Skills and Special Abilities should not be chosen simply for the benefit they bring, but should be used in keeping with the characters background. A few carefully chosen skills and/or abilities can work wonders in distinguishing one character from another. Of course not all characters need to have any skills or abilities - some can be adequately represented by their stats alone, so it's impossible to say how many skills a character should have, although generally a good rule of thumb is that 0-4 is a reasonable number for most characters.
A character shouldn't just be given a load of shooting skills just because he's supposed to be a fantastic shot. A high BS represents someone who's a great shot; the shooting skills are there to differentiate between different types of good marksmen.
For example, you might have two Guardsmen with almost identical stats and equipment, but by giving them different skills you can really emphasise the different strengths of each one. One might be a trained sharpshooter who prefers to sit in cover lining up the perfect shot in an attempt to take out his target in one shot so maybe Deadeye Shot would be appropriate for him. The other might have been a light trooper trained to move rapidly and shoot on the move so might have the Hipshooting ability. When used in this way, Special Abilities can really emphasis the talents of a character.
- Acrobatic & Catfall - these are really only suitable for especially lithe and agile characters - usually ones who have an above average Initiative.
- Dodge - this skill doesn't necessarily have to only be given to characters with a high Initiative - slower characters may still try to dodge incoming fire - they're just less likely to succeed.
- Lightning Reflexes - there are three versions of this skill in existence, but all represent characters who can think on their feet and rapidly assess a situation and come up with the best course of action. It should only be given to characters who embody these traits - not necessarily ones with high Initiative as that characteristic represents more than just a characters ability to think on their feet. That said, it would be extremely unlikely for a character with a poor Initiative to possess this skill.
- Deadeye Shot - this skill is really only appropriate for real firearms experts with a great deal of natural skill enhanced by a lot of training.
- Fast Draw - this skill takes a great deal of time to learn but isn't necessarily dependant on having a high BS. Anyone can learn to rapidly draw and fire a pistol, although only skilled gunfighters are likely to bother.
- Gunfighter - this is a skill that can usually only be gained through practice, therefore is usually associated with characters with an above average BS. Of course some characters may train in this skill because they think it makes them look cool wielding two guns at once. They might end up able to use a gun in each hand without degrading their ability to hit something, it just so happens that they couldn't hit anything anyway. A character who is ambidextrous won't necessarily have this skill (and vice-versa).
- Hipshooting - this is another skill that is only likely to have been developed with years of practice (although some people may just be naturally good at aiming while moving). The character need not be a really great shot, just one who has learnt to compensate for his own movement as he aims.
- Quickload - this skill is only likely to have been gained by years of practise with a given set of weapons and equipment - for example by a Guard Veteran who's carried a lasgun on countless battlefields or by a seasoned gunfighter who has used the same weapons for years. It's probably not appropriate for characters who change weapons fairly often and should never be used solely to avoid high reload times.
- Rock Steady Aim - this skill probably has more to do with a characters nerve and discipline than his skill at shooting. It is most fitting on characters with a great deal on combat experience and who have high Nv and/or Ld.
- Blademaster - represents a character with superb knife fighting skills not necessarily one with a general high skill in hand-to-hand combat. Of course, neither should this skill be given to someone with a particularly poor WS.
- Deflect Shot - this skill represents a character with extremely fast reflexes and a great degree of precision when wielding a blade. It is usually associated with characters with a substantially above average WS and I.
- Feint - this skill represents a character who has trained extensively in hand-to-hand combat and has become skilled at wrong-footing his opponent. It is usually associated with characters with a substantially above average WS.
- First Strike - similar to Gunfighter, this skill isn't necessarily dependant on having a high WS, but only a skilled warrior is likely to take the time to learn it.
- Furious Assault - this skill is appropriate for character who are more concerned with landing quick furious blows - they don't necessarily have to be the worlds best swordsman as it is concerned more with the manner in which they attack rather than their skill.
Other Skills and AbilitiesEdit
- Handedness - around 90% of people are right-handed with the majority of the rest being left-handed. Truly ambidextrous people are extremely rare although apparently it can be learnt. The ambidextrous ability should only be used in very rare cases, not just as a matter of course to avoid penalties for being off-handed. For those who have trained extensively to use a gun in each hand the Gunfighter skill is more appropriate.
- Force of Will & Nerves of Steel - these should be reserved for characters either too stupid to know when to run, or on those characters whose free will has been taken away - for example arco-flagellants and servitors. Exceptionally brave individuals would be better represented with a high Nerve characteristic.
- Heroic - the character is a natural hero - he might not be a great swordsman or gunfighter, but when push comes to shove he'll get up and give it his best even in the face of overwhelming odds. As such, this skill isn't really dependant on characteristics, but should really be justified in the background.
- Leader - this skill should be given to those who have great natural leadership ability and are accustomed to command. Obviously it is associated with characters with a high Ld characteristic.
- Medic - to be given to characters who have had some medical training (they may well have a high Sg too) - this would usually be evident in their background.
- True Grit - this skill is usually associated with characters with a high Toughness, though a high Toughness is not sufficient in itself. The skill represents someone who can fight through pain that would cripple other people - an ability so extraordinary should really feature in the background for the character.
- Fearsome - this ability should really be used for characters who are very very scary. Although Quovandius has it, most people wouldn't consider being a bit ugly as sufficient justification for being Fearsome.