This is your basic knack for noticing things that go on around you, even
when you’re not actively looking for them. Alertness describes the
attention you pay to the outside world, whether otherwise occupied or not.
This Talent is typically paired with Perception, and is best used when
sensing physical stimuli (as opposed to moods or clues).
* Novice: You’re no mindless drone.
** Practiced: Habitual eavesdropper.
*** Competent: You keep a sharp eye on your surroundings.
**** Expert: Whether from paranoia or good sense, you are rarely caught
***** Master: Your senses are on par with those of a wild animal.
This Talent represents your basic athletic ability, as well as any
training you might have had in sports or other rigorous activities.
Athletics concerns all forms of running, jumping, throwing, swimming,
sports and the like; however, it doesn’t cover basic motor actions such as
lifting weights, nor does it govern athletic feats covered by another
Ability (such as Melee).
* Novice: You had an active childhood.
** Practiced: High-school athlete
*** Competent: Professional athlete
**** Expert: Top-notch in your sport
***** Master: Olympic medalist
The Brawl Talent represents how well you fight in tooth- and-nail
situations. This Talent represents skill in unarmed combat, whether from
formal martial-arts training or simply from plenty of experience either
type can make you a dangerous adversary. Effective brawlers are
coordinated, resistant to pain, quick, strong and mean; the willingness to
do whatever it takes to hurt your opponent wins plenty of fights.
* Novice: You were picked on as a kid.
** Practiced: You’ve seen the occasional barroom tussle.
*** Competent: You’ve fought regularly and routinely, and generally walked
away in better shape than your opponents.
**** Expert: You could be a serious contender on a boxing circuit.
***** Master: You can kill three men in four seconds.
The first rule of self-preservation, this Talent covers your ability to
avoid blows, missile fire or even oncoming cars. Dodge entails taking
cover, ducking punches or any other methods of getting out of harm’s way.
* Novice: You can reflexively duck and cover your head.
** Practiced: You’ve weathered a self-defense class.
*** Competent: You can evade thrown rocks, maybe even knives.
**** Expert: It’d take a skilled brawler to land a punch.
***** Master:You can virtually sidestep bullets.
You understand the emotions of others, and can sympathize with, feign
sympathy for, or play on such emotions as you see fit. You are an easy
hand at discerning motive, and might be able to pick up on when someone’s
lying to you. However, you may be so in tune with other people’s feelings
that your own emotions are affected.
* Novice: You lend the occasional shoulder to cry on.
** Practiced: You can sometimes literally feel someone else’s suffering.
*** Competent: You have a keen insight into other people’s motivations.
**** Expert: It’s almost impossible to lie to you.
***** Master: The human soul conceals no mysteries from you.
This is your ability to get your point across clearly, whether through
conversation, poetry or even email. Characters with high Expression can
phrase their opinions or beliefs in a manner that cannot be ignored (even
if their opinions are misinformed or worthless). They might also be
talented actors, skilled at conveying moods or feigning emotion with every
gesture. Additionally, this Talent represents your ability for poetry,
creative writing or other literary art forms.
* Novice: Your talent has matured past crude poetry on notebook paper.
** Practiced: You could lead a college debate team.
*** Competent: You could be a successful writer.
****Expert: Your work is Pulitzer material.
***** Master: A visionary such as yourself comes along only once in every
Intimidation takes many forms, from outright threats and physical violence
to mere force of personality. You know the right method for each occasion,
and can be very....persuasive.
* Novice: Crude teenage bully
** Practiced: Mugger
*** Competent: Drill sergeant
**** Expert: Your air of authority cows casual passersby.
***** Master: You can frighten off vicious animals.
You are an example to others and can inspire them to do what you want.
Leadership has less to do with manipulating people’s desires than it does
with presenting yourself as the sort of person they want to follow. This
Talent is usually paired with Charisma rather than Manipulation.
* Novice: Captain of your Little League team
** Practiced: Student body president
*** Competent: An effective CEO
**** Expert: Presidential material
***** Master: You could be the lord and master of a nation.
The streets can provide a lot of information or money to those who know
the language. Streetwise allows you to blend in unobtrusively with the
local scene, pick up gossip, understand slang or even dabble in criminal
* Novice: You know who sells drugs.
** Practiced: You’re accorded respect on the street.
*** Competent: You could head your own gang.
**** Expert: You have little to fear in even the worst neighborhoods.
***** Master: If you haven’t heard it, it hasn’t been said.
You know how to conceal your own motives and project what you like.
Furthermore, you can root out other people’s motives, then use those
motives against them. This Talent defines your talent for intrigue,
secrets and double dealing; mastery of Subterfuge can make you the
ultimate seducer, or a brilliant spy.
* Novice: You tell the occasional little white lie.
** Practiced: Vampire
*** Competent: Criminal lawyer
**** Expert: Deep-cover agent
***** Master:You’re the very last person anyone would suspect.
You can understand an animal’s behavior patterns. This Skill allows you to
predict how an animal might react in a given situation, train a
domesticated creature, or even try to calm or enrage animals.
* Novice: You can get a domesticated horse to let you pet it.
** Practiced: You can housebreak a puppy.
*** Competent: You could train a seeing-eye dog.
**** Expert: Circus trainer
***** Master: You can tame wild beasts without benefit of supernatural
This Skill covers your ability to make or fix things with your hands.
Crafts allows you to work in fields such as carpentry, leatherwork,
weaving or even mechanical expertise such as car repair. You can even
create lasting works of art with this Skill, depending on the number of
successes you achieve. You must always choose a specialization in Crafts,
even though you retain some skill in multiple fields.
* Novice: High-school wood shop
** Practiced: You’re starting to develop your own style.
*** Competent: You could make a living at your work.
**** Expert: Your work might be featured in college- level textbooks for
***** Master: Your artistry is virtually without peer.
You can drive a car, and maybe other vehicles as well. This Skill does not
automatically entail familiarity with complicated vehicles such as tanks
or 18-wheelers, and difficulties may vary depending on your experience
with individual automobiles. After all, helming a station wagon doesn’t
prepare you for controlling a Lotus at 100 miles per hour.
* Novice: You know how to work an automatic transmission.
** Practiced: You can drive a stick shift.
*** Competent: Professional trucker
**** Expert: NASCAR daredevil or tank pilot
*****Master: You can make a Yugo do tricks out of a James Bond movie.
You understand the nuances of proper behavior, in both mortal society and
Kindred culture. Your specialty is the culture with which you are most
familiar. This Skill is used during haggling, seduction, dancing, dinner
etiquette and all forms of diplomacy.
* Novice: You know when to keep your mouth shut.
** Practiced: You’ve been to a black-tie event or two.
*** Competent: You know your way around even obscure silverware.
**** Expert: Her Majesty would consider you charming.
***** Master: If the right people came to dinner, you could end wars or
Executing a mortal with a sword starts investigations. Clawing someone to
ribbons shakes the edges of the Masquerade. So Cainites adapt, and many
have devoted their energies to learning how to kill with guns. This Skill
represents familiarity with a range of firearms, from holdout pistols to
heavy machine guns. Of course, this Skill doesn’t include heavy artillery
such as mortars or tank guns. However, someone skilled in Firearms can
clean, repair, recognize and, of course, accurately fire most forms of
small arms. This Skill is also used to unjam guns.
* Novice: You had a BB gun as a kid.
** Practiced: You while away the occasional hour at the gun club.
*** Competent: You’ve survived a firefight or two.
**** Expert: You could pick off people for a living.
***** Master: You’ve been practicing since the debut of the Winchester.
As the Kindred maxim runs, Guns mean nothing to a lifeless heart. A blade
is often worth far more, as is the skill to use it properly. Melee covers
your ability to use hand-to-hand weapons of all forms, from swords and
clubs to esoteric martial-arts paraphernalia such as sai or nunchaku. And,
of course, there is always the utility of the wooden stake....
* Novice: You know the right way to hold a knife.
** Practiced: You may have been in the occasional street fight.
*** Competent: You could make a college fencing team.
**** Expert: You could keep order in the prince’s court.
***** Master: Your enemies would rather face a SWAT team than your blade.
The Performance Skill governs your ability to perform artistic endeavors
such as singing, dancing, acting or playing a musical instrument. You are
almost certainly specialized in one field, although true virtuosos may be
talented in many forms of performance. This Skill represents not only
technical know-how, but the ability to work an audience and enrapture them
with your show.
* Novice: You could sing in the church choir.
** Practiced: You could get a leading part in a college production.
*** Competent: You’re in demand at the local clubs.
**** Expert: You have the talent to be a national sensation.
***** Master: You are a virtuoso without peer.
This Skill entails familiarity with the tools and techniques for picking
locks, deactivating car or burglar alarms, hot-wiring automobiles or even
safecracking, as well as countless forms of breaking and entering.
Security is useful not only for theft, but also for setting up “the
unbeatable system” or deducing where a thief broke in.
* Novice: You can pick a simple lock.
** Practiced: You can hot-wire a car.
*** Competent: You can bypass or disable house alarms.
**** Expert: You can crack a safe.
***** Master: You could get a bomb out of — or into the Pentagon.
This Skill is the ability to avoid being detected, whether you’re hiding
or moving at the time. Stealth is often tested against someone else’s
Perception. This Ability is, for obvious reasons, highly useful in
* Novice: You can hide in a darkened room.
** Practiced: You can shadow someone from streetlight to streetlight.
*** Competent: You have little difficulty finding prey from evening to
**** Expert: You can move quietly over dry leaves.
***** Master: Nosferatu elder
Although vampires have little to fear from starvation and exposure, the
wilderness can still be dangerous to a Cainite. This Skill allows you to
find shelter, navigate your way to civilization, track prey and possibly
even avoid werewolves (although this last is exceedingly difficult).
* Novice: You can survive a five-mile hike.
** Practiced: You “roughed it” on a regular basis.
*** Competent: You know poisonous mushrooms from edible ones.
**** Expert: You could live for months in the wilderness of your choice.
***** Master: You could get dropped naked into the Andes and do all right
This catchall Knowledge covers the character’s erudition in the
“humanities”: literature, history, art, philosophy and other “liberal”
sciences. A character with dots in Academics is generally well-rounded in
these fields, and at high levels may be considered an expert in one or
more areas of study. Not only can this Knowledge impress at salons and
other Elysium functions, but it can also offer valuable clues to certain
past and future — movements in the Jyhad.
* Student: You’re aware that 1066 is something more than a Beverly Hills
** College: You can quote from the classics, identify major cultural
movements, and expound on the difference between Ming and Moghul.
*** Masters: You could get a paper published in a scholarly journal.
**** Doctorate: Professor emeritus
***** Scholar: Scholars worldwide acknowledge you as one of the foremost
experts of your time.
This Knowledge represents the ability to operate and program computers, as
well as the savvy to keep up with the latest technology.
* Student: Point and click.
** College: You can process data with relative ease.
*** Masters: You can design software.
**** Doctorate: You can make a very comfortable living as a consultant.
***** Scholar: You’re on the bleeding edge.
You know the ins and outs of commerce, from evaluating an item’s relative
worth to keeping up with currency exchange rates. This Knowledge can be
invaluable when brokering items, running numbers or playing the stock
market. Sufficiently high levels in Finance allow you to raise your
standards of living to a very comfortable level.
* Student: You’ve taken a few business classes.
** College: You have some practical experience and can keep your books
*** Masters: You’d make a fine stockbroker.
**** Doctorate: Corporations follow your financial lead.
***** Scholar: You could turn a $20 bill into a fortune.
You’ve learned to notice details others might overlook, and might make an
admirable detective. This Knowledge represents not only a good eye for
detail, but also an ability to do research and follow leads.
* Student: You’ve read your share of Agatha Christie.
** College: Police officer
*** Masters: Private detective
**** Doctorate: Federal agent
***** Scholar: Sherlock Holmes
With all the lawyers and lawmakers out there, this Knowledge can prove
very useful. Law can be useful for filing suit, avoiding lawsuits or
getting out of jail. What’s more, even the Kindred keep their own laws,
and more than one vampire has saved his own unlife by deftly exploiting a
loophole in one of the Traditions.
* Student: You’ve watched your share of courtroom dramas.
** College: You’re either studying for or just passed the bar exam.
*** Masters: Ambulance chaser
**** Doctorate: Major public figures have your number — just in case.
***** Scholar: You could find the loopholes in the Devil’s contract.
You begin play with the native language of your choice for free, but if
you want to speak any other languages, whether modern or ancient,
Linguistics is a must. This Ability allows you to understand additional
languages, but at high levels also offers a more general understanding of
linguistic structure. Linguistics may allow you to recognize accents or
decipher word puzzles.
* Student: One extra language
** College: Two extra languages
*** Masters: Four extra languages
**** Doctorate: Eight extra languages
***** Scholar: 16 extra languages
You have an understanding of how the human body, and to a lesser extent
the vampiric body, works. This Ability entails knowledge of medicines,
ailments, first-aid procedures, and diagnosis or treatment of disease.
Medicine is of great use to those Kindred with an interest in repairing,
damaging or reworking the human body.
* Student: You’ve taken a CPR course.
** College: Premed or paramedic
*** Masters: General practitioner
**** Doctorate: You can perform transplants.
***** Scholar: You are respected by the world’s medical community as a
You are knowledgeable in occult areas such as mysticism, curses, magic,
folklore and particularly vampire lore. Unlike most other Knowledges,
Occult does not imply a command of hard, factual information; much of what
you know may well be rumor, myth, speculation or hearsay. However, the
secrets to be learned in this field are worth centuries of sifting legend
from fact. High levels of Occult imply a deep understanding of vampire
lore, as well as a good grounding in other aspects of the occult; at the
very least, you can discern what is patently false.
* Student: You’ve paged through the New Age section of a Waldenbooks.
** College: There seems to be some unsettling truth to some of the rumors
*** Masters: You’ve heard a lot and actually seen a little for yourself.
**** Doctorate: You can recognize blatantly false sources and make
educated guesses about the rest.
***** Scholar: You know most of the basic truths about the hidden world.
You are familiar with the politics of the moment, including the people in
charge and how they got there. This Knowledge can aid you in dealing with
or influencing mortal politicians, or even offer some insight into the
local Cainite power structure.
* Student: Activist
** College: Political science major
*** Masters: Campaign manager or talk-radio host
**** Doctorate: Senator
*****Scholar: You could choose the next President of the United States.
You have at least a basic understanding of most of the physical sciences,
such as chemistry, biology, physics and geology. This Knowledge can be put
to all forms of practical use.
* Student: You know most of the high-school basics.
** College: You’re familiar with the major theories.
*** Masters: You could teach high-school science.
**** Doctorate: You’re fully capable of advancing the knowledge in your
***** Scholar: Your Nobel Prize is waiting for you.