An amnesiac's take on storytelling...

Salve Sodalis,

After half a year of only random hotchpotch sessions I'm finally whipping my saga back into a steady pace... but in the meantime I've lost quite a few bits from my central nerve system.. and I can't for the life of me find the most basic info - for instance, what ability governs the art of Storytelling?

My first thought was something called Performance, but couldnt find such a one. Then I thought Carouse or Profession (of some sort) but neither seems quite right...

Please help an aging sodales....

Well by the book (ARM5:CR) the "Troupe Upbringing" virtue gives a +2 to a chosen ability which includes "storytelling" amongst the choices. Thus I would suggest that Storytelling simply be added to the character sheet of whichever player is wanting that ability and points invested in that score as with any other listed ability.

An alternative could be making "storytelling" a specialisation for one of the characters language slots, which would also make perfect sense and have the benefit of making an already essential language slot (Mother Tongue for example) into a much more actively played ability. It would also make the points allocated to it at char gen all the more useful since it would make the character's language even better in that specialised area.

Storytelling as a separate skill seems too narrow, by far. "Public Speaking", perhaps, or "Bardic Ability" (a non-supernatural skill) might serve better, which would include speeches, toasts, stories of all sorts, and so on, both for informative and entertainment purposes.

I'd agree that there are several existing skills that might also cover it in part, depending on the situation. Carouse has elements of that involved for a tale over a meal or some drinks, tho' that would not be appropriate if one is to formally recount a tale at a court, for instance, or for entertainment on a streetcorner. Artes Liberales includes "rhetoric", which covers formal and informal public addresses, speeches and the like, but not an "artistic" flair such as a bard would have. A Language skill with an appropriate specialty could cover it, tho' that would not be something someone would "study" to get better just at storytelling, and would cover more the accurate communication rather than affect the audience's enjoyment of the tale.

Well one could always fudge the matter a bit and, using the language ability specialisation method, require a folk ken+language(storytelling)+comm roll vs an SG-determined Ease Factor to determine the impressiveness of the story upon the listeners.

two rolls: One by the player (how well he tells the story) Comm+Language(storytelling) and one secretly by the SG (how well the audience responds to the telling of the stale) Folk Ken + Comm.

Two options i can think of atm.

Boy, I do just love the innovative flexibility of this system :slight_smile:

Com + Language for politicans and storytellers sounds perfectly fine for me. Funny how we have never used it IMS, now that I think about it. Musicians of sweet tongues ("cock bastards" or "the pal only adequate to get into a maid's bed", as they are usually called) are more popular.



hmm dunno if I would lump politicians' ability rolls in with those of the storyteller (though most things politicians say are indeed tall tales, to put it mildly). I would see political activities as being (depending on what it is the politico is seeking to do) either:

Comm+Intrigue (making formal pronouncements, negotiating important treaties or settlements, etc.) or

Int+Intrigue (attempting to garner advantageous information, discerning hidden agendas, analysing information received or official texts, etc.)

I think language whilst important, is secondary to Intrigue in this regard.

Foremost I'm glad of all the suggestions. And I'm even more glad that it isnt just something obvious I've missed.

I'm in fact not looking for an ability as much in terms of direct game mechanics (as I reckon I'd not have to call a roll on this anyway), but most of all because a player missed it as a one of the defining abilities for his character. I guess I'm now up to either include it in another ability (with plenty of candidates) or add a new one.

The just make it a specialisation in his primary Language ability. Since its already a given at char gen you don't need to make special allowances for new skills.

I still think the rolls would be more useful mechanically and give a better indicator at how well the story might have been both told and received. YMMV of course.

I don't know if this is what boxer meant, but Storytelling is explicitely listed as a specialty of the living language skill in the raw

No i didnt mean that, but it only further validates my suggestion for the Language specialisation route :wink:

Why not take a storytelling speciality on several related skills? Charm(storytelling), Carouse(storytelling) and Leadership(storytelling), for example?

When dealing with the Fae, I could allow a Bargain(storytelling) :slight_smile:

Alternately, rename Music to Performance and take a storytelling specialty in that... Or use storytelling as part of a Profession(minstrel/skald) skill.

Cheers to all - and especially to the Fixer for pointing out exactly the RAW reference I missed out on :blush:


I've always used Profession: Storyteller. A lot of the performance arts I add under Profession, such as Mummer, Dancer, and so forth.

Likewise you can use Craft Abilities to create new stories without having the ability to tell them effectively (many authors are poor public speakers, since their medium is the written rather than spoken word). However, I would never make a character have both Profession: Storyteller and Craft: Stories; one can do the job of the other.


That makes much more sense than defaulting it to "language". Most everyone(?) has their native language at 5, or occasionally 4 or 6, but not everyone is ~that~ good of a story teller, nor do their abilities vary only by the equivalent of a point or two, (or even three counting a specialization.)

I'm sure we all know people with a great vocabulary and perfect grammar, who can't tell a story to save their life. And some of the best story-tellers in history were "simple spoken", (or at least pretended to be.)

Whilst I do like the idea of Profession:Storyteller, I would have to disagree with you, Cuchul, that defaulting to Language specialisation in storytelling would suggest that "everyone is a good storyteller". Not ever PC is going to take storytelling as their Language specialisation, so those that do are better at using their Language skill in telling stories, nothing unusual about that at all.

Besides, simply because a character has an automatic 5 in their native tongue doesnt mean that every character is "well spoken". It simply means that they speak however they speak perfectly naturally in their own tongue. If they take "eloquence" as a specialty then one could rightly envisaged a particularly well-spoken individual but not necessarily a good storyteller. Just as one could take "humorist" as a specialisation, suggestive of someone who knows how to use his language (both through timing and word choice) to humorous effect. I see each specialisation as a nuance as to how one employs their language ability and any discerning SG would be perfectly justified to impose penalties upon a given character, based upon the manner in which the character is played, for attempts to speak in ways outside his specialisation.

For example: Justinius might be a serious an erudite character with the ability to explain difficult concepts at length. Judging by his demonstrably serious manner the SG decides that his attempt to tell a bawdy tale whilst uncommonly in his cups at a covenant celebration is just not befitting his character and thus subject to a -3 from the base language ability score.

Similarly, a grog or even companion character raised amidst the peasantry or working class and not having had the benefit of advanced education would indeed have a more base manner of speech even with a 5 in his native tongue. It's more about adapting the specialisation to fit the background and demeanor of the character than it is the apparent numerical equality amongst PCs in that regard.

I agree with you, it certainly is not just about numbers. But how nuanced can you gauge one's story-telling ability, if it's either "yes, it's a specialty", or "nope, not me".

Binary is not "nuanced". A separate skill is more so.

First off, it's shorthand--certainly. It's an abstraction because more skills =! better (and similarly Artes Liberales is a pile of skills). And we all know stories that come from our language.

Secondly, remember that people told many more stories to each other before there was mass media.

Thirdly, Com governs natural talent. A droll grog may have a -1 or -2, while someone more eloquent would probably have a +2. That's a +3 swing, or the difference between a moderate success and a splendid one.

But everyone tells stories and knows stories.

Is it a touch too simple? Oh absolutley. But this is a game about magic, not beancounting skills that come up so rarely.

Wasn't it in the pact of pasaquine or midsummer night's dream (old 2nd edition) where there was a blind storyteller? He was also the reference qwhen it came down to area lore on noble lineages, IIRC. You can check him for a reference (at work currently, so serfs parma). I think he had something like speak own language 7 or so.

I fully agree with Mario, BTW. :slight_smile:

IIRC, it is the adventure with the sexual-obsessed ex miscellanea rogue maga and the guy that becomes possessed by an avatar of cernunnos or something like that.



Well, knowing stories and legends does fall under the purview of Area Lore (no Legend Lore anymore). So that's at least two skills you need in 5th ed.

As the medieval society is still mostly a verbal one, i dont see how anyone could ever consider NOT including Storytelling as a separate skill?
Or as noted, as a Profession, because thats what it WAS!

Language skill is the prerequisite for storytelling, definetly not the ability, something im personally excellent example of, i suck pathetically at actually telling a story, while my language skills are excellent.

Carouse isnt storytelling, it could at best be the "amateur version" so to speak. Its on the level of saying a firecracker and a fusion-bomb is the same thing.

Rethoric??? That has nothing to do with storytelling, its "speaking convincingly" to make it short.
I also added Rethorics as a separate skill however, as having Artes Liberales cover it meant bookworms could go out and "arouse the masses" like the best of politicians, NOT good in my view.

Anyway, i also let Storytelling(and Rethorics) add to Teaching Quality, on a ratio of 1 pt quality for every 4 score in the ability. (for completeness ill add that i use Artes Liberales and Philosophia the same way for Writing Quality).