A Knack for Trouble

2024 / 07 / 03

Hello everyone! Today we’re going to talk about knacks, otherwise known as what makes your characters unique in the Arkham Horror Roleplaying Game.

Every character has access to the same ten skills; Agility, Athletics, Wits, Presence, Intuition, Knowledge, Resolve, Melee Combat, Ranged Combat, and Lore. They use these skills to perform actions when they want to climb a wall, charm a person, shoot a gun, or even cast a spell. Different characters may have different ranks in those skills, and thus be better or worse at certain things. But, at least in theory, everyone can attempt to perform the same tasks.

Knacks, however, are where characters become truly unique. Each character has two different knacks. These knacks may allow them to perform actions differently than other characters, do certain tasks better, or even do something that is unique to them. 

But all that feels pretty abstract, right? Let’s look at some more specific examples. 

One very basic but useful knack is Mental Focus.

Mental Focus

  • Once per tun after you perform a complex action using Wits, Intuition, Knowledge, or Resolve, you may reroll 1 die. If you fail, you cannot use this knack again during this scene.

Mental Focus is pretty straightforward knack. It represents a character who is particularly smart and clever. It works well to amplify Daisy’s skills in Wits and Knowledge  (as she’s already good at both, and it lets her compensate for the occasional times when she does fail a dice roll), but it also helps Daisy potentially successfully use her Resolve and Intuition, which she’s not quite as good at.

Now, let’s look at a more advanced knack: Not Done Yet

Not Done Yet

This knack is available to William Yorick in Hungering Abyss.  

  • Once per game session, your character may perform a complex action using Resolve. If they succeed, their dice pool limit is restored to its maximum. If they generate at least two successes, they may also heal one injury they are suffering from. 

This knack is really good for characters who want to survive some of the terrors they may face in the Arkham Horror Roleplaying Game. In fact, it gives them a resilience that other characters don’t have access to. Any player character can strain themselves to restore the size of their dice pool (basically “healing” themselves). However, doing so makes a character suffer an injury. A character with Not Done Yet can not only heal themselves without suffering an injury, they even have the chance to heal an injury they suffered earlier in the fight!

Finally, knacks can represent powers that are truly otherworldly. Let’s look at one of these, which fans of the setting may recognize.

Mists of R’lyeh

  • Spell. Your character may perform a complex action using Lore. If they succeed, your character or one ally within 30 feet turns ghostly and insubstantial; unable to attack, interact with physical objects, be attacked, or seen (except as a drifting whisp of faintly glowing mist). The target may move through any object or wall that has space for air to flow through. The spell lasts until the end of the PCs’ next turn. 
  • For every additional success your character generates, they can affect one additional character or have the spell last for one additional turn. If they roll one or more results of 1, your character and any other characters they targeted suffer 1 horror. 
  • If the spell ends while the target is within a space that is too small for them to fit in, they are ejected into the nearest open area and suffer 1 injury and 1 trauma. 

So, that’s a whole lot of knack right there! Mists of R’lyeh is a spell that Daisy has learned how to cast by reading the right (or maybe the wrong) book. It lets her do something completely unnatural and very useful, even if the risks are also high.

And speaking of risks, some of you may be wondering what are the “horror” and “trauma” that this knack refers to? Well, unfortunately we’re out of time this week, so those are subjects for a later article!

Arkham Horror RPG Starter Set will be out on August 2, 2024.