Practicing multiple skills

My players will have a very long period of “dead time” before them (they’ll be on a ship for 8 months), and I assume they’ll want to get some training done during that time. Now, before I’ve had the rule that you can only practise one skill at a time - but that was a different setting, when the characters all had jobs. Now they’re just passengers on a ship. How do you usually do it? Do you let players say “I train 2 hours of this, then 4 hours of that”, on each day, or do you put any sort of limits on them?

It’s a combination of both. Tell them how many hours a day they have to practice and what skills are appropriate. If they’re crewing, for example, they can practice Seamanship, Piloting, Rigging and Navigation for up to eight hours a day.

I usually ask what they’re doing generally, and offer a suggestion of practice split based on what makes sense. There’s a little negotiation but it’s generally pretty quick.

For example, helping clean up a town after floods: “It takes about 3 weeks, you’ll get Scavenge, Mending, Lifting Heavy Objects, Power, Forte, and a little bit of Town-wise as the people will gossip with you.”

Since they’re on a boat, they can probably easily practice any of the skills a Sailor would have, and the rest depends on either their ability to be useful to the crew OR devise their own things to practice. (which is where having Instructor skills are damn useful for making use of dead time…)

I’d also throw in a skill the players might NOT think of - Sea-wise, Ship-wise, Gambling, etc. - you end up picking up the most random knowledge or skills at weird points in your life, and it’s a fun little marker on the character sheet to remind them of the adventure.

(“Wait, how does Garrr the Screaming Scourge of The Wastes have Knitting 5?!?” “We were stuck on a boat, and WHO KNEW the roughest, toughest sailors knitted their own socks? I want on a boat? I show them my socks and offer to knit. That’s how I got across the 7 seas…”)


I never thought about using practice as a way to reap benefits from long stretches of actual activity. That’s pretty cool (and it makes so much sense that I feel dumb for having never thought of it).