Core Rules: Talents - Positive

Positive talents will typically grant a character increased freedom, and/or bonuses to certain situations. Most positive talents have negative counterparts: taking both the positive and negative version of a talent is unnecessary as they will cancel eachother out.

Ambidextrous

6 points for the unaltered talent
1 point per specialized item
2 points per specialized item type

[Item / Item Type]

This character is dextrous enough to be able to weild something in their offhand as well as their good hand. Ambidextrousness is rarely total. Under normal circumstances they will need to choose a weapon, weapon group or other item (such as a pen for example) that they are ambidextrous with. Being ambidextrous means that they suffer no penalty for using something in their offhand.

Characters may, at the GM's descretion and with a good reason, be allowed to take this talent at a reduced cost or for free if the item or item type is benign (For example: writing tools, ploughs, guitars, or other such everyday items) as they have little impact on critical gameplay.

Attractive Appearance

2 points per level

This character can be regarded as 'good looking' to such a degree that it affects the interactions they have with others. This can range from merely 'pretty' to 'transcendant'. This talent can be taken up to 5 times.

Each level gives a +1 bonus to all social interaction tests: command, charm, inquire etc.

At level 2 and above, characters gain an additional +1 to social interaction tests against those who are romantically attracted to their gender.

On the downside, being attractive can single the character out and breed resentment amongst those who would harbour it. An attractive character will be the most likely chosen by others when amongst a group, for good or for ill. Any social tests against anyone that has personal reason to dislike the character will suffer a penalty (instead of a bonus) equal to the character's level of attractiveness.

Average Appearance

3 points

This character is the epitome of bland in appearance, beyond the normal average. So average that it is very difficult to pick them out in a crowd. They're of average height, average weight, and have a complete absence of distinguishing mannerisms or physical characteristics. Anyone attempting to describe the character will struggle to be precise in doing so, not getting beyond vague descriptions.

Anyone trying to locate an average character through social means, or whilst the character is amongst a group or small crowd, will suffer at least a -2 penalty to their tests.

Average characters cannot be attractive or ugly.

Balls of Steel

3 points

Said simply, this character is hard to frighten off - whether this is bravery, niaivety or foolhardiness. All fear inducing tests (being on the receiving end of an Intimidate test for example) are at -2 to work against them.

Blessed

4 points

[Particular Religion]

The character believes themselves to be particularly blessed in their religion (or lack of). This manifests in a number of ways.

Firstly, a character gains a +2 bonus when interacting socially between members of the same religion, as long as the other parties to the interaction are convinced of the character's blessed nature.

They may also gain bonuses to particular actions if the circumstances relate strongly to their chosen religion, with the GM to adjudicate. For example, a character may likely gain bonuses to nerve tests whilst defending a shrine.

They may also leverage their religiousity to gain insight into an issue facing them. After an appropriate level of pious activity of some sort (fasting, praying, critiquing religious texts, that awesome kung-fu sort of thing that Shao Lin do, etc.) they might be granted some insight of some sort. The pious activity should be very arduous, enough to potentially cause fatigue levels. The GM should roll secretly against a test such as constitution or nerve, and impart some (maybe) useful information that has been revealed to they during their holy activity.

Catfall

4 points

This acrobatic talent means that they're pretty good at landing on their feet from a fall: a must if they're into Parkour.

If falling over 4 yards in height, halve the height that they're falling from for working out damage.

If jumping (as distinct from falling) from under 6 yards in height, or jumping down a similar distance from a run or a sprint, pass an acrobatics test to see if they can just curl up into a ball or something suitably acrobatic and carry on running/sprinting/whatever afterwards. If they fall, then it just means that they need to take a moment (1 action) sorting themselves out from the landing before continuing.

Combat Reflex

3 points

The character has trained well enough in combat to be able to accurately preempt their lessers (and most of their seniors too). They gain a +1 bonus to their assault tests and +1 to any initiative roll they take.

Common Sense

2 points

"So rare it's a god damn superpower"

This character has a very level head - above and beyond 'normal' common sense. As such, any time that the GM feels they're about to do something daft, they can give a subtle hint ("Are they sure that's wise?") that what they're about to do is pretty stupid. The GM should be reasonably proactive about this.

Cosmopolitan

2 points

The character is quite well versed in, or adaptable to, cultures and norms outside their own. Any tests that would normally be hampered by cultural barriers instead halve the penalty. The GM should adjudicate on when this applies, but would ordinarily cover most social tests when dealing with new or differing cultures.

Creative

2 points per specialization

[Music / Art / Prose]

This character is a creative person, gifted it seems in the art of making creative stuff. Any tests that involve music, art or prose (stories and poetry) gain a +1 bonus.

Die Hard

4 points per specialization

[Death / Stun]

This character is a bugger to kill or knock out. Purely and simply.

For death: they gain an additional Fatigue that needs to be dealt with before they die from negative fatigue. For example - if they have 12 health, then at -13 they will perish, rather than -12.

For stun, they must be taken to -1 fatigue in order be knocked unconscious. They will still lose conciousness in any situation that would cause an automatic loss of consciousness (often noted as being reduced to 0 fatigue), being placed at -1 fatigue instead of 0.

Daredevil

5 points

Who dares wins. The character gains a +1 bonus to any unnecessarily risky actions. If they spend an intervention as a result of that risky action, they may get the intervention refunded on a 1d10 roll of 9 or 10.

Efficient Metabolism

3 points

They require less to eat to subsist normally. Reduce the amount of food that they need to eat by ¼. If they eat too much though, they do run the risk of getting fatter, faster - so don't pig out!

Empathy

Up to 4 points per specialization

[Creatures, People]

Empathy is the knack for (usually) correctly guessing something's emotional state and relating to it.

Firstly, empathy gives a character +2 whenever they are trying to influence or control a creature or person, depending on the specialization. For example, riding a horse, or convincing someone to render assistance.

Empathy is also a talent that can be actively used: roll against a character's perception - a success will give them an insight into what a person or creature is feeling. For example, they could be friendly, hostile, hungry, happy, frightened, and so on. Perception skill increases will give bonuses to this roll.

Empathetic characters are typically much less inclined to render harm or cruelty to the target of their empathy. They will need to pass a discipline test to render deliberate harm to the object of their empathy.

The GM may offer a discount if the target of the empathy is more specific, depending on the rarity of the target. For example, a character may only be empathetic towards rats and mice; and the GM may rule that this would warrant a cost of only 1 point as they are fairly useless animals from a gameplay perspective, but still fairly commonly encountered.

Good ideas for more targeted empathy could be children, elders, horses, canines, and so on.

Extremely Fit

3 points

The character is a paragon of physical form. Whenever they take a physical exertion test (of any kind), they gain a +2 bonus to that test.

Fated

4 points per level

The character seems to have destiny on their side. This talent may be taken twice, and each grants another intervention that the character may use.

Flexible

3 points

The character might be double jointed, or just really well practiced, but their flexibility is very good and they are very bendy. They gain a +2 bonus to all escape and climb tests, and at the GM's descretion may be better able to squeeze into small spaces and tighter gaps.

Gregarious

2 points

This character is a naturally charismatic person and people react favourably to them as result. Gregarious gives them +1 to all tests involving social interaction. If in doubt, the GM has final say on what counts.

Gunslinger

2 points or 300 days for a particular weapon
4 points for a particular weapon model
10 points for a particular weapon type

[Particular Weapon / Weapon Model / Weapon Type]

The character has such inate ability with a weapon they are able to reliably shoot their targets without the need to aim first. This talent may only be taken with ranged weapons, and generally these weapons will be pistols (although not exclusively).

The particular weapon specialization is 1 specific weapon that has been learned so well that it has become an extension of their body. The effects of this talent will be lost if that specific weapon is lost or destroyed. This specialization of gunsliger may also be trained in-game for 300 days of training to achieve. For example, a character's favourite firearm.

A particular weapon model would be a specific brand and model of weapon, within a weapon type.

A particular weapon type would be as broad as all Muzzle Loading, .75 calibre pistols.

Gunslinger lets a character shoot with at least a +2 bonus with that particular weapon, model of weapon or type of weapon, and ignores medium range modifiers, instead going from short range to long range directly.

Healthy Paranoia

3 points

As opposed to 'unhealthy' paranoia, the healthy kind means that a character is always alert for potential danger, and are usually the first to react to it. It manifests most often as a weird sense of impending doom.

When said 'impending doom' (ambush, bridge about to collapse, child about to climb into the washing machine) is about to happen to them or nearby, they can roll a free, -2 Perception test. On a pass, they can perform a combat turn's worth of actions before something terrible happens. The GM should adjudicate what is acceptable.

Heightened Sense

3 points per specialization

[Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell]

they have a sense that is better than average in some manner. For example, heightened sight would let they spot things more easily. A heightend sense gives +2 to any awareness or search tests (and anything else the GM rules applicable) that involves that sense.

As paradoxic as it may sound, someone can have heightened sight and still require glasses - the blurriness or lack thereof caused by lax eye muscles is seperate from the mind's ability to sift the information it receives.

Indomnitable Will

3 points

The character is a difficult one to coerce, by any means. It would take a very compelling argument to influence them. All charm, intimidate and command tests used against them have an additional -2 penalty.

Intuition

3 points

The character seems to have an intuitive mind, able to steer them to something pertinent.

Firstly, any time a perception or search test is called for, they may either: elect to take an intuition test (Wil + Per) at a +2 instead, or gain +2 to the perception or search. Intuition itself cannot be trained up as skills can.

Secondly, when a character is presented with a choice they may take an intuition test to see if it steers them to roughtly the correct direction. A success will indicate a course of action to take that is broadly positive. A failure will yield information, but will it be trustworthy?

GM Tip: It is a good idea to think of results of an intuition test before the test is rolled. If a character fails an intuition test, arbitrarily or randomly choose a result. Feel absolutely free to give them the correct course of action: it will make the player second-guess the failure and if the course of action is actually the right one.

Iron Skull / Iron Body

3 points per specialization

[Skull / Body]

A character seems to have a very thick skull or resistant body. Any stat loss that effects any of their mental stats is halved for Iron Skull; and any stat loss that effects their physical stats is halved for Iron Body.

Jaded

At least 2 points per specialization, GM to rule depending on how life-threating the situation is, and how rare it is.

[Particular Scenario or Cause - examples include Gore / Murder / Cavalry Charge / Torture / and so on.]

This character has seen the worst that the world can offer, and seeing it again doesn't bother them in the slightest. For example - whilst seeing the insides of someone might cause lesser people to blanche, doctors will have probably seen it all before and care little. In any situation where they need to take a fear test as a result of a specific external stimulus (e.g. seeing someone's innards, getting charged by cavalry, nearly drowning, dealing with children, etc.) they can act normally without needing to take the test.

A doctor's jadedness of blood and guts would perhaps cost 2 points, whereas a veteran's jadedness of charges or cannon fire may cost 4 or 6 points.

Large Ham

3 points

This character has a naturally resonant, distinctive and larger than life voice. When speaking, they can elect to be heard from an additional 1d6 or 1d10 yards away (depending on the volume they'd like) without the need to shout; and they also gain +2 to all camraderie based tests.

Light Sleeper

2 points

This character can get away with less than 8 hours sleep a night, down to a minimum of 6 hours on consecutive days, or 4 hours once a week. They are also more easily aroused from slumber, and at the GM's descretion may forego any penalties from sleep inertia once awake. A good example would be being ambushed whilst asleep.

Low Light Vision

Racial only

This character can see particularly well in the dark. Any time that a character would suffer a penalty for vision in darkness, halve the penalty.

Conversely, characters with low light vision tend to be more easily dazzled by very bright lights. Any time that a test is called upon for dazzling, double the penalty.

Lucky

4 points per level

Lucky characters seem to have Lady Luck on their side when they most need it. This talent may be taken twice, and each grants another intervention that the character may use.

Pathetic

2 points

Pathetic characters seem to induce compassion in others, inspiring pity and parental instincts. Pathetic characters gain +1 to all social tests when they are helpless, weak or in need.

Pain Threshold

3 points

The character is either a glutton for punishment, too dumb to notice or care, or they get a hit off being hurt. In any case, their ability to deal with pain is much better than their peers. They gain a +2 bonus to resist torture of any sort and a +2 bonus to any tests called for as the result of Injury.

Photographic Memory

3 points

This character's memory is in fact really, really good. Or at least better than average. In any case, they can recall detail very well, and given enough time to memorise something they'll be able to fetch that from their memory too.

They should be able to recall general scenes, how things are laid out, colour of clothing etc. pretty easily. It will take a few readings of a passage of text to memorise it totally. (As a rule of thumb: the average human reading speed is about 250 words per minute, or about ½ side of A4 paper).

However, if they don't notice something when they are there - such as something/someone hidden - then they will obviously not remember them.

Any tests related to recalling facts will have a +2 bonus, and the GM should be forthcoming about past events and details if the character needs them.

Prepared

2 points

This character always seems to pack for contingencies and can be relied upon to carry important items without losing them. Once per game session (the GM to adjudicate), the character may produce an item that they haven't necessarily packed on their person or in their bag, even if it is not 'carried' upon them on their sheet.

Generally such items will tend to be small (size 4 or smaller) and easily stowed amongst the gear the character has on them at the time. If a character does not own a piece of gear that would be tremendously useful for their situation, they may at the GM's descretion buy it on demand at at least 3 times its listed price in the gear section.

Razor Sharp Wit

3 points

The character posesses a tongue just as sharp as their blade. Or bullet if they have a gun. If they don't have either, then they still have a sharp tongue.

In any case, they may use a charm test on an adversary who can hear the character to distract them. Compose their witty attack (or have some ready in advance) and present them to the GM - who will decide how long they take in actions (3 to 5 seconds per action). Remember, talking can be combined with any other combat action. Roll to charm - if they succeed, then the next hit against they is at -2 to hit.

A player really should say something witty and disarming at the appropriate moment, or have at least a list of witty stuff to say on demand. The GM should feel free to impose penalties for lack of witicisms used by the player if they are particularly slack about it.

Savant

4 points per specialization

[Maths]

This character is ungodly at maths and numbers. Any simple arithmatic they will instantly know the answer to. More complex algebra / calculus will require a bit more time and thought, but shouldn't be too hard for them. They gain a +4 bonus to any mathematically based problems: this can include algebraic cyphers, engineering calculations, and so on.

Other fields may be taken at the Savant level for an appropriate cost at the GM's descretion.

Sense of Direction

2 points

Sense of awareness is a character's knack for knowing where they are and where they need to be going. This gives a +2 bonus to navigation tests, or at least a +3 bonus with a reasonable (or better) map.

Sense of Time

2 points

Sense of time is a character's knack for knowing what time it is. A character's internal body clock is pretty reliable, accurate to a few minutes, and so they can usually guess reliably to the ¼ hour what the time is.

They will also wake up within 10 minutes (1d10 if randomization is needed) of a time of day reliably - note this time down as their normal 'getting up' time as part of the talent. This can be a bit of a curse, as going to bed late will often result in their character not getting enough sleep.

Socially Crafty

2 points

This character has an inate knack for prudent social interaction, especially with those who demand respect or hold authority. When interacting with someone of higher social status or rank, this character gains +1 to all social tests.

Steady Hands

3 points

This character has remarkably steady hands - ideal for doing fine motor work. For any difficult and fiddly activity (e.g. picking locks, making jewellery, sewing, sleight of hand, clockworking, surgery, etc.) reduce the difficulty of the task by 4, up to a maximum difficulty of 0.

Sea Legs / Air Legs

2 points

This character's stomach is iron clad, and they never suffer the effects of motion sickness from being on a boat, flying or any other vehicle, and will always keep their balance whilst being thrown around by the elements; even in dreadful conditions that would send most into a catatonic nausea and tumbling over the decking.

During any episode where characters would need to test for balance or nausea as a result of environmental factors whilst they are on a form of transportation of some sort, the character will automatically pass such tests.

Substance Resistance

2 points per specialization

[Specific Poison / Drug / Alcoholic beverage]

This character is a naturally hardy bugger, beyond the level of mere sobriety. They get a +2 bonus to resist the specific substance if it is imbibed. The GM should adjust the cost appropriately for particularly poisonous substances.

Sure Footed

3 points

This character has got a very good sense of balance. Any balance and climb tests that they make have a +2 bonus.

Temperature Resistance

3 points per specialization

[Hot / Cold]

This character is unusually resistant to temperature outside of a normal range of comfort - around 10°C to 35°C. Whenever they are testing against either hyperthermia or hypothermia (hot and cold respectively), they gain a +2 bonus.

Ultrasonic Hearing

Racial only

A character with ultrasonic hearing can hear beyond the higher limit of human hearing, over 20kHz. Dogs for example can hear up to 40kHz. The advantages of this talent mostly manifest in being able to percieve high pitched sounds that would otherwise elude others, such as flowing water, insects chirping, squeaky doors and floorboards, and so forth. At the GM's descretion, the character may be elegable for hearing test bonuses.

Conversely, the character may get overwhelmed by particularly loud sounds that others simply cannot hear, although there is little in Echelon that can emit such frequencies at volumes enough to cause major discomfort.

Weapon Master

2 points per weapon type
4 points per weapon class

[Specific type of weapon / Class of weapon]

This character is pretty damned handy with their weapon of choice when learning new moves and skills with it. When training with this weapon / type of weapon, they double the reduction in training time granted by their intelligence bonus.