Talent Knacks

Learning Talent Knacks

Characters may spend Legend Points to learn new talent knacks. Unlike talents, talent knacks are not otherwise improved once learned. A talent knack is learned once, and can be used at any point thereafter. Characters may develop talent knacks on their own or learn them from members of their Disciplines who are prepared to teach them.
advancing Circles in their Disciplines, some adepts take special care to find tutors with knowledge of specific knacks that they may also wish to learn. While learning the tenets of his new Discipline Circle, a character will often take the additional time and expense to learn one or more talent knacks. A character that wants to learn a talent knack between Circle advances needs to either seek out a tutor willing to teach him that knack, or prepare to develop it on his own. The difficulty of this task is determined by the gamemaster.

To learn a talent knack, a character must:

  • Know the knack’s Base Talent at a minimum Rank
  • Study with a tutor or develop the knack on his own
  • Spend an amount of Legend Points depending on the minimum Rank

Minimum Talent Rank

Every talent knack specifies “Talent:” and “Rank:” characteristics (see Talent Knack Descriptions, p. 120 of Player’s Companion). To learn a talent knack, an adept must know the specified talent at the specified minimum Rank if he knows the talent as a Talent Option, and two Ranks lower than specified if he knows that talent as a Discipline Talent. To determine if a character is eligible to learn a talent knack, only the character’s innate Talent Rank gained through his Discipline training is used; Rank bonuses such as from magic items do not count. Talents learned outside of Discipline training, such as through a human’s Versatility Talent or a windling’s Astral Sight Talent, cannot be used to learn Talent Knacks.


Study or Develop Knack

Learning a talent knack takes considerable time and effort; even more than raising a Talent Rank. While raising a Talent Rank is a straightforward increase in the adept’s ability to use a talent, learning a talent knack means changing the way the entire talent works by learning an alternative way to use it. To learn a talent 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 talent knack can be learned at a time.

When learning a talent knack from a tutor, a character spends four hours a day in training and meditation with the teacher, for a number of days equal to the minimum Rank at which he is required to know the talent. (Talent knacks for Talent Options require two more days of training than talent knacks learned for Discipline Talents.) Tutors often charge a fee for teaching a talent knack—usually 50 silver pieces per day of training.

When developing a talent knack on his own, the character must study and reflect on his talent for a number of weeks equal to the minimum Rank at which he is required to know the talent, instead of that number in days. As with tutored learning, talent knacks for Discipline Talents are developed at a faster rate. If a player creates his own talent knack, it is learned as if it were developed without a tutor (see Creating your Own Talent Knacks, p. 120).


Spend Legend Points

Talent knacks must be paid for with Legend Points. The character pays Legend Points to learn the knack only once. From that point on, a character can use the knack whenever he uses the talent. The Legend Point cost of the talent knack is the same as the amount of Legend Points the character had to spend to increase the talent to the minimum Rank required to learn the talent knack. As with the training time required, adepts knowing the talent as a Discipline Talent use a lower Rank to determine cost.


Using Talent Knacks

Once a player has learned a talent knack for his character, the character may use the knack whenever he uses the appropriate talent. Unless the knack’s description states otherwise, the player simply declares that his character is using it. For example, a Nethermancer who has learned the Maintain Spell Threads knack may use it whenever he casts a spell that requires one or more threads. Note that, as with talents, all costs of using the knack must be paid beforehand and use must normally be announced; for example, using a talent knack requires the Strain to be spent before the test is made, or if a talent knack requires a Good Result to succeed instead of an Average Result, the use of the knack has to be announced before the test is made—achieving a Good Result and then using the knack “after the fact” is not allowed.

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


Some Applicable Talent Knacks

See Player’s Companion for a listing of all Talent Knacks

Anchored Spell

Talent: Spellcasting
Rank: 8

The magician affixes a spell pattern to a wall, door, or other fixed object, creating a temporary ward. The magician must first cast the spell against the Spell Defense of the object to which the spell will be anchored. He must achieve an Excellent Result on his Spellcasting Test or the anchoring does not take (he takes Damage for the attempt, but may try again). The magician powers the anchored spell pattern by taking Permanent Damage equal to his Wound Threshold, receiving a Blood Wound in the process (Player’s Guide, p. 123). This damage cannot be healed until the spell ends. Once successfully cast, the anchored spell remains in place for a year and a day, or until it is triggered or dispelled. Any character passing within 3 yards of the anchoring object may trigger the spell. A magician can avoid triggering his own anchored spell by making a successful Spellcasting (6) Test. Once the spell has been triggered, it ends and cannot be triggered again.

Anchored spells created with this knack function as ward traps (Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 112). Base the ward’s game mechanics on the magician’s abilities at the time of casting and the anchored spell (see Player’s Companion pg. 121 for more details)


Arcane Curses

Talent: Arcane Mutterings
Rank: 7

The adept utters vague but vile curses at his enemies and makes an Arcane Mutterings Test, but requires an Excellent Result. If successful, the targets believe they are cursed, and the adept is not required to continue muttering for the targets to remain Harried.


Armor Beater

Talent: Melee Weapons
Rank: 10

The adept bypasses an opponent’s armor more easily, ignoring any Deflection Bonus to determine if an Armor-Defeating Hit is achieved.


Arrow Cutting

Talent: Parry
Rank: 9

The adept parries attacks with missiles and thrown weapons by making a Parry Test against his opponents’ ranged combat Attack Tests. If successful, the adept deflects the missiles or weapons away from him.


Arrow Stop

Talent: Impressive Shot
Rank: 7

The adept stops a projectile or weapon he has used for a ranged attack just as it hits his opponent, making an Impressive Shot Test against the target’s Physical Defense, as normal. On an Average or Good Result, the attack misses. On an Excellent Result, the arrow stops just as it nicks the target, who takes 1 Damage Point (no armor provides protection), and allows the adept to immediately make an Interaction Test (Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 93) against the target’s Social Defense.


Backbiter

Talent: Bank Shot
Rank: 7

The adept ricochets a missile or thrown weapon so that it hits a shielded opponent from behind by making a Bank Shot Test in place of his ranged Attack Test. On a Good Result, the target is struck in the back and loses the protection of his shield, including the Deflection Bonus.


Bounce

Talent: Avoid Blow
Rank: 9

The adept reduces the impact of a fall by landing on the sturdiest parts of his body and rolling as he hits the ground. The adept subtracts his Avoid Blow Rank from the Falling Damage Test, reducing any damage he takes from the fall.


Claw Riposte

Talent: Riposte
Rank: 9

The adept can Riposte unarmed attacks, including animal and creature attacks.


Create Armored Matrix Object

Talent: Thread Weaving (Magicians only)
Rank: 12

The adept creates an armored spell matrix object. Create Armored Matrix Object Tests are performed using the adept’s Thread Weaving Step (see Enchanting, p. 153, for more information).


Create Common Magic Item

Talent: Thread Weaving (Magicians only)
Rank: 5

The adept creates a common magic item. Create Common Magic Item Tests are performed using the adept’s Thread Weaving Step (see Enchanting, p. 153, for more information).


Create Enhanced Matrix Object

Talent: Thread Weaving (Magicians only)
Rank: 8

The adept creates an enhanced spell matrix object. Create Enhanced Matrix Object Tests are performed using the adept’s Thread Weaving Step (see Enchanting, p. 123, for more information).


Create Shared Matrix Object

Talent: Thread Weaving (Magicians only)
Rank: 15

The adept creates a shared spell matrix object. Create Shared Matrix Object Tests are performed using the adept’s Thread Weaving Step (see Enchanting, p. 123, for more information).


Create Spell Matrix Object

Talent: Thread Weaving (Magicians only)
Rank: 5

The adept creates a spell matrix object. Create Spell Matrix Object Tests are performed using the adept’s Thread Weaving Step (see Enchanting, p. 123, for more information).


Create Thread Item

Talent: Thread Weaving (Magicians only), Thread Smithing
Rank: 7

The adept creates a thread item. Create Thread Item Tests are performed using the adept’s Thread Weaving Step (see Enchanting, p. 123, for more information).


Creature Remains

Talent: Creature Analysis
Rank: 7

The adept identifies a creature from trace evidence, such as its remains, lair, or the remnants of victims, by studying the evidence, then making a Creature Analysis Test against the creature’s Spell Defense. On a Good Result, he identifies the type of creature and may ask the gamemaster a question of a type normally granted by a successful use of the Creature Analysis talent.


Deflect Blow

Talent: Melee Weapons
Rank: 8

The adept achieves greater skill at defensive fighting. When using the Defensive Stance combat option, he can freely determine the bonus to Physical Defense, up to a bonus equal to his Melee Weapons Rank. The penalty to Action Tests is equal to the bonus to Physical Defense. For example, a character with a Melee Weapons Rank of 9 can receive a bonus ranging from +1 to +9, and receives a penalty from –1 to –9 as appropriate. Deflect Blow requires one use of the Melee Weapons talent in the round this knack is used, otherwise the adept suffers the penalty in the following round from overextending himself, without receiving the Defense bonus. The effects of this talent end immediately if the adept is disarmed.


Diagnose

Talent: Astral Sight
Rank: 7

The adept determines if a subject is afflicted with any diseases or internal injuries and checks the target’s general state of health by making an Astral Sight Test against the target’s Spell Defense. On a Good Result, he detects any injuries, diseases, poisons, illnesses, or other afflictions affecting the target.


Explosive Flame Arrow

Talent: Flame Arrow
Rank: 8

The adept creates an explosive ball of flame. If his missile Attack Test is successful, the flame arrow bursts on impact with a Flame Arrow Rank radius in yards (half this in hexes). The original target is affected as normal, but the Attack Test result is also treated as an Attack Test against all other characters within the radius of the ball of flame. The Attack Test requires a Result Level one higher than normal against these secondary targets (usually a Good Result to hit, an Extraordinary Result to be an Armor-Defeating Hit); if successful, the secondary targets also take damage equal to the result of the Flame Arrow Test.


Extend Range

Talent: Long Shot
Rank: 10

Instead of extending his weapon’s maximum distance beyond Long Range, the adept extends the effective Short Range distance of his weapon to the maximum Long Range, suffering no Distance penalty to his Attack Test. Extend Range simply extends the Short Range into Long Range, it does not extend the Long Range. For example, a sling has a normal Short Range of 2–20 (1–10), but if Extend Range is used, it has an effective Short Range of 2–40 (1–20) and no Long Range.


Fire Arrow

Talent: Flame Arrow
Rank: 5

The head of an arrow or bolt is engulfed in flame. Instead of making a Flame Arrow Test, the adept gains a +2 bonus to the missile’s normal Damage Test. The missile is not consumed by fire and the adept need not spend Karma for using the Flame Arrow talent. The Fire Arrow knack is often used to create flaming missiles to ignite flammable materials from afar.


Gaping Wounds

Talent: Spellcasting
Rank: 9

Illusion. The magician creates the illusion that a Wound caused by a spell that inflicts damage is far worse than it truly is. He makes a Spellcasting Test as normal. If the spell’s Effect Test inflicts a Wound on the target, it appears more severe than it should, allowing the magician to make an immediate Intimidation Test against the target’s Social Defense (Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 93).


Head Butt

Talent: Unarmed Combat
Rank: 7

While maintaining a grappling hold, the adept may try to stun his opponent by making an Unarmed Combat Test as a special Attack Test. If successful, the target is Stunned (Player’s Guide, p. 228) for one round per Result Level, starting with a Good Result. On a Pathetic Result, the adept himself is Stunned for one round—he strikes a vulnerable part of his own head.


Hold Multiple Threads

Talent: Hold Thread
Rank: 10

The magician can hold multiple spell threads with his Hold Thread talent. He weaves the threads and makes a Hold Thread Test as normal, but is not limited to holding only one thread. For every thread he attempts to hold, including the first, he takes 2 Strain. If the Hold Thread Test is successful, the threads are held as normal.


Horror Analysis

Talent: Creature Analysis
Rank: 9

This knack extends use of the Creature Analysis talent to include Horrors, Horror constructs, and the remains of Horrors and their victims. Though Horrors are rarely exactly alike—and often capable of elaborate deception—legendary heroes have occasionally found weaknesses to exploit in the physiology or habits of Horrors they have stalked and watched. The adept must achieve a Good Result on his Creature Analysis Test against the Spell Defense of the Horror or construct being analyzed.


Improvised Missiles

Talent: Throwing Weapons
Rank: 7

The adept uses an object no bigger than twelve inches long as a throwing weapon. He does not incur a penalty to his Attack Test when hurling the improvised missile (Player’s Guide, p. 232), but he must be able to lift the object. The adept makes a Throwing Weapons Test, as normal. If successful, the gamemaster determines the Damage Step of the improvised missile—most objects are Damage Step 1, but some larger or heavier objects may be Damage Step 2 or even 3. Objects hurled using this knack have the same range as a dagger (Player’s Guide, p. 232).)


Improvised Melee Weapons

Talent: Melee Weapons
Rank: 7

The adept wields an object not intended as a weapon in melee combat. He does not incur a penalty to his Attack Test when hitting an opponent with the improvised weapon (Player’s Guide, p. 230). The adept makes 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 marker stones, loaves of stale bread, suits of armor, or even other Namegivers. The adept must be able to carry the item to wield it as a melee weapon.


Lift the Curtain

Talent: Astral Sight
Rank: 9

The adept reveals astral space to other characters by making an Astral Sight Test against a base Difficulty Number of 6, modified by the level of astral corruption (Player’s Guide, p. 111). If successful, a small portion of astral space 4 yards (2 hexes) in diameter within the adept’s Astral Sight range becomes visible to those watching.


Mighty Throw

Talent: Unarmed Combat
Rank: 8

The adept grabs an opponent and throws him through the air by making an Unarmed Combat Test. The Unarmed Combat Test requires a Good Result and, if successful, instead of causing normal damage, the adept throws his opponent up to a number of hexes equal to the Result Level achieved, starting with an Average Result (twice this distance in yards). If another target is within the line of flight, this opponent is hit if the Unarmed Combat Test is also successful against his Physical Defense, although this second opponent is entitled to evade the Attack by abilities such as Avoid Blow or Spirit Dodge, but not abilities such as Parry or Riposte. The thrown opponent, as well as the opponent hit by the thrown opponent, suffer Damage equal to a Strength Test made by the adept. They then must succeed at a Knockdown Test against the result of the Strength Test or be Knocked Down.


Pin Down

Talent: Unarmed Combat
Rank: 7

The adept more effectively grapples and holds down a Knocked Down opponent. If the adept makes a successful Grappling attack against his opponent using the Pin Down knack (see Grappling, p. 230 of the Player’s Guide), he is not considered Knocked Down himself (although he is more easily Blindsided as he is not able to turn away from the opponent without breaking the lock). The adept can maintain the grapple as normal.


Pin Up

Talent: Throwing Weapons
Rank: 8

The adept pins a character to a nearby wall or other structure with a thrown weapon. The target must be within 2 yards (1 hex) of a structure or wall and wearing clothing that can be suitably pinned. The adept must use a weapon that can feasibly pin someone, such as a dagger, knife, or spear, and makes a Throwing Weapons Test against the target’s Physical Defense. On a Good Result, the weapon pins the target’s clothing to the wall. The adept does not make a Damage Test. Instead, the target can only free himself by making a successful Strength Test against the attack’s Damage Step. While pinned the target is Harried.


Placed Shot

Talent: Missile Weapons
Rank: 7

The adept may declare and use the Aggressive Attack combat option with a missile weapon. His Movement Rate is reduced to 2 yards (1 hex) that round, but the adept gains the benefits (and penalties) of a normal Aggressive Attack for each Attack Test with a missile weapon he makes, the first of which must be made with the Missile Weapons talent. The knack’s Strain cost includes the Strain cost of the Aggressive Attack.


Placed Throw

Talent: Throwing Weapons*
Rank: 7

The adept may declare and use the Aggressive Attack combat option with a thrown weapon. His Movement Rate is reduced to 2 yards (1 hex) that round, but the adept gains the benefits (and penalties) of a normal Aggressive Attack for each Attack Test with a throwing weapon he makes, the first of which must be with the Throwing Weapons talent. The knack’s Strain cost includes the Strain cost of the Aggressive Attack.


Second Riposte

Talent: Second Weapon
Rank: 9

Having failed a Riposte Test, the adept may attempt a second riposte against the same melee attack if using an off-hand weapon, by making a Second Weapon Test, treating it as if it were a Riposte Test (using the rules of the Riposte talent).


Setup

Talent: Manuever
Rank: 8

The adept maneuvers into a position to aid an ally, whom he chooses when he makes his Maneuver Test. Both adept and ally must avoid all attacks made against them by the target opponent until the ally’s turn in the following round. If they succeed, the ally gains the normal bonuses Maneuver conveys, instead of the adept.


Spell Stacking

Talent: Spellcasting
Rank: 10

The magician may “stack” multiple spells to cast them as a single spell against a character. He takes 2 Strain for each spell in the stack. If the spell patterns to be stacked are stored in spell matrices, the magician first weaves any required spell threads for all the spells, then makes a single Spellcasting Test against the highest Casting Difficulty among the spells, +1 for each additional spell. On a Good Result, the spells are cast successfully against the target with normal effect. The magician makes a separate Effect Test for each spell that requires it. If a magician wishes to stack spells that are not stored in matrices, he may cast them using raw magic (Player’s Guide, p. 136), but with the following modification: the gamemaster makes one Warping Test and one Horror Mark Test, but combines the Circles of all of the spells in the stack to determine the “stacked” spell’s effective Circle.


Spirit Flame

Talent: Flame Arrow
Rank: 9

The adept’s flame arrow bypasses physical protection. The adept makes a missile Attack Test as normal. On an Average Result, the target’s Physical Armor protects him as normal. On a Good Result, the target’s Mystic Armor provides protection instead. Armor-Defeating Hits bypass the target’s armor as normal.

Talent Knacks

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