Skill proficiency is divided into four levels: Trainee, Professional, Exceptional, and Master. Characters advance from one level to the next as they gain 'expertise' for a particular skill. To be awarded a field of expertise, a player must submit four threads of adequate detail and length (~2500 wds) which focus on techniques and applications of that field. In essence, these threads demonstrate that the player has acquired OOC familiarity with the field and is competent to write about it in detail.

  • Trainee skills are not tracked; any skill without an expertise entry on the CS is automatically this level. Trainee proficiency can span the gamut from "I don't even know where to start" to "I've seen this done, I can fake it…" to "I had a lesson and kinda know some of the principles…"
  • One expertise award constitutes 'Professional' level skill, but only within that field of expertise; other aspects of the skill must still be played at Trainee level. For example, someone with 'Hunting: Large Game' expertise is conversant with methods for hunting deer and the like, but inexperienced at 'Hunting: Small Game' and must play any pursuit of rabbits, mink, fowl, etc. at Trainee level.
  • Three expertise awards constitute 'Exceptional' proficiency in the skill. These characters are better than competent within their fields of expertise and just plain competent for any other aspect of the skill.
  • Five expertise awards constitute 'Master'-level proficiency. They are essentially highly respected names within their fields of expertise, and can readily turn their hand to anything else covered by the skill.

There are no time limits on when expertise threads are completed (i.e. they don't have to be in a single season), but flashback threads can only be used towards Professional level (i.e. the first award for a given skill). Also, players may only receive one expertise award per skill per season.

Under this system:

  • Four well-researched threads will get any character to basic professional competence
  • Twenty threads will take a player from zero to master
  • At least five seasons are required to go from zero to master, rewarding longevity of play
  • OOC research and comprehension of the skill is required; cannot eke up pointwise
  • Levels are gained only upon request; a character cannot be forced to progress

Skill pages will consist of 1) a general overview, 2) the list and descriptions of available fields of expertise, of which there must be at least five, 3) resources whereby players can study for writing the skill, and 4) a proficiency table describing what uses are allowed at different skill levels.

This should work very well for crafting and actionable skills (e.g. carpentry, cartography, hunting), where expertise lists can be made comprehensive. It will be a little more difficult to devise for knowledge skills (e.g. archaeology, ecology), where a full list of possible expertises cannot be enumerated; however, guidelines can be used to constrain choices, and ultimately all of these must be staff-approved besides.


Take Hunting as a case in point. You could break it down into the following fields of expertise:

  • Hunting: Small Game - familiarity with behaviors and habits of small mammals, fowl, etc. and methods effective for catching them
  • Hunting: Large Game - as above but for large animals and more dangerous carnivores
  • Hunting: Stealth and Concealment - techniques for moving without drawing attention, masking scents, constructing blinds
  • Hunting: Tracks and Trails - reading prints, scat, and broken vegetation
  • Hunting: Butchering and Pelts - dressing carcasses, butchering them effectively, and methods of skinning that preserve hide/fur

These should cover pretty much everything a highly proficient hunter should be familiar with, up to and including how to get the most value out of a kill after it's been made.

I imagine overall skill proficiency will govern a hunter's chance of success. For example, a Trainee might succeed 20% of the time, a Professional 40%, an Exceptional hunter 60%, and a Master hunter in 90% of their hunts.


I would also like to apply this system to languages, but that's going to take some thought.

There could be a consistent set of expertise fields for each language, say:

  • <Language>: Everyday Vocabulary
  • <Language>: Sentence Structure
  • <Language>: Verb Tenses
  • <Language>: Reading and Writing
  • <Language>: Advanced Vocabulary

Gaining these expertises for a new language would be semi-structured, in that "Everyday Vocabulary" has to come first and "Advanced Vocabulary" most likely comes last. The ones in the middle could be pursued in any order.

There's also the special case "<Language>: Fluent" for a player's starting language. People who master a language become effectively fluent, but don't get any award for that beyond their completed expertise list.

There should definitely one language per major polity/race. May or may not be a language for the Fel. I'd also like to have 'tradesign' as a semi-common lingua franca or bridge language.


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