Special abilities were added to the game on 12 April 2015, as described in this blog post. They boost your abilities in one area of combat, at the expense of another area.
To learn an ability you need to meditate by a statue of a hero. There is usually some requirement to be able to learn the ability.
The statue can be found southeast of the junction of Short Street, Heroes Street and God Street.
Sampson Ronius (also known as) The Bodyguard
Sampson requires sufficient health (hp) and the sacrifice of a shield (large metal worked, small and medium did not). The ability is to deflect damage and spend less energy when defending someone else. Only warriors can learn this ability.
The statue can be found on the southeastern end of Hypothetical Road, at the junction.
Yo-lo (also known as) Beyond Insane
"You can feel the voice of Yo-lo whispering secrets into your mind. Knowing these lessons, you will henceforth completely ignore defence to attack all out."
Seems to let you use all AP (or not need any AP?) for melee, practically guaranteeing you can get your melee hits in against many opponents... however you will not even try to use any melee defence. You will not dodge, parry, or block. You will not somehow avoid. Every incoming hit will hit you/your shields/your armour. Fresh shields, and/or very heavy armour is recommended.
Being shoved/tripped etc. still seems to prevent you attacking until you recover.
Endorphin's Floating Friend will still block incoming hits as normal, but the instant EFF drops, everything will hit you at once.
Anyone can learn this ability, but it requires a minimum health value of around 3000 (2700 HP wasn't enough, 3000+ was). You can bypass this if you get enough stat boosts to push your HP up (it only cares about your current HP itself, not your levels in ad.health).
The statue can be found in the Sto Lat cemetery at the western edge.
Cas'leb the Merciless (also known as) The Dirty Fighter
Requires 250 levels of fighting.unarmed.striking. The ability is to use knee attacks when fighting unarmed.
The statue can be found at the junction of Genua Avenue and Dauphin Street.
Callus Tacticus (also known as) The Focuser
A sword needs to be sacrificed to the statue before you can acquire any skills. If the sword is regarded as too cheap the sacrifice will be rejected (e.g. a duan jian worth &&&&&&&&&&+18999 is too cheap, a colichemarde (from Rene's shop on Okra Avenue) worth &&&&&&&&&&+19998 is accepted). The ability is to be more effective when trying to hit a specific part of your opponent.
Requires 150 levels of perception skill (ad.pe).
The statue can be found in the front room of the Harbourmaster's office.
Herness Emngwey (also known as) The Pacifist
Requires a minimum guild level of 200. The ability is to defend yourself better at the expense of not attacking, i.e. it disables baseround attacks and gives you some unknown defense boost. You can still use 'special' attacks, such as stab, pierce, impale etc.
After testing, the "defense boost" seems to be letting you use all your AP for defending and no actual damage reduction or added bonus.
special abilities Discworld player help special abilities * Name * Special abilities - combat bonuses in your chosen speciality * Description * To encourage diversity in playing styles, there are a number of "special abilities". These are talents which make you better at certain areas of combat. All special abilities are passive and do not require the use of commands. There are many aspects of combat which have an associated special ability, for instance: defending other players, fighting unarmed or using particular tactics settings. The catch, however, is that you can only have one special ability. Once chosen, you can easily swap your ability for another. Your current special ability is shown in your (verbose) score. * Learning special abilities * At various places on Discworld, statues of ancient heroes have been placed, along with a plaque describing what special ability they were renowned for. To learn a special ability, you can meditate at the corresponding statue. By meditating at the same statue again, you will forget the ability. Alternatively, if you have a special ability and meditate at a different statue, you will forget the first and learn the new one in its place. Not all abilities can be learned by everyone: some abilities are limited to certain guilds, or require specific skills, quests or achievements before they can be learned.