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Skillsby Pasi Anias
The use of skills in a D&D game is meant to bring some extra depth into the character. Instead of just being a 2nd level fighter able to fight and spend money, the character can have various skills based on his background and hobbies. A young recruit to city guard could tell that he was raised in a farm (farming) by the Windrush river (swimming, boating). Being the youngest in a family of 5 children he had no hope of any kind of inheritance, so in his spare time he learnt to enjoy fishing (fishing) with his uncle, planning to become a fisher when his family could not support him. However, the first winter of living by himself (survival) outrooted the hopes of free living and great catches from him, driving him instead to try the career of professional soldier.
The system used IMC for many years with good results is described below.
The beginning character receives 4 skills, plus a skill/s for all attribute bonuses. The attribute bonus skills must be used on a skill based on that skill, except for INT which can be used on any skills. Negative bonuses do not count on gaining skills. As there aren't really so many skills on STR and CON one can use these bonuses in the weapon skills too (Boxing, Wrestling, 2 weapons, Blind fighting, Shield). The weapon skills can also be bought with the weapon mastery levels (IMC something like in the hero-rules, but You get more of them, and the damage table is omitted in favour of a Critical hit-system) too.
for example: A starting elf character with STR +1, INT +1, WIS-1, and DEX+2 would get 5 (4 plus 1 from Int) skills plus a STR skill, and two DEX skills.
The characters gain 1 skill (or skill rank) every 4 levels (5, 9, 13...) and every 400 000 experience point after the highest level (the Elves gaining their first after 10th level at 1 000 000 exp.) The skills have to be learned of course, often with a teacher, they don't just pop into the characters.
I'd also like to note that IMC everyone can read and swim (at 0) unless the character takes the disadvantage illiterate or unable to swim (yes, mine is a 'slightly' altered version of D&D)
The skills are ranked from 0 to 5. The rank gives a plus on the skill otherwise based on a given attribute. (Say a Hobbit with 10 int would have rank 1 (basic) in cooking, throwing d20 against 11 (10+1) when trying to cook a special meal for the very special Hobbitess...). Any given situation could furthermore give a negative or positive bonus on the dice (-3 for the cooking, as the Hobbit only has some wild onions and a nasty looking snake to cook from).
The major exception is the weapon skills where everyone has skill rank 0 to begin with.
Its important to notice, that the final attribute on the skill doesn't define the actual skill as much as the rank does. Here are some examples what each rank means:
0 = Apprentice level. Limited knowledge of the skill, not quite enough for a career. With 0 skill one would have to roll the dice whenever using the skill.
1 = Basic skill level. Enough to make a living with the skill (when applicable). One does not need to roll on the basic tasks of the skill. For example a hamlet smith, or a journeyman, able to produce low-quality iron from ore and hammer nails without rolling, mediocre iron, tools and other basic quality goods with a roll.
2 = Skilled skill level. Enough to earn full membership at the guild. Able to produce all basic goods without rolling. High quality goods with a roll.
3 = Expert. A highly approved professional. Head of the guild. Usually only produces fine quality goods often with personal improvements or artistic expressions. The best smith in High Forge.
4 = Master. A true master. Able to improve basic concepts and models of the profession. Every product is a piece of art. Expert on detail and quality. One of the best smiths of Rockhome.
5 = Grand Master. One of the most legendary professionals. Could be, that there doesn't exist a Grand Master in a particular skill at a particular time. One of the legendary Dwarven or Elven smiths.
The skills are listed for example. I have omitted the skill descriptions on most of them, as my originals are in finish, but Most of them are from gazetteers anyways. Mischa E Gelman made a good job adding skills from hollow world too, as well as improving the indexing.
Most of the skills are rather obvious but I have added some description on the ones I think might need clarification.
Porter (carries 1,5/2/3/4/5/6 times the encumbrance on the given speed. Has to load it very well though...)
Alternate Magics 7 (Other kind of magics... at higher ranks able to use it too)
Hypnotism (only a willing subject, not a magical thing) Magical Engineering 7 (building of magical items) Outdoorsmanship 7 (basic camping etc skill. Very important for travellers) Signalling 10 (using signals of light, voice or stones and sticks to communicate)
Sound Analyst (what is this voice I hear behind the door?) Spellcraft (creating new spells)
Honor 7 (Basic skill of the priest. 0 level expected from any devote worshipper. Must be defined, for ex. Honor Tarastia. Preaching, church etiquette etc)
Kof Culture (All knowledge of (Kof) skills define knowledge on given subject. These are just examples. Basic skills for sages and scholars) Mysticism 10 (basic knowledge of religions, charms etc. Very necessary for all looters of holy places. = level very common on religious or superstitious peoples.)
Weather 7 (prediction of it)
Close Magic (this is tricks and finger dexterity, not magic. Can be used to entertain or to other less humorous causes...) CONSTITUTION
Drinking (ability to withstand the effects of alcohol..) CHARISMA
Allure p3 (persuasion against the opposite sex.) Gain Trust 7 (To present ones real meaning and the trustworthiness, not used when lying)
Servility 10 (please master...Please don't hurt... poor Smeagol...) Ventriloquism (not the spell a skill often used to humour peoples...) EXTRA WEAPON SKILLS
Two-weapons (0=-6/-4/No criticals (-6 on secondary weapon, -4 on first weapon, no critical hits (yes it is a 'slightly altered' form of DD)), 1=-6/-3/only1Crit, 2=-4/-2/only1crit, 3=-3/-1/only2crit, 4=-2/-/only3crit, 5=-/-/all crits)
Blind fighting (0=-4, 1=-3, 2=-2, 3=-1, 4=-0, 5=+1 (surprise effect)) Shield (extra bonus to skill wielder according to the rank number)