As the saying goes, a skilled adventurer is a lucky adventurer. This chapter describes the basics for your skills. To determine the difficulty for a skill test, consult Overcoming Obstacles in the Derelicteer’s Survival Guide or the Ability & Skill Factors chapter in the Rules for the Game Master section.
# Learning a New Skill
Your character can learn new skills in the course of the game. In fact, you can attempt any skill your character doesn’t have using the Beginner’s Luck rule in the Abilities section.
Once you use Beginner’s Luck, note the skill you attempted to use on your skill list. Don’t put a rating next to it, put an X instead. Check off one of the Pass bubbles—it doesn’t matter if you passed or failed that particular test. You need to keep a record of how many times you tried to use that skill, so fill in an additional bubble each time you try to use it.
My character, Beren, doesn’t have the Rider skill. During the adventure, we find a herd of wild horses. I want Beren to tame one of the horses. I test Beren’s health, but roll half the dice due to the Beginner’s Luck rule. I mark an X in place of the rating and log a test. Pass or fail doesn’t matter when learning new skills, just the number of tests.
Once you have attempted to use that skill a number of times equal to your current maximum Nature rating, you learn the skill at a rating of 2. Erase the X and all the check marks toward learning it. Write 2 as the rating. You can now test the ability as normal.
In other words, if my Nature is 5, I need to try the skill five times using Beginner’s Luck. After that, I start Rider at rating 2.
If you’re using Beginner’s Luck, do not mark the test to advance Will or Health.
# Suggested Help
Each skill is listed with one or two other skills that are closely related. Use those skills when offering and accepting help for a test. The GM may add one other skill to that list that is related to the situation. And of course you can always help with the same skill.
Other skills may not help. And players may not make suggestions of possible alternates.
Supplies are expendable items that provide a +1D bonus to a specific skill for one roll. Most skills are listed with suggested supplies.
The skills list details the individual skills used in Torchbearer. Each entry consists of a description, a suggestion for useful supplies and a handful of other skills that are commonly used to help that skill.
The descriptions of these skills are left purposefully broad. Use skills to overcome obstacles within their purpose and relatedsituations.
Noblemen, their huntsmen and poachers use this skill to lure, stalk, trap and slay beasts for food in forested preserves and in the wild.
Biologists can use bows, spears, hunting swords, javelins, dogs, horses or birds of prey as tools.
Suggested Help for Biologist: Survivalist, Laborer
Beginner’s Luck for Biologist: Health
# Biologist Factors
For a particularly dangerous beast, make a versus test using Biologist vs. the beast’s nature, or use a kill or capture conflict. Otherwise, use the following factors:
Catch: one portion of fresh game, three portions of fresh game, six portions of fresh game
Terrain: forest and fields, open ground and rivers, rainforest, mountains, desert
Biologist can also be used to find information about a beast— where it likes to eat, what it eats, what its weapons are and more specifically, in which conflicts it is most dangerous.
Nature: you may read the aspects of a creature’s Nature. Make a versus test between Biologist and the creature’s Nature. Success indicates that you learn the aspects of the creature’s Nature—descriptors, weapons, order of might.
Bestial Habits: its trails, its food or prey, its weapons and nests
A cartographer creates and interprets maps. This skill is essential to adventurers, explorers and caravan masters.
As the cartographer explores, he draws a map. During the game, you need not (and should not) draw a map, instead list the locations and features you have visited. If you can pass a Cartographer skill test then you are considered to have drawn an accurate map of those locations. So long as you possess it, have light to read it and you’re “on the map,” you can describe a location on it and travel to said location without taking time or a test.
If you fail your Cartographer test and the GM imposes a twist, then your map is inaccurate. He may invoke a location-based twist—such as arriving in the wrong location—at his discretion.
Supplies of paper from millers and ink from alchemists are always welcome.
Suggested Help for Cartographer: Researcher, Navigator
Beginner’s Luck for Cartographer: Will
# Cartographer Factors
Area: small area (few rooms, few features), moderate sized area (half a level, a few days travel), large area (dungeon level, whole countryside)
Information: area personally surveyed, information transmitted by notes, information transmitted by word of mouth
A commander is one who understands how to organize, supply and command a force of soldiers for battle. Mercenary captains and conquerors possess this skill.
Suggested Help for Commander: Quartermaster
Beginner’s Luck for Commander: Will
# Commander Factors
For a raid or skirmish, make a versus test between the Commander skills of the opposing leaders.
For other factors, use the following list:
Size of force: small company, battalion, army
Action: choose field of battle, assess enemy strength, goad enemy to battle, prevent troops from rapine or rout, supply troops for battle
A cook prepares meals and preserves food, so every adventuring party needs a cook. Your cook can make that hunger go away when you’re out in the wild, far from home or a cozy pub. They can make bread from a handful of grain or stew from a brace of coneys and wild taters.
Cooks can use supplies from biologists, peasants and scavengers.
Suggested Help for Cook: Chemist, Laborer Beginner’s Luck for Cook: Will
Criminals know all about enterprises that aren’t, strictly speaking, legal. Whether it’s smuggling, counterfeiting, picking pockets or picking locks, criminals can get it done. Criminals are also adept at perceiving other criminals at work.
Criminals can use supplies from carpenters (false panels for smuggling) and smiths (lockpicks).
Suggested Help for Criminal: Scout and Scholar
Beginner’s Luck for Criminal: Health
# Criminal Factors
For smuggling or sleight of hand (including picking pockets), make a versus test against the target’s Criminal skill. If the target does not have the Criminal skill, he may test Will using Beginner’s Luck. For picking locks and counterfeiting, use the following factors:
Picking Locks: simple lock, decent lock or rusted simple lock, rusted decent lock, complex lock, rusted complex lock, masterwork lock
Counterfeiting: coin clipping, cutting simple die stamps, cutting complex die stamps, coins, simple printed material, complex printed material
Escaping from Bonds: rope restraints, leather restraints, metal restraints
Life underground has its own rules. Demolitionist are experts in the unpredictable dynamics of digging and defending in the darkness below.
Demolitionists dig tunnels, collapse them and set traps for the unwary.
Beginner’s Luck: Will
Help: Alchemist, Laborer
Supplies: Sulphur, lumber, grease
# Tunneling Factors
Tunnel Type +Length +Material Crawlway (1) Short (1) Earth (0) Shaft (2) Long (2) Clay (1) Tunnel (3) Stone (2) Sand (3)
# Tunnel Traps Factors
Setting Trap Type Disarming Traps Pit (1) + Material factors Tripwire and open pit (1) Tripwire alarm (2) False floor (2) Deadfall (3) Pressure plate (3) Spear or crossbow mechanism (4) Complex and multipart mechanisms (4) Gas and smoke mechanisms (5) Explosives (5) Explosives (6) Sigils or runes (6)
Derelicteers are experts at exploring caves, dungeons and the ruins of lost civilizations and getting themselves and their companions out alive. They are adept at disarming traps as well as traversing difficult and dangerous underground environments.
Derelicteers can use supplies from carpenters (pulleys and levers), smiths (climbing gear) and weavers (rope).
Suggested Help for Derelicteer: Criminal, Laborer, Scout, Survivalist
Beginner’s Luck for Derelicteer: Health
# Derelicteer Factors
Breadth: one person, two people, a party of adventurers
Traversing: descending or traversing a vertical pitch, ascending a vertical pitch, negotiating a narrow squeeze, negotiating water-filled chambers, negotiating water-filled chambers with a swift current
Detecting Environmental Details: bad/good air, slope, direction
Fabricators make tools—needles, cutting implements, cooking implements and craftsmouse tools— and other hardware like hinges, bearings and nails. Fabricator is not a weapon-making skill.
# Fabricator Factors
Type: Hardware, cooking implements, craftsmice tools, small structures like a gate, large structures like a fence, floor or portcullis
Fighters are trained to use their bodies and weapons to slay men, beasts and monsters. This is the skill of knights, soldiers, bandits, reavers, monster hunters, warrior monks and adventurers.
Suggested Help for Fighter: Fighter
Beginner’s Luck for Fighter: Health
# Fighter Factors
For simple altercations or brawls, use Fighter in versus tests against another character’s Health or Fighter skill. It is also used to Attack and Feint in kill, capture and drive off conflicts.
Haggler is a specialized social skill used for bargaining over prices of goods and services. Haggler is used exclusively in town. Using it allows a roll on a special events table in town.
A haggler can use an abacus or scales created by an alchemist, or forgeries created by a criminal.
Suggested Help for Haggler: Persuader, Manipulator
Beginner’s Luck for Haggler: Will
# Haggler Factors
Use the Haggling Over Prices obstacle listed for your current town as described in the Town chapter.
Laborers are the bulk of the workforce in villages, towns and cities. They gather wood for the carpenters, stone for the masons and metal for the smiths. They dig ditches, carry stuff and generally just do what they are told (until they get rum brave and riot).
Laborer may be used to help the following trade or craft skill tests: Alchemist, Armorer, Carpenter, Cook, Healer, Hunter, Peasant, Pilot, Stonemason, Survivalist and Weaver.
When you hit the big score in a dungeon and have lots of treasure to haul out, laborers are what you need. Anyone can carry a small sack in each hand or a large sack with both hands, but if you’re more overburdened than that, use the factors below.
Suggested Help for Laborer: Laborer
Beginner’s Luck for Laborer: Health
# Laborer Factors
Labor: gathering wood and digging, burning charcoal and cutting stone, mining ore
Carrying Extra Sacks: two small sacks in one hand, a large sack in one hand, two small sacks in each hand, a large sack in each hand
Hauling Items: candlesticks and lamps; chests and boxes; rugs, tapestries and bodies; statues; pianos; armoires and wardrobes; paintings; glass panes and mirrors; thrones; arches; wall paneling; columns
A manipulator uses lies, half-truths, ugly truth, soothing platitudes, seduction and intimidation to get what he wants.
Suggested Help for Manipulator: Persuader
Beginner’s Luck for Manipulator: Will
# Manipulator Factors
To intimidate, defuse, bluff or trick someone, test Manipulator versus your target’s Manipulator, Persuader or Will using Beginner’s Luck (whichever is appropriate). This skill is also used in riddling, convince crowd and convince conflicts for Feint and Maneuver actions.
Mechanists use prayers and chants to draw upon the power of the Immortal Lords and other primal forces to impose their will upon the world. It is the exclusive domain of clerics and creatures that know the secrets of beseeching the Immortal Lords. Use Mechanist to invoke cleric prayers.
Mechanists can use supplies from many professions. See individual prayers for details.
Suggested Help for Mechanist: Mechanist Beginner’s Luck for Mechanist: Will
The healer keeps adventurers whole and healthy.
A healer can take supplies from alchemists, peasants and scavengers in the form of herbs and medicine.
A healer can also create poultices and potions to aid people in recovering from the angry, afraid, exhausted, injured and sick conditions. Poultices grant +1D to recovery tests.
Suggested Help for Medic: Alchemist, Laborer
Beginner’s Luck for Medic: Will
# Medic Factors
Treatment (special): Injured (Ob 3), Sick (Ob 4)
Making Poultices (by condition): exhausted, afraid, sick, injured, angry
A mentor knows how to transmit skills to another character. Using this skill, you can give your student a test for advancement in a skill. You must have the skill you’re teaching at a higher rating than your student.
If your Mentor test is successful, you may give your student a passed or failed test for advancement. It’s your choice. Or grant your student a test toward a skill he’s learning. A successful Mentor test can also be used to teach another character a spell or prayer if that character is capable of learning it.
Suggested Help for Mentor: The skill being taught may be used to help.
Beginner’s Luck for Mentor: Will
# Mentor Factors
The obstacle for instruction is equal to the student’s current Nature rating. If Nature is taxed, use the current value as the obstacle. If it’s untaxed, use the full value.
A pathfinder makes and marks paths through the wilderness to towns and villages, and features like streams, springs, cave mouths, ruins or fields of herbs. Use the Cartographer and Dungeoneer skills to find your way underground.
Navigators can use maps from cartographers as supplies.
Suggested Help for Navigator: Scout, Hunter
Beginner’s Luck for Navigator: Health
# Navigator Factors
Trying to arrive at a destination before another group requires a versus test with the other group. Navigator is used for Feint or Maneuver in chase conflicts and Attack or Feint in Journey conflicts. Otherwise, use the factors listed below to find your way through the wilderness.
Destination: nearby, a short journey, a long journey, remote or isolated
Route: well-traveled, infrequently used, overgrown or washed out, blazing a new trail
An orator makes speeches to sway crowds. This skill isn’t for convincing your friend, it is for moving a group to action.
Orators can benefit from speeches written by scholars and theologians as supplies.
Suggested Help for Orator: Manipulator
Beginner’s Luck for Orator: Will
# Orator Factors
In a versus test, use Orator against Orator and Will (with Beginner’s Luck). You could also use Orator versus Orator to compete with another person to get the attention of a crowd. Orator is also used for Attack and Defend actions in conflicts to convince crowds.
Persuade your friends to act on your behalf. Explain to them why it’s in their best interest. This skill is not for speech-making. You may only use it in small conversations. Neither is it for lying or manipulating.
Suggested Help for Persuader: Manipulator
Beginner’s Luck for Persuader: Will
# Persuader Factors
Persuader is used in versus tests against your opponent’s Persuader, Manipulator or Will (using Beginner’s Luck). It is also used in argument conflicts for Attack and Defend actions.
Physicists are masters of doctrine and the secrets of the Immortal Lords. They know the cosmology of the heavens and the hells, the ranks of the angels and demons, and even their hidden names.
Physicists may use records and holy books from scholars.
Suggested Help for Physicist: Researcher Beginner’s Luck for Physicist: Will
# Physicist Factors
Physicist may be used to memorize cleric prayers when leaving camp or town. The obstacle is 8 minus Will. See the Magic and Miracles chapter for details.
Doctrine: common doctrine, obscure doctrine, foreign doctrine, secret doctrine
Entity (start counting at 2): lesser spirit, greater spirit, Immortal Lord
Disposition: benign, malign, indifferent
Cosmology: Near Reaches (Aether, Faerie, Dry Lands), Middle Reaches (Astral Ocean, City of Pearl, Terminus, Citadel of Law), Far Reaches (Heavens, Hells, the Abyss)
A sailor can use his knowledge to navigate coasts and waterways.
Suggested Help for Pilot: Laborer, Pathfinder, Survivalist
Beginner’s Luck for Pilot: Health
# Pilot Factors
Size: single-person craft, two-person craft, small group craft, cargo ship, ship of the line
Location: known waters, charted waters, uncharted waters
Season (summer is free): spring, fall, winter
Weather (typical is base): unusual, extraordinary, Ragnarok
A steward manages estates, businesses, towns, cities, baronies and kingdoms. This skill is used by judges, stewards, guildmasters, merchants, spymasters, abbots, bishops, and powerful lords and ladies to oversee an organization or its rules and laws. Use this skill to write laws, account for taxes, rents and tithes, allocate funds for projects, file reports and distribute resources.
Quartermasters can use supplies in the form of records and documents from scholars.
Suggested Help for Quartermaster: Researcher, Orator, Physicist Beginner’s Luck for Quartermaster: Will
# Quartermaster Factors
Activity: chronicling, hiring help, collecting rents and tithes, budgeting, overseeing works and projects, organizing fetes and balls
A scavenger can find useful bits and materials. He can also forage for sustenance no matter where he is in the wild.
Suggested Help for Scavenger: Scavenger or Scout
Beginner’s Luck for Scavenger: Health
# Scavenger Foraging Factors
Forage: one portion of forage, two portions of forage, three portions of forage
Forage Terrain: forests and fields, rocky ground and swamps, open ground and rivers, desert or tundra, mountain above treeline
# Scavenging Factors
Dungeon Scavenged Items: some dirt or sand, small rocks, wreckage suitable for a small fire and large rocks, rusty metal fittings, wooden beams, oil, something useful
Wilderness Scavenged Items: natural but useful like a good piece of wood or flint; natural but uncommon like vines, gourds, salt, or resin (for aiding in building something); herbs and minerals; man-made items like trash, cast-off, flotsam and debris; a man-made tool or implement
Town Scavenged Items: debris, rags, soiled old clothing and spoiled food, rusty tools, paper, discarded weapons
A scout is adept at spotting and tracking monsters on the prowl, sneaking behind enemy lines, trailing targets and finding hidden things. Scouts also excel at not being seen.
Scout is not used to find trails or navigate dungeon features. Those obstacles are overcome using Navigator and Derelicteer respectively.
Suggested Help for Scout: Navigator, Hunter Beginner’s Luck for Scout: Will
# Scout Factors
Scout is almost always used as a versus test: Scout versus Nature or Scout versus Scout.
If looking for evidence or some other unassuming object, use the following factors:
Size of Object: big, person-sized, small, tiny Location: location known, location roughly known, location is “in that direction over there”
Scout is also very useful for spotting traps. Use the following factors:
Spotting Trap Triggers (start counting at 2): obvious trap (i.e., a lock inside a carved demon’s maw with a hinged jaw and gleaming serrated teeth), concealed trap (i.e., a tripwire or pit), subtle trap (i.e., pressure plate), devious trap (i.e., a chamber filled with odorless poisonous gas)
Stonemasons cut stone and use it to make walls, bridges, arches and buildings.
Stonemasons are always in need of good tools from smiths to make their work easier.
Suggested Help for Stonemason: Laborer
Beginner’s Luck for Stonemason: Health
# Stonemason Factors
Complexity: simple structure like a wall, moderately complex like a column, complex like an arch, reinforced like fortifications
Size: small like a bench, moderately-sized like a wall, big like a foundation or a house
Surveying: age, maker, sturdiness
Competent survivalists know how to make shelters, find water, build fires and jury-rig tools. A survivalist can also read the weather and judge when it will be safe to travel and when to wait it out.
Suggested Help for Survivalist: Biologist Beginner’s Luck for Survivalist: Health
# Survivalist Factors
Action: emergency shelter or locating a potable water source, starting a fire in bad conditions, emergency tool- making, jury-rigging a boat
Making Camp: typical, unsafe, dangerous
Camp Amenities (choose all that apply in order; increase obstacle by one for each chosen): shelter, water source, concealment
Breadth (only use this factor for more than one person): the adventuring party, a large group
Weather-Watching (start counting at 2): rain showers, snow and high winds, storms and hail, blizzards, apocalyptic weather
A Technician draws upon will and knowledge to command the elements and shape raw aether. It is the exclusive domain of magicians and mystical creatures. Use Technician to cast spells.
Technicians can use supplies from many professions. See individual spells for details.
Suggested Help for Technician: Theorist Beginner’s Luck for Technician: Will
Lore masters are the keepers of arcane knowledge and the deep mysteries. A lore master may plumb the secrets of the natural world to understand the workings of magician spells, recall forgotten lore and read auras (in combination with the Supernal Vision spell).
Suggested Help for Theorist: Scholar
Beginner’s Luck for Theorist: Will
# Theorist Factors
Learn Spells: Theorist is used to learn arcane spells. See individual spell descriptions for obstacles and factors.
Recall Lore: fairy and folk tales, curses and halfbreeds, enchanted places and magical phenomena, magical and arcane symbols
Read Auras (requires Supernal Vision spell): recognizing a First Circle spell or the aspects of a Level 1 magic item, recognizing a second circle spell or the nature of a Level 2 magic item, recognizing a third circle spell or the nature of a Level 3 magic item, recognizing a Fourth Circle spell or the nature of a Level 4 magic item or potent artifact, recognizing a Fifth Circle spell or the nature of a god-like artifact