Simplified Practice

I love the practice in BW, but whenever I get a block of downtime it leads to this weird planning activity that feels like schedule Tetris. I’d like to replace this with something that’s a lot easier to plan and keep books for.

Choosing a Practice Regimen

When you begin to practice, choose a practice regimen - this consists of a test difficulty you’re aiming for (Routine, Difficult or Challenging), and the date of the regimen’s first practice session. You cannot change the difficulty of a regimen once it has started (though you can start another one for a different level of difficulty, see below).

In general, a regimen is complete once the character has practiced for the required number of days. At that point, erase the regimen and record a test for the ability of the appropriate level of difficulty.

It takes time to integrate a new skill, however enthusiastic and dedicated the student. The last practice session can’t be logged until the minimum regimen duration has passed. Any extra sessions are wasted.

Bartle the Pointy has begun a Routine practice regimen for Sword, with a whole-day practice session on June 1. Bartle is at a loose end, with nothing to do but practice his swordsmanship, and within a few weeks has logged 10 days of practice, even though a Routine regimen for Sword only requires 5. Nothing happens, however, until his practice session on July 1 (which brings him to 31 days of practice), at which point he earns his Routine test and the regimen completes. The extra 21 days of practice he spent are wasted.

Practice Increments

Practice for is logged in quarter-day increments for Routine regimen, half-day increments for Difficult regimen, and whole-day increments for Challenging regimen. Practice time that’s less than the minimum increment for the regimen wasted.

You cannot, for example, practice for a Challenging regimen in your spare time after work - there’s just not enough time to get into the right head space for that level of difficulty.

Practice Times

The number of practice days required for a Routine regimen, and the minimum regimen duration for various abilities:

Martial, Musical, Physical, Power, Social - 5 days, 1 month
Agility, Seafaring, Steel - 10 days, 2 months
Forte, Special/Misc, Speed - 15 days, 3 months
Academic, Artist, Forester, Military, Peasant, Perception, School of Thought - 30 days, 6 months
Artisan, Craftsman, Medicinal, Will - 80 days, 12 months
Faith, Sorcerous - 100 days, 12 months

Difficult regimen take twice as many days; Challenging regimen require four times as many days. (The minimum regimen duration is still the same.)

For example, a Difficult regimen for Logistics (Military) requires 60 days of practice logged over not less than 6 months.

Practice Time and Other Activities

The amount of practice time a character can log depends on what else he or she is doing with her time. Characters who are actively adventuring, enduring a forced march, travelling while foraging, uncomfortably imprisoned, etc. cannot log any practice time.

Light, comfortable travel or holding down a day job (e.g. Get a Job) leaves a quarter day for practice each work day, plus a full practice day on rest days (generally one per week). Characters with extreme demands on their time (e.g. household servants, slaves, heads of state, ship’s captains) may only be able to practice on rest days, at the GM’s discretion.

Characters who have free downtime can log a full practice day every day.

Practice Tools

Practice time can only be logged when the character has access to suitable tools and practice environment. Martial skills require at the very least access to a weapon; academic skills access to appropriate reading materials; artisan skills access to a workshop, etc. You cannot practice your swordsmanship while travelling by canoe, nor your sorcery in prison!

Multiple Regimen

A character can have many practice regimen active at any one time, even for the same ability, but only one for a given level of difficulty. (For example, a character can be working on a Routine regimen and a Challenging regimen for Cooking at the same time - perhaps practicing the basics after work, and spending rest days on complex gourmet foods - but cannot simultaneously be working on two Routine regimen.)

A character can have as many regimen active as he or she is willing to keep track of.

I’d have to look at the numbers. but there does seem some value to some simplification here.

One comment I do have, there are skills that one should be able to practice while “adventuring”, think of the various skills one might use, but we don’t bother testing because they aren’t interesting.


It reads more complicated than it really is, mostly because I went into areas that I perhaps didn’t need to. As far as the numbers go, the process I went through was something like this:

  1. I worked out how many hours each test took to earn (e.g. a Routine test that takes 2 hr/day over a month is 60 hours) and then worked out how many days it would take to accumulate that. I was conservative, figuring that there were 12 available hours per day and only 20 days per month.

  2. I sorted the abilities by average time for a test (of whatever difficulty) and noticed a few rough categories fell out immediately. Most of them have an hours ratio of 2x and 4x, with a couple exceptions (Peasant with 4x and 12x, and Steel with 3x/9x) and a handful of 2x/3x.

  3. I tweaked here and there to try to iron out the exceptions (Peasant and Steel getting the biggest tweaks), and noticed a rough pattern of ~5 training days per month of cycle time.

Is it actually any less complicated though? Seems pretty similar. Also, the 1/4-day, 1/2-day and whole day regiments loses a lot of the kooky specialness of the stock training times. Would be pretty hard to balance out a typical school schedule with only 2 or 3 classes allowed per day…

Yes, the gains are small, I admit. It’s not a fundamentally different system, it really just eliminates the chart lookup to see how many hours a day you need to practice something for. (As a result, you don’t even need to look at the chart to get started - you have some downtime and you just note, “Jan 2 - Difficult Sword, 2.5 d”.)

(As far as course loads go, it’s not meant to emulate a course schedule, though I suppose you could take a four-course semester of Routine regimen (then your thesis is a Challenging regimen!). But I think schooling is Instruction, practice is too slow. Just opening a single academic skill (with aptitude 6) would take 3/4 of your time for 18 months!)

If I went further, I’d reduce the number of practice-time categories to three, ‘Easy’, ‘Moderate’, and ‘Hard’. Perhaps:

Agility, Forte, Martial, Musical, Physical, Power, Seafaring, Social, Special/Misc, Speed, Steel - 10 days, 2 months
Academic, Artist, Forester, Military, Peasant, Perception, School of Thought - 30 days, 6 months
Artisan, Craftsman, Faith, Medicinal, Sorcerous, Will - 80 days, 12 months

If you get a very long block of downtime, you still do wind up playing schedule tetris, but it’s a lot easier.

Say I have 6 months of downtime, and I need the following tests (I’m just making this up randomly):

Sword RRD
Shield Training 4x any (I’m opening it, having had my instruction)
Sorcery RDC
Orc-wise D

The martial skills have 2-month durations, sorcery 12 months, and orc-wise (academic?) 6 months. All I really need to worry about is adding up the days: I can do 10 solid days on my first sword test, then 10 solid days on my second sword test.

6 months gives me 180 days. The sword tests take 40 days (two 10-day routines plus a 20-day difficult), shield training 40 (4 routine tests at 10 days each). Orc-wise takes 60 (30 x2 for difficult). That brings me to 140 days, leaving me 40 days to put toward, say, a Challenging Sorcery regimen. Tada!

The old way is a heck of a lot trickier to work out, because I need to plan how I divide up each day.

Sword/Shield are 1mo/2/4/8
Sorcery is 1yr/5/10/15
Orc-wise is 6 mo/2/4/8

Assuming Will 4, I have 16 hours a day. 6 months of practice toward a difficult sorcery test uses up 15 of them - that’s going to use up the entire time, so that’s no good. Perhaps I just do that for 4 months, leaving me 2 months fully free. I’ll spend 4 hrs/day on Orc-wise, leaving 12 hrs/day. I can do routines for sword and shield in parallel, but then I’ve still got 8hr/day wasted for the last 2 months.

Okay, back up. First two months, I spend on Sword D (4 hrs/day), Shield R (2 hrs/day), and 2 months toward Sorcery D (10 hrs/day). Second two months I spend on Sword R (2 hrs/day), Shield R (2 hrs/day), and another 2 months toward Sorcery D (10). Final 2 months I spend on Sword R (2), Shield …

Anyways, I learn 2 things from this: I hate the old system, where I always have the sneaking suspicion that there’s a better arrangement, and my system gives out tests too easily.

Yeah, you’re right, going to school would be Instruction. My stupid.

I’m not a huge fan of the practice system either, but I do like having it as a part of the game. I enjoy campaigns that span years, with lots of downtime.

Ever play Classic Traveller? It had an interesting advancement system where you just choose a number of skills you have in training at any given time, and you actually receive a benefit to those skills while you’re practicing them. I can’t remember perfectly, but I recall some kinds of skills counted as one level higher if you had it in training. Put in BW terms, if you have Sword B3, and you are currently training Sword, you effectively have Sword B4 for the entire duration of the practice cycle – but if you stop training it before the skill advances, you drop back to B3 again. There were other benefits too, especially for practicing stats. Can’t remember perfectly. It was a kooky system, but fun and interesting.

Hmm… How about doing away with the “hours per day” bit entirely? The practice cycles don’t bother me at all, but I do agree that the schedule tetris can get annoying. I can barely manage my own schedule IRL, hahaha. And anyways, it seems like the only reason for the hours per day is to:

[li]Allow multiple skills to train simultaneously.
[/li][li]Make Challenging tests almost impossible to get through practice. (I mean, common, 16 hours per day for a challenging Forte test? It makes sense in a Kung-Fu game, but in any standard medieval fantasy story, who the heck has the time to spend practicing Forte for 16 hours every day for 2 months straight?)

How about just using something like this for ALL skills:

Practicing Towards Routine Tests
[li]You can practice towards 3 Routine tests in the same day.
[/li][li]If you have to work a full-time job, you can only practice one skill not related to the job. The other two skills must be related to the job somehow, or you can’t practice them at all.
[/li][li]If you’re having trouble explaining your practice time in RP terms, consult the practice times table in the BWG book for guidance about how long such practice takes. All other remaining time is assumed to be spent performing normal daily activities.[/ul]
Practicing Towards Difficult and Challenging Tests
[li]You can only practice towards 1 Difficult test on any given day, and you can not practice towards any Routine tests on that same day. You have a few hours per day to do other (non-test-related) stuff, but you can not work a job on the same day unless the Difficult test is a part of your job. (ie. you could count farm-work towards a Difficult test for Animal Husbandry)
[/li][li]Practicing towards a Challenging test follows the same rules as for Difficult tests, except that you must be able to explain to the GM and the other players at the table exactly how your character is performing the practice, and how you are managing to spend that much time applying yourself to that single skill with that much dedication. Consult the practice table in the book for reference of how long this really takes. Your intent to practice towards a Challenging test CAN be vetoed if you can’t explain yourself.

Then just use the practice cycles from the game book.

This minor variant is easy-peesy, and doesn’t fuck with the official practice rules much at all. In fact, it seems to back up the official practice rules quite nicely. I mean, with the regular system, sure it’s possible for a Will 4 character to practice towards Routine tests towards Rhetoric, Read, Oratory, Fishing, Mace, Mending, Ancient Languages, Animal Husbandry, and Weaving all in the same day (that all adds up to 16 hours, believe it or not), but REALLY, who the hell would ever do that, especially for months on end? I know it’s allowed by the rules, and sure I could invent a feasible schedule for a scholarly farmer to do all of those things in his workday… But I think there has to be a certain understanding around the table that practice is meant to be used to enhance the story, and players shouldn’t be allowed to ignore the fiction just to get in a few extra tests. I’d like to think that PCs live somewhat ordinary lives during downtime: maintaining hobbies, enjoying a bit of free time, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and then maybe getting a few hours in the evening to sharpen up their sword skills and lift some weights. Playing time-tetris and inventing artificial daily schedules isn’t much fun anyways.

The other nice thing is that this variant doesn’t require checking the practice table at all if you’re only logging for a day or two. The only reason to check the table is to see if you’re nearing the end of the practice cycle, or for a bit of guidance about how long such skill practice might take you, on average. It uses the hourly practice as a rough guideline for RP, rather than a strict rule for gaming the advancement system, which is nice and non-stressful for players and GMs alike.

That’s quite interesting.

Some advantages are that it produces results closer to the original, and that you don’t need to keep track of regimen starting times. You just log days spent practicing, with a time investment/day dependent on the ability you’re practicing: a third of a day for routine tests, and a full day for difficult and challenging; challenging is literally no time off.

I have mixed feelings about difficult tests taking a full day. That’s much, much harsher than the current system - most difficult tests take only 4 or 6 hours per day. Doing three concurrently is within reach for most players (Will 4 = 16 practice hours in full downtime). On the other hand it does make the tetris a lot simpler, because you can’t mix regime types.

I’d still simplify the cycle times, though - they you get a very tidy system you can almost remember completely.

How about this:

Routine - 1/3 of your day
Difficult - 1/2 of your day
Get a Job - 2/3 of your day (most jobs, some are more at GM’s discretion)
Challenging - whole day

Only one regimen per ability concurrently (you can’t work on two Difficult sword tests at the same time).
You can only practice something once per day. (A routine regimen takes a third of a day, but you can’t earn a Routine sword test in 10 days by practicing it for the whole day.)

Easy - 2 months (30 days, if you’re doing it piecemeal)
Agility, Forte, Martial, Musical, Physical, Power, Seafaring, Social, Special/Misc, Speed, Steel

Moderate - 6 months (180 days)
Academic, Artist, Forester, Military, Peasant, Perception, School of Thought

Hard - 12 months (360 days)
Artisan, Craftsman, Faith, Medicinal, Sorcerous, Will

Going back to my example, I need these tests:

Sword RRD
Shield Training 4x any (I’m opening it, having had my instruction)
Sorcery RDC
Orc-wise D

The tetris is a little easier. Sorcery D or C are just too time intensive, so I’ll work on Sorcery R (earning 180 out of 360 required days). In parallel, I’ll work on Sword D for the first two months, Sword R and Shield R for the second and third months. That earns me:

Sword RRD, Shield RR, Sorcery R(180d)

Alternately, I could do Sorcery D and Orc-wise D for the whole 6 months. Or Sorcery D for 6 months, with Sword RRD. Yes, the tetris is a LOT easier.

How do those example practice times compare to the standard practice times?

You can simplify the cycles if you want, but I still think it’s unnecessary. Usually, all players practice at the same time. The GM will have the practice table in front of him on his GM screen or an open book. It’d go like this:

Player: “I’m gonna practice Sword today. Difficult test, since it’s my day off work. First time practicing this skill.”
GM: “OK, 6 month cycle.”

Player jots down on his character sheet: “Sword D 1 day / 6 months”

Not having to track hours really simplifies the process. The cycle need only be looked up once per skill.

Also, RE:

R: 1/3 day
D: 1/2 day
C: Full day
Job: 2/3 day

This would work well. I guess I do practice my RPG-wise every day for a few hours after work. I might rule the extra routine would have to be a hobby skill if it’s performed every day for weeks on end. Throwing a more challenging routine into the mix every few days would be acceptable. I just don’t want to see PCs working their asses off like robots every downtime day of their lives. Feels too artificial.

Generally, practice time has only come up my games (either player or GM) when there’s a block of downtime; we always forget to lobby for practice hours while we’re adventuring. (And normally it’s not that plausible, as we wander about half-starved, foraging for every morsel. Though as ffilz wisely said above, such travel could be considered Forte practice, or perhaps Soldiering or Firebuilding. I suppose you could consider any screen time you skip as practice for something!)

Usually someone’s recuperating, though once in Burning Ahimsa we were stuck as the result of a failed DoW for six months in the court of the Naga Queen while her PC daughter received the tutelage the Queen felt she had been missing.

So what happens is that we realize there’s 1 or 6 months, and we all look to our character sheets to see what we need to practice. Generally 3 or 4 skills turn up as missing a key test or two - Dallin (Burning Grunweld) had been struggling to get a Routine test for his B2 Sword; Siggar couldn’t get a Difficult Sorcery test for some reason, plus there’s a bunch of other things that are a few tests from advancement. That’s how the Tetris comes in.

Be nice to actually note the practice cycle right on the skill list, instead of having a separate section for practice log. I suspect practice would get more air time.

To answer your question about the comparison, the by-the-book practice times are:

Sword/Shield are 1mo/2/4/8
Sorcery is 1yr/5/10/15
Orc-wise is 6 mo/2/4/8

If a “full day” is 16 hours (Will 4), and holding down a job takes 10 of those, then here’s the day-portions that each skill regimen would take, by the book:

Sword, Shield and Orc-wise R 1/8, D 1/4, C 1/2
Sorcery R 1/3, D 2/3, C 1

So, this system is rip-off for Sword and Shield - quarter/half/full is basically twice the time it takes by the book, though it’s about right for Sorcery. Other than Sorcery/Faith, there isn’t a single ability that takes more than 4 hours for a Routine regimen. So, there’s a pretty solid case to be made for making Routine regimen a mere quarter-day.

You know what might make sense? As much as it’s a wrinkle to this otherwise clean system, Faith and Sorcery are both very powerful and also central character concepts. A warrior needs to master a lot of different abilities to Fight well, wheras Sorcerers get by with (mostly) Sorcery and Forte, and the faithful with Faith alone. So it might make sense to say that all skills are quarter/half/full day for R/D/C tests, but Sorcerous skills are double that (meaning: half/full/full).

As a GM, I’m usually quite proactive about handing out practice for skills. I don’t wait for players to lobby for it. If I Say Yes, and it’s a test that takes a few hours, I’ll suggest they log it for practice. Sometimes I’ll frame a scene in media res with some kind of activity going on, and I’ll give them a bit of free skill practice for it. For example, I might have a scene start in a PC’s bedroom, with the PC reading a book, and tell the player they can log 3 hours towards Read. I don’t hand out these kind of tests all the time, but it’s a nice way to reward the players for regular activities, especially for skills they might not otherwise think to practice up themselves. Whether they continue the practice regiment is up to them. They can always erase the practice time from their sheet if it’s not something they’re interested in.

I also like to have regular downtime in my games. It’s not just for recuperation. It’s for regular life. I prefer not to have stories where the PCs just wander around forever. Adventurous people aren’t adventurous all the time! They get a home base, and when the story’s evolved to a point where their intents are mostly satisfied, we pause the action for a season or two and they go back home, do their lifestyle maintenance tests, get jobs, etc. I like this a lot because you get a real sense of time in the game. The PCs age. Also gives us a chance to do a few one-on-one mini RP scenarios.

I’ve been thinking this myself. Might be a good idea for the custom character sheet. Could clutter the page up too much though, or lead to reeeeally long skill lists.

I suppose. If I use this system in my game (and I think I very well might, since I use skill practice so often), I think I’ll keep it at 1/3 day for Routines though. Why? Because, practicing skills for 16 hours is kind of ridiculous from a credible point-of-view. Where do they get time for cooking, cleaning, shopping, socializing, etc? All the regular day-to-day stuff. Unless they chose one or two normal daily activities for some of their 1/4-day skills … but really, how often will they do that? And should I have to enforce it? I’d rather just make it 1/3-day for Routines, and assume the rest of the time is spent doing regular junk. I could see having the odd day where you’re busy from dawn till dusk, but not every day. If a player tried pulling a practice routine that heavy on a regular basis, I’d nominate them for the “Overworked” trait. ^^

Sure, that’d be fine. Or, you could break it down even more and have three categories for skills:

Easy Skills
Routine: 1/4 day
Difficult: 1/2 day
Challenging: Full day

Difficult Skills
Routine: 1/3 day
Difficult: 2/3 day
Challenging: Full day

Magical Skills
Routine: 1/2 day
Difficult: Full day
Challenging: Full day

A bit more to remember, but not too hard to juggle. Quarters, thirds, and halves are very easy to internalize, much easier than adding up numbers of hours.

OK, I’ve suggested this variant to my players for consideration. Here is how I presented the rules. I think it’s pretty clean. I used 1/3 day routines, with a provision for adding an optional bonus routine test. You could go with that or just have 1/4 day routines, as you like.

Practice Times ~ Variant Rules

[li]Use the practice cycles straight from the book.
[/li][li]The hours per day in the practice table are used as rough RP guidelines only, not as hardcoded rules. Instead, for the purposes of scheduling your practice schedule, use the following rules:

Practicing Non-Magical Skills and Stats
[li]Practicing towards a routine test for any non-magical skill or stat takes 1/3 of your day.
[/li][li]Practicing towards a difficult test for any non-magical skill or stat takes 1/2 of your day.
[/li][li]Practicing towards a challenging test for any non-magical skill or stat takes a full day.
[/li][li]If you have to work a full-time job, it takes up 2/3 of your day. You may count your job as practice towards up to two routine tests or a single difficult test. If you wish to count it towards a challenging test, your job takes up the full day.

Practicing Sorcerous Skills and Faith
[li]Practicing towards a routine test for sorcerous skills or Faith takes 1/2 of your day.
[/li][li]Practicing towards a difficult or challenging test for sorcerous skills or Faith takes a full day.
[/li][li]If you have to work a full-time job, it takes up 2/3 of your day. If your job relates to Faith or a sorcerous skill you wish to practice, you may count your job as practice towards a single routine test. If you wish to count it towards a difficult or challenging test, your job takes up the full day.

Free Time Practice
[li]The above practice times assume that the character will have some free time left over in their day for doing other stuff. You may choose one additional non-magical skill to practice towards a bonus routine test to fill up this free time if you wish. However, you do not qualify for the bonus skill practice if your daily practice schedule is to work towards a challenging test for: a sorcerous skill, Faith, Will or Forte.
[/li][li]Some skills encompass the daily activities we perform in our free time that we mostly just take for granted. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get better at them. Activities such as cooking, haggling at the market, child-rearing, reading (for pleasure), various social skills and wises, wine-tasting, various hobby skills such as painting, singing, etc. are all activities we might expect a normal person to perform on a day-to-day basis, and as such, could feasibly develop into actual skills. You may choose a “day-to-day skill” for your bonus routine practice without any penalty.
[/li][li]Other activities must be practiced more intensively. Either they are not regular day-to-day activities, or they are but they qualify as actual work. Activities such as practicing your swordplay, hunting or fishing for your dinner, tending the cows, etc. all fall under this category. You may choose a more work-intensive skill for your bonus routine practice if you wish. If you choose such a skill on a non-regular basis, you will suffer no penalty. But if you spend all your free time working hard every day for a long duration, you may qualify for the “Overworked” trait at the next trait vote.

Other Considerations
[li]If you’re having trouble explaining your practice time in RP terms, consult the practice times table in the BWG book for guidance about how long such practice takes. All other remaining time is assumed to be spent performing normal daily activities: cooking, cleaning, shopping, socializing, etc.
[/li][li]Practicing towards a Challenging test is pretty intensive. You must be able to explain to the GM and the other players at the table exactly how your character is performing the practice, and how you are managing to spend that much time applying yourself to that single skill or stat with that much dedication. Consult the practice table in the book for reference of how long this really takes. Your intent to practice towards a Challenging test CAN be vetoed if you can’t explain yourself.

Yeah, I didn’t jump in in time, but as soon as I saw the three categories of practice lengths I regretted suggesting two. :slight_smile:

Counting a job as practice is double-dipping, you already get a test for that skill from the job as an attempt to recover Taxed resources. You shouldn’t earn any practice time for jobs.

I’m not sure where you’re heading with all the ‘Free Time Practice’ exceptions. Practice time (e.g. the 1/3 of a day it takes to earn a Routine) is explicitly intended to cover free time. The bonus routine test just seems fiddly. Just go with 1/4 and make it clear that a fully-booked day (whether via challenging, two difficults, or four routines) really means no other activities whatsoever.

Ah, you’re right with the no job-practice. I had forgotten it requires a skill test.

The bonus routine practice works better than 1/4, when comparing against the actual practice times in the book. The reason is because the bonus routine is allowed even when combined with magical or non-magical difficulties and most non-magical challengings. Check the practice times in the book, and you’ll see what I mean. With most challenging tests, you still have a little time left at the end of the day. This is what the bonus routine is meant to represent.

I used this simplified practice times variant in Saturday’s game. It went great! The characters were traveling overland, wasting a few days. I allowed them to get some skill practice in while on the road, to represent the activities they were performing while traveling. We didn’t need to even look at the table at all. The whole process was super easy, nice and fluid. They just picked a skill or two for practice, and that was that. They got their bonus routines in when they stopped for the nights at inns. It felt very realistic in play. ^^

I think the three categories are unnecessary, myself. Really, this works well.

Here’s what i’m going to playtest in Burning Grunweld.

Simplified Practice

To earn a test through practice, you must accumulate an appropriate number of practice days. Depending on the difficulty level of the test being earned, a practice day requires more or less of your waking hours:

Routine - 1/4 of your waking hours (1/2 for Sorcerous skills and Faith)
Difficult - 1/2 of your waking hours (3/4 for Sorcerous skills and Faith)
Challenging - 3/4 of your waking hours (all of them for Sorcerous skills and Faith)

For example, practicing for a Difficult Sword test takes half of a character’s waking time each day. Each day the character does this earns one Difficult practice day toward a Sword test.

Practice regimen need not be uninterrupted, a character can spend a few days practicing Sword in the morning (logging 4 Routine practice days), take a hiatus for several months, and resume at a later time. The test is earned as soon as the character earns

Practice days can’t be transferred between test difficulties. Routine practice days cannot be traded in for half the number of Difficult practice days, for instance.

You can’t earn more than one practice day for a given ability on any given day. (You can’t, for example, earn four Routine practice days for Sword by practicing it for a whole day.)

Practice & Other Activities

Having a job to replenish resources generally takes up a lot of time - a typical work arrangement plus travel time might take up 2/3 of the character’s waking hours. Some jobs take more, at the GM’s discretion (e.g. the heavy burden of rulership). Resource-replenishing jobs do not count as practice time (since you already get a test from them).

On the other hand, it’s acceptable and intended for characters to log practice time for any activities they perform that aren’t tested. An overland journey with heavy packs could count as practice time for Power, Forte, Orienteering, Firebuilding, Survival, or any number of other abilities.

Filling a whole day with practice is extremely demanding, cutting into sleeping leaving no time for anything else. Maintaining such an aggressive regimen for any length of time requires special arrangements (e.g. someone bringing you food, for example). A character who is travelling by day and spends the evenings practicing an unrelated activity is not helping with the tasks related to the camp (e.g. cooking, pitching and striking tents, etc.)

Practice Time to Earn a Test

Easy - 60 practice days (2 months uninterrupted)
Agility, Forte, Martial, Musical, Physical, Power, Seafaring, Social, Special/Misc, Speed, Steel

Moderate - 180 practice days (6 months uninterrupted)
Academic, Artist, Forester, Military, Peasant, Perception, School of Thought

Hard - 360 practice days (12 months uninterrupted)
Artisan, Craftsman, Faith, Medicinal, Sorcerous, Will

That’s a good point. Given that we already have an exception for sorcerous skills, one way to deal with it is just to make normal challenging tests take up 3/4 of one’s waking hours; that way you could (say) endure a hard march (Challenging Power practice) and still have time for the chores of encampment (or to shirk your chores and spend the last of the day’s light practicing something unrelated).

That’s excellent! I’m looking forward to that, we play tonight!

Routine - 1/4 of your waking hours (1/2 for Sorcerous skills and Faith)
Difficult - 1/2 of your waking hours (3/4 for Sorcerous skills and Faith)
Challenging - 3/4 of your waking hours (all of them for Sorcerous skills and Faith)

I like this. Except that I would apply the full day practice time for challenging tests towards Will and Forte as well, to stay in keeping with the book.

Awesome. I’m gonna use that! Still keeping to the regular practice cycles, as they work better for me (I’d still have to check which skill category anyways).

Thanks for working this out with me! I’m surprised nobody else has been interested in this thread. Maybe you’ve got some lurkers. ^^

Ah, wait. I was in the process of writing out the new rules for my players when I spotted a problem…

Routine - 1/4 of your waking hours (1/2 for Sorcerous skills and Faith)
Difficult - 1/2 of your waking hours (3/4 for Sorcerous skills and Faith)
Challenging - 3/4 of your waking hours (all of them for Sorcerous skills and Faith)

Yeah, the problem is the 1/2 day practice times for routine sorcerous tests. According to the book, Sorcerous tests take 5 hours. Two routine Sorcerous skills take 10 hours according to the RAW, leaving plenty of time for at least one more routine in there. But according to the variant rules, two routines would take up the full day…

I know we don’t have to emulate the standard practice times too perfectly, but I for one would like to at least try.

I thought the problem might be solved by making sorcerous routines take 1/3 of a day. But no. That allows for 3 sorcerous routines per day, but does not allow for 2 sorcerous routines plus 1 regular routine. Stupid math.

I suppose we could just write out the 1/3 day sorcerous practice with an exception for an extra regular routine, but it’d look rather sloppy. I think I might still be in favor of my original rules. Maybe I’ll write them up a bit more clearly though:

Simplified Practice Times: Dean’s Revision
[li]Practicing for a Routine test takes up 1/3 of your waking hours (1/2 of them for Sorcerous skills and Faith).
[/li][li]Practicing for a Difficult test takes up 1/2 of your waking hours (all of them for Sorcerous skills and Faith).
[/li][li]Practicing for a Challenging test takes up all of your waking hours for all skills, stats and attributes.
[/li][li]Bonus Practice: You may always choose one bonus skill to practice towards a Routine test, so long as you are not practicing towards a Challenging test towards Will, Forte, Faith, or any Sorcerous skill on that same day. This bonus practice is considered to be performed in your free time during the day.

How does that look? The math adds up nicely, at least, for any combination of tests.