Skills: The Unusual Suspects

Heya, folks. I’ve been thinking about the skills oft neglected in my games and thought I’d poll you wisdoms about those obscure arts.

What are some times you all have tested Philosophy or Composition… Or Plumbing! ?

Please share some instances of your table testing obscure skills and what the context of these tests were. Instances of FoRKs and Help need not apply; those are too easy.

So I most often use my weird skills as FoRKs, and tend to have them be the well rounded version.

But I definitely have a Wizard using Almanac as his generic “Spout Weird Lore” skill, it’s very good for looking at moss enigmatically and then stating that we’re getting close, and our Bard is using Music Composition to make sure our group shows up in town with people waiting for us (for good or ill).

I have never had anyone have Chandler not have the GM say yes.

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Well philosophy and composition are easy, I did a linked test Philosophy into Composition to write my insurrectionist’s manifesto. 6 persona, 2 fate, the spirit of the working man awakened. Y’all not do pamphleteering in your games? Not a PC, but my players did once circle a plumber to help them to sabotage the sewers under the palace in preparation for an assassination. Simply put, the skills come up when you need them


Listen, the Philosophy and Composition are primarily there to make the Plumbing hit harder by contrast.

This thread isn’t, “These skills never come up.” This thread is, “It seems like these skills would come up under fun and interesting circumstances, please share those.”

And the examples are just examples, not an exhaustive list I’m looking for use-cases for.

That’s fun! What was the philosophy in question?

For a moment, I thought you were describing one of our games…

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@Mark_Watson has been known to on occasion; admittedly less often than he suggests I offer it up when I wasn’t thinking it was suitable.

How can one not?

@DaveHiggins does himself a disservice. He’s managed to get his Chandler skill up from B2 to B5 over our game, and that’s through excellent uses.

I’ve seen it used as Get a Job in a couple of games (one game had a travelling chandler-priest, making devotional candles to scrape a living), and there was some excellent hard work around acquiring bees wax, and then having to turn that into much-needed income (weirdly, in hindsight, one of the tensest rolls of that session).

However, the fun stuff’s been when, for instance, you’re constructing a devotional offering candle for a ritual, or shaping/cutting down a candle to act as a timed fuse.

In other odd-skills delightfully applied category, we’ve had someone masquerading as a poet (a central character conceit) without the skill slowly building it up to B5.

Notable uses included a publicly declared love poem where he accidentally compared his love to bacon (lovely consequence of failure from the player, there), poetry-slams, and writing catchy subversive poetry.

In longer running games, I’m also conscious of how much characters grow and develop.

In the early days, leveraging these “niche” skills in creative ways seem to happen a lot more when you’re a group of gutter-level would-be traders trying to get by, rather than, like last session, when these same characters are going toe-to-toe with a vampire’s army backed by their own for of halfling townsfolk (and going toe-to-toe with the vampire themselves).

In our current game, I can see that the characters have around 40-something open skills (one is now up to 64 skills!), with about 20-odd in the process of being opened.

I’ve found that this tends to mean that you’ve got a “normal” skill to use, rather than necessarily getting very creative with a more limited palette.

It’s always such a joy to me to see a player get that gleam in their eye and go hog-wild on a specific “edge” skill (Chandler, Poetry, Accounting, etc.), and especially satisfying when that’s what ends up in the discussion for MVP / Embodiment at the end of the session.


In that vague tenor, one of my co-players used Fortification a few sessions ago to make a folding shrine especially robust

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The best skill uses:

Chandler to rig a Giant’s tasks against him, giving the chandler six hours to complete a task and the Giant a mere half hour.

Accounting to rewrite a city’s Tax codes to encourage trade, helping spread the player’s religion over the long-term. Versus Accounting to prove that another business has deliberately sent armed caravans with little provisions in the routes their own business used in order to steal their property.

Carpentry to finally fix the leaky roof and win a wife back.

Read to avoid a chain-letter curse and Write to pass along a chain-letter blessing.

Estate Management to suggest a better way of farming coffee to less intensively destroy the landscape and improve its overall taste. Estate Management to assist refurbishing a place to make it a Café suitable for insurrectionist meetings.

Cooking to adequately prepare coffee such that it stimulates the states required for Prayer.

Composition to write a Travel Novel and become a famous author. Along with tests to bind it and present it to the Sultan.

Poetry to prove to the caravan guards that you’re still one of them, and haven’t let the attention the noble merchant has lavished on you separate from your roots.

Oud and Musical Composition to create a song reintroducing yourself as a Djinn of the Sands, lending credence to why you are allowed to discuss matters with the nobility and the servants alike.


I actually used Chandler once as a FoRK in an Obfuscate action in a Duel of Wits. He started talking about all the life lessons he learned growing up as the son of a chandler and how they applied to the current situation.


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