Skill Levels

  • Untrained (TN10)
  • Beginner (TN9)
  • Novice (TN8)
  • Apprentice (TN7)
  • Competent (TN6)
  • Journeyman (TN5)
  • Master (TN4)

Skill Use

Rolling Skills

When a character makes a skill roll, they pick a relevant Attribute and roll that many dice against the TN specified by their skill. Characters who have purchased Grandmaster ranks in a skill keep the TN at 4 but each rank of Grandmaster adds one die to the roll.

Die Pool Modifiers

At the Seneschal’s discretion, die pools may be modified by tool use where a skill allows it (the use of ropes and climbing claws for a Climbing check, lockpicks when attempting to use the Lockpicking skill, and so on). Superior tools add +1 die, while Exceptional tools add +2. Conversely, substandard tools penalize the die pool by -1 die, and inferior (or improvised) tools by -2. Penalties for substandard or inferior tools only apply where tools are required, of course. Additionally, it is often possible to gain extra dice on a skill check by taking extra time - doubling the time taken to perform a skill gains +1 die, while tripling the time adds +2 dice. Note, this only applies in situations where taking extra time to perform a skill would be an advantage, thus it is likely to apply on a Research or Search roll, but is less likely to apply on a Dancing or Orate check. Conversely, having to do a “rush job” on a skill penalizes the die pool – at the Seneschal’s discretion characters can knock one third off the usual time to perform a skill for a penalty of -1 die, or halve it for -2 dice.

Condition Modifier
Exceptional tools +2 dice
Superior tools +1 die
Standard tools -
Substandard tools -1 die
Inferior (or improvised) tools -2 dice
Spend triple the usual time +2 dice
Spend double the usual time +1 die
Spend 2/3rds of the usual time -1 die
Spend half of the usual time -2 dice

How many Successes are Needed?

There are two types of skill checks – simple and contested checks.

Simple Checks

A simple check is any check that is not being contested by another person. The Seneschal determines the difficulty of the check and the character rolls, trying to get at least as many successes as the difficulty. This number is generally in the range 1-5, but on rare occasions, higher numbers may be called for.

Difficulty Number of successes needed
Simple 1
Average/Default 2
Tricky 3
Difficult 4
Hard 5
(Extremely hard) 6+

If the character achieves the required number of successes, then the skill check is successful; otherwise, it has failed. If the character rolls no successes at all, and has one or more 1’s, then the roll is a botch, and the Seneschal should adjudicate accordingly.

Contested Checks

For a contested check, both characters make their individual skill rolls and compare the number of successes both to their own personal difficulty and also to the number of successes the opponent had. It’s necessary both to succeed and also to beat the number of successes of the opponent in order to win. The easiest way to handle it is to subtract the difficulty from the number of successes for each contestant, and then compare the total successes each has left.

If one character has more successes than the other then the victor of the contest is obvious. If both have the same number of successes, then the victor is the “defender” in situations where one skill is being used actively against another (sneak versus spot, for example), or the person with the better natural skill in situations where skills are being used in competition (e.g. two characters trying to out-swim each other). In this case, if the skill rankings are identical then the character with the better governing attribute wins the tie.

Extended Skill Rolls

Both types of skill checks (simple and contested) can be made as Extended checks.

Extended checks are used when a character has the luxury to devote time to a skill, rolling and accumulating successes until he achieves the desired amount. In this case, the Seneschal will specify a total number of required successes and how often checks can be made, and the character rolls, accumulating successes with each roll until he reaches the desired amount or botches a roll. If any roll is botched then the entire check has failed and must be started over from scratch; a failure on any particular roll simply means no progress was made during that period.

Contested Extended skill checks can be made also, perhaps to see which of two characters can successfully perform a task faster.

Crafting Skill Rolls

One common use of Extended skill rolls is when a character is attempting to use a craft skill. The Seneschal will determine the number of successes needed to perform the crafting project, and how long each roll might take. Thus, a tailor might roll Wit/Craft: Clothier every 3 hours while making a pair of trousers, requiring 8 successes to finish.

There is one extra wrinkle to consider when Extended skill rolls are being used for crafting, however – determining the quality of the completed item. Crafting rolls are usually made with the Wit attribute. During the series of skill rolls to complete a crafting project, the character should keep track of the number of successes he achieved on each roll. If every roll had at least one success, then the project has been completed normally. However, if any of the rolls were failures, then the character has created a substandard item (or done a substandard job, in the case of manual labor or similar craft skills). Conversely, if the character rolled at least 3+ successes on each roll, then the item is of superior quality, or exceptional quality if 5+ successes were achieved on every roll.

At any time during the crafting, a character may choose to spend a single drama or relevant SA point to re-roll any single roll, perhaps to avoid a failure or maintain a 3+ or 5+ minimum roll. Drama and/or SA points cannot be spent in the case of a botch however – if a character botches then the entire crafting check has failed and half of the raw materials are used up in the process.

Condition Quality
5+ successes on every roll Exceptional
3+ successes on every roll Superior
1+ successes on every roll Standard
No successes on one or more rolls Substandard
Entire roll failed due to a botch Inferior (or nothing – Seneschal’s call)

While crafting, characters may take more time or use better quality tools and materials to improve their die pools.

Extra Degrees of Success?

As long as a character achieves the required number of successes (based on the difficulty) then the skill or attribute check is successful. However, any extra successes over this required number could be considered “extra gravy” allowing a character to complete the skill in record time, or with an extra degree of proficiency. It is the Seneschal’s decision as to what extra successes might mean, but as a guideline:

Number of extra successes Result
0 (but the result was a success) The check is successful
1-2 The check is successful but with a little extra flair
3-4 The check is exceptionally successful, impressing onlookers
5+ The character has outdone himself and has displayed clear excellence in the skill or task at hand

Skill Specializations

It is also possible for characters to specialize within a skill. Specialization involves picking a particular aspect of a skill and focusing attention on training that aspect. An example might be specializing in “Combination Locks” within the Lock Picking skill, a certain language in the “Secret Languages” skill, knowledge of a particular city or town as a specialization of the “Streetwise” skill, or even using Animal Guise against a specific kind of animal.

Specializations can be purchased at any point during an adventure, but the same skill cannot have more than one specialization purchased for it (or the same specialization improved more than once) within the same session. A specialization costs 2 SA points and grants +1 die to all Skill rolls involving the specialization.

This specialization may be improved to +2 dice for another 2 SA points (total: 4) and again to +3 (the maximum) for a final extra 2 SA points. In other words, the total cost in SA points is double the bonus level of the specialization.

Any specialization that the Seneschal agrees to may be purchased, and as such they may be as broad or as narrow in scope as the Seneschal cares to limit. This can be an occasional cause of contention as some skills are narrower than others by definition, but this should not mean that a single specialization can easily cover most uses of the skill.

As a general guideline, any specialization that can be applied to more than one out of every three (or so) uses of a skill is probably too broad, while any specialization that can only be used every fifth or sixth time a skill is rolled is probably too narrow.

Specializations at Character Creation

At the Seneschal’s option, characters may purchase skill specializations at Character Creation. When the character reaches the step where skills may be improved or purchased according to the character’s MA attribute, each MA point may instead be used to purchase a +1 specialization in a skill rather than improving the skill one level.

Skill Defaults as Specializations

At the Seneschal’s option, some skills could even be used to give specialization-like bonuses to other skills. Where a skill is listed as having a default (e.g. Boating defaulting from Sailing) and where the character is not using the default (because they have actual skill levels in both skills), the Seneschal may award 1-2 bonus dice on a roll where the character is especially skilled in the defaulting skill. Generally, any skill level of Apprentice or better in a highly complimentary skill could award +1 die, while a skill level of Master (or Grandmaster) could award a bonus +2 dice.

Attribute Checks

Attribute checks should be handled just like skill checks. Whenever a default attribute check is required (which shouldn’t be terribly often as there’s usually a skill to handle most situations, but now and then a character will want to do something that calls for pure Strength or pure Health, or whatever), then simply determine the difficulty as outlined above, and have the character roll the attribute against a TN of 6. At the Seneschal’s option, he can roll it as a contest (see the sidebar ‘evening the odds’) or simply require the character to achieve the number of successes specified by the difficulty.

Skill Packages

You get most of your skills from the (generally) two skill packages you pick up in character creation. See the Skill Packages article for listings.

Full List

rules/skills.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/03 23:30 (external edit)
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