Classless Skills & Powers
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In this section, the player purchases all of the characters other abilities. The skill trees in this section are broken up into major categories reflecting common groupings of skills.
At this point, characters receive bonus CP equal to three times their Bonus Proficiencies for Intelligence in CP.
Characters must select, and pay the initial CP cost for, a primary skill tree. All skills in this tree are thereafter purchased at the listed CP cost. All skills bought from other (secondary) skill trees are doubled in cost. The initial cost must be paid for all skill trees the character uses, including the primary tree (this initial cost is not doubled for secondary trees).
A character may buy more than one primary skill tree. The second primary skill tree has a doubled initial cost. The third costs triple, and so on. The Required and General skill trees are exceptions to this rule - they have no initial costs and skills purchased from them are always at the listed cost.
Many skills are labeled with prime requisites. If a character has a 16 or better in that ability score, the skill costs 1 CP less than the listed amount (after any cost doubling for skills from secondary trees). This does not affect skill tree initial costs. If there are multiple prime requisites (e.g. STR/STA and WIS/WIL) for a skill, the 1 CP reduction in cost only applies once per skill, even if the character has 16 or better in all listed requisite ability scores. "N/A" means that no prime requisite applies to that skill.
Some skills are labeled "Intermediate" or "Advanced," and denoted by one (*) or two (**) asterisks following the skill name. Intermediate skills may only be purchased during character generation if they lie in one of the characters primary skill trees. Advanced skills may not be bought at character generation time, only later in the characters adventuring career.
Listed under each skill tree are the class abilities or proficiencies from the Player's and DM's Option series which fall within the tree. Each skill tree is labeled with its initial cost. The skills are grouped into skill trees according to logical relations between the skills. Some skills are listed in multiple trees because they logically belong in two different categories. The skill tree descriptions indicate knowledge or abilities that should be available to a character for having paid the tree's initial cost.
In these optional skill trees, many skills have an Initial Value, which is the chance on d20 of succeeding with the skill. This initial value is modified by ability scores as per Table 44, S&P p.89. Spending additional character points can increase this skill rating. One CP can raise the rating of any skill that has a current rating below 10 by one point. Two CPs can raise the rating of any skill that has a current rating from 10 to 14 by one, and three CPs can raise the rating of any skill that has a current rating of 15 to 19 by one. Skills can even be improved above 20, for a cost of four CPs per point of improvement. A natural 20 always fails on a skill check, but a skill higher than 20 can be used to offset penalties in difficult circumstances. These improvement costs are not doubled for skills in secondary skill trees. So, for example, a character who wants to have a rating of 21 in Cooking (a fantastic chef!) must raise the skill from its initial value of 7, costing a total of 3+10+15+4 = 32 CPs. This level of skill would be truly world-class!
Time to Learn Skills
It takes time to learn skills, even for characters with character points to burn. Learning or improving a skill takes one week per CP the skill or skill improvement costs. This can be time spent "on the job" as long as the skill is being used or learned at the same time. So if our chef from the example above wanted to learn to be a master chef while out adventuring, as long as he cooked every day, it would take 32 weeks to reach his world-class level. If the character was not able to cook continuously, and was forced to eat iron rations often by the hardships of the adventuring life, the DM is justified in doubling the amount of time required to learn the skill. Similarly, if the character is cooking full time while being instructed by a master chef, the DM may be justified in up to halving the time commitment.
Default Skill Use
A character can attempt to use skills he or she does not have, as long as those skills lie in a skill tree the character has bought. The character can only use these skills for simple tasks, with results well below what a proficient character could achieve. For example, a default Armorer roll could enable a character to perform a temporary emergency repair of their armor, but would not allow them to create a new suit of armor. If the skill is in one of the character's secondary skill trees, the character can roll against the skill's Initial Rating at a penalty of -4. If it is in a primary skill tree, the penalty drops to -2. A default roll may only be attempted on skills with listed initial values and no prerequisites (unless the character meets the prerequisite).
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