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Skills

A skill is a learned ability. A character's ability to perform a skill is based primarily on instruction and practice time. The character cannot attempt some skills (like magic) unless he has spent enough in time and training to master it. Other skills, like Running and Jumping are innate abilities that can still be improved through practice. Most skills will fall somewhere in between. In such cases a character may attempt to perform the skill, even without training, as long as he has seen it or has some idea how it would be performed though he may incur a penalty.


Choosing Skill

Each character will start out with a customizable skill package based on his profession. The ARG System is a "classless" system, so after character creation the character is free to develop as his inclinations and circumstances allow. (The primary purpose of this is to speed up and simplify character creation. The GR is always free to create new professions and skill groups as well as alter existing ones as circumstances require.) These starting skills are divided into 3 general skill groups and 1 professional skill group for each profession. The player also has a number of optional skill groups he may purchase.

The initial value of each skill group is equal to the average of two attributes. The player also has 10 extra points to divide among the skill groups or used to purchase optional skill groups (at a cost of 3 points per group purchased). Of this new total, two-thirds of those points must be spent on specializing in specific skills. The remaining third is the default value of all other skills in that group.

Ragnar the Barbarian--an example

Ragnar has a PHY score of 4 and a VIT of 3. This gives his Athletics a starting score of 4 (he rounds up). He decides to spend 3 of his extra 10 points on Athletics bringing him to a total of 7 points. Since the first two of every three points must be used to specialize in specific skills, he can only apply 2 points toward his Athletics score. Of the remaining 5 points, he puts 3 into endurance, 1 into swimming and 1 into climbing. His athletics skills look like:

Athletics=2 (all other skills default to)

Endurance +3 (=5)

Swimming +1 (=3)

Climbing +1 (=3)


Skill Groups

Following, is a list of skill groups and the attributes that must be averaged to calculate their starting value.

General Skill Groups

Athletics (Physicality & Vitality)

Stealth (Physicality & Mentality)

Social (Mentality & Personality)

 

Professional Skill Groups (pick only one)

Magery (Mentality & Spirituality)

Renegade (Physicality & Mentality)

Warrior (Physicality & Mentality)

 

Optional Skill Groups

Animal Skills (Personality & Spirituality)

Artistic (Personality, Physicality & Mentality)

Medicine (Mentality & Spirituality)

Outdoor Skills (Physicality & Mentality)


General Skill Groups

Following is a list of specific skills that a character may specialize in. The list is not exhaustive.

Athletics

Stealth

Social

 


Professional Skill Groups

Magery

Renegade

Warrior

 


Optional Skill Groups

Animal Skills

Artistic

Medicine

Outdoor Skills

The GR has full authority to add subtract and exchange skills from skill groups or make up entirely new groups as needed.

Optional Weapons Skill Lists

While the weapons skills provided will probably be quite sufficient for those GRs who emphasize narrative and role-play and thus prefer a "rules-lite" system, other GRs may prefer that characters have more limited and more specific weapon skill lists.

Another option is to require the players to spend their specialization points on specific sub-skills rather than the broader weapon class skills. The GR may even (optionally) penalize the character if he attempts to use a weapon in a weapon class skill where he has not spent any points on a sub-skill.

One-handed arms

Two-handed arms

Because of their ability to either thrust or strike, quarterstaves can be used with either the Pole Arms skill or the spear skill at +2.

Flexible Arms

Projectile, aimed

Projectile, thrown

Please bear in mind, however, that this is a "basic" system. We will be providing more details on weapon skills for the advanced version.

Other Profession's Skills

Any adventurer is going need to know how to use at least one weapon. (Just about everyone does in Anghar.) Can a character in one profession buy a skill that belongs to another? The answer is yes. However, they do not get the whole skill group and every third point (which would normally be applied to the group) is simply lost.


Background Skills

Depending on his concept, the character may possess additional background skills. The number of skills and points available will depend on the character's breadth of experience. Some possible background skill groups include:

Agriculture, Brewing, Carpentry, Cooking, Bowyer/Fletcher, Jewelry/Gemology, Leather-working, Masonry, Mining, Pottery, Shipwriting, Smithying (Armor, Black, White, Lock or Weapons), Tailoring/ Weaving, Wainwriting, Woodworking...

Two fairly common background skills are Literacy & Swimming. Following is an optional method for determining a character's abilities with these two skills. If a character chooses to spend points on these skills, then rolling is not necessary. If the character wishes to roll for the chance to know these two skills, it must be done after all skill points are spent.

Literacy

The player makes an Average Social skill roll, adding his Social Class Level. On a limited success he can sign his name and recognize a few words (no lit bonuses). Other successes means he gets additional points to increase his literacy in his native language or purchase literacy in an other known language at a cost of 1 language per point. A success result= +1, Extreme Success= +2 and Critical Success= +3. And, no, the character does not get to continue to add his social class level in further language rolls.

Swimming

Determining the chance of a character being able to swim is similar to determining his literacy. Make an average Athletics skill roll after adding in the Native Locale number. (Add an additional point to a locale of 3 or higher.)


Skill Rolls

Most of the time, the player will simply tell the GR what actions he wishes to take and the GR describes the results. Occasionally, the players will want to do something difficult or whose outcome is uncertain. That's when a skill roll will be required. He does this by rolling d20 and adding the value of his skill (plus any special modifiers he may have). If the result is greater than that skill's difficulty (plus any modifiers the GR may have added) then he was successful. By subtracting the two numbers he can determine the precise outcome of the attempt. The formula for this is (Skill + d20) - (difficulty + modifiers) = outcome. The following table is provided to help in interpreting the results of the skill roll. Numbers in parenthesis represent negative number ranges.

Skill Roll Chart

d20

results

(20-19)

critical failure

(18-13)

extreme failure

(12-3)

failure

(2-0)

limited failure

d%20

results

1-2

limited success

3-12

success

13-18

extreme success

19-20

critical success

 

Semi-Open Ended Rolls

If a player rolls a 20, he rolls a second time and adds the result to the first roll. (Only one extra roll is allowed. If the initial roll was a 1, then a second roll is made and results are subtracted.

 

Difficulty Levels

Level

Difficulty

9

Very Easy

10+

(Special)

11

Easy

13

Average

15

Difficult

17

Hard

19

Very Hard

The hardest part of resolving character actions is setting an appropriate skill level. The skill difficulty level listed after each skill is only a suggestion for a "normal" situation. The GR is free to raise or lower the difficulty according to the actual situation. He should allow a good/bad plan by the PCs (as well as good/bad roleplay) to raise/lower the level by one or two points. Bear in mind that an average begining character will accomplish an average task 50% of the time. If, however, a character attempts a task for which he has no skill, a penalty should be assessed. Depending on the skill and the situation, the skills difficulty should at least be moved up one category in difficulty levels.

Note: Some skills are noted as having a "special" difficulty level. These are skills that may be opposed by another PC/NPC. The default difficulty is 10 plus the defender's skill value. Only one die is rolled to resolve these situations since since rolling two dice and comparing the results makes no appreciable difference in the odds of who wins. It would, however, lower the influence of skills and make the outcome more random. If the players absolutely insisted that they each roll a die, then ignore the automatic +10 to the defender.


Improving Skills

Characters improve their skills through practice and instruction. The amount awarded by the GR for skill development is based on three factors, frequency of the skill's use, the relevance of its use in game play and the quality of the player's role play while using them. After every adventure, the GR will award 1-10 experience points (EPs) on those skills he feels were relevant to the game (unless the characters are engaged in a long multi-scenario campaign, at which point experience points may be awarded after every major scene). The maximum experience points awarded to a single skill in a single gaming session is 10 EPs which should only be awarded for a truly outstanding use of a player's skill. It should be the highlight of the game.

 

Frequency

 

Relevance

 

Role-Play

+1

Used skill a few times.

+1

Used skill successfully.

+1

Some effort at roleplay.

+2

Used skill a number of times.

+2

Skill came in handy at a critical point.

+2

Skill played well. Good detailed description of actions.

+3

Skill used constantly. The character made a real effort to practice the skill.

+3

The skill was vital for the successful resolution of the game.

+3

Exceptional role-play. Everyone almost believed the player was the character for a moment.

 

After gaining 50 EPs through regular game play, the character must find an instructor to train under before he can apply a point of specialization to a skill or purchase a new skill in that skill group. After 100 EPs, a second point of specialization is gained. At 150 EPs, a point is added to the skill group, and then the total is zeroed out. The task of finding a teacher (and meriting his instruction) may be an adventure itself.