1879: Skill Knacks Finalised

As of the time of writing this blog post, I’ve finalised the Skill Knacks chapter for the 1879 Players Companion and sent it off to layout. Let’s have a quick look at Skill Knacks with an example or two.

Skill knacks are specializations that expand or extend the character’s Skills. By widening the scope of what Skills normally allow characters to accomplish, knacks enhance the types of actions that can be performed, and create greater opportunity to make each character unique. This chapter provides guidelines for learning, creating, and using Skill knacks, including full descriptions for some of the many knacks available.

Learning a Skill knack takes considerable time and effort, more than raising a Skill Rank. While raising a Skill Rank is a straightforward increase in the character’s ability to use a Skill, learning a Skill knack means changing the way the entire Skill works by learning an alternative way to use it. To learn a Skill knack, a character must be rested and in good health (not suffering from any damage, wounds, or illnesses) for the entire duration of training or development. Only one Skill knack can be learned at a time.

Using a Skill knack is treated as a use of the Skill unless otherwise noted. This means that any conditions to use the Skill must be met. For example, if the Skill requires a Standard Action to use, so does using the knack. Additionally, Skill knacks may have their own conditions and prerequisites to be used; for example, knacks almost always have a higher Strain cost. These replace the conditions of the Skill where appropriate. In effect, using a Skill knack incurs the stricter costs and requirements of Skill and Skill knack. If the Skill knack has been used successfully, it has its own effect that usually replaces the Skill effect, though sometimes its effect is an addition to or a variation of the Skill effect. Some Skill knacks may change the requirements of a Skill by simply increasing its cost.

Back On Your Feet

Skill: Physician
Rank: 9
Strain: 4

The character can temporarily remove Wound penalties, disease modifiers, etc., up to their Physician Rank, using treatments that borrow against the patient’s reserves. Make a Physician Test against the target’s Physical Defense plus the largest penalty the target is currently suffering. Thus, if the target has a Physical Defense of 8, and an infected wound, with a resulting Wounds of 2, a DEX penalty of -2, and a disease Effect Step of 8, the Target Number for the Physician Test would be 16 (PD 8 plus disease Effect Step 8). On two or more successes, the character relieves all of the target’s penalties for their Physician Rank in hours. During that time, if the target takes a Wound, the effect ends. The target is automatically Knocked Down by the attack. All penalties held in abeyance return immediately. At the end of the duration, the target must make a Toughness Test against the Target Number from the Physician Test or collapse. Even if the target does not collapse, they must rest for a number of hours equal to the Physician Test Target Number before they may make any Recovery Tests.

Handy Blunt Object

Skill: Melee Weapons
Rank: 7
Strain: 1

The character wields an object not intended as a weapon in melee combat, with no penalty to the Attack Test (1879 Player’s Guide, p. 250). Make a Melee Weapons Test as normal. If successful, the Gamemaster determines the Damage Step of the improvised weapon, based on the item’s size and materials, to a maximum of Damage Step 7. Examples of suitable items include pens, pieces of wood, airship guide cables, uprooted cobblestones, loaves of stale bread, spanners, or even other people. The character must be able to carry the item (by weight) to wield it as a melee weapon.

Properly Introduced

Skill: First Impression
Rank: 9
Strain: 3

The character may introduce another character or GMC to the target, and adjust the target GMC’s Attitude toward this other person instead of themselves. The target must already have a Friendly or better Attitude toward the character performing the introduction.

True Up the Sights

Skill: Forge Firearm
Rank: 9
Strain: 4

The character improves the accuracy of a firearm instead of increasing its Damage Step or Rate of Fire. True Up the Sights has the same requirements and Target Number as increasing the Damage Step or Rate of Fire per the normal rules for Forge Firearm. On two successes, the firearm gains a +1 Step bonus to Attack Tests. Gaining this bonus is treated as increasing the Damage Step by 1 for the purpose of determining the number of increases in Damage Step or Rate of Fire allowed.

Want to see more? Watch for the Kickstarter for the art and printing of the 1879 Players Companion!

Tally Ho!