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New Skills/ New Uses For Old Skills

New Skills


New Uses For Old Skills

Crime and Punishment
Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003


Woman Vintage Manuscript Old Paper  - moshehar / Pixabay, New Skills, New Uses For Old Skills
moshehar / Pixabay

Ink & Quill
Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002

Although no new skills are offered to writers, the new usage of some existing skills warrants special attention. Foremost among them are Profession and Perform. Nearly all of the prestige classes presented here possess a minimum requirement for ranks in both a particular Profession skill and closely related Perform skill. However, it is important to note that apparently synonymous skills such as Profession (poet)
and Perform (poetry) are in fact two entirely different disciplines.

Profession (poet) measures the character’s ability to write poetry, while Perform (poetry) gauges her ability to recite poetry. Although the application of the Perform skill remains relatively self-explanatory, the proper usage of the Profession skill demands additional clarification. The character’s ranks in the Profession skill represent her writing abilities as well as her literary experience. Writers use the Profession skill to determine the quality of their written work.

For example, lyrical poets obviously write poetry. To calculate the caliber of a poet’s latest poem, the poet rolls a Profession skill check, modified by several factors. Prior to initiating the poem, the character must at least provide the title, type of poem and subject, although there are no limits to the details. The GM then awards the character a circumstance bonus or penalty based upon the merit of the poet’s ideas.

Circumstance bonuses ranging from +1 to +10 are strongly encouraged, especially for inspired concepts and hard work, while penalties are frowned upon, save for only the most banal and offensive poems. In addition to this circumstance bonus, the poet adds her Wisdom modifier and completes her Profession skill check. Writers then record the poem’s title, subject, relevant details and the modified Profession check. Any written work with a modified score equaling or exceeding 40 is considered a masterpiece. (Its effects on the character’s abilities are thoroughly discussed under the applicable prestige class heading.)

Although in many instances, only the most recent written work affects a character’s abilities, the recordation of all her works greatly enhances the character’s background. Only a handful of writers are celebrated for one work, the vast majority is lauded for a lifetime of literary treasures. Using Edgar Allan Poe as an example, his poem, “The Raven”, would appear as follows.

Title: “The Raven”
Poem Type: Lyrical poem with rhyme scheme
Subject: Death, symbolized as a black raven, stalks the poem’s narrator.
Profession check: 42 (masterpiece)

Other written works, such as plays, musical compositions and scholarly texts follow the same general patterns with only minor alterations. Scribes do not compose written works and cryptographers use Decipher Script to encrypt messages; hence these rules are not applicable to those classes.

Knowledge also demands elaboration. Although several general fields of Knowledge are discussed in the SRD, the list is hardly all encompassing. The following list supplements the areas of expertise accessible to anyone with ranks in the Knowledge skill.

  • Anthropology and Archeology (ancient ruins and humanoids, ancient history, legends)
  • Astrology and Astronomy (constellations, planetary movement, reading of omens, stellar phenomenon)
  • Botany (plants, fungi, sentient plants)
  • Chemistry (properties of chemicals, compounds, organic materials)
  • Geology (rocks, mountains, land masses, volcanoes)
  • Literature (epic poems, literary devices, mythology, plays, sonnets)
  • Martial Arts (fighting styles, combat)
  • Mathematics (algebra, calculus, geometry)
  • Music (instruments, hymns, reading music)
  • Oceanography (underwater life, fishing, sailing, navigation)
  • Pathology and Physiology (disease, anatomy, birth processes, causes of death). Each creature type requires its own ranks, i.e., Pathology and Physiology of humanoids is vastly different to the Pathology and Physiology of dragons.
  • Physics (inertia, motion, acceleration, gravity)
  • Sociology (cultures, traditions, city planning, streetwise)
  • Toxicology (organic and synthetic poisons, narcotics)
  • undead (vampires, Zombies, skeletons)

The only other skill necessitating additional awareness is Decipher Script. Cryptographers, masters of secret codes, use this skill to measure the difficulty class required to decipher any encrypted message. They also use the skill to decipher encrypted messages. The exact specifics on adjudicating the creation and breaking of coded messages is thoroughly discussed under the cryptographer prestige class heading.

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