So, it’s 4 in the morning, and I couldn’t sleep, so naturally I decided to look over my copy of BWG, and ended up trying to puzzle out how opening a skill with an exponent 1 root stat works. Here’s my interpretation.

As per p. 50: Once you meet the aptitude requirement, your character opens the skill. […] The starting exponent for all skills is half of the root, or the average of the two roots, rounded down.

Half of 1, rounded down, is zero, so by this rule, the skill should open up at exponent 0. However, p. 37 tells us that:

If your stat, skill or attribute is currently exponent 0, you may not test that ability. You may not recieve help, FoRK into it or spend artha on it. It is unavailable until you advance it, replenish it, or recover.

This leaves us in somewhat of a quandry: we can not test our new skill until we advance it, but we can not advance unless we can test it.

Here is my solution: only Ob 1 tests (before double obstacle penallty) count towards opening a skill with a root stat of 1 (anything higher would be challenging, and would count towards advancing the stat, not opening the skill); however, as per the footnote on p. 41, Ob 1 tests on 1D can count as either routine or difficult, at the player’s choice. Consequently, the player can opt to have her 9th Begineer’s Luck test count towards fufilling the difficult test requirement for advancing the stat. If a challenging test has already been loged, then the stat immediately advances to exponent 2, the aptitude is reduced from 9 to 8, and the skill opens at exponent 1. Otherwise, the situation is held in abeyance until a challenging test is logged, at which point both the stat and the skill advance/open simultaneously.

What do you guys think of this? I don’t see this coming up in play very often, but it was a fun theoretical exercise to think through.