Section Two: Expertise Descriptions
‘Areas of Expertise’, as listed here, are really a collection of different abilities focussed around a theme. They will contain many facets, not just those listed here. The GM may wish to add other abilities to fit in with their particular campaign themes or direction.
It is important to note that many skills, when taken in multiples, will give an equivalent to another skill. It does not give that skill and this equivalent cannot then be used to ‘bootstrap’ up the original skill, even indirectly.
Note that skills often have a letter in brackets after them. This means the bonuses that add to the ability to use them. ‘d’ is Dexterity Skill Bonus, ‘v’ is Sight Skill Bonus, ‘l’ is Learning Skill Bonus, ‘s’ is Stealth Skill Bonus, and ‘a’ is Awareness Skill Bonus. These will be explained later in rolling process.
Acrobat; gives tumbling & balance skills & adds 5% per level to climbing. Each level can also deduct one from the roll when required to make an agility check (e.g. to evade a dragon’s breath).
Administration; each level held gives the knowledge of how to forge official documents (writing is needed) at 20% (d) & adds +2 to the reaction from officials. Each 3 levels held adds the skills for 1 level in Merchant.
Alchemist; Gives Sage pts: biology 1d3-1, alchemy 1d4+2, physics or humanity 1d3-1. Rolls give a minimum of 1 point.
Astrology; what you know varies with the level you hold (learning skill bonus is added):
I) vague prediction, as well you know the significance of element, planet, month, day, season & areas for magic,
II) slightly less vague prediction, gain knowledge of the significance of: hour, metal, gem, wood, number & week for magic
III) moderately targeted prediction, learn the significance of: colour, part of body, animals, places, finger, shape & cloth for magic,
IV+) increased accuracy for each new level, soon you won’t be a danger to those following your predictions.
Players must specify the means they are using to make predictions and have the equipment needed. It will take a minimum of 2-3 turns to use this skill. Anyone with III or more will start with their chosen tools (just not necessarily of the best quality).
Astronomer; what you know varies with the level held:
I) can navigate at night (& know the planets & when seasons change by the stars),
II) can identify some stars & tell the month & week by them,
III) can make a basic star map & tell the day & hour,
IV)+ start being able to do scientific work.
Athlete: The character excels in physical activity. Each level held adds 5% (rounded up) to your charge & running speeds and 2% to the ability to climb. For the first level you also gain one point in a thrown weapon & add a further point at three levels & again at each further three. Each level also allows a deduction of one from all fitness based constitution rolls (e.g. during a forced march).
Biologist; Gives Sage points: biology 1d4+2, alchemy 1d3-1, physics or humanity 1d3-1. Rolls give a minimum of 1 point.
Botanist; Gives Sage points: biology 1d5+5 (plants only), alchemy 1d3-1. Rolls give a minimum of 1 point.
Bushwise; Each level held a character gains the skills ability to: track at 10% (v), have 30% less chance of getting lost (l), use small & large animal traps (10 & 5%) (d), move silently in the bush at 20% (s), hide in the shadows in the bush at 15% (s), 1% to climbing in a non-urban setting, & identify local & adjacent animals (40% & 10%) (l). As well they gain some knowledge of plants:
I) all local edible plants,
II) all adjacent edible plants, all local poisonous ones,
III) further areas edible plants 10%, all adjacent area poisonous ones, etc.
Cook; able to cook. At level III start identifying edible & poisonous plants (10% per level) (v & l). The main advantage of cooking skill is that it greatly reduces the chance of a party catching food poisoning.
Courtier; you know how to flatter and to use manners to get your way. For each level held the character gains: +3 reaction from officials, +1 on obedience from servants etc & +6% on rumours & gossip (a).
Disguise; this skill is added to by a dexterity bonus. It also covers the ability to use makeup usefully to temporarily enhance or change a character’s appearance roll.
Earthwise; each level held a character gains the skills ability to: avoid becoming lost underground at -30% (l), move silently underground (s) & detect underground traps & shifting walls etc at 20% (v). Each 3 levels held gives the same skills as 1 level in Miner OR Value gems OR Prospector (the player must specify which).
Engineer; this is how things work and how they are made. It gives Sage points: biology or alchemy 1d3-1, Physics 1d4+2, Humanity 1d3-1. Rolls give a minimum of 1 point.
Farmer; for each level held: find & identify cultivated plants at 20% (v & l), predict weather & find water both at 5% (v). For each three levels of Farmer held the player automatically gains one level in Carpenter, Mason or any other Trade that is appropriate to local agriculture.
Fisher; for each level held you can catch fish (15%) (d) by a method you specify. Depending on the place of origin of a character this may involve knowledge of rods, nets, fish traps, tickling or even aquaculture. Each 2 levels held may (depending on where you are from & at GM discretion) also give 1 level of sailor in addition and for free.
Gambler; each level held will help shift the odds +1 in the player’s favour when indulging in a chosen ‘game of chance’. This is not how to cheat, but a knowledge of the odds & tactics. You will usually start the game with a pack of cards, pair of dice or similar.
Games: for each level held the player gains 1d3+1 points that can be spent on any one game or skill used for recreation. Games are distinct from gambling, although they can still be used to win or lose money. They involve more skill & less chance & can be either physical or mental. What games players would have available to them will depend on their culture & social level. Games typical in many settings would include: chess, draughts, Nine-men’s Morris, boule, skittles, real tennis or backgammon. You could even include dancing for recreation. Oriental cultures could have go or mah-jong. You may start the game with some equipment for your chosen game.
Geographer; what you know varies with the level that is held:
I) know your local area & can do a rough map of The Land,
II) know adjacent areas well & has fair maps,
III) know most of The Land & has good maps,
IV) knows The Land in fair detail,
V) from here they will know that the world is round & can start to think about calculating its size. Player starts having knowledge that other continents may exist (without having been there) & can map reasonably well.
Heraldry; Heralds were the messengers, masters of ceremonies & social reporters of medieval times. They even ‘kept score’ in tourneys & wars. Gain basic knowledge, increasing with the amount held including announcements & precedence. Exactly what this is consists of is up to each individual referee & their knowledge of the subject as most may wish to ignore it in a campaign. Each level held by a character gives a 10% (l) chance of identifying the holder of a set of arms that is current & 5% (l) of identifying an extinct set. Heraldry helps if dealing with nobles for any reason (+1 reaction per level). In some areas some Heraldry is a part of growing up.
Housekeeper: This will give the skills needed to run a house, everything from washing & cleaning to buying supplies & doing the accounts. At each level gain +1 from officials. At skill levels 2, 4, 6 etc add or subtract one (as is most favourable) from trade deals as if a Merchant.
Hunter; for each level held a character gains the skills ability to: track (v) at 10%, hide in shadows (s) & move silently (s) in the bush at 15%. They also gain 1 skill point in either bow (or other missile weapon commonly used for hunting locally) or hunting spear.
Husbander; For each level held: control & train animals (l) at 20%, find water (v) 10%, predict weather (v) 5% & 1 point to be spent on riding, chariot, cart or some other form of animal or transport control. For each three levels held the character gains the ability to cure animals as if they had one level as a veterinarian and also gain one level in the trade of Leatherworker. Skilled husbanders are needed to control & care for any pack or draught animals that a party may have with them.
Juggler: for each level held the player gains +3% on all dexterity skill bonuses, as well as an increased ability at juggling. As well gain a:
I) basic skill in juggling,
II) increased skill as juggler & 1 point in a thrown weapon,
III) better juggling plus extra point in a thrown weapon etc
Juggling with another person, without extensive practice with that person, is done at two levels below the lowest skill level of the two. With 3 people this is 3 levels & so on.
Language; 1d3+1 extra language points per skill level held.
Law; what you know varies with the level held and the learning bonus applies:
I) local laws at 20%,
II) local laws at 40%, another culture at 20%,
III) local laws at 60%, another at 40% & a 3rd at 20%,
IV) local laws at 80%, 2nd at 60%, a 3rd at 40%, a 4th at 20%
V+) continue this on
Knowledge of the law at a level of over 100% is not a problem as this refers only to normal problems. An excess of knowledge will assist in solving exceptionally complex problems. This skill allows characters to draw up contracts & charters. Knowledge of laws is not necessarily the ability to argue in court. Most pleaders will also have rhetoric as well.
Lore (l): For each level held as a skill roll 1d3 +1. The character gains the ability to ‘recognise’ a historical item at this score multiplied by 5% if it comes from an allowed culture. The character knows myths, legends and verbal history of a particular culture. It should be noted that exceptionally powerful or famous items will have cross-cultural significance. This skill will also help anyone who wishes to compose historical poems or songs.
Merchant: for each level held gain 1 on all trade negotiations (as is most favourable) & +3% (a) on rumours & gossip. A merchant also gains the ability to argue (as for Rhetoric) at 3% (l) for each level held.
Miner; A character is able to dig well, make safe tunnels etc. For each level held they gain the ability to detect shifting walls & underground traps at 25% (v). This skill can be very useful to a siege engineer.
Mountaineer: for each level held the character gains the ability to climb unaided (free climb) at 10%. This is a relatively rare skill. It also helps climb trees.
Music; for each level gain 1d3+1 skill points on any named instrument. As well as being able to apply this to normal instruments, these points may also be used for: singing, composing, writing poetry, storytelling, lyric writing & exotic dancing, each of which count as a separate instrument.
Physician; basically this means that a character can use a medical ‘kit’ to restore a person to 0 LFP from anything when they are unconscious, but not yet dead. They can stop the loss of blood, perform CPR etc. What else they can do depends on the level held:
I) know local medical plants at 7, adjacent medical to 5, using a medical kit cure 1d4,
II) know all local medical, adjacent to 7, distant to 5, using a medical kit cure 1d6.
III) all adjacent, distant to 7, far to 5, using a medical kit cure 1d8, gain +1 damage from weapons on all humanoids,
IV) all distant, far to 7 using a medical kit cure 1d10, gain +2 damage on all humanoids.
V) No more can be cured, but increased skill at diagnosis will identify diseases etc. Damage to opponents will increase to a maximum of +10 from knowing where to hit to maximise the effect.
NOTE all cures are once per set of injuries only.
Prospector: for each level held identify metals at 30% (l), identify gems at 20% (l), value both at 10% (l), find ore (if it is available) at 20% (v & a). Each 4 levels held gives the same bonuses as 1 level of the Alchemist skill.
Rhetoric: this is the ability to argue logically. For each level held gain +15% (l) in attempts to persuade such as speeches, legal cases & conversions.
Sage: the player gains points as follows: 1d10+1 points distributed on their BAPH scores, no more than half to any one. BAPH scores are the basis of the ‘science’ in this world. They refer to the four basic fields of study of Biology, Alchemy, Physics, & Humanity (which includes history). When seeking to answer a question a researcher will roll against the appropriate part of their BAPH score. Note that ‘history’ is different to ‘Lore’. ‘History’ is what is believed (rightly or wrongly) actually happened while ‘Lore’ is the tales, stories & legends that surround the actual event.
Sailor: this skill will give increasing competency in fair, medium & rough weather as well as increased survival chances at sea & the knowledge of how to tie knots. Each level gives a 5% chance of predicting the weather when at sea (v & a). Each three levels give the ability to know the stars as if they have one level as Astronomer. If, and only if, it involves climbing ropes, this skill adds 10% to climb.
Scribe; gives literacy levels (1d3) in one language, as well as calligraphy & illumination skills. Note, this is the mechanical act of writing and says nothing about the quality of the words.
Sex Appeal: to an extent this is a measure of how well you flirt and how good you are in bed. For each level held a character also gains +2 on reaction & +6% on rumours & gossip from the opposite gender (a). This is a skill often held (or developed) by prostitutes & Lotharios.
Ski: some areas may allow this skill as a possible one. In The Land it is only Wolfneck where this is normal. It is thus very rare and includes the use of all personal cross-country movement in snow (not dog-sleds). If held it will give 1d3+1 weapons skill points that can only be allocated to this area. Usage of the skill will be done on the same table as for riding difficulty.
Streetwise: for each level held gain the ability to follow undetected in an urban environment & move silently in an urban environment at 20% (s), hide in shadows in an urban environment at 15% (s), shoplift & pick pockets at 10% (d), as well as +6% to rumours/gossip (a) & at 1, 3, 5 etc a level in the disguise skill (d). Each 3 levels held gives the skills of 1 level in Merchant. Streetwise adds 1% per level to climbing in an urban environment.
Swimming; what you can do varies with the level held. It is not a common skill:
I) stay afloat, slowly move,
II) swim in normal conditions,
III) swim in difficult conditions, under water etc,
IV) increased competence.
Teacher; A character’s ability to teach depends on their skill:
I) teach to level of ability,
II) teach skills quicker,
III) teach skill quicker to level of ability +1 over what is held by the trainer,
Each level increases the speed of teaching & every 3 levels held adds +1 over the ability in that skill held by the trainer that they can bring a student to.
Tracker: for each level held can track in the wild at 30% (v), identify tracks (v) & hide tracks at 10% (d) & lay false tracks at 5% (d).
Trades; if not listed here, a trade skill gives the ability to perform a task. A minimum saleable level is skill 2, normal level to earn a living is skill 3 & the usual maximum is 10. This last is rare. It can be very useful for characters to develop a trade skill to supplement their income or (like Cooking) to help the group. Note that trades can give extra skills from this table (eg a jeweller should know some Value Gems)
Trapper; For each level held gain the ability to lay traps for small animals at 20% (d), large animals at 10% (d), detect snares & traps 10% & defuse hunting style traps at 15% (d).
Value Gems; For each level held gain accuracy in ID a gem, 50% (v & l), valuing it at 25% (v& l) & the ability to spot gem deposits (if they are available) at 5% (v & a).
Veterinary: similar to a physician; basically this means that a character can use a medical ‘kit’ to restore an animal to 0 LFP from anything when they are unconscious, but not yet dead (use table 12.4). What else they can do depends on the level held:
I) know local medical plants at 7, adjacent medical to 5, using a medical kit cure 1d4,
II) know all local medical, adjacent to 7, distant to 5, using a medical kit cure 1d6.
III) all adjacent, distant to 7, far to 5, using a medical kit cure 1d8, gain +1 damage from weapons on all animals.
IV) all distant, far to 7 using a medical kit cure 1d10, gain +2 damage on all animals.
V) No more can be cured, but increased skill at diagnosis will identify diseases etc. Damage to animals will increase to a maximum of +10 from knowing where to hit to maximise the effect.
NOTE; all cures are once per set of injuries only. Poisonous plants are known one level lower.
Wilderness survival: Each level gives a 10% chance of finding food & water (in other words, surviving) (a), as well as identifying plants & animals, a 5% chance of finding the way as well as basic survival information in a single given wilderness environment this includes making basic fishing equipment. It also helps climbing skills. This is bushwise for harsh terrain types. Unless stated all skills gain a learning bonus. In addition, for climbing Wilderness survival (mountains) and Wilderness Survival (forest) or (jungle) give an extra bonus of 10% in their respective areas and 5% in the other areas and in towns whenever the GM decides.
Writer; each level held gives an increased ability to write, including phraseology in a one language. It is the written form of rhetoric. Having this skill may lead to a person being able to read & write a language that they cannot speak.