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.
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.
Totaling 40 SL’s Also totaling 40 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.
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.
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 “Advancement.”