As you gain XP, you acquire the abilities defined by your build. For example, an elf ranger with 50 XP gains the first 50 XP worth of elf abilities and the first 50 XP worth of ranger abilities. Abilities are broadly grouped into four different types:
- Passive abilities include item proficiencies, immunities to harmful game effects, and other special rules that apply constantly and require no special method of activation.
- Combat abilities are special actions, such as stealth or healing, that have some immediate or short-lived effect when used. Combat abilities consume Spirit with each use.
- Narrative abilities, such as tracking, flight, or picking locks, are used in the context of a story to gather information or bypass obstacles. How useful they are is decided by the story’s narrator and may involve picking a random number to determine success or failure.
- Downtime abilities, such as alchemy or smithing, are used in between game events to acquire or enhance treasure.
Abilities also have a level, which is based on their effect. The level of a combat ability is further adjusted by its trigger, or activation method, and optionally by a modifier, which changes how the ability is delivered. An ability’s XP value is equal to the square of its level, and determines how easily and quickly it can be obtained.
Every character is assumed to possess certain abilities. These abilities are not part of your build, do not appear on your character sheet, and may be used freely unless a game mechanic prevents them from being used.
- You can move as much as you are able, although certain effects may inhibit (Slow), prevent (Stop), force (Push), or enhance (Blink) your in-play movement.
- You can speak as well as you are able, although a Mute effect can prevent this. Several combat triggers, such as Spell, require speech. Unless you use a narrative ability to do otherwise, you speak Cirth, the common tongue.
- You can perceive your in-play surroundings unless you have been rendered senseless (e.g., Sleeping, subdued, slain). You cannot perceive concealed characters unless you use a Seek ability. You may learn the properties of an item by examining its treasure tag.
- You can read and write as well as you are able. You may elect to play an illiterate character if you so choose and may likewise acquire literacy at any point at no cost. You can only read or write words written in Cirth, the common tongue, unless you possess narrative abilities for other languages.
- You can drag an incapacitated, subdued, or slain character. The character must walk with you until you release them. You are Slowed while doing so unless you have an ability that says otherwise.
- You can rest. You must cross one arm over your chest. Resting takes one minute and can be interrupted unless you have abilities that say otherwise. When you complete a rest, you replenish your Spirit and equipment as well as remove any game effects other than damage, Maim, and Ruin. You can rest as long as you’re not subdued or slain, so you can use it to escape effects that otherwise incapacitate you completely, such as Sleep or Stop.
- You can search a subdued or slain character. Random monsters may have small bits of treasure that can be acquired this way, or you can use it to retrieve a curative item to use on behalf of an incapacitated player.