by Robert Maier
As far as I can see, there are two types of possible skills in Dragon Warriors:
a) skills that are an obvious subdivision of already existing attributes (ie. mainly of Stealth and Perception -- steal, disguise, search, track, etc)
b) skills derived from stats (climb from Reflexes, row from Strength, etc)
Their main difference is: in one case (stats), the basis of the skill is fixed (more or less), whereas in the other (attributes), the basis of the skill changes over time. I propose a solution to this by relating skills not current attribute values, but splitting them away from the parent attribute and freeze them temporarily.
X: amount of EP required to get from current level to next (current Eps beyond minimum not counted).
Under this systemn, new ranks are not attained automatically, but by voluntary decision (you may have 62 EP and still be 1st rank. But then, you can increase only 1 rank at a time, ie this player would get to 2nd rank after tonight's session, and to 3rd after the one of next week.)
a) attribute-based: These skills are used instead of the relating attribute whenever applicable. To achieve a one-point increase (through whatever kind of training appears reasonable), the player has to spend X/5 EP. The skill value is increased to his current attribute value plus one, and remains frozen at that until either more training is achieved or the attribute is as high, or beyond. Maximum improvement of skill beyond guiding attribute may be limited to (rank) points.
Fasfyngre has left his village in Thuland, spirited away by stories of easy living in town. Having spent some time in Clyster, he finds not all is that easy... he begins to take from those who appear to have more than he does. At first, his STE is an average 13, and so is his skill at stealing. After a while, his stealing increases to 14, then 15 - whereas his STE remains at 13. Nor does he increase in rank - he would have gained enough EP to make it to 2nd, but he spent them all on stealing increases. Then, one dank Bael evening, Fasfyngre's favourite bar is raided by the town guard, and he is thrown into jail with some foreigners. Together they break out and go adventuring, and one day he gets to 4th rank, gaining 1 STE. His stealing remains at 15 - it is fixed at that and does not increase together with the founding attribute. He could start thieving again, to one day increase it to 16. Or, if Fasfyngre lives to see 8th rank, they will both be 15 and thus be reunited again. (Ie, should he ever get to 12th, both STE and stealing will be at 16).
b) stat-based: These skills partially supplete what until now has mostly been done by a stat roll, and work similarly - ie roll value or less to succeed. It is ncessary to find out the decisive stat(s) for the task - it/they will produce the basic skill value (cf Book I). To achieve a one-point skill increase, the player has to spend X/2 EP. Then, he has to roll 1d20 above his present ability in the skill, and only if he manages that he gets the increase (else he has wasted 30 EP).
Ork the Barbarian (real name! - Ref 14) has had a hard time in the Drakken Peaks during the last few weeks, searching for a cave entrance high up in a cliff face on one of 15 mountains (of course he found it only with the 13th attempt). The GM agrees with the player that this has been enough to allow for a climbing increase. The player ticks off the EP that would have boosted him to 5th, and rolls d20. A 17 - the player notes down Climbing 15.
Of course, the sub-division of attributes in partial skills is to be avoided as much as possible; the skills really ought to be included within them. Only sometimes, they appear to be necessary. (Enter the oft-quoted non-ranked thief in Clyster, now not nameless any more.)
The procedure to increase stat-based skills is of course inspired by RQ. No skill will thus ever increase beyond 20... as should be: there is always a chance of doing it wrong.
The system presented above is only a suggestion and not play-tested at all. (Neither me nor my gaming group like the skill idea very much... of course it's realistic, but it leads to lots and lots of tedious bookkeeping (has anybody seen an unexperienced player who managed to increase their RoleMaster-Character's Level at first attempt without forgetting anything?)
Free for criticism: firstname.lastname@example.org , also email@example.com.