ZeFRS

Talents and Weaknesses

Accident Prone (Weakness)

Bad luck dogs your character's steps. Every time you roll a 99 or 00 on a resolution check, some disaster befalls her - her weapon may break, she may read a warning as an invitation, she may lose her grip and fall on the person below her while climbing a wall, and so on.

Acrobatics

Talent Pool: Prowess

This Talent is used for any sort of athletic or gymnastic movement, such as vaulting an obstacle, leaping a gap, or walking a tightrope.

Alchemy

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Prerequisites: Arcane Languages, Herbalism

This Talent is used to create magical compounds, whether they be potions, powders, magical alloys, or gases. Three months of study are required to learn Alchemy. The student must also select a Magical Weakness. Some representative items that can be produced using Alchemy include:

Animal Aversion (Weakness)

Something about characters with this weakness is inherently unsettling to animals and humans who possess the Animal Senses Talent. Any such animal or person within 10 feet of your character instantly becomes nervous, skittish and irritable.

Those who suffer from Animal Aversion suffer a two-column penalty on reaction checks when dealing with characters who have the Animal Senses Talent. A character who has Animal Aversion cannot learn Animal Handling or Natural Magic.

Animal Handling

Talent Pool: Perception

Animal Handling allows a character to train and command animals. It it used for resolution checks involving riding mounts or driving draft animals. It also allows a character to train an animal to obey simple commands, if the animal is reared from birth and taught for a period of at least one year. The trainer may still travel and adventure so long as the animal in training goes along.

Animal Handling is a prerequisite of the Natural Magic Talent.

Animal Reflexes

Talent Pool: Prowess

Your character has amazing cat-like reflexes. The Combat section explains how this Talent is applied.

Animal Senses

Talent Pool: Insight

Characters with this Talent possess senses that are far sharper than a normal human's. They get a bonus advantage level in combat, sleep so lightly that they spring fully awake in the blink of an eye, and are sensitive to the presence of individuals who suffer from Animal Aversion. They also gain a +2 column shift on all Tracking, Trapping, or Danger Sense resolution checks.

Arcane Languages

Talent Pool: Knowledge

The Arcane Languages Talent represents study of the long-forgotten tongues in which tomes of arcane knowledge are invariably written. It is used whenever a character attempts to read a text dealing with magic. The degree of success on the Arcane Languages resolution check represents how well the reader grasps the meaning of the text. Incomplete or, worse yet, faulty understanding can have very grave consequences indeed.

All magical Talents have Arcane Languages as a prerequisite .

Artisan

Talent Pool: Perception

Characters with this talent are trained in pottery, weaving, painting, or sculpture. They may also appraise items from their craft. Each craft must be taken as a separate Talent. Make a resolution check to determine the quality of each item the character makes. A failure indicates that the product is a piece of junk; a heroic success means a masterpiece.

Berserk

Talent Pool: Insight

Berserks are filled with a mighty battle rage that enables them to ignore the effects of ordinary wounds. Specific wounds still cause their normal effects. A character with the Berserk Talent does not need to make resolution checks to stay conscious when his Damage rating drops to 0 or below. Instead, he fights on unimpeded until his Damage rating reaches the inverse of his Berserk rating.

Jackal the Reaver's vision fills with red mist as he lays about him with his broadsword. Jackal's Berserk rating is 5; he fights undaunted until his Damage rating reaches -5.

Unfortunately for the Berserk, once his Damage rating falls to that point, he drops dead.

To enter a Berserk state, the character must make a resolution check against his Berserk rating and get a total or heroic success. To leave the Berserk state, he must get a total or heroic success on a resolution check against his current Damage rating (!). Those who fail to leave the Berserk state keep on fighting even if the only people left standing are allies. If the Berserk's Damage rating is negative when he leaves the Berserk state, he falls unconscious.

Blacksmith

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Those who have this talent can forge metal tools, weapons, and armor. They cannot, however, create artistic items or work precious metals. Blacksmiths must have access to smithing tools to work metal. They can also evaluate the quality and workmanship of non-precious metalwork, especially in iron and steel.

Brawling

Talent Pool: Fighting

Brawling is a catchall Talent used for fistfighting, bashing opponents with chairs, battering them with mugs, and so on. See Combat for a more complete explanation of brawling.

Carpentry

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Given the proper tools and materials, your character can build virtually any wooden item, from furniture to sailing vessels. The degree of success on the carpentry resolution check determines the quality of the resulting product. She can also identify various types of woods and knows their places of origin.

How long it takes to build a given item is up to the referee. Several carpenters may be able to work together on a large project; some may be impossible for a single carpenter to accomplish.

Climbing

Talent Pool: Prowess

Your character is practiced in climbing all types of surfaces.

Color Blind (Weakness)

Your character has very limited ability to distinguish one color from another. This weakness has no rating, but will make any task requiring identifying items by color impossible. It may also have some negative social consequences, such as an inability to put together an tasteful set of clothes.

Damage

Talent Pool: Endurance

Damage is the measure of how much injury your character can withstand before running the risk of dying. For a complete explanation, see Combat.

Danger Sense

Talent Pool: Insight

Your character's awareness is so keen that he can sense impending danger. Whenever she is threatened by a hidden enemy or trap, the referee makes a resolution check against her Danger Sense. On any degree of success, the character feels a vague sense of menace. Danger Sense provides a moment's warning but nothing identifying the nature of the threat. Characters who also have the Animal Senses talent receive a +2 column shift on their Danger Sense check.

Directional Sense

Talent Pool: Insight

Your character has an innate sense of which way north lies. He can make a resolution check against this talent to find his way when he has become lost.

Disfigurement (Weakness)

Those with this weakness have been scarred or otherwise mutilated, either by injury or as a side effect of their magical studies. Sorcerous disfigurements are often strange warpings of the body such as shrivelled limbs, bizarre scarring, eye discoloration or loss, transformation of hands or feet into claws or hooves, and so on. Disfigurements are permanent and always blatant, but can be hidden with some work. Characters with disfigurements also suffer some social disadvantages.

Distrusted (Weakness)

A Distrusted character has an unshakeable aura of untrustworthiness. Long hours of probing arcane secrets have subtly warped his personality and demeanor. A reaction check on meeting an NPC can never elicit a generous or friendly response. People may help the distrusted character, but they will never be at ease around him.

Endurance Loss (Weakness)

Study of the dark arts has sapped your character's physical and psychic vigor. Each Talent in the Endurance Talent Pool loses 2 points. Thereafter, it costs 3 points to increase an Endurance Talent by 1 point, and 10 points to purchase a new Endurance Talent.

Fame

Talent Pool: Perception

Fame measures a character's renown. For an explanation of fame is earned and can be used, see Improvement and Goals.

Fear of Animals (Weakness)

Characters who suffer from Fear of Animals are so terrified that they will avoid any animal if at all possible. To handle or even closely approach an animal, they must make a successful resolution check against Will or General Endurance. Failure means their fear prevents them from coming near the creature. This restriction does not, however, apply to monsters. Characters with this fear cannot learn Animal Handling or Natural Magic.

Fear of Heights (Weakness)

Your character's fear of heights is so strong that she must make a successful resolution check against Will or General Endurance to continue to act when at a great height or forced to climb. Failure means she is frozen in fear and must rely on someone else to help her budge from the spot. Characters with Fear of Heights cannot learn Climbing.

Fear of Magic (Weakness)

Characters with Fear of Magic must make a successful resolution check against Will or General Endurance to pick up any item they know to be magical. Whenever confronted by a sorceror or magical monster, they must make a successful resolution check or flee/freeze in their tracks, as the player chooses. Those with Fear of Magic cannot learn any of the magical Talents.

Fear of Water (Weakness)

Your character so fears bodies of water that he must make a successful resolution check against Will or General Endurance to enter the water or even board a vessel. He will never travel by water for longer than one day unless forced. It is impossible for him to learn Swimming or Sailing.

Foppish (Weakness)

Foppish characters are obsessed with fashion. They may spend their last coin on a hat, wedge themselves into ridiculous hose for the sake of style, or pass over boots in favor of more attractive pair of sandals that are utterly worthless for the twenty-mile march they're about to undertake. They will do their level best to keep their outfits pristine, avoiding such messy activities as battle whenever possible. They also tend to put on airs, which does make them the center of attention but unfortunately nets them a -1 column shift of all resolution checks for NPC reaction.

Forgery

Talent Pool: Perception

Your character may produce and detect forgeries (including writings and works of art). After the character attempts either to make or to detect a forgery, the referee should make a secret Resolution check. A white result indicates failure that is immediately apparent to your character. A green result indicates failure but your character will think it a success. Any other color equals success. Your character should not be advised of the degree of his success unless the result is white or red.

Gambler (Weakness)

A gambler is always ready for a game of chance. Whenever she's presented with the opportunity to take part in a wager but has reason to prefer not to, she must make a successful resolution check against Will or General Endurance to decline. (If she's willing to play, there's no need to check.) Once she has begun playing, she must make another successful resolution check to stop. The check may be modified according to the situation. After all, it's so hard to walk away from a hot streak...

There are limits to her susceptibility; she won't drop her sword and start dicing in the middle of a fight, for instance, although she might lay odds on the outcome even as she's hacking away. A gambler will bet on just about any situation whose outcome can be in doubt. Needless to say, this makes it hard for her to save a store of money.

Glutton (Weakness)

A glutton eats at every opportunity. He always has a little something to snack on with him, and must make a successful resolution check against Will or General Endurance to pass up an offer of food. His resultant girth means he can only wear custom-made clothing and armor, and he is of course much heavier than most other people.

Goldsmith

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Your character is trained in working gold and crafting jewelry. She can identify and evaluate gems and pieces of jewelry, and can craft new items given the proper equipment and sufficient time. The quality of the resulting piece is determined by the degree of success obtained on a resolution check against this Talent.

Herbalism

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Those who have studied herbalism can identify and know the uses of various plants. This Talent can be used to identify poisonous and edible plants, prepare poultices that increase a character's rate of healing by 1 point per day, derive mild plant-based poisons, and brew teas to relieve pain, restore energy, and so on. Herbal brews can provide only minor relief and require some time to take effect.

Herbalists who also have the Medicine or Survival Talents receive a +2 column shift on resolution checks using those Talents.

Herbalism is a prerequisite for Alchemy and Natural Magic.

Hypnotism

Talent Pool: Insight

Hypnotism allows your character to make compelling suggestions. The user and subject must have 10 uninterrupted minutes in comfortable, quiet and dim surroundings, at the end of which the hypnotist makes a resolution check against his Hypnotism rating minus the subject's Will or General Endurance rating. Success means the hypnotist can implant a suggestion. The suggestion must be short and simple; it cannot be complex, self-destructive or obviously counter to the subject's interests ("OK soldier - go flip off Captain Barselius!" is right out).

The hypnotist may attempt to make any number of suggestions, but must make a successful resolution for each one. Failure means the subject refuses the suggestion. All suggestions wear off 24 hours after being implanted. The subject is fully aware of having been hypnotised unless a suggestion was made that he forget.

Hypnotism is a prerequisite for Mind Control.

Information

Talent Pool: Insight

Prerequisites: Arcane Languages, Lore

The Information Talent is the province of soothsayers and seers. It gives knowledge of distant or future events. It takes only one month of study to learn the Information Talent, but the student must take a magical weakness and become a priest of a setting-appropriate deity.

Information magic include such spells as:

Clairvoyance: seeing distant events.
Clairaudience: hearing distant events.
Prediction: foreknowledge of near-future events.
Prophecy: foreknowledge of weighty events in the near or distant future.
Spiritual Advice: petitioning a deity for knowledge or advice.

The knowledge gained through Information spells is always cryptic or fragmentary. Events foreseen are not inevitable; they are the outcome of the current situation. Human agency is required to cause the event, and is capable of preventing it.

Language

Talent Pool: Knowledge

A rating of 1-10 in a foreign language represents basic knowledge of that language. A rating of 11-20 indicates competence, and a rating of 21 or greater represents fluency in the language. The referee may ask for a resolution check against your rating in a language to see whether you misunderstand a speaker or convey a meaning other than the one you intended. Your rating in a language can only be increased when your character has had a chance to practice speaking it.

Lockpicking

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Given the proper tools, your character can open any lock with a successful resolution check against this Talent. It may also be possible to improvise tools.

Lore

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Your character is versed in the ancient history of the world. She can make a resolution check against her Lore rating to glean a bit of information about a historical item, place, person or event.

Madness (Weakness)

The terrible secrets your character has unearthed in his quest for forbidden knowledge have begun to loosen his grip on reality. Every day there is a cumulative 1% chance that he will be struck by a fit of madness (so he will without fail go temporarily mad at least every 100 days). When it comes, the fit lasts for 1-10 hours, during which time he will run wild, liable to do or say anything. At the end of the fit, the chance of another fit begins at 1% and slowly climbs as before.

Magic Endurance

Talent Pool: Endurance

This is a measure of your character's ability to resist the influence of spells or magical effects. See Magic for an explanation of its use.

Magic Sense

Talent Pool: Insight

On a successful resolution check against this Talent, your character becomes instinctively aware of magical items, people or creatures in her surroundings. She gains no specific information about the magic; she only feels its presence.

Medicine

Talent Pool: Perception

A character trained in Medicine can heal humans and animals alike. He can bandage injuries, concoct medicines, treat infections and cure diseases. A successful resolution check against Medicine doubles the patient's healing rate. However, only one check may be made per patient for each batch of wounds or conditions.

Minstrel

Talent Pool: Perception

Those with the Minstrel talent can provide a range of entertainments: song, epic poetry, instrumental music, dance, juggling, and so on. They can earn 1-2 silver coins a day by performing. Since nearly all doors are open to minstrels, they are also frequently hired as spies. A character who has the Minstrel Talent gains a +2 column shift when using Lore or Mind Control.

Mind Control

Talent Pool: Insight

Prerequisites: Arcane Languages, Hypnotism

Mind Control is used to cast spells that create illusions or dominate the thoughts of others. Learning Mind Control requires six months of study and imposes a magical weakness on the student. The caster of a Mind Control spell must be able to make eye contact with its target. Some typical Mind Control spells are:

Use of Mind Control spells is explained more fully in the Magic section.

Miserly (Weakness)

Your character is a skinflint who spends as little as possible. She buys the cheapest equipment, eats the most meager meals, and stays in the cruftiest dives available. She hoards every coin she acquires and will certainly never lend money to anyone else. Unfortunately, her habit of squirreling away large amounts of lucre makes her a prime target for enterprising thieves...

Movement

Talent Pool: Prowess

Movement rating is a measure of both foot speed and agility in combat. The Talent's uses are explained under Combat and Movement.

Natural Magic

Talent Pool: Insight

Prerequisites: Animal Handling, Animal Senses, Herbalism

Natural Magic is the most ancient of the magical arts, dealing with animals and the wilderness. Its teachings are never written, but rather passed orally from instructor to student. What few symbols it uses are carven in the rock of secret caves and grottoes.

Those who would learn Natural Magic must study for one year in the wilderness, communing directly with the fauna and flora. A teacher is not necessary; it is possible to learn the basics of this art through observation and meditation. However, spells of moderate or difficult level can only be learned by those who are clergy of a nature god. Students must select a magical weakness other than Animal Aversion.

Typical Natural Magic spells include :

Most NPCs who practice Natural Magic will live in remote forests, tending members of the tribe and wild animals.

Navigation

Talent Pool: Knowledge

The Navigation Talent allows characters to chart their course by the stars. On any mostly cloudless night they may make a resolution check against their Navigation rating. Any degree of success means they have found their bearing; failure means they only think they have. In this case, the referee will randomly determine the direction in which the characters are actually travelling.

Necromancy

Talent Pool: Perception

Prerequisites: Arcane Languages, Lore, Medicine

Necromancy is the blackest of the magical arts. It is akin to Summoning, for its purpose is to reach out and draw upon the invisible. However, it is fundamentally different. While Summoning attempts to reach beyond the confines of this world and bring alien creatures into it, Necromancy attempts to rebind the dispersed energies of this world for the purposes of preservation, knowledge, and animation. Its practice is a heinous crime in all lands but those which routinely practice sorcery. Restraint is needed, for Necromancy is second in danger only to Summoning. The simpler spells of preservation and knowledge do not carry as much inherent risk, but the restructuring and animation of the dead is fraught with peril. The purpose of such spells is to bring back from the dead animals, monsters, or people. Unless the Necromancer exercises care, his animations may turn on him and the world. One year of study is required before a character can attempt any spells, and a character must choose a magical weakness. Necromancy is a draining art. Each time a character attempts to cast a spell he loses 1 point from his Damage Talent even if the spell is not successful. The loss is permanent. The following spells are typical of the type that may be learned:

*A small part of the original creature or object must be obtained (feather, hair, dust) or an accurate likeness of the creature.

**A large part of the original creature must be obtained.

***May be cast on self or other, but may only be attempted once per year. Success adds 10 years to the subject's life, but cuts all Endurance Talents in half immediately and permanently (although lost points may be slowly renewed through the gaining of new talent points).

Each time an animation of an animal or monster is successful, the Necromancer can control that creature for one service of limited duration. After the service is performed, the creature returns to its previous form. Animated humans also perform one service the first time they are animated, but if the same human is reanimated, he is hostile toward the Necromancer unless some form of coercion (such as mind control) is employed. A reanimated human attempts to destroy the Necromancer and escape into the world to live a new life. Animations have talent ratings equal in all respects (including spells) to those they possessed before death except that their Stamina rating is halved and they are invulnerable to poisons. Animated creatures may be dematerialized at the Necromancer's will. Human animations attempt to resist dematerialization, however, opposing the Necromancer's Will with their own. Any time a white result indicates failure for a spell of Difficult complexity, a magical fire (rating 25) engulfs the room. The Necromancer should be allowed to escape or quench the fire. His spell components may, however, be damaged. Necromancy's need for components from the original creature forces the character on quests for various tombs, should he wish to animate or question someone of ancient repute.

Night Blind (Weakness)

Characters with this weakness have very poor low-light vision. They are blind by starlight and cannot learn Navigation. They also suffer a -2 column shift when doing at night anything that requires vision.

Nocturnal (Weakness)

Your character has has delved so long into secrets that may only be spoken of by night that he has himself become a creature of the night. When the sun is down, he is full of energy and will not sleep. By day, he is lethargic and groggy if not actually asleep. He is dazzled by sunlight, so much so that he suffers a -2 column shift on task that involves vision when in broad daylight.

Observation

Talent Pool: Perception

Your character is both extremely perceptive and quick at putting facts together. She has a keen eye for detail and is skilled at following others undetected. Observation may be used in three main ways:

  1. to spot a minute or hidden detail, or to recall a crucial bit of information;
  2. to notice someone following you; or
  3. to follow someone without being noticed.

To find something hidden or recall a point of information, make a resolution check against your Observation rating.

To detect the presence of someone following you, the referee makes a resolution check against the pursuer's Observation or General Perception rating minus your Observation rating. To shadow someone, make a resolution check against your Observation rating minus the target's Observation or General Perception.

Obsession (Weakness)

The effects of this weakness are explained in the Magic section.

Personal Magnetism

Talent Pool: Insight

A character with Personal Magnetism is a born commander. He possesses a charm, dynamic personality, or ferocious energy that draws people to him automatically. All NPC reaction checks receive a +2 column shift bonus.

The forceful presence of a character with Personal Magnetism means no one is every neutral toward him; he is either worshipped in the ranks or despised. Any neutral reaction on an NPC reaction check is shifted toward the nearest strong reaction. An NPC who was simply accommodating will become actively helpful; one who was unfriendly will become hostile.

The character's force of personality may be such that NPCs are too intimidated to show their reaction openly. They may admire him from afar or secretly nuture a festering hate. Thus a character with Personal Magnetism is prone to suddenly discovering previously unknown allies and enemies.

Phobia (Weakness)

A phobia is a fear so debilitating that the phobic character must roll a heroic success on a resolution check against her Will or General Endurance rating to resist the urge to flee from the object of the phobia. A character can have a phobia of just about anything - cats, beards, blood (particularly inconvenient for a barbarian mercenary), night, foreigners, bridges, and so on - that you and your referee agree on.

Physical Laws

Talent Pool: Perception

As magical arts go, Physical Laws is among the least dreaded because it can be used for the good of the people. Those who study Physical Laws gain the ability to bring about changes in the forces of nature. Some representative uses of this Talent include:

Picking Pockets

Talent Pool: Perception

Your character is a trained cutpurse. On any degree of success on a resolution check against his Picking Pockets rating, he can pinch small items without being noticed. Ordinary failure simply means he has failed to grasp his object. On a roll of 95-100, however, his attempt at theft was detected.

Poison Endurance

Talent Pool: Endurance

This is a measure of your character's ability to resist the effects of poison. See the Hazards section for an explanation of this talent.

Rash (Weakness)

A rash character is prone to leap into action without forethought. She is hot-tempered and cares little for analysis. Further, she can never choose to Wait in combat.

Reading/Writing

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Your character is literate in a given language. Make a resolution check against this rating to read a text in that language.

Sailing

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Your character is a trained sailor and steersman. He can control vessels in rough water or high seas with a successful resolution check against his Sailing rating.

Siegecraft/Engineering

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Your character is trained in the design, construction and deployment of engines of war. She can direct troops in the use of seige engines and supervise tunneling under walls. On a successful resolution check against this Talent, sappers under her guidance can collapse fortifications.

Sleight of Hand

Talent Pool: Prowess

Your character is adept at concealing and manipulating objects with his hands. He is able to make small objects seemingly disappear, to juggle, and to cheat at games of chance. Your character's chance of successfully cheating is determined by subtracting his opponent's Observation (or General Perception) rating from his Sleight of Hand (or General Prowess) rating.

Stamina

Talent Pool: Endurance

Stamina is a measure of raw ability to keep at a physically or mentally strenuous task. See Movement for an explanation of its use.

Strength

Talent Pool: Prowess

A character can lift 100 pounds plus 10 pounds for every point of Strength he possesses. Strength rating also has some applications in Combat.

Summoning

Talent Pool: Perception

Prerequisites: Arcane Languages, Lore

Summoning is the most dread and dangerous of magical arts. Those who dare probe its secrets learn to rend the veil that separates this world from other, uncanny realities and call forth the dwellers in those mad, horrifying realms. These unwholeseome creatures, often referred to as demons by mortal men, possess strange physical and mental powers because of their alien origin. Once the summoner has brought the creature into our world, he may then attempt to impose his will upon it. Should he fail, the consequences are dire indeed.

Summoning is the hardest to learn of any magical Talent. A wizard must study for two years before he may even attempt a summoning. The wizard must also take a magical weakness. Furthermore, every time the wizard learns to summon a new creature, he must take an additional magical weakness. This may be a new one, or the same as the one previously taken (in which case its effect becomes more severe - disfigurement becomes more terrible, animal aversion grows more extreme, and so on).

Each summoning spell summons a single type of creature and no other. The creature's abilities are determined by its form. For example, a winged demon could fight, carry messages, or stand guard, but not swim, burrow, or assume the form of a human. When your character learns a new summoning spell, you describe what you would like the summoned creature to be able to do. The referee then sets the difficulty level of summoning the creature. Some sample difficulties follow:

Simple
A creature that can perform a single non-combat action, e.g. transporting the summoner, delivering a message, tracking a quarry, or locating an item.
Moderate
A creature that fights with claws, fangs or weapons, can follow simple instructions, can operate semi-independently, can relate lost knowledge, strikes fear in the summoner's enemies, or will stand guard for a short time.
Difficult
A creature that fights using supernatural powers, will stand guard for a long time, can track and kill a target without fail, can teach its summoner a new spell, can assume the likeness of a specific individual, can serve as the summoner's advisor, or can imprison a person in perpetuity.

Summoning is time consuming and costly. A summoner must track down rare and hard-to-obtain material components - magic powders, directions for drawing blasphemous symbols, noisesome incenses to be burnt in jewel-encrused braziers. It is also incredibly physically taxing. Every time your character attempts to cast a summoning spell he takes one point of damage. This wound is permanent, cannot be healed (although you may still spend Talent points to increase your Damage Endurance rating), and is inflicted whether the summoning is successful or not.

Summoning is only half the job; the summoner must still convince the creature to do his will. Simple-level creatures will do a service in return for freedom to return to their own world. Moderate- and difficult-level creatures, however, give themselves more credit. Unless the summoner can threaten them with instant destruction (no mean feat itself), he must have something to offer the creature that it wants. It may accept a rare or magical item, but more likely it will demand a very personal price from the summoner - anything from an eye, to a service in exchange, to title to the summoner's soul. Whatever the price, it will mark the summoner as set apart - and increasingly different in nature - from ordinary humans.

Ordinary failure means that no creature appears. On a roll of 95-00, however, the summoner has made a critical error in casting and the creature enters the world out of control. It will immediately attack the summoner, either to kill him or carry him screaming back to the horrible netherworld from which it came. It never tires, it never gives up, and it will not stop until the summoner - or it - is dead.

Survival

Talent Pool: Knowledge

This talent lets your character live off the land in one of four types of terrain: desert, jungle, arctic, and forest/plains. Survival in each type of terrain must be taken separately. Once a day, a successful resolution check against this Talent provides one day's food and water (even in the desert) plus shelter from the elements[1].

Swimming

Talent Pool: Prowess

The Swimming Talent is used to determine how quickly your character can swim, as well as her ability to avoid drowning in rough water. See Movement for a full explanation.

Taciturn (Weakness)

Your character is ridiculously tight-lipped. It's a rare day on which he uses a sentence of more than three words, and it's virtually unheard-of for him to initiate conversation. His extreme reluctance to speak unfortunately means he never volunteers information without being asked.

Telepathy

Talent Pool: Insight

Telepathy allows direct mental communication. Those who have mastered this Talent may both send and receive thoughts, but only to characters/creatures that also have telepathy. Use of telepathy requires five minutes of stillness and concentration. On a successful resolution check, telepathy users can send or receive a message. On a heroic success, the telepath may filch information from an unwilling mind, although the thoughts so collected are usually jumbled and unclear.

Characters who possess both Telepathy and Mind Control Talents receive a +1 column shift on all Mind Control resolution checks.

Throwing

Talent Pool: Prowess

This talent is used when throwing an object or weapon for accuracy or to cause damage.

Tone Deaf (Weakness)

A character who is tone deaf cannot tell musical tones apart and perceives very little difference in vocal pitches. This leaves him with a flat, monotonous speaking voice and an utter inability to sing. He cannot learn the Minstrel Talent and suffers a -2 column shift when making an NPC reaction check or attempting to use a Mind Control spell.

Tracking

Talent Pool: Perception

This Talent is used to follow a quarry through the wilds. A successful resolution check means that the tracker has found some trace of the person or creature sought and may follow it. The check suffers a -1 column shift for every hour the trail is old. The referee may apply additional negative or positive modifiers for inclement weather, a large number of beings travelling together, bloodstains, unyielding ground, and so on.

Transmutation

Talent Pool: Insight

Transmutation magic is used to alter shape or substance. It can be used to change a person's appearance, animate statues, turn stones to chunks of ice, and so on. One year of study is required to learn transmutation. The student must also select a magical weakness. Typical transmutation spells include:

Transformation spells are very draining. Every time a magician tries to cast one he suffers a point of damage. This loss is permanent and cannot be healed.

Trapping

Talent Pool: Knowledge

Your character is skilled in building, siting, setting and baiting traps for small- to mid-size game. She also knows how to set up and manage a trapline. She can prepare traps and snares that will capture creatures up to the size of a human. With help, she can ready pit traps for large creatures.

Each time your character readies a trap, the referee makes a resolution check against your trapping rating. On any degree of success, the trap functions as intended and catches the prey.

This Talent may also be used to find hidden traps and snares with a successful resolution check. This applies only to wilderness traps, however, not indoor traps (such as rigged flagstones that trigger a volley of crossbow bolts).

Two-Weapon Fighting

Talent Pool: Fighting

Your character is trained to fight effectively with a weapon in each hand. Although the most common combination is a dagger and small sword, any two one-handed weapons can be used. See Combat for an explanation of how two-weapon fighting is used.

Weakness to Drink (Weakness)

Characters who suffer a weakness to drink must make a resolution check against their Will or General Endurance rating to pass up a chance to drink alcohol. Once they have begun to drink, they must make a resolution check to stop. They get a chance to check after finishing each drink.

For each drink downed, a drinker must make a resolution check against his Stamina or General Endurance rating. If the check succeeds, he suffers no effects. If the check fails, however, all the drinker's ratings are temporarily reduced by 1. When the drinker's Stamina or General Endurance reaches 0, he passes out. Characters who began with no Stamina rating and a General Endurance of 0 are out cold after their first failed check. Once the drinker stops drinking, either by force of will or due to unconsciousness, his ratings return to normal at the rate of 1 point for each full hour he does not drink.

Weakness to Women/Men (Weakness)

Characters with this weakness are particularly susceptible to the charms of their preferred gender. (Which that is is up to the player.)[2] When presented with a possible romantic liaison, they must make a successful resolution check against their Will or General Endurance to decline. They must also make a successful check to turn down requests or pleas for assistance, not just from NPCs but from other PCs of the appropriate gender!

Weapon

Talent Pool: Fighting

Your character is trained in the use of a particular weapon. See Combat for an explanation of the use of this skill.

Weather Sense

Talent Pool: Insight

Once per day, your character can make a resolution check to foretell weather conditions for the next 24 hours. This includes type and general amount of precipitation ("heavy rain comin'", not "I'm sensing scattered snow showers, 1 to 2 inches of accumulation..."), and wind speed and direction. Usually she can only use this Talent once per day, but if a sudden change is brewing she may make another.

Will

Talent Pool: Endurance

A character's Will Talent is used to resist external influences or pressures and internal compulsions or weaknesses. Will is used to resist various weaknesses, as well as the effects of certain magic.

Wrestling

Talent Pool: Fighting

Your character is trained in grappling, throwing, locking and pinning opponents. See Combat for an explanation of how to use this skill.

1. The original rules don't specify whether this means sustenance and shelter just for the character with the Talent, or for the character and all her companions. Stingier refs may want require survivalists to make a roll for each person for whom they need to find food and water.

2. Looking back 22 years later it's amazing to see just how far ahead of its time the Conan game was in some respects. The possibility that a character could prefer either gender is simply noted without judgment or further commentary.