Darkest Nights – Skills

I thought it might be time to talk some about how skills work in Darkest Nights… at least at the moment. They are fairly broad but contain a specialization of a specific part of the field of expertise. As I’ve said before each one has its own “experience points” and thus improve individually, instead of character levels. If you fail a skill check of “your level” you gain one point, as you learn of your mistakes.

There are 9 basic skills, and one additional skill to fill out. This probably serves decently to fill out most niches. But let’s have a look at them, and how they work.

Skill Levels

There are 6 levels of skill expertise, each corresponding with a certain break point of advancement points in said skill. Each level technically adds another d6 to a check, but difficulty levels eat those up so that you normally have 2d6 for your “optimal difficulty”. When you are allowed to roll you always keep two dice, however, so 1d6 becomes 3d6 drop highest, and 3d6 becomes 3d6 drop lowest. 4d6 means instant success, and 0d6 instant failure, both with no roll needed.

  • Oblivious (0-1 point). The pseudo-level of no capability.
  • Amateur (2-5 points). Some capabilities but lacking compared to what’s out there.
  • Professional (6-11 points). Expertise enough to have the skill as your job.
  • Expert (12-19 points). Highly experienced, this is usually more than needed.
  • Master (20-29 points). Rare elite level, not often found or needed.
  • Legend (30+ points). Theoretical super-level of ability.

Because you don’t make a lot of skill checks (only when it matters), and as you succeed a decent bit of these checks, you don’t advance your skills at an extreme speed.

Skill List

These are the regular skills I have in Darkest Nights. I gave my players four skills to start out with, one at Amateur and one at Expert level, as well as two at Professional level. This is probably a decent breadth. Below are the actual skills.

Academics (specialities: Science, Religion, Occultism, Culture, History)
The ability to do quick and precise academical research, as well as read latin.

Alchemy (specialties: Tinctures, Bombs, Toxins, Elexirs, Transmutation)
Alchemy is the esoteric art of applied science, used for all manner of things.

Athletics (specialties: Climbing, Swimming, Leaping, Acrobatics, [sport])
Non-combat physical activity, and general fitness.

Fighting (specialities: Fisticuffs, Fencing, Axes, Spears, Knives)
Hand-to-hand combat, for both attack and defense.

Medicine (specialities: Physician, Pharmacy, Surgery, Psychology, Diagnosis)
The art of treating injuries and disease, both physical and mental.

Thievery (specialties: Burglary, Pilfering, Sneaking, Swindling, Underworld)
The abilities for oft-illegal actions of subterfuge.

Shooting (specialities: Pistols, Rifles, Crossbows, Thrown, Cannons)
The ability to aim and operate ranged weaponry.

Socialize (specialities: Mingling, Commerce, Command, Coercion)
The art of trained social interaction, not trying to convince someone in a friendly manner.

Survival (specialities: Tracking, Foraging, Navigation, Herbalism, Taming)
The abilitiy to traverse and endure a wilderness environment.

Vocation (specialities: [any])
Training in a specific job, and used for anything not directly covered by abother skill. It can also fill in for other skills, in a partial manner logical to the vocation practiced. All vocations are separate, and learning a new one is a separate skill.

You pick a speciality, and it currently gives you a +1 to checks on it. That probaby needs some changing, but the system is in its alpha run anyways. I don’t think I’ve missed anything important, have I? Except for the mystic arts, as those probably needs their own post.

I don’t think I’ve missed anything major here, so I’m probably done for tonight. This probably needs some tinkering, bu I’m quite happy with the basic framework at least. But more on that another time. Until then!


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