I have just been away in Norway learning to ski. I have returned, unbroken but in need of a rest which is a sign of a good holiday.
I had never skied before and the only other ice related thing I had ever done before was ice skating, which I do not enjoy and I am pretty terrible at. Those two factors are not unrelated in my opinion.
So as a complete newbie I enrolled in Ski School. After 1.5hrs I could start, stop, steer left and right, moderating my speed using the plough and use a ‘button lift’.
After day two I was using a T bar lift, using turns to moderate my speed and skiing with parallel skis. That was a total of 3hrs tuition in a group of 8 beginner adults and one instructor.
Over the week I was skiing an average of 45km a day. Less at the beginning of the week and more towards the end. The limiting factor was my physical fitness. I am pretty fit but here I was using different muscle groups to my regular sports.
That is enough about skiing…
Last summer I discovered a suitcase where one of the kids had put the little pad locks on the zip before putting it away. Obviously there was no sign of the key. It took me an afternoon but I taught myself how to pick the padlock. Not just that one padlock, I was so pleased with myself that I found about every padlock in the house and I managed to open those as well.
So if it takes about 3 hours to gain that first rank in a skill, possibly the most important rank as that negates that -25 and gives you your first +5, so a 30 point shift in your favour how fast do we allow characters to learn new skill?
I worked in adult education for just over a decade and it was commonly accepted that 20hrs of tuition was required to teach a specific skill. That is the burden I put on my players if they want to learn something through training. They need to dedicate 20 hours with a skilled teacher or instructor.
I found that when I was using RM2’s experience schedule as written that the x5 experience for the first time the characters did something really accelerated them though the first few levels. Later on when they were routinely killing Orcs they were getting far less experience. This lead to a slow down in level gains.
Slowing down the level gains is good in some ways as I find it harder to challenge characters that go over 20th level. They have too many spells and too many power points if they are spell casters and for the arms users the difference in OB between a 20th and 30th level fighter is not that great. It somewhat defies credibility that a villain would have a body guard of six 30th level warriors when those six could probably carve out their own kingdom they were so powerful.
This power problem shaped my game. Powerpoint multipliers are as rare as hens’ teeth and I made spell list acquisition as difficult as the RAW allowed.
Another consequence was that once players stopped advancing in levels so quickly it became almost impossible to learn a new skill and for something like a weapon, learning a new weapon would take years and would probably never get on a par with a weapon learned from first level. You pretty much had to make a binding choice as to which weapons you were going to use at character creation and stick to it.
How I treat learning skills and improving skills is well documented but this week has made me consider should skills be even easier to learn? I got 7.5hrs tuition over 5 days plus lots of practice time. If I include the practice then I am probably not far off the 20hrs I charge players anyway.
How do you deal with established characters wanting to learn completely new skills?