Special Abilities by Type and Playbook

Before designing my own special abilities, I had some downtime over the long weekend and decided to start a long-term project, Understand Scope of Blades Special Abilities. I rolled 4/5 to STUDY and present here the results of the first two ticks of the clock.


This is all of the Blades special abilities summarized and organized by type.

Special Armor

All of these are limited to once per score by requiring use of special armor for the listed effect. There is exactly one of these per playbook—multiple ones would compete for that armor resource.

  • Battleborn (Cutter): reduce harm from attack -or- push self in fight

  • Focused (Hound): resist a consequence of surprise/mental harm -or- push self for ranged combat or tracking

  • Fortitude (Leech): resist consequence of fatigue, weakness or chemical effects -or- push self with technical skill or alchemicals

  • Shadow (Lurk): resist consequences from detection or security -or- push self for feat of athletics or strength

  • Subterfuge (Slide): resist consequence from suspicion or persuasion; or push self for subterfuge

  • Mastermind (Spider): protect a teammate -or- push self when gathering info or working on long-term project

  • Warded (Whisper): resist supernatural consequence -or- push self to contend with or employ arcane forces

Push Powered

These limit usage by charging stress. As with the special armor resource, these are limited to at most one per playbook. For these, you get the standard effect of pushing and …

  • Not to be Trifled With (Cutter): apply physical force verging on superhuman -or- engage small gang on equal footing in close combat

  • Sharpshooter (Hound): ranged attack at extreme distance -or unleash a barrage of suppressing fire

  • Venomous (Leech): secrete drug or poison through skin, saliva, or exhale (choose from bandolier stock)

  • Devil’s Footsteps (Lurk): perform verge on superhuman athletics -or- maneuver to confuse enemies so they mistakenly attack each other

  • Tempest (Whisper): unleash stroke of lightning as weapon -or- summon a strom in immediate vicinity (torrential rain, roaring wind, heavy fog, frost/snow, etc.)

Other Stress Powered

Scum and Villainy has an ability like Rook’s Gambit, but they charge a push to do it. I don’t see the difference unless that uses one of the possible pushes you have (dice, effect, or overcome incapacitation). For Ghost Veil, it’s not tied to another action roll and lets you keep adding stress for more effects.

  • Ghost Veil (Lurk): shift into ghost field for 2 stress; +1 stress for each feature: lasts for few minutes instead of moments–invisible rather than shadowy–you float through air like ghost

  • Rook’s Gambit (Slide): 2 stress to roll best action while performing different action

Limited +1d and/or +1 Effect

  • Bodyguard (Cutter): +1d resist roll for protect; +1 effect for gather info to anticipate threats

  • Leader (Cutter): when command cohort in combat, fight when otherwise break at level 3 harm; +1 effect and 1 armor

  • Savage (Cutter): +1d when command frightened target

  • Vigorous (Cutter): +1d to healing treatment rolls; permanently fill one healing clock segment

  • Scout (Hound): +1d to avoid detection in prepared position or camouflage; +1 effect to gather info to discover target location

  • Physicker (Leech): +1d to everyone in crew’s healing treatment rolls; you may tinker with and study the body

  • Ambush (Lurk): +1d when attack from hiding or spring a trap

  • Daredevil (Lurk): +1d to roll in desperate action for -1d to resist consequences

  • Cloak and Dagger (Slide): +1d to confuse or deflect suspicion with disguise or misdirection; when throw off disguise, surprise grants initiative

  • Trust in Me (Slide): +1d vs. target with whom you have an intimate relationship

  • Weaving the Web (Spider): +1d consort when gather info on target for score and +1d to the engagement roll for the score

  • Ghost Mind (Whisper): +1d gather info about supernatural

  • Iron Will (Whisper): +1d when resist with resolve

  • Occultist (Whisper): +1d to command cultists who worship ancient power, forgotten god, or demon after consorting; know secret way to consort with them

+1 Result Level

These are reliability abilities. Unlike +1d, this guarantees success (at least a 4/5 result or 2 ticks of a clock). This is restricted to downtime activities.

  • Alchemist (Leech): +1 result level when invent or craft with alchemical.

  • Artificer (Leech): +1 result level when invent or craft with spark-craft

  • Connected (Spider): +1 result level when acquire an asset or reduce heat

  • Strange Methods (Whisper): +1 result level when invent or craft with arcane feature; you begin with one design known


There are many more potency abilities in Scum and Villainy; here, they’re restricted to supernatural other than Infiltrator.

  • Ghost Fighter (Cutter): potency in combat vs. supernatural; grapple spirits to restrain/capture

  • Ghost Hunter (Hound): pet gains potency when tracking or fighting supernatural, and gains 1 arcane ability: ghost-form, mind-link, or arrow-swift.

  • Infiltrator (Lurk): effect not limited by quality or tier when bypassing security measures

  • Ghost Voice (Slide): potency communicating with supernatural

XP Trigger

  • Vengeful (Hound): get payback against someone who harmed you or someone you care about; if crew helped, they get crew xp


These are ones that don’t fit into the usual categorization. Some of them are stress management related.

  • Survivor (Hound): +1 stress box

  • Expertise (Lurk): choose one action rating and only take 1 stress max for leading group action in that action

  • Foresight (Spider): twice per score, assist teammate without stress

  • Function Vice (Spider): adjust dice up or down 1 or 2 for vice roll; accompanying ally may do the same

Others are downtime related (Functioning Vice could go here, too).

  • Jail Bird (Spider): when incarcerated wanted level is considered 1 lower, tier 1 higher, and gain +1 faction status with faction helped in addition to results of incarceration roll

  • A Little Something on the Side (Slide): +2 stash at end of each downtime

  • Calculating (Spider): +1 downtime activity for self or other crew member

Some are supernatural.

  • Ghost Ward (Leech)*: when wreck with arcane substances choose whether it becomes enticing or anathema to spirits

  • Ghost Contract (Spider): you and partner bear mark of oath and suffer level 3 harm “Cursed” if they break the contract

  • Compel (Whisper): attune to force ghost to appear and obey order

  • Ritual (Whisper): you can study occult ritual (or create new one) to summon supernatural effect or being; you begin with one learned

Some work with game mechanics that don’t involve dice or result levels.

  • Mule (Cutter): load limits light: 5, normal: 7, heavy: 8

  • Tough as Nails (Hound): penalties from harm are one less level severe (but 4 is still fatal)

And some make a scoundrel’s abilities qualitatively better.

  • Saboteur (Leech): when wreck, work is quieter and damage very well hidden from casual inspection

  • Reflexes (Lurk): when question of who acts first, it’s you

  • Like Looking into a Mirror (Slide): always know when someone’s lying to you

  • Mesmerism (Slide): when sway someone, cause them forget it happened until next time they see you

Next downtime…

I’m going to try to do the same for Scum and Villainy, which took a slightly different design philosophy.


Great post! I like how you broke this up. I have been trying to have discussions about this very topic lately and I think this will be a wonderful resource for that.