A skill is an ability representing innate aptitude, training, and experience. While an adventurer can automatically perform routine actions without needing to roll, the gamemaster should call for skill rolls in stressful situations to see if the adventurer is successful.
If the adventurer would always know instantly if they were successful or not, the player should roll.
A failed Climb roll to climb a mountain means the adventurer does not climb the mountain. They may even fall!
Likewise, the player should always make combat attacks and parries.
However, sometimes the gamemaster, not the player, should make the roll for the adventurer’s success. If the adventurer wants to make a Listen roll to see if something is lurking around the next corner, the gamemaster should roll the dice. The player should not know whether the adventurer heard nothing because there was nothing there, or because they failed their roll.
Generally, the gamemaster should let players make their own dice rolls as much as possible.
The gamemaster may declare that a skill roll for an adventurer must be modified because of the situation. Since the success percentage for a skill is that for ‘normal’ stressful situations, the changes are generally subtracted from the percentage ability.
# Skill Category Modifiers
Skill category modifiers represent the way that the combination of some of adventurer’s characteristics give them an advantage with certain classes of skills, such as DEX affecting Agility skills, INT affecting Knowledge skills, CHA for Communication skills, POW for Magic skills, etc. In most cases these are positive modifiers, but sometimes a high or low value in a characteristic can work against the adventurer: low STR affects their Manipulation skills because the weight of a weapon is hard to handle, and high SIZ or POW makes Stealth skills difficult to use because the adventurer is so large or noticeable.
Skills category modifiers may change if the characteristics from which they are derived also change.
Skills category modifiers also affect experience rolls, simulating the benefits of natural abilities when trying to improve a skill. This is explained here.
To determine each skills category modifier, refer to each applicable characteristic on the charts (the left column), looking up its value (the top row), and totaling up the suggested modifiers (the bonus or penalty). The resulting number is the final skills category modifier. Once determined, add the skills category modifiers to the base chances for the skills listed on the adventurer sheet which have a base chance greater than zero. Some of these skills will also be increased later in adventurer creation.
The lowest value a skill can have is 00%, which represents zero chance of success. A skill never has a minus value; if a modifier would make a skill start below 00%, write in 00%.
An adventurer’s skills category modifiers do not apply to a skill with a 00% base chance until they have gained the ability, either through cultural, occupation, or cult bonuses, allocating skill points to it, or through training.
# Agility Skills Category Modifier Table
# Communication Skills Category Modifier Table
# Knowledge Skills Category Modifier Table
# Magic Skills Category Modifier Table
# Manipulation Skills Category Modifier Table
# Perception Skills Category Modifier Table
# Stealth Skills Category Modifier Table
# Lore Skills
Lore skills provide basic knowledge of the history, characteristics, behavior, qualities, and customs of a subject, as appropriate. Examples are Celestial Lore, Mineral Lore, Plant Lore, Beast Lore, Spirit Lore, etc. Many Lore skills are specialized, with a focus on a particular subject, such as Cult Lore (Orlanth) being knowledge of Orlanth’s cult and the mythos associated with the god. There are many Lore skills, and the specialties are even more numerous.
The gamemaster should determine what each Lore skill encompasses and what it does not, but generally these skills represent a working knowledge of a race, species, people, organization, group, region, etc.
Lore skills do not improve through experience and must be trained or learned through other means.
The primary languages in Dragon Pass (and those who speak them primarily) are Esrolian (Esrolia), Heortling (Sartar), New Pelorian (Lunar Tarsh), Praxian (Prax), Pure Horse Tongue (Grazelands), Tarshite (Old Tarsh), and Tradetalk (a common tongue). Rarer languages include Boatspeech, Dara Happan, and Old Pavic. Non-human languages include Aldryami (the language of elves and nature creatures), Auld Wyrmish (spoken by dragons and their kind), Beastspeech (spoken by Beast Men and understood by many animals), Darktongue (the troll language), Earthtongue (earth elementals and associated beings), Firespeech (fire and sky creatures), Mostali (the dwarf tongue), Seatongue (spoken by Triolioni merfolk), Spiritspeech (spirits), and Stormspeech (creatures of storm).
Scripts used in the Dragon Pass region include the commonly used Theyalan script (used to write in Esrolian, Heortling, Praxian, Tarshite, and Tradetalk) and Pelorian (used for New Pelorian, Dara Happan, and Firespeech). Non-human languages with alphabets include Auld Wyrmish (dragons and their kind), Darktongue (trolls), and others.
# Skill Descriptions
Each skill described below is arranged by skill category and contains the following information:
# Skill Name
The name of the skill. Some skills have a narrow specialty, such as Craft (Brewing), Elder Race Lore (Trolls), or Homeland Lore (Sartar). Adventurers often have multiple specialties of the same skill, such as Cult Lore (Ernalda) 55% and Cult Lore (Orlanth) 50%.
# Base Chance (X%)
The chance when performing the skill untrained or for the first time, regardless of culture. Skill category modifiers have already been determined for the adventurers in this Starter Set and are already figured into their skills. If a skill is not listed on the adventurer sheet, add the skill category bonus to the base chance. Skills with a characteristic multiple such as DEX×2 have a base chance equal to that attribute multiplied as described.
What can be accomplished using the skill. If in doubt, the gamemaster should determine the scope of a skill.
On the adventurer sheet, each skill group has a value after the group title, such as Agility (+10%). This is the skill category modifier, described above, derived from the adventurer’s characteristics. When a skill’s value is not listed on the adventurer sheet, use the base chance and add the skill category bonus (if any).
All the pregenerated adventurers and non-player characters in this starter set have had their base chances and skill category modifiers already figured in. Do not add the skill category modifier to the listed chance of the skill.
Skills with a (☐) before the description can be improved with experience (see Ability Experience Checks), while skills without this cannot.
# Agility Skills
Skills relating to physical activities and bodily movement.
# Boat (05) ☐
Handling a small boat, kayak, or raft. This also includes knowledge of their general maintenance.
# Climb (40) ☐
Climbing up or down walls, trees, cliffs, or any other surfaces.
# Dodge (DEX×2) ☐
Avoiding being hit by an attack. See Dodging.
# Drive Chariot (05) ☐
Steering a chariot in combat or for travel.
# Jump (DEX×3) ☐
Leaping for height or distance over obstacles, as well as falling (or landing) well.
# Ride (type) (05) ☐
Riding a horse or other riding animal. Specialties include Horse, Bison, Impala, Zebra, Rhinoceros, etc. See Mounted Combat for more information.
# Swim (15) ☐
Staying afloat and moving in a desired direction while in the water.
# Communication Skills
Skills relating to conversation or expressing ideas to others, whether directly or through some creative means.
# Act (05) ☐
Portraying a different persona, whether in a staged performance or in a social situation.
# Art (05) ☐
The creation of images or objects such as painting and sculpture. Most such artistry in Glorantha is associated with a craft, so art for its own sake is rather rare.
# Bargain (05) ☐
Negotiation and compromise, haggling: used when buying and selling. If successful, the target agrees to a lower reasonable price. This is often handled as an opposed roll.
# Charm (15) ☐
Physical attraction, seduction, flattery, or simply warmth of personality, used to compel a desired reaction.
# Dance (10) ☐
Performing a social, ceremonial, erotic, martial, or sacred dance. This is extremely useful in magical rituals and worship ceremonies.
# Disguise (05) ☐
Creating a convincing disguise using appropriate materials (costumes, cosmetics, wigs, or hairpieces).
# Fast Talk (05) ☐
Convincing one or more people to agree with whatever the speaker is saying, deceiving them into doing what the speaker is trying to convince them to do. This differs from Orate because it is quick and doesn’t attempt to change the target’s beliefs. One fast talks their way past a guard, and orates to inspire a crowd.
# Intimidate (15) ☐
Frightening or compelling a person to act in a certain way. A successful use of this skill may even prevent a fight.
# Intrigue (05) ☐
Knowing what is going on at a court, great temple, warlord’s camp, bureaucracy, or similar institution. This can be insider knowledge, or it can represent conspiracies.
# Orate (10) ☐
Using speech to make groups of reluctant listeners change an existing belief, to act, or to grant a significant request, driven by emotion and reason. It differs from Fast Talk because it takes time and successfully convinces the target of the desired belief, versus being quick and temporary.
# Sing (10) ☐
Knowledge of poetry as well as singing or reciting poetry, used in religious rituals as well as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy, and law. Very useful in worship ceremonies.
# Speak Other Language (type) (00) ☐
Speaking a language other than one’s own, such as one of those listed in the Languages. Generally, 20% or more is enough to have simple conversations in. If attempting another Communication-based skill, the level in Speak Other Language is the limit at which the entity can use the other skill. See the Languages for more information.
# Speak Own Language (language) (50) ☐
Speaking one’s native language. No roll is needed when speaking to other native speakers. Generally, this skill is only used when eavesdropping, translating, or in difficult circumstances. If attempting another Communication-based skill, the level in Speak Own Language is the limit at which the adventurer can use the other skill. See Languages for more information.
An adventurer with Speak Own Language (Heortling) 75% and Charm 83% is limited to 75% when using Charm.
# Knowledge Skills
Skills representing learned fields of lore, wisdom, or knowledge. There are many Lore skills, each providing a broad base of information about the subject. A Knowledge skill above 100% represents secret knowledge unknown to even the experts.
# Alchemy (00)
Creating and identifying potions or other alchemical substances.
# Animal Lore (05)
Knowledge of animals, their behaviors, their physiology, and various characteristics.
# Battle (10) ☐
Leading warriors and surviving in massed combat. This also includes some degree of understanding what is happening, moving around the battlefield, and coordinating one’s own activity with that of others in a battle.
# Bureaucracy (00)
Understanding and maneuvering around the institutions of a government or court.
# Celestial Lore (05)
Knowledge of the stars and heavens. Cult Lore (cult) (05): The dogma and history of a particular religion including the god and Runes sacred to that cult, traditions, and holy or otherwise sacred places.
# Customs (own homeland) (25) or (other) (00) ☐
Knowing the behavior, etiquette, law, traditions, and community standards of a group. Specialties are the homeland or culture known. Customs lets one know how to behave at a local festival, while Homeland Lore informs what the festival is supposed to be about.
# Evaluate (10) ☐
Estimating the worth of artifacts, goods, and valuable natural materials.
# Farm (05) ☐
Plowing, planting, growing, and harvesting crops, and caring for common domestic animals.
# First Aid (10) ☐
Treating injuries or victims in shock. See here for more on First Aid and injuries.
# Game (15) ☐
Understanding the rules and strategies of various games and gambling in general, whether played with boards, cards, or dice. While games of chance are not typically able to be affected, this skill provides strategy about how to win, to wager effectively, and when to abstain.
# Herd (05) ☐
Keeping animals together in a herd, maintaining the herd, and moving it from place to place.
# Homeland Lore (local) (30) or (other) (00)
Knowledge of the geography, history, and famous denizens of one’s own homeland or another. With Homeland Lore, an adventurer knows who the queen is and how she received her title, while Customs lets them know how to address her properly.
# Library Use (00)
Libraries are rare in Glorantha and inevitably held by sorcerous traditions or kept within the temples of Lhankor Mhy, but this skill allows an adventurer to find desired information in all sorts of archives.
# Manage Household (10) ☐
Handling the property and resources (followers, agents, and slaves) of a farm, herd, market, workshop, temple, or palace.
# Mineral Lore (05)
Knowing and identifying different types of minerals, metals, and other natural ores, along with their physical and magical properties.
# Peaceful Cut (10) ☐
Practiced by Animal Nomads and a few other cultures, as well as many cults, Peaceful Cut allows the proper sacrifice of an animal and its respectful butchery. Failing this is messy and the animal reacts in fear.
# Plant Lore (05)
Identifying and using plants for medicinal and other purposes.
# Read/Write (language) (00)
Reading and writing in a script. This is generally only used for lengthier texts, or those that might be difficult to decipher. Some languages use a common script but are distinct from one another when spoken. See the Languages for more information.
# Shiphandling (00) ☐
Steering and otherwise maneuvering a ship, galley, trireme, or other large sailing or oared vessel, whether for combat or travel. This also includes general maintenance and shipboard ‘chores.’
# Survival (15) ☐
Surviving in a rural or wilderness environment, including foraging, building a fire, and finding shelter. This can also be used to conceal one’s tracks, making Track rolls necessary to follow.
# Treat Disease (05) ☐
In Glorantha, all diseases are caused by evil spirits possessing an unfortunate victim. This skill provides guidance to identifying the type of disease spirit, treating the symptoms, and lessening the spirit’s effects upon the victim. See the Spot Rules on Disease for more information.
# Treat Poison (05) ☐
Identifying when someone has been poisoned and by what type of poison, toxin, or venom, as well as treating the symptoms, whether using an antidote or some other means.
# Magic Skills
Skills relating to the Spirit World are discussed in The Spirit World.
# Meditate (00) ☐
Entering a trance-like state to achieve inner calm and to restore serenity and focus. Meditate can augment spells and skills, and meditating can help restore spent magic points (see here).
# Prepare Corpse (10) ☐
Properly laying out a corpse, preparing it for the final rites and knowing traditional death rituals or spells.
# Sense Assassin (00) ☐
Taught exclusively to worshipers of the god Humakt, this skill allows identification of the tell-tale signs of an intended murderer, whether behavioral, psychological, or even physical giveaways. It does little to identify the would-be victim, only pointing out their intended killer.
# Sense Chaos (00) ☐
Taught exclusively to Storm Bull cultists, this skill allows the user to identify the taint of Chaos in an individual, area, or even an item.
# Spirit Combat (20) ☐
Battling a hostile spirit and doing damage to it. See Spirit Combat for more information.
# Spirit Dance (00) ☐
Avoiding hostile spirits while in discorporate form, and ensuring a safe return to one’s body in the Mundane World. See Spirit Combat.
# Spirit Lore (00)
Knowledge about types of spirits and their abilities, understanding the nature of the Spirit World, etc.
# Spirit Travel (10) ☐
Maneuvering throughout the Spirit World, particularly from one region to another. See Traveling in the Spirit World.
# Understand Herd Beast (00) ☐
Understanding the noises and physical signals made by non-intelligent herd animals.
# Worship (deity) (05) ☐
Based upon a specific cult and its representative god, this skill represents knowledge of the sacred rites and rituals necessary to gain the attention of and appease a god. It takes a full day to perform and must be held on sacred ground. Successful use of this skill returns spent Rune points. Specialties are for each cult.
# Manipulation Skills
Skills relating to hand-eye coordination and trained reflexes. These also include all combat skills, such as [Melee and Missile Weapon and Shield skills]/rules/skills.html#weapon-skills.
# Conceal (05) ☐
Concealing an object so that it may be found only with a Search skill roll.
# Craft (type) (10) ☐
Making items out of metal, wood, stone, leather, cloth, clay, glass, etc., or even making types of food. Specialties include Baking, Brewing, Carpentry, Cooking, Glassblowing, Jewelry, Leatherworking, Masonry, Pottery, Redsmithing, Vinification, and Weaving.
# Melee Weapon (type) (variable) ☐
Using a specific melee weapon, described in Combat.
# Missile Weapon (type) (variable) ☐
Using a specific missile weapon, described in Combat.
# Play Instrument (05) ☐
Being able to play a musical instrument, whether in a performance or for one’s own pleasure. Also includes general maintenance and a repertoire of suitable music.
# Shield (type) (15) ☐
Using a specific size of shield, described in Combat.
# Sleight (05) ☐
Using speed or misdirection to manipulate a small object while being watched by others, or potentially picking a pocket or coin-purse.
# Perception Skills
Skills relating to the ability to detect hidden things, whether concealed or otherwise difficult to notice.
# Insight (own species) (20) or (other species) (00) ☐
Evaluating someone’s character, emotional state, trustworthiness, and motives based on body language, speech patterns, and other factors. Specialties are per species, so most adventurers have Human as their specialty, while others might be Aldryami, Ducks, Mostali, Trolls, or even Dragons.
# Listen (25) ☐
Listening intently for sound where one would not normally hear it and picking up incidental sounds. Usually opposed with the Move Quietly skill.
# Scan (25) ☐
Observing an area for any signs of movement. Generally, this is used in opposition to the Hide skill.
# Search (25) ☐
Scrutinizing an area to find a concealed or lost object or door. The skill used to oppose this is Conceal.
# Track (05) ☐
Following the trail left by a living being through wilderness and rural areas. This skill can be opposed by Survival when it is used to conceal tracks.
# Stealth Skills
Skills relating to moving without sound or concealing oneself to avoid casual detection.
# Hide (10) ☐
Using available cover, including shadows, misty areas, etc., to hide from others. Hide is opposed by Scan.
# Move Quietly (10) ☐
Moving in silence, without alerting a foe, used against the Listen roll when someone is actively trying to detect any intruders.
# Weapon Skills
All Melee Weapon, Missile Weapon, and Shield skills use the Manipulation skill category modifier and are either specialized by a specific type of weapon (such as Broadsword) or a more general category (1-Handed Axes, for example).
All Weapon and Shield skills can be improved by experience.