Secondary Abilities

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Why the errata: 2nd edition introduced the idea of secondary skills: They were defined as skills that were less applicable than "regular" skills, and could therefore be bought more cheaply. In practice, a secondary skill was any skill that wasn't on the character sheet.

It became clear that many of these "secondary skills" are just as general than those included in the standard set. Each of White-Wolf's parallel games (Mage, Werewolf, etc.) have their own slightly different set of perfectly legitimate "standard" skills. 3rd edition dropped the concept, and it hasn't been picked up again. Instead, the most current rules require that all skills, no matter how specialized, cost the same basic amount.

Several "alternate" skills, such as dreaming, meditation, and memory have become important (perhaps vital) in our game, however, and some characters have bought others like seduction and game-play.

There has always been a certain amount of overlap between some skills, and some things are extremely narrow, but not adequately covered by general skills. For instance Dark Ages and Modern rules use different skills to accurately place a lightning bolt: One uses firearms while the other uses archery. Both are equally legitimate (or perhaps illegitimate), but archery certainly cannot be used to accurately fire a gun. Perhaps a specific skill, such as visual estimation could be used instead.

The rule: If a character chooses to buy a more specific skill, he must pay the full experience price to do so. However, there is an advantage: Depending on how specific the skill is, the character rolls at a reduced difficulty compared to someone who is using the general skill.

For example: Enigmas is a general skill that covers puzzles of all sorts. It can be used to play games, unravel puzzles, and discern tactics (among other things.) Thus, the standard opposed roll for playing Chess is Intelligence + enigmas = 6. If a character chooses to specialize in game-play, he could roll Intelligence + board games = 5 vs his opponent's difficulty of 6. A character could choose to further specialize by taking the skill chess. This skill is so narrowly specialized that his difficulty is reduced by 2, and the character would roll Intelligence + Chess = 4.

I do not think it is legitimate to take a skill that is so ridiculously specialized as to merit a 3 point difficulty reduction. This would be akin to taking the skill driving in reverse while parallel parking. However, skill specializations still apply, such as Chess: Endgame.

Alternate Talents

Alternate Skills

Alternate Knowledges