Skills Determination

After you have selected, rolled and calculated the various attributes that make up a player character in Beyond the Mists, it is time to overlay the skills that the character has developed. The first task is to select (or verify) a Skill Cluster. This is a suite of skills appropriate to various paths of training within a feudal/mediŠval/fantasy society. There are manual and mental skills typical of a young adult prepared for a career in a particular field in each Cluster. These have been carefully balanced to make each Cluster similar to all the others in general capability. Where one Cluster is strong another will be weak and vice versa. One effect of this balancing is that each Cluster takes a specific (often different) time to master. We will not concern ourselves with role-playing this development, but to account for it each Cluster will modify the characters base Age attribute.

There are six broad categories of skill clusters. The first four correspond to the Basic Proficiencies; Stealth, Physical Combat, Magic and Religious (Miracle). The others are based on proficiencies that are less suited to "adventuring" within a true mediŠval/fantasy society, but non-the-less existed, and provide for very interesting role-play (these categories are therefor optional, check with your GM before selecting any Skill Cluster from these two categories). These are the Mercantile and Scientific categories.

Selection of a Skill Cluster requires familiarity with your character and an understanding of your goals for that character. First take a look at the Basic Proficiency levels recorded on your record sheet. You should be familiar with the meaning of each ability type and its general range of variation (~3-20+). Begin considering the type of character you would like to play (you probably thought of this a little bit when you allocated your 60 Selected Attribute points). You may want to pay special attention to the Social Attributes, as you had little to do with their levels and may want to adjust your goals for this character accordingly.

Some comments on choosing Skill Clusters for your first (few) character(s):

  • Physical Combat Clusters are the easiest and most productive character types in the early stages of adventuring in the BTM world. They fight, they die. The starting combat skills are at competent levels especially if attributes have been selected with combat skills in mind. They have little skill in other areas, but there are generally opportunities for diversification.
  • Stealth Clusters are also good for beginners. Playing a Stealth character requires significantly more role-playing as the solutions to locks, traps and puzzles are often left to them. These characters should generally avoid close combat - especially as their skills improve, but can be a productive part of a young team in a "hack-and-slash" adventure by using thrown or missile weapons.
  • Religious Clusters are used in young teams primarily for their healing skills. They should avoid combat, if not on religious principles - at least on common sense. As their skills improve and their miracles become more powerful they can become outstanding team leaders as well as a potent force in adversarial situations.
  • Magic Clusters are the most difficult to enjoy in the early stages. They have few spell skills and those are not generally particularly powerful. Low Stamina levels seriously restrict the amount of spell casting young mages are capable of in a given situation.

Bonus Experience

Initial characters are given an experience "bonus" based on their Intelligence and Wisdom scores. This is to provide for additional skills that a young apprentice might pick up that were not specifically taught by the master. This experience may be used in one of two ways. The character may buy new skills or methods (base level) at a cost of 100 ep per skill and/or the character may improve existing skills or attributes per the rules on Character Advancement. Note that regardless of the skills acquired in this manner all time requirements are ignored. These are skills that the character picked up in routine training (or additional exercises during the training period) due to above average intelligence and drive. Unused Bonus Experience becomes regular Experience once the character begins play, this is not limited to adventuring, it includes meeting other characters.

Some comments on your first (few) character(s):

  • It is usually best in the long run to spend the bonus experience acquiring completely new skills. Future acquisition of new skills will be severely limited by the time of study and experience cost requirements so choose bonus skills that would otherwise require the greatest amount of study time.
  • The sub-100 ep bonus points left over from new skills acquisition are often best spent improving a marginal attribute. The skills test procedure generates odds (probability curves) such that a point or two added to low (sub 10) scores yields a considerable increase in success likelihood. Very low scores (sub 6) will often create automatic failures when the difficulty of the test requires that you roll more dice than you have score.

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updated on:   11 Feb 1999