Talents (4E)

From Action
Revision as of 13:12, 28 May 2010 by Urban (talk | contribs) (Grammar.)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
4ED&D 4E
4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Talents are the non-combat equivalence of skills, and most rules that apply to skills apply to talents as well. Talents are considered skills for abilities that affect the use of skills.

Characters do not start with training in any talents; they can be mastered by taking the Talented trait.


Talents are useful in defining and fleshing out character backgrounds. This list of talents is by no means complete. Many vocations lack a corresponding talent skill. People who make their living that way are unskilled, use abilities like Strength for manual labor. Others use regular skills such as Nature for farming, hunting and fishing, or Dungeoneering for mining. If a player has a particular special interest in an area of expertise, the DM can assign it to be a part of an existing talent or skill, or create a new talent. Possible new talents include Cook, Farmer, and other production or service professions. In general, new talents always have the income, contacts, and knowledge elements described below, but no other special rules.


A character can use a trait to become trained in a talent.


Talents generally have no application in combat or action scenes. Using them takes time; from several minutes to several months. Their usefulness is in downtime and in skill challenges that take longer than rounds.


You can use talent skills to make a living between adventures. For simplicity's sake, this income is generally equal to your expenses for the same time. Having a good rating in an an attractive profession means you can have a high standard of living and not pay for it.


Trained talents have a knowledge element. This can be used to find fellow professionals within your chosen field. It works similarly to the Streetwise skill, but only in regards to the profession in question.


Trained talents have a knowledge element. This works much like monster lore for your talent’s field of expertise. This allows craftsmen to know about the kinds of items they make, performers to know songs and sagas, and everyone to know of famous people in their profession.


Some talents are crafts, and can be used to create mundane items. Trained craftsmen can create magic items. This works like the Enchant Magic Item or Brew Potion rituals, but only for items relevant to the craft. The item must be crafted as part of the enhancement ritual, which will usually require more time than the ritual itself.

See also: Craft


Performance skills are used to impress and change the mood of others. Each performance takes from one minute up to an hour. In a game context it is more often used as a preliminary to social interaction, helping to set the mood. Used this way, the perform talent can be used do the aid other action for any social interaction, and you can even help yourself this way by doing the performance before your interaction skill check.

Another way to use a perform skill is as a way to attract attention and stand out in a crowd; make an opposed roll against the Insight of the target.


Many talents can be used to ritual casters. Different talents have an affinity for different types of rituals. Where a talent is relevant for rituals, this is noted in the description of the talent.

Skill descriptions

Actor (Cha)

You can bring stories to life and portray a wide array of emotions by use of voice or gesture.

Examples: comedy, drama, mime

Interaction: Acting is a perform skill and can aid social interaction.

Rituals: Acting can aid deception rituals.

Architect (Int)

An architect understands geometry and design, making drawings used to build houses, gardens, bridges, fortifications and other large-scale projects. It is generally impossible to make a large building (more than 30 ft. tall or 150 ft. long) without the help of an architect. An architect is also good at making maps. During a short break, an architect can make a rough draft of a map of an indoor area, and can find possible locations for hidden doors or chambers this way.

Rituals: An architect can aid creation rituals.

Apothecary (Int)

You refine small quantities of precious substances, like medicines, potions, or the creation of ritual components. You can brew recognize and identify a great variety of substances and know how they react. You can make glassware such as retorts and tubes as well as mirrors and lenses. You can brew magical potions. In some settings, you can make gunpowder.

Craft: You can make potions and poisons.

Rituals: Alchemy can aid all restoration rituals.

Celebrity (Cha)

A celebrity is well-known for whatever reason, and can expect some recognition because of this.

Make a Celebrity roll to see whether people have heard of you and what their impression is, to find fans and admirers, to gauge your popularity and to check the loyalty of your followers.

To find fans willing to help you has a difficulty of 30; only the very famous can count of finding fans everywhere. If it is generally know that you are in the area (or someone spends an hour spreading the word), the task becomes much easier. On a success, people have a previous impression of you. You won’t need to introduce yourself, and if their basic values mesh with yours they will start out friendly. Fame is not static. When you move about you lose contact with your fan base, and even a temporary setback can make you a has-been or at least make you temporarily out of fashion. Apply the following modifiers:

Situation Modifier
Outside your regular area -5 (or more)
Last adventure was a failure -5
An adventure the last week was a resounding and public success +5
Your presence in the area is generally known +10
There has been a publicity campaign announcing you +20

Fame has a drawback; it makes it easier to hear rumors of your exploits. Such rumors tend to be exaggerated, almost urban legends, so while it is easy to get people to talk about you, it is no easier to actually find solid information on your whereabouts.

Dancer (Cha)

Dance is the art of bodily expression, to convey meaning through stance, posture, and movement. A dancer can accompany himself using the shuffling of feet or with instruments such as tambourines and castanets, but a dance performance is often supported by a musician. You do not need this talent in order to take part in public dancing, but stage dancing or leading a public dance requires a talent roll.

Interaction: Dancing is a perform skill and can aid social interaction.

Rituals: Dancing be used to aid all divination rituals.

Governor (Wis)

A governor understands the nuisances of civilian administration and can balance a budget, keep a bureaucracy running, resolve conflicts, act as a judge, and serve as an administrator.

Rituals: A governor can aid binding rituals.

Jeweler (Dex)

You can work with precious stones and materials such as gold, ivory and mother of pearl to create jewelry, sculptures and other art objects.

Craft: You can craft rings, amulets and some wondrous items.

Lawman (Int)

You are familiar with law enforcement methods and procedures. You know how to make an arrest, secure evidence, repossess goods, hand out fines, book prisoners, and otherwise run a smooth law enforcement operation. You could be an investigative judge, sheriff, bounty-hunter, city guardsman or tax-collector; police as we think of them today rarely exist in fantasy worlds.

Rituals: A lawman can aid warding rituals.

Leatherworker (Wis)

You can work with leather and hide, making clothes, leather and hide armor, and slings. Leather is also used as raw material in many other crafts.

Craft: You can craft leather and hide armor, boots, gloves and some wondrous items.

Lover (Cha)

Anyone who puts their mind to it can have a satisfying love-life with a familiar partner; this is the ability to sexually stimulate strangers. This is not only lovemaking, but flirtation, romantic conversation, and by being an attractive and complimentary companion as well.

Interaction: Lover is a perform skill and can aid social interaction.

Rituals: A lover can aid scrying rituals.

Mechanic (Int)

You can build mechanical devices, such as crossbows, clocks, traps, and locks. Compared to other crafts, the mechanic is not self-sufficient, needing parts made by a smith, founder and even jeweler to practice the craft.

Craft: You can craft mechanical devices, crossbows, and mechanical traps. In some settings, you can craft firearms.

Merchant (Int)

A merchant understands the laws of supply and demand and is able to move and market goods while maintaining a steady profit. You know how to load a ship or organize a caravan. Scrupulous traders insure goods come to the right buyers in a timely and efficient manner, to the benefit of everyone.

Contacts: You can find someone willing to sell almost anything, including magical items.

Rituals: A merchant can aid travel rituals.

Musician (Cha)

You can play instruments of all sorts, from flutes and drums to harpsichords and organs.

Interaction: Musician is a perform skill and can aid social interaction.

Rituals: A musician can aid any exploration ritual.

Orator (Cha)

A speaker is a performer using words, presenting a story or script in a clear, audible, and enjoyable way. It is used in public speaking, storytelling, playacting and other verbal presentation. A speaker is not inherently skilled in social skills; the talent concerns the presentation of a script, not choosing the right words for an occasion. Still, this talent can be highly useful if you wish to use social skills against many people at once or in a noisy setting.

Interaction: Oratory is a perform skill and can aid social interaction.

Rituals: Oratory can be used to aid binding rituals.

Painter (Int)

A painter makes pictures on a flat surface, paper, wooden board, canvas, or walls. This can be used to make works or art, but also simple sketches that serve as notes or to aid memorization. It is possible to make a fairly detailed sketch of a scene during a short rest.

Craft: Painting is a craft skill and can create some wondrous items.

Rituals: Painting can be used to aid deception rituals.

Sailor (Wis)

You are comfortable on ships and boats and know how to operate ships and boats of any size. You can navigate coastal waters in reasonable safety as long as you only sail by day. You cannot navigate at sea using this talent, see Stargazer.

Scribe (Int)

Being literate is one thing; being a trained scribe something else entirely. Scribes are craftsmen working with writings; copyists, librarians, illustrators, and bookbinders. A scribe is a master of calligraphy and bookbinding, able to make easily readable books and manuscripts. If the setting has printing presses or other means of easily reproducing text, scribes are proficient with them. A scribe is also familiar with various archivist systems, and is more able to find books in a library or archive than most people. This allows the Scribe talent to substitute for all knowledge rolls as long as the documents are available, but each roll takes an hour.

The scribe skill is not concerned with the contents of the text or images reproduced, only with presentation. It is not a substitute for the Writer or Painter talents, scribes are concerned with reproduction of writings and illustrations, not with original writing, visual arts, or interaction skills. However, an attractive presentation using calligraphy and proper paper has a better chance of ever being presented.

Craft: Can be used to copy rituals.

Rituals: A scribe can aid divination rituals.

Singer (Cha)

You can use your voice as an instrument. Your voice can enthrall an audience and be audible in a wide area. A professional singer has a wide repertoire and can vary volume and timbre, and can also act as a chanter, leading other less skilled singers.

Interaction: Singer is a perform skill and can aid social interaction.

Rituals: Singing can aid exploration rituals.

Soldier (Wis)

You know how to work as part of a disciplined military unit. A soldier knows how to forage, maintain equipment, understand orders, make camp, organize guards and patrols, march without losing coherency, to and fight in formation, and other military tasks.

Rituals: A soldier can aid warding rituals.

Smith (Str)

You can shape all kinds of metal and make armor and weapons, tools, and other useful objects such as horseshoes and nails.

Craft: You can craft metal items such as weapons and armor, shields, helmets, bracers, greaves and some wondrous items.

Stargazer (Int)

You know the position of celestial bodies in the sky, and can use them to tell the time and to orient yourself. This main use it for navigation without landmarks, such as at sea, on rolling plains, or in the deep desert. It can also be used to mark time and for astrological and astronomical observations.

Rituals: This talent can be used to aid scrying and travel rituals.

Stoneworker (Str)

You can work stone, adobe, clay and the like, building smaller buildings or to realize the plans of an architect. A trained stoneworker can also do sculpting and decorative work in stone, plaster, and clay.

Craft: You can craft items from stone.

Rituals: Can aid all creation rituals.

Tailor (Dex)

You can makes clothes and cloth armor, along with tents and tarpaulins. You understand weaving and other fabric-making techniques, such as felt making and carpet knitting. A good tailor can make and repair these things quickly and efficiently; an excellent tailor can make them beautiful and attractive, often using expensive imported materials. Tailored objects make excellent gifts.

Craft: You can craft cloth armor, capes, shoes, gloves and some magic wondrous items.

Valet (Wis)

You are good at caring for the creature comforts of others. This includes maintaining clothes, cooking, providing basics such as light, food, and warmth, hygiene and grooming, handling personal expenses efficiently, and knowing when you are needed or not. A novice valet is a servant or maid, as you progress in skill you might move on to become an innkeeper, major-domo, or master of a large household.

Contacts: Important people often have their own valets, who can be surprisingly free with gossip when with others of their profession.

Rituals: A valet can aid restoration rituals.

Writer (Wis)

A writer uses the written word, presenting a story or discourse in a clear, intelligible, and enjoyable way. It is used to record things for perpetuity and give them a wider spread than simple stories. A writer is not inherently skilled in social skills; the talent concerns putting words into writing in a legible and understandable way, not the contents of the message. Knowledge skills are needed to fill the words with content, social skills such as Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidation are needed to influence a reader. Still, this talent can be highly useful if you wish to use social skills against many people at once to spread ideas over a large area, limited by the reproduction techniques of the setting and the speed of news.

Craft: Can be used to make wondrous items that are books or scrolls.

Rituals: Writing can be used to aid binding rituals.

Woodworker (Wis)

You can work wood, building smaller buildings, furniture, and interiors or to realize the plans of an architect. You can make carts, wagons, tools, shafts, arrows, bows, and wooden weapons such as staves and clubs.

Craft: You can craft items from wood.

Rituals: Can aid creation rituals.

See also

External links