This skill has a number of different facets, all revolving around the character’s ability to use his CHM to manipulate people in one way or another: Small Talk, Silver Tongue, Orator’s Voice, Player/Rhetoric & Bombast, Coerce/Beguile/Charm/Persuade, Negotiate/Parley, Haggle/Chaffer, Seduction, Interview, Interrogate/Intimidate, Command/Leadership.
The first aspect is the most innocuous and rather useful, it encompasses simply enough the character’s basic social skills at engaging in Small Talk, especially for the purposes of getting background information on people and places without appearing to be overly nosy or making those he is speaking with suspicious of his interest, and also generally gathering gossip. When doing so the character must be careful to be patient and look interested in everything that comes up, from weddings and engagements to the birthing of babies, to who is sleeping with whom, and who is carrying a torch for whom in their hearts, as well as the more serious things like accidents and injuries, kidnappings, robberies, and death, which will always be of note. Even if the character is only interested in a particular area or type of information, so long as he wants to use this skill to get what he wants for free and not have his own special interest taken note of in return, he must wade through it all. Gathering gossip will require a fair amount of creative work on the GM’s part, and is likely to come out sounding like a soap-opera, but that is as it should be, and the GM should have fun with it, especially if the player whose character is using this skill is impatient.
Another important aspect is the character’s ability with flattery, prevaricating, lies and deception, called a Silver Tongue. The skill of guile, the Silver Tongue skill will enable the character to pass off any fabrication as unquestionable truth. Lies told under the Silver Tongue skill must be simple – it is the complex lie that unravels the quickest under scrutiny. The marks may not believe their lord has died without proof, but they just might believe that he has been mortally wounded by a foul assassin or taken deathly ill by a fearsome curse; the marks may not believe that the men on the character’s trail dressed in royal livery is impostors, but they might believe that they had the wrong man and that the character both needs and deserves time to gather evidence in defense.
IF a victim should find out that he has been lied to or pierce the character’s false airs it will no doubt destroy the character’s credibility, and no doubt engender anger towards the character. It may take as long as (SL) days for each mark to get over the fact that his judgment could have been so bad and for him to actually accept the truth of the matter. For every lie found out or layer of airs or pierced by the same victim, the DV for making him believe further tales will increase dramatically. Getting that character to believe anything at all, whether it be truth or not, is extremely difficult.
Presence encompasses the skills of the Player and Orator, necessary for Lawyers and making an impression at public gatherings. The Orator’s Voice can be pitched to cut across the din of a crowded feasting hall to grip the attention of those with the ears to hear, but its true value lies in its ability to have a certain compelling quality to it to manipulate the listener. With his Voice, the Orator may imbed up to (1 per 4 SL’s) commands in his dialogue addressed the his audience, to maximum of (CHM ÷ 4) + (BTY att. mod.). This command will affect all intelligent creatures and/or beings within (HRT) feet + (trade SL) yards who understand the language spoken by the Orator.
For those commands that may linger, such as “listen”, “wait”, “look”, etc. (GM’s discretion), the effects of the Orator’s Voice will endure for as long as the Orator continues to provide sufficient content to keep the people stimulated (GM’s discretion), or for (SL) CS’s, whichever passes first. The maximum length of time it will endure is equal to the character’s (CHM) or BTY, whichever is greater) in Actions, according to the rules for tactical play. The distraction created by the Orator using this Voice, whether speech, plea, song, ballad, etc., must have content directly concerning the situation at hand in order to hold the attentions of those he addresses.
Once the character has halted the pronouncement of sentence in the king’s court by crying out, “Wait, my king! A moment, an it please thee!!” the king will only hold his tongue until the Orator has had his say, presenting new and unknown evidence. The Orator cannot halt a battle in its heat simply to subject the combatants to a common love story or song if he wishes to have any potential effect. The Orator must remind the combatants of some fateful battle (“Stop! Don’t you see? You are making the same mistake as the Capulets and the Montagues!”) and recite a verse from its most popular ballad, playing up the poor reasons for engaging in arms. In this aspect of the Presence skill, a great deal of creativity can be used, and is encouraged. Anytime the character can discover the cause of a conflict he might be able to command some attention to influence the outcome by the application of his oratory skills.
In these instances, the GM must determine the reactions of those the Orator is trying to influence, whether they is swayed at once, require to hear more, or ignore the Orator’s attempts to save the situation completely. The character’s BTY will have a direct impact on the crowd reaction, as will the sincerity with which the player roleplays his character and that character’s CHM (GM’s discretion).
Those who are not affected by the Orator will merely give him a moment’s pause, lowering their Initiative values by (1 per 4 SL’s) for the next Action they receive in tactical time.
The att. mod. for the for the use of this facet of Presence is based on the character’s CHM and BTY.
The Player’s or actor’s skill of Rhetoric & Bombast is another aspect of Presence. This is the ability to counterfeit emotions in the same manner as an actor. This will enable the character to give himself false airs or pass off false attitudes, take on the lofty and haughty airs of nobility, even pretend royalty, to counterfeit friendship or an air of trustworthiness, even feign ardor or true love. It will also allow him to modulate the quality of his voice in such a way as to create a sense of character, to make the sound of the voice match the appearance of the type of character he is portraying, as a character actor. With this skill the character may also portray a CHM score higher or lower than his own, so as to appear more noble and genteel or more common and rude than he is normally, or combine this with the ability to construct personas, especially for use with the Masquer skill. This extends to falsifying body-language as well, so the character can actually move in a manner that is convincing for the role he is playing, so he does not give himself away.
Any character trying to pass-off a defined persona or even generic character-type must pay 1 point of Wind for every (HRT + SL) minutes they maintain the charade, due to the stress of keeping himself under the strict control required, especially when they are trying to portray a different CHM. The Player skill gives the player with the flair for it a chance to roleplay to the hilt as melodramatically as he wishes within his own character role.
This gives Warrior characters the ability to make false or misleading moves in combat situations, or at the very least squelch any leading moves that would betray his intended moves, strategy for attack or defense. In effect, this will add a bonus based on his SL with this skill to his Dodge Defense DV, as mentioned in Step 7. of Part I., for those who have been formally trained in the arts of combat (Warriors – any, Druid-Fiana, Huntsmen, and Assassins).
The strict schooling of façade when making public appearances is one of the cornerstones of the Courtier’s training. Through the knowledge of the habits of class and Social Graces, the character with the Player skill of Presence in addition may effect an apparent change in CHM as well, adding grace to the beauty or rough manners to the downgraded appearance of a Cosmetic treatment to make them match.
If the Courtier is in a foreign land and/or if he is dressing for an encounter with someone of another culture and wishes to make a good impression, the Courtier must have the Social Graces skill AND the Foreign Culture skill for the nationality desired. In working within another culture’s standards, the effective SL the character may exercise is limited to no greater than his Foreign Cultures SL OR his Social Graces skill (whichever is less).
When attempting to pass off false airs or play false personas, the character’s skill AV (SL + CHM att. mod.) is used normally to try to convince those to whom he is playing, to win their belief, whether he is using Cosmetics or a Masque to aid his efforts or not.
A bonus is added to the AV equal to the number of points by which the character’s BTY is above average,
the number of points by which the character’s BTY is below average, multiplied by 2.
Due to the stress of keeping himself under the strict control required to raise or lower his CHM by his Player skills, the character must pay (change in CHM wrought) points of WND for every mileway that he keeps up this façade.
When a character who is wearing a Masque (disguise) or who has been subjected to a Cosmetic treatment starts to interact with others, the focus shifts from the appearance to the substance of attitude, accent, manner and carriage, but the Masque or Cosmetics and the Player’s act become totally interdependent at that point, and their SL’s get compounded. They fly or fail together. If one ruse is pierced, so will the other be.
Piercing the ruse and uncovering the true identity of the recipient of a Cosmetic treatment (if hiding that knowledge is the point behind the change) or the wearer of a Masque is even more difficult when it is combined with the Player’s ability to put on airs and personas
The DV for recognizing the recipient when Social Graces and the Player skill are employed to change manners and CHM is equal to the number of points of CHM added or subtracted, for each point, so that the DV when CHM is altered by only 1 point is 1; for 2 points the DV is 3 (1 + 2); for 3 points the DV is 6 (1 + 2 + 3), and so on.
When combined with Cosmetics or a true Masque, the DV for applying the Cosmetic treatment OR creating the Masquerade in the first place is added to this.
The player will please note that these first two aspects of the Presence skill are actually passive in nature. The character has his say and puts on his act and, unless the person(s) to whom he is playing does not believe him, they will take him at his word. In this manner it is like a defense skill in combat, in that the passive skill provides the DV, in this case for an AWA (Savvy) check on d100 against the DV provided by the character’s Presence skill.
At the heart of the Presence skills are the skills of coercion, of Beguiling, Charming, and Persuading a target to be cooperative and provide for him what he is seeking, whether tangible or something intangible such as information or a favor, turning a blind eye at just the right moment, unlocking a door, or giving a break on a price – just this once! – or perhaps talking the target out of a free sample of some kind. For those with the CHM and especially the BTY, Flirting can be a powerful tool of coercion, playful and full of possibilities for the future. The character need never follow through, but for some NPC’s the flirting itself may be the price for the coercion, just to flatter their vanities.
This also represents the character’s persuasiveness in debating delicate or complex issues, his ability to sway the opinions of those who are unsure and bring them to support his cause, or to attempt to undermine the surety with which those who hold opposing views will continue stand upon those views.
This is directly related to the character’s skill of debate, the crux of the ability of a Negociant to be effective in bargaining in Parley as a Diplomat. It also encompasses the pivotal skill of the Merchant to Haggle or Chaffer over price and terms of sales contracts. This aspect differs substantially from Beguiling and Coercion in that it depends on detailed knowledge of the facts surrounding the issue being negotiated and knowing just how to present them and the proposed compromise in such a way that the other party does not feel they are being taken advantage of, or throwing such light on key concessions as to make them appear even more attractive or valuable as aspects of the treaty, alliance, or contract being negotiated. The Diplomat or Merchant must know what all the issues are, all the family entanglements, the economic interests, who stands to lose money and how much, what is currently being paid under the prevailing circumstances and how that can be improved. While knowledge can be important in coercion, especially to apply a little blackmail if one has information that others wish to remain secret, it is not the whole of the playing field in diplomacy or the marketplace.
Seduction can be a double-edged sword, adversely affecting the character’s reputation, especially in the case of women, should a rumor of promiscuity get started. However, such a rumor can lessen the degree with which a man is taken seriously, as well, especially among the society of women. In both cases the DV for seductions will increase. Who wants want every one else is having or has already had? Flirting may be far more effective much more of the time, but Seduction may be more appropriate in some cases, especially when seeking to compromise a target who has no business sleeping with the character doing the seducing. It may be necessary for the character to take a steady lover that provides some sort of social advantage, who is also aware of his value in that capacity to the character doing the seducing.
Over all, though, the promise and delivering of sexual favors is a tricky and delicate business. Discretion and finesse are essential. There is a wide difference between a playful but limited tease and opening the possibility to more by flirting, presenting the prospect of “maybe”, and making a show of willingness or an open offer of intimacy. The PC must figure out where the boundaries are between “Slap ‘n Tickle” and kissing and the promise of something more.
It is more likely a woman will end up before the canon court on charges of fornication than a man, but men are regularly prosecuted as well, and that can damage reputation as well as purses in paying legal fees and fines. Here the PC must be careful.
In addition to the Silver Tongue and Players’ skills and the art of Coercion, the Presence skill of using one’s charms to Interview is most valuable. Interviewing is rather social in nature, it is for use in leading a subject through a (seemingly) casual conversation and touching on matters important to the Interviewer to determine what the subject knows. The Savvy aspect of Perception is used to evaluate the responses. The Interviewer uses a combination of knowing what questions to ask and how best to phrase them to get the information he seeks, in addition to knowing what reactions to look for. Body language and what is NOT said are both just as important as what the subject does reveal consciously. On occasion, the Interrogate/Intimidate aspects of Presence is even more important. This is not much of a social skill at all, not like Interviewer, though Savvy does have its place in interpreting the subject’s responses, determining the truth of the information rendered. In these two aspects the questions are direct and to the point, although body language and what is NOT said are again both just as important as what the subject does reveal consciously.
The number of points of STA (adjusted for Build) of the Interrogator over that of the subject is added to the AV, providing an advantage.
The number of points of damage inflicted (if any) is subtracted from the DV. If some means is used of enhancing the pain caused by that damage, or pain is inflicted without damage, that number (especially in case a P-RES check is required by the subject) is used instead.
Cruelty, pain and physical punishment and privation shown to another subject in the view of one who is interrogated afterwards will have the same effect as if the witness had been similarly treated himself, for he will fear it. The illusion of such treatment, the sounds of cries and screams and physical distress, and the appearance of wounding – perhaps through the arts of Glamourie, is just as effective if the subject to be interrogated falls under the power of the magick and believes what he hears and sees.
The Interview and Interrogate/Intimidate skills are directly related. In Interrogate/Intimidate Savvy is not so much the focus, however. It is the intimidation that will do the work here, the pressure of the intensity of the interrogator’s Presence, and the weight of any threat whether implied or overtly made. While these three are closely associated with the Savvy aspect of the Perception skill, BUT that skill is not required, as Savvy can be developed through use over time, being an Open skill.
The Command/Leadership skill requires that the character cultivate an air of authority, that he act with surety and confidence. Even if the character does not have a plan, he must issue orders as if he were following one, exerting the full force of his will and charm, leaving no time for debate, and facing down any opposition as necessary. The purpose of this skill is to show the common or low-ranking (socially) people (NPC’s) the way to get past a conflict or spot of Chaos and adversity. The character exercising this skill need not necessarily have any claim to legitimate authority to use this skill. In the absence of any proper authority, as long as the character is associated in a neutral to favorable manner with the social power structure or military command those he would command belong to, any sudden vacancy of authority figures to follow will provide him the opportunity he needs to step in and take command.
The GM will adjudicate all such actions using the Encounter Reaction and Morale check processes and tables to determine the outcomes.
In the same manner as the various healer Trades, the character will start with one SL for Presence, or those aspects of Presence which his trade is noted as providing him on the roster of skills. This SL is equal to the character’s starting trade SL. The balance of any other Presence skills to be developed as Open Skills will start at SL0. Over time, as the character uses each of the different Presence skills he will accumulate SP’s for each separately and progress in SL with those he uses most frequently more quickly. As play progresses, the character will reap the benefit in skill only to those aspects of the knowledge of this set of skills that he is in the habit of using, distinguishing them with greater SL’s.
The att. mod. for any use of this skill is based upon the character’s CHM and BTY.
For the use of the Command/Leadership skill, the character’s HRT att. mod. will also be added to the AV.
As mentioned, a decent Masque can add that missing element to a well-played persona, compounding SL’s and boosting the character’s AV during interaction to help convince the audience. Those characters with the Voice skill will also be allowed a bonus of (1 per 4 SL’s) based on that skill when using the Orator skill due to the polish their knowledge of resonance, intonation, inflection, diction, and enunciation bring to it.
In addition, when the character is impersonating anyone or playing any general character-type for which he also has the skill (Courtier, Rogue, Scholar or clergy, etc.) a foreigner for which he has the foreign Cultures AND Language skill, the player is allowed to use those skills. In the case of portraying a Trade he has the skills for, there is no chance of piercing the ruse, for it will not really BE a ruse. Whether it is what the character does as his main trade or not, it is not so much an act but drawing more on what the character actually is, the things he really knows, his own life experiences. In the case of foreign Cultures and Linguist skills, the lower of the two SL’s will dictate the limit on the effective SL he may employ with Presence as a Player in that role when determining the DV his skills provide.
The base DV for using this skill should be equal to the (HRT ÷ 4) + (AWA att. mod.), using the highest among the group if commanding more than one, plus the number of persons he is taking command of, as well, if a group. The GM should use an average att. mod. (0) when working with groups of people, the results indicating the degree of success and general reaction for all.
The use of the Silver Tongue or Player skills will take no appreciable time during the adventure phase of play, only that required to relate the “tale” in conversation or convey the pose, attitude, or disposition desired.
The DV should be increased by the number of points by which the subject’s CHM is greater than the character’s own who is using one of these skills, as applicable.
Chaffering, Parleying, Debating, and Orating on any given subject will take game time to accomplish, but the GM must judge for himself how much. In most instances, these should be accomplished in a series of meetings with a roll against the character’s skill for each determining the success or failure, whether the character has achieved the resolve with the other party that he needs.
In this case, for each meeting in which the character successfully plies his Chaffering, Parleying, Negotiating, Debating skills, the DV is lowered for the following meeting by his (CHM ÷ 4).
IF the roll is failed, the DV is raised by the same amount. When the percent chance of success has reached 100%, the process is over and the character will have succeeded. If the percent chance of success drops to 0% the process will have ended and the character will have failed to achieve an agreement.
When a character is creating a false persona in using the Player aspect of Presence, the GM should use the entries on the station tables as the markers of the different social strata and add to the DV the number by which the character is pretending to improve the station to which he was born.
IF the character is speaking with an educated individual when using the Player aspect and affecting a similar background but has no corresponding education, the GM should add 10 to the DV.
IF the character is pretending to a class and not a station, the GM should use the first entry at the top or bottom of the class reached in counting from the Player’s own by birth.
A couple aspects the GM should keep in mind, especially in the use of Presence for intimidation and social “sparing” trading quips and repartee in a verbal battle, are the relative social ranks of the opponents (bonus based on trade SL of trades which carry prestige such as Physicker, Lawyer, Magister, Wizard, etc., GM’s discretion, as well as noble ranks), first, and after that the advantages a university education brings (add bonus based on trade SL of any scholastic trade, as applicable), and more worldly education (add bonus based on Lore SL) and, after that. their attire and the props which exemplify their prestige and social standing should be considered.
For these purposes, the average, run-of-the-mill commoner provide the baseline in relative social standing, standing at equal disadvantage to the Beggar King and his officers and the true legitimate King and his nobles, alike. Rank among those “below the salt” is just as important as it is among those of the upper crust. The Rogue (et al.) trade trade SL is equally as important for this purpose as the Courtier (et al.) trade SL, providing bonus’ to add to effective Presence SL.
In addition, the GM must consider the proud and rebellious nature of those whose social rank and prestige lie “below the salt” among the so-called dregs of society. No Beggar King coming face to face with the legitimate sovereign of the realm isnd the knee without being forced, for he will see himself as the equal to the King.
“Below the salt”, social rank will bring with it a certain fearlessness.
Those who comprise the seedy underbelly of society already live under the threat of death, outlaws whose lives stand in danger of being snuffed out for a profit by any bold enough to do so – they have little else to lose except in the social jockeying for position amongst their own kind. To evaluate social rank for these purposes, the GM should use the tables provided in Step 2. of Character Creation and count each entry as a step in rank counting from the social rank of one character and the character he is facing in the use of Presence before considering bonus’ based on trade SL(s) – BUT only if both are on the same side of the common man. If they are on opposite sides of society, their ranks should be counted individually from the common man up, and the common man down and the difference awarded as a bonus to the one who has the highest effective rank among his own peers.
After this, displays of wealth such as clothing not only of fine, Luxurious or Sumptuous fabric but also the skill of the cut and the presence of jewels, their general size, quality and cut, evidence of silver and especially gold, fine walking sticks, hats, outerwear, boots or shoes, fan, purse, all should be considered. Last, the GM should consider the setting in which the contest of wills and Presence is taking place. Who has the home field advantage? Or is the scene taking place on neutral ground? In regards to characters who hail from opposite ends of the social spectrum, the only truly neutral setting is one among the average commoners, otherwise the general nature of the setting will dictate which of the two is the more comfortable.
These considerations apply particularly to attempts to Intimidate, but also hold true for attempts to Seduce, as well as verbal combat/repartee.
Like Presence and Stealth, Perception is a bundle that encompasses a number of skills. While all of the skills in this bundle are Open skills, available to be developed by all characters equally, certain trades make a practice of emphasizing certain aspects of them during the character’s apprenticeship to make their trainees more successful.
The Sentry aspect enables the character to sharpen his perceptive skills, making him better able to concentrate upon and pick out niggling details – raising his general level of perceptiveness and indicating he is always on his guard. This can alert the character when someone is following him, cause him to heed small sounds or odd ones which he might otherwise let pass without note, to sense unseen presences, to hear noises at distances or through doors or other such barriers, to notice the little details that indicate that things are out of place or missing in a room, or to pick up any other such small detail that would otherwise go unnoticed by those without the skill. It indicates a level of awareness of surroundings that will make the character aware of sounds that are out of place, or the lack of sounds that ought to be present, and similarly, people or things that should be present that are, or that are present and probably should not be, as a Sentry always on alert.
The Sentry aspect is defensive in nature, always in effect, making the character more aware of his surroundings at all times, so it is a passive and purely sensory skill the character will have no idea when he is successful with tit unless there is something to be sensed and he does so. Like the defense aspect of a weapon skill, the character’s Perception AV actually provides the DV against which others can try their Stealth skills.
All Perception checks is made by the GM for the character as necessary, the GM informing the player of the results when the character is successful. SP’s is tracked by the GM for the character once play has commenced, though the player will roll the D100 for his character’s progress checks in the skill and record increases in Perception SL.
The difficulty with which the Perception skill is used is increased for every creature and/or being above the character’s [(AWA + SL) ÷ 4] accompanying him at the time of any given test of this skill. Wearing any sort of head covering, especially and in particular helms and other such armor for the head, will impair the effectiveness of the character’s skill, reducing the AV by (armor DF) for each side of the head covered (front, right side, left side, back, top). The extent of impairment due to clothing such as hats, cauls, wimples, veils, and the like is up to the GM’s discretion.
The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA score.
The Searcher/Questor aspect of Perception enables the character to, through a careful methodical approach and the application of subtle physical perceptive skills, explore all possible hiding places in a given area, uncovering all hidden objects including any hidden or secret compartments, panels or doors, or concealed portals that may be present. For the character who has the Trapper skill, it will also be added to his AV to find traps.
The GM should consider three different ways in applying this skill. Which he uses should depend on how the player typifies or characterizes the effort.
IF the player’s words are not descriptive enough of the effort, the GM should press him to be more precise as to intent and method.
The first is a cursory look around when the character is just scouting through a location to find what might have been simply stashed out of direct line of sight, looking in only the most obvious places, especially when he has been informed roughly where he should be looking, what sorts of landmarks should guide him. For this, only a bonus based on the Searcher SL should be allowed and the check conducted as any other AWA check.
The second is a deeper and more methodical effort to find out any secrets lying hidden, slower but more effective, for use when time is not necessarily pressing but the character does have other concerns which limit him. For this search, the simple SL alone should be allowed as AV.
The last is the most thorough and painstaking ransacking of the area in question, one square foot at a time, one object or piece of furniture at a time, leaving no stone unturned – tossing the place, but methodically and only in such a way as not to hinder his own efforts.
For this depth of effort only should the full SL plus att. mod. be allowed as AV.
IF the character has the Trapper skill, or is a Smith-Artificer or Mechanician, this skill will allow him to find hidden or concealed traps, which he can then examine further to try to determine their specific natures.
Use of this skill assumes a painstaking search of practically every square inch of space within the area covered by the search – the back and underside of every piece of furniture in a room, underside of any drawer, inside and backside of any drawers or boxes, inside the lid to any chest or box, checking for false bottoms, up under the bottom of any footed piece of furniture, and so on and so forth. In many cases, through this skill the character may be able to find things that he might otherwise overlook due to the lack of perception in passing.
IF the character also has the Tracker Skill, his SL in Searcher is added in making any and all checks either to discover or to continue to follow his quarry’s trail, or in reading the marks in ground and foliage to discern the nature of events having transpired in a given area or such things as the presence of a campsite that has been struck and even Concealed.
Each check made to determine the results of a Search is assumed to encompass the exploration of an area of roughly [(AWA ÷ 4) + SL] feet in radius. The larger and more heavily furnished or ornamented the area searched, the higher the DV and the longer the search will take to complete.
The time required to Search any given area (in size, as described above) is equal to the DV for the Search check, divided by 10 and read in minutes. This is regardless of whether there is anything there to find or not – the effort must be made.
IF Searching for a thing hidden by a person whom the character has had the chance to successfully evaluate in all three areas (mettle, disposition, state of mind) through the use of Savvy, the character may spend some time ‘in the shoes’ of that person (ie. “where would I put it if I were him?”) to deduce the general area of its location, which will provide a bonus to his AV based on his Savvy SL.
IF Searching for something hidden by a person whom the character has evaluated with the Savvy skill and also has had roughly (subject’s CHM) months of previous personal experience and interaction, the character’s entire Savvy SL is added as a bonus to the Search AV.
The time required to exercise this skill is equal to the DV divided by 10 and read in minutes for quick, basically visual searches, or read as is in minutes for in-depth searches.
The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA.
Related to Savvy as a perceptive skill, which allows the character to discern behavior that is at odds with the words people say, uncovering lies, but also those whose mannerisms and body-language do not match the role they are trying to portray, uncovering those in disguise, allowing the character to spot the thugs a powerful man retains for security who are unobtrusively stationed in a crowd around him, spotting the attendees at the theater who obviously are not there to enjoy the show, or those in the crowded hall where the best in music is being performed who have no taste for it at all.
Savvy is a very subtle skill of interpersonal perceptivity that will enable the character to deduce the presence of secrets unspoken. The Savvy skill can be used to assess a person’s body language and posture and patterns of movement to determine one’s social class, family station, and/or whether his mode of dress agrees with his standing (does he dress poorer or more richly than his standing would normally allow), pierce false airs and affected manners or mannerisms (Foreign Culture and/or foreign Language skills), and other similar bits of personal information.
Savvy may also be used to gauge a person’s current state of mind, general disposition, as well as his general mettle or quality of personality. The character must spend a certain amount of time observing the subject and then engage him in conversation for approximately [(target’s HRT) – (character’s CHM att. mod.)] in Actions according to the character’s RoA under the rules for tactical play, before he may attempt to determine the target’s state of mind (placid, irritated, worried, or agitated), then general disposition (a kind listener, abrasive and abrupt, shy of others, casually abusive), and then general mettle (a weak-willed victim, a crawling flunky, a strong-willed leader, a bluff and bull-headed bully, etc). Minimum time to engage any target in conversation before each check to assess character is one (1) minute.
The character may initiate a skill check in order to size up a subject, as long as the above time requirement is fulfilled, and a series of (three) successful checks will give the player a brief sketch of each of these facets of the subject’s personality by the GM, as well as whether the subject is acting normal for the type of person he is, based upon the reactions of those the subject knows, when they interact.
The character must engage the subject in a conversation for long enough to make a skill check for each of these, depending upon which he is most interested in. One check will not reveal all three areas of information.
This is the foil providing an AV for piercing the Masquer and Game Face skills, as well as providing the DV against which the Player and Silver Tongue skills is tested. When dealing with any subject, after he has evaluated them in at least one of the areas above (mettle, disposition, state of mind), the character may attempt to determine its veracity of the response to any query. The character will only be aware of his success if, through a successful check, the subject reveals something unbeknownst. The character will not know if the subject is lying by omission, reversal (stating that which is isn’t, or stating that which isn’t is), or is making some outright fabrication, his statement will merely strike the character as having a certain false ring.
The character may exercise this skill no more than (1 per 4 SL’s) times on a single individual in any given encounter before the subject begins to ‘feel the heat’ and get the feeling they are being closely examined and interrogated.
The difficulty with which the character is able to read those of other races and those of cultures that are severely different is greater than normal, depending upon the degree of difference (GM’s discretion, see also the note about pumathars at the end of the Silver Tongue description). The player will please note that HalfElfs with background exposure to both their parent races is able to ply their skill equally well upon elfs as well as humans. Those with Beastmastery specializing in felines is able to reduce the pumathar race bonus to the DV for reading them with Savvy by (1 per 4 SL’s). Warrior characters will receive benefits to their weapon AV’s based on this skill when in combat against other humanoids, as described in the Weapon skill description, later in this Chapter (pg 102).
The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA score.
The DV for Savvy checks is equal to the subject’s HRT att. mod. + any SL’s he may have with Game Face, Player, and/or Silver Tongue. Bumbles will indicate that the information is not readily apparent if within the safe margin, while rolls greater than that will allow the GM to exaggerate, or even give down right disinformation.
The DV for the use of the Searcher aspect of this skill depend upon the ability of the person that hid the item sought or put it away. The base DV to find an object that has been left out for common use in a stack or pile, among others of its kind, or in a convenient niche, up on a shelf, or put away in some more obvious place like a cupboard, cabinet, chest, closet, or drawer is equal to the CRD att. mod. of the character who put it away. If the character does not find what he is looking for when it has only been casually put away in this manner, it is due to his own carelessness. The GM should not impose any maximum on the number of searches the character may make according to SL when attempting to find items put by in this casual way.
IF an object has actually been professionally hidden or disguised, put away through the use of the Conceal skill in a place where it will not be found or made to appear as other than it is so that it cannot be found out by a casual, basically visual search, the DV is equal to (A WA ÷ 2) of the character who hid it, or the DV provided by their Conceal skill, whichever number is higher.
In the case of disguised or concealed portals, the DV is equal to the AV of the Engineer who constructed it, including the Masquer or Conceal skills used, as noted in the descriptions of the Conceal skill.
The character may use a careful, basically visual search that leaves no traces, or make an actual physical search, even tossing the location entirely, using any Conceal skills to cover the fact afterwards.
The casual search takes only 1/4th the normal time to complete, but will only be sufficient to reveal the locations of items that have been left out for common use or put away in more obvious places like cupboards, cabinets, chests, and closets. Only 1/4th the character’s SL plus his att. mod. is used as the AV for this sort of Search.
To find professionally hidden or concealed portals, false-fronted compartments, and items stashed in odd places chosen to thwart even a thorough searcher, the full time requirement must be completed, for the character must conduct a meticulous and painstaking search, using his full AV.