Skill Expertise

Copyright Claudio Butticè © 2005

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"The more experienced person will know many things that the talented person will not"

There's a substantial difference between a person with talent, and a person with experience. While both may achieve similar results in the end, the more experienced person will know many things that the talented person will not. In Rolemaster terms, you can obtain a very high skill bonus (for example, +90) either by amassing lots of bonuses (talents, profession, race, stats, etc.) or by purchasing large numbers of ranks of that skill. With respect to game mechanics, there's no difference. With this optional rule, anyone that purchases at least 20 ranks in a given skill gains special bonuses, giving that character an edge over a very talented but inexperienced character This rule rewards players who devotedly spend their DP to master a limited number of skills.

The rule is simple: upon attaining 20 ranks in a skill, you apply the special expertise bonus indicated below; multiple expertise bonuses stack. Note that for some skill groups (such as Lore or Communications), there's no expertise bonus, because for those skills the number of ranks developed limits the knowledge available to the character. Furthermore, this rule encourages developing a collection of skills that complement one another, and it encourages players to keep buying ranks in their favourite skills as opposed to purchasing the perfect talents to generate heavenly skill bonuses. In other words, although it may seem appealing for power-hungry players, it's designed to benefit role-players.

Note: A stat-manoeuvre refers to any roll that is modified not by a skill bonus but instead by a stat bonus (usually triple the stat bonus). For example, the GM might have a character roll and add triple the character's Em bonus to determine someone's emotional state.

Artistic skills:

Acting/Mimery +5 to Disguise and Duping

Dancing +5 to Seduction and +3 to Appearance stat

Mimicry/Ventriloquism +5 to Communications category

Music +5 to Play Instrument (any) and Basic Math

Painting +5 to Read Runes

Play Instrument/Singing +5 to all Awareness manoeuvres involving hearing

Poetic Improvisation/Poetry Empathy bonus is +2 for all stat-manoeuvres

Sculpting +5 to Mining and all Craft manoeuvres that involving shaping or modelling physical objects

Tale Telling +5 to Public Speaking, Propaganda and Duping

Athletics skills

Any Athletic skill +1 to Appearance stat, and the difficulty of all manoeuvres involving that skill are reduced by 1 category (e.g., a Light manoeuvre becomes Easy)

Weight Lifting Strength bonus is +1 for all stat-manoeuvres and for all formulae involving pure Strength (such as minimum Strength required to wield some weapons), Encumbrance penalty is reduced to --6 per weight increment (from --8).

Awareness skills

Alertness +5 to all Awareness · Searching skills

Combat Awareness Any foe attempting an Ambush manoeuvre suffers a --5 penalty (in addition to any penalties from Sense Ambush)

Detect/Set/Build/Disarm Traps +5 to DB vs. all attacks coming from traps

Direction Sense +10 to Spatial Location Awareness

Lie Perception Character can "read" superficial emotions (as the Empathy talent) with a successful manoeuvre

Locate Hidden +10 to Detect Traps

Observation/Sense Awareness Maximum range for sight and hearing increased by 25%

Poison Perception +10 to Use/Remove Poisons

Reality Awareness +10 to SCSM of all Detection or Presence spells

Sense Ambush Character can always react with at least 30% action when ambushed or surprised

Spatial Location Awareness Concentration required to perceive surroundings is reduced to 70%

Surveillance/Drowsing Hours of sleep required each day reduced by 1

Time Sense Treat caster's level as 1 higher for all spell durations

Tracking/Read Tracks Can attempt to read or follow ancient trails (treat as a special --100 manoeuvre)

Combat skills

Any Weapon Skill --1 to Fumble range with given weapon

Body Development +10% Exhaustion Points, +5 to all RRs involving physical pain or torture

Disarm Foe +5 to disarm a specific weapon type (e.g., hammers)

Feint +5 to any attempt against a specific fighting style (e.g., sword/shield or pole-arm)

Jousting (Lancing) +5 to Mounted Combat

Mounted Combat +5 to OB when performing a mounted charge

Quickdraw Quick-drawing a weapon does not take an action (i.e., it does not count against the limit of three actions in one round)

Reverse Stroke Choose an additional weapon category for Reverse Stroke skill to attack with half skill OB

Subdual Character can choose to reduce the concussion damage of any blow he delivers by 20%

Swashbuckling +1 to Initiative with all melee weapons of one category

Two-Weapon Fighting/Weapon Style Character can teach this style to other people

Craft and Technical/Trade skills

Administration All income derived from this character's administration is increased by 5%

Any Crafts Skill +5 to all Craft manoeuvres involving a specific object chosen by the master craftsman (e.g., axes for Weapon-Crafts, spoons for Carving, etc.)

Appraisal/Evaluate Character can discover if an item is magical by making an Absurd manoeuvre

Architecture 10% fewer building materials required

Begging +5 to Trading and Duping

Dowsing Can perceive if water (found by dowsing) is potable or not

First Aid/Use Prepared Herbs/Second Aid A successful manoeuvre heals 1d3 hits

Gambling +5 to Lie Perception and Duping

Hypnosis +5 to RR vs. all m type spells

Mechanition/Engineering/Gimmickry Machines have 15% more hit points

Military Organization Command Potential increased by 10% (see War Law, 22.2.2)

Mining +5 to all manoeuvres involving a specific mineral

Mapping/Cartography +5 to all manoeuvres involving a specific region type (e.g., mountains, coasts, cities, etc.)

Midwifery One of the child's potential stats is improved by one category (e.g., 70 becomes 75, and 90 becomes 92)

Operating Equipment +5 to all craft manoeuvres involving the specific equipment

Orienteering Improve miles travelled per strategic turn by 15%

Prepare Herbs/Poisons Increase effects, or reduce delay until onset, by 10%

Sailing/Navigation/Boat Pilot Improve miles travelled per strategic turn by 20%

Siege Engineering Siege weapon's range improved by 10%

Surgery Recovery time reduced by 10%

Tactical Games +10 to Tactics

Tactics +5 to Unit OB (see War Law)

Magical skills

Attunement Time required to attune is reduced to 4 rounds

Channeling Can channel +15% more PPs

Directed Spells +5 to all directed spells SCSM manoeuvres

Divination Difficulty of all manoeuvres are reduced by 1 category (e.g., a Light manoeuvre becomes Easy)

Power Perception +5 to perceive all spells from a given profession (such as Magician, Lay Healer, etc.)

Power Point Development +5 to RRs vs. given realm

Read Runes +1 rank to all known written languages

Spell Mastery +5 to all SCSM manoeuvres for the given list

Spell Artistry +5 to all manoeuvres involving a given effect (dragon-shaping, increased light, etc.)

Spell Trickery +5 to all manoeuvres involving a specific situation (casting from a hiding place, casting while talking, etc.)

Targeting Range difference for mistakes reduced by 25% (e.g., 15' instead of 20' for result of Failure)

Transcend Armor Dead Weight penalties to SCSM reduced by +10 (to a maximum of 0)

Influence skills

Bribery Reduces by 25% the amount of money (or goods) required to bribe target

Diplomacy +5 to all Influence manoeuvres involving a specific race

Duping +10 to Lie Perception

Interrogation +5 to all manoeuvres involving a specific type of investigation (e.g., crimes, prisoners of war, etc.)

Leadership Leader's level increased by +1 when determining LR (see War Law, 22.2.1)

Propaganda/Public Speaking/Advertising +5 to Leadership and Administration

Seduction +6 to Appearance stat

Trading Cost to purchase decreased by 5%, sale cost increased by 10%

Martial Arts skills

Adrenal Defense Half of Adrenal Defense DB can be used even in cramped environments

Adrenal Deflecting Difficulties reduced to "Very Hard" for thrown weapons and "Extremely Hard" for missile weapons

Adrenal Evasion Difficulties reduced to "Medium" for thrown/melee weapons and "Very Hard" for missile weapons

Adrenal Toughness +5 to skill against one specific type of damage (e.g., Krush, Slash, Puncture, etc.)

Any Martial Arts Skill +5 to DB when parrying with full OB (as for weapons)

Outdoors skills

Animal Handling/Mastery/Training Character can establish a lesser bond with the animal as the Companion spell (see the Summoner's spell list Animal Summons)

Animal Healing A successful manoeuvre heals 1d3 hits

Caving +5 to all Awareness manoeuvres when underground

Driving Action percentages required to control vehicle reduced by 5%

Foraging If manoeuvre is successful, one additional dose of herb is found

Herding Size of the herd that can be managed is increased by 50%

Hunting If manoeuvre is successful, one additional food manday is acquired (see Castles & Ruins)

Riding Action percentages required to control mount reduced by 5%

Star-gazing/Astronomy +5 to all Astrologer and Seer SCSM manoeuvres

Survival +5 to all Awareness manoeuvres within given environment

Weather Watching +5 to Navigation and Cartography

Science/Analytic skills

Advanced Math +5 to Engineering, Mechanization and Siege Engineering

Alchemy +5 to all Alchemist SCSM manoeuvres

Anthropology/Psychology +5 to all Influence manoeuvres with given race

Basic Math +5 to Trading, Navigation and Cartography

Research Time required to obtain information or to study a topic is reduced by 25%

Self Control skills

Adrenal Maneuvers Exhaustion Points required reduced to 4

Control Lycanthropy Action required reduced to 70% (from 100%)

Death Trance Time before recovering is increased from 1 min/rank to 9 rounds/rank

Frenzy Awareness penalty to distinguish friend from foe reduced by 10

Healing Trance Healing recovery times further improved by 10%

Meditation Increase subsequent manoeuvre bonus by +3

Mnemonics Increases DPs gained each level by +1

Stunned Maneuvering/Removal Difficulty is based on one fewer round of stun (to a minimum of one)

Subterfuge skills

Ambush +5 to OB when if successful Ambush manoeuvre is made

Camouflage/Hide Items On a successful manoeuvre, the item will remain hidden 20% of the time when searched magically (roll percentile for each attempt)

Counterfeiting/Forgery On a successful manoeuvre, the item won't be discovered as fake 20% of the time when analyzed magically (roll percentile for each attempt)

Disguise Can disguise other people without penalties

Hiding Light/Darkness conditions modifiers improved by one category

Picking Locks Time required to pick a lock is reduced by 25%

Picking Pockets Attempts are discovered only with Spectacular or Absolute Failure results

Silent Kill If the manoeuvre is successful, any further attempt to discover the assassination (e.g., Read Tracks, Situational Awareness, Spells) suffers a special penalty of --10

Stalking Armor manoeuvre penalties are reduced by 10 for all stalking attempts

Trickery +5 to Picking Pockets and Hide Items

Using/Removing Poison +5 to RRs vs. Poison

Urban skills

Contacting/Streetwise +5 to all Influence manoeuvres within an urban environment

Mingling +5 to all Subterfuge manoeuvres within an urban environment

Scrounging +5 to all Awareness manoeuvres within an urban environment