Under the Hood: The Skills of BBW!

Li Gezhao demonstrates his lightness skills in Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei

This time we look at skills used in BBW! Many of them are old favorites, some are altered and a couple are brand new. DWD Studios’ games BareBones Fantasy will be referenced as BBF and Covert Ops as CO.

Alchemist: Alchemy, Diagnose, Wound Mending, Surgery
Detective: Detect Clues, Interrogation, Shadowing & Trailing, Connections
Diviner: Hunch, Foresight, Reading, Identify Convergence Point
Leader: Battle Commander, Guardian, Leader, Warlord
Mystic: Chi Focus, Harmony Sense, Spirit Training, Wards
Scholar: Diplomat, High Scholar, Historian, Signs & Portents
Scout: Animal Handling, Navigation, Stalking, Survival
Sorcerer: High Sorcery, Low Sorcery, Raw Talent, Enchantment
Thief: Deception, Security Systems, Sleight of Hand, Stealth
Warrior of the <insert kung fu style> Style: Martial Training, Deadly Skill, Combat Defense, Kung fu

Sleeve Dance from House of Flying Daggers
Sleeve Dance from House of Flying Daggers

The Detective from CO, and the Leader, Scholar and Thief from BBF remain unchanged from the games they first appeared.

The Alchemist is a combination of abilities from the Enchanter (BBF) and Medic (CO). The abilities have been altered to fit the genre.

The Diviner is a new skill, which shows up in many wuxia stories. This skill has some really cool abilities that make it seem like the Diviner can actually tell the future. This skill has been very well received in playtests.

The Mystic is the other brand new skill. The mystic is like a detective of the spiritual and magical worlds. They are able to sense things no one else can and are good at fighting demons and spirits. A person with this skill also harnesses more chi than others.

Yan Sinniang, master thief in Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei

The Scout has been altered in only one way. Tracking has been changed to Stalking. You still use the skill when tracking but now the skill expressly includes stealth in natural environments.

The Sorcerer at first glance is much like the Spellcaster in BBF but it is actually quite different. For starters, the skill uses WIL not LOG as its ability score. Sorcerers bend the forces of nature, the elements and other powers to their will. Sorcerers have the ability to enchant magical objects. Lastly, they gain one spell with each new level. They will have to find other spells as they adventure. This encourages Sorcerers to seek out magic in old tombs and trap filled ruins.

Heroes of Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei
Heroes of Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei

The Warrior skill now represents as many different skills as there are kung fu styles. For example you could have the Warrior of the Way of Honorable Thunder Style,  the Warrior of the Golden Fist Style, or the Warrior of the Soaring Dragon in the Sky Style. Each is treated as a separate skill on your character sheet. However, if Warrior is a primary or secondary skill, then all warrior skills you take will be primary or secondary. If that much of your talent is directed towards fighting, it will apply to all fighting skills you have.

Since this is wuxia much attention is given to the warrior skill. As you character gains levels in warrior they will learn new kung fu techniques of their style and their damage with weapons and unarmed combat will increase. They will also become better at defending against attacks. You can still use the warrior skill untrained but, you won’t do much damage, you’ll always use DEX to resist physical attacks and worst of all, you won’t know any kung fu.

Lightness skill in Hero

Multiple warrior skills may be learned. Do you become a master of one? Or do you learn several to diversify your abilities? That is up to you!

Why no assassin, cleric or monk skills? Yes, assassins, clerics and monks in BBW! abound! But they are not represented by their own skill. The skills in BBW! have been carefully chosen to represent unique sets of abilities. The warrior skill, warrior and thief skill, thief and sorcerer skill etc could represent an assassin. The same goes for clerics and monks. These archetypes are best represented by the unique abilities of other skills chosen to suit your vision of what they are like in your setting. For example, a monk of the Wodan sect often has levels in sorcerer and warrior, while monks of the Bowing Dragon sect have levels in mystic and warrior. A cleric might have levels in mystic and leader or might have levels just in scholar. It all depends on what you have in mind for your faction or sect.

Next Under the Hood article will look at kung fu in BBW!

 

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