Guts is an important skill in Ravenloft. Some areas inflict penalties for Guts rolls, generally somewhere between -1 and -3, with some incredibly warped and evil places being -4 (the Garden of Lead), or terribly and obviously corrupt locations of extreme power being -5 (the site of the Whispering Tyrant's burial). Characters do not receive bonuses for each Rank they have attained. Finally, some creatures impose additional penalties (generally no more than -1 or -2, except in extreme circumstances). In this way, parties who know they hunt terrible creatures in evil locations can expect modifiers as steep as -4 or -5, or even -6. In these cases, it is extremely useful to use magical means for aid, tell heartening tales to each other or listen to an inspiring flute, and invest in edge that may aid in resisting fear. Finally, after encountering a particular creature several times, characters may gain a +1 to Guts rolls vs. fear of these creatures.
Monster Lore and Occult:
Characters who wish to identify a monstrous creature and recall relevant and important details to combat the creature or understand its abilities may find it difficult to do so without special edges, exceptional skill, and/or investigation and observation. Such rolls are done as a specific version of the Occult skill (Monster Lore) with an exceptionally specific use of that skill – knowing such specific information. Those would each give a -2, for a total of -4. In addition to these modifiers, the character will need to spend an action, and at least have the chance to observe the creature's tells. Otherwise, the character may receive an additional -2 or even a -4 if there was absolutely no chance the character could observe the traits of the creature. Finally, a success would allow the character to gain one piece of useful information, but this is not as specific as a Scan spell or Peasant Lore (as per the spell Scan in Ravenloft SW or the edge). A raise would allow two pieces of information. The GM may provide additional information, depending on the situation. Storytellers should take care not to provide very specific data to characters who are not using Scan or Peasant Lore, as this sort of specific analysis is the very mark of those arcane investigators or monster hunters. In this respect, characters will find it useful to rely on Common Knowledge rolls, interactions, and other skills to investigate monsters before engaging in them.
Clerical abuse of spells with free casting?
Clerics receive a -1 for casting and recasting the same spell to achieve a higher result before the duration elapses. As tempting as it may be to try and try an Armor spell in the mornning, and then walk around with it casted on a Raise, players should be ware of this for two reasons. The first is that a critical failure may not be worth the risk (-2 to hit the character for the day for instance. Or the cleric may drop the clerical focus and break it. Or if it's a book, the cleric drops it open and straight in the mud – essentially making it useless.) In addition, all spells do have a slight "tell" revealing the spell to other characters who know to look.
Players may re-roll Stealth, but if a group attempts to use Stealth, then everyone re-rolls with a -1 and players need to determine what might warrant this new roll. Maybe they try a different approach, or they change clothes or make "that guy" take off his shiny shoes. Instead, it may be more effective for the character with the highest skill in Stealth to make suggestions to characters before the first roll (make a separate roll to aid the entire group). If successful, every character benefits by a +1 to the roll. A raise provides every character with a +2. Be sure to describe this "aid."
This roll uses the basic rules of Stealth above. The group should attempt to define its investigation or search as well as possible, including any supporting rolls. Generally, those who indicate a specific area for investigation and it matches the location of a hidden object or secret information hidden amongst the refuse, then the character receives a +2. If a character learns a little from one Investigation check, then declares he or she will look for secret compartments, this character receives at least a -1 to the roll. If the GM feels the second action is too similar to the first action, a higher penalty may be imposed.
As with Stealth and Investigation above, specific actions are better than non-specific actions, and supporting actions should be declared at first. Characters may simultaneously engage in a Survival skill, for example, Tracking. Aiding another character in Tracking requires a successful Tracking skill. This gives a +1 to the leading character, and a +2 if the supporting character gets a raise. But if both characters roll separately, the first person who declared the action will get the straight roll (goes right for the most likely Tracking spot or Camping spot if it's Survival) and the second person gets a -1. Re-rolls may be allowed if characters present a reason. This generally does not constitute saying "I checked the ground before, but now I'll check the bushes." Both actions are covered by the initial roll. On the other hand, after making some educated guesses, and traveling further, and crossing a river as it approaches dark, the Player may say, "I'd like to see if we've regained the Tracks, and in particular, I want to see if they chose to make camp near here." The initial failure may still apply a -1 (the scent is getting cold), but this does allow the second attempt.
Players should keep in mind Tracking modifiers may be quite steep. As per normal rules, if a character attempts to track a six person bandit group (+2) who left a little over a day ago (-2), in the early evening (-2) while it's raining (-4) receives a total modifier of -6. If they wait for muddy area they may receive a -4. If they can also benefit from a half dozen torches they could mitigate the light modifiers, reducing penalties to only -2. (This is why many search parties try to start during the day.)
One person makes a Persuasion check. Fails. Then another person tries, but this second person receives a -1 on the roll with a roleplayed interaction. If that new person fails, it's now -2 for the next person. Whoever the characters are attempting to persuade is getting more and more irritated with requests to lower his stall's prices.
Establishing Relations: (Example given is to establish long term trade relationships)
* A character might use Common Knowledge: Trade and a D4 Persuasion arrange very basic deals for him or herself and the party with specific lenders on a one-time basis, and with a little work, turn that into ongoing deals without too much difficulty (10% discounts). (Those will be very basic rolls with a TN 4 generally, with +/- 1 or 2.)
* For more expensive purchases (potions, good armor) or for long term deals with most merchants, it might be useful to raise Persuasion up to D6. That D6 will probably slowly be enough to get an ongoing deal between two organizations. Of course, this second stage of difficulty can be made easier with persistence and situational modifiers (learning the merchant's desires and fulfilling them in some way, a stylistic approach like "wining and dining" the merchant or just wearing certain clothes or bringing certain gossip or rumors). So it is possible to make some long term arrangements between organizations happen with nothing more than a D4 in Persuasion and Common Knowledge.
* To achieve long-term deals between two organizations (magical dealers, alchemists, etc.) it'll take some work with only a D4 in Persuasion. Most people who arrange this sort of thing have some sort of edge (Charismatic, Noble, Filthy Rich – for bribes, Aspis Consortium, Snakeoil Salesman, etc.) and/or a Persuasion D8 as well as some additional knowledges that would help interactions with merchants (many of the Societies, especially the merchant or artistic societies, give examples). The Aspis Consortium does this particularly well, giving more Common Knowledges AND giving a +2 to those Common Knowledge checks, effectively taking care of two needs with one edge when it has to do with establishing Trade. But once that is established, the character could probably earn a personal discount of 20%, and extend that to the PCs. Of course, being a PC, with persistence and specific actions, it'll be possible to build up his or her reputation with merchants, effectively giving a +1 to +3 modifier with them, and that will take care of the need for an edge. Also, being a Wild Card, a few good rolls are far more likely than they are for non-Wild Cards, making it possible (if difficult) to get this going with just a D4 in Persuasion.
There are typically two parts to a disguise. The first part is your bearing and mannerisms, which are covered by the Persuasion skill, and the second is your physical appearance, which is covered by the Stealth skill. You don't roll when applying a disguise, instead you roll when other people interact with you.
There are two types of observer, "attentive" and "inattentive". Inattentive observers are those who aren't interacting with you or paying any particular attention to you. Under normal circumstances a standard TN 4 Persuasion roll is sufficient to maintain your disguise against inattentive observers, but on a failure you draw attention to yourself; those nearby become attentive observers.
Attentive observers make an opposed Notice roll against your Persuasion (typically only once per scene unless something occurs to draw additional scrutiny), and if they succeed they notice that you're acting strangely. They can then make another opposed Notice roll against your Stealth to try and penetrate your disguise and determine your identity – or at the very least, they will recognize that you're trying to disguise your appearance, and notice any distinctive features.
If an observer beats your Persuasion but not your Stealth, they will only realize you're an imposter if you're impersonating a specific person, and they're familiar with that person. Otherwise they will remain attentive, and will consider the exchange to be a strange or noteworthy one, but may do nothing about it, or their response will be delayed. They may mention the interaction to another individual or enter the interaction in their logs if they are part of an organization, but they generally will not immediately exhibit alarm.
- Without the necessary tools (such as makeup and suitable clothing) you suffer a -2 penalty to your disguise rolls. (Disguise kits)
- Charisma bonuses from Attractive, Very Attractive and Noble do not typically apply to Persuasion when used for disguise rolls, except in specific situations (e.g., impersonating another attractive person when you have Attractive, or using your Noble manners and bearing to impersonate another nobleman).
- If you are wearing clothing that partially conceals your appearance (such as a deep hood, or a masquerade ball mask) you receive a +2 bonus to your disguise rolls, as long as such clothing doesn't appear out of place.
- If you attempt to imitate a specific person, anyone closely familiar with that person is automatically treated as an attentive observer, and receives a +2 bonus to their Notice roll against your Persuasion. This bonus increases to +4 for a lover or close family member.
- Anyone who is very familiar with you (such as a friend, relative, or sworn enemy) receives a +2 bonus to their Notice rolls against both your Persuasion and Stealth.
- Other situational modifiers may apply at the GM's discretion, (up to +2/-2)
- Access to a mirror and 1 hour of preparation provides +1.
- A week of preparation, including opportunities to study the subject or the people to be tricked by the disguise provides a +2.
- Feedback from someone who knows the subject of the disguise provides +1.
- If the disguise requires very specific clothing such as a captain's uniform or a noble's clothing, this requires a -1 or even -2.
A male human decides to impersonate another male human officer to a group of guards: +1 for one hour of prep w/mirror, +1 masterwork disguise kit, +1 sticking to areas of bad lighting, -1 uniform, -1 guard familiarity with the officer, for a total of +1. This is something only a very skilled disguise artist will feel comfortable doing because a failure probably means incarceration. Unfortunately, the disguise artist can't use a deep hood for a +2 because the officer wouldn't wear that. The good news is that once this disguise is created, the disguised character needs to only make a Persuasion check with a TN 4 in most circumstances (if guards are inattentive). Failure will not immediately alarm the guards unless both rolls were failed. It will only alert them, and force the disguised character to engage in the guard or deftly, smoothly slip away without alerting the guard further.