Abilities

The first thing you’ll notice about Chimera characters is that they don’t have attributes—no ability scores like you might be used to in other roleplaying games (e.g., Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, et al.).

Instead, everything your character can do is covered by an, which is a broad category of related skills and talents. For example, the Animal Handling Ability covers animal care, training animals, and handling a mount—basically anything that has to do with an animal.

The broad scope of Abilities lets you focus on what your character can actually do, instead of what an attribute score suggests he can do. It also prevents redundant skills, and it keeps play moving—no more worrying about the exact skill required to overcome every specific challenge: If an action during the game involves an animal, chances are you’ll use the Animal Handling Ability to deal with it.

Ability Descriptions

Chimera Abilities broadly represent various things your character can do during an adventure. They’re somewhat open-ended (i.e., purposely vague) so players and GMs can customise the specifics of each to suit their playing style and setting.

When you’re uncertain about which Ability to use in a given situation, rely on common sense and group consensus (subject to GM approval). As a rule of thumb, the clever application of an Ability should be rewarded with at least a chance of success, especially if it’s reasonably plausible and keeps play moving.

Abilities are listed below; the numbers are provided to allow random determination by the GM when desired.

  1. Academics: Book smarts, recall, and logical deduction; this Ability represents broad and unspecified knowledge accumulated through education and formal study. At the GM’s discretion, your character knows 1 foreign language for every 2 points of AR bonus
  2. Animal Handling: Train, care for, or ride an animal; used to make attacks while mounted.
  3. Athletics: Physical activity, including climbing, swimming, running, jumping, holding one’s breath, bashing and breaking things, overpowering others, and unarmed combat.
  4. Chicanery: Pick pockets, pilfer items, perform sleight of hand, and conceal small items on your person (including Small weapons)
  5. Coerce: Intimidate, taunt, and cajole others into carrying out your commands; use with openly hostile people or when you don’t care if you look like a jerk.
  6. Diplomacy: Interact with people who aren’t overtly hostile or who you might want to be friends with; reactions are based on your Action Roll result: CF (resistant), NF (neutral), NS (friendly), and CS (helpful).
  7. Fight: Attack with hand-to-hand (melee) weapons; a successful hit lets you roll for damage against your target (two damage dice on a Critical Success). A Critical Failure causes a fumble, which translates to a -1 penalty to your Initiative Modifier next combat turn.
  8. First Aid: Reduce a patient’s Wound Penalty (1 point per level per hour, or any combination thereof) or negate 1 point of Fatigue per level (effects doubled with a Critical Success).
  9. Manoeuvre: Operate vehicles and execute special manoeuvres; use this Ability to make attacks while driving or piloting a vehicle.
  10. Mettle: Tenacity, drive, determination, and intestinal fortitude; can be used to resist fear or the influence of others.
  11. Observe: Spot details, detect abnormalities, and notice peculiarities in your immediate environment or about a person you encounter.
  12. Perform: Sing, act, dance, recite, or play an instrument to entertain crowds; Perform is also used to disguise oneself or otherwise pretend to be a different person.
  13. Profession: Liveable trade not covered by a more specific Ability. A professional’s skill is suggested by his AR bonus: Apprentice (up to AR +2), Journeyman (AR +3 or more), Master (AR +8 or more). Naturally, titles vary with the setting.
  14. Shoot: Attack with ranged (missile) weapons; a successful hit lets you roll for damage against your target (two damage dice on a Critical Success). A Critical Failure requires an immediate Ammo Check or means that your gun jams (Shoot roll to clear).
  15. Sneak: Hide while stationary or creep undetected (MR – Movement Die; no movement possible if creeping MR is 0” or less).
  16. Spelunking: Subterranean survival skills, including direction sense, determination of depth, slope detection, identification of formations and special underground hazards.
  17. Street Smarts: Urban survival skills, including resource location, bluff, savvy, haggling, blending in, avoiding scams, gambling, and familiarity with local laws, customs, and landmarks.
  18. Survival: Wilderness and outdoor skills, including hunting, tracking, foraging, identification of flora and fauna, direction sense, weather prediction, and survival.
  19. Tinker: Work with machines (e.g., vehicles, locks, traps, computers) or reduce a machine’s Performance Penalty by 1 for 1 hour per level (AR -2 if older tech; AR -4 if newer).
  20. Wield: Use of known powers and certain powered items, knowledge of supernatural lore, identification of supernatural beings, artefacts, and effects.

Untrained Actions

Your character may attempt any Ability, but if he’s not trained (i.e., he doesn’t have it), the attempt suffers a penalty of AR -4. This means that there’s always a chance for a character to pull things off, even if it’s by accident.

Specialisation

Your character may specialise in a specific aspect of an Ability. For example, you could specialise Fight or Shoot with a particular weapon type, Academics with a particular field of study, Athletics with a particular activity, etc. All specialisations are subject to GM approval.

Specialising is just like improving an Ability, except that you apply a bonus of AR +2 in the specialised area. This is independent of the Ability’s normal AR. Each subsequent improvement to a specialisation costs 1 IP and provides AR +2. The AR bonus for specialisation applies only to the aspect chosen. When using the Ability in other situations, apply the “normal” AR bonus.

It takes dedication and effort to maintain a specialisation. If your specialisation AR ever falls below your “normal” Ability AR, you lose the specialisation.

Example
Klar the Barbarian is a Veteran with Fight +1. He spends 1 IP to specialise in Fight (axe), so while his normal Fight Ability is AR +1, he swings an axe at AR +2. After some adventures, he gains 2 Improvement Points. Klar spends 1 IP on Fight and the other IP on Fight (axe). As a result, he now has Fight +2 and Fight (axe) +4. He could have spent his 2 IP to get Fight +3, but then his “normal” Fight AR would have been greater than his AR with the axe, and he’d lose his specialisation.