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.
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.
Table 12: Skills
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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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.