head & intro



The product of Academic research is called a Focus.  Foci can be either a strong grasp of certain kinds of information, or can be specialized techniques that come from deep expertise in a field as well as further research and experimentation.  Foci are either Basic or Advanced.

A Basic Focus represents expert knowledge within some field.  If someone has a basic focus in an area, they may ask the Staff any question relating to their field of knowledge and gain answers that an expert would know.  For instance, a character with a Focus in Architecture could ask “What sort of culture made this structure?  How long ago were techniques like these used?”  Basic Foci are also used to support the creation of an Advanced Focus.

An Advanced Focus is theory turned to practical application.  These are cutting edge practices used by the best operations in the world, or techniques used by the best at what they do.  Advanced Foci are founded upon principles found in other skills and basic foci.  Once an Advanced Focus is implemented through Academics, it can be taught to others as toe Focus itself without meeting its original Research Elements.

All Foci require 10 Glory (per "Secrets") to begin play with, on top of their normal experience costs.  Foci marked with Uncommon or Rare require an additional 10 or 20 respectively.




The Exoterics are volumes and subjects that make up what most academics understand, and they are common enough that the related works should be expected to be found in most libraries around the world.  Some book owners also own Rare works, which are Basic Foci that are not expected to be in most libraries, such as works detailing the lives of very specific individuals, secret histories, and other very specialized books. A rare focus is learned in the same way as a normal basic focus is, but it simply requires a specific teacher in the form of a character or book to teach it.

Another group of works, called the Esoterics, usually dealing with magic, curses, and other facets of the hidden world, also exist, but are always considered Rare.
































Library Science





Advanced Foci

Advanced Foci

Abasement - Dirge of Despair

Name: Abasement

Effect: Sincerity gains power if both your knees are on the ground in a subservient or groveling pose

Research Elements: Sincerity 2, Psychology

Name:  Advanced Leverage

Effect: Your mechanical Devices cannot be broken with Feat of Strength.

Research Elements: Physics, Metallurgy

Name:  Anacrusis Resistance


Effect:  You can endure one additional Anacrusis Point before suffering any effects.

Research Elements: Grit 4, Steady 2, Discipline 2, Magic, Resonance, A Severe Anacrusis Wyrd

Name: Annealing


Effect: You may use 1 Charcoal and 1 Hard Iron to make 1 Steel over the course of 1 hour.  Steel can be used in any way Hard Iron can be used, but steel cannot be broken by iron weapons or tools.

Research Elements: Metalworking 5, Metallurgy, Physics

Name:  Anthologize

Effect:  You are excellent at teaching topics while tying in related material.  When you create books using a Tome, if you have any remaining Instruction bonus left unspent after the first use, you may apply what is remaining to new topics until none remains.  The reader can receive all Instructions in the Tome as a single learning Downtime.

Research Elements:  Etiquette 4, Library Science.

Name: Aretaics:  [Specific]

Effect: You are stoically dedicated to certain principles, and these principles are uncoupled from your own personal happiness or sadness.  When using Discipline to resist a certain specific kind of effect, (Supernatural mental intrusion, coercion to break your Honor Code or Devotion, Haggling, Dogma, or one social skill such as Intimidate), a successful Discipline use protects you from that effect for the rest of the scene from the same user.

Research Elements: Discipline 2, Grit 2, Philosophy, Logic, Rhetoric

Name:  Armored Mobility

Effect:  You can have armor customized and fitted to you by a metalworker in such a way that you can retain full range of motion, regardless of the weight and bulk of the armor itself, allowing full use of the Mobility Skill.

Research Elements: Mobility 3, Metalworking 4, Mechanics 2, Mathematics, Anatomy, Physics

Name: Artist

Effect:  You can touch the souls of others with a poignancy that truly lasts, creating artistic works that can convey the passion of your work again and again to those that enjoy them.  Such works grant Hope or relieve Despair each time someone spends a few minutes interacting with and enjoying your work, be it a painting, a written work such as a book or a saga, or some other permanent reflection of your expression.  Such works can grant their effect indefinitely, but only once per event, per work of art.  

Artistic works require Professional Tools: Artist and a Masterwork Downtime action.  For each Chapter spent on a work, it gains the effect of one level of Performance Skill, to a limit of the artist's Skill.   The art piece must have a valid physrep to function, such as an actual work of in-world fiction, or an actual piece of viewable art.

Research Elements: Performance 2, Philosophy, Rhetoric

Name: Artistic Appreciation

Effect: You may receive Hope from Performers of lesser skill than your own.

Research Elements: Etiquette 2, Performance 2, Philosophy

Name: Avant Garde

Effect: Your designs are inspired and new, perhaps even ahead of their time.  You may make Outfits that combine two Cultures or two Social Classes instead of the normal combination of one of each.

Research Elements: Tailoring 4, Psychology, Mathematics

Name:  Banishing Sign


Effect:  When you use Steady to resist a spell effect, you may resist the entire effect for 1 Steady, instead of 1 per Power.

Research Elements:  Shields 5, Steady 2, Magic, Symbology, Runes

Name: Black Powder


Effect: You are able to work with and produce mechanisms that involve the use of explosive black powder without simply blowing apart your design, as well as making sure it doesn’t shake itself apart after successive internal explosions.

Research Elements:  Mechanics 4, Physics, Metallurgy, Architecture, Hydraulics

Name: Blackmail

Effect: If you confirm the presence of a character flaw on someone via Streetwise, you may gain Power on Social Skills where you bring up the flaw as part of the delivery.

Research Elements: Streetwise 2, Persuade 1, Intimidate 1, Seduce 1, Sincerity 1, Psychology, Rhetoric

Name:  Blueprints

Effect:  You may create a blueprint item for an item that you can create.  Working directly from (and physrepping) a blueprint reduces crafting time of that specific item by 50%.  This requires a Writing kit to create and Literacy to utilize.

Research Elements:  Any Crafting Skill 4, Mechanics 1, Mathematics, Library Science

Name: Bookworm

Effect:  You always have your nose in a book, able to switch back and forth between tasks and snatching moments here and there to read another few lines as you work.   You may read a single book each Downtime action without spending a Downtime.  This still counts as your single Instruction for this Chapter.

Research Elements:  Grit 2, Discipline 2, Perception 2, Library Science

Name: Brazen Leader

Effect:  You are able to barrel through challenges with pure determination and catch the enemy off guard.  When you lead a Trial, all of your followers gain extra use of Intimidate.  This does not combine with other Trial Leader Foci.

Research Elements:  Leadership 2, Strategy, Psychology


Name: Brigand

Effect: You can effectively maintain quiet and stealthy movement, even in Medium Armor.  In order to use this effect, you must fully cover all of the Medium Armor so that no piece is outwardly visible.

Research Elements: Stealth 4, Mobility 1, Finesse 2, Tailoring 2, Anatomy, Physics

Name:  Bushwhack

Effect:  You may cut back and destroy the pink trail markers that are otherwise only passable with Survival.  Lasts the remainder of the event.

Research Elements:  Forestry 2, Survival 1, Mobility 1, Ecology, Geography

Name:  Careful Disassembly

Effect:  You do not need to break or damage a Mechanism you are attempting to learn more Mechanics codes from,  This also works for those in your Leadership tree.

Research Elements:  Mechanics 2, Metallurgy, Physics

Name: Cautious Leader

Effect:  You are a careful planner, able to account for every contingency.  When you lead a Trial, all of your followers gain 1 Steady.  This does not combine with other Trial Leader Foci.

Research Elements:  Leadership 2, Strategy, Logistics


Name: City Council

Effect: You may use the Skill levels of those in your Leadership tree instead of your own for the purposes of Position Bonuses.

Research Elements: Leadership 4, Civics, Sociology, Law

Name:  Civic Engineering

Effect:  Reduce material requirements for Mechanical Improvements to buildings by 25%

Research Elements: Civics

Name: Compacted Devices

Effect: Through efficient design you may include an extra mechanism in your devices.

Research Elements:  Mechanics 4, Metalworking 2, Pneumatics, Mathematics.

Name: Constitution Conditioning

Effect: Your Grit does not go down from multiple incidents of being Downed in a single event.

Research Elements: Grit 4, Physiology, Philosophy

Name: Consultant

Effect: You may perform Hustle actions to organize Skilled Labor on behalf of a Trade for which you are not a Guild member or an Officer.

Research Elements: Leadership 4, Mercantile 3, Economics

Name: Creep

Effect: Can refresh stealth by 15 seconds unmoving instead of break

Research Elements: Stealth 4, Discipline 2, Anatomy

Name: Cryptography

Effect: You can encode anything you write with special codes that only you and those you teach how can read.  Similar to Mechanics, you gain 3 codes for each level of Academics you possess, and can Research more with further study, producing a cipher with as many codes as your level in Academics with the same requirements to break as a lock.  You can write down paper "keys" that act as a cipher for that specific code combination.

Research Elements: Natural Linguist, Logic, Rhetoric, Mathematics

Name: Deduction

Effect: You may perform a Streetwise action that references last Downtime’s actions. This still considers the target’s own Streetwise ability as resistance.

Research Elements: Survival 5, Streetwise 4, Logic, Civics

Name: Die Hard

Effect: If Downed, can get up, run for 1 min, too weak to fight, then Blackout

Research Elements: Grit 4, Psychology, Physiology

Name: Dirge of Despair

Effect: You may spend (and thus lose) 1 Despair instead of Hope when using Performance to give 1 Despair to your audience instead of Hope.  The performance must be of an obviously dark and terrible nature.

Research Elements: Performance 4, Etiquette 5, Psychology

Diversify - Passions

Name: Diversify

Effect:  You are able to maintain control over more investments than normal, 2 of each category instead of the normal limit of 1.

Requirements:  Mercantile 4, Horology, Economics, Law, Civics

Name: Duplicity

Effect: You are an expert of the secret subtleties and poetic double meanings of speech.  You can hear the secret undertones when another person uses Doubletalk near you, and you may express complex ideas in your own uses of Doubletalk.

Requirements:  Etiquette 4, Seduce 2, Sincerity 2, Rhetoric, Philosophy

Name: Dyemaking

Effect: You may make natural dyes and inks out of other sources than ordinary herbs, such as for 3 units of vegetables, 3 units of soft iron, or 1 unit of charcoal or coal.

Requirements: Tailoring 2, Apothecary 3, Botany, Metallurgy

Name: Effective

Effect: The first time in a Chapter that you use each of Muscle, Vocation, Archaeology or Therapy, you immediately gain an additional use of that Downtime action.

Requirements: Discipline 4, Horology, Logistics

Name: Efficient Leader

Effect: 2+ Leadership action of the same type produce an extra action of that type.

Requirements: Leadership 4, Economics, Horology

Name: Enticement

Effect:  If you are touching your target’s face instead of your own, your Seduce gains power.

Requirements: Seduce 2, Psychology

Name: Escape Clause

Effect: You take great care when choosing investments, and always make a backup plan.  You may re-roll the result of an Investment check once, keeping the second result.

Requirements: Mercantile 4, Etiquette 2, Law, Economics

Name: Extreme Customization

Effect:  You may use the Customize option on things you craft twice instead of only once, for a total of two Flaws and Two Perks.

Research Elements:  Crafting Skill at 4, Mathematics, Psychology

Name: Fearless Leader

Effect:  You are undaunted by any challenge, able to show your soldiers your courage and inspire them to the same.  When you lead a Trial, all of your followers gain 1 Discipline.  This does not combine with other Trial Leader Foci.

Research Elements:  Leadership 2, Strategy, Psychology

Name: Glazier

Effect: You may make glass, and also cut it and work it into shapes and forms.  Using this focus requires 2 Charcoal and Professional tools:  Glazier.

Research Elements: Metalworking 2, Geology, Pneumatics

Name: Guerilla

Effect: In the forest (near a forest trail or at the edge of the woods), you gain the Escape ability.  You may use this as an extra use in case your Escape ability is countered if you have this and the actual Escape ability.

Research Elements: Survival 4, Mobility 2, Geography

Name: Guiding Magus

Effect: You may pass off the effect of an Aa’boran ritual to another Shariqyn or Aa’boran faithful.  You both must perform the requirements of the ritual, though the touched individual does not need to know the ritual or be a Magus.  The Magus may also treat Faith in Self Shariqyn as Faithful for the purposes of Aa’boran rituals.

Research Elements:  Liturgy (Aa’boran) 2, Theology, Civics, Philosophy

Name: Huckster

Effect: Showmanship and excitement are your best tools, and you usually draw a crowd.  Whenever you make a financial or business deal with someone, or sell them a product or service, for the rest of the scene you may use your Mercantile Skill as extra uses of Persuade, Intimidate, Sincerity, or Seduce.

Research Elements: Seduce 2, Performance 2, Mercantile 2, Psychology

Name:  Immune Response

Effect:  You gain an effective 2 additional Grit against Disease.

Research Elements:  Apothecary 2, Herbalism 2, Grit 2, Botany, Physiology, Ecology.

Name:  Incriminate

Effect:  You may frame someone else for your action.  So long as you can best that person’s Streetwise, you may assign their own name to your own actions, and any attempts to follow either you or that person will yield your corrupted results.

Research Elements: Streetwise 4, Finesse 4, Sociology

Name: Inspiring Leader

Effect:  Your followers are swept up in your leadership ability, able to believe that they will win the day because it is you who lead them.  When you lead a Trial, all of your followers gain 1 Hope.  This does not combine with other Trial Leader Foci.

Research Elements:  Leadership 2, Strategy, Rhetoric

Name: Legalese

Effect: Your command of legal language allows you to add confusing subclauses to the agreed upon text in a Contract that most people won’t understand until it is pointed out to them or explained carefully.  You must mark an asterisk on the contract in the most related area of the text, and may notify Staff of the secret clause in the contract.  This focus also allows you to immediately read and understand such clauses, and you may ask the true meaning if you see an asterisk.

Research Elements:  Mercantile 3, Etiquette 4, Law, Rhetoric

Name: Limber

Effect: You may use your levels of Finesse as extra Brawl calls to escape Grabs.

Research Elements: Finesse 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 2, Anatomy

Name: Lurk

Effect: You may not be Revealed from Stealth, so long as you remain unmoving.  This does not affect any Alert status that may be in effect.

Research Elements: Stealth 4, Discipline 2, Sincerity 2, Anatomy, Psychology

Name: Machining

Effect:  You understand the extremely high precision work that goes into making the tiny pieces that form the bits of Mechanical Devices.  This is required to make Bits.

Research Elements: Metalworking 4, Mechanics 2, Steady 2, Finesse 4, Metallurgy, Mathematics

Name: Marauder

Effect: All of your Light Units in Warfare gain +1 Movement Speed.

Research Elements: Leadership 4, Logistics

Name: Mechanical Construction

Effect:  You may produce as many Labor Downtime actions as your levels of Mechanics, but they must be the same project.

Research Elements: Mechanics 2, Leadership 2, Civics, Physics

Name: Misdirection

Effect: You may hand off your pickpocketing clothespins to others to use on your behalf, so long as you are within arm’s reach of the target.  

Research Elements: Finesse 3, Sincerity 2, Etiquette 2, Psychology

Name:  Monkey Climbing

Effect:  Once you have Climbed into a secure position, you may set your weight against it using your legs and core and allow both of your hands to remain free for other uses.  At least one foot must still be touching the object you are climbing.

Research Elements:  Mobility 2, Grit 2, Finesse 2, Anatomy, Physics

Name: Natural Translation


Effect: You are able to work with and produce devices that transmit energy from natural sources, such as wind and water power.

Research Elements:  Mechanics 2, Hydraulics, Pneumatics

Name: Papermilling

Effect: You may work fine, thin sheets of textiles into paper to be used in books and writing kits.

Research Elements: Tailoring 2, Apothecary 2, Botany

Name: Passions

Effect:  When you call upon your Dogma, you paint visions of heaven and stoke the fires of damnation.  If the target of your Dogma takes its effect without resisting, you may give 1 Hope that you have to that person.  If they resist Dogma, they lose any Hope they may have currently had.

Research Elements: Etiquette 5, Liturgy 3, Theology, Philosophy

Physicker - World Trader


Name:  Physicker


Effect:  You are familiar with the human body and are capable of mending some of its harms.  While looked at with some suspicion by the Hospitalier, this knowledge allows the the physicker perform two functions: 
First, they may use a Bandage on an injured limb and bind it.  After 30 minutes, the limb regains usability, though additional hits to the limb count as Maims until true recovery has been achieved.  Further, they can treat a fresh limb Maim within an hour of it occurring, which allows the maim to revert back to a normal Injury.  Either of these events requires 5 minutes of medical roleplay with the patient, using crude tools as props.  The Physicker must also apply grime and/or wound makeup to the player they are treating which shows the wounds they have received in their recent brush with death (even those they don't treat).

Use of this Focus requires Professional Tools: Physicker item and prop.

Research Elements:  Grit 4, Discipline 2, Steady 2, Anatomy, Physiology


Name: Pilfer

Effect: Instead of using clothespins to Pickpocket, you may do so by maintaining sustained physical contact with the person for 5 seconds.

Research Elements: Finesse 3, Steady 2, Sincerity 2, Psychology


Name: Pillar of the Community


Effect: Your Peacemaker or Firebrand actions affect the entire city instead of one District.**

Research Elements: Leadership 4, Persuade 2, Seduce 2, Intimidate 2, Sincerity 2, Performance 2, Sociology, Psychology


Name: Prima Donna

Effect: If all the attention of a crowd or gathering (3 or more) in the room is on you, you immediately gain 1 Hope, which you may use so long as you retain everyone’s full attention.

Research Elements: Performance 2, Etiquette 3, Psychology


Name: Professional Discussion

Effect: Spending a Downtime Action to Instruct a student also allows that Student to Instruct you,  to the extent that they are able without spending additional Downtime actions.  This works the same way if you are otherwise the Student rather than the teacher.  This does count as your Learning Downtime action for that Chapter.

Research Elements:  Philosophy, Rhetoric


Name: Rumormonger

Effect: You can see the Rumor list before game and substantially change one of them.

Research Elements: Streetwise 2, Persuade 2, Rhetoric, Sociology


Name: Scoutmaster

Effect: By organizing large foraging expeditions, when you use Huntsman to feed yourself, you are able to effectively hunt and gather food for your entire leadership tree by bringing them along.

Research Elements: Survival 2, Leadership 2, Botany, Zoology, Ecology


Name:  Scribbled Notes

Effect:  Drawing in the dirt, writing on the corners of pages (or even on cell walls), you may, at length, perform Arcane Research without the aid of a proper Laboratorium.  By spending a Research Downtime you may perform one bit of Spellwork.  See Spellcraft for details.  Like other spell Research, this cannot be increased with Leadership.

Research Elements:  Arcane Initiation, Logic, Mathematics, Astrology, Magic 


Name: Secretive

Effective: Your Streetwise levels function as a penalty to Streetwise used on you instead of a resistance. In other words, someone with Streetwise 5 following someone with Streetwise 2 and this focus would get information as if they had Streetwise 3. A coordinated simultaneous effort can be used to overcome this.

Research Elements: Streetwise 2, Stealth 2, Etiquette 2, Sociology


Name:  Self Awareness

Effect:  A strong sense of self allows you to identify when you are acting inappropriately and focus on right action.  You do not need to wait one full game before attempting to challenge and remove an Insanity.

Research Elements:  Discipline 4, Faith 2, A Severe Insanity, Psychology, Philosophy


Name: Short-Term Investment

Effect: You may invest in a short term gain like a fixed bet or simple usury, and it comes to fruition more quickly than other investments.  The return happens within one event rather than one season, with the following rate of return:

Short-Term: 1-2 Total Loss, 3-4: Half loss, 5-6: No gain, 7-8: 25% gain, 9-10: 50% gain

Research Elements:  Mercantile 4, Sincerity 2, Seduce 2, Economics


Name: Signet Forgery

Effect: Signet rings are usually specifically designed to frustrate forgeries.  It works, just not against you.  You are skilled enough to duplicate a signet ring and forge any signet with for you have a sample.

Research Elements: Finesse 4, History, Heraldry, Metallurgy


Name: Sleight of Hand

Effect:  Your applicable Finesse skills are not breakable by characters with higher Perception.

Research Elements: Finesse 4, Perception 2, Stealth 2, Psychology


Name: Steam Translation


Effect: You are able to work with and produce devices that use the power of steam to deliver constant energy through a system, so long as you can keep it lit.  Uses of this technology require charcoal as fuel.

Research Elements:  Mechanics 2, Natural Translation, Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Metallurgy, Physics


Name:  Strategic Explorer

Effect:  Each “Prepare Land” action in Warfare counts as two.

Research Elements:  Leadership 2, Logistics, Ecology



Name: Subject Expert

Effect: When you have expert knowledge on a topic you know how to play up your expertise to make sure you are heard.  Social Skill uses pertaining to a topic you have the Basic Focus for gain Power.

Research Elements: Sincerity 4, Rhetoric, Logic


Name: Teaching Specialist (Specific)

Effect: Instruction of a specific narrow topic is done at an additional -1 xp cost.

(Example topics include: a Specific Skill, Attributes, Foci, Maneuvers, Techniques)

Research Elements:  Logic, Rhetoric, Library Science


Name: Terrorize

Effect: Intimidate on an Afraid target causes them 1 Despair until the end of the scene.

Research Elements: Intimidate 4, Etiquette 3, Psychology


Name: Therapeutic Index

Effect: You may use a Refinement to reverse (where applicable) the trait found on one drug trait, such as an Excitant to a Drowser, or a Steroid to a Relaxant.

Research Elements: Apothecary 3, Botany, Physiology


Name: Turnabout

Effect: When you are able to use your target’s own words or arguments as part of your Persuade, it gains Power.

Research Elements: Persuade 2, Psychology.


Name: Very Credible Threat

Effect:  If you menace someone at extremely close distance (within 6 inches of their face) with the focus of the intimidate, get Power.

Research Elements: Intimidate 2, Psychology


Name: Virtuoso

Effect: After a full performance, until the end of the scene, for anyone who benefited from your performance (gained Hope), you may use your Performance Skill as extra uses of Persuade, Intimidate, Sincerity, or Seduce.

Research Elements: Performance 4, Psychology, Sociology


Name:  War Games

Effect: You gain the War Games Order, commanding two Forces to fight with each other in a mock battle.  No troops are lost on either side, but all involved Units lose Green if they had it.

Research Elements: Leadership 4, Strategy


Name: World Trader

Effect: Through well placed contacts and the ability to manipulate with some clever information, you can put your Marketeer skills to work in another city elsewhere in the world.  This requires arranging for a parcel of letters to arrive at that location successfully.

Research Elements: Survival 4, Mercantile 5, Streetwise 2, Economics, Psychology, Rhetoric