2.1 Abilities

Characters in QuestWorlds are defined by the abilities they use to face the challenges that arise in the course of their story. Rather than having a standard list of attributes, skills, powers, etc. for all characters, anything that you can apply to solve a problem or overcome a story obstacle could be one of your abilities. While your GM may provide some example abilities to choose from that connect your PC to a particular story or game world (whether created by your GM or by the designer of a particular game), you get to make up and describe most or all of your abilities.

Some abilities might be broad descriptions of your background or expertise, like "Dwarf of the Chalk Hills" or "Private Detective" – implying a variety of related capabilities. Others might represent specific capabilities or assets such as "Lore of the Ancients," "Captain of the Fencing Team," or "The Jade Eye Medallion."

Ultimately, abilities are just names for the interesting things your character can do.

2.1.1 Ratings and Masteries

QuestWorlds abilities are rated on a range of 1–20, representing the target number (TN) you need to roll or less to succeed on your roll during a contest (see §2.3 for more details). Ratings are also scalable beyond that range using tiers of capability we refer to as Mastery. When you raise a rating of 20 by one point, either permanently through character advancement or a temporarily with modifier to a contest roll, the rating increases not to 21, but to 1M.

The "M" after the rating signifies mastery. You have now reached a new order of excellence in that ability, such that your die rolls will almost always succeed. Unless opposed by similarly exalted resistance (see §2.3.5.2 for more details) the number in front of the M is now the target number you seek to roll or less to achieve a critical!

As a rating climbs, you may even gain multiple masteries in it. Mastery tiers above one (representing an overall rating or 41 or more) are marked with a number to the right of the M symbol. Each successive rating increase over 20 becomes a new mastery tier. Thus, if you have 10M2, you have two masteries (representing a total rating of 50, 10+20+20). 10M3 means that you have three masteries, and so on.

Specific QuestWorlds games or genre packs may use other symbols relevant to their setting or genre to denote mastery instead of M. If so, this should be clearly noted by their designers.

In summary, to reflect abilities (or resistances), higher than 20, you divide the ability by 20, noting a mastery for each multiple of 20 the ability exceeds, and treating the remainder as the target number. So, for an ability of 27, 27 ÷ 20 = 1 remainder 7, which translates into a rating of seven with one mastery written as "7M"; while for an ability of 43, 43 ÷ 20 = 2 remainder 3, which translates into a rating of three with two masteries, written as "3M2" on the character sheet.

2.1.1.1 No Relevant ability

You may sometimes be faced with a story obstacle for which you have no relevant ability whatsoever. In such cases, you may still enter into conflict with the story obstacle using a minimum base target number of 6 for your contest roll. Like ratings, it may also be subject to modifiers.

2.1.1.2 Making Ratings Quantitative

While QuestWorlds generally treats ratings as abstract measures of problem solving power rather than quantitive measures of in-fiction traits, some games may also depart from this practice in order to more closely couple key fictional elements to the mechanics. For example, a magic system might classify certain supernatural effects as Apprentice, Journeyman, or Master level, and require ratings of 15, 5M, or 1M2 (respectively) in a relevant ability to even attempt them.

Such departures from abstraction should generally only be made where the increased complexity they bring leads to rewarding choices in a key area of interest to the setting or genre at hand. In most cases, you and your GM can simply follow the fiction surrounding your ability and its context within the setting for guidance as to what applications of the ability are credible.

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