Higher Level Specializations

One possible fault (though a small one) with the Silhouette system is that there is a very small degree of improvement between skill levels. A veteran with a rank 3 in a skill is not really much different than a mere qualified with a level 2. For this reason the optional rule of higher level specializations is offered.

  • A character with a level 1 or 2 in a skill may take specializations as normal.
  • A character with a level 3 or 4 in a skill may take a concentration in a specialization they already have for 5 points. A concentration is essentially a 'sub-specialization', an even narrower aspect of expertise than the general specialization.
  • A character with a level 5 in a skill may a focus on a concentration for 5 points. A focus is a very narrow mastery of a single element of a concentration.

Game Effects

  • A specialization gives a +1 to any roll under its domain.
  • A concentration gives and additional +1 to any roll that is under both it and the general specialization's domain.
  • A focus gives a final +1 to any roll under its, its concentrations, and its general specialization's domain.
So a character rolling under their focused, concentrated, specialization is at +3 to their roll. If, however, they are rolling under their concentrated specialization, but not their focus, they are only at +2, and so on.

A focus or a concentration can only be used under the specialization they were bought with.


Zorro, the greatest master of the blade in history (cinematic history that is), has a melee skill of 5. Not only that, he is also specialized in Swords, Concentrated in Fencing Blades, and Focused in Impressive Maneuvers.

When Zorro tries to carve a 'Z' into one of his opponents using his Rapier he gets to use all his knowledge, as he is using a sword, a fencing blade, and doing an impressive maneuver. He gets a +3 to his roll for this maneuver.

If, however, Zorro was trying to do the same maneuver with an axe he would get no bonus from his specialization. Even though it still is an impressive maneuver it is not an impressive maneuver with a fencing blade, and so his foci does not apply.

To simply stab an opponent in the chest with his rapier Zorro gets a +2; +1 for his specialization, and +1 for his concentration. It is not, however, an impressive maneuver, and so his focus does not apply.

Examples of Concentrations and Foci

Specializations: Sword, Spear, Dagger, Axe.
Concentrations of Sword: Long Sword, Short Sword, Fencing Blades, Two handed.
Foci of Long Sword: Thrusting, Slashing, Parrying.

Hand to Hand
Specializations: Striking, Grappling, Tripping, Throwing.
Concentrations of Striking: Kicking, Punching, Elbows, Knees.
Foci of Kicking: Jump Kicks, Spin Kicks, Joint Kicks, Quick Kicks.

Specializations: Time Period, Genre, Criticism, Writing.
Concentrations of Time Period: Specific Author, Historicism, Politics of Literary Period.
Foci of Specific Author: Author's life, Specific work.

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