Skills Sample [HERO System]

This preview of the skills table also includes excerpts from key skills essential to Narosia. Many of the skill descriptions are summarized and may not include all the rules necessary for play.

Skill Table

Skill Descriptions


Arcane:                 9 + (PRE/5)
Cost:                      3 Character Points; +1 to roll per +2 points

Enchanted items when acquired are not useable by the character until he attunes to it. Characters can develop skill with attunement, although anyone can attempt it. The process of attuning interlaces the essence of the item with his personal essence, enabling his will to control or activate the item, or prime the item’s effects to apply to the character.

Consumable items (e.g., Potions, Scrolls, etc.) do not require Attunement.


No Type
Cost:                      10 Character Points for 11-, +1 to roll per +10 Character Points

The base level of Channeling grants an 11- roll to channel divine power from any deity in the pantheon.

Channeling allows the channeler to manifest any Orison of Magnitude 4 or less from any Enaros. For greater Magnitude the channeler must be Sanctified (see Talents).

Dedicated: The cost of Channeling may be halved (-1 Limitation) if the channeler is dedicated to a single Enaros. Such channelers can also only use Direct Channeling to Empower, and may only dispirit or disrupt things governed by that specific Enaros.

Direct Channeling

Direct channeling is the ability to channel raw, unbound divine energy at a target or targets. It appears as a soft, translucent light with an intensity proportional to the number of dice.

Direct Channeling can be used in for three effects: Dispirit, Disrupt, and Empower.


Direct channeling can affect certain creatures as specified by Enaros if the channeler has +1 Piety or more with that Enaros.  As long as the channeler uses an Half Phase attack action and spends 2 Endurance in maintaining the channel the target will remain affected according to the Presence Attack table. They react appropriately if attacked, breaking the dispirit affect, often resulting in the target(s) retreating.

  • Divinity affects those with the Aversion to Lensae’s Light complication (affected as normal) or Hatred of Lensae’s Light complication (affected at +5).
  • Aelos affects undead with the Susceptiblity to Numos’ Radiance complication.
  • Alantra affects fiends and demons with the Susceptiblity to Channeling complication.
  • Droth affects warriors on the battlefield. This may be complimented by Oratory. This does require a Channeling roll as a Magnitude 2 effect. The base area can be expanded 2m per +1 Magnitude; subsequent radius is doubled as well.
  • Elendra affects crowds and can be used to quell anger and mob aggression. This works like Droth’s ability above.
  • Grethken affects entities with the Susceptiblity to Grethken’s Presence complication, typically living plants and earth elementals
  • Larayil affects entities with the Susceptiblity to Larayil’s Breath complication, typically flying creatures or air elementals.
  • Modren affects entities with the Susceptiblity to Modren’s Command complication, typically creatures with natural fire abilities or fire elementals.
  • Phensral affects entities with the Susceptiblity to Phensral’s Waves complication, typically aquatic creatures or water elementals.
  • Vale affects entities with the Susceptiblity to Vale’s Ire complication, typically animals and great beasts.


Direct channeling can be used to disrupt unnatural entities from within an Enaros’ sphere of influence as described above, but the creatures must also have the Susceptible to Disruption complication.  


Direct channeling can be used to activate religious objects or sacred locations.  Such objects and locations require a certain amount of energy to activate, which is the target amount on the channeling dice. 

Essence Shaping

Arcane:                 9 + (EGO/5)
Cost:                      5 Character Point; +1 to the roll per +5 points

The core technique to create spells is the ability for a shaper to gather the raw essence around him and shape that essence by focusing his will through his knowledge of the arcana and specific spell formulae to create the desired effect.

With this skill comes the ability to feel the flow of essence. In general the character senses it in the same way as air touching the skin, but by focusing his will he can actually manipulate it much like water.

This talent allows a character to discern the type of power (Detect Essence) in an item (i.e. the base power and effect) on touch as well. See the Chapter on Essence Shaping for more details on the Detect results.

Success with this skill determines the amount of essence (ESS) that can be used in the shaping of a spell. Characters can apply Spellshaping Skill Levels to this roll, but the roll may never exceed the campaign limits.

Characters without this skill can still attempt to shape essence at a -3 penalty to their EGO roll. Often such characters will learn a few spells, acquired during a failed apprenticeship or some other period of academic exploration. Attempting to shape essence without a practiced knowledge of the effect (i.e., Spell Familiarity) without any training is not recommended, although it is possible.

Personal Focus Options

One way spellshapers mitigate the challenges of harnessing essence is through the use of foci. These are specially created devices which spellshapers use to focus their magical power during the spellshaping process.

Personal foci come in many shapes and sizes, governed more by personal preference than any arcane requirement. Some spellshapers prefer a staff (Long OAF, Durable), handy in a fight should spells fail him, while others prefer rings or amulets (Worn OIF, Breakable), objects that are easier to conceal but more apt to be lost. This is not to say that a spellshaper cannot shape spells without his focus. The focus simply makes the process easier. All foci allow touch spells to be shape through them, although the utility of this with respect to jewelry is minimal.

Spellshapers must select one of the following focus types when they learn this skill. The cost increases the base cost of the skill.

Cost      Spell Application            Example

1         Small OAF (Fragile)          wand, feather, book
2         Small OAF (Breakable)        baton, crown, tome
2         Medium OAF (Durable)         rod, sword
3         Long OAF (Durable)           staff, spear
3         Worn OIF (Fragile)           necklace, circlet
4         Worn OIF (Breakable)         ring, bracers, torque

Shaping a spell without a personal focus is considered a “Wild Shaping” and entails some very specific challenges.

Foci evolve as they are used, becoming ornate and marked by the power they are used to shape. The specifics of this ornamentation are a reflection of the shaper and the nature of the power shaped.

Knowledge Skill

Background:      See Text
Cost:                      2 Character Points for an 11- roll, or 3 Character Points for an INT-based Roll; +1 to roll per +1 point

In addition to the standard Knowledge Skill options, Narosia has several specific knowledge skills that warrant description.

Area Knowledge Skills

Below is the general scope of area knowledges for Narosia. As detailed in Hero System Skills, each step up or down on the table is a -5 penalty (HSS 210).

Sea of Tears Basin
  • Region (e.g. Aetaltan Imperial Holdings, Agthorian Plane, Ellyen Wilds)
  • Nation (e.g. Aetaltis, Free Provinces)
  • Large City (e.g. New Aetaltis, Hawk's Crest, Port Nadir) or Province
  • Neighborhood/Burrow of a city or a Town
  • Specific Block or a Village

General Knowledge Skills

KS: Deepland Lore reflects knowledge associated with the Deeplands, their history, their construction, and what can be found there. It is often referred to as “Dungeoneering” as much of the knowledge pertains to the delving of tsvergic deepland halls, but the scope of the skill includes much more. Any liberator, delver, or rogue serious about adventuring in the Deeplands would be wise to know the lore well. With a scope penalty of -3 it can be used to gain general knowledge of creatures an monsters that may be covered by other more specific knowledges. 

KS: Voidspawn is the study of creatures warped by the Void, how they live, and where they might be found.

KS: Void Lore is the knowledge of the powers of the void, the heierarchy of Demons, and all aspects of how these powers relate to the world. Once the demon has been identified, this skill functions as Analyze. This skill functions as KS: Voidspawn at a -5 penalty. 

KS: Narosani concerns all knowledge surrounding the first children of the Enaros, often called the Elder Children. This includes the Gigan and Drakan among other offspring.

KS: Endrori is the understanding of how the Endrori live, they taxonomy of Endrori, and how they relate to the creatures of the world.

KS: Dark Lore concerns the lore of all things related to Endroren, his minions, Abomonae, and the Fallen. This the manner in which creatures can Fall, how they live, and what their motives might be. Once such a creature has been identified, this skill functions as Analyze. This skill can be used to answer questions requiring KS: Endrori at a -5 penalty.

KS: Legends and Lore is the history of tale and legend surrounding people, places, and things. It is the key skill to the success of a bard and tellers of tales. This includes the lore surrounding creatures of legend, generally all singular monsters and any creature that is not of Darkness, Chaos, or Nature (i.e. not animals).

KS: Undead concerns the nature and order of undead, as well as stories and legends of their existence and creation. Once the undead has been identified, this skill functions as Analyze.

Roguish Knowledges

KS: Poisons is the study of specific poisons, sources, and how they interact. This is an academic focus and study of poisons. 

KS: Locks is the study of specific locks, mechanisms, and history. 

KS: Traps is the study of specific mechanical trap mechanisms, such as those found in the Deepland halls, securing vaults and safes, and any type of trap using machines, weapons, and mechanisms of any kind. 

Social Knowledges

CuK: Specific Culture covers issues of history, social movements, customs, and popular lore – all things that make the culture what it is.

KS: Arcane Society covers knowledge of what guilds exist, where they are headquartered, any heraldry associated with them, and anything related to the Arcane world of Narosia.

KS: Clerical Hierarchy includes all knowledge of the more secular aspects of religious organization, how the leadership is structured, and any other topic concerning the mundane execution of religious order.

KS: Heraldry is the study of political and military symbology, lineage, and organizational representation. 

KS: Linguistics is the study of history of language, its structure, and relationships with other langugages. It can be used to identify languages, even if the character does not speak or read the language. 

Esoteric Knowledges

KS: Arcane Lore encompasses the academic study of magic, spellshaping, and spellshapers. It includes knowledge of the history of Narosian spellshaping, stories about famous spellshapers, and the esoteric traditions of the Sea of Tears basin’s spellshaping communities. It also provides an understanding of the effects magic can have on the physical world and the telltale signs of those effects. 

This knowledge skill also provides insight into arcane trap designs, including alarms, scrying points, sensors and such.

This skill can also be used to make any KS: Arcane Society or KS: Essence Aura roll at -5.

KS: Enarosian Religion is the knowledge of how the Enaros apply to everyday life, as well as how one who wishes to live their life in an Enaros complimentary manner can do so. It is the practical sum of history, legend, and counsel for all who know it.  Can be used to make any KS: Clerical Hierarchy roll at -5.

KS: Essence Auras eflects an understanding of any aura perceived in the essential plane. A character can use this skill to read the aura as with the Thaumaturgy skill.

KS: Martial Art Style reflects an understanding of traditions and rules associated with the study of a specific Martial Art.

Natural Knowledges

KS: Fauna is the specific lore of all creatures, their characteristics, and their role in the world.

KS: Flora is lore of all plants, herbs, and things that grow from the earth.

KS: Nature is the knowledge of all things found in nature and how they interrelate, including hazards, terrain, weather, and natural patterns.  With a scope penalty of -5 it can be used to gain knowledge of either flora or fauna.


Background:      No roll required
Cost:                      1-5 Character Points (see table); Literacy costs 1 point per alphabet or 3 points for all languages known by the character

Narosia is a land of many languages and alphabets. As such not all peoples can easily communicate with one another. It is important during character creation that special care is taken to ensure a character has the communication skills needed.

A character must make an INT roll to communicate if the concept requires a higher level of proficiency than he posseses, -2 per additional level of difference. This may mean that both speaker and listener must make rolls. If either fail, the concept is not communicated.

Martial Arts

Other Styles

Callios: Calliosan Fencing

Elori: Eloren Bowmastery

Malador: Kulazh Brok

Newardin Enclaves: Imjatsan, Kinjatsan, Kujsatsan, Naginjatsan

Scythaan Wastes: Shaakdaraath

Spice Islands: Stick Dancing, Palm-Heel Dancing

Cheebat Warrens: Toktscheetaa

Martial Arts represent any form of hand-tohand combat that requires training (or innate ability or experience) and expertise, such as the precise movements and dodging of aikido, the hammer and tongs of boxing, the rough-andtumble of dirty infighting, advanced weapon techniques like fencing, or the instinctive claw-fighting abilities of tigers and werewolves. HERO System Martial Arts (HSMA) discusses Martial Arts in detail, including the effects of the Martial Maneuvers, how to construct a Martial Arts style, and ways to use Martial Maneuvers in combat.

Narosia is home to several specific forms of martial arts. While other forms may exist, even custom forms, the GM is encouraged to limit study of the martial arts to these forms only.    

Below is an example of Aetaltan martial arts, with a full detail on the Shielded Spear style.

Kingdom of Aetaltis

As an expansive culture with formal sports, competitions, and highly ordered military, the Aetaltans are home to many popular forms of martial arts.

Aetaltan Battlesport

While effective in the structured games, Aetaltan Battlesport, sometimes a less practical fighting style. Numerous schools exist and compete in the games, and even in the streets as members of the schools challenge each other. The military style is strictly taught only to soldiers that can pass a rigid evaluation or to select schools that continue to uphold the same select traditions.

Iron Guard

Iron Guard, short for Iron Guard Body Combat System, is a brutal style involving grappling, punching, stomach-kicking, legsweeping, joint-locking and joint-breaking. The maneuver listed as Kick or Punch is precisely that; the fighter can choose each Phase whether he wishes to punch or kick. 

Shielded Spear

All elite soldiers are trained in a specific set of maneuvers designed to enhance their effectiveness with the primary weapons of the Aetaltan Army: spear and shield. Aetaltan soldiers are some of the finest warriors on the battlefield, excelling in group manevuers and combined arms.

Required Skills: PS: Soldier, Teamwork, and Membership: Military Rank 1 required.

Maneuver            COST     OCV     DCV      Notes

Advance               5      +1      +0       Weapon +v/10; FMove
Defend                5      +1      +3       Block, Abort
Hold                  4      +0      +0       25 STR to resist Shove; Block, Abort
Press                 4      +0      +0       25 STR to Shove
Receive               5      +0      +2       Weapon +2 DC +v/6 Strike; Full Phase
Strike                4      +2      +0       Weapon +2 DC Strike
Sweep                      +1      +1       2d6 Strike; Target Falls
Thrust                4      +0      +2       Weapon +2 DC Strike
Weapon Element        0                       Polearms
Weapon Element        1                       Staffs

Skill levels


Cost: +1 skill level per +6 points

This is an abstraction of a particular character’s experience as an adventurer, and knowledge of all things concerning their career. It is a catchall skill and useful as a means to enhance deduction, appropriate knowledge skills, or any situation where the GM approves its use to reflect what a character might “know” as a representative of their role as an adventurer. It is essentially a limited Overall skill level applying only to adventurer-related things.

Development of this skill is not mandatory but is encouraged. This skill is often a good bonus experience award for the characters to ensure improvement and to reflect the adventurer’s developing experience and knowledge.

The following list is meant to detail the primary uses, but is by no means exhaustive.

Knowledge: Any knowledge associated with adventuring as a profession such as adventurer history, key adventurers, general adventuring lore, etc. Most background skills fall into this category of usage.

Professional Practice: An experienced adventurer always knows a better way to find a job, how much going rates are, and what is and is not appropriate. Add this to any Professional Skill roll where the adventurer’s experience could be an aid.

Tools of the Trade: A character can appraise (value and utility) the tools of his trade by adding these skill levels to a base of 8-. A warrior will be able to relate weapon quality, a magus will know the value of alchemical components, etc. If the character knows the PS: Appraiser or the appropriate skill for the item in question (e.g. PS: Weaponsmith), simply add the skill levels to that skill for appraising.

Social Standing: A character can use these skill levels to modify any Interaction roll where his standing as an adventurer can be a factor. This can be especially potent when combined with the Positive Repuation perk.

Guild Standing: These skill levels can modify any roll made when interacting with the guild where guild standing is important. These skill levels do not grant special access but do improve the chances that appropriate access/contact is given. Membership in the guild is a separate perk. This includes access to resources, availability of special guild equipment, use of services, or even social audience.

Adventurer Secrets: This aspect of the skill allows the character to deliver a narrative about his character’s experience as an adventurer and how it will affect his next action. Such a narrative allows a characteristic roll (appropriate for the action) plus any Adventurer Skill Levels. Success provides the character with 1 point of Luck to enhance the next action (no Luck roll required), with an additional +1d6 Luck per 2 points of success; additional dice of Luck must be rolled to determine if any additional points of Luck come into play. Using Adventurer Secrets should generally only be allowed once per session, but more if the GM and dramatic sense (and often the rest of the players) agree.

Professional Skill

Background:      See Text
Cost:                      2 Character Points for an 11- roll, or 3 Character Points for an CHAR-based Roll; +1 to roll per +1 point

Whereas Knowledge Skills give a character knowledge of how or why something works, Professional Skills give a character the ability to perform some task or do some type of work.

PS: Alchemist (INT) is the skill is used create magical potions, and is used by both channelers and essence shapers.

PS: Apothecary (INT) is the skill used to prepare herbs, concoctions, and other natural remedies known as elixers. This is also the skill used when applying herbal remedies and is complimented by the Healing skill.

PS: Appraiser (INT) is skill is used to estimate the value of any object. It is complimented by any and all appropriate skills. The margin of success determines how accurate an estimate is made.

PS: Armorsmith (DEX) is skill is used to craft and repair armor.

PS: Artist (INT) could be any type of professional that produces artistic items such as jewelry, paitings, pottery, sculptures and so on.

PS: Crafter (INT) could be any type of professional that produces mundane items such as barrels, baskets, books, documents, cloth, clothing, glass, leather,  shoes, wagons, and so on. All crafting is handled with professional skills.

PS: Embalmer (INT) is the skill used to analyze and prepare the dead.

PS: Enchanter (INT) is the skill used to enchant items. All enchanting rolls use this skill (not Essence Shaping).

PS: Leader (INT) is the skill used to enhance Interaction Skills as a leader, military or civilian.

PS: Laborer (INT) could be any type of professional that provides specific services such as architect, baker, brewer, butcher, clerk, cook, courtesan, driver, farmer, fisherman, gardener, innkeeper, lawyer, librarian, midwife, miller, miner, porter, scribe, shepherd, stable master, tanner, or woodcutter

PS: Locksmith (INT) is the skill used to craft locks.

PS: Merchant (INT) will compliment all Trading rolls as well as facilitate finding buyers and getting things to market. It also provides an essential understanding of basic accounting.

PS: Poisoncrafter (INT) is the skill used in the manufacture and use poisons — the ingredients involved (and where to find them), how to compound or brew them together, how to apply poison to an object, how to introduce poison into a target’s body, and so forth.

PS: Sailor (INT) are those skilled at making their way on large sailing vessels. They know the codes of conduct, traditions, heierarchy, as well as the practical skill of manning the rigging, controlling the sales, and service aboard a ship.

PS: Scrivener (INT) is skill is used create scrolls, and is used by both channelers and mages.

PS: Shipwright (INT) is skill is used to create ships and water vessels of all kinds. Simple boats are easiest, while large galleys will require master Shipwrights.

PS: Soldier (INT) are those dedicated to military service and familiar with codes of conduct, military structure, traditions, order of battle, and chain of command, as well as the practical side of caring for their gear and general battle readiness.

PS: Stonemason (INT) is skill is used to build and repair all forms of stoneworks. A stonemason may use this skill with a -3 penalty to disable any type of stonework trap and may locate such traps without a penalty to the Concealment roll as well.

PS: Tinker (INT) are professionals who repair simple mechanical devices, most objects, and gadgets. If a machine is clearly associated with some other skill (e.g. traps, siege engines, gates, etc.) they can attempt to repair or disable at -3, otherwise they suffer no penalties to their Mechanics roll. Tinkers may locate mechanical traps  involving metal or wires without a penalty to the Concealment roll as well.

PS: Trapper (INT) is skill is used to create and set wilderness traps. This skill can be used in place of Security Systems when crafting or disabling such traps, and may locate such traps without a penalty to the Concealment roll as well. A trapper may use this skill to compliment use of the Security Systems skill for wilderness traps. This skill can also be used as a complimentary skill to any use of Survival involving trapping (e.g. snare).

PS: Weaponsmith (DEX) is skill is used to craft and repair armor.