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In World of Darkness: Gotham, we have had to address the different abilities found in the different venues and come up with a complete and consistent way to treat abilities and the different Dramatic Systems they affect.

We also want to make it worthwhile for players to take Secondary Abilities and use it as a tool to further develop their character in new and unique ways.

So we have tried to build a fairly comprehensive list of Secondary Abilities. However, there are so many Secondary Abilities, that to hunt down and list them all is a monumental task in and of itself. We could get bogged down by making a ruling on each one, but that would be silly. Consider the list of Secondary Abilities here a partial list for the WoDG community to expand upon as it sees fit.

That all being said, we’ve opted for a system that uses a few key guidelines that players can refer to when considering spending Freebie or Experience Points in Primary or Secondary Abilities:

  1. If an Ability is treated as a Primary Ability in one venue, then it will be treated as a Primary Ability in all venues. This means that all Dramatic Systems are applied the same way in all venues using the same Primary Abilities. 
  2. Non-combat related Secondary Abilities cost half as much as Primary Abilities. Every Ability Point spent on a Secondary Ability during character creation buys 2 dots in Secondary Abilities. Every Freebie Point spent, buys 1 dot in Secondary Abilities. Buying the initial dot in a Secondary Ability costs 1 Experience Point. Raising a Secondary Ability with Freebie Points costs only the Trait’s New Rating.
  3. Because they are specific and highly specialized, non-combat related Secondary Abilities reduce the difficulty of any applicable roll by 1 for the first two dots in the rating and by 2 for the last three. So someone with Research 1 would only reduce a difficulty by 1 while someone with Research 3 and above would reduce the difficulty of a research roll by 2.
  4. You may not specialize in a Secondary Ability. A Secondary Ability is already highly specialized.
  5. You must have at least 1 dot in the corresponding Primary Ability before you can buy a Secondary Ability at beginning levels. Advanced levels (3 or more) requires 2 dots in the Primary Ability. For example, if you want to purchase Painting 2, then you must at least have Crafts 1. For Painting 3 you must have Crafts at 2.
  6. If a Secondary Ability is combat related, then its cost is the same as a Primary Ability. It will require an expenditure of no fewer than 3 dots in its corresponding Primary Ability before it can be taken (ask a ST if you are uncertain as to which Primary Ability a Secondary corresponds. Some can be vague or some might have to settle for something quasi-related. For example, Demolitions would be firearms.). It will confer a Difficulty adjustment of -1 after 3 dots have been gained. Note: The Difficulty adjustment does not apply to Klaive Dueling or Kailindo as those abilities are quite strong enough with their maneuvers (WtA PG Rev Ed. pp. 218-220).
  7. To further flesh out their characters, players are free to make up their own Secondary Abilities within reason and with the approval of their venue ST.
  8. Secondary abilities which actually utilize a bunch of different skill sets from the Primary Ability may not be taken as Secondaries. They instead should be a specialty of the Primary Ability. For example, Parkour makes use of running, jumping, acrobatics, tumbling, etc. Those are all athletic abilities. Therefore, Parkour is not a suitable Secondary Ability, it is better left as a specialty of Athletics.


Zero Ratings in Abilities

An often overlooked rule is what happens when you have 0 in an ability. Talents, Skills, and Knowledges are all learned and acquired through different means. Below is a reminder of the mechanical adjustments per type of ability.


Talents can be unlocked by repeated exposure and experience. Only a few talents can be learned through practice or coursework. There is no adjustment to dice pools when attempting to use a talent that your character doesn't possess.


Skills are abilities that your character can learn through apprenticeship, training, and instruction. If your character uses a skill that he doesn't possess, he is considered unskilled and can do the action at +1 Difficulty.


Knowledges represent abilities that are based in scholastic or mental expertise. They are learned via self-study, coursework, or formal training. Without a dot in a Knowledge, your character cannot attempt to roll to use it.

Learning Abilities

As Abilities are gained in different ways, they require different types of effort by the player character to learn effectively. Typically, STs will allow a player to pick up an initial dot or the second dot in any Ability without much more than some dedicated downtime for a single calendar month though some Abilities might require more depending on their complexity. It really depends on how much intensity the player character is putting into learning the New Ability. Expect it to take on average about 50% of a character's downtime to learn a New Ability or level 2 of an Ability in a single month.

Past the Initial and Second dot in an Ability, things get more complex. STs may require a significant portion of downtime be dedicated over several months to learning levels past 2. Some RP evidence may also be required, especially in the case of most Talents. Be prepared to have Experience expenditures denied if you can't demonstrate that your character has been steadily working towards perfecting their Abilities. When we look at level 4 requests, we will definitely need to see a great deal of back up RP, Journal entries and downtime dedicated to mastery and specialization.

Level 5 Abilities can only be unlocked as a ST reward over the course of a storyline.

Primary Abilities

  1. Alertness
  2. Athletics
  3. Awareness (Mages Only)
  4. Brawl
  5. Do (Akashic Brotherhood Only)
  6. Dodge (depreciated to a secondary ability use Athletics)
  7. Empathy
  8. Expression
  9. Intimidation
  10. Leadership
  11. Primal-Urge (Werewolves Only)
  12. Streetwise
  13. Subterfuge
  1. Animal Ken
  2. Crafts
  3. Drive
  4. Etiquette
  5. Firearms
  6. Meditation
  7. Melee
  8. Performance
  9. Security
  10. Stealth
  11. Survival
  12. Technology
  1. Academics
  2. Computer
  3. Cosmology (Mage and Werewolf Only)
  4. Enigmas
  5. Finance
  6. Investigation
  7. Law
  8. Linguistics (depreciated to a secondary ability or as a specialty of Academics)
  9. Medicine
  10. Occult
  11. Politics
  12. Rituals (Werewolves Only)
  13. Science

Secondary Abilities

  1. Carousing
  2. Debate
  3. Diplomacy
  4. Dodge
  5. Fortune Telling
  6. Haggling
  7. Interrogation
  8. Intrigue
  9. Mimicry
  10. Negotiation
  11. Newspeak
  12. Panhandling
  13. Poetic Expression
  14. Public Speaking
  15. Scan
  16. Scrounging
  17. Search
  18. Seduction
  19. Sense Deception
  20. Style
  21. Swimming

Combat Secondary Talents

  1. Dodge
  2. Throwing

  1. Acrobatics
  2. Acting
  3. Animal Training
  4. Artistic Expression
  5. Biotech
  6. Blacksmith
  7. Boat Handling
  8. Brewing/Distilling
  9. Bribery
  10. Camouflage
  11. Carpentry
  12. Climbing
  13. Cooking
  14. Dancing
  15. Disguise
  16. Escapology
  17. Falconry
  18. Fast-Draw
  19. Fast-Talk
  20. First Aid
  21. Fishing
  22. Forgery
  23. Gambling
  24. Game Playing
  25. Gunsmithing
  26. Herbalism
  27. Helmsman
  28. Hunting
  29. Hypertech
  30. Hypnotism
  31. Jetpack
  32. Jeweler
  33. Journalism
  34. Leatherworking
  35. Lip Reading
  36. Lock Picking
  37. Mechanical Repair
  38. Microgravity Operations
  39. Netiquette
  40. Parachuting
  41. Photography
  42. Pickpocket
  43. Pilot
  44. Police Procedure
  45. Pottery
  46. Psychoanalysis
  47. Research
  48. Ride
  49. Scuba
  50. Singing
  51. Skiing
  52. Sleight of Hand
  53. Speed Reading
  54. Torture
  55. Tracking
  56. Traps

Combat Secondary Skills

  1. Archery
  2. Artillery
  3. Demolitions
  4. Energy Weapons
  5. Heavy Weapons
  1. Academic Humanities (Special)
    • Linguistics (No longer a Primary Ability)
    • Anthropology
    • Archeology
    • Ethnology
    • Fine Arts
    • History
    • Logic
    • Philosophy
    • Theology
    • Accounting
    • Alchemy
    • Architecture
    • Area Knowledge
    • Art History
    • Astrology
  2. Body Control
  3. City Secrets
  4. Computer Hacking
  5. Covert Culture
  6. Criminology
  7. Cryptology/Cryptography
  8. Economics
  9. Heraldry
  10. Law Enforcement
  11. Literature
  12. Lore
    • Kindred Lore
    • Camarilla Lore
    • Conspiracy Theory
    • Lupine Lore
    • Faerie Lore
    • Mage Lore
    • Sabbat Lore
    • Sewer Lore
    • Spirit Lore
    • Technocracy Lore
    • Wyrm Lore
    • Clan, Tradition, Tribal Lore
  13. Media
  14. Power-Brokering
  15. Propoganda
  16. Psychology
  17. Science
    • Astronomy
    • Biology
    • Biopsychology
    • Chemistry
    • Cybernetics
    • Electronics
    • Engineering
    • Forensics/ Forensic Pathology
    • Genetics
    • Geology
    • Hypermathematics
    • Mathematics
    • Metallurgy
    • Meteorology
    • Military Science
    • Naturalist
    • Paraphysics
    • Pharmacology/Pharmacopoeia
    • Phylogeny
    • Physics
    • Psychodynamics
    • Sociobiology
    • Toxicology
    • Xenobiology
  18. Social Networking
  19. Terrorism
  20. Vice
  21. Strategy
  22. Virtual Space (MtA and WtA - Digital Web Specific)
  23. Web Culture (MtA Only - Digital Web Specific)


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