Tag Archives: learning

The Language Skill

I like the idea that characters, even ones with a limited INT score can learn additional languages and dialects as they play. Going back to the example of Conan the Barbarian, I’ve seen character sheets that have him with 12 INT, but he knows a smattering of a dozen languages or more. However, he probably didn’t know much more than the basics; what’s needed to deal with regular people, soldiers, the local guard. In many cases, people in Hyboria spoke several languages, which made translating and teaching a new one much easier.

In that same vein, I think that characters should have the opportunity to learn new tongues if there’s enough exposure to it and they make an effort to learn it, no matter what their intelligence is.

Also, as an optional rule, only a single language or dialect can be learned or improved on per half year.

Previous posts on Skills:

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Training and Improving Secondary Skills in Labyrinth Lord

Here is the previous post on Crafting and Secondary Skills is here.

Training Basics

To learn a skill, one needs to train in it. The training to achieve each Rank is expected to be extremely intensive and involved. The length required to earn a Rank in a skill is broken into Sessions.

Sessions in Novice and Proficient are 1 week long. Sessions in Expert and Master are 4 weeks long.

At the end of a particular Session of training, a percentile roll is made based on the Spell Learning Probability Table (now Skill Learning Probability) to see if the information is retained correctly. Learning a new skill is always based on Intelligence for that reason. Each Skill has a Major Stat and a Minor Stat, such as a WIS and DEX. Depending on the the score the character has in his Minor Stat, he may get a bonus to the Skill Learning check. A 15-16 gain +5%, 17 gain +10%, 18 gain +15%. The maximum probability is 99%. See the table below.

Failing a Skill Learning check at any Rank requires that another week of training be performed. This extra week occurs directly afterwards and requires no Skill Learning check as one hopefully learned their lesson the second time around. It’s up the DM to decide if the trainer wishes to charge the student for another week of training, but it wouldn’t be out of the question. During this week or to advance to the next Rank, a student might be required to successfully construct something or perform a difficult task (that is, it requires a Skill Check). If it isn’t completed, it must be attempted again until it is, though the trainer may decide to forgo his fee in the meantime.

A character may elect to stop training and create an item or perform a task relevant to the skill he’s learning. It must be something that requires a Skill Check. Successful or not, double the time spent counts towards his training, up to 3/4 the training time required.

One can stop training and restart it later, but, as a general guideline, a Rank should be learned within a year of when it was last stopped. A Session of training should be completed without interruption, but exceptions can be made of a few days.

Finding a Trainer

Finding a trainer may be as easy or as difficult as the DM decides. Finding someone willing to teach the lower Ranks of just about anything is possible even in a small town. However, if your characters wants to know how to train Dragons, forge an adamantium sword, make a Staff of Wizardy, or learn Celestial, they may have to find someone.

Making Charisma checks would be helpful here to find an initial Trainer or to find rumors of a one in the field the character wants to specialize in. It would also not be unreasonable for a lower Ranking Trainer to know who or where to find the next Trainer.

The cost for training is calculated per week and is negotiable. Generally, there is an initial expense for starting equipment, which is variable. At each Rank, the cost of equipment doubles from the previous Rank’s. At Rank 1, training should cost 1d10x10gp per session. This cost is re-rolled at the next Rank, but will generally quadruple.

A character can learn a number of skills based on the Maximum Spells per Level table. Players start with two of these slot filled: their starting skill or profession and the Language skill. Note that learning additional languages doesn’t take up more slots.

To summarize:

  • Training a skill is broken down into training Sessions of either a week or four weeks.
  • Training with an instructor requires payment: once per Session and the one-time cost per Rank of equipment, if any.
  • At the end of a Session with an instructor, make a % roll using the table below. If it fails, it takes a bit of extra time to learn.
  • A character may also train themselves by building something or performing an action that requires him to make a Skill Check using the skill he’s training in.
  • Such independent training counts for x2 the time (or a minimum of 1 week) and can be used to bypass 3/4 of the formal training. Advancement occurs even if the Skill Check fails.

The table below is split into two sections. On the left are the values related to a character’s Intelligence score and their Minor Stat score. On the right are the cost, time requires, and the bonus that each Rank provides to Skill Checks.

(aside: I admit that my html is not the greatest, so if it’s really difficult to read, I’ll find a way to change it.)

INT score Skill Learning Probability Minor Stat Bonus (Learning) Minor Stat Bonus (Checks) Max # of Skills Rank level Cost / session + equipment Time Required (# of Sessions) Rank Bonus
3 20% 0 0 3 1 1d10 x 10gp + equipment 4 weeks (4) +0
4-5 30% 0 0 4 2 1d10 x 40gp + equipment x2 16 weeks (16) +1
6-7 35% 0 0 5 3 1d10 x 160gp + equipment x4 36 weeks (9) +2
8-9 40% 0 0 6 4 1d10 x 360gp + equipment x8 64 weeks (16) +3
10-12 50% 0 0 7 5? 1d10 x 1440gp + equipment x16 256 weeks (64) +3 (+4)
13-14 70% 0 +1 9
15-16 75% +5% +1 11
17 85% +10% +1 Unlimited
18 90% +15% +2 Unlimited

Next week, I’ll cover the Language Skill and several other skills. After that, I’ll include three Skills per week.

Crafting and Secondary Skills in Labyrinth Lord

The Advanced Edition Companion to Labyrinth Lord comes with a short table of Secondary Skills that players can either roll randomly for or choose for their character. Some seem more useful as flavor, but some could have some practical use for an Adventurer. However, the DM is left to their own devices to determine when and if these secondary skills are useful during the PC’s careers. The system I’ve implemented into my game allows player to make use of the more useful of these skills to create items and make a bit of money on the side.

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