On the whole, I find the skill list in Witch Hunter to be pretty complete, if only slightly bloated, given the scope of the game. But there was one area that I quickly found lacking once the players started tailing bad guys and minions around an urban setting. I started out calling for a Stealth+Intuition roll, but knew pretty much immediately I wanted an actual skill to cover this. And so while the game does a good job of breaking up the “detective” skills into different areas, here is one I think fills some gaps in urban adventuring:
Streetwise (Intuition, Professional)
Skill Foci: Scrounging, Shadowing, Underworld Lore
The Streetwise character is well acquainted with life in the city. You know where to shop for the best deals, where potentially useful trash is thrown, and what path to take when fleeing from the city guard in the middle of the night. A successful scrounging roll can help you avoid getting lost or finding yourself cornered in a dead end. While it is unlikely for you to scrounge up a diamond or a zweihander, you can also find food, a change of clothes, or even a makeshift weapon. The GM determines the feasibility and difficulty of finding the object, modified by your familiarity with the location. The more foreign or alien the city, the more difficult it is for you to navigate. While a European witch hunter would have a tough time navigating through a Byzantium city, a Native American would find such an environment completely alien to him.
A Streetwise roll for scrounging takes 1 hour. Failure and Complications do not prohibit success so much as draw the attention of authorities or hostile factions while working the streets, or mislead you into an area of the city you had hoped to avoid.
|Things that are usually easy to find||1–2||Familiar||+1d|
|Things that require discretion or careful investigation||3||Unfamiliar but typical||–|
|Risky services; finding illegal and well-regulated items||4||Foreign/Hostile||–2d|
|Services of unusual skills; finding dangerous or carefully controlled items||5||Alien||–4d|
|A specific criminal in hiding; finding items whose possession means immediate imprisonment||6+|
You have been trained to blend in with crowds and unobtrusively follow your target(s) in a city or other urban setting. Done properly, your mark will not be aware of your presence. Shadowing a target requires a contested roll, your Streetwise/Shadowing (Intuition) against their Notice (Intuition). If the target rolls more successes than you do, you’ve been discovered. Complications may not reveal your presence to your mark, but may attract the attention of other less desirable figures.
In every city there are places the city guard fears to tread. These narrow streets are teaming with beggars, cutpurses, muggers, and worse. A successful Underworld Lore roll grants you contacts and connections within these unsavory places. The difficulty of the task is modified by your familiarity with the city and its people.
A Streetwise roll for making underworld connections takes 1 hour. Complications should be memorable.
Streetwise and Existing Characters
Hereafter is a list of Backgrounds for which Streetwise is considered a Background Skill. When initially introduced to your game, any characters from these backgrounds can swap out the Streetwise skill for one of their existing background skills.