Rolemaster Level Bonuses

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There seem to be three philosophies when it comes to level bonuses. I bring this up because I have always used the first method below, I  have been seriously considering moving to the second option but following a discussion on the ICE forums and on the RM2 g+ community I think the third option may be the one for me. So let me explain the three options for level bonuses.

  1. Each level characters get a +1 to +3 bonus to all the skills in a selection of categories. So a fighter would get +3 per level in combat skills and +1 per level in outdoor skills. A magician would get +3 in magical skills and directed spells. The bonuses go up to 20th level to give a maximum bonus of +20, +40 or +60 with only one exception.
  2. In this option the bonuses do not apply per level but either per rank but to total bonus has the same cap.
  3. In this version to total bonus is given to the characters at first level but are capped at +10 to +30, half the bonus in the other two options.

The advantages to option two are that the maximum bonus is reached sooner which helps out lower level characters and that it stops a high level character from buying just a single rank in a skill and then adding a huge level bonus to it making the almost a master for just one or two DPs.

The third option has two effects. It makes low level characters very distinctive. Getting all of you level bonus in a single hit means that rangers are really good at rangery things and fighters are really  good at fighter type skills and so on. The other effect is when you are leveling up. In option 1 every skill in all the categories that your character has will improve by at least +1 to +3 regardless of whether you spent any  points learning those skills. In option 2 only the skills you bought  get the professional bonus added to them so that is not a problem. In option 3 you never have to recalculate level bonuses as that done during character creation once and for all. It does make a tiny simplification to the leveling up process and to character creation.

Having spelled all this out I cannot really decide which option out of 2 and 3 I like the most. Option 3 certainly gives the most competent beginning characters and the greatest differentiation between the professions at the lower levels.

RM Combat Hack: Missile Parry


Popular fiction is replete with master swordsmen deflecting arrows with their blades or martial artists knocking aside or even catching thrown weapons. In our efforts to reduce skill bloat and add a “cinematic” quality to game play we’ve allowed the ability to parry missiles along with the standard option of applying OB to DB against melee weapons. For simplicity we prefer to build it into the normal OB/DB mechanic but we have also play-tested it as a combat expertise skill as well.

Parrying a missile attack uses 2 modifiers: the missile parry modifier of the parrying weapon used (which models the utility of the weapon in deflecting a missile object) and the missile parry modifier of the missile itself (which models the size and speed of the missile). Weapon missile parry modifiers can be found on the “Weapon Attack Modifier Chart” posted on the RM Forum (you need to have a forum account to see and download). The download can be found here:;topic=17102.0;attach=3660

Missile Parry Modifiers are as follows:

Spear/Javelin/Axe:  -40

Dagger/Shuriken/Dart:  -40

Bow/Crossbow:    -60

Sling:   -80

In our current simplified version anyone can parry a missile attack under the following conditions:

  1. They must be aware of the attack.
  2. They must have OB to allocate towards the missile parry attempt.
  3. The allocated OB to DB must exceed the weapon and missile parry modifiers.

Ex. Caylis, the famed Warrior Monk is confronted by a powerful servant of the Unlife, a Messenger of Kulag. Before they can close and engage, the Messenger fires his short bow at Caylis. Caylis decides to full parry the missile attack. His 110 MAStrk OB is modified by +10 (parry weapon modifier) and the arrow is modified by -60 (missile modifier) for a total modifier of -50. Caylis can add +60 to his DB against the arrow.

Note that between the parry weapon modifier and the missile parry modifiers, a character might need a very high OB to offset those penalties and be able to add any DB against the missile attack. This is purposeful and reflects the high level of skill and weapon mastery needed to successfully parry a missile attack.

For those that prefer a skill-based mechanism and a more effective missile parry system we also play-tested “Combat Expertise: Missile Parry”

Missile Parry: This skill reduces the parry weapon and missile penalties associated with blocking or parrying a thrown object or missile. The skill must specify the weapon category to be used. For Unarmed MA, the skill can also be used to catch a thrown object or missile. The character must be aware of the attack and must have available “action” left. The catch attempt is resolved before the attack resolution: Treat as an Absolute Maneuver modified by the attack OB, Missile Parry Mod and Missile Parry skill bonus. Success the object is caught. Failure and the % failed by is added to the missile attack roll.

Ex. Caylis, the famed Warrior Monk is confronted by a powerful servant of the Unlife, a Messenger of Kulag. Before they can close and engage the Messenger fires his short bow at Caylis. Caylis decides to full parry the missile attack. He has +60 in Missile Parry: MAStrk which offsets the +10 (parry weapon modifier) and -60 (missile modifier) for a total modifier of -50. Caylis can add his full +110 OB to his DB against the arrow.

Alternatively, Caylis can elect to catch the incoming arrow in the hopes of impressing and intimidating his opponent. The Messenger fires his arrow. In order to catch the arrow Caylis must roll above 110! (110sb + 60 weapon modifier -60 Missile Parry skill bonus). He rolls an 82, short of success and the Messenger can add an additional +28 to his attack roll since Caylis intentionally put himself in the arrows path during his attempt to catch it!

Additional Options.

  1. We allow unarmed melee the same parrying ability as weapon melee. It’s implied that unarmed combat techniques incorporate defensive block/dodge/parry techniques into their respective combat systems. Additionally, “Parrying” has been defined as not just one specific, physical, blocking of a blow but the general balance between offense and defense.
  2. Because of this allowance we eliminated the skill “Adrenal Defense”. This always felt like a work around: since MA attacks couldn’t parry then there needed to be a mechanism for martial artists to dodge and evade blows.

Giving an NPC their Psychological Profile

A couple of weeks ago Loraedor posted an article called The Virtue Continuum which suggested the possibility of dice rolling personalities for PCs and NPCs alike to either provide a starting point for a new character or to give a psychological profile for an NPC.

The Virtue Continuum from Loraedor’s blog

The criteria were Integrity, Discernment, Love, Respect, Humility, Diligence, Temperance and Courage and just like rolling for a stat everyone falls on a scale from minuses to plusses against each stat and their profile would then influence their choices and attitudes. I think rolling an additional eight stats is over the top for my needs but these could be grouped quite easily into three qualities (integrity+discernment), (love+respect+humility) and (diligence+temperance+courage). I wonder though whether these are actually new stats at all.

As Rolemaster aficionados we know we already have ten stats to play with and I can see a parallel between diligence, temperance and courage and the RM stat for Self Discipline. I think love, respect and humility fall under Empathy and integrity and discernment are covered by Presence. Rolemaster stats give us a bonus range of -25 to +25 or with racial modifiers that becomes -45 to +35.

I do not roll up every NPC the characters meet, most merchants, waiters and gate guards are of little consequence but if the NPC has a part to play in the story is it too much preparation to just roll these three mental stats. If as GM you are planning on having the characters have difficulty entering the city after dark would it make a difference if the sergeant at arms was a fairly charasmatic figure (very high Presence) to his men or if he was a complete slob (very low Self Discipline)? I think it would.

I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. I know off the top of my head that a stat of 76+ gives a +5 bonus, 90+ gives +10 and so on. Creating a spreadsheet to give you 100 sets of three random numbers 1-100 is but a moments work. Given that you now have the stats for the next 100 people the characters interact with and combined with Loraedor’s Continuum an outline of their personality. I think this is as useful as the Character Law page full of default NPCs.

I have made my spreadsheet, or should I say I am making, and I keep making it a bit more sophisticated. It currently creates 20 random NPCs each wth a random race, rolls their stats and works out the stat bonuses and penalties including racial modifiers. It also rolls their appearance and adds their presence bonus to it and it is giving them a name. When I am finished I hop it will be able to generate any of the 20+ races from Character Law and Companion One but modified to reflect the races from Faerun (so Fair Elves become Moon Elves and so on). It will also be able to generate up to 1Million names by randomly picking parts of the name and stitching them together for each race. Right now it only has 75 names to pick from and 5 races but that is sufficient to get the thing working, everything else is just loading data and expanding ranges.

But I have digressed, the conclusion I reached from the Continuum was that rolling the three stats was worth the effort and made for a richer game that was easier to GM (easier to differentiate NPCs, easier to create personalities on the fly and easier to be consistent if the characters meet the same NPC in different game sessions).

Trump RPG: Low level characters and property ownership.


I was doing some work on the training packages we use the other day. Depending on the package, the player gets a starting kit, money, maybe a bonus item etc. Then it occurred to me that even a starting character has a good chance of being “landed” ie they own property. Thinking back over decades, I can’t ever recall giving a starting player land/building/business and can’t seem to think of a reason why not. Whenever a realization like this occurs I suspect the subtle hand of a fantasy trope guiding my thinking process. What reasons, good or bad, might have formed this mental model?

  1. The Hero’s Journey/Taran, Pig Farmer. Putting Frodo and Bag’s End aside, it’s pretty common for characters to be unknown, impoverished or “wet behind the ears” at the start of their adventures. Owning property and its implied wealth and value discards that trope and disrupts the Hero’s Journey.
  2. “Game Balance”. Starting players that own property wealth, leasable land/building or income producing business have too many resources which could allow them to buy better equipment, magic items that unbalances the game or removes the risk/reward proposition of adventuring.
  3. Ingrained “western medieval caste system” trope. The common allusions of a fantasy setting to western medieval feudalism re-enforces the idea that only the powerful (high level or royalty) are landowners and the rest are crofters/lease-holders.
  4. D&D. Obviously the founding game system has set the standard for many Rolemaster mechanisms that we take for granted now: invisibility until struck; turning undead by “levels”; Mages have Sleep, Charm, Fly, Fireball; permanent effect magic items etc. D&D also established the progression between character level and having henchman, followers and strongholds. Land and property are directly equated to character level and power.

So why not allow for starting players to own land? There is a lot of options between a thatched hut on a farm plot and a multi-story tenancy in a large city—it doesn’t have to be a hovel nor a large castle or stronghold.  A GM can choose easily choose a property that fits the setting and not give a 1st lvl player an unfair “advantage” (a better benchmark than “game balance”). A few thoughts:

  1. If you aren’t running a gritty “low fantasy” game,  having a small income mechanism for a player or the group eliminates the need for constant calculations of room & board cost.
  2. Similarly, having a reliable, safe place to dwell, organize or hide out gives the group a base of operations and a foundation for future adventuring.
  3. Having a “base” can help with group cohesion. They can fortify, improve, trap or modify it for their own needs. Secret doors, hidey holes, safes etc give them a common purpose and a convenient staging area between adventures.
  4. The property itself could be a great adventure hook. I’m not suggesting “Real Estate RPG”—but being robbed, having the property seized or even starting a business or legitimate “Adventure Group for Hire” could add to the game. Have one of the players inherit a small tavern—what better way is there to immerse the group in local events, intrigue and drama!

In the bigger scheme of things a small building in a city worth a few hundred GP’s will quickly seem like  a small value to a group that adventures for magic, gems and gold worth thousands. A starting character with leasable land or property that generates a few silver a month will quickly outgrow that need for such income. However, at the start of the game or campaign that property could provide the hook for the initial adventure, be a safe haven for a low powered group and a common foundation for the group’s identity.


Getting PBP notifications – Update (RPoL Notifier)

RPol Notifier on Google Play

Just a quickie today. This is an update to a post I made last year. I promised to let people know if I found a solution to a problem I was having getting regular updates from

I was looking at some of my old posts this week and I discovered the Getter PBP Notifications post in which I promised to update people if I found the solution. A few weeks ago I did solve this problem!

There is an Android app called RPoL Notifier [Unofficial].

RPol Notifier on Google Play
This app ONLY notifies you if there are updates on RPoL, nothing else. It creates allerts on your phone or tablet telling you which game has new posts.

So far it works perfectly reliably for me and I am very happy with it. There is no iphone official app but there is an unofficial APK download if you run android apps on your iphone.

I now consider this issue solved.

Prepping for Atmosphere

I have one player who loves maps and mapping any and all dungeons and buildings the party enter. There is nothing inherently wrong with the party mapping. In fact the character has bought copper plates and a stylus exactly for mapping their route.

My issue is that mapping the parties progress kills the atmosphere in  the game. It can become almost mechanical, the party enters an area, everything stops while the player updates the map, play continues, rinse and repeat.

I am considering using preprinted map sheets with a black card overlay. The card will have a circular hole cut out to represent the light shed by a torch or lantern. It  the player then wants to sketch what  he sees then that is fine. I may need a couple of extra bits of paper to mask off bits that the top  page may reveal that the players don’t know but it all seems extremely easy to do. Part of the problem is, in my opinion that it is too  easy to fall into the trap  of describing interiors in a location by location way. It seems natural to describe somewhere right up to the closed door, knowing that the door will stop the parties progress and line of sight. Once they  have opened the door then they can see what lays beyond and react to it.

If on the other hand one started to treat both sides of the barrier as a single location what happens when the party approaches the door can be scripted in to  the adventure notes.

The same thing happenso of course if the GM knows the entire map and every location off by heart but I cannot retain that amount of information.

So what I  am starting to do is insert additional locations into the adventure modules with this overlap information incorporated into it. The first time I did this it occurred to me that my style of describing the location was different to TSR’s. So to make the thing more consistent I then rewrote all the location descriptions.

Now if you are writing descriptive text you may as well pour on the atmospherics at the same time. I have nearly finished updating  every location in  the next module the party are going to tackle and I seriously think it is much darker and atmospheric than the original which considering they are going to be investigating a tomb is just about right.

What struck me is that the original texts had very little mention of smell and sound. They would tell you how a room looked but little else unless it had a direct impact on the plot. No mention of dripping water, creaking timbers or the sounds of rats scurrying overhead. Likewise the frequent bodies found in rooms have obviously been recently given the once over with a monster sized bottle of fabreeze.

So this week I am  going  to have to set about redrawing all the maps to  a larger scale to  use at the gaming table.

Nemeses: Introducing “Newman Groups” into your campaign.

Newman NEWMAN!!!

One of the more enjoyable elements of my past campaigns has been creating an opposing group of NPC’s that compete or thwart the party as their characters grow in experience and power. Seinfeld had his “Newman” and Indiana Jones had his “Belloq”; a fleshed out contra-group can add a personal and competitive feel to the gameplay more than just another nameless villain or mob-boss. Over a long campaign the relationship between the groups can evolve based on their shared experiences and conflicts and eventually lead to a final “reckoning” or confrontation.

This NPC Nemeses (Newman Group) doesn’t necessarily need to be similar in make-up to the PC’s but having similarities allows each PC to have their own specific nemesis as well. So there is a group vs group dynamic concurrent with a more personal and individual PC vs NPC dynamic.

Depending on your setting there are many ways to initiate a “Newman Group”.

  1. Opposing Gods. The most obvious mechanism for opposing groups is to have each group avatars of a pantheon or god. In Shadow World the conflict between the gods of Charon and Orhan sets that up easily.
  2. Opposing Employers. At lower levels PC’s are often just trying to survive, accumulate experience and wealth. Giving the PC’s a patron (Priest, Lord, merchant, scribe, mage etc) that assigns them tasks creates a tidy mechanism to start adventures. It’s only natural that such a patron would have an enemy or competitor that would also need their own group of henchman.
  3. The Unlife. Of course you could forgo subtlety and create an opposing group under the thrall of the Unlife. Perhaps they work for one of the 12 Adherants, the Priest Arnak or similar organization. This sets up a longer term campaign thread into the larger SW plotline.
  4. Familial or background element. Perhaps one of the PC’s has a brother, sister or family member they are at odds with. Jealousy, inheritance issues, rivalry or racial tensions could all be the spark to start the groups down the path of opposition.
  5. Friendly competition. Introducing the opposing group early only as a general competitor for a certain goal or treasure can leave the future open-ended. Later as the campaign progresses the groups could form an uneasy alliance to overcome a difficult task or transform into more serious and deadly rivalry.

The NPC group should plan, act and behave as the PC’s would. They will retreat or surrender when beaten; plan carefully when expecting an encounter with the PC’s and have their own goals, aims and desires. The more personal you make the relationship between your PCs and the Newman Group the more depth it will add to the gameplay. Once the rivalry is introduced it came become a great plot device to confound, frustrate and delight your players. Whether intentionally plot driven, random or capricious, the players will be left wondering as to the role of their nemeses when they encounter them!

Initiative, the third leg of the RM combat stool.


When it was first introduced in Arms Law the fluid concept of splitting a weapon skill between offense and defense was very compelling. It helped that RM’s d100 system provided a larger result range than the competing d20 systems that allowed for any number of modifiers to be used within that basic framework: multi-attack, drawing weapon, parry rules, combat modifiers etc. Mostly it was just intuitive and the allocation between offense and defense added a layer of combat strategy within a simple die roll.

However on facet of combat has been the subject of repeated rule revision and discussion: an effective initiative system. These solutions generally involve 2 components: a roll (d10, d100 etc) modified by the characters Qu. Whichever system is used, the purpose is to determine who will act or attack first—an important consideration in a system that can result in decisive criticals.

If you haven’t seen our weapon specific modifier table posted on the RM Forums I would encourage you to do so. You can find the document link here:;topic=17102.0;attach=3660

RM/RMU generally sets combat modifiers at fixed rates regardless of the weapon size, speed or function. For instance, drawing a weapon is generally -20 whether you are drawing a dagger or a 2H sword. Attacking multiple foes incurs the same penalty per/target no matter if you are using a pole arm or unarmed combat. It seems like a system that models weapon efficacy with individual combat charts can better model other weapon characteristics. In fact, even the earliest RM had weapon stats for “speed” and “length/reach” but never an elegant solution for incorporating them into combat without clumsy or complicated rules.

Our initiative combat hack brings the initiative system into the offense/defense duality, includes weapon specific factors, eliminates the need for a beginning declaration phase and adds a component to combat initiative beyond “order of action”. A new tactical “triumvirate” of combat! How does it work? Let’s lay out the parts:

Initiative (Init) = (d100) + (allocated skill bonus) + (weapon speed mod) + (Qu mod)

The character rolls d100, can allocate part of their skill bonus to the roll and then adds weapon speed mod and Qu mod. It’s important to note that these are in order of importance—Qu will often be the least important modifier. The concept, like the allocation between offense and defense, means that the character can opt for a quick strike or offensive series over accuracy or even defense:  a “wild, rushed, flurry of attacks”. Obviously the character can opt to allocate none of their OB to Init.—like parrying, this adds a tactical layer to the combat without any “one-off” rules. Weapon Speeds can range from 0 to 75 and thus are the larger part of the initiative roll when historically Qu has been the predominant modifier. This adds complexity to player weapon selection beyond its ability to deal damage.

Initiative Results: Normally initiative is used only to determine order of attack/action. Under these rules the winner of initiative also sets the “combat sphere”: the area/range that is most effective for their weapon. For opponents using the same/similar weapons this won’t matter, but for weapons with different combat ranges this can have a significant impact. So while the initiative roll uses “weapon speed”, the combat sphere uses “weapon range”. As a simple example visualize two combatants; one has a halberd and the other a dagger. The halberd has a slow weapon speed and the dagger has a high weapon speed. They roll initiative and the halberd user opts to allocate a portion of their OB to the Init. roll knowing that the dagger wielding opponent will have a speed advantage.

Combat Sphere: The winner of the Init., sets the “Combat Sphere”: the effective melee distance based on the weapon reach. Basically there are 4 broad melee ranges: Hand (1-2’ unarmed, dagger etc), Short (2-4’ handaxe, short sword etc), Med. (5-7’broadsword, longsword, battle axe) or Long (8’ whip, polearm, 2H). Alternatively, you can use the Weapon Combat Modifier chart linked above and use the proximity penalties. A penalty of -20 per range category is applied to the combatant who loses the Init. Returning to the “Halberd” and the “Dagger” combatants: Halberd wins the Init and decides to attack with his full OB. Halberd is positioned for the attack at the optimal reach of the Halberd. Because Dagger lost Init. he is outside the effective range of the dagger and is at -60 (Hand to Long range -20×3). Dagger can allocate remaining OB (been reduced by 60) to parry. If Dagger doesn’t have any OB remaining he can’t allocate to parry but is allowed to attack modified by the negative OB.

Note that if the Init. results were reversed, Dagger would have moved in close to Halberd, effectively nullifying the long weapons attack advantages. In this case if Halberd survives the attack he could elect to drop the Halberd and draw a dagger, but OB would be furthered reduced by the weapon draw penalty on the Weapon Combat Modifier chart.

Parry Declaration: No parry declaration is needed at the beginning of the round: both combatants can allocate OB to the Init. roll and then the winner of the Init. can decide the OB/DB split and the loser of the Init can decide DB as a response to the winner’s attack.

Summary: Adding the “combat sphere” not only simulates weapon reach in combat but it increases the importance of Initiative beyond determining first strike. Including Initiative into the skill bonus allocation (with OB/DB) reinforces the importance of Initiative and builds in individual weapon speed. This process is easily inserted into version RM combat, adds strategic choices for the players without new “one-off” rules, models weapon advantages and disadvantages on more than just damage, simulates the factors between combatants with widely varying weapons/reach and adds a “visual” aspect to melee with combatant positioning.

Different GM-ing Styles

I am a bit of a minimalist in almost everything I do. Below is a picture of my gaming table.

The RolemasterBlog gaming table
The RolemasterBlog gaming table

At this end of  the table you can see the adventure, one set of dice, a notepad, tablet PC for the PDF rules and shades. What else does the modern GM need? Tea, but you can see liberal cups of tea around the table so that is sorted as well. (Actually through the tea is in Brian’s honour as that is what he thinks British roleplayers only drink!)

(The creatures & treasures on the table is not mine, the cleric is into summoning beasties to fight for him.)

You can also see the post-it notes on the players character sheets that I wrote about recently. I really do not like having to rummage through rule books, companions and supplements while I am playing because if I am doing that then I am not playing. The game has to stop while I try and find the answer the players  asked for.

I am not the only GM in our group and bearing in mind that both of us had to ship our games half way across the UK to get to the hosts home this is what GM#2 brought as a minimum….

The Sorcerous GM's game notes.
The Sorcerous GM’s game notes.

The most amusing thing here are the ring binders on the left. They are the RMC PDF rules! The blue clipboards are our character sheets and everything in between is either companions or plot notes.

The only way I can get away with my ultra light gaming is in the pregame preparation. It doesn’t really take that long to make sure that each character has their spell lists printed out with their character sheet. I also try and preempt and rule questions. I look up the rules and the copy and paste the actual wording into a Word document. I then have a single compendium of the rules at hand with the book and page numbers in case we want to look further. In this game there was a risk of characterskills falling, drowning and being poisoned so I had all those rules to hand.

I also maintain a pdf of the charts and tables I use the most. This takes the place of the GM’s screen. I have found that there is one chart that I had not added to it that we have used twice recently so I have updated my PDF to include it.

None of these things take very long. I am pretty sure every GM reads through their game notes before a session and at that time to just check any rules that you cannot remember takes but a moment. What it saves though is at least an hour of lost game time when you add it all up over three days of gaming.

Another plus point is that combat runs really quickly now. In a RM game I played in for 15 years or so each combat round used to take up to 45minutes and we were not a massive party. In one day my players had seven combats and fought 18 creatures ranging from a couple of osquips through half a dozen  skeletons and an 8th level Hook Horror.

A hook horror
A hook horror

I know my game is combat heavy, it is a consequence of playing so infrequently, but there is no way we could have done so much in a single day running from the crate of dead tree.

But then that is just how I am happiest doing things.

RM Optional Rules: Alternate Skill Rank Bonuses & Aptitude Bonuses

I’m a bit off track with blog content but wanted to continue on the subject of skills that both Peter and I have discussed in the previous blog entries. All of these “rule snippets” are part of a larger “No profession” system that we use within the SW setting. While rules like “skill atrophy” can be used as a standalone option they are put of a broader rule ecosystem that allows for balanced character creation without the arbitrary limitations of the professions system. There are several other parts that might be worth exploring as options:

8.1  Skill Rank Bonuses

These rules use an alternate skill bonus progression. This progression follows a normal distribution curve where gains start low and then slowly increase per rank, peak and then slowly decline. This follows a more realistic learning curve, pushes the cost/benefit slope higher and avoids lower level players accumulating a handful of levels (leveraged by stat bonuses) to generate a broad range of skills with minimal investment. Note that we also use unlimited skill progression with stepped cost. So it is possible for a low lvl player to be a “prodigy” by dedicating all of their DP’s to a single skill and at the opportunity cost of all others.

# Ranks Bonus Total Bonus
0 -25 -25
1 1 1
2 2 3
3 3 6
4 4 10
5 5 15
6 6 21
7 7 28
8 8 36
9 9 45
10 10 55
11 9 64
12 8 72
13 7 79
14 6 85
12 5 90
16 4 94
17 3 97
18 2 99
19 1 100
20 1 101

+1/rank after 20th

7.1     Skill Aptitude Bonuses

Since we don’t use professions we don’t have traditional professional skill bonuses. Instead the players get “aptitude bonuses” they can place on any skills. Players can choose from 3 options to assign Skill Aptitude Bonuses. Each character gets a total of 6 points that can be used in ONE of the following choice

  1. +1/skill rank to each of 6 separate skills
  2. +1/skill rank to 3 separate skills AND a +2/skill rank to 1 separate skill
  3. +3/skill rank to 1 skill