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Skills describe what you (or in some cases your retainers) can do. These may vary from holding yourself in personal combat to delivering a stirring speech in front of a crowd of thousands.

Your characters are competent in most everything you do, but you need to assign ranks to a number of skills for the cases when you are more or less than competent. You must select:

  • one skill to be Outstanding
  • two skills to be Accomplished
  • one skill to be Ineffectual

All the other skills will be Competent.

Once you have done this, you may improve your skills further. If you reduce a skill to Ineffectual from Competent, you may raise any other skill one rank. This may be from Competent to Accomplished, or Accomplished to Outstanding. Outstanding skills cannot be raised any further. You may do this twice: at this point you should have three Ineffectual rank skills.

Finally, any skills which are Outstanding must have a specialisation. This is a sub-field of a skill where your character is even better than normal.

For example, a character with Outstanding Strategy might have the specialisation of Fighting Larger Armies, whereas a character with Outstanding Performance might have the specialisation of Poetry. Specialisations should avoid being too broad (e.g. Staying Hidden for the Stealth skill) or too narrow (e.g. Underwater Basket Weaving for the Craft skill).

Skill Ranks

Rank Description
Ineffectual Ultimately unskilled, and unable to understand the nuances of what might make you better. If you end up using this skill, prepare for consequences.
Competent Competent enough to get by on a day to day basis
Accomplished Above average, and something you have a genuine talent for
Outstanding There are few who rival you, especially in your area of expertise


One person can never be skilled at everything they might need to do. This is why you have staff. You have two retainers whose loyalty you can depend on1) and whose skills you can utilise as well as your own.

Each retainer is employed to work in one area and thus, so long as your retainer is available, they may be used in one skill each. This includes both skills which you already have at a higher level (giving you more breadth and flexibility), and skills at Ineffectual rank (to try to cover your weak spots). At the start of the game, all retainers have an Accomplished rank in the skill they're employed in. When generating your character, please name and describe your retainers.

You can assume that your retainers are loyal to you, and that they will in accordance with the spirit as well as the letter of your direction. This does not mean, however, that they are always going to be 100% reliable. Retainers can be bribed, misdirected, or even killed by those who may wish to interfere with you.

This always takes quite dramatic intervention. If this happens, you will not be able to rely on their skill while they are not working for you. This may be inconvenient, but an assassin taking out your steward is infinitely preferable to having that knife in your back.


Even in intense situations, it takes time for new skills to be truly internalised. Skills will not advance during the course of the game. However, you will be able to improve your available skill-set by hiring new retainers.

This will likely be necessary if you lose one of your retainers due to unforeseen circumstances, but sometimes you may simply want to change the dynamic of your staff. You may never have more retainers than you started the game with (usually, but not always, two), but they may be dismissed and replaced with newer, and hopefully better, retainers. Dismissing a retainer is unlikely to provoke revenge from them, unless you are particularly rude, or they were predisposed to dislike you.

To hire a retainer you must convince them to join your staff, which will involve at least one action in helping them out before they will help you. You should talk to this potential retainer during session, or over emails, to see what they might want you to do before putting in an action to convince them.

If you are struggling to find NPCs who may wish to be a retainer, talk to the GMs: they may be able to give you some pointers.



Those who are so fortunate as to be able to attend the Queen's Gatherings are usually not isolated individuals. They are people with staffs to command, cities and armies to organise, or fortunes to grow. Those who have no ability to administrate will not hold their blessed position for very long; those who do may find that their greatest strength are those they have around them.

  • Ineffectual: You can probably not be late for all your appointments, and keep on top of a simple budget, but spreadsheets and the like fill you with dread.
  • Competent: You keep everything ticking over: you're probably not going to be able to squeeze anything extra out of what you have to organise, but it's not going to waste either.
  • Accomplished: You are able to administrate things in a few hours that it would take others days to do. Anything you are in charge of almost always runs smoothly.
  • Outstanding: Your ideas and instict for how to run things have very few rivals; it is as simple as breathing to you. There is very little that you couldn't run to perfection with a short time to learn the ins and outs.

Example Specialisations: Military Supply Chains, Creative Accounting, Chief of Staff


While certain simple things can be created by anyone with a mote of time, or a gram of skill, most things of value have been created by highly skilled artisans. The craft skill allows you to be one of these artisans, and create or design things of grandeur. This may be great works of art, vast fortifications, or elaborate personal devices.

The craft skill behaves slightly differently to other skills. When you take the skill at the Accomplished or higher rank, you choose a broad area of craft which you practise (e.g. Painting, Architecture). This means that, if you wish, the skill may be taken multiple times at Accomplished or higher rank, in different areas. This includes your retainers, who may be retained for a craft skill which you do not possess.

  • Ineffectual: You don't really know one end of a chisel from the other. Someone who gives you a knife to put together a simple shelter in the woods is liklely ruining their knife.
  • Competent: You can do basic construction tasks, and understand the theory behind some constructions. You could probably help with the creation of a more complex project, with a bit of oversight.
  • Accomplished: You could understand architectural principles well enough to design a new wing for the Palace, if that is your field. On a smaller level, you could make a very tidy fortune providing jewellery to the nobility, so long as you have someone to sell them.
  • Outstanding: You are a visionary, whose designs will almost certainly stand the test of time. Whatever you put your mind to will likely be of the highest quality, or astonishingly novel.

Example Specialisations: Military Fortifications, Portraiture, Novel Weapons


It is a very lucky person indeed who can get through their entire life without ever having to be personally exposed to physical violence. For the rest of the world, being able to keep themselves out of danger, and put enough hurt on others to keep them out of their hair is a must. From duelists, to fighters in the front lines of wars, combat is nothing new.

  • Ineffectual: You are more likely to knock yourself out than your opponent. If you want to get out of combat unscathed, your best bet is to run and hide.
  • Competent: You can hold yourself well in a fight. With a company around you, you can probably fight off an average combatant in the heat of melee.
  • Accomplished: You know your way around many sorts of martial weapons, and styles, and are a fearsome warrior by any account.
  • Outstanding: If you are fighting on your own terms, or even terms close to yours, there are very few who even approach your skill.

Example Specialisations: Dueling, Dirty Tricks, Grappling


Over time, people begin to develop their own expectations of how social interaction should happen; with powerful people acting under the weight of tradition, this is even more so. No matter what you have to say, or how well you can say it, if you insult and turn people off at first impression, they are much less likely to listen to what you have to say. Those with passing familiarity with this skill know how to behave at home and in similar places: those who have practiced can make themselves at home anywhere.

OC Note: Other player characters are not expected to treat you as being polite and erudite if you are rude to them face to face, or in emails, no matter how skilled you are in etiquette. This is down to you.

  • Ineffectual: You are chronically rude, and dismissive. Whether you don't know any better or you just don't care, you will almost always show people your bad side.
  • Competent: You can get through day to day business without causing great upset and insult. You might miss the finer points of socialising in places you're not used to, but that is forgiveable.
  • Accomplished: You walk into an unfamiliar and formal setting and take to it like a fish to water. However people want you to tell them something, you can probably find it out.
  • Outstanding: You are a very mirror of the society you're currently in, and can flit between talking to the highest noble and the lowest thief, without either of them suspecting a thing.

Example Specialisations: Palace Tradition, Criminal Slang, Addressing Your Superiors


While everyone can make observations and come up with plausible conclusions from those observations, there are people who have sharper eyes and quicker minds than most. From the steward who can spot a misfiled inventory at a glance, to the scout who can read tracks like they were written on parchment, having a skill in this can help many different people.

  • Ineffectual: You are clueless, and somewhat oblivious to the world around you. Once the information has been pointed out, you can put it together as well as anyone else, but you're much more likely to notice what goes on in your head instead of the rest of the world.
  • Competent: You senses are sharp enough to keep yourself from being poisoned, cheated, or scammed entirely. At least it has been so far.
  • Accomplished: If you are going to be searching through the scene of a crime, chances are that you will have spotted a few crucial, but subtle, details by the time your comrades have noticed the body.
  • Outstanding: Nothing escapes your notice; with minor attention you can keep track of the comings and goings of a decently packed hall. With major attention, you can pull back the veil of even the most convoluted of mysteries.

Example Specialisations: Deduction, Library Researcher, Interrogation

Magical Knowledge

Though most of magical dogma has been written down centuries ago, and there is very little recent development in that field, understanding those classic texts is still very useful. While all people have some natural magical talent, it takes proper study and understanding of the traditional forms to be truly useful, and those who are useful generally tend to be very useful.

  • Ineffectual: You are chronically bad at detecting magical registers, and your spells vary from slightly inept to downright haywire.
  • Competent: You have a very solid groundwork of skills. You can detect any magic cast nearby, and cast a variety of standard spells yourself.
  • Accomplished: You have a keen sense for magic, detecting most of its components effortlessly. You are a sophisticated caster, able to affect large groups of people for a significant time.
  • Outstanding: You are completely in tune with the magical energies around and within you. Your spells are unmatched in subtlety, and when it is cast near you none of its nuances go missed.

Example Specialisations: Alchemy, Disagreements of the original authors, Self-Directed Magic


While many people are capable of doing many things, not everyone is capable of performing them. In the right hands, the simple act of delivering a pre-written message can be turned into a display that sets the soul alight. In two such pairs of hands, the message can be written prepared to do exactly that. Beware the silver tongued, however, as their sparkle and flare may be nothing more than distraction.

OC Note: Other player characters are not expected to treat you as having performed well if you do this face to face, or in emails, no matter how skilled you are in performance. This is down to you.

  • Ineffectual: Your performances always seem to fall flat. No matter how hard you try to make something pop it often comes off more like a damp rag.
  • Competent: When you need to, you can make a moment seem suitably over-dramatic. Someone who keeps watching you may notice the few tricks you rely on, but at least you can catch attention when you need it.
  • Accomplished: You turn heads. There are always ways to make something seem new and exciting, and you are very good at finding them.
  • Outstanding: You could hold a crowd of hundreds in silent rapture, if they were inclined to listen to you in the first place. Every action is intentional, and placed in order to draw more eyes exactly where you want them.

Example Specialisations: Acting, Con-artistry, Performative Displays of Magic

Religious Knowledge

There are thousands of gods within the Royalty of Esharia, and many more beyond. While the average person will know, and perhaps even Understand, their local god, those who aspire to the highest reaches of the Council of Priests must know many Gods indeed: how they interact, and who wants what. With rumours of heresy abound, knowledge of the intricacies of the current state of the gods should prove to be even more vital to those who think to take advantage of this situation.

  • Ineffectual: You probably couldn't tell one god from another (and why that was important), if there were two priests arguing about it in front of you.
  • Competent: You know the basics of how the gods work, and what role they provide (see the Religion page for OC info on this). You probably have an Understanding of your local god as well.
  • Accomplished: The gods of Esharia are many and varied, but you know at least the broad details of nearly every one of them. You might not be able to be kept up to date with the latest information, but you are rarely completely wrong.
  • Outstanding: Whether you choose to study all of the gods, or some small part of them in depth, you have an encyclopedic knowledge about their current state and interplay that rivals any throughout the Royalty.

Example Specialisations: Gods of The Heights, Schisms Within Gods, The Oldest Gods


Sometimes what you need is to just not be seen, whether what you hope to avoid is deadly assassins, or the disapproving glare of your patriarch. The average person will know not to leave that incriminating letter in plain sight, but once you start to study people a little you'll learn that everyone often ends up putting that hidden letter in the same sort of places. You can be better than that. Under cover of night, who knows what could be happening?

Those who seek to protect themselves from the stealthy attempts of others should first and foremost seek to sharpen their eyes (Investigation); beyond that, those who know how to avoid detection are better at second guessing the attempts of others (Stealth). Finally, if you have no other recourse, if someone tries to interfere with you in an area where you are talented and they are not, you are more likely to spot tell-tale signs of whatever they have done.

  • Ineffectual: You probably couldn't be any less stealthy if you were painted bright purple, and were wearing horns on the bottom of your feet.
  • Competent: Most of the time, unless people are actively looking for you, you can keep your head down and out of sight. Similarly, if you're looking to hide something it's going to be somewhere safer than tucked under your mattress.
  • Accomplished: You are very light of foot, and when you don't want to be seen, it takes a very skilled guard indeed to spot you.
  • Outstanding: You might as well be a shadow, for all the evidence you leave. Whether hiding from would-be assassins, secretly removing your rival's bills of sale, or passing through a crowd undetected it would take some of the greatest skill in the world to notice you.

Example Specialisations: Master of Disguise, Hiding in Cities, Trailing People


In the raging sea that is warfare, even the smallest of advantages can make the biggest of difference, and even the largest of leads can be poured away. That is, as long as you can leverage that opportunity. The history of the world remembers lucky and talented tacticians, and the others fall by the wayside, so make sure to be both.

  • Ineffectual: You can be distracted and caught by even the simplest of gambits, while you move simply and openly.
  • Competent: You have enough of a head on you shoulders to make sure that you don't miss the opportunity to exploit mundane tactics, such as bottlenecks and flanking.
  • Accomplished: With a band of well trained and obedient soldiers at your back there is little end to the havoc you can wreak. Even when fighting numerical superior forces you can find ways to give yourself the edge.
  • Outstanding: You are astonishing when a battle is laid out before you. No opportunity lays unexploited, no weakness is not covered, and no time is lost in dealing with unpleasant surprises.

Example Specialisations: Ambushes, Naval Warfare, Leading From the Front

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skills.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/12 00:08 by gm_florence