Animal Ken Skill
From Edge of Darkness Wiki
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.
- Possessed by: Animal rescue workers, hunters, longtime pet owners, park rangers, ranchers, trainers, veterinarians
- Specialties: Animal Needs, Imminent Attack, Specific Kind of Animal, Training
General Roll Results
- Dramatic Failure: Your character completely misreads an animal's state, possibly with disastrous results. He may, for example, interpret furiously energetic behavior as playfulness rather than as a warning.
- Failure: Your character is unable to gauge the animal's true state.
- Success: Your character has a good read on the animal's true emotional state.
- Exceptional Success: Your character notes enough tell tale clues in the animal's behavior to gain a detailed understanding of its state. Not only might he recognize that the animal is anxious, but that its offspring are nearby.
- 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.
- Dramatic Failure: The regimen fails completely and the animal resists the intended behavior. A whole new training session must get underway for the intended trick. If animal abuse is involved, the creature may attack and try to escape its handler.
- Failure: Your character fails to make any progress on the current trick.
- Success: Your character makes progress in conditioning the animal's behavior.
- Exceptional Success: Your character makes dramatic progress with the creature.
- Required By: Savage Kenning
- Used By: Analyze Life, Animal Degradation, Animal Familiar, Beast Control, Control Base Life, Control Median Life, Create Life, Enhance Toxin, Evolutionary Shift, Fang and Talon, Feral Reflex, Fleeting Summer, Ghastly Metamorphosis, Greater Beast Control, Greater Shapechanging, Multitudinous Form, Predator Gifts, Scent of Nature, Scourging Gifts, Shapechanging, Tactics, Transform Base Life, Transform Other, Urban Gifts, Verminous Metamorphosis, Visions of the Living WorldCharacteristics
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