Physical Traits

Physical traits are strict measures of your characters capability or potential, and can usually be measured fairly directly. They are rated on a logarithmic scale, which means that a +2 on your game rating corresponds to double the capability. A -2 on your game rating means that you are half as powerful. If you have a Strength rating 2 higher than someone else, then you are twice as strong.

Besides the basic numbers, characters can have modifiers which reflect their individual personalities. In general, a modifier will mean a +1 or -1 to the rating for a particular circumstance. For example, a character might have +1 to his weight class for "Upper Body Strength" to reflect his top-heavy physique. At this point the modifiers are free-form.

Weight Class:
Description Kilograms Pounds Average Height
Pounds Description Weight
1 Fly-weight 20-28 44-62 4'4"
2 Feather-weight 28-40 62- 88 4'9"
3 Light-weight 40-57 88-125 5'2"
4 Middle-weight 57-80 125-175 5'8"
5 Heavy-weight 113-160 175-250 6'2"
6 Super-heavy-weight 160-225 250-350 7'4"

Fitness Class:
Description Fitness
Sickly  1 
Sedentary  2 
Active  3 
Athletic  4 
World-class  5 

Strength = Weight + Fitness

Toughness = Weight + Fitness / 2

Speed Class:
mtrs/sec Description Speed
3 Crippled  1 
4.5 Slow  2 
6 Limber  3 
9 Sprinter  4 
12 World-class  5 


A character's general competance is broken up into nine categories, known as talents. Your score in a talent indicates your general competance in that area. Individual specialties may vary, but the level of talent should represent the default or baseline for that field.

For many skills, your talent will serve as the default for that skill unless you specifically bought that skill up. Some skills, however, have no default.

An average talent is 4. Talents typically range from 2 to 6, see the section on skills below for details on the scale.


Level General Academic Language Medical
1 Novice Elementary Familiarity Amateur
3 Average High School Conversational Paramedic
5 Competant Bachelor's Fluent Intern
7 Veteran Master's Idiomatic Gen. Practitioner
9 Master Doctorate Mastery Specialist
Athletic Skills
  • Climbing (x1):
  • Dance (x1/2):
  • Driving (x1/2):
  • Riding (x0):
  • [Sport]
  • Swimming (x1):
  • Throwing (x1):
Combative Skills
  • Analyze Style (x1/2): This is the skill of evaluating your opponent both for general tendencies and for what move she might do next.
  • Archery (x1/2):
  • Combat Experience (x0): There is no substitute for actual experience in combat. This skill is critical for what you can do when wounded, your awareness in the face of deadly force, and practical tactics.
  • Marksmanship (x1): This is skill with any sort of modern gun which is fired by pointing at the target and pulling the trigger -- thus including crossbows as well.
  • Melee Combat (x1/2): This is skill in armed combat, using swords, clubs, spears, and the like. Particular weapons or combinations would be specialties.
  • Unarmed Combat (x1): Specialties would include particular styles like wrestling, boxing, or karate.
Craft Skills
  • [Craft]: Examples would be drawing, scrulpting, woodcarving, basket weaving, cooking, etc.
  • Mechanics (x1/2): This is general handling of mechanical machinery, the skill of fiddling with switches, bolts, locks, and so forth. Lockpicking would be a specialty.
  • Sleight of Hand (x0): This is skill in deftly and quickly manipulating small objects, but also in misdirection and distraction. Pickpocket would be a specialty.
  • Surgery (x0): This is the simple manual skill of operating on living things (or dead things). It includes practical knowledge of what organs look like and such, but in-depth medical knowledge is under Scientific skills. Low levels would include giving shots, dressing wounds, and so forth.
Environmental Skills
  • Hunting (x1/2): This is an outdoors skill of spotting animals or people at a distance -- and positioning oneself to not be seen at a distance. Approaching is handled by Stealth (below), and shooting is handled by Marksmanship (under Combative). Types of animals or environments would be specialties.
  • Photography (x1/2):
  • Searching (x1): This is the skill of sifting through a limited area and finding things. It applies pretty much equally to indoors and outdoors situations, although familiarity with the setting is certainly a factor.
  • Shadowing (x1/2): This is an urban skill, the skill of blending in with the crowd while also picking out a target from the crowd to follow.
  • Sneeking (x1/2): This is skill at moving without being seen or heard.
  • Tracking (x0): This is skill at noticing small traces left by people, whether indoors or outdoors.
Linguistic Skills
Obviously, the individual skills of this talent are specific foreign languages. The relationship between languages are complex, and for now will be handled on a case-by-case basis. There are no defaults for language unless a related one is known.

The levels are (based on FSI proficiency scale used by U.S. Dept. of State):
1: Can recognize the spoken/written language on encountering it. Can puzzle out basic meanings (perhaps after several repetitions when dealing with speech).
3: Has a basic vocabulary. Can read/write/speak slowly with many grammatical errors. Can understand simple conversations, but will require occasional repetition. Advanced vocabulary still not accessible.
5: Can speak/read/write/understand fluently. Speech is heavily accented and flow is bad. Writing tends to the stilted. Will occasionally make comical errors -- usually on subtler aspects of the language. (e.g. "Es graut dem Morgen" instead of "Es graut der Morgen" in German.)
7: Fully fluent. Speech is lightly accented. Vocabulary and grammar are solid, however. Writing indistinguishable from a native.
9: Native. Speech is not accented.

Musical Skills
  • Keyboard (x0):
  • Music Theory (x0):
  • [Play Instrument]
  • Singing (x1/2):
Scholarly Skills
  • [Culture]
  • [History]
  • Law (x1/2): This is familiarity with the common rituals and procedure of law.
  • Philosophy (x0):
  • Reading (x1): This is simply skill at reading in detail, speed as well as comprehension.
  • Research (x1): This is the skill of library use, finding information from written records, tracking down references, and so forth.
  • Writing (x1): This is skill in writing composition, forming coherent and expressive narrative.
Scientific Skills
  • Botany (x1/2):
  • Chemistry (x1/2):
  • Computing (x1): This is
  • Economics (x1/2):
  • Electronics (x1/2):
  • Experiment (x1/2): This is general knowledge of how to run a laboratory and conduct a scientific experiment.
  • General Medicine (x0): This is knowledge of specific ailments and treatment of them. First aid is a low level of this skill.
  • Geology (x1/2):
  • Mathematics (x1):
  • Engineering (x1/2): This is general knowledge about mechanical engines and how they work. Low skill would be a common auto mechanic; high skill would be engineer of a submarine, or designer for company.
  • Pharmacy (x0): Knowledge of medicinal drugs as well as the mechanisms by which drugs effect the body.
  • Physiology (x0): Knowledge of the human body and similar mammals, including the functions and operations of various organs and systems.
  • Psychology (x0): This is knowledge of modern theory of psychology, as opposed to
  • Microbiology (x1/2): This is general knowledge of how living things work on the level of cells, tissue, and nuclei.
  • Physics (x0):
  • Zoology (x1/2):
Social Skills
  • Acting (x1/2): This is the skill of pretending to be someone else and feigning emotions. It includes basic understanding of
  • Interview (x1/2): This is the basic skills of evaluating another person in one-on-one interaction -- reading body language, noticing attention, asking probing questions, etc. It is used in negotiation, interrogation, haggling, medical diagnosis, and many other situations.
  • Judge of Character (x1/2): This is the longer-term skill of deciding what a person is really like. It is in part psychology, but also in being able to bond with people, letting them open up or at least let down their guard.
  • Lying (x1/2): This is partly attitude, partly memory, and mostly practice. Skill in lying means preparation in working out a consistent story, as well as.
  • Performance (x1/2): This is the general-use skill of performing before an audience (regardless of content). The main part is staying calm and focussed when under the spotlight. Greater skill is gauging your audience, showmanship, and style.

John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Fri Jun 18 15:16:54 2004