Secondary Abilities

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M20 introduces skills we replace with skills available in V20, as follows.

  • Martial Arts: Brawl. You need a Specialty of Martial Arts in order to use the Martial Arts moves. With that specialty, you may pick 1 move per dot of Brawl.
  • Art Expression: Expression.
  • Enigmas: Occult.
  • Esoterica: Occult.

Secondaries are also introduced in M20 but we sub in standard skills already in v20. When a mechanic calls for a specific skill. Roll one of the equivalents at standard difficulty, not at the reduced difficulty from a Secondary skill:

  • Acrobatics: Athletics.
  • Animal Kinship: Animal Ken.
  • Area Knowledge: Streetwise.
  • Archery: Athletics.
  • Belief Systems: Occult.
  • Biotech: Lesser of Computer and Medicine.
  • Blatancy: Performance.
  • Carousing: Subterfuge.
  • Cryptography: Computer. Academics may be used at +1 difficulty for manual (de)ciphering and will consume downtime.
  • Demolitions: Science.
  • Energy Weapons: To shoot, Firearms. To maintain/create/repair, Technology.
  • Flying and Jetpack: Drive 4+, Speicalty required.
  • High Ritual: Lesser of Occult and Etiquette.
  • Hypertech: Lesser of Technology vs Science.
  • Lore: Occult. Also, we have a Lores System, take individual Lores.
  • Lucid Dreaming: Demesne.
  • Media: Leadership.
  • Parapsychology: Occult.
  • Pharmacopoeia: Medicine.
  • Riding: The lesser of your Animal Ken vs Athletics.
  • Search: Alertness.
  • Seduction: Subterfuge.
  • Torture: Intimidation or Medicine.

Custom Talents, Knowledges, and Skills

From the V20 character sheets, Modern Nights characters get a slot for "Hobby Talent," "Professional Skill," and "Expert Knowledge." Taking them is optional and typically only done when the player feels the need to portray a character with a focused, niche talent. These are free-form stats which can hold any name that does not correspond to a combat maneuver and may be as specific as you desire. For example, you could take "Weaving" as a Professional Skill or "Basket Weaving" or even "Competitive Underwater Basket Weaving," but you could not take "Dodging," or "Grappling".

When that custom ability that you have explicitly purchased becomes relevant, you may roll the ability at a -1 difficulty for having taken something this specific. One may specify a maximum of one professional skill, one hobby talent, and one expert knowledge, as the idea is to still allow characters who have laser focus in a niche talent while maintaining a succinct skill list.

Your custom skill can happen to be something on the above list of replaced Secondary Skills with the exception of Martial Arts (which has its own house rules). Please note, however, that if you do this, you will not be able to roll your custom skill in place of its paired, standard ability. It is only relevant for reducing the difficulties of directly applicable rolls. For example, when a character is faced with an Area Knowledge roll, they can either roll Area Knowledge or Streetwise (at +1 difficulty). When a character who has Area Knowledge but no Streetwise is faced with a Streetwise roll, they cannot apply their Area Knowledge skill.

To specify your custom Ability, use the +notes code, creating a +note called "Hobby Talent," "Professional Skill," or "Expert Knowledge" accordingly, and placing the name of your custom ability within that note.