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Skills

Skills are Abilities learned through training, apprenticeships or other instruction. If you try to perform an action involving a Skill in which you have no rating, your difficulty is increased by one. An unskilled worker just isn't as effective as someone who might have lower Attributes but an understanding of what the procedure entails.

Animal Ken

You can understand an animal's behavior patterns. This Skill allows you to predict how an animal might react in a given situation, train a domesticated creature, or even try to calm or enrage animals.

* Novice: You can get a domesticated horse to let you pet it.
** Practiced: You can housebreak a puppy.
*** Competent: You could train a seeing-eye dog.
**** Expert: Circus trainer
***** Master: You can tame wild beasts without benefit of supernatural powers.

Possessed by: Farmers, Animal Trainers, Zookeepers, Park Rangers, Pet Owners, Domitors
Specialties: Dogs, Attack Training, Big Cats, Horses, Farm Animals, Falconry

Crafts

This Skill covers your ability to make or fix things with your hands. Crafts allows you to work in fields such as carpentry, leatherwork, weaving or even mechanical expertise such as car repair. You can even create lasting works of art with this Skill, depending on the number of successes you achieve. You must always choose a specialization in Crafts, even though you retain some skill in multiple fields.

* Novice: High-school wood shop
** Practiced: You're starting to develop your own style.
*** Competent: You could make a living at your work.
**** Expert: Your work might be featured in college-level textbooks for your field.
***** Master: Your artistry is virtually without peer.

Possessed by: Mechanics, Artisans, Artists, Designers, Inventors, Back-to-the-Land Types
Specialties: Pottery, Sewing, Home Repair, Carpentry, Appraisal, Carburetors

Drive

You can drive a car, and maybe other vehicles as well. This Skill does not automatically entail familiarity with complicated vehicles such as tanks or 18-wheelers, and difficulties may vary depending on your experience with individual automobiles. After all, helming a station wagon doesn't prepare you for controlling a Lotus at 100 miles per hour.

* Novice: You know how to work an automatic transmission.
** Practiced: You can drive a stick shift.
*** Competent: Professional trucker
**** Expert: NASCAR daredevil or tank pilot
***** Master: You can make a Yugo do tricks out of a James Bond movie.

Possessed by: Cabbies, Truckers, Race Car Drivers, most 20th-century residents of affluent Western nations
Specialties: Off-road, Wheelies, Curves, Stick Shift, Sudden Stops, Heavy Traffic

Etiquette

You understand the nuances of proper behavior, in both mortal society and Kindred culture. Your specialty is the culture with which you are most familiar. This Skill is used during haggling, seduction, dancing, dinner etiquette and all forms of diplomacy.

* Novice: You know when to keep your mouth shut.
** Practiced: You've been to a black-tie event or two.
*** Competent: You know your way around even obscure silverware.
**** Expert: Her Majesty would consider you charming.
***** Master: If the right people came to dinner, you could end wars - or start them.

Possessed by: Diplomats, Travelers, High Society, Executives
Specialties: Formal Dinners, Business, Street Culture, Kindred Society
 

Firearms

Executing a mortal with a sword starts investigations. Clawing someone to ribbons shakes the edges of the Masquerade. So Cainites adapt, and many have devoted their energies to learning how to kill with guns. This Skill represents familiarity with a range of firearms, from holdout pistols to heavy machine guns. Of course, this Skill doesn't include heavy artillery such as mortars or tank guns. However, someone skilled in Firearms can clean, repair, recognize and, of course, accurately fire most forms of small arms. This Skill is also used to unjam guns (Wits + Firearms).

* Novice: You had a BB gun as a kid.
** Practiced: You while away the occasional hour at the gun club.
*** Competent: You've survived a firefight or two.
**** Expert: You could pick off people for a living.
***** Master: You've been practicing since the debut of the Winchester.

Possessed by: Sabbat, Policemen, Military Personnel, Survivalists, Hunters
Specialties: Fast-Draw, Gunsmithing, Pistols, Sniping, Revolvers, Shotguns

Meditation

Concentration and dedication are paramount in the working of magic, and a little serenity doesn't hurt either. Through Meditation, a character centers her mind, stills her thoughts and casts off the cares of the world for a time. Meditation allows characters to focus their thoughts and concentrate on specific problems or tasks. Thus, t hey draw their awareness inward to ignore harsh conditions or injury.

Novice: Those gurus on the street sure make it look easy, right?
Practiced: Meditation helps sometimes when you're agitated.
Competent: A staple of your lifestyle, meditatio n keeps your mind clear.
Expert: Even under highly adverse conditions, you can find your center.
Master: You could practice Zen archery unruffled in the midst of a raging firestorm with your teeth.

Possessed by: New Agers, Martial-Artists, Psychological Patients
Specialties: Stress Management, Clarity, Biofeedback, Zen

Melee

As the Kindred maxim runs, Guns mean nothing to a lifeless heart. A blade is often worth far more, as is the skill to use it properly. Melee covers your ability to use hand-to-hand weapons of all forms, from swords and clubs to esoteric martial-arts paraphernalia such as sai or nunchaku. And, of course, there is always the utility of the wooden stake...

* Novice: You know the right way to hold a knife.
** Practiced: You may have been in the occasional streetfight.
*** Competent: You could make a college fencing team.
**** Expert: You could keep order in the prince's court.
***** Master: Your enemies would rather face a SWAT team than your blade.

Possessed by: Assassins, Gang Members, Martial Artists, Police, Duelists, Medievalist Buffs
Specialties: Knives, Swords, Improvised Clubs, Stakes, Disarms, Axes

Perfomance

The Performance Skill governs your ability to perform artistic endeavors such as singing, dancing, acting or playing a musical instrument. You are almost certainly specialized in one field, although true virtuosos may be talented in many forms of performance. This Skill represents not only technical know-how, but the ability to work an audience and enrapture them with your show.

* Novice: You could sing in the church choir.
** Practiced: You could get a leading part in a college production.
*** Competent: You're in demand at the local clubs.
**** Expert: You have the talent to be a national sensation.
***** Master: You are a virtuoso without peer.

Possessed by: Musicians, College Students, Actors, Ballerinas, Mimes
Specialties: Dancing, Singing, Rock and Roll, Acting, Guitar Solos, Drunken Karaoke

Security

This Skill entails familiarity with the tools and techniques for picking locks, deactivating car or burglar alarms, hot-wiring automobiles or even safecracking, as well as countless forms of breaking and entering. Security is useful not only for theft, but also for setting up "the unbeatable system" or deducing where a thief broke in.

* Novice: You can pick a simple lock.
** Practiced: You can hot-wire a car.
*** Competent: You can bypass or disable house alarms.
**** Expert: You can crack a safe.
***** Master: You could get a bomb out of - or into - the Pentagon.

Possessed by: Burglars, Security Consultants, Policemen
Specialties: Safecracking, Hot-wiring, Electrical Alarms, Pressure Plates, Deadbolts, Cars

Stealth

This Skill is the ability to avoid being detected, whether you're hiding or moving at the time. Stealth is often tested against someone else's Perception. This Ability is, for obvious reasons, highly useful in stalking prey.

* Novice: You can hide in a darkened room.
** Practiced: You can shadow someone from streetlight to streetlight.
*** Competent: You have little difficulty finding prey from evening to evening.
**** Expert: You can move quietly over dry leaves.
***** Master: Nosferatu elder

Possessed by: Burglars, Assassins, Kindred, Spies, Reporters, Commandos
Specialties: Hiding, Silent Movement, Shadowing, Crowds

Survival

Although vampires have little to fear from starvation and exposure, the wilderness can still be dangerous to a Cainite. This Skill allows you to find shelter, navigate your way to civilization, track prey and possibly even avoid werewolves (although this last is exceedingly difficult). When you use Stealth in the wilderness, you cannot roll more dice for your Stealth rating than you have in Survival.

* Novice: You can survive a five-mile hike.
** Practiced: You "roughed it" on a regular basis.
*** Competent: You know poisonous mushrooms from edible ones.
**** Expert: You could live for months in the wilderness of your choice.
***** Master: You could get dropped naked into the Andes and do all right for yourself.

Possessed by: Scouts, Soldiers, Outdoors Enthusiasts, Survivalists, Hunters, Park Rangers
Specialties: Tracking, Woodlands, Jungle, Trapping, Hunting

Technology

Skill with Technology covers all manner of repairs, electronics, mechanical aptitude and other gew-gawgery with devices. Characters skilled in Technology can not only use all manner of devices, but they can also repair or modify such items. Of course, tools and diagrams are most helpful in this endeavor, but sometimes there's no help for it but to trust to luck. Characters without this Skill can probably operate a toaster or a microwave oven, but they wouldn't even know how to change the oil in a car.

Novice: Fuse boxes, broken toasters and oil changes are your purview.
Practiced: You've done some electrical or mechanical hobbying, and you put together all sorts of useless crap in your garage.
Competent: Electrical and mechanical engineering are well within your range of skill, and you can repair many objects or make new ones.
Expert: You can even program a VCR.
Master: If it works on a technological principle, you can break, build, repair or rewire it.

Possessed by: Engineers, Repairmen, Technocrats, Inventors, Saboteurs, Security Specialists
Specialties: Electronics, Mechanics, Engines, Tinkering, Security, Technomagic

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