04.5 Presence Skills

04.5 Presence Skills

Skills covered: charm, disguise, intimidation, persuasion

Characters use one of several Presence-based skills to influence other people that they meet. The typical difficulty is Moderate, and the roll is modified based on the dispositions of the characters involved, but a gamemaster may base it on a skill roll.  See the Mental Defenses for more information on this.

Die rolls alone should not determine interactions between players’ and gamemaster’s characters. Gamemasters should have their players detail what their characters say and do to before rolling the dice. The better the player acts the role of his character, the greater his chance of success should be, which gamemasters can reflect by allowing up to a +1D modifier to the skill roll.  See also the individual entries in this chapter for charm, con, intimidation, and persuasion.

Persuasion Interaction Modifiers to the roll may include how friendly or unfriendly the target is to the player, the general social position of the target, the ease at which the target would normally do the act in question, etc.

Animal Handling

This is the skill to controlling or influence animals as well as making them perform tricks and follow commands.  This combined with Riding can be effective skill.

Skill Focuses: Mounts, Wagons/Chariots, Flyer

Skill  Use: Riding – This is the skill use of Animal Handling to control and ride domesticated mounts. This also is the skill to accelerate, steer, and decelerating chariots or any kind of cart-and-animal vehicle.

When a character first mounts a ride-able animal, she must make a riding roll against the creature’s mettle roll (the gamemaster generates this). The character’s riding total may be modified by the attitude of the animal toward the character. The character stays in control if she ties or beats the beast’s roll. If she fails, consult the table below for what occurs.

When attempting to get the beast to perform a special maneuver or during events that might frighten it, the character must also roll against the animal’s Charisma or mettle. Examples of special maneuvers include jumping a fence, crossing a raging river, moving faster, or slowing down quickly. (The success of special maneuvers are determined with the animal’s attributes or skills.) A character attacking from the back of a beast takes a multi-action penalty for having to both control the mount and use their weapon.

Conditions that would affect the roll would be the animal’s attitude towards the character.

Mettle < RidingResult
1-2Beast stops and refuses to move for 1 round.
3-6Beast stops and refuses to move for 2 rounds.
7-11Beast bolts in a random direction for 1D rounds.
12+Beast bucks rider; rider must make a Moderate riding roll to avoid being thrown off.


Skill Bonus: Persuasion (known as Improved Disguise); Arts/Creative – Acting ( known as Acting the Role)

A character’s skill total in creating the disguise serves two related purposes. First, the higher the roll, the less likely an observer will be to question the disguise. Second, the total becomes the difficulty number for Perception or investigation efforts to see through it. If the investigation check is higher than the disguise total, the disguise has been penetrated.

If at any time while the character is disguised she performs an action inconsistent with the disguise, any observer has a chance to see through it. Although one character may use disguise on another character, the disguised character must actively work at keeping up the disguise using her own disguise skill or Presence.  Modifiers to the roll may include differences in gender, race or species, age or build of the target disguise.  Tools and supplies also affect the roll.

Fool others for a short amount of time at a short distance awayModerate
Disguise his facial featuresDifficult
Alter bodily appearance (shorter. taller. slimmer, different species)Very Difficult

Skill Use: Assume Identity – This skill use allows a character to use Disguise to imitate others by changing his clothes and using crude makeup.


Characters can use persuasion to influence other sentient beings or get information out of them through bribery, honest discussion, debate, fast talk, diplomacy, or speeches. Also useful in negotiations, business transactions, and putting on performances (such as singing, acting, or storytelling). Through persuasion, one can cause a person to behave dishonorably, such as through ignoring duty, looking the other way, or divulging secret information. Success depends greatly on the target. A target who is loyal or wealthy or fears being caught is less likely to accept bribes. Use the modifiers suggested under Presence-Based Skills and further modified by such factors as the value of the money, goods, or information offered, the extent of favors given and received, and the target’s attitude toward the bribe.

Skill Use: Con – Bluffing, lying, tricking, or deceiving others, as well as verbal evasiveness, misdirection, and blustering. Also useful in putting on acting performances.

Skill Use: Intimidation – Using physical presence, verbal threats, taunts, torture, or fear to influence others or get information out of them. Skill Bonus: Fighting (known as Forceful Intimidation)

Skill Use: Charm – Using friendliness, flattery, or seduction to influence someone else. Also useful in business transactions, putting on performances (such as singing, acting, or storytelling), and situations involving etiquette.

Skill Use: Command – Effectively ordering and coordinating others in team situations.

Charm, con, and intimidation can enhance a character’s attacks and defenses. The player adds one-half of the result difference (positive or negative) between the difficulty and the roll to any one attack or defense attempt (not both) made at Point Blank or Short range. The character must use the benefit from scaring (intimidation), tricking (con), or seducing (charm) the target on the same turn as or on the round after the interaction endeavor.

The user’s appearance and demeanor can also affect charm, con, or intimidation attempts. The more threatening the character looks or seems, the less effective charm and con actions are, while intimidation attempts are more effective. The GM can determine Modifiers to the roll  to decide how much the appearance and demeanor affect the target, if a Disadvantage or Special Ability doesn’t already provide one.

Skill Use: Haggling  – Thrifty characters often employ haggling to lower the price of goods they purchase or raise the price of merchandise they wish to sell.

Alter Price ByDifficulty
 10% Very Easy
 20% Easy
 30% Moderate
 40% Difficult
 50% Very Difficult
 60% Heroic

Skill Use: Oratory – Public speaking represents a character’s skill at oration, his ability to speak in front of large crowds and to convince them of his beliefs.

Action Difficulty
Speak with little fear and stammering Easy
Speak confidently and with emotion Moderate
Convince crowd Difficult

Increase or decrease this difficulty depending on the demeanor of the crowd as a whole. Friendly accepting crowds will be easier to convince. while hostile crowds will be more difficult to convince.


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