Often taken for granted by players, math skills among the general populace were rather limited in the period of the game. Math skills are almost as important as language skills, and just as likely to be glossed over in play. Without this skill, a character won’t be able to count beyond or really grasp any number larger than a score (20, though they must exhibit fingers, and toes for larger numbers, and say “this many”). Nor may he perform any feat of mathematics even simple addition and subtraction. Only those with this skill will know or can be taught the meanings of the different notches on a tallystick, the common means of providing a receipt used by bailiffs for estate management, even up to the highest noble and royal levels.
A clerk who can read and write (Literatus and Scrivener) in addition to his Math skills may set up and maintain household ledgers such as are commonly used in the houses of the wealthy and noble to track finances (larger households tracking finances by individual departments, each with its own set of books), and also in the houses of Merchants to track daily business, both for the flow of money and control of inventory. This ability will make a character sought after should he need a domestic situation either to retire into or to take a hiatus from adventuring.
Every use of the Craftsman-Artificer trade will give the character a SP in his Math skill, due to its integral role in measuring and planning, and for the use of any other trade in which counting and tallying are essential, especially in trade as a Merchant, and also in the pursuit of Astronomy and Astrology. The use of any of these trades should require checks for this skill, and such activities as planning the logistics of beasts and supplies for the party before making any journeys, in addition, the SP’s helping to keep the Math skill growing.
Artificer SL’s is limited to no higher than the character’s SL as a Mathematician, and the same restriction will apply to the use of Astronomy/Astrology, as well.
The att. mod. for the Math skill is based on the character’s AWA.
The skill will come into play whenever the character engages in a business transaction, whether it is just to make sure that the proper change is received, to make sure that the character has not been over-charged on a bill at a tavern or inn, or to check rates charged or figures kept by stewards, bailiffs, or merchants’ accountants, or in shipping manifests. In these cases and in all the others mentioned above for which SP’s are to be awarded, a d100 check should be required for the character vs. the CHM of the NPC with whom he is dealing. To the DV should be added a bonus based on the NPC’s skill as a Merchant (as applicable), and another based on his skill as a Player (as applicable).
IF the check is failed but the NPC is actually dealing fairly, no problem, but if failed and he is being taken advantage of, he will not know it. Only if a NPC is trying to cheat him and he makes a successful Math check will he catch that fact so he can rectify the situation.
Because the player’s knowledge should be kept the same as his character’s as much as possible, when the character’s money is being handled by a NPC servant, valet, secretary, etc., the GM or one of the other players should keep track of his money for him, particularly his cash, of which there isn’t likely to be any written account kept. If the PC wants a written account of expenses kept, he must ask for it, and then he must deal with the medieval form of household accounting, which involves all transactions for a single day for a certain type of goods, usually dependant on the household “department” in which it is used, being lumped together, but especially all goods obtained in a single purchase from the same merchant being similarly grouped together with the cash outlay for the entire purchase, usually because the dickering over price is in pounds, shillings, pence and then farthings over the total cost, not per-item. lf the PC doesn’t like this, he must specify that he wants the household accounts itemized, but due to the practice just described he may not always be able to have it that way.