Secondary Abilities

Any skill imaginable is available as a Secondary Ability; there are an infinite number of them. The XP cost is the same as for Primary Abilities.

While the primary abilities on the main character sheet should cover most skills you might want to use, Secondary Abilities allow you take a subset of one of those abilities when appropriate. For example, a character with 5 in performance is a world-class singer, actor, and dancer. If you just want to be a rap star, you could take the "Rapper" secondary skill, which you could roll for rap-related actions and nothing else.

Note that it probably makes sense to have one or two dots in the primary ability in most cases. If you're a world-class knife fighter with the "Knife Fighting" skill, it would make sense to have a few points in Melee. GM's discretion.

A character using a Secondary Ability to perform an action gains a -1 Difficulty adjustment in combat situations, or -2 in non-combat situations. This is cumulative with the adjustment from Ability Aptitude or Ability Mastery and any adjustment from a maneuver. The dice pool used is that of the appropriate Secondary Ability, not that of the Primary Ability.


Lore is a Secondary Ability of Occult which offers precise answers. There are an infinite number of Lores: Bygone Lore (mythological creatures), Psychic Lore (psychic powers), Sorcery Lore, Mythos Lore (Cthulhu Mythos), Wyrm Lore, Demon Lore, Vampire Lore, Werewolf Lore … all separate skills.

A starting character may not begin with Lore unless the character's backstory justifies it. Even then, a starting character may not begin with more than three ranks.

Martial Arts

Hard and Soft Martial Arts are Secondary Abilities of Brawl. Hard Martial Arts (karate, taekwondo) and Soft Martial Arts (judo, aikido) are separate skills. Kicks and punches would be considered Hard Martial Arts attacks; sweeps and throws would be considered Soft Martial Arts attacks.

List of Secondary Abilities

This is a non-comprehensive list of Secondary Abilities. If you don't see the thing you want on this list, never fear! You can still take the ability you're looking for, just be sure to run it past your GM first to be sure that it's not too broad or too specific.

Most Secondary abilities are sub-categories of the various primary abilities, and are classified based on that. There are some which could fall under multiple primary abilities, and those are listed at the end.


  • Notice
  • Sense


  • Acrobatics - Acrobatics implies skills and suppleness beyond that granted by Athletics, but which would not necessarily apply in situations requiring strength or stamina.
  • Climbing
  • Parachuting
  • Running
  • Scuba
  • Skiing
  • Sport - Choose a specific sport: an athlete with five points in Football who wanted to play pro golf would need to take a separate Golf skill.
  • Swimming
  • Throwing - Works for pub darts as well as throwing knives
  • Weightlifting


  • Martial Arts (see above)
  • Blind Fighting - The skill of Blind Fighting allows a character with no ability to see engage in combat with people that are within melee range of her as though they see perfectly.



  • Carousing - The knowledge of how to party, as well as the ability to party into the wee hours of the morn. Though derivative of a talent and a knowledge it is definitely a skill.


  • Escapology
  • Fast-Draw
  • Lock Picking (non-electronic locks only)
  • Pickpocket
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Forgery
  • Cheating

Animal Ken

  • Animal Mimicry
  • Animal Training
  • Falconry
  • Riding


  • Architecture
  • Armorsmith
  • Beautician
  • Blacksmith
  • Brewing/Distilling
  • Calligraphy
  • Carpentry
  • Cooking
  • Fletching
  • Gunsmithing
  • Jeweler (aka Lapidary)
  • Leatherworking
  • Masonry
  • Mechanic
  • Painting
  • Pottery
  • Repair
  • Taxidermy
  • Weaponsmith (specify the type of weapon)
  • Woodworking


  • Artillery
  • Archery


  • Focus
  • Trance


  • Hand Weapon - Choose a specific weapon, such as sword or knife


  • Artistic Expression
  • Conducting - Leading an orchestra or band
  • Disguise
  • Fine Arts (select a specific type of art)
  • Oratory
  • Play Instrument (pick a specific instrument)
  • Poetic Expression
  • Public Speaking
  • Singing
  • Storytelling
  • Impersonation


  • Boat Handling


  • Camouflage
  • Hiding


  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Navigation
  • Tracking
  • Trapping


  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Art History
  • Cartography
  • Composition - Choose a type, such as Photography, Music, Poetry, etc
  • Cryptography
  • Economics
  • History
  • Humanities (general knowledge of art and literature)
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Military Science
  • Philosophy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Speed Reading
  • Writing


  • Computer Hacking
  • Computer Programming
  • Electronic Forgery


  • Criminology
  • Scan
  • Scrounging
  • Search
  • Surveillance
  • Interrogation
  • Torture
  • Questioning


  • Dead Languages - Works like Linguistics but for dead languages such as Latin, Egyptian, Mayan, etc… Only grants one new language per rank instead of the typical linguistics system
  • Language - Choose a specific language. This implies a much deeper understanding than that imparted by Linguistics.
  • Lip Reading
  • Mimicry


  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • First Aid
  • Holistic Medicine
  • Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Surgery
  • Toxicology


  • Alchemy
  • Astrology - The understanding of the effects the cosmos has on fate
  • Cryptozoology - The scientific study of supernatural creatures
  • Myth and Legend - choose a specific culture
  • Rituals
  • Lore (see above)


  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Geology
  • Physics
  • Xenobiology - The study of alien life forms

Multi-category Secondary Abilities

  • Dancing - May choose a specific type (Performance/Athletics)
  • Gambling - (Legerdemain/Academics)
  • Game Playing - (Legerdemain/Academics/Computer)
  • Stage Magic - (Legerdemain/Performance)
  • Ventriloquism - Throwing your voice and speaking without moving your mouth. (Legerdemain/Linguistics)
  • Naturalist - (Survival/Science)
  • Metallurgy - (Crafts/Science)
  • Veterinary Medicine - (Animal Ken/Medicine)
  • Zoology - The study of animals (Animal Ken/Science)
  • Debate - (Performance/Academics)
  • Fortune Telling - (Performance/Occult)
  • Instruction - (Academics/Performance)
  • Meteorology - (Science plus Performance if on-air)
  • Music Theory - (Academics/Performance)
  • Forensics - (Investigation/Science)
  • Genetics - (Medicine/Science)
  • Healing - (Medicine/Occult)
  • Herbalism - The study of the mystical and healing properties of plants (Medicine/Occult/Science)
  • Thanatology - (Academics/Medicine)
  • City Secrets - (Academics/Occult)
  • Heraldry - (Performance/Academics)
  • Journalism - (Academics/Investigation)
  • Logic - (Academics/Computer)
  • Style - (Academics/Performance)
  • Theology - Choose a specific religion (Academics/Occult)
  • Minerology - Knowledge of the mystical properties of stones, crystals, and metals (Science/Occult)
  • Cybernetics - (Science/Computer)
  • Electronics - (Computer/Science)
  • Electronic Surveillance - (Computer/Investigation)
  • Engineering (subtype) - Choose a type, such as Civil, Electrical, Nuclear, Mining, Mechanical, etc. (Science/Crafts)
  • Hypnotherapy - (Medicine/Occult)
  • Hypnotism - (Occult/Performance)
  • Hearth Wisdom - (Survival/Occult)
  • Knowledge - Choose a specific mundane knowledge, such as an area, plant, or animal (Varies)
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