Ray Turney's Rune Rule Set

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FIRE AND SWORD-Chapter 2

Skills

1/3/99

Skull Use

Describes how and when skills should be used

Increasing Skills

Describes how to increase skills

Script Immunity

Describes what script immunity is, and how to use it.

Skills

Skill List

 

Name

Type

Archetype(s)

 

 

 

 

Administration

Intellectual

Noble

Priest

Soldier

Scholar

 

Alchemy

Magickal

Healer

Scholar

Sorceror

 

 

Awakening

Magickal

Shaman

Priest

 

 

 

Bargaining

Perception/ Persuasion

Merchant

Rogue

 

 

 

Ceremony

Magickal

Priest

Monk

Shaman

Sorceror

 

Chirurgery

Intellectual

Healer

 

 

 

 

Climb

Athletic

None

 

 

 

 

Craft

varies

None

 

 

 

 

{Culture} S.Lang.& Custom

Perception

All

 

 

 

 

{Culture} Lore

Intellectual

Merchant

Noble

Priest

Scholar

 

 

 

Soldier

Sorceror

Troubadour

 

 

{Cult} Lore

Intellectual

Priest

 

 

 

 

Dance

Athletic

Troubadour

 

 

 

 

Dreamspeaking

Magickal

Healer

Shaman

 

 

 

Enchant

Magickal

Priest

 

 

 

 

FastTalk

Persuasion

Rogue

Troubadour

 

 

 

Gaming

Perception

Rogue

Noble

 

 

 

Herbalism

Intellectual

Healer

Shaman

 

 

 

Hide

Stealth

Rogue

Hunter

 

 

 

Insight

Perception

Priest

Troubadour

Noble

Healer

 

Investigation

Perception

None

 

 

 

 

Jump

Athletic

None

 

 

 

 

Leadership

Persuasion

Warrior

Soldier

Noble

 

 

Legend Lore

Intellectual

Priest

Scholar

 

 

 

LightFingers

Athletic

Rogue

 

 

 

 

Listen

Perception

Warrior

Soldier

Hunter

 

 

Logistics

Intellectual

Merchant

Soldier

 

 

 

Mathematics

Intellectual

Scholar

 

 

 

 

Meditation

Magickal

Monk

Priest

 

 

 

Military Lore

Intellectual/Perception

Noble

Scholar

Soldier

Warrior

 

Mystic Dance

Athletic

Monk

Troubadour

 

 

 

Natural Philosophy

Intellectual

Scholar

 

 

 

 

Play (Instrument)

Athletic

Noble

Troubadour

 

 

 

Rhetoric

Persuasion

Noble

Priest

Scholar

Troubadour

 

Ride (Animal)

Athletic

Healer

Hunter

Merchant

Noble

 

Scan

Perception

Hunter

Rogue

Soldier

Warrior

 

{School} Lore

Intellectual

Sorceror

 

 

 

 

Second Sight

Magickal

Healer

Shaman

 

 

 

Siegecraft

Intellectual

Soldier

 

 

 

 

Sing

Athletic

Troubadour

 

 

 

 

Sorcery Lore

Intellectual

Scholar

Sorceror

 

 

 

Spot Hidden

Perception

All

 

 

 

 

Summoning

Magickal

Priest

Shaman

Sorceror

 

 

Swim

Athletic

None

 

 

 

 

Throw

Athletic

None

 

 

 

 

Track

Perception

Hunter

 

 

 

 

{Weapon} Attack

Athletic

Hunter

Merchant

Noble

Soldier

Warrior

{Weapon) or (Shield) Parry

Athletic

Hunter

Merchant

Noble

Soldier

Warrior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skill Use

To determine whether or not a character's use of a skill succeeds, the player normally rolls a D20. If the result is less than or equal to the skill the result is a success. If two opposed skills, such as Hide and Spot Hidden are being used, the higher successful roll wins. Sometimes a character's skill may have to overcome factors making things more difficult than normal. This is treated as if the character were opposed by another's skill, creating a difficulty factor . Skill levels above nineteen add one point per point above nineteen to the effective skill roll for purposes of overcoming opposition.

If the player rolls a number equal to maximum skill, or nineteen or higher after adjustment for skill level greater than nineteen, his character may have "criticalled". This only happens if the player then rolls skill or less, and higher than any applicable difficulty factor on a second D20. If the character criticals his skill, he gets the maximum level of success possible; in combat for example he gets an automatic maximum roll on the lethality die. For purposes of overcoming resistance, a crit counts as ten higher than the skill die roll. When two criticals oppose each other, the higher adjusted first roll wins, thus if the player of a 21 skill character rolls a 19 which is then adjusted up to 21, his character defeats the critical 19 of a 19 skill character. The second roll is made purely for the purpose of determining whether or not the roller crits.

A natural 20 is always a failure. In addition, the player must roll another D20. If he fails his skill roll, or rolls a second twenty even if his character's adjusted skill is twenty or higher, his character has "fumbled". This term, applied initially to the act of dropping a weapon in combat, has broader metaphorical meaning as well. To fumble is to fail as badly as possible. In combat, it leads to a roll on the appropriate combat fumble table.

An example:

Izates is buying lead in Furthest. It is relatively cheap here, because the really risky step, taking it to the trolls, is yet to be done. Izates has a Bargain skill of 21, and the slightly less experienced Etyries trader he is bargaining with has a bargaining skill of 17. In partial compensation, Izates as a Grazelander is less familiar with New Tarsh culture than the seller, having a Speak Tarsh and Tarshite custom skill of only 13 to the other guy's 17. So, to determine the upper and lower limits of the price range appropriate for lead in Furthest, each character rolls unopposed on Tarshite Language and Custom. Both make it, with a roll of 10 for Izates and 15 for the Etyries. They then start to compete with each other. Both Chris, the GM, and Kelly, roll a 12. But since Izates has a 21 skill, 1 is added to Kelly's roll, and Izates wins the Bargaining duel, netting him 10% and allowing him to get 4400 lunars worth of lead, at normal prices, for 4000 lunars.

Some tasks are more difficult than normal. These can be treated as opposed by a resistance equal to the extra difficulty of the task. For example, crafting a masterpiece requires overcomes an opposed craft roll of 15, because a masterpiece is by definition an extremely difficult piece of craft work. Journeyman level work requires overcoming a resistance of 5, and apprentice level work faces no resistance.

An example:

The party comes to Ambush Pass, which has earned its name for obvious reasons. There is a short hill nearby, which might offer some visual observation of the pass.

Bloodaxe says he'll climb to the top of the hill and look around. Chris shuts his eyes and decides the climb will require three rolls, the middle roll a success higher than five.

John is unhappy, because Bloodaxe's Climb skill is only seven. How hard can it be? The GM says he's looking at climbing a substantial hill here, and some of the approaches to the summit are not so easy. Several minutes of argument later, John rolls. The first roll is 13 on D20, not less than or equal to his character's skill of 7. Twenty minutes wasted, as Bloodaxe climbs up to a point where skill is actually required, and then stops. Next a 3 is rolled on D20. This is a success, and brings Bloodaxe to the really sticky part of the climb. A 14 is rolled, which would be a failure in any situation where Bloodaxe had to use climbing skill, much less here. Next a five exact. Missed it by that much ... then a ten, finally a six. An hour has passed. His comrades in the valley below consider moving on and abandoning him. Chris remarks that Bloodaxe is lucky. After all, a twenty and a miss on the skill roll would have resulted in a fall, with a good chance of badly hurting Bloodaxe. Thus goaded, John rolls a four and Bloodaxe climbs to the top of the hill. Standing proudly on the summit, he tries to make a scan roll. At the same time, a frustrated ambusher with a crossbow shoots {contrary to orders}, and with a 16 fails his skill roll. Noticing the crossbow bolt, Bloodaxe dives for cover ...

But we must leave Bloodaxe here until we arrive at the combat rules.

The gamemaster may require a player to add a quality die to his skill roll, in some circumstances. Normally, this is a D10, with a 1 a real foul-up if the skill roll is missed, and a 10 the maximum possible effect. The combat system, discussed below, is a special case of this. But before dealing with the specific case of combat it is time to deal with the general case of skills.

There is overlap among the skills listed below. In evaluating a horse, for example, Spoken Language and Custom will give a rough idea of market value, and some idea of what the locals think is good in a horse {this is not obvious - a horse could be very good for a Karmanian kataphract and not impress the Grazelanders at all}; riding would give a very good idea of what the horse is like but only a rough idea of its local value, etc.

Available Skills

Basically, a character can have pretty much any definable skill that only requires objects and techniques known in the late Middle Ages or before, and is appropriate to the character concept. This includes, at the GM's discretion, most of the skills described in FRP games, not just RQ. A brief list of skills is given below for convenience:

Administration:
Type: Intellectual

The skill of dealing with bureaucracy and bureaucrats, determining how much food and army of twenty thousand men will eat per day, etc. Useful to army officers, church bureaucrats, etc. Neither useful to nor likely to be known by, most ordinary characters.

 

Alchemy:
Type: Magickal

The skill of increasing the potency of plants and minerals, and combining them to produce potions and salves more potent than can normally be found naturally. Normal alchemy rolls add 1D6 to the potency of the plant processed, or where alchemy is needed to produce the base effect, create the normal effect. Crits add 2D6, or produce twice normal effect. Normal effects of plant based alchemy are listed below under Herbalism.

 

Awakening
Type: Magickal

The shamanistic skill of awakening the dormant spirits in objects, and evoking the latent intelligence in animals. For more details, see the Spirit Magic Section of the Magic Chapter.

 

Bargaining:
Type: Higher of Perception or Persuasion

The skill of haggling over prices in the market. Also covers cutting a deal with an employer of mercenaries, and any situation which basically comes down to cutting a deal. Can also be used for general truthsaying, if the player can overcome a resistance of five. In general, the prices of commonly traded commodities and objects, have a base value, determined by the GM for that culture and general area. A success in bargaining moves the price 10% in the direction desired by successful bargainer. Two bargaining successes cancel each other out. Rare, or rarely traded items, may have a wider variation in price, at the discretion of the GM.

 

Ceremony
Type: Magickal

This is the skill of memorizing ceremonies and rituals, not the specific procedures used in each application. This skill is used by divine spellcasters, if they are ritually pure {i.e. not sorcerers or shaman} to sacrifice for, or regain, divine magic, as described in the divine magic rules.

When used by sorcerers, it can be substituted for a sorcerer's skill in the particular spell he is attempting to cast, at the price of one hour per point of ceremony skill used. Thus, a character with a twelve Ceremony skill could replace his 8 skill at casting a particular spell, and if he rolled 12 or less get the spell off. Also, this would allow the character to cast a ten point spell, impossible with his normal level of skill. But it would take twelve hours, often impractical on the battlefield, and not necessarily practical off it, either. Also, this application of Ceremony cannot be used to more than double the caster's skill, thus a character with a 6 casting skill cannot use a Ceremony skill of 14 to increase effective casting skill above 12.

Ceremony is also useful to spirit mages, since it may be stacked with Summoning skill, to increase effective Summoning skill. To do this, spend one hour per point of Ceremony skill used, and if the Ceremony roll is made add it to the character's effective Summon skill.

 

Chirurgery
Type: Intellectual

This skill covers setting bones, creating splints, first aid, etc. In fact, it covers almost all healing other than the administration of potions and poultices. In game terms, it translates to a -1 on the recovery die, rolled after combat per the healing rules.

 

Climb:
Type: Athletic

One of the common athletic skills, used in climbing trees, etc. This is an easy skill, in most applications. Serious mountain climbing is masterpiece level application of this skill, so it stops being easy along about the time you're climbing a serious rock.

 

Craft {silversmith, etc, must pick one}:
Type: varies

This covers making things, from arrows {fletching}, to silver goblets. Use dictionary definitions of what each craft skill allows the possessor to make. As noted above, journeyman level work is five difficulty or higher, and a masterpiece is fifteen difficulty or higher. Judging quality is a normal roll for a character with the craft skill, or appropriate Spoken Language and Custom {for common items}, or appropriate cultural lore skill {for rare or valuable items}.

 

{Culture} Spoken Language and Custom
Type: Persuasion

This is not just how to speak the language, but all the other things a character needs to know to make that knowledge useful: what things cost, where, what people wear, who's king at the moment, that it's not a good idea to casually insult a man wearing a cross and a sword, etc. This differs from {Culture} lore, which is the history, philosophy, law, etc that an educated or upper class participant in a culture knows. A character with a high spoken language and custom skill would know the current king, and how to spot a tax collector, but not who was king forty years ago, or how good the goldwork is on the hilt. Local languages include New Pelorian for the Empire as a whole, Tarshite, Grazelander, Sartarite, Praxian, Dagori Inkarth Darktongue, etc.

 

{Culture} Lore
Type: Intellectual

The common background all educated or upper class participants in a culture share. Allows knower access to historical knowledge, including both narrative history and things like art history; literary references, etc. This skill is used to impress people, and counts as especially honorable. Cultures are the same as those listed for Spoken Language and Custom, as well as courtly names and heraldry.

 

{Cult} Lore
Type: Intellectual

This is what a character learns as an initiate of a cult. This ranges from sacred colors and occasions, to the acts of the god on the Hero Plane, to appropriate places to begin HeroQuests in emulation of the god. Most importantly, it is the information needed to cast cult divine magic spells. For further details, see the divine magic rules.

 

Dance
Type: Athletic

This covers serious athletic or performance dance, as opposed to adequacy in social dance, which is normally part of Spoken Language and Custom. A character with this skill can impress people as a good dancer, using the usual overcome five for journeyman or fifteen for master standard. A character gets multiple chances, and is impressive if he succeeds at least once; a character does not fall unless a fumble is rolled.

 

Dreamspeaking
Type: Magickal

This skill, a lunar and shamanistic specialty, may be used to determine if a dream is significant, if it is a sending, and who sent it. It is also used to analyze significant dreams, obtaining information from them as if they were Divination II to the deity who sent them. Dreamspeaking also confers the power to speak to Spirits on the Spirit Plane, as if the character were a spirit with Spirit Speech.

 

Enchant
Type: Magickal

What this skill allows varies with the type of magic it is being used to support. In general, sorcerors are the dominant users of the enchant skill, and only basic sorcery enchantments will be discussed here.

Sorcery enchant allows three basic effects. It requires a masterpiece level craft item, as the basic object to be enchanted. A basic sorcery enchant roll allows one of three effects are possible: a 1D6 per point of POW magic storage effect, that allows the user to fill the object with MP for later use and regain them; a 1D3 Arcane Strength effect, which adds to the enchanter's power for purposes of regaining magic points and nothing else; or a spell enhancing effect, which in effect allows the user to cast the spell with 1D3 additional points of spell, manipulation, free. These points must be specified at the time the enchantment is made - thus an enchantment can add 1 point of free range and 1 point of free intensity, or 2 points of free intensity, not both. A normal enchantment can never provide more than half the total cost of casting a spell. Each power point of enchantment takes one day of game time. Failure halts the process, and the enchantment attempt cannot be repeated until enchant skill increases. A fumble loses the power in the enchant attempt and breaks the item being enchanted, so that it is no longer useful.

A wand is easier to enchant than most other things. When enchanting a wand, a sorceror may roll twice on his enchant skill, and take the better result. Staffs tend to have more power than wands. The sorceror may roll twice for the results of an enchantment into a staff, and take the better result. An enchanted wand or staff may also be used to increase effective Ceremony skill, at one point of skill increase per point of enchantment, up to a limit of three for a wand and seven for a staff.

In general sorcerous enchantments are only useful to sorcerors. Illuminates can, with an Enlightenment roll, use MP storage enchantments to supply magic points for regaining divine spells.

FastTalk
Type: Persuasion

The skill of getting out of trouble by speaking quickly, and plausibly, though not necessarily truthfully. A successful FastTalk will get a character out of his immediate fix, but if the problem is real it will merely buy some time. The wiser characters have been known to use this time to get out of town. Fastalk skill can never be higher than Spoken Language and Custom skill in the language the character is talking fast in.

 

Gaming:
Type: Perception

The skill of playing the odds, spotting others improving their odds by illegal means, and if need be improving a character's own odds through illegal means. As such, it covers most gambling games. Does not cover pure games of skill, such as lunar chess.

 

Herbalism:
Type: Intellectual

Practical plant lore, allowing the character using it to recognize and find valuable plants. A character on the march, using Herbalism to casually scan for valuable plants, gets one roll per day, and must overcome a ten difficulty resistance roll to succeed. A character concentrating on this skill, moving half speed or less, gets two rolls, and doesn't need to overcome resistance. A character looking for something specific, on the normal chart, must go at half speed or less, and overcome a ten difficulty, but having done so has a 50% chance of finding what he wants. A character looking for a very rare plant, normally found only on the critical table, halves his effective skill, doubles his chance to critical. Thus, he has a chance to critical on a roll of one less than his skill, as well as a roll equal to the skill itself.

I include below example charts, covering the use of Herbalism in and around the Upland Marsh. The charts for the Kitori lands, Dagori Inkarth, etc, would be different.

To determine what is found, roll on the D20 normal success table below for a normal success or the D6 critical success table below for a crit.

Normal Success
1-2 Wound Healing - effect is as Divine Spell Heal Wound
3-4 Lesser Disease Resistance, +1D6 to Con Rolls vs. Disease
5-6 Lesser Plant Poison, potency 2D6+3
7-8 Lesser Plant Poison Antidote, potency 2D6+3
9 Exotic Perfume ingredients, worth 1D100 L. on open market
10 Exotic Dye, dark red, worth 1D100 L on open market
11 Greater Disease Resistance, +2D6 to Con Rolls vs. Disease
12 Greater Plant Poison, potency 2D6+6
13 Greater Plant Poison Antidote, potency 2D6+6
14 Common Spice, worth 2D20 on open market
15 Water Purifier, worth 1D100 L on open market, purifies 1D20 doses of water, can with water add 1D6 to Con vs. disease or poison
16 Chaotic, if consumed user gains chaotic feature
17 2D6 MP restoring ingredients - need alchemy to make - 1-5 doses, worth 30 L per dose on open market.
18 3D6 MP restoring ingredients - need alchemy to make - 1-5 doses worth 50 L per dose on open market.
19 Spell Resisting - needs alchemy to make, 1-5 doses - increases effective POW by 1D6 in spell vs. spell rolls
20 reroll, +1D6 potency, reroll again +2D6 potency if another 20 rolled, etc.

Critical Success 1 Longevity - takes alchemy to make, each dose slows aging so the next year only ages the character by one season, 1-5 doses worth, base value on open market 500 Lunars per dose in decent sized city.
2. Chaos Healing - takes alchemy to make - removes chaotic feature if power of Potion {3D6+3} overcomes power of drinker - value on open market 500 Lunars per dose in decent sized city.
3. Panacea - takes alchemy to make - cures any Disease if Power of Potion {3D6+3} overcomes power of Drinker in equivalent of spell vs. spell combat. Also combats disease spirits, forcing them out of the drinker if it wins in POW vs POW combat against the spirit. Value 500 L per dose on the open market.
4. Universal Antidote - takes alchemy to make, each dose directly offsets 3D6 of poison damage - 1-5 doses, each dose base value 300 Lunars on the open market.
5. Tasteless poison - potency 3D6 but can increased by alchemy - 1D5 doses worth 500 Lunars per dose on the open market.
6. Mystic - takes alchemy to make, causes normal success in Mystic Dance, Meditation skill to count as critical. Takes alchemy to make - 1D5 doses - each dose worth 500 Lunars on the open market in a Lunar city. Outside lunar lands, purchased only for resale inside lunar lands.

Seasonal modifiers: Dark Season, add +5 to difficulty, but natural 19 also counts as crit;
Situational Modifiers: Critical success plants are never found in settled areas.

 

Hide
Type: Stealth

This skill coves all forms of hiding, from disappearing behind a rock to serious sneaking. This skill is unusual, in that it depends on the surrounding environment, which can actually help the user. In general, the player adds the value of the available cover to his effective skill, and then attempts to defeat resistance. The hide roll must beat a five resistance if the character wishes to move while hidden {i.e. sneak}, and must also beat any opposing spot hidden skills in the usual opposed skill roll.

Example: Nohodares moves to the top of a hill to see what is on the other side. Unlike Bloodaxe, instead of standing proudly on the summit, he thinks it wise to try to hide. While at the summit, he has a Hide skill of 12, plus 5 for the rocks around the Summit, facing enemy spot hidden of 10. His player has an effective 17 skill, and defeats both the natural difficulty of 5 imposed by trying to hide while moving, and all possible successes for the enemy spot hidden skill. Counting 20 broos on the other side of the hill, he tells Izates about the broos, and the player characters decide not to attack.

 

Insight
Type: Perception

The skill of determining the feelings and intentions of people from visual and auditory clues, where this is not obvious. Can be used to determine whether or not another character is lying, and if so why, where the motivation is fairly common among humans. Does not reveals the details of the truth the lie is supposed to conceal. For example, insight could reveal that a character's husband is lying to conceal infidelity, but not the identity of the other woman. Insight skill is limited by Spoken Language and Custom, never being higher than Spoken Language and Custom when trying to understand a character from another culture {i.e. a culture and language you are not native in}.

 

Investigation
Type: Perception

This covers all aspects of criminal investigation: examining a crime scene searching for clues; knowing what questions to ask in an interview with a witness or suspect; working the good cop - bad cop; and lie detection. Lie detection is not a direct application of the skill, but the skill can be used at a five difficulty to sense whether or not a suspect or witness is hiding something. Investigation skill, applied to interrogation, is limited by the relevant Spoken Language and Custom skill of the Interrogator.

 

Jump
Type: Athletic

The skill of jumping further than an untrained normal human does, or of falling correctly. Jump can be used to subtract one wound from falling damage.

 

Leadership
Type: Persuasive

This skill allows the user to give orders to non player character troops, and be obeyed. If he is their designated leader, and is leading no more than ten or so men, and has been with them for more than a month, this qualifies as basic use of the skill. Adding men creates a resistance of five for up to a hundred, and ten for a thousand. Being a stranger {i.e. having led them for less than a month}, adds five difficulty, as does not being their appointed leader, Thus, leading eight men who've known you for a month, but not being formally their leader, requires the character to overcome a five resistance.

There may be further modifiers, if in the opinion of the Gamemaster the orders given are unduly risky, or demonstrably insane.

Fame may be added to the effective skill roll, at a rate of one point for having ten points of honor and one more per five points of honor thereafter. Thus twenty fame point twenty one character adds three points to his leadership skill, before rolling. This is because NPC's are more likely to obey others they see as famous.

 

Legend Lore
Type: Intellectual

Knowledge of the Hero Plane, who did what in the God Time and the like. Useful to HeroQuesters, not so useful to ordinary characters. Useful in identifying a good site to go on to the Hero Plane to commence a particular quest, or which of the many possible rules variations apply at a particular legendary site.

 

Lightfingers
Type: Athletic

This covers picking pockets, lock picking, sleight of hand, etc. These skills are lumped together because they are all things rogues tend to be interested in, but no one else is interested in, so they tend to be known together.

 

Listen
Type: Perception

Hearing things that are hard to hear, picking significant noise out of normal background wilderness noise, etc.

 

Logistics

Type: Intellecutal Difficult: Normal

All skills connected to moving supplies from one place to another. This includes, but is not limited to, wagoneering/mule tending, efficient loading of supplies.

 

Meditation
Type: Magickal

The skill of remaining still, with a "empty mind". This aids in attaining enlightenment, and increases magical power, if a critical skill roll is made. In game terms a critical success gives a power check and an Enlightenment check. A normal success opens the character up to a vision from the Red Goddess, should she feel inclined to send one. Treat a vision from the Goddess as Divination I or II, depending on the generosity of the goddess.

Other rolls have no effect. The reason this skill is so difficult is that both attaining enlightenment and power increase are goals which may be attained, but cannot be usefully directly pursued. The act of concentrating on the purpose of attaining enlightenment in itself impedes such attainment. A character needs a critical success to circumvent this paradox.

 

Mathematics
Type: Intellectual

This covers algebra, geometry, accounting, and basic computation. There is no zero. This is a high status skill among scholars, and known to most merchants.

 

Military Lore
Type: Higher of Intellectual or Perception

This covers book tactics, drill, how to recognize uniforms, symbols and musical signals; and also the ability to recognize tactically significant features {such as the military crest of a hill}, when the character sees them.

 

Mystic Dance
Type: Athletic

This an athletic, active, way to pursue the same ends as the Meditation skill. It has the same effects, but appeals to a different type of character than Meditation.

 

Natural Philosophy
Type: Intellectual

This is a broad and miscellaneous knowledge of the world, the sort a character in ancient times would get by reading Pliny the Elder. This skill can be used to determine the nature of animals {carnivorous, herbivorous, etc}, whether they are natural or chaotic, whether terrain is natural, etc.

 

Play {Instrument}
Type: Athletic

The skill of playing an instrument well enough so that people will actually want to listen to it. The effects of this skill resemble those of the Sing skill, in game terms. The ability to play instruments associated with the nobility is a very honorable skill, conferring double the usual skill if a level high enough to acquire fame is reached. In Yelmi and Lunar culture, the lyre is the prestige instrument.

 

Rhetoric
Type: Persuasion

The art of persuading people through appeals to reason and emotion. Never higher than skill in Spoken Language and Custom of those the rhetorician wants to persuade. Note that this includes what we normally think of as oratory, speeches to crowds, and more personal appeals, such as appeals to the jury to acquit. Rhetoric may be, and in Lunar Tarsh often is, limited by culture lore skill as well. A speech given to encourage local farmers to follow the character in defending their village would also be rhetoric, though, and this would not require culture lore. Getting a character to consider joining Seven Mothers for genuine religious reasons requires a critical rhetoric roll, getting him to do it is then a normal rhetoric roll. Getting an Issaries merchant to consider joining Etyries to reduce his taxes is a bit easier, requiring only a normal roll.

 

Ride {Animal}
Type: Athletic

Usually this is Ride Horse, though a Praxian tribesman or a Lunar from the Hungry Plateau could know how to ride an exotic mount.

Anybody can stay on, until he tries to gallop his mount, his mount objects, or he tries something like having his horse jump a barrier. At this point, or when taking a mount into battle, a ride roll is necessary.

 

Scan
Type: Perception

This is long term perception, like lookout work on a ship, spotting things in the distance or that look suspicious. If a character has no reason to think something is afoot, and it is the sixth hour of an eight hour march, etc., then this skill is used. It is normally dependent on vision, and characters of a vision dependent species who cannot see cannot use this skill.

 

{School} Lore
Type: Intellectual

This skill represents the knowledge of sorcery that a character gets from his sorcery school. More details on the importance of school lore and how it works may be found in the Magic Chapter, Sorcery Section.

 

Second Sight:

Type: Magical Difficulty: Normal

This skill confers the ability to see on the spirit plane, while embodied.

 

Siegecraft
Type: Intellectual

This is really just an archaic sounding name for military engineering. It covers how to build a fortress, bridge, engine, etc, and how to take one out. It also covers using all forms of engines. More mundane applications, like converting trees into a raft to cross a river, trap construction {but not camouflage, which comes under Hide}, etc are also possible.

 

Sing
Type: Athletic

Anyone can sing. This skill covers attempts to sing well enough to interest and impress others. Usually multiple rolls will be asked for. If the player can beat a resistance of 5 on one of the rolls, his character is a journeyman singer, suitable as entertainment at a modest inn or bar, capable of making a modest living as a street singer. If a fifteen or higher success, or a crit, is achieved the character is a singer fit to entertain a king. A success of fifteen or higher that is also a crit, in public will net the character a fame point. If the character fumbles, his audience hates him and his best hope is to go elsewhere and find a different audience.

This also covers composing songs, which can have implications for the fame of the character whose actions are the subject of the song. For further details, see the fame rules.

 

Sorcery Lore
Type: Intellectual

The equivalent of school lore, except covering the whole of sorcery, not merely the spells of the school. But this is a hard skill, whereas school lore is normal. It may be combined with school lore, to increase a character's knowledge of sorcery spells. This skill can also be used to identify a spell being cast, and the school of the caster, the nature and power of a sorcery enchantment, etc.

 

Spot Hidden
Type: Perception

The skill of seeing hidden things, searching effectively, etc. If things are hard to find, a resistance roll may have to be overcome.

 

Summoning
Type: Magickal

The skill of summoning creatures or spirits. The POW of creature or spirit that can be summoned or controlled will be directly related to Summoning skill, and forming a permanent tie with the summoned creature or spirit will require POW sacrifice. Note that while summoning skill covers the practical art of summoning, knowing what to summon requires a magical lore roll or a scroll giving this information. For more details, see the magic rules.

 

Swim
Type: Athletic

This skill measures swimming ability.

 

Throw
Type: Athletic

Covers throwing things. Misses are not harmful, unless a fumble is rolled {or grenades are being thrown}.

 

Track
Type: Perception

Identifying and following animal trails.

 

{Weapon} Attack
Type: Athletic Difficulty: Varies

Covers attacking with a weapon, as discussed in the combat rules. Common cultural weapons, for the lunars include the 2H rhomphaia, a curved blade on a spear shaft, which is a D12 weapon on the lethality chart, spears both one and two handed, which are D10 weapons; scimitars which are D10 weapons, and curved short swords and daggers, which are D8 weapons. Maces and axes, usually D10 varieties are also used by the Lunar Tarshites. Sartarites like big straight swords or axes, which can be used 1H as D10 weapons or 2H as D12. Grazelanders usually carry a long spear, and a short spear, with a dagger for backup.

Sartarites like long war bows, though they also use short bows. Grazelanders favor short handy comp bows, that are easily used from horseback but count as normal bows; some of their warrior use heavier comp bows with long bow punch also usable from horseback. Lunars tend to rely on offensive spells and javelins more than on bows.

Some people from the Holy Country use Crossbows.

How these weapon skills are used in combat is discussed at greater length in the combat chapter.

 

{Weapon or Shield} Parry
Type: Athletic Difficulty: varies

 

This is the skill of parrying as described in the Combat Chapter. Lunars tend to favor Large, and Sartarites medium, shields. Grazelanders usually carry medium or even small shields. Rhomphaia using lunars parry with their weapon, not because it is a good idea but because they have no choice. Many rhomphaia users also carry shield and sword.

Increasing Skills

Skills are increased on the "check system". A character gets a skill check every time he either crits or fumbles. A character also gets between three and nine checks per session, two thirds of which {rounded down} must be used on the character's archetype, cult or focus skills. One of these checks may be used instead as a POW check, described below. The skill checks awarded at the end of an adventure may only be put into skills with which the character is familiar, or which the character has an opportunity to train in. In practice, this comes down to skills chosen at character creation, skills listed for the character's archetype or cults, or those for which an opportunity to train arises as a favor or in the course of game play.

Skill checks from either crits or fumbles are always side effects. They should never be allowed if the primary purpose of the skill roll was to see if the character would crit or fumble and qualify for a check.

Skill checks resulting from adventuring experience, or the result of fumbles or criticals in combat, are rolled at the end of the game session. If it matters, and it usually does not, it takes two game days per check to assimilate the lessons of experience.

An archetype skill is any skill specified in the character's archetype description, a cult skill is any skill specified in the cult write-up of a cult in which the character ranks initiate or higher, and a focus skill is any skill in which the character is unusually interested due to his history or game experience. Focus skills can only be chosen with the approval of the GM.

To "make" a check, and thus go up one in the skill, the player rolls D100, and adds the appropriate modifier as defined above under character creation. If the result is greater than (skill * 5), or 95, whichever is lower (that is any roll which after addition is greater than 95 results in an increase in skill, even if skill is 20 or higher), the character's skill increases by one point. If the roll is 50 greater than (skill * 5) or 95, whichever is lower {this can happen when training or HeroQuesting raise effective skill rolls}, the character's skill increases by two points.

Sometimes, characters can secure training. This is done by having the trainer give up one check to take time to train the other character, and the character trained gains 10 times the difference in skill, or 30, whichever is lower, for his skill roll. For example, two characters have agreed to cross train each other; one in Ceremony and the other in Scimitar Attack. This costs each of them one check. The Scimitar attacker has a skill of 15, the guy he is training has a skill of 12, the guy being trained gets a +30 (three times difference in skill}. The Ceremonialist has a skill of 15, the guy he is training has a skill of 6. The Ceremonialist's training would be worth 90 {9 times the difference in skill}, except that training is never worth more than 30, so the guy the Ceremonialist is training is only plus 30. On the face of it, it still looks like the Ceremonialist is giving up more than he is getting, but maybe he really wants to increase his weapon attack.

Weapon attacks bring us naturally to the subject of script immunity, most often invoked in response to enemy weapon attack.

Script Immunity

In a campaign, where the GM's story is often built around the assumption that the central characters will survive, as in most fantasy novels, an unlucky sword blow can be a real problem. So every campaign character gets a bonus of three times, that he can force his enemies to miss when they would have killed him, be seriously injured after a fight instead of killed, etc. Script immunity may only be invoked with the consent of the GM, each use costs one point of script immunity, and when it's gone it's gone. The idea here is to provide a cushion against bad die rolls wrecking a campaign, without giving the campaign's protagonist characters a license to act in a completely stupid manner. Script immunity cannot be carried over from one campaign to the next. On one off runs, characters usually do not have script immunity.

The most frequent reason for invoking script immunity is bad luck in combat, so this leads us naturally to the combat system.