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Walking The Walk:
Using Skills and Spells

All skills in the Shifting, regardless of Wheel, come under one of two classifications: Active and Passive. These are further split down into smaller subcategories, like so:

Active Skills:

All Active Skills require Resources to use – Technique for Martial Skills, Threshold for Mystic Skills, and Focus for Grounded Skills. While the way each Active Skill is used may differ slightly, this core mechanic remains the same.

Each time you purchase a Resource Skill, you are given a number of Slots, which may be expended to use an Active Skill. Resource Slots are specific to that Wheel and to that Tier. If you do not have any Resource Slots remaining, you cannot use that skill.

Martial Active Skills:

Unless otherwise stated, Martial Active Skills are instantaneous and reactionary – that is, they require no preparation to use, merely available Technique Slots. The majority of Martial Active Skills are augments to an attack or are used in response to being attacked.

An attack may only be augmented by one Active Skill at a time, unless that skill specifically states otherwise.

Blade Venoms, magical enhancements, reweighting a bludgeon or honing a blade do not count as Active Skills for purposes of stacking effects in combat. For example, while you can hone a blade (to do extra damage on it’s first hit) and combine that with Accurate Strike (for yet more damage on that hit), you cannot combine Accurate Strike and Thrust for example.

Because of this, you may be able to call, for example, “TRIPLE KNOCKDOWN BIND 10 Seconds” because of the use of venom and a skill. In this example, the target would be knocked down and then bound to the spot from the waist down – they would still be able to fight, parry, cast spells, cower behind a shield etc. but they would not be able to get up or roll over until the BIND effect has ended.

If your weapon has been envenomed, reweighted, honed or otherwise augmented to have an additional effect on that first strike, and the that first strike is negated (by parry, or a finesse skill, or a sylph skill or something) the augmentations remain valid until a connecting blow has been made. So if you’re fighting someone with aaaaall the Parries / Dodge Blows you still get the bang for your buck.

Mystic Active Skills:

The vast majority of Mystic Active Skills are also known as Spells, and all follow the same basic framework to use. First, you must cast the Spell. This requires appropriate vocals being used for the following lengths of time:

Tier 1 and Tier 2: 5 seconds of vocals
Tier 3 and Tier 4: 10 seconds of vocals
Tier 5: 15 seconds of vocals.

You then call the name of the Spell, the target of the spell where appropriate, and the effect. This also expends a Threshold Slot of that Tier.

In order to cast spells, a character also requires a mystical focus – the details of this are found in the Equipment section.

For Example, Bunty von Firemaster wishes to burn Ugly Bob with a Firebolt spell. He chants arcane words for five seconds, points at Ugly Bob and says “Firebolt! Ugly Bob! BOLT!” He has also expended a Tier 2 Threshold Slot.

Grounded Active Skills:

Grounded Active Skills are the most varied of all the Active Skills, and therefore have slightly different parameters for use. The majority of skills require ten seconds of concentration and the expenditure of a Focus Slot of the appropriate Tier, then the skill is used. Where this differs with specific skills (such as the Tracking suite of skills) this is detailed in the Skill description.


Alchemy is slightly different. Each Alchemy Skill chosen represents knowledge of a formula, which may be mixed for the detailed effects. Mixing any Alchemical formula requires 30 seconds of roleplay, and the presence of Alchemical Supplies – details of which are found in the Equipment section. After 30 seconds, a Focus slot of the appropriate Tier is expended.

The exception to this are Healing Poultices – these require only 5 seconds which counts both for mixing and applying the healing.

Unless otherwise stated, any Alchemical concoction must be used within five minutes of creation or it will lose its potency.

Passive Skills:

A Passive Skill is a permanent, always-on upgrade to your characters capabilities. They require the expenditure of no Resource Slots.

Resource Skills:

There are three Resource Skills – Technique, for Martial Skills; Threshold, for Mystic Skills; and Focus, for Grounded Skills. Each time you purchase a Resource Skill, you gain a number of Resource Slots which are expended to power Active Skills. These Resource Skills may be taken multiple times. The Resource Slots they provide are specific to that Wheel and Tier.

You may not have more Resource skills of a higher Tier than you do of the Tier below. That is, you may not buy Focus I x1, Focus II x1, Focus III x5. You may, however, have Focus I x4, Focus II x4, Focus III x4 etc.