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Performance [Charisma]

Performance indicates your skill with singing, dancing, basic storytelling and acting, rhythm and other things that make for an evening's entertainment around a fire. Those with high performance scores can ply their trades as actors, minstrels and troubadours, though they cannot take the name Bard unless they are a member of the Entertainer's Guild. Whenever you're trying to please an audience or give a good show, make a Performance Check against the highest social defense in the crowd. The degree of success indicates the amount of the crowd that through you did a good job (that is, good enough to pay for; people are much more accepting when there's no cash involved). Since this a general skill, even your best effort with performance will pale before someone who actually has ranks in the sub-skill involved.

Every rank you have in this ability indicates a degree of skill with a single musical instrument; after a while, you'll develop a repertoire of instruments that you pay passing well. Finally, the Performance skill will help you find the most appropriate venue should you decide to perform for the public, be it an acceptable tavern house or the right part of town to attract the desired crowd.

You've learned to dress yourself quickly to appear to be the member of a particular class or society, from a wealthy citizen to the lowest of beggars. This does not let you disguise yourself as a particular person, only as a type of person. Changing costumes takes one round, and you have to have the costume at hand. More than just the clothes, you can mimic the walk and speech of a member of that class. Make Costume checks against the social defense of anyone who has reason to doubt you, success means that they are taken in. Costume lasts a number of hours equal to your rank.

Specific Art (______)
This sub skill lets you specialize in any of the arts covered by the general Performance skill—singing, dancing, acting, storytelling or a single musical instrument—and perform it at a respected professional level. Someone with the Performance skill at step 8 can sing very well for an amateur. Someone with the Specific Art (Singing) sub-skill at step 8 can sing well enough to command attention, and bring tears to the eyes of his audience. Handle this sub-skill in the same way that you handle basic performance, but increase the level of effect that a success causes in the audience. Remember also that the audience will always know that this is a performance; they will not think that you are REALLY the person you're pretending to be, nor will they riot in the streets because you've sung a rowdy song against the local militia. Bards CAN generate such effects, but those are secrets of the Entertainers Guild, and not covered by mere Performance.

Staple Characters
This sub-skill indicates that you have a handful of staple character types that you can slide into quickly and perform very well. Each rank gives you one such character whose persona you can adopt at a moment's notice. You can successfully play that character on the stage or off, and make Staple Character tests against the Social Defense of anyone watching to convince them that you are who you claim to be. The more specific you make the staple character, the more precisely you can play him, including responding effortlessly to his name and rattling off facts and places about the town in which he was 'born.'

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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers