Advanced levels of Performance usually mean some form of specialization. A Social Challenge determines the genius of your creativity or the power with which you convey it. A particularly sensitive type can even become entranced by the use of this skill. If using Keening, the wraith or other supernatural must first be defeated in a Social Challenge. Your specialty should be declared when the Ability is taken.
Politics: This Ability covers the theory and practice of politics. With points in the Trait, you can figure out who’s on top on the local system and how they got there. Politics covers both human and Restless political structures, and can be essential in dealing with both living and dead authorities. Most uses of the Politics Ability require entering into a Social Challenge, although if the Narrator deems it appropriate, a Mental Challenge might also be correct depending upon the situation.
Repair: Restoring anything mechanical, electronic, or solid state that is broken comes under the rubric of the Repair Ability. This Ability covers everything from advanced electronics to shoring up a sagging beam – assuming, of course, that you have the proper tools to do so. Among the Restless, this Ability allows you to find your way around systems that you Gremlinize, or understand where the best place might be to whack a device with Outrage. Using this Ability usually calls for a Mental Challenge, the difficulty of which depends on such factors as the item’s complexity, tools and parts available, extent of damage and the item that must be spent on the repairs.
Science: This Ability measures not only theoretical knowledge but also how well you can put it to practical use. It puts equal weight on knowing the difference between a boson and a quark and being able to whip up a Molotov cocktail from chemicals used for scrubbing bathrooms. Lower levels of Science indicate a general familiarity with modern science; higher ones usually involve some sort of field specialization. While the science of the living doesn’t always apply to the Underworld, knowing how things work in the Skinlands can help a wraith to manipulate them from across the Shroud. A Mental Challenge is necessary for all but the most trivial uses of this skill. The difficulty depends upon resources (equipment, data, etc.) available, complexity of the task, and time.
Scrounge: Scrounge allows the character to produce items through connections, wits, and ingenuity. Many individuals who lack the wealth to purchase the things they desire or need develop this Ability. Materials acquired with Scrounge aren’t always brand new, are rarely exactly right, and often require some time to acquire, but this Ability can sometimes work where high finance and outright theft fail. A Mental or Social Challenge is necessary to use Scrounge. Some factors that influence the difficulty of the challenge include rarity and value of the item, and local supply and demand of the relics being sought after.
Security: You have a degree of experience and knowledge of the variety of ways people defend and protect things. Not only can you counter existing security, such as locks, alarms, and guards, but you can also determine the best way to secure items and areas. Other uses include breaking and entering, infiltration, safecracking, and hot-wiring. Almost all applications of the Security Ability require a Mental Challenge with the difficulty determined by the complexity of the task, the thoroughness of the defenses, your equipment, and the length of time required to crack whatever you’re going after.
Soulforging: You know the secrets of forging souls into inanimate objects. This Ability is very powerful and requires a great deal of preparation and equipment before it can be brought into play. Soulforging requires the following: a chained Thrall, a forge, at least 10 points worth of Soulfire, an hour and a Narrator. Soulforging also requires Extended Physical and Mental Challenges to turn another wraith into the desire inanimate object.
Stealth: (Laws of the Night) By blending into cover, blurring your lines and moving carefully and quietly, you can evade notice or sneak past people. You know how best to take advantage of surrounding cover and how to use light and shadow. Opportunities for unnoticed surrounding cover and how to use light and shadow. Opportunities for unnoticed movement are not lost on you, as you understand the uses of timing and diversion.
Streetwise: With this Ability you have a feel for the street. You know how to uncover it’s secrets, how to survive out there and how to utilize the network of personalities it houses. You can get information on events on the street, deal with Renegade gangs and the homeless and survive (if somewhat squalidly). Some uses of Streetwise require a Social Challenge that is influenced by such things as composition of the local street community and the current environment of the street.
Subterfuge: Subterfuge is an art of deception and intrigue that relies on a social backdrop to work. When participating in a social setting or conversation with a subject, you can attempt to draw information out of him through trickery and careful probing. Information, such as one’s name, nationality, Negative Traits, friends, and enemies can be revealed by a successful use of Subterfuge. The first requirement for using this Ability properly is that you get the target to engage in a conversation on a topic related to the information you’re seeking. If you can accomplish this, then you may state your true question and initiate a Social Challenge. If you win, your target must forfeit the information. Repeated uses of Subterfuge require repeatedly drawing your target into appropriate discussions. Furthermore, Subterfuge may not reveal more than one Negative Trait per session, and it may be used to defend from others with Subterfuge. Conversely, the Subterfuge Ability may also be used to conceal information or lie without detection. This may not be used to counter the effects of Arcanoi such as Mnemosynis.
Throwing: (Laws of the Hunt) You’ve spent a lot of time as either a hard-core survivalist with a throwing ax, a wannabe ninja with shurikens, or you just spent far too much free time playing baseball. You have the techniques of throwing down pat, and you can hit your target with ease almost every time. While most people don’t even know how to hold a throwing knife, you’re a virtuoso with any sort of thrown weapon, from a spear to a rock. You can use Mental Traits instead of Physical Traits when throwing a weapon, and you may use this Ability to retest with thrown objects.
Torture: (Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide) You’re practiced in the methods of inflicting pain. With some tools and some time, you can extract information and cooperation from a properly restrained subject, all without doing permanent harm (should you so desire). You can make a Social Challenge against your victim’s Physical Traits in order to garner valuable information or secrets, given enough time. You may choose whether to actually inflict damage with your ministrations; characters without this Ability who engage in torture always injure the victim during the course of the questioning, due to lack of finesse. Use of the Torture Ability generally takes about half an hour to elicit the answers to any one question in ay detail (or to make the attempt), though individuals with a high degree of Willpower may resist longer – spending a Willpower Trait allows the victim to automatically win one of the Torture Challenges.