Lore - Beasts [Spirit]
This skill covers the magic of animals, a magic that the races have been using and connected to for as long as they have existed. Beast Lore, at it's most basic level, is your knowledge of how to get along with animals (both wild and domesticated), their habits and tendencies, which ones are predators and which ones are merely dangerous.
You can use your rank in Beast Lore to identify animals that you come across, know their habits and terrain, and if need be, know what you need to do to calm them and avoid conflict. Make tests against the animal's Social Defense. An average success works for a domesticated one, an Excellent success is required for a wild one. Tests can also be made to handle domesticated animals and get them to do what they're trained to do.
Sub-skills indicate knowledge of the connections between man and beast, and how to use those to understand and control animals. These include training animals, commanding them and sometimes even emulating them; some tap into old magical bonds between men and beasts, and can startle those unprepared for them.
Since this is a Lore skill, it is possible for someone with the skill Magical Training to cast spells using animal lore. These spells involve the calling of animal Totems into the Beastmaster's body, giving them the powers of the animal.
You can use this to determine the nature and condition of any animal you encounter. A successful test against the creature's Social Defense means that you can gauge its capabilities (Can we beat it?) and its probable means of offense (how will it kill us?). For what it's worth, you can also tell it's likely age, old wounds, sex, mating status and other information, including probable value and quality of domesticated animals. You need not have ever encountered or even heard of the beast before this moment.
This creates a bond of trust between you and the animal. It can only be used once per week on any particular animal, and only up to Rank times per animal. Each success brings the animal into a more trusting state of mind. The first level means the animal will take a live and let live approach. Then a friendly playful bond develops. Finally, the third success means the animal is trusting enough to be trained. Of course, you have to play fair with the animal during this time. Tests are made against the animals Social or Spell defense, whichever is better. It takes just a few minutes to start, and can be used as a stop gap 'oh dear god don't eat me' ability when encountering a hostile wild animal, though such uses add +3 to their difficulty.
Once you've bonded with the animal enough for it to trust you, you can begin training it. You can teach one command a week, one command at a time, in up to Rank number of commands. Once learned, the animal knows them for as long as it is domesticated or for a year after leaving your presence if naturally wild. The target number for this skill is the animal's Social or Spell Defense, whichever is higher.
This sub-skill lets you diagnose and help cure problems with animals. It can be used to identify the problems an animal is suffering (difficulty based on the condition). Once successfully identified, you can make a test against the Endurance step of the animal and, if successful, add your rank in beast healing to the animal's recovery for the day. This also lets you treat wounds in animals, under GM guidelines.
With this skill you are allowed a Sense Poison test whenever you are about to touch or ingest poison in any way (contact poison, breathing invisible gas, drinking it, and so on) by making a test against the poison's difficulty. If you encounter a poisonous animal you can identify it as such with a test against its spell defense. This takes no time or effort on your part, but is based on instinct.
You are adept at following trails and locating your quarry, whether it be through hard learned skills or animal instincts. This has the Agility step of the quarry as a base difficulty, modified by time and circumstance. You can also use this sub-skill to obscure your own passage; make a test and use the outcome as the difficulty for anyone tracking you to pick up your trail.
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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers