This skill embodies the training of the character’s eye and hands to observe what it is about each craftsman’s style that makes his work unique so he can follow that work closely and learn to mimic it himself. It can be applied in a number of arenas. The aspect of Forger/Mimic indicates that the character is also a Scrivener and has studied official documents, missives and Privy directive styles, ranging from those used at the local level to those used at the royal government and courts level. It is the use of this aspect that can be the most dangerous to the Forger, for finding any such document about his workshop, especially a piece unfinished can get the character a speedy and highly publicized death. For the Jeweler Forger/Mimic the same can be said of cutting dies for any sort of official seal, or nobleman’s seal, or high clergyman, or any other seal of any group or body who has been granted the right to have such a thing – but most especially if he should be caught cutting his own dies for stamping coins. The Jeweler and also the Gold-/SilverSmith trades are those generally associated with such things because they are the ones used to working with delicate and detailed miniatures such as are commonly rendered for such purposes.
One of the shadier of the Trade skills, Forgery encompasses not only the forging of the handwriting styles of others, but for those who are Craftsman, it can also enable the character to mimic another craftsman’s style – even to copying the distinctive designs and signature pieces of those inspired by an Artisan’s Muse. Forging copies of such things as artworks, jewelry, fine crafts, and the like for the purpose of passing them off as the original article. If forging documents, the character must, of course, have the Literatus and Scrivener skills with equal fluency in the language as the subject whose writing he is forging. The character may forge the handwriting of no more than [CRD + SL) ÷ 4] different persons at any given time, once the character has mastered them. Once the character has learned the writing style of another in this manner, he must make a d100 check for every (CRD + SL) words to maintain his grasp and imitation of it. Obviously, if a character is to duplicate the writing of another, he must possess a fairly comprehensive sample of that person’s writing (GM’s discretion). The practice of forging seals, that is, cutting bogus metal dies to imitate the officially recognized seal of some person or organization, or especially for the purposes of counterfeiting coin, will only be available to smith-Craftsmen specializing in the Gold-/Silversmithing or jewelry-crafting trades. The forger’s skill will not be limited to the fine and intricate work of fine artisans. He may also create a duplicate of any existing object, if he has the original from which to work or clear plans drawn from the original, when combined with the appropriate Artisan and/or Craftsman trades.
In much the same manner as the Disguise skill, the character’s efforts is assumed to be able to bear casual exposure and will provide a DV for being discovered in cases when encountered at close quarters.
The att. mod. for executing any forgery or mimicking any other workman’s style is based on the character’s AWA and CRD.
Before the craftsman may attempt to copy or forge any work in another’s style, he must make a successful Assessment of it, study it, make sketches of the major elements that define the style and form, for which the att. mod. is based on AWA.
The DV provided by this skill once the forgery is executed, against which the roll to discover its nature as a fake is equal to the craftsman’s original AV to make it.
The GM is more than justified in requiring the character to make a roll of his own to complete the forgery to the best of his ability, against a DV equal to (CRD ÷ 2) of person whose writing is being copied. For forging a piece of artwork, the DV with which it was originally created + artist’s (CRD att. mod.).
The DV provided by the character’s skill will stand after the forgery is completed, for those viewing the object, not knowing that it is a forgery. There is no limit to the level of difficulty (DV) in writing or artworks that the character may try to forge; however, the DV provided by the character’s Forgery skill for the object after it is completed is lowered by 1 for every point that the DV for forging the piece was greater than the character’s own Forgery AV.
AWA checks for identifying forged handwriting only need be made when those writings fall into the hands of those who are familiar with the subject’s handwriting. In the period of the game, and for a long time afterwards, “handwriting” being recognized as the work of an individual and its use as an identifying marker for that person was not recognized and was not used as a standard for identification. In the period, official seals identifying the origins of a written work, and especially its official status in regards to law, government and/or personal rights were the only means used. To forge the seal of another was a hanging offense in most cases touching on noble and especially royal family members and government business. Towns, cities, fraternities, guilds, merchant companies all used seals for their official documents. The “handwriting” of a specific person would only be recognized by another if he had received numerous pieces of correspondence from a particular individual and knew for a fact that it came from that person’s own hand, since it was just as likely, if not more likely, that a professional secretary or scribe had been enlisted to write the missive, as it was a common practice to do so. The tools for writing are not cheap and have to be maintained, not to mention the cost of vellum, parchment, or paper. Being a scrivener was a respectable trade in the period.