You will be choosing your skills on a scale of expertise ranging from 1-5. As PC's, you have a skill cap of Rank 5. Don't worry, there will be chances for all of your skills to grow, even beyond five. But for that to happen, I need to see expressive and considerate respect for the scale, which I will detail for you below. Now, I want you to realize that this scale is not a solid thing. It's intangible in the reality of the world you're playing in. It's easy for some guy to say, "Hey, you're pretty good at that," even if your That skill is anywhere between 0 and 3. Nobody will ever say to anyone, "Man, 4 is damned good, but I saw the Sheriff the other day and he's got a 5!" It's relative. The lines between each number is blurred. It's one of those things where you can't tell where the line is until you've crossed it a considerable distance. A 5 doesn't promise you perfection, and a 0 doesn't mean you'll always fail. You don't even have to have a 5 to become renown for what you do. I hope this scale evens things out for you a bit, however.
This is an example section to demonstrate the customization of character skills. Below is a sampling of the different words one might use to describe character abilities. I used the basic attribute of agility for this example.
AGILITY - THE ABILITY TO MOVE WITH SPEED, GRACE, OR DELICACY.
Acrobatics: The character with this skill can perform acrobatic feats such as jumping, tumbling, and balancing. At higher levels, his skill enables the character to evade environmental obstacles or attacks from foes through a great range of agility and speed. Tumbling can also be used to reduce the damage of falling.
Evasion: Similar to Acrobatics, a person with this skill is skilled at evading dangerous situations. A skilled fighter might have focus in dodging strikes, or an explorer might be skilled in leaping away from falling boulders. Other Names: Dodging,
Escape: The character is often able to get loose when restrained by bindings, or grappled by a foe. Or it could simply mean that the character is good at fleeing conflict in a broader sense. Other Names: Contortion, Bond-Slipping, Slippery, Bein’ Greasy.
Manual Dexterity: This skill enables fine-tuned manipulation of small objects with the hands. A person with this skill might be able to flip a coin through their fingers, twirl a knife or gun, repair a brittle glass figurine, juggle multiple objects, or swiftly palm a playing card.
Alternatives to Manual Dexerity:
Sleight-Of-Hand: Palming, hiding, or stealing small objects
Fast Hands: To quick-draw a gun or knife, rapidly reload a firearm, snatch objects from the air, swat a fly, or deflect an arrow.
Nimble Fingers: Manipulate small tools skillfully, tie intricate knots, or even to pinch bleeding arteries.
Ambidexterity: The ability to use both hands with equal skill. One might wield two weapons in each hand, be able to switch hands for the purpose of forging a signature, or any other dexterity-based task with greater versatility.
Lock Picking: This skill allows the opening of locked doors by manipulating the inner workings of locks. One might also use this skill to lock doors, jam or break locks, and at higher levels, open large safes or vault doors. Alternatives: Lock Bumping, Safe Cracking,
Okay, so if you wanted to specify that your character is a fast draw of her gun, you could put down 3-5 ranks in Quick Draw or Fast Hands on her sheet. Quick Draw is specific. She's a fast draw. However, Fast Hands implies that she would, in fact, be a quick draw, but she might also be a talented thief who is able to take objects faster than the eye can register, or she's good at gambling games that involve manual dexterity to deceive. OR you could just put down "Agility - 4" and be really goddamned fantastic at just about everything I just listed.
It just depends on what YOU wish to express with your character.
Feats are, in a way, both less and more than Skills. Feats represent special combat techniques, tricks of the trade, learned habits, or skills with circumstantial differences. A Feat is designed to give a character an edge - they allow a character to perform unusual stunts, or boost a character's normal Skill in certain situations. Feats can be natural, developed, or taught. Some feats are more difficult to learn than others, and may require a certain rank in a kind of skill before being granted. Here are some examples of Feats, in rough order of easiest or most natural, to hardest or more involved:
Rank 1 - Pig Wrangler: Boy howdy, you know how to wrestle yourself a pig. Big pigs, little pigs, fat pigs. You might know farm animals or how to roughhouse with your brothers, but when it comes to subduing a sow by force, you know just how to put'er down.
Rank 2 - Egg Pioneer: You might be a fine cook, but your egg dishes are excellent. You know all kinds of egg-related recipes, and have developed a few yourself.
Rank 3 - Quickchange: You're able to supplement your skill in disguise and imitation with the ability to rapidly change outfits through a combination of strategic layers and distraction.
Rank 3 - Safe, Model Forkes 10b: As a kid, you began your safecracking career by practicing on your father's expensive Forkes 10b home safe-vault, still used today for its effective design. Because of your intimate knowledge of this fairly common but reliable safebox from your childhood, you don't even have to - try- to crack it. It's as if it's never locked for you in the first place.
Rank 3 - Last-Second Draw: When a foe strikes at you with a sword while you are in a relaxed position, you are skilled in using your seemingly defenseless posture to bait your opponent, drawing your sword to deflect his eager strike at the moment just before contact, and retaliating without slowing.
Rank 4 - Ring the Golden Bell: A difficult technique even for martial masters, you're able to strike out with your hands and feet to land a blow on a target out of your body's natural reach. To "Ring the Golden Bell" with a punch from five paces away.
Rank 5 - Marble Lotus Rising: Outnumbered, surrounded, but not hopeless. The Marble Lotus Rising technique, developed by one of the most revered female masters of Jiani Lotus Clan, is a difficult and deadly attack that will completely disable up to five unarmed, close-quarters opponents in the space of a breath.