Ch 05 Abilities

No Ability (except Native Language) can start at a rating higher than four. No Ability can ever rise higher than level six.

Players may change an Ability’s specialization when they raise said Ability’s level.

Bows: The Bows Ability covers the use of crossbows.

Firearms (New): Shooting and caring for firearms of all kinds. Specialties: any one of the six categories of firearms (see Ch 11 Obstacles)


All weapons fall into broad categories reflected by the regular martial Abilities. But each individual weapon also corresponds to its own Ability. If a character has a score of one or greater in such an Ability, she is said to have “mastered” that weapon.

A mastery Ability affects die-rolling in two ways. First, an attack or defense roll with the weapon in question cannot roll lower than the user’s level of the corresponding mastery Ability, except in the case of a botch. For example, a character using a longsword with “Weapon Mastery—Longsword” level 4 counts all rolls that are lower than four as rolls of four (so long as they are not botched). The second effect is to reduce, by one per level, the number of botch dice rolled when using the weapon.

For every level in the mastery Ability, the character may also choose one special capability, applicable only to that mastered weapon. Thus, a character with mastery score of two has two special capabilities she can use when wielding that weapon.

Weapon mastery Abilities do not have specializations.

Arrow Cutting (Melee): The wielder can use her weapon’s defense bonus in her defense totals against missile weapons, except against bullets from firearms.

Disarm (Melee): The warrior can use this weapon for maneuvers to disarm or to take her opponent’s weapon.

Mobile Firing (Ranged): The weapon’s user takes no penalty for using this ranged weapon due to her own movement or the movement of her target.

Point Blank (Ranged): The warrior takes no penalties for using this missile weapon while engaged by melee fighters. She can also use this ranged weapon in forward stance, even if it is a two-handed weapon.

Precise Shot (Ranged): The character can ignore penalties to her attack total that stem from her target being engaged in melee combat or otherwise being covered or concealed.

Quick Draw (Any): Normal combat rounds assume that the participants will have time to draw weapons (or change weapons) without penalty. Even when the Storyguide determines there is not enough time to draw, characters with this capability can draw (or switch to) the associated weapon anyway.

Rapid Reload (Ranged): This special capability applies only to crossbows and firearms. The weapon’s user may load six + DEX cartridges per action instead of 3 + DEX. Cap and ball ammunition may be loaded and fired in the same round with a -8 penalty to initiative.

Subduing Strike (Melee): The warrior no longer suffers the -3 penalty for scuffling with this weapon. She can elect to not inflict wound levels (just fatigue) from the Scuffle Effects chart.

Two Weapon Defense (Melee): A character using this weapon can fight with another melee weapon in her off-hand. The second weapon adds its Defense bonus to the primary weapon’s Defense bonus. An off-hand weapon must be a melee weapon that is usable in one hand. Its Strength requirement is three points higher than listed. A shield cannot be used with this special capability—it already adds its Defense bonus, even for the untrained.

Ch 05 Abilities

The Hermetic Wild West ardhanari