Street Smarts

That district, if you can call it that, is an aberration, a product of corruption, a diseased appendage of an otherwise healthy and vibrant Republic. Its bowels spawn nothing but the dredges of mankind. It is the refuge of criminals, crooks, common thieves, smugglers, and thugs. You ask me if it should be locked down? I say it should be locked down and burned!

- Maxus Maxus Capypom
Skelarios Merchant

Every city has its slums. Every great marble edifice has a shadow. Should we fear our own shadows? No, my friends. It is a reality that we must face and and accept, if this Republic is to survive.

- Titian Saxus Saturoluc
Former Tribune, First Class

Damn your eyes! Look at me!
Damn your ears! Listen to me!
Rattle and shake the gate does
deaf and dumb to cry and scream.

But one dark night I'll beat this wall
One black eve I'll scale it all.
And when I do, mark my words…
My own hands will shatter your dream.

- Anonymous graffiti*

Street Smarts
Skills/Actions Difficulty To Rank SP Cost
Trainer: Visit a twisting alley cul-de-sac at the right time of day (in the Northern Steps)
Street Smarts Easy 50 10 / 5
City Hiding Difficult 50 17 / 9
City Sneaking Difficult 50 17 / 9
Trainer: Look for a haggard old man in a dead-end (in the Northern Steps)
Watcher's Sense Average 30 15 / 7
Mimic Signpost Average 30 15 / 7
Trainer: Look for a man with an empty mug (in the Eastern Steps)
Steps Cant Average 50 15 / 7
Trainer: Look for a corridor covered in colorful paint (in the Central Steps)
Paint Graffiti Easy 30 10 / 5
Trainer: Look for some rewarding entertainment (in the Northern Steps)
Stash Easy 40 10 / 5
Find Stash Average 40 15 / 7


Survival is not merely about acquisition. Survival is also hanging onto what is already yours. Not everyone in the Steps has the luxury of the bank or a nice, secure home (if such a thing really exists). Instead, many of the district's residents have learned how to make use of the smallest niches, cracks, and hidden potholes to stash their goods. Every thief, be it a professional burglar or a young pickpocket, knows the value of a good stash to keep their wares until they can be hocked. Even the street urchins learn how to hide food and trinkets from those who are even more desperate than they are.*

Stash allows you to hide your treasured items out of sight. You will always be able to recover your stashed items, but others will have trouble, if they even know where to look. Getting more skilled at stash will allow you to hide progressively larger items.

Usage: stash <item>

What it looks like:

stash knife
[Success: 1, Roll: 52] You find a passable place in which to hide an intricately etched knife and quickly cram it into place.

Find Stash

While any idiot with a good memory can find a stash that he made himself, digging up what other people have hidden takes a keen eye and a sharp intuition. Anyone can search an area for a stash, but it takes experience to know what to look for.*

Find Stash is a passive skill. It augments your ability to find the stashes of other people.

Usage: search

What it looks like:

You begin to examine a high-ceilinged hall closely.
You manage to recover a tiny shiny white stone.
You finish examining a high-ceilinged hall.

City Hiding

Hiding is not ducking behind a table and hoping that you don't get seen. Any child can do that, and it usually doesn't save him from getting trounced either. Hiding is much more. Hiding is a full awareness of the environment, knowing the interplay between light and shadow, whisper and echo. Hiding is empathy and understanding, guessing where the other guy will look, when he will turn his shoulder, and what will find his attention. And most of all, hiding is discipline, exerting the self-control and mental focus to prevent the betrayal of your own body. A true master focuses on remaining hidden as if he is gripping onto life itself, for it is often one and the same.*

City Hiding allows you to find a good place to remain out of sight. People will be oblivious to your presence unless they actively search the area. Various factors contribute to the ability to hide in an area. Crowd size, available things to duck behind (furniture, other large objects), lighting and size of the room will all factor into the difficulty of locating an appropriate spot to hide.

Usage: find cover

What it looks like:

find cover
[Success: 38, Roll: 86] You manage to find a hiding spot hidden by a long mahogany counter and move quickly to conceal yourself.

City Sneaking

Stalking silently is as ancient and instinctive as the relationship between predator and prey. In the grimy urban alleyway, the fundamentals are the same. Whether you are closing unnoticed upon your victim, or slipping away in your escape, what is critical is moving without being noticed.*

City sneaking allows you to move while hiding, without revealing yourself to others. The same factors
that affect hiding also affect sneaking, but there is an additional difficulty; you must also pay attention
to the eyes of others. People who are acutely perceptive of their surroundings may prove very hard to
sneak around.

Usage: sneak <direction>

What it looks like:

sneak south
[Success: 95, Roll: 35] You clumsily sneak into a marble portico. A young bank clerk seems to have spotted you leaving.

Steps Cant

Discretion is a prerequisite to survival in the Steps. Living is knowing who to clip and who to avoid, when to draw a blade and when to run. Sometimes its as simple as when to open your mouth and when to keep it shut. Naturally, the means to communicate silently is a useful skill in such an environment, necessary to many of the 'professions' that prosper in the district.*

Steps Cant allows you to communicate with others without words, just motions. It can be useful
for having an entire conversation right in front of many unaware people. Canting the cant requires
knowledge of the Steps Lingo, the native dialect of the Steps.

Usage: cant <target> <message>

What it looks like:

<cant usage syntax>
[Success: 1, Roll: 96] You discreetly signal 'You're an idiot! Sucker!' to Sukar, quite certain that no one else noticed. However, it doesn't seem as if Sukar understands what you are trying to say.

Mimic Signpost

While the upper class general craves attention and clamors to be seen, those of the streets know the value of self-effacement, especially when you're running for your life. Being able to blend into a crowd effectively is a skill that can save one's skin. Standing still might not seem like such a difficult task, but doing so in a dangerous situation and in such a way as to look natural and inconspicuous requires firm willpower and steady nerves.*

Mimic Signpost allows you to attempt to blend in with a crowd. People entering an area you are sign posting in may fail to notice you initially, though they will see you if they take the time to look around.

Usage: signpost

What it looks like:

[Success: 76, Roll: 79] You slip to one side and remain completely still, your body frozen into the background.

Watcher's Sense

In the right conditions, instinct can be trained, honed, and sharpened. In this case, it is the instinct of knowing that you are being watched, the gut feel of knowing that someone is behind you, or the intuitive feeling that… something… is about to happen.*

Watcher’s Sense is a passive skill. It is a technique used to augment your ability to detect those hiding and sneaking around you. Useful if your natural perception is lacking.

Usage: None. This is a passive skill.

Paint Graffiti

For the respectable folk, graffiti is an aesthetically displeasing, distasteful stain on the otherwise dignified marble of the metropolis. For the city official, graffiti is a logistical nightmare, difficult to get rid of and impossible to squelch completely. But for those who with neither respect nor power, it is one of the few means of expression available. Whether the message be personal, political, or simply a cry for attention, what can be better than a naked wall for a canvas and the whole city for an audience?*

Graffiti allows you to paint your own short and simple message on an empty wall space. Perhaps there is someone you think is awful, smelly, or otherwise not to your liking and you need to express it for the entire city to see. This is generally illegal, especially in private establishments, as paint is a hassle to clean up. Getting more skilled at graffiti will allow you express your discontent in longer, deeper and more insightful messages. Graffiti requires a paint brush and a jar of paint. Color choice is up to you.

Usage: Graffiti (wall) (text)

Paint Gang Marking

Just as the gangs have their own distinct lingo and clothing, they also have their own distinct symbols for communication. Gang markings are particularly social in nature, messages directed to other members of your own gang. It is also a means of marking territory, and letting trespassers know full well that they have just stepped on someone else's turf.*

Paint Gang Marking allows you to mark off your turf with your gang’s very own distinctive symbol. Opposing gangs will be sure to back off and walk the other way after catching sight of your intimidating artistic abilities. Painting a gang marking properly requires you to actually be in a gang. There is no pretending.

Usage: Gmark (wall) (text)

*Taken from Japes post on street smarts in the Game World Forum.

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