Traits are descriptors that accompany a Manner and Specialities are descriptors that accompany a Skill. They have three effects on game play.
Firstly, in a Conflict a tie can be broken by the side which has the most applicable Traits/Specialities. This includes Specialities of helpers.
To be applicable it must be relevant to the situation. Such as a Sword Fighting Speciality in a sword fight.
Secondly, whenever both a Trait and a Speciality are applicable in a Conflict simultaneously, you do not add the Manner and Skill together, but instead you use the higher number twice while ignoring the lower one.
Thirdly, they can let Magic break the rules.
When you advance a Manner or Skill associated with a Trait or Speciality you get to mark the Trait or Speciality for advancement.
When all your Traits are marked for advancement, you get a new Trait or get to change an existing one. After doing this erase the advancement markers.
When all your Specialities are marked for advancement, you get a new Speciality or get to change an existing one. Erase the advancement markers.
The group should discuss how the character has been played so far and what we know about them. Together decide on the descriptor and put it against a suitable ability. Traits and Specialities can also be specific to magical abilities from the next section.
Spell Specialities can be used to change the scope of a spell. For example, Transformation (Necromancy) could be used to raise up undead as well as giving the standard Speciality benefits. Enchantment (Mage Armour) could be used to grant someone magical defences.
Magic specific Traits can increase the effect of a spell when it is successfully cast. Whether or not a Trait is applied the Intention comes to pass but when a Trait is used the spell could affect an additional willing or passive target, inflict an additional wound, or otherwise increase the intensity. Such a Trait might be Determination (Intense Spell). Generally Magic specific traits cannot be used in Skill based Conflicts.
If a Manner, Skill or Spell is rated 4 then keep the associated Trait or Speciality advancement box marked.