Animal Ken Skill

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Animal Ken Skill
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Anticipating and understanding human emotions is one thing, but being able to interpret and recognize the behavior of animals is something else entirely. Your character intuitively grasps or has been trained to read animals to know how they react to situations. The Skill also involves innately understanding how the animal mind operates, and what may appease or enrage beasts. The knack often coincides with a respect for animals, but it could derive from the analytical observation of a lab scientist or from years of abuse inflicted by a callous animal handler. Animal Ken could be applied to grasp the thoughts or intentions of supernatural animals, if the Storyteller allows. Sometimes these beings have human or greater intelligence and cannot be read by this Skill alone.


General Roll Results

Animal Training

Dice Pool: Composure + Animal Ken + equipment (trainer) versus Stamina + Resolve (animal)
Action: Extended and contested (the task demands a number of successes equal to the opponent's Willpower; each roll represents one day of training)
Suggested Equipment: Physical abuse (+1), rewards or treats (+2)
Possible Penalties: Training non-mammal (-1 to - 3), animal already been trained poorly (-1), animal distracted by environment (-2)

Training an animal involves communicating a need, encouraging a type of behavior and/or discouraging unwanted behavior. It's an extended and contested process. Make Composure + Animal Ken + equipment rolls for the trainer. Roll Stamina + Resolve for the animal. The number of successes that each participant seeks is equal to the other's Willpower dots. Thus, if a trainer has 5 Willpower and the animal has 3, the interrogator wins if he accumulates three successes first. The animal wins if it accumulates five successes first. The winner breaks the opponent's will to continue training or to resist the desired behavior. The trainer's roll can be modified by equipment such as rewards (food) offered and abuse inflicted. Rolls made for the animal might receive a bonus based on how feral it is. A cat brought in from the wild might get a +3 bonus, for example. Likewise, non-mammals (lizards, birds) can be harder to train than mammals, imposing a penalty on a trainer's rolls (say, -1 to -3). Some animals such as wolverines are so fierce that they simply can't be trained.

Only one trick or type of behavior (house breaking, 'attack,' or retrieving a certain item whenever it's thrown) can be taught per extended and contested series of rolls. Alternatively, a few minor tricks such as 'sit,' 'shake' and 'stay' can be combined in a single series of rolls. Should an extended and contested training session end in a tie, neither side applies its will over the other. The process must start again from scratch if the trick is to be learned.

If training for a type of behavior is interrupted for a number of consecutive days in excess of the animal's Intelligence, all successes gained thus far are lost. Training for that trick must start again from scratch. Animals with zero Intelligence cannot be trained at all. An animal can be taught a number of tricks (can undergo a separate number of training sessions) equal to its Wits.

Example: Dog has a pet raven that he seeks to train to fly away and return to him on command, which the Storyteller decides is one trick. Dog has 4 Composure, 3 Animal Ken and 6 Willpower. The bird has 2 Stamina, 4 Resolve and 7 Willpower. Dog needs to get seven successes before six are rolled for the bird. The process begins, but is interrupted for two days in which no training occurs at all. Those two days exceed the bird's 1 Intelligence, so the training process has to begin again from scratch.

For animals' traits, see Bestiary. Even after an animal has been trained in a behavior or trick, it does not necessarily perform the action automatically on command. You need to make a successful Manipulation + Animal Ken roll for the animal to respond as intended. You also get a bonus on the roll equal to the animal's Wits.

Roll Results


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