Speciality Sub-Skills

(This idea is based on Skill Songs)

Speciality Training (2 Skill Points)
This training allows the character to specialize in a particular aspect of his chosen skill, thus using open-ended dice when using his speciality.
A swordsman who specializes in claymores.
A Baker who specializes in cakes.
A suductress who specializes in extortion from married nobles.
A barman who specializes in slipping sleeping draughts into drinks.
A weaponsmith who specializes in daggers.

Whenever the speciality comes into play, the skill dice are open-ended.
This could, (and should) earn a reputation for the character if the exploding dice grant lots of successes.

I know this steps on artha just a bit, but it is only with a specific usage of the specific skill, as opposed to skill songs which effect the entire skill.

Specialities could be learned in play through practice the same as any other skill. You are just focusing on the one aspect instead of the whole thing.

Let me know what you think.

Open dice are reserved for magic and artha. I don’t like it as training. I could see it as a trait for someone who’s preternaturally good at one particular task.

I like the open-ended dice idea because for that one thing that they do they’re almost magical.
It doesn’t interfere with advancement of the base skill like bonus dice would, and it isn’t as effective as grey shading your speciality dice (although I had consider that as a Die Trait).

Of course, if they could purchase a specialization for 2 or 3 skill points that would then grant them speciality dice (as if “helping” themself) but those dice wouldn’t count towards the total dice for skill advancement, that would be significant.

I would worry that by making any singular skill open ended you take some of the magical nature away from sorcery, which has a major effect on the story if you botch a roll. This mechanic does help offset the explosive nature of Sorcery. Another facet of sorcery that helps balance this would be the fact that many of the spells that someone with sorcery is going to be throwing around also have a requirement of multiple actions to cast. If I could be a sword man that has open ended rolls on rapier attacks I would be spamming that all day hoping to get that lucky roll and decimating my opponent.

Along with the Artha cycle possibly losing some of the extra reward from using those points.


I’d just add an advantage die.

Sure, but an advantage die counts towards the number of dice used for advancement tests. That means the specialist has a harder time advancing his skill with his specialization than he does without it (the guy with a specialization with a claymore is still advancing his sword skill, using his favored weapon shouldn’t make it harder to advance his skill, just better at it)

It doesn’t make it harder to advance generally, just a bit harder to get the difficult/challenging checks. With a low skill, sometimes getting the routine checks is the hurdle and this would make it easier.
If you mean it makes it harder to get the difficult/challenging checks- of course it does, and it should. Why wouldn’t it? Why would leaning on a specialty be treated any differently than a FoRK, or help, or special tools…
Come to think of it, what do specialties add that couldn’t be represented with FoRKs? Wouldn’t “Claymore-wise” cover it?

I see this as a feature, not a bug: if you take advantage specialized expertise regarding a specific circumstance to make things easier for you, rather than trying to start from generally applicable principles and work from there, then you should have a harder time advancing the general skill. But really, this is an extremely minor thing. I think my main objection is that I’m don’t see how doing this really adds anything significant over just using wises and traits. The only real difference is that it might have a small effect on advancement, which I don’t see as being a big enough change to warrant dding this new mechanic to the game.

But it IS supposed to make it harder.

By using only one specialized weapon, you are effectively using only one set of skills and sword strokes. But by spreading your wings, although it may be harder, you are going to learn more and thereby expand your overall sword skill.

After looking over all of your comments and suggestions I’ve decided to just scrap this idea for now. I belive the base system is too abstract to support specializations the way I envision them. Instead, I will just have to trust in the wises, FoRKs, advantages, and traits to represent this concept.
Thanks to all for helping me sort this out.