Dancing as a skill or talent?


I noticed that one of the pre-generated characters has some attacks based around Dance, but I can’t find any other information about dancing as a skill or talent in the basic book or the Thief book. Are there any rules concerning dancing in the game?


I would use Agility or Coordination raw check depending what kind of dance the character is trying to perform.
Acrobatics is also an option.

You can always add Dance as a skill… and if you are doing flashdance campaign to come up with your own talents :smiley:

Okay, thanks. For Alexa, one of the characters in the basic book, are the dance attacks just descriptive, rather than necessarily being dances, per se? I’m not sure how to generate or incorporate special attacks at this point, very new to the system, though it looks intriguing.

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I am not sure those are actually intended to be pre-gen characters. There is a reference in the Vultures of Shem that refers to preens in the back of the book, but I am guessing that might be a missing section. The section with Alexa, Heroes of the Age, says to use these as allies or enemies. As such they have special abilities much like the monsters and foes in the Encounter section.

I think Valyar is on the right track, and I would lean towards Acrobatics. It makes the most sense. I also like the idea of a character needing to seek out or discover a teacher that can instruct them in a special “attack” dance.

As to how to integrate it, I would see this as a feat tree. The first level granting some minor dance (low damage, maybe a knockdown or stun). As the levels (feats) increase so would the power and effects. I think the source (i.e. the cult or individual that teaches it) would determine if it is a melee or threaten attack. You could have whole adventures based around discovering those.

These characters are not intended to be player characters. As NPCs, dancing is likely Agility or Coordination plus Movement. For player characters, the most appropriate skill is Acrobatics. I don’t think raw Attribute checks even exist in this system. You always do skill tests.

The whole dancing thing is mostly flavor, but I would for example let such a character use the Exploit action with Acrobatics if they want to confuse the opponent with their dance moves. If you really want to expand on this (maybe you want to create a whirling dervish type character), you would have to create new appropriate talents.

A new skill for dancing (should be tied to Coordination) has generally very limited use cases. Maybe something more general like performance which could also include playing music. However, Lifepath character generation does not really work with new skills, so this would have to be adapted as well.

If you are untrained, it is exactly raw test :slight_smile: And complication on 19 and 20.

If you see it like this, you are right. Although even if you are untrained, you are technically doing a skill test using that untrained skill and talents or other effects might apply.

Thanks for all the information, I think I’ll either create a new skill called Dance, or I’ll use Acrobatics for the dance itself, then use the results of that if I want the character to Seduce or whatever, using Persuade. I haven’t seen anything that uses multiple skills together, but this makes the most sense to me. I guess I should have clarified that the dance doesn’t need to be an attack, that’s just how it was used for Alexa. In other games, like GURPS, Dance is used as a persuasive tool, not a damaging tool.

On another note, are there any inherent disadvantages to trying something without having the Skill for it? other than not getting the benefit of the skill level? Again, in other systems, there are usually penalties for attempting without the skill. I’m thinking a rule of thumb would be to increase the difficulty by a step or two, depending on the skill.

As Valyar mentioned, it is actually a rule that a Complication occurs on a 19 and 20 instead of just a 20 when making an untrained skill test. This is basically the penalty.

As far as using two skills together: I would let the character make an Acrobatics test first. If that is successful, you could reduce the Difficulty of a subsequent Persuade test or add a d20. Basically treat the Acrobatics test as a tool or resource. Or make the Acrobatics test Difficulty 0 and it only serves to build up Momentum for the Persuade test. This way you could combine two skills to make a more complex “seduce by dancing” test.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of creating new skills with very limited use cases, especially if they don’t have a relevant talent tree.

I guess the other option would be to add a branch to the Acrobatics tree for a Dancing talent, I’m still new to the system, so not sure what would work best

I’m careful about adding to the options that players can spend advancements on, since these can lead to trap options or cause player choice paralysis. So unless you envision Dance being a valuable skill that might be frequently useful, I’d avoid adding it as new skills or talent.

If you look at Dance of Derketa in a different way, one could argue that its description is a re-skinned application of the Teamwork and Assistance (pg 100).

Adding a skill or manipulating existing talent trees can quickly destroy or skew the game balance. This is especially true if you are new to the system and not yet fully aware of all the aspects and nuances.

If you really like the Dance of Derketa, create the following Talent:

Dance of Derketa
Requires: Acrobatics Focus 1, Coordination 10+, Personality 10+
Cost: 200
You can perform a seductive dance. This is a Challenging (2) Acrobatics test and the dance lasts three rounds. If successful, you lower the Difficulty of any Counsel, Insight, Persuade or Society tests on spectators by 1 for the remainder of the scene. If unsuccessful, the Difficulty of these tests is increased by 1. Complications may mean that not all spectators were enthralled by your dance.

Interesting - cannot say I have ever met an athletic person who couldn’t dance, so would use Acrobatics for a test, perhaps with a lower difficulty if the person had a good Persuade…