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5.  Skills

Skills are abilities and a profession that a character has to learn. This is possible, provided the character has gathered enough experience points (EP), found a suitable teacher and has enough time to learn the skill.

 

When a character learns a skill, the PC receives a certain value. This value is used in checks to see whether the skill succeeds at a certain point in the game.

This value can be seen in the column “Modifier” in the table below. You will find a base value and a modifier that depends on the value of an attribute bonus of the PC (cf. 3. Attributes).

The skill swimming, for instance, has a base value of 50. To that the player has to add his character’s agility bonus (e.g. if agility has a value of 65, the bonus would be +6), so the character would now have a swimming skill of 56.

To improve that skill, the character has to expend 1% of the basic costs in experience points.

To improve the swimming skill, the cost would be 20 EP for each additional point in the skill (2000/100 = 20). For instance if the player is dissatisfied with the value of 56 and wants to raise the character’s swimming skill to 70, the cost would be 280 EP (56 + 14 = 70; 14 * 20 = 280).

 

A skill value cannot exceed 100.

 

The majority of skills work quite easily. If you have achieved the skill, you can perform it.

For instance the character who has learned how to swim can swim. Although there is a qualifier to be added: The skill only applies for the ordinary, expected situation. Most people swim with very little clothes on – if a character tries to swim with all his clothes (including the leather boots) or even a full armor, or tries to swim through rapids; that isn’t covered by the ordinary skill.

In this case the GM may demand a skill check. As before this check is a percentage roll against the skill value. The player must roll a value that is below or equal to the value of the challenged skill.

 

Some skills require a check any time they are employed. These are marked with an asterisk (*) in the table below.

That means the character has mastered the skill, but may fail at using it nonetheless. A PC with the skill tracking can still lose a trail; a priest who has learned healing may not be able to help a wounded.

 

Of course the GM can also introduce modifiers for the rolls, dependant on the conditions the party is in. For instance at night or in rain, tracking is very difficult and the skill value has to be modified down. On the other hand, a bonus modifier should apply in better conditions.

Name of Skill Cost Modifier
(Base Value + Attribute Bonus)

Agriculture

1,000 EP 60 + INT

Anatomy*

7,000 EP 35 + INT

Ancient History

6,500 EP 20 + INT
Ancient Language 8,500 EP 20 + INT
Animal Lore* 5,000 EP 30 + INT
Animal Training* 7,000 EP 25 + CHA
Appraising* 3,000 EP 30 + INT
Armorer 10,000 EP 35 + AGI + STR
Astrology  9,000 EP 30 + INT
Blacksmithing 4,500 EP 45 + STR + CON
Blind-fighting* 3,500 EP 50 + WIL
Bowyer & Fletcher 4,500 EP 45 + AGI
Brewing 2,000 EP 55 + INT
Bureaucracy 4,000 EP 40 + INT
Carpentry 5,500 EP 35 + AGI
Charioteering 2,500 EP 55 + STR
Cobbling  5,000 EP 45 + AGI
Cooking 3,500 EP 50 + INT
Cryptography 9,000 EP 45 + INT
Dancing 2,000 EP 55 + AGI
Engineering 8,500 EP 40 + INT
Etiquette 3,000 EP 60 + CHA
Fire-building* 1,500 EP 55 + AGI
Fishing* 2,000 EP 40 + AGI
Forgery 5,000 EP 30 + INT
Garning* 5,000 EP 25 + AGI
Gem Cutting 9,000 EP 45 + AGI
Healing* 9,500 EP 50 + INT
Heraldry 2,500 EP 55 + INT
Herbalism* 8,500 EP 50 + INT
Hunting* 4,500 EP 35 + INT
Juggling 7,000 EP 60 + AGI
Language 6,500 EP 35 + INT
Law 8,000 EP 50 + INT
Leather working 6,000 EP 45 + AGI
Local History 4,500 EP 35 + INT
Mining 8,500 EP 50 + INT
Modern language 6,000 EP 50 + INT
Mountaineering 5,000 EP 50 + CON
Musical Instrument 4,500 EP 50 + INT
Navigation 7,500 EP 50 + INT
Necrology 10,000 EP 35 + INT
Netherworld Knowledge 10,000 EP 35 + INT
Orienteering 3,500 EP 50 + WIL
Painting 3,500 EP 45 + AGI
Poetry 4,000 EP 45 + CHA
Pottery 4,000 EP 40 + AGI
Reading & Writing 4,500 EP 60 + INT
Reading Lips* 9,500 EP 30 + INT
Religion 5,000 EP 50 + INT
Riding, Land 2,500 EP 60 + AGI
Rope Use 3,000 EP 45 + AGI
Sculpting 5,000 EP 40 + AGI
Seamanship 3,500 EP 50 + INT
Sign Language 7,500 EP 45 + INT
Singing 4,500 EP 45 + CHA
Soothsaying* 6,000 EP 25 + WIL
Spellcraft* 9,000 EP 30 + INT
Stonemasonry 5,500 EP 45 + AGI
Survival* 6,500 EP 50 + INT
Swimming 2,000 EP 50 + AGI
Tailoring 4,500 EP 50 + AGI
Tracking* 4,500 EP 40 + INT
Ventriloquism* 9,500 EP 35 + CHA
Veterinary Healing* 9,500 EP 50 + INT
Weaponsmithing 9,000 EP 45 + AGI
Weaving 5,000 EP 50 + INT

Table 12: Skills

Anatomy:

The character has learned about the anatomy of the sapient races of Gushémal. With a successful skill check he can determine the cause of death of a corpse.

Since he also has in-depth knowledge of bodies, he receives a bonus of +10 for an attack at a specific body part. (For instance, if he tries to pierce an opponent’s heart with a dagger, he knows exactly where to strike so the blade slips right through the ribs.)

 

Animal Training:

This skill permits the character to teach an animal a few tricks. Each trick requires the character to work two weeks with the animal. Afterwards a check against his skill value is necessary to discover whether the animal has learned the trick.

 

Appraising:

The character can evaluate the value of jewelry. The skill check is not done by the player but by the GM (rolled secretly), whereafter the GM informs the player what his character’s guess is.

 

Hunting:

A successful hunting check means that the character has gotten close enough to his quarry to kill it. Now he can attack his prey. (The combat rules apply from this point onward.)

 

Language:

This skill identifies the languages which the character speaks (or has knowledge of) – which means that he needs to buy a new language skill for every new language he wishes to learn.

Of course, every character speaks at least one language, his native tongue. So he doesn’t have to buy this one; he receives a natural value of 75+INT on this skill. (In most cases that would be Gushémal Meantongue.)

Below the level of 50, the character understands bits and pieces. He doesn’t yet know enough to put it to daily use.

That becomes possible above 50, when the character has learned enough to handle the language (more or less) fluently. Above 75, his grasp of the language becomes more and more equal to that of a native speaker.

 

GM Tips

There might come a time when one of your characters wants to pass himself off as a native. This is only possible at a value above 75, and then you should roll a check against this skill every time the character joins a conversation. (Put in some leeway; if the character closely fails the check, the NPCs don’t react badly – but they do become suspicious.)

 

Necrology:

Those schooled in this skill know about the various kinds of undeads of Gushémal, can recognize them and have learned how to damage or destroy them.

 

Netherworld Knowledge:

The character has studied about the netherworld and the eternal abysses, mostly through myths and sagas, but also through actual reports about the demons living there. (That knowledge is not at all times reliable, the netherworld changes every now and then – not just that new powers come to the front, but also the physical layout of the place is mutable.)

 

Soothsaying:

The character believes in prophecies as a fact of life. If he learns of a prophecy, he will try his best to either heed it, or avoid it if possible. He has learned various ways to predict the future, such as reading the cards, throwing bones, palmreading, animal guts – all the familiar, classical methods.

It’s important to note that none of these methods actually works. The character is convinced that they do, though.

 

GM Tips

(1)   If none of the prophecies ever holds true, the character’s belief in soothsaying becomes rather questionable. And you’re throwing away a valuable tool in your adventure!

Most of the time when the player tries to peer into the future, the prophecies you reveal to him are false – whatever just hits your mind. But every now and then, you throw in an element that really will happen. You ought to know, as the GM you’ve planned the adventure after all.

If you time it right, that element may just slip away unnoticed – until that very moment comes to pass, and everybody remembers the true vision. You gave the party a chance to actually see the future, and – well, did they use it? (Maybe they did – this is the Player’s Handbook, after all!)

(2)   A character could try to use soothsaying in an adventure to work over a NPC. (Perhaps she wants to tell the lord of a castle to head out with his entire army, or something like that.) In that case, she will fake the prediction. Use a check against her soothsaying skill to see whether this succeeds. (In game terms, you’re checking whether the character knows enough about the process to fake it believably.)

 

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