Character Skills

The scope of knowledge and skill described by character Trades is broader and more general. The more specific and specialized areas of knowledge, expertise and/or deftness of hand or limb a character can have are called “skills”.

A skill is a much more limited and specific process or field/area of expertise in which a character may have a measurable, meaningful degree of knowledge, training, and experience, to the point where that knowledge and training are considered sufficient to increase the incidence of success he enjoys when he engages in that specific activity, or in determining whether those characters so skilled have various sorts of information pertaining to it or any of their peers/colleagues.

As attributes measure your character’s basic physical and mental and spiritual capabilities, so skills define your character’s knowledge and training. In game terms, character skills are divided into two groups, “Trade Skills” and “Life Skills”.

Each character can start with no more than Awareness (AWA) total in Trade(s) and Life Skills.

Trade Skills

Trade Skills

As stated above, Trades define the outer boundaries of a character’s expertise in a given field, limiting the scope of knowledge included in the practices of those who follow particular occupations, provided in the description of each.

Those skills designed to work hand-in-hand with the Trades, distinguished on their own from the general “body of knowledge” of a Trade itself and used also to indicate trade limitations, are called “Trade Skills”.

Trade Skills are the primary means by which each Trade is defined. The bulk of each character’s skills come from this class.

Trade Skills are used to define the outer boundaries of your character’s knowledge, limiting the scope of knowledge in the practices of each trade, according to the needs of the members of that trade or craft in the medieval period of the game (according to its desription) and also, to a lesser extent, the concepts and practices common to and familiar within the medieval Tabletop Fantasy RPG hobby. They fulfill much the same function for Trades that the Trades themselves do in defining your character’s place in game world society. As attributes measure your character’s basic physical and mental and spiritual capabilities, so Trades and skills define his knowledge and training.

The bulk of the skills in the game belong to this group.

Under the heading “Trade Skill Rosters”, as follows, the roster of Trade Skills accompanying each Trade is provided. The skills appearing on each Trade’s Roster comprise a complete listing of all the specific skills used to define its scope of practice. Each Roster defines the knowledge commonly available to all who pursue that trade, representing the common ground shared between them.

Quick Method

A Quick Method character is automatically equipped with all the skills listed on the roster in his Trade(s) description(s). 

Custom Method

A Custom Method character is automatically equipped with all the Trade Skills listed on the roster(s) in his Trade(s) description(s).

Bundles

Weapons, Languages, Social Graces, and Connoisseur skills are considered to be “bundled” together so that each such group of related skills effectively fill only one (1) of the character’s AWA-slots. The player wanting more of such skills can devote additional skill-slots to add more to the character’s repertoire.

Certain of the Life Skills are also compiled or “bundled” (B), more due to the perspective of years and/or the fact that they were all learned at the same time, such as Grammar School skills, Finishing School skills, Domestic skills, or the like.

The player is allowed only (AWA ÷ 4) of any of these sorts of bundles.

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Life Skills

In addition to the Trade Skills, each character each may be equipped with a number of other skills also available to be learned simply from the lessons of everyday events and activities engaged in while growing up and living life in the medieval fantasy game world. These are called “Life Skills”.

As a part of Character Generation, Life Skills serve to define the character’s early life in a little more detail, but they can also reflect the more mundane activities sought or pursued while in the course of seeking and/or training for various character Trades. Some of them appear on certain Trade rosters, falling within the scope of their practice and thus taught by them to all apprentices. Life Skills represent an opportunity for the player to fill in gaps that may be seen in the character’s Trade(s) and Trade Skills that might become inconvenient should certain circumstances arise in the course of adventuring and, at worst, possibly even deadly. They help to round-out a character’s portfolio of skills and make of him more of a “real person”, so to speak, for the purposes of roleplay.

Life Skills serve to define your character’s early life in more detail. They are learned from the lessons of everyday events and activities while simply growing up and living his life in the medieval game world. They can also reflect the more mundane activities pursued by or taught to your character in the course of seeking and/or training for his various Trades (as applicable). In game terms, they represent an opportunity for you as a player to fill in gaps that you may see in your character’s Trade Skills that could become inconvenient should certain circumstances arise over the course of his adventures and, at worst, could even become deadly. Life Skills can also help to round-out your character’s portfolio of skills and make of him more of a “whole person” or “real person”, so to speak, for the purposes of roleplay. They generally aren’t as “sexy” or vital in the course of your character’s adventures, but they often provide gateways to roleplay and, like the Swimmer skill, may just be crucial in some adventure scenarios.

Life Skills are divided into four families in a similar manner to the Trades, according to their basic natures: Athletic Skills, Domestic Skills, Scholastic Skills, and Spiritual Skills. Like the Trades, again, Life Skills are further divided by Social Class: Noble, Common, and Landbound. Your character’s opportunities to learn Life Skills is directly influenced by the class of society in which he was raised.

Some of the Life Skills appear on certain Trade Skill Rosters. This emphasizes their importance to those Trades. Unless it is a Bundle, marked “(B)”, it allows a character to have the Life Skill so noted without filling the AWA-slot it would otherwise.

A character may have no more than one (1) Life Skill Bundle per category, thus a maximum of four (4).

Quick Method

Life Skills may ONLY be chosen from the character’s native social class (Noble, Common, or Landbound).

A character is automatically equipped with ALL the sub-skills that make up any Bundle with which he is equipped.

Custom Method

A character’s Life Skills, including those Bundles NOT derived from a Trade roster, must be purchased with the DP’s remaining after equipping Trades. 

Life Skill Bundles are paid for in the same as individual Life Skills.

  • The cost of any Life Skill (or Bundle) that lies within the character’s Social Class by birth according to the roster by Social Class is one (1) DP. 
  • The cost of any Life Skill that lies one (1) step away from the character’s own by birth according to the roster by Social Class is three (3) DP’s, e.g., for a Commoner to take either a Noble or Landbound Life Skill, or a Noble or Landbound born character to take a Commoner’s Life Skill.
  • The cost of any Life Skill Bundle (B) that lies one (1) step away from the character’s own by birth according to the roster by Social Class is five (5) DP’s,
  • The cost of any Life Skill that lies two (2) steps away from the character’s own by birth according to the roster by Social Class is six (6) DP’s, e.g., for a Noble born character to take a Landbound Life Skill, or vice-versa.
  • The cost of any Life Skill Bundle (B) that lies one (2) steps away from a character’s own by birth according to the roster by Social Class is fifteen (15) DP’s,

Each character is automatically equipped with ALL the sub-skills that make up any Bundle with which he is equipped.

Noble - Athletic SkillsCommon & Landbound - Athletic SkillsDomestic SkillsNoble - Scholastic SkillsCommon - Scholastic SkillsLandbound - Scholastic SkillsSpiritual Skills
  • Acrobat
  • Athlete (B)
  • Boatman
  • Brawler/Wrestler (O)
  • Climber (O)
  • Drover/Charioteer
  • Horseman
  • Swimmer
  • Weapons †

  • Acrobat
  • Athlete (B)
  • Boatman
  • Brawler/Wrestler (O)
  • Climber (O)
  • Drover/Charioteer
  • Farmer/Gardener
  • Guide
  • Husbandman
  • Street Survival (T)
  • Swimmer
  • Weapons †

  • Cook/Chef
  • Cottage Crafts (R, B)
  • Homely Arts (B)
  • Forager

  • Accountant-Clerk (B)
  • Finishing School (B)
  • Grammar School (B)
  • Household Manager (B)
  • Leechcraft
  • Linguist (P) †
  • Literatus
  • Mathematics
  • Musician †
  • Scrivener
  • Secretary-Clerk (B)
  • Social Graces, Domestic
  • Social Graces, Foreign †

  • Accountant-Clerk (B)
  • Grammar School (B)
  • Household Manager (B)
  • Leechcraft
  • Linguist (P) †
  • Literatus
  • Mathematics
  • Musician †
  • Scrivener
  • Secretary-Clerk (B)

  • Leechcraft
  • Musician †

  • Clairaudience/Spirit Speak
  • Clairvoyance/Scrying
  • Divination/Finding
  • Prescience
  • Psychometry
  • Second Sight
  • Spirit Sight
  • Spirit Senses (B)

 
For Life Skills, no barriers stand in the un-trained character’s way from learning new ones, should you desire to expand his personal horizons and add them to his portfolio later on.

Some of the Life Skills are gathered and made available by type as named bundles (Athletics, Homely Arts, Grammar School, etc). Some of the bundles are extremely useful for providing added dimensions to those characters starting play with only one or two Trades, making them much more versatile and rewarding to play.

Although they are not limited by trade, some Life Skills are associated with certain of the trades, appearing on their Trade Skill Rosters. These associations provide bonuses to the level of skill the character has achieved in them, with which he begins play (see “Skill Levels”, as follows).

Where Trade Skills derived from the practices of a given trade are considered the most exclusive class or family of skills, knowledge or expertise in the game – considered “trade secrets” throughout the game world – Life Skills are much more accessible. With Life Skills, no barriers stand in the way of the un-trained character’s learning new ones, should you desire to expand his personal horizons and add them to his portfolio, unlike those that commonly protect Trade Skills – especially those belonging to trades represented by a guild of some sort. Life Skills are considered so basic and universally useful that the people of the medieval game world are much more relaxed about passing such knowledge on. Indeed, in many cases, their lack in some cases are likely to be a matter of note.

Composition of Life Skill Bundles

AthleteFinishing School – WomenFinishing School – MenGrammar SchoolAccountant-ClerkHousehold ManagerHomely ArtsChef-SpecialistSecretary-ClerkCottage Textiles
  • Acrobat
  • Brawler/Wrestler
  • Climber (O)
  • Drover/Charioteer
  • Horseman
  • Swimmer
  • Weapons † 14)

  • Dancer
  • Literatus
  • Mathematics
  • Scrivener
  • Homely Arts (B)
  • Household Manager (B)

Linguist

  • Foreign †
  • Scholar’s Tongue
  • Philosopher’s Tongue

Lore Specialties:

  • Poetry & popular Literature
  • Classical Mythology
  • Ancient & National History
  • Philosophy & Theology
  • Trivium/Quadrivium

Musician

  • Vocalist †††

Presence (O):

  • Orator
  • Player
  • Silver Tongue

Social Graces

  • Domestic

  •  Artisan-Drawing †††
  • Dancer
  • Literatus
  • Mathematics
  • Scrivener
  • Horseman
  • Bow (any)
  • Buckler
  • Sword (any)
  • Swimmer
  • Brawler/Wrestler (O)

Linguist

  • Foreign †
  • Scholar’s Tongue
  • Philosopher’s Tongue

Lore Specialties:

  • Poetry & popular Literature
  • Classical Mythology
  • Ancient & National History
  • Philosophy & Theology
  • Trivium/Quadrivium

Musician

  • Vocalist †††

Presence (O)

  • Orator
  • Player
  • Silver Tongue

Social Graces

  • Domestic

  • Literatus
  • Mathematics
  • Scrivener

Linguist

  • Foreign †
  • Scholar’s Tongue

Lore Specialties:

  • Poetry & popular Literature
  • Classical Mythology
  • Ancient & National History
  • Philosophy & Theology
  • Trivium/Quadrivium

Presence (O)

  • Orator
  • Player
  • Silver Tongue

  • Literatus
  • Scrivener
  • Mathematics

Linguist

  • Scholar’s Tongue

  • Literatus
  • Scrivener
  • Mathematics

Lore Specialties

  • Domestic Staff & Duties

  • Cook/Chef
  • Cottage Textiles (B)
  • Sew/Mend
  • Household Cleaning
  • Textiles Care
  • Laundry/Stain Removal
  • Chandler
  • Leechcraft

  • Waferer
  • Confectioner
  • Saucer
  • Baker
  • Brewer
  • Vintner

  • Literatus
  • Scrivener

Linguist

  • Scholar’s Tongue

  • Card
  • Spin
  • Weave
  • Crochet/Knit
  • Dye
  • Embroider
  • (Needle or Bobbin Lace)

(T) indicates the item may only be given to characters from a Town background.* indicates the skill is mandatory for the Trade under which it is listed.

(R) indicates the item may only be given to characters from a Rural background.

(O) indicates the skill so marked is an “Open Skill”. These have a special status, as described under the heading of the same name.

(P) on the Trade Skill Rosters, indicates the entry so marked is a Petty Skill.

(B) on the Petty Skill rosters, indicates the entry is a set of Bundled skills.

† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed.

† 1) Fiana Weapon skills are to include one (1) Ranged, Missile weapon, either the Long Bow or Sling, one (1) Weapon, Mêlée, Axe (any), a Spear (any), and a Weapon, Mêlée, Thrusting Blade such as a Short Sword/Gladius and/or a Knife. If the character does have sufficient AWA to take this many weapon skills, the player are limited to choosing from among these only.

† 2) Huntsman Weapon skills are to include one (1) Ranged, Missile weapon, either the Long Bow or Sling and two (2) Blades, one of which must be for Thrusting

† 3) Woodsmen’s Weapon skills are to include a Spear and an Axe (any, and one (1) Small Mêlée weapon of the player’s choice.

† 4) Guides’ Weapon skills are to include one (1) Ranged, Missile weapon (either the Long Bow or Sling), a Quarterstaff and 1 Small Mêlée weapon of the player’s choice.

† 5) The character’s trade knowledge are limited to horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and such other similar and equivalent sorts of domestic beasts the GM deems appropriate, BUT each such type of beasts taken will fill an AWA-slot of its own.

† 6) The character’s trade knowledge are limited to the beasts of the hunt, player’s choice of either Horse, Hawk, or Hound, BUT each such type of beasts taken will fill an AWA-slot of its own.

† 7) The character’s trade knowledge are limited to the care and raising (and training in the case of Beastmasters) of a particular type of beast – or more if the player so desires, BUT each such type of beasts taken will fill an AWA-slot of its own. The types of beasts from which the player may choose may be limited depending on the manner in which the trade is taken, especially if it is an Allied Trade derived from another.

† 8) The sorts of beasts to which this are limited as an Allied Trade are those to be used as a part of the Mountebank’s stage illusions, and may be trained further by the use of the Beastmaster trade as an auxiliary to the Husbandman to do further tricks to amuse the audiences. What is intended for the character should be discussed with the GM. If the PC has in mind more impressive feats such as making a lion disappear, or the like, such a thing would take special preparations and sufficient knowledge to safely keep the beast and maintain it in good health.

† 9) Rogue weapon skills are to include two (2) Close Mêlée skills of the player’s choice, and it is suggested that one of these be a Hurled skill (player’s discretion).

† 10) The Mêlée Weapon skills of the Warrior, Sergeant or Champion are NOT to include any Combination Blades or heavy Lance and should include at least one (1) Close Mêlée weapon, and one (1) Weapon, Missile/Ranged (any) or at least some skill with a Hurled Weapon (player’s discretion).

† 11) The Squire Weapon skills are to include the Quarterstaff and Guisarme from among the Weapons, Mêlée, Polearms, and any Weapons, Mêlée, Blades skills may NOT include any Combination Blades, and should include at least one (1) Weapon, Missile/Ranged (any) or at least some skill with a Hurled Weapon (player’s discretion).

12) The Knight (any) Weapon skills may include Weapons, Mêlée (any), BUT no less than one (1) from among the Weapons, Mêlée, Combination Blades and Weapon as well as the Mêlée, Heavy Lance are required, and from among the Weapon, Missile/Ranged crossbows are forbidden, unless the Knight is an outcast considered to have no honor.

† 13) Taken as an Allied Trade of Witchcraft, the Husbandman trade will NOT have the option of branching out into the Allied Trade of Beastmastery.

† 14) for those of High birth (nobles), the choice of weapons here are unrestricted, while those of Common or Low birth are restricted to Bow (any); Dagger/Dirk/Knife; Woodsman’s Axe; Hatchet; Farm Tool; Quarter Staff; Sling; Hurled and/or Off-Hand (any of the previous, as appropriate).

In general, Farm Tools will include (but are not necessarily limited to) spades, mattocks, hoes, pitchforks, and any similar farm implements which in the period were adapted to create the polearm class of weapons, and will also include those tools related to common trades and skills, such as the stevedore’s baling hook, or the Cook’s or Chef’s knives (GM’s discretion), according to the character’s background.

†† 1) to include up to (AWA ÷ 4) specialties, BUT “jewels & plate” is required to be included, and cultural subjects such as painters and paintings, sculptors and their works, music and composers, and the like are to be preferred (GM’s discretion), as well as fashion and fine food, delicacies, and drink.

†† 2) may include up to (AWA ÷ 4) specialties, BUT “Charters, Writs & Official Letters of the Chancery & the Wardrobe” is required to be included, and the balance should be focused on rubrication and illumination of manuscripts, charters and other official documents (GM’s discretion).

††† indicate the skill so marked requires that those characters being crafted by the Custom method will require a Talent be purchased for it

** 1) Quarterstaff &/or Dagger/Knife

** 2) indicates the characters knowledge of Mathematics and accounting includes standard weights and measures of the marketplace, carven stock and tally receipts, counting change and figuring profit margins on a per-item basis from bulk acquisitions, double entry accounting, but also logistics in time of war (determining amounts needed according to troop strengths and determine means and routes for shipping, and estimating time required).

** 3) indicates the character will derive no more than two (2) combat-worthy weapon skills from this opportunity, but they are entirely up to the player’s choosing.

** 4) indicates the characters knowledge of Mathematics and accounting will include standard weights and measures of the marketplace, carven stock and tally receipts, counting change and figuring profit margins on a per-item basis from bulk acquisitions.

** 5) indicates the character will derive no more than two (2) combat-worthy weapon skills from this opportunity, of which one (1) must be a sword skill (cutting, piercing, or combination, player’s discretion) for enacting noble characters, the other being something a rustic would employ, such as a quarter staff

The Spirit Senses consist of:

Second Sight

Clairaudience/Speak with Spirit

Clairvoyance/Scrying

Divination/Finding

Prescience

Psychometry

Spirit Sight

In the case of the Druid trades, Prescience consists of the ancient practices of:

imbas forosna

teinm láeda

díchetal di cennaib

◊ 1) up to (MGA) skills in number of this type or category

◊ 2) up to (MGA x 0.5) skills in number of this type or category

◊ 3) up to (MGA x 0.75) skills in number of this type or category

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  • Each Life Skill (Swimmer, Horseman, Cook, etc.) with which a character is equipped fills an AWA-slot of its own.
  • The Life Skills marked “(B)” (Athlete, Homely Arts, Cottage Crafts, Grammar School or Finishing School, etc.) are actually bundles.
  • Each Life Skill bundle fills one (1) of the character’s AWA-slots.
  • You must choose what skills comprise any Life Skill bundle with which your character is equipped from among the skills listed for it, with a maximum number equal to (AWA ÷ 4).
  • IF you equip your character with a bundle associated with his trade(s), you may add a bonus to the number of skills that comprise that bundle based on its TR. 
  • Skills taken as part of a Life Skill bundle do NOT fill any additional AWA-slots.
  • A character may be equipped with only one (1) Life Skill bundle.
You are always encouraged to leave a few AWA-slots open, "room to grow", in order to further develop your character in play.

Although a given Allied Trade or Trade Skill might appear on the Rosters available to a particular character more than one time, in most cases this is because the skill or trade may be taken via different routes, as a part of a number of different trades.

The player may find that certain skills are repeated between Life Skill bundles and Trade Skill rosters. When a character is equipped with any particular Trade or skill more than once, it indicates that further attention was spent developing it under more varied circumstances and applications. 

  • In these cases, the SL’s for the different categories under which it is taken, according to the rules and awards for starting SL’s (to follow) are all added together, providing the character with a strong advantage at the start of play due to the character’s concentration on itThis applies to awards of opportunities for various trade requirements for Open Skills, skills such as specific Lore Specialties, Weapons that are duplicated exactly in type, specific Foreign Languages, specific Connoisseur specialties, and similar opportunities where the character is allowed a number of varieties of the same skill.

In the cases of Barbers, Surgeons, Midwives, and Leechcraft, like the Husbandman and Beastmaster and a number of other Trades, the knowledge of each Trade is considered narrow enough in focus that no lesser, formal Trade Skills are needed to describe it, although there are commonly a number of ways or abilities through which the knowledge of the trade is expressed. The Barber, Surgeon, Midwife, or Leech may use his knowledge in staunching wounds, cleaning wounds, closing wounds, setting bones, putting back dislocated joints, Herb Lore for Midwives and Leeches, and cutting hair and pulling teeth for Barbers and even Surgeons, and ALL are measured and governed by the Trade Rank equally.

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The Skills of Magick

The members of the trades that practice magick – members of ALL the Druid trades, every Witch and Wizard, Hedge-Wizard, Hearth-Witch, and CunningMan or WiseWoman – has an advantage in regards to the use of AWA-slots in that their trade requires them to cultivate a special memory keyed to certain mnemonics and a meditative state of mind that actually enables them to contain more knowledge and lore than is possible by more mundane means.

  • This special trade memory enables the character to make one (1) AWA skill-slot hold up to [(MGA + trade SL)÷ 4] specific dweomer skills or Charms of the Common Sphere.
  • The entire suite of Spirit Senses (Second Sight, Clairaudience/Speak with Spirit, Clairvoyance/Scrying, Divination/Finding, Prescience, Psychometry and Spirit Sight) are considered so closely intertwined and related by nature that they are bundled together, filling only one (1) AWA skill-slotWhile they are also available to all other character’s freely as any Open Skill, they are ONLY considered to be bundled after the manner of Petty Skill bundles for those characters that are members of some sort of magick-wielding trade (any Druid practitioner, Witch, and Wizard, Hedge-Wizard, Hearth-Witch, and CunningMan or WiseWoman), those that have been formally trained in one of the several traditions of magick.
  • The skills for the basic Forms of Low, Common, and High Magic are bundled together, filling only one (1) AWA skill-slot.
  • Each of the skills representing the character’s general accumulated knowledge and background in each of the Ars Quintates (Divination, Sorcery, Enchantment, Glamourie, and Naming) requires an AWA skill-slot of its own.

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Despite the fact that Wizards, Witches, and other practitioners embody one of the major attractions of fantasy roleplaying games (magick), it is highly recommended that players new to RoM (and especially those new to roleplaying games in general) wait until they have played the game for awhile and had a chance to become familiar with both the system and the flow of play before creating such a character. This is primarily to save the player from getting bogged down in a whole lot of extra reading and additional record-keeping, and having to get familiar with all the special rules governing magick use while he is still trying to get a handle on the basic rules for situations like skill use and task resolution in situations like combat, which affect more characters much more regularly. The background and rules for the magick trades and the use of magick are about as long as that required to define all the other trades and skills combined. The Grimoire is devoted to its use and, before he can play a practitioner of magick successfully, the player must get acquainted with it and the great array of skills in it specific to the trade. Magick-wielding characters in RoM can be rather an ambitious undertaking for the most part, unless the player has solid exposure to the game already, or has experience with magick in other, similarly detailed fantasy roleplaying games and understands the extra work and reading involved in its use.

It is IMMENSELY exciting and satisfying to pursue, however!

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For characters who are practitioners of magick, the descriptions of the specific magickal or dweomerskills or Charms that define the magick they cast can be found in Appendix E.

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Weapon Skills

Weapon skills are available to ANY and ALL characters, regardless of class and station, and are not at all dependent on a character’s trade.

Finishing School may allow a character to account for his weapon skills among the items in its bundle, and a few weapon skills may also be bundled in the Petty Skill Athlete bundle, and Cook allows a couple Knife skills. Otherwise, unless the character’s trade specifically offers weapons skills, the characters weapon skill(s) may have to be taken outside of a bundle, each filling an individual AWA-slot.

The Warrior trades are provided for those players who want their characters to really immerse themselves in that lifestyle and make the arts of war the focus of their characters’ efforts and activities.

HOWEVER, (historically) every man in the realm in the period of the game from the ages of 16 to 60 was required to be able to aid in the defense of his shire and, later, of the realm when called to duty by his king, according to his financial means (as expressed in the Assize of Arms table provided in Step 8. of Character Generation, Appendix G.), there were schools scattered across the realms catering to the instruction of the common folk in the skills of battle. There might be such a school in almost every shire, and the constable of every hundred in every shire is responsible for making sure that a) each man had the weapons and armor required by the Assize, inspected twice a year to make sure they were properly maintained, and b), that every man knew what to do with his weapon – at least the rudiments – in monthly reviews and cursory training (weather permitting). Naturally, all such schools were NOT created equal.

The schools teaching weapon and combat skills were NOT (historically) run solely by and for the benefit of the noble class. Naturally schools formed for the benefit of the nobles, commonly centered on some great noble’s court as a mark of prestige, to attract attention and enhance reputation, but only those schools of this character are dedicated to those of noble blood or the gentry.

ANY character in the game may learn to swing a weapon with skill enough to earn the respect of his foes. The only restrictions are the types that are appropriate for him due to social class, and those restrictions are only laxly enforced except in the case of landbound rustics, for whom the various farm tools and items such as slings and quarterstaves have been included on the equipment rosters. This topic is addressed further in Step 6., and again in the discussion of the realities and social conditions of the medieval world under the heading “Society and Custom: Weapons of War”.

The only other hindrance in the mechanics of the game regarding weapon skills is where they are accounted among the (AWA) “skill-slot” allowance each character receives to take all of his trades and skills.

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Between his Trade(s), Life Skills and Life Skill Bundles, your character may start play with no more than (AWA) in total.

This limited allowance is commonly referred to as being made up of AWA-slots. In this way, each point of the AWA score (Mental Aptitude, if using the Advanced definitions of AWA) is counted as a single “slot”.

Each Trade or Life Skill with which a character is equipped fills a single AWA-slot (with the following notable exceptions):

When two or more Trades are used as building blocks and compounded to represent different aspects of one Trad – after the fashion of the examples provided under “Trades & the Character Concept” (e.g., Huntsman and Warrior, or Huntsman and Husbandman, Mariner and Warrior as Pirate, Mariner and Merchant as Merchant Adventurer, Husbandman and Beast Master, Mystic or Witch with one of the Healer trades, etc.) – together fill only a single AWA-slot. 

Only a Trade that appears on the Allied Roster of another (or vice-versa) may be compounded with it to form a single Trade.

Allied Trades do NOT have to appear reciprocally on each other’s Allied rosters to be compounded into a single Trade, however. 

See “Allied Trades”, as follows, to learn more about theseThe roster of Allied Trades for each Trade is provided along with the text of its description in Appendix B.

Any Trade you give your character that does NOT appear on the Allied Roster for at least one (1) other of his Trades (as applicable) must take up an AWA-slot of its own.

Once play commences and your character begins advances to a significant degree in TR, new Allied Trades eventually become available. Each new Allied Trade taken on as an opportunity created due to advancement must fill an AWA-slot of its own. 

This is discussed in detail under Advancement in “The Rules of the Game”.

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Skill Levels (SLs)

As stated, a character’s knowledge, training, and experience with any and all skills with which he is equipped, whether taken as a Trade Skill or Life Skill, in a bundle or singly, ALL are broken down and, again, measured in a series of progressive yet essentially arbitrary numerical ratings.

In regards to Trade Skills and Life Skills or Life Skill Bundles, they are called Skill Levels (SL’s).

There is no such thing as a “zero” (0) SL. 

To have a skill at all, one must have some measurable knowledge or skill in it, the least “quantity” possible being one (1).

Skill Levels can NOT be determined until AFTER all TR’s of character Trades have been chosen/purchased.

Quick Method

Your character begins play with all Trade Skills and Life Skills,  at SL one (1). This presumes that any and all TR’s are also one (1).

IF your GM has allowed a bonus roll for TR’s, all Trade Skills begin at the same SL as the TR of the Trade from which they are derived. Using the rules provided for Custom Method characters, as follows, these SL’s may then be re-balanced and customized.

In this case, Bundled skills and Life Skill Bundles are also handled in the same manner described for Custom Method characters, below.

Custom Method: Trade Skill SL’s

Custom characters begin play with all Trade Skills at the same SL as the TR purchased for the Trade(s) from which they are derived.

At the player’s option, those SL’s may then be swapped about, rebalancing them so that those skills considered a personal priority are emphasized.

Subtract one or more SL’s from any of the Trade Skills under a given Trade, and add it/them to any other Trade Skill(s) under that SAME Trade (and that Trade ONLY).

For example, Cannis Umbrum is a man of Common (Freeman) birth. His player equipped him with Warrior and Acrobat, as he wants Cannis to have every advantage in a battle, also Barber to help mop-up after and keep his comrades-at-arms alive. Mariner and Merchant have been added for depth, or even as a respectable skill set to fall back on in times of peace –– or perhaps it is when he is out traveling with his trade goods he needs the skills of a Warrior to keep himself alive and his trade goods safe. 

All of these trades are available to characters of the Freeman Class at a cost of 1 DP. The player has 70 DP’s left to spend after Cannis’ background was completed. The GM put a limit of 5 on the TR’s for his Trades and the player opts to raise Warrior up to TR5, to make it his focus. He is nearly as serious in wanting him to be of value after a fight, raising Barber up to TR4. Next is the role he wishes Acrobat to play to enhance his Warrior skills, raising Acrobat to TR3. Mariner and Merchant are revealed to be mere window-dressing or facets on the back burner, both being given TR’s of only 1.

This brings the total of DP’s spent on them to 14, leaving him 56 for other things later, such as his attribute scores in Step 5.

The left column of the table following shows ALL of the Trade Skills derived from Cannis’ Warrior Trade at the same SL as he gave it in TR.

The right column below shows what might be accomplished when swapping SL’s about to show the player’s priorities among them.

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    Totaling 35 SL’s … Also totaling 35 SL’s

Tallying up the SL’s as shown is a quick means of checking to make sure the character starts and finishes with the same total number of SL’s when juggling them back and forth, rebalancing them.

Note that those skills such as Weapons, Musician, Connoisseur, Linguist, etc., which you are allowed to designate up to (AWA ÷ 4) in number to equip your character, are each treated as single skills for the purposes of customizing the SL’s of Trade Skills.

The constituent skills making up any of these Bundled entries (Weapons, Musician, Connoisseur, Linguist, etc.) are then assigned SL’s in the same manner as Trade Skills under a Trade –– all of them the same SL as the root skill under which they are bundled, and they may be further swapped about and rebalanced within their own little group in the same manner as Trade Skills, as well.

AWA 19 and his full Warrior Trade training provides him with 5 weapon skills. The left column below shows what the bundled Weapon skills under Cannis’ Warrior Trade look like, while the right column shows how they were swapped about and rebalanced to suit the player.

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   Totaling 35 SL’s …  Also totaling 35 SL’s

The specific weapon names are noted after the names of the skills to show which specific weapon is the character’s focus among the weapons that skill encompasses, to which his full SL applies. As a Warrior, Cannis may pick up and use any of the weapons encompassed by one of his Weapon skills, but only one is his focus to start with; one he may use at 3/4th’s SL, the rest he may use at only half SL, as noted in the Weapons skill description in Appendix C.1. Additional proficiencies are awarded to Warriors who wish to cultivate them as they rise in TR.

Because Hurling a weapon is completely different from wielding it in the melée, the Hurling skill is considered a completely separate skill, again as noted in the Weapons skill description in Appendix C.1, and is also considered specific to the weapon skills, so Hurling is seen duplicated above, for Thrusting Polearms and Small Melée Thrusting Blades. Cannes is right-handed, so his main large melée weapon, the bastard sword or sword of war is noted as limited to the right hand. This in contrast to his pogniard, noted as specific only to his left hand, so he can fight two-fisted. this prepares him for the point in his career as a Warrior when he learns the intricacies of dual attacks and defenses and also combination attack-defense maneuvers, which all depend on wielding a weapon in either hand.

Note that where the TR is 1 (Mariner and Merchant, as follows) there is no room to maneuver, so all Trade Skills must remain SL1, right down the line.

In a number of cases, certain skills are duplicated from one Trade roster to the next, and players are encouraged to make choices that result in them being duplicated. This reflects the fact that a character was encouraged and helped in learning and honing those skills on more than one front and his tutelage continued at different points in his life, supplemented and reinforced.

When this occurs, there is not just a compounding, but a synergy between them.

Add up the SL’s of all instances in which a skill is repeated.

Add to the results the number of time that skill occurs.

This MUST wait until the character’s SL’s are otherwise final.

Trader’s Tongue appears on both the Mariner and Merchant Trade rosters at SL1. The sum of their SL’s is 2; the number of instances in which it appears is also 2, making the effective SL 4 (2 + 2).

This synergistic effect applies to repetition of any Bundle, as well.

Cannis’ father was a great scholar of the Sodma’ali Empire, so he was started on the equivalent of Grammar school at a very tender age, which is why it appears under his Life Skills alone, where a SL of 4 was purchased for it. Grammar School also appears under the Merchant Trade at SL1. The sum of the SL’s is 5; the number of instances is 2, making the effective SL7 (5 + 2).

The rest of Cannis’ skills turned out as follows.

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Custom Method: Life Skill SL’s 

The DP cost paid to equip your character with a Life Skill provides him with that skill at SL one (1).

The players have the option of using their DP’s to buy more SL’s.

To add one (1) SL to any given Life Skill costs either 1, 2 or 3 DP’s, depending on whether you paid 1, 3 or 6 DP’s for it

For Life Skill Bundles NOT received from a Trade roster but taken at a player’s discretion, adding one (1) SL costs either 2, 3 or 5 DP’s, depending on whether the player paid 1, 5 or 15 DP’s for it.

It is up to you as GM to set the maximum SL for the characters being made for your game, if you want one. 

A rule of thumb of perhaps (AWA ÷ 2), at most, or a default TR ranging from 5 to 8 (Journeyman Proper; GM’s discretion) is recommended if you want to go this route.

The SL’s of the skills that make up each Life Skill Bundle are determined in the same manner as Trade Skills under the Trades, ie., the SL of the Bundle is marked down as the baseline SL for all of the constituent skills and may then rebalanced to your own satisfaction. For every SL added to one of the constituent skills, one SL must be subtracted from another skill within the same Bundle.

These SL’s rise during play in response to the characters using their skills. The higher a character’s SL with a given skill or ability, the more knowledge he has concerning it, the better he is with it, the more often he enjoys success when consulting, employing or exercising it. This is discussed fully in the passage on Trade Ranks & Skill Advancement in “The Rules of the Game.”

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Character SL Awards

Particular trades and certain social classes and stations of society value certain skills so highly and teach them to their members so assiduously and consistently that they are considered standards and even earmarks by which those social classes or trades are publicly known, making it necessary to award them to qualifying characters as a reflection of that importance and their ubiquitous nature.

The skill(s) and SL(s) shown on the following table are awarded to starting characters prior to their entry into play in order to make them proper representatives of the strata of society and also the Trade(s) to which they belong.

  • The numbers shown on the table are the SL’s to which the skills are raised for the characters noted. 
  • However many SL’s are added to reach the SL noted, they are free to all characters regardless of their build method.
  • Players building Custom Method characters may NOT cannibalize the SL’s awarded to get DP’s to buy SL’s for other skills.
  • These adjustments are made only AFTER a character’s TR’s and SL’s are FINALIZED.
  • NOTE: Some of the adjustments are made to Life Skills or Life Skill Bundles only in the event that the character has been equipped with them already. 
  • The award of a skill(s) or skill bundle a player has already equipped his character with brings the SL(s) determined previously up to the SL indicated.

IF  a skill is awarded is one the character did not previously have, it still carries the normal AWA-slot cost, unless the character does not have one left for it, in which case the cost is forgiven. 

IF a skill or bundle is noted twice for a given character due to his various Trades, the highest of the SL’s noted marks the SL to which it is to be raised.

7-2. Beginning Skill Awards

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* Only those Merchants who are engaged in travel or whose primary office/residence is in a port or border market town where they deal regularly with carters, Mariners, and other merchants who are widely travelled.

† This allowance is optional. If the players wants it, the character can have the LoA award for it. IF the character is given any single skill from this bundle instead, the same LoA awards are made to it.

†† This allowance only applies if the player has opted to equip his Scholar with additional Scholar Tongues (equivalent of Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, etc.), Foreign languages, and/or Ancient Tongues, and are applied to as many of the (AWA ÷ 4) he is allowed as the player chooses to give the character.

** The STA score is assumed to be modified for Build by race first.

The Alchemist, Simple, learned his arts from a master, whether it was a formal apprenticeship or not. Formal apprenticeship is only available if the practice of Alchemy is governed by a guild (GM’s discretion).

A Wizard learned his arts from a master, whether it was a formal apprenticeship or not. Formal apprenticeship is only available if the practice of Wizardry is governed by a guild.

IF a player wants his character’s magickal arts and training, whether formal wizardry or alchemy, to have come from a formal university curriculum, he must equip him with the (Scholar) Magister Trade. 

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All the Skills, Alphabetical & Linked