A skill is any activity that can be improved through training, experience, and the acquisition of specialized knowledge. Conceptually, this encompasses physical skills such as dancing and weapon use, professional skills such as woodcarving and brewing, artistic skills such as singing and painting, and knowledge-based skills such as architecture and teaching. Conventional magic (shamanism and witchcraft) is included under the same system, as is language fluency, but the divinely granted abilities of Followers are not.

A character's capability at a skill is governed by the particular fields of expertise they have pursued. As one earns Expertise awards, overall skill proficiency rises as well.

Fields of Expertise

Expertise awards document a character's particular aptitudes and experience, denoting their personal specialties within the overall skill concept. Fields of Expertise may reflect subdisciplines of a skill, distinct branches of methodology and application, and domains of specialized knowledge. Thus, as characters acquire more Expertise, they develop greater capabilities and knowledge, increasing their overall aptitude at the skill.

Most Expertises may be taken in any order, but some may be tiered into basic and advanced practices, or otherwise depend on earning some other award first; refer to each skill page for any constraints on progression.

Earning Expertise

During character creation, initial Expertises may be taken depending on the character's age. These Expertise must be distributed across an equal number of skills, one Expertise per skill. Age categories are based on racial aging tables, as follows:

  1. Children under the age of maturity receive one Expertise
  2. Young adults receive two Expertise
  3. Adults in the prime of their life receive three
  4. Those middle-aged or older receive four

After beginning play, all further Expertise must be awarded by a Moderator. These awards are earned through the completion and submission of four skill training threads; a Moderator will review the threads and judge whether they satisfy requirements for advancing in skill. Those requirements are:

  • At least 2,500 words on the part of the training character
  • Centered on practice and application of the desired Expertise
  • Uses a meaningful level of detail
  • Demonstrates OOC familiarity with principles, terminology, and methods
  • Shows the character developing in the desired Expertise (whether within each thread, or across the set; ideally both)
  • Actions are appropriate for current skill proficiency

To illustrate, say that Bob is working on earning the Expertise Hunting: Large Game. He writes a thread with the following posts: getting his gear and heading out away from town, walking through the woods listening to the morning birds and keeping an eye out for tracks, spotting a deer browsing next to a stream, stealthily positioning himself and shooting the deer with an arrow, then field-dressing the carcass and arranging to get it home. While that thread describes a reasonable enough day of hunting, it is not appropriate as skill training because it essentially presents a string of chance events and good fortune: Bob went for a walk, saw a deer, killed it with one shot, and that was that.

To be eligible for an award, skill training threads must be targeted towards the Expertise in question. In the case of the Hunting: Large Game expertise, that means expressing knowledge about the quarry. For example, Bob might write about observing the local deer herd, and learning that they often visit a particular stream around dawn. He might write about coming across an elk print, recognizing it as different from deer, and heading away because that's a bigger animal than he wants to bring down. As he walks through the woods, he could be reviewing what he knows about deer and planning where to ambush one. If it's Spring or early Summer, he might stumble across a hidden fawn; in Fall, his hunting might be complicated by rival bucks in rut. When he finds his quarry, he might make a misstep and put the deer on alert, or equally describe not seeing various signs of alarm in them as indication of his successful stealth. And when he takes his shot, he should spend words to place it to best effect; depending on his proficiency, he might miss altogether, or fail to immediately kill it, which then spooks the deer and requires him to track it down, or succeed if skill and fortune are in his favor.

In short, to earn "Hunting: Large Game", the training threads must be oriented around the large game in question, not just the hunting part; they need more than a casual level of detail; and they do not have to end in the character's success. Indeed, failures and qualified successes are appreciated as opportunities for character growth.

There is no time restriction as to when skill training threads are completed; they may be written all in one season or spread out across multiple seasons. However, Flashback threads may only count towards the first Expertise gained in a skill. Additional Expertise, and thus higher proficiency levels, must be earned through present-time play.

Language Fluency

Language learning is handled through Expertise awards just the same as for skills, with the restriction that "Basic Vocabulary" must be the first Expertise taken in each new language. Proficiency levels for fluency are "Elementary", "Conversational", and "Fluent", respectively analogous to "Professional", "Exceptional", and "Master".

See individual language pages for their particular fields of Expertise.

Proficiency Levels

One's proficiency reflects how capable a character is at making a living with their skill and how they compare to the general run of other practitioners. Proficiency is ranked on a four-level scale: Amateur, Professional, Exceptional, and Master. Proficiency cannot be increased directly, but is based upon how many fields of Expertise a character has earned within the skill: one Expertise confers Professional proficiency, three are needed for Exceptional proficiency, and at five a character is considered a Master of the skill.

Notably, aspects of a skill that are outside one's earned Expertise must be played at one level lower than a character's nominal proficiency. For example, a hunter with "Large Game" Expertise is a Professional and can make a living at hunting deer and similar animals. However, if he hunts waterfowl or rabbits, he must play that pursuit consistent with Amateur level because those animals are outside his particular Expertise. This holds for all levels of proficiency.


An Amateur is someone without any particular expertise. They may have no familiarity whatsoever with the skill, may be in training, or may use the skill on a casual basis. At worst, they bumble their way through a task, or fail altogether. At best, an Amateur can exercise the skill to a degree that is adequate for their own occasional needs, but they would not be able to make a living by it. Compared to people at higher proficiencies, Amateurs are slow and inefficient, they make obvious mistakes, and the final quality of their work is very low. Furthermore, Amateurs have only the most general of common knowledge regarding the skill, and little to no dedicated experience; as a rule of thumb, if you have to look something up, an Amateur probably doesn't know it.

The vast majority of skills, including everyday lifestyle skills, are at Amateur level for the vast majority of people.


Simply put, a Professional is someone with enough competence that they can make a living by their skill; they can charge money for their work, and other people are willing to pay it. However, these characters do not stand out above the crowd of their competitors. They do plain work, adequate and functional but not striking or elegant; they are competent but not remarkable. They have mostly common knowledge regarding the skill, with a slight edge up concerning their particular field of expertise. These are the ordinary craftsmen, typical guards, average hunters, and the keepers of unexceptional shops.

The vast majority of people do not rise above Professional proficiency. Those who do typically seek renown for their skill, or desire higher competency for other reasons such as a restricted profession, adventuring and exploration, etc.


These are the one-in-a-hundred who have begun to make a name for themselves, elevating their practice above most of the competition and gaining renown accordingly. Within their fields of expertise, they do fine work that is elegant as well as functional, blemished by only the mildest of mistakes. They have specialized knowledge within their fields of expertise, even bordering on trade secrets in some cases. People may come from across town to buy an Exceptional crafter's products; those who provide services are well-regarded within their professions, sought out by a number of potential employers.


A Master is someone so capable at their profession, their reputation has begun to extend to other polities as well. These are the one-in-a-million people who stand above nearly all others in their field of work; they are the household names of their generation, spoken of region-wide and sometimes even in far-off lands. Within their fields of Expertise, their skill and knowledge have few peers. For those who produce goods, their wares command top prices; those who provide services are highly sought-after, with more commissions solicited than they could hope to fulfill.


Native proficiency covers cases where a character is fully and completely fluent with a skill as part of their nature. Native proficiency cannot be earned, and it cannot be requested for any reason; it applies only in specific circumstances.

The first circumstance is one's childhood language. Each character begins with a Native language, in which they are fully fluent and literate. A player may forgo literacy in their character's Native language for IC reasons, such as growing up in Okudan where books are rare; in that case, there are no restrictions on the character learning to read except the story the player wishes to build. There is no provision in the system for an "incomplete Native" proficiency, nor for adding Expertise on top of Native proficiency.

The other circumstance covers inherent locomotion skills, so that each creature is automatically able to get around in its accustomed environment. Namely, everything with feet can just walk; winged animals (birds, bats, winged insects) have Native Flying; and aquatic animals (fish, otters, seals, etc.) have Native Swimming. Among playable races, the Asar have Native Swimming.

Such innate proficiencies extend to the animal forms of Elyani and to shamans transformed through Invocation, because in both cases the forms adopted have complete natural Identities and the instincts to go with them. Conversely, for physical transformations made through other means (namely witchcraft), their adopted Identity is not complete and the change is not accompanied by any proficiency the character did not already possess. For example, a Human witch who completely transforms into a bear will be fully proficient at walking, because the witch himself innately understands that skill; however, if the witch instead transforms into a hawk, he will have to work to acquire proficiency in Flying. Once the witch has Flying Expertise, though, the skill proficiency carries over to any other winged form he takes on.


In some cases, full proficiency in one skill (e.g. Hunting) may depend upon familiarity with a second skill (e.g. Tracking). At the same time, each skill is treated as wholly independent for purposes of progression — for example, Mastery of Hunting cannot be contingent on also having Expertise in Tracking. Thus, in order for each skill to be complete in and of itself, some skills will have overlapping fields of Expertise; these Expertises are considered to be "cross-trainable".

However, while two Expertises from separate skills may overlap, they are never perfectly equivalent; each individual Expertise is specifically tailored towards its parent skill. This means that obtaining a cross-trainable Expertise in one skill does not confer Professional status in the second skill; an Expertise specific to the second skill must still be earned in order to advance it. However, cross-training Expertise does count (once) towards higher proficiencies in the second skill, as increased proficiency elevates overall skill aptitude and covers for the differences. This prevents players from having to essentially earn the same Expertise twice, so long as they pay attention to cross-trainable fields.

For example, consider that Bob has earned "Hunting: Tracks and Trails", which is cross-trainable with the broader Expertise "Tracking: Ground Indicators". He initially has no independent Expertise in Tracking, thus remains an Amateur in that skill. He later earns the Expertise "Tracking: Aerial Indicators", at which point he is able to record having Professional-level Tracking with both "Aerial Indicators" and "Hunting: Tracks and Trails" as its associated Expertise fields. Going forward, Bob needs only one more Tracking Expertise in order to obtain Exceptional-level Tracking.

Note that when applying a cross-trained Expertise towards its secondary skill, it is required to list the primary skill alongside to make obvious where the cross-trained Expertise came from. Furthermore, only one cross-trained Expertise may be taken per skill.

Tracking Skills

Characters must include on their sheet all skills in which they have acquired Expertise. Amateur skills (i.e. without expertise) do not need to be tracked.

The list must include: 1) Skill name, 2) Proficiency, 3) Expertise earned (with primary skill if cross-trained), and 4) Links to relevant expertise awards, for easy referencing of when and why each was awarded.

Note that the Skill List is exhaustive; only skills on that list, and only Expertise fields defined on the relevant skill page, may be taken. Players may post requests for additional skills or Expertise in the Development forum. Players are also welcome to develop pages for needed skills; again, see the Development forum.

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