B&B Abilities & Specialties

Last 7 Edits:

July 15th, 2014

  • Changed the Spellcasting Specialties (for Perform, Smarts & Will) to actually line up with our Spellcasters page. Removed a lot of clutter regarding the casting too.

July 14th, 2014

  • Changed name of Status Specialties to suit more generic settings. Separated Etiquette from Lineages and combined Tournaments into Stewardship.

June 23rd, 2014

  • Removed Diagnose Specialty from Healing. In fact, I made it an action that can be taken with other Specialties.

4th March, 2014

  • Added withdraw action to Agility (Acrobatics and Dodge).

2nd March, 2014

  • Added/adjusted the Weapon groups for Fighting & Marksmanship to match the list done for Weapon Qualities.

Below I will list each of the Abilities and what you can do for each Specialty. The list of Specialties would and should change depending on the genre of the game or even the specific setting within a genre. (Modifying the Character Sheet before being given to players may be the best way to show them which Specialties are available). I have provided some examples. Others can be added as we play through different settings.

Specialties listed in brackets can only be used by characters with dice in the specialty.

(CNote: I have added Savage Worlds uses to the list below along with page references to the Deluxe rules (SWD). I have now completed the Song of Ice and Fire RPG (SIF) references also, plus a few of my own ideas. Players don't really need to look up all these rules - the references are for the GMs, but at least you can now see what each Ability and Specialty adds to the game or is used for).


Adapting SIF to SW Ability Checks

Below are the modifiers to use for Savage Worlds Ability checks using the Difficulty categories of SIF RPG.
Remember - the standard Target Number in Savage Worlds is 4.

Easy: +2
Routine: +0
Challenging: -1
Formidable: -2
Hard: -4
Very Hard: -6
Heroic: -8



  • Damage: Can be used for finesse and thrown weapons.
  • Encumbrance: Encumbrance penalties apply to all Agility checks.


  • Reduce falling damage (SIF 56).
  • Reduce movement penalty for getting up from prone (SIF 56).
  • Increase Speed (SIF 56).
  • Perform flips and stunts (SIF 56).
  • Withdraw from combat. As an action reduce the number of opportunity attacks against you by one for every success and raise.


  • Move across narrow surfaces (SIF 56).
  • Reduce movement penalties for difficult terrain (SIF 56).
  • Oppose being pushed. (Could also use Athletics (Strength).


  • Move through a crowd (SIF 56).
  • Escape a net or other entanglement (SIF 56).
  • Escape being grappled or trapped under fallen mount.


  • As an Action, use in place of the TN to hit you for ranged attacks.
  • Avoiding area attacks and other powers.
  • Withdraw from combat. As an action reduce the number of opportunity attacks against you by one for every success and raise.


  • Initiative: Once per round you can draw a second card if the first is lower than your Quickness die. You can take the better of the two cards. (So if your Quickness is a d6, you can have a second card if dealt a 2 through 5 on your fist card).
  • Readying Weapons: Quickness specialty can be used to draw 2 weapons or one large or unwieldy weapon (SWD 66).
  • Interrupting another's action when on hold.
  • Tests of Reflexes. Such as catching a thrown dagger. (Could only be achieved if on Hold).

Animal Handling



  • Calm animals. Improves disposition (SIF 57).
  • Push animal. Get animal to force march, approach something it is afraid of or perform difficult task or a trick (that is is not trained to do but is physically capable of performing).


  • Operate animal-drawn ground vehicle. Checks only needed in combat or when animal is wounded or frightened (SIF 56).


  • Mounted Combat (SWD 26 & 74). Use lower of Animal Handling or Fighting when mounted. Can add Specialty from either skill (Ride or Weapon Group). Controlling wounded animal in combat (SIF 58).
  • Ride an unwilling mount (SIF 57).
  • Resist being dismounted or hurt when falling from mount.
  • Used as defense in jousting tournament.
  • Make trample attacks.


  • Teach tricks/tasks. Extended over number of weeks equal to animal's Will die minus Smarts die. (Minimum one test). (SIF 58). (Tricks for animals, Pathfinder 97).
  • Raise a wild animal.


  • Damage: Athletics die is added to most damage rolls (wherever Strength is cited in SW).
  • Encumbrance: Encumbrance penalties apply to all Athletics checks (except Strength checks) and are doubled for Swim checks.
  • Encumbrance: Equal to Athletics die x5. Each die in Strength specialty adds 1 to Athletics die before multiplying.
  • Weapon Minimum Strength die: (SWD 48) is Athletics now.


  • Climbing rates and chances of success (SWD 26 or SIF 58). NB: Climbing rate on a success = half of Athletics die (not Strength).


  • Distance (SWD 65). Now an Athletics check (not Strength).


  • Running Die: Now equal to Athletics die (not an automatic d6 for everyone). Those with Run specialty roll wild die as normal and take the best.
  • Long distance running (SIF 59). Or can use Vigor (Stamina).
  • Action: Running counts as an action and thus counts towards multi-action penalties.


(Non-Wild Card creatures may have a Strength specialty listed. This may even exceed their Athletics die and if if it does, the creature uses this Strength die for melee damage).

  • Breaking Things (SWD 71).
  • Burst through obstacles. (SWD 75).
  • Resist Disarm (SWD 72).
  • Lifting/moving something heavy (SIF 59).
  • Helps with Encumbrance (see above).
  • Resist Grapples or Being Pushed. Can also use Agility (Contortions and Balance).


  • Swim Speed Half Pace +1 yard for every raise.
  • Swimming condition difficulties (SIF 59).
  • Holding Breath (SWD 27).
  • Resist Drowning (SWD 87).


  • Hurl object (including weapon) not made for throwing. (SIF 60).




  • Reaction Table: SWD 26. Although usually more temporarily than Persuasion, Coercion is another method of attempting to alter target's disposition towards you.


  • Decrease target's disposition to someone else or something (SIF 147).


  • Test of Will vs Will (Spirit) to gain +2 bonus (and possible Shaken condition) on next action vs target. (SWD 76).
  • Drive target off. Cause target to flee. (SIF 147).
  • Improve disposition temporarily (but it worsens for future encounters, SIF 147).


  • Test of Will vs Smarts (Logic) to gain +2 bonus (and possible Shaken condition) on next action vs target. (SWD 76).
  • Goad target into doing what you want (SIF 148).


  • Most acts of Deception are opposed by target's Perception (Insight).


  • Mislead, lie or conceal information.
  • Add to Gaming rolls. See Gaming ability below.
  • Trick. Can be used to fool your opponent. (SWD 76).


  • Add to Gaming rolls. See Gaming ability below.


  • Conceal identity.
  • Pretend to be someone else (SIF 61).


(Each skill/craft/profession is treated as its own Ability, but is paid for like a Specialty, so you do not automatically start with a d6 in any expertise. Each one is attained separately. You are considered to have a Wild Die of the same type as your Ability die in any Expertise you have. A PC that does not purchase a Specialty Expertise cannot make Expertise rolls).

  • Make a living. For each week of work you could earn your check x10 in $ for SW monetry system. (If using D&D lists, check = silver pieces. (Do not x10)).
  • Craft Items. Material cost = 1/4 of item's cost. Each day you multiply your check by 10 (if successful). When this total reaches the cost of the item it is complete. This uses the $ prices in SW. (If using D&D prices just use the check (no x10) in silver pieces). Failure results in no notable progress that day; a roll of 1 means no progress and you have to pay 1/4 of the cost again; a critical failure means you have to start again.
  • Item Creation difficulty examples.

- Easy (+2): Everyday items, bread, simple clothes, arrows, nails, primitive weapons and tools, candles, blanket, torches.
- Routine (+0): Typical items, pots, horse shoes, pastries, clothes, baskets, pottery, rope and nets, basic furniture, leather goods inc armor, wooden or hide shield, solid wheel and axel, door.
- Challenging (-1): Bows, basic weapons, good meals/sweets, basic jewellery, chainmail and ringmail, steel shields, good funiture.
- Formidable (-2): Blades, composite bows, crossbows, plate, banded and splint armor, lanterns, bells, delicacies, fine clothes, decorative furniture, sturdy tools, cage, spoked wheels.
- Hard (-4): Specialist items/kits (lockpicks, climbing, healing), basic lock, fine jewellery, exquisite clothing, exotic weapons, basic mechanical equipment, masterwork leather/wood weapons and armor, detailed full or field plate armor, quality artwork.
- Very Hard (-6): Unique items, exquisite jewellery, good lock, mechanical traps, masterwork metal weapons and armor, top quality furniture, basic clockwork, exceptional artwork.
- Heroic (-8): Renowned items, king's crown, throne, superior lock, traps with many moving parts, fine clockwork items.

  • Repairing: This skill can be used to fix things associated with your expertise. -2 without basic tools; Half the time with a raise.



Typical Weapon groups

Axes & Picks, Brawling, Clubs & Maces,Fencing, Flails, Hammers, Heavy Blades, Light Blades, Maritime/Shipboard, Monk/Martial Arts, Natural, Pole-Arms, Shields, Spears, Staffs, Whips & Chains.

(Other weapon groups can easily be added to this list if they suit the setting. For example, perhaps it is appropriate to have a Samurai Weapons or weapon groups based upon a particular martial art for an Oriental setting).

  • Specialty dice are simply added when a character is making an attack using a weapon of that type.
  • Encumbrance: Encumbrance penalties apply to all Fighting checks.
  • Parry: A PC's Parry is 2 + half of their Fighting die.
  • Grappling: grapplers can add Brawling specialty to initial attack.
  • Push: If using a shield for this action the attacker can roll Fighting (Shields) for the initial attack.


Typical Game types

Board, Card, Dice, Video.

(For some settings individual games may have their own specialty or there may be other types of games).

  • Win money. Rules to represent half-hour gambling (SWD 25).
  • Cheating: Instead of a bonus +2, have the cheating player make another appropriate check (egs: Thievery (Sleight of Hand) or Deception (Bluff, Cheat) and add +1 for a success and each raise.


Treat Ailment

  • Diagnose ailment (SIF 63).
  • Determine mode of death caused by ailment.
  • Treat disease, poison, etc.. Replace patient's Vigor rolls with this roll.

Treat Injury

  • Diagnose injuries (SIF 63).
  • Determine mode of death caused by injury.
  • Heal wounds (SWD 78).
  • Remove Incapacitation (SWD 78).
  • Enhance Natural Healing. Long term medical care (check every 5 days). (SWD 78).

Treat Mind

  • Diagnose mental conditions/traumas.
  • Treat Madness. Similar to treating wounds (SWD 78), but requires 20 minutes in a quiet, safe place. -2 to checks without such a sanctuary. (Replaces Knowledge (Psychology) rolls).
  • Treat Insanity. This can only be performed by someone with dice in this specialty. (See Realms of Cthulhu p30).
  • Enhance Mental Recuperation. This is like natural healing of levels of madness. Check every 5 days. (See Realms of Cthulhu p30 for modifiers).


  • Common Knowledge rolls (SWD 23).


  • Recall Knowledge (SIF 63).


  • Locate lore. Find information when you have access to library, etc. (SIF 64).


  • Charisma is added to Streetwise rolls.
  • Gather rumours.
  • Seek out specific information. Time spent and difficulty (SIF 64).

(Specific Study)

(For specialised areas, you roll Education, Research or Streetwise AND your specialised field as Wild Die (In effect, your get 2 Wild Dice). Specialty Study areas will depend upon setting and players are encouraged to come up with their own fields, but could include: Architecture, Arcana, Astronomy, Geography, Heraldry, History & Legends, Nature, Psychology, Religion, Specific Sciences, Underworld).



(Each individual language is treated as its own Ability, but is paid for like a Specialty. You do not automatically start with a d6 in Languages not granted by your race. You are considered to have a Wild Die of the same type as your Ability die in any Language you can speak. Languages will depend upon the setting).

  • See SWD 25 for how fluent a character is according to dice. (NB: d8 = fluent).


Weapon groups

Automatic, Blowguns, Bows, Crossbows, Heavy Ranged, Nets, Pistols, Rifles, Shot/Spray guns, Siege, Thrown & Slings.

  • Attack. This skill is used to attack at range. (Referred to as Shooting or Throwing in SW).
  • Basic Target Number is 4, though there are many modifiers such as range and positioning of target.
  • Encumbrance: Encumbrance penalties apply to all Marksmanship checks.
  • Range, Cover & Illumination mods: SWD 67.
  • Target Shooting. See Tournament rules (SIF 169).


  • Intrigue. Used as a defense in Intrigue (SIF 139).


  • Learn general disposition of NPC. Opposed roll vs Deception if they are attempting to hide their disposition.
  • Detect lies or other deceptions. Opposed by Deception.
  • Read target in Intrigue (SIF 149).


  • Notice something large moving or hidden such as an ambush. Notice is used in general awareness situations.
  • Oppose target's Stealth when 'active'/alert.


  • Actively search for something. Search is used when a specific area is targeted with an intensive search.
  • Locate secret doors and compartments
  • Locate details such as at a crime scene.


  • Armor: Armor bonuses are subtracted from all spell casting rolls for magic of Arcane (not Divine) origin. This penalty also applies to magic of Primal origin for forged metal armor.
  • Encumbrance: Encumbrance penalties apply to all Perform checks except Sing.

Fantasy Setting Perform Groups


  • Pretend to be someone else (SIF 61).




(Instrument group)

(Select one group that suits the setting. Egs: Wind, Brass, Woodwind, Percussion, Stringed).

(Song Magic)

  • Casting Specialty for Bards/Skalds.


  • Reaction Table: SWD 26. Basically, persuasion is attempting to alter target's disposition towards you.
  • Charisma is added to all Persuasion rolls.
  • Persuasion checks are typically opposed by opponent's Will.


  • Gain something in exchange for recompense. Only use Bargain if you intend to hold up your part of the deal (SIF 146).


  • Cultivate Friendship. This is to improve the target's disposition towards you. (SIF 146)


  • Garner Assistance without threats, but through convincing arguments. This does not alter a target's disposition; it merely gets them to assist for this task. Even enemies can be convinced to help. (SIF 147).


  • Improve disposition with feelings of desire. Disposition falls after encounter if relations are not maintained. (SIF 148).


Smarts is your application of your Knowledge. So it is not a measure of what you know, but how you make use of that information.

  • Armor: Armor bonuses are subtracted from all spell casting rolls for magic of Arcane (not Divine) origin. (The Alchemy AB is exempt from this penalty too). This penalty also applies to magic of Primal origin for forged metal armor.
  • Intrigue. Can be used as defense in an Intrigue (SIF 139).


  • Think on feet, quick thinking.
  • Trick. Can be used to outsmart/trick your opponent. (SWD 76).


  • Gain meaning from written foregin language (SIF 61).
  • Detect forgeries.
  • Solve codes and script-based puzzles.


  • Resist Test of Will - Taunt.
  • Solve riddles, puzzles and tricks.
  • Make predictions based upon knowledge or related events or prior events.


  • Resist Power Disruption (SWD 103). (Can also use Will (Concentrate) to resist disruption).
  • Recall information (SIF 61).


  • Casting Specialty for Mage Blades.


  • Casting Specialty for Warlocks.

(Spell Casting)

  • Casting Specialty for Wizards.


Your position within society determines your status. Be sure that your Status score represents this. If your PC is from a noble background, then they should have the appropriate status.

  • Intrigue. Status can be used to determine intrigue opponent's starting disposition.

What Status represents

  • d0 (no dice): Slave.
  • d4: Serfs, servants, low born, plebeians, poor free folk, homeless, unskilled commoners, member of congregation.
  • d6: Commoners, smallfolk, squires, most crafts and professions, noble house retainer, poor merchant, guildmember, priest, minor government official.
  • d8: Landed knight, high born, merchant, member of a minor noble house, position holder in guild or organisation, temple title holder, government official.
  • d10: Lord/heir/member of immediate family of minor noble house, member of noble house, merchant prince, guild/organisation master, church dignitary, ambassador, regional title holder in church, member of government.
  • d12: Lord/heir/member of immediate family of noble house, head of church, head of government.
  • d12+: Member of royal family, lord of large noble family with influence.


  • Know customs, procedures and etiquette when dealing with those of similar or higher status.


  • Know status, lineage, standards and heraldry of noble houses.
  • Intrigue. Can make a check to gain advantage in Intrigue with targets of d8 or higher status


  • Determines order in Intrigue (SIF 66).
  • Gain audience or attention with local lords/rulers (SIF).


  • Manage one's holdings.
  • Oversee improvements to one's keep, temple, etc.
  • Basically, undertake Realm actions for home base.
  • Run and attract notable knights to your tournaments.



Generally used to avoid being detected and opposed by Perception checks. Use Hide for static situations. When movement is involved Sneak or Blend In rolls should be used.

  • Modifiers and Pace: SWD 26.
  • Encumbrance: Encumbrance penalties apply to all Stealth checks.
  • Active Guards: Roll opposed Perception (Notice) rolls vs Stealth.
  • Inactive Guards: Just need to pass a Stealth check.

Blend In

  • Hide in a crowd.
  • Gain advantage on Fighting or Marksmanship rolls if opponent is unaware of you in first round of combat.


  • Hide in shadows, foliage or other obscurement.
  • Hiding or concealing items.
  • Setting up an ambush.
  • Conceal small objects on your person (SIF 69).

Sleight of Hand

  • Add to Gaming rolls. See Gaming ability above.
  • Entertain (SIF 69).
  • Palm small objects. Opposed by Perception. (SIF 69).
  • Pick Pockets. Opposed by perception.
  • Trick. Can be used to distract your opponent. (SWD 76).


  • Moving whilst trying to remain undetected.
  • Gain advantage on Fighting or Marksmanship rolls if opponent is unaware of you in first round of combat.


Used to live in the wild.



  • Hunt and Forage underground. Use rules for Forage and Hunt below, but without penalties for being underground.
  • Determine Direction, Slope and Up. As orientation below.


  • Find Food & Water. Time taken and Season modifiers (SIF 68).


  • Hunt Game. Time taken and Season modifiers (SIF 68).


  • Determine Direction. Time of day and Terrain modifiers (SIF 68).


  • Tracking Modifiers (SWD 27; SIF 68).

(Tribal Medicine)

  • Herbalism - creating remedies and poultices (Hellfrost PG 46).
  • Finding ingredients (Hellfrost PG 47).



Typical Technical specialties

Clockwork Devices, Computer Use, Constructs, Electronics, Explosives, Locks, Mechanics, Traps

(Many other Specialties can be added to this Ability, depending upon the genre and setting).

  • Repairing: This skill is often used to fix things. -2 without basic tools; Half the time with a raise.
  • Opening a lock (SIF 69).

Vehicle Operation

(This Ability depends greatly upon the setting. Obviously the more modern the setting, the more vehicle types you would divide the list into.

  • Vehicle Rules (SWD 98).

Typical Fantasy Setting vehicle groups

Oared Boats, Sailing Ships, Wagons (you could also use Animal handling (Drive)).

Deadlands - Western - Steampunk

Bicycles, Oared Boats, Wagons, Sailing Ships, Steam Boats, Indiviudal Steam-powered vehicles/Weird Science vehicles (such as Gyrocopters, Powered Wagons etc.).

Typical Modern Setting vehicle groups
(Obviously there are many more specialised vehicles (such as Ocean Liners or Forklifts), but these are for your typical characters).

4WDs, Cars, Heavy Vehicles, Motorbikes, Motor Boats, Plane, Tracked Vehicle.

Star Wars

Capital Ships, Repulsorlift Vehicles, Starfighters, Tracked Ground Vehicles, Transport Ships, Walkers, Wheeled Vehicles.



  • Toughness is equal to 2 + 1/2 Vigor dice.


Use this specialty to resist immediate, external physical damage.

  • Avoid Incapacitation (SWD 68) and immediate critical effects.
  • Soak Wounds (SWD 69).
  • Avoid Bumps & Bruises (SWD 87).


Use this specialty to resist sudden internal toxins or changes.

  • Resist and recover from Disease (SWD 87).
  • Resist and recover from Poison (SWD 89).
  • Resist Radiation (SWD 89).


Use this specialty to resist physical effects that take place over time.

  • Natural healing (SWD 78).
  • Resist Cold (SWD 87).
  • Resist Heat (SWD 88).
  • Resist Hunger (SWD 89).
  • Deal with lack of Sleep (SWD 89).
  • Resist Thirst (SWD 89).


This is mainly used by those that live where food and/or water may be scarce. It requires a large food ow water source to make the check, such as after a hunt.

  • Drink. You do not need to drink for a number of days equal to each success and raise.
  • Eat. You do not need to eat for a number of days equal to each success and raise.



Used for mass battle rules (in place of Knowledge (Battle) in SW). Can also be used to coordinate smaller, skirmish units. Like Leadership Edges your command radius is 5". (this can be increased with the Command Presence Edge).


  • Command Units. As an action you can issue commands. Bonuses granted last until the end of the combat or until you are knocked out, incapacitated or dead. You can choose from the following effects (which are variations of Leadership Edges):

- Success: +1 to allies' rolls vs Shaken; +1 to rolls vs Fear; +1 Morale in mass combat.
- 1 Raise: +2 to allies' rolls vs Shaken; +2 to rolls vs Fear; +2 Morale in mass combat; +1 Toughness.
- 2 Raises: +2 to roll vs Fear and subtract 2 from rolls on the Fright Table; +1 melee damage.
- 3+ Raises: Use a combination of the above bonuses totaling the amount of raises rolled.

  • For each dice in this specialty you can issue one command during mass battle.


  • Prepare for fight: Requires observing enemy and terrain of combat area whilst being able to communicate with allies. (At least 1 hour for mass battle or 1 minute for skirmish. These can be reduced to 10 minutes or 1 round with a -2 on the roll). For each success and raise on the roll grants you a pool of cards that can be substituted for any ally's initiative card during the fight. Also on a raise, you and your allies act as if you had a Joker for the first round of combat.
  • Initiative for Mass Battle: If you are part of the command crew of a mass battle, once per round you can draw a second card if the first is lower than your Strategy die. You can take the better of the two cards. (So if your Strategy is a d6, you can have a second card if dealt a 2 through 5 on your fist card).
  • Siege Warfare: When in command of the fortification you can increase the Siege Bonus by 1 (+1 per raise). Or, if in command of a unit attacking a fortification you can reduce opposing fortification's Siege Bonus by a like amount. (SW Fantasy Companion p13 has rules regarding sieges).
  • Operate siege engines. (See Fantasy Companion p15).


  • Allow a single ally to act on your card: As an action, 1 ally per success and raise can act on your card (instead of their own).
  • Share Bennies: As a reaction during combat you can make a check to give an ally one of your Bennies and they can use it immediately.
  • Grant Advantage: As an action you can grant an ally Advantage on their next Fighting or Marksmanship roll. If they have not taken the action before your next action the benefit is lost.
  • Improved Gang-up: Any time you are involved in combat with multiple foes and/or allies you can spend an action to reduce the enemies' gang-up bonus by 1 (+1 per raise) to a minimum of +0, or improve the advantage granted to you and your allies by a like amount. (The maximum bonus is still +4)


  • Armor: Armor bonuses are subtracted from all spell casting rolls for magic of Arcane (not Divine) origin. This penalty also applies to magic of Primal origin for forged metal armor.
  • Intrigue Forms your defense.


  • Resist Power Disruption (SWD 103). (Can also use Smarts (Memory) to resist disruption).
  • Resist mind control and similar magic.
  • Intrigue Can use as defense during Withdraw action.


  • Improve Co-operative rolls. When you co-ordinate a group action you can also add +1 (+1 per raise) to the result. This is on top of the maximum of +4 for those with the same skill assisting. (Co-operative rolls SWD 63).


  • Remove Shaken condition (SWD 68).
  • Resist Test of Will - Intimidation checks (SWD 76).
  • Fear checks (SWD 85).

(Blood Magic)

  • Casting Specialty for Sorcerers.


  • Casting Specialty for Druids.


  • Casting Specialty for Clerics.
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