Character skills at Thedas: Timelines differ greatly from those found in the Dragon Age CRPG’s. The nature of those games places limitations on character customization and puts fairly rigid barriers between the different class types: a mage cannot learn to steal, nor can a rogue wield a greatsword. We wanted to remove those barriers and allow for the greatest degree of character customization possible.
To this end, all non-combat skills are available to all classes, and of the combat skills, only magical combat (spells) is limited to a single class.
To provide a common frame of reference, when considering your character's proficiency in a skill, try to use the 4 levels described below. These are intended to serve as RP guides for what your character is capable of: a thief with a Novice Legerdemain skill would not be able to pick pockets in the marketplace without a very high risk of getting caught, for example.
Novice: Exactly what it says. The character is in the earliest stages of learning this skill, and all but the simplest tasks are likely beyond them. This stage of competency can actually provide some entertaining roleplay opportunities
Intermediate: The character has advanced in the skill, but would still be unlikely to be able to make a decent living using it, and more complex tasks are still out of their reach.
Expert: The character is fully proficient in the skill, can accomplish all but the most complex tasks, and would be able to make a living using that skill.
Master: The best of the best. The character is familiar with even the most esoteric aspects of the skill, and could make a comfortable living using it. They will still make the occasional mistake, but it is rare.
The number of skills at Expert & Master levels should be limited, reflecting the time and effort required to attain such proficiency. All skills should fit logically with your character's age and background. For example, an 18 year old is unlikely to have mastered more than a single skill, if that. Don't be afraid to leave yourself and your character room to grow.
Gaining Skills & Proficiency
People grow and learn, and the same is true of your character. They will improve on existing skills and learn new ones as role play progresses. All that we require is that you keep it believable: a character should not instantly master a new skill
How Do I Use My Skills?
Thedas:Timelines is a Play-By-Post (PBP) roleplay forum. We do not use die rolls or any other mechanics for combat or skill utilization. The lists and descriptions of spells, skills and combat styles are provided as an aid to give you an idea of what your character can do. It then falls to you to describe your character's actions in a narrative format; you decide whether your character succeeds or fails in using a skill, if an attack against a foe hits its mark and what damage is done (Note: when engaged in combat against another player's character, communication is essential to ensure that both parties agree on actions and outcomes. As stated elsewhere, your character should never attack another player's character unless you have cleared your actions with that character).
The list of potential non-combat skills can be found here. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and if you have a skill that you believe would fit in to the world of Thedas, by all means, ask the moderators!
There is no limit to the number of skills that a character can have, but they must be supported by the background and history. A simple soldier in the Bannorn would not be expected to have an extensive familiarity of Nevarran Heraldry, for example (unless perhaps his mother was exiled Nevarran nobility, also as example).
Civilians are the artisans, the crafters, the tavernkeepers, the musicians, the workers. They would be expected to have a higher proportion of noncombat skills tied to their chosen professions.
Non-combat skills that a typical mage might be familiar with include:
- Arcane Lore
- Religious Lore (Chantry mage only)
Other skills may be suggested by their background. A Circle mage, a Dalish Keeper and an apostate born and raised in Denerim will have very different skill sets.
Non-combat skills that a typical rogue might be familiar with include:
As with the mage class, a character's background will suggest the appropriate skills. A pickpocket living on the streets of Val Royeaux will differ from a Bard moving through the houses of the nobility.
Non-combat skills that a typical warrior might be familiar with include:
- Military Lore
Once again, a character's background will inform your choices. A common mercenary might not have the same skill at leadership or military lore that the captain of a noble's guard would possess.
Fleshing Out Your Character
None of the skills listed above are restricted to the classes that they are associated with. Want a city elf apostate who can pick pockets? Go for it! A thief with strong leadership skills heading up a gang? No problem! A warrior who knows how to pick locks and disarm traps? Absolutely!
Beyond that, all non-combat skills are open to all characters. All that is required is for the skill to fit logically with a character's background, so let your imagination go. What skills was your character exposed to in their childhood? What are their hobbies? It's the little details that can really make a character come to life and be fun to play with.
Combat Skills are divided into martial and magical. Martial skills are available to all character classes, with certain class restrictions. Magical skills are limited to mages. The list of skills and weapon classes can be found here.
Armor skills are not expressed in terms of level of proficiency. They are either known or they are not. A character wearing an armor that they do not have the skill for will be extremely hampered in movement and combat, and this should be expressed in roleplay.
The civilian class are intended to be noncombatants for the most part, with their training and skills focused upon their respective professions. As such, they should have no training in the use of armor and limited skill in the use of weapons. Unarmed, Staves & Single Weapon, using dagger, sword or bludgeon would be the most likely.
Characters in the Mage class have access to both Martial & Magical combat skills; however, the more time spent training in one area, the less time available to train in the other, and most mages in a Circle will not be permitted to train in Martial combat skills.
A list of Magic Schools & their associated spells can be found here.
Characters in the Mage class with a history of Circle training would have the following combat training:
- Training in wearing Light Armor
- Training in Arcane Lance
- Training in Staves
- Unless they have spent significant time outside the Circle, their combat skills should be primarily from the Magical Combat Skills list
Characters in the Mage class who are apostates with no Circle training can have a wide range of combat skills:
- Combat skills may be a blend of Martial & Magical, bearing in mind that the more time spent improving one will result in less time to improve the others
The following restrictions apply to mages using Martial combat skills:
- When wielding any weapon besides a staff in combat, no spells can be cast
- When wearing any armor besides Light Armor in combat, no spells can be cast
Characters in the Rogue class begin with the following:
- Training in wearing Medium Armor (unless you choose for them not to)
- All martial combat skills and weapons classes are available, but bear in mind that certain weapons do not lend themselves to stealth and subtlety.
The following restrictions apply to rogues using Martial combat skills:
- A rogue wearing chain or plate armor cannot use stealth at all
- A rogue using a shield, a two-handed weapon or a polearm cannot use stealth in combat.
Characters in the Warrior class begin with the following:
- Training in wearing both Medium Armor and Heavy Armor (unless you choose for them not to)
- All martial combat skills & weapons classes are available
Keeping It Real
While roleplay at Thedas:Timelines takes place in a fantasy setting, a certain amount of realism is needed. Characters who can do everything well are, in general, not much fun to RP with. When selecting the combat and non-combat skills that your character is familiar with, please give some thought to their age, status and history and select their skills accordingly.
The moderating team will work with you during the application process, and may ask that you provide additional details in your history to support some skills, request that you pare down, or offer suggestions for a skill that seems to fit your character. Our goal is for everyone to enjoy their experience here as much as possible!