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Skill Guide

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The Skill Guide is a comprehensive guide devoted to defining, assigning, and advancing skills on Mizahar.


What is a Skill?

Skills are a measure of an individual characters ability to carry out an art, trade, technique, or action. Skills can include anything from swinging a sword to translating an ancient text to healing the injured. Almost anything can be considered a skill. There is a suggested list of skills on the Skill List page that is continuously growing and incredibly far from ‘complete’. Skills are very important because when writing for Mizahar, there needs to be some quantitative way for players and moderators to know just what his or her character can do based on what their character knows. To that end, Mizahar assigns Experience Points to skills on a scale of 0 – 100. A character with zero points in a skill does not know anything about that skill while a character with a hundred points (the max) in a skill knows everything there is to know about that skill and is somewhat legendary. For example, a character with zero points in cooking doesn’t have the first clue on how to turn ingredients into a palatable meal. That doesn’t mean they can’t try and make soup from a little meat, veggies, and water, but it won’t taste very good. Conversely, a character with one hundred points in cooking is a chef of legendary renown and can definitely take those same ingredients and make the best soup anyone has ever tasted.

How Many Skills Can A Character Have?

There are no restrictions on the amount of skills a character can learn or to what level they can hone those skills. People in real life spend their whole existence learning and growing. It makes no sense for characters in Mizahar to have any sort of cap on their learning since their life can change at any time. Once learned, skills are not forgotten ever. Skills are considered the reward for good writing here, and like a trophy handed out in the past, they belong to those characters forever.

What is the Difference Between Initial and Acquired Skills?

Skills are divided into two categories: Initial Skills and Acquired Skills. Initial skills are given out as part of a character's starting package and include knowledge that the character might bring to the game upon creation. Since characters are normally adults when they begin play, we use initial skills to explain what they’ve been doing with their life so far, and to give those characters a means to actually function, perform jobs, or defend themselves in the world when they first start. Acquired skills are those skills learned during the course of the game through roleplay. Keep in mind that there are a near-infinite number of skills (both developed and listed and undeveloped and not listed in the Skill List) that a character could use. Many have not been developed yet because there simply isn’t enough time in a day to write up all the skills a character on Mizahar might have. The sky is really the limit on what a character might be skilled in (think snake charming, a really weird/unusual weapons, or parrot breeding). If you would like to assign your character this kind of unique skill, feel free to do so, as long as it’s a skill that’s easily recognizable or something adaptable (silk making, or the sword skill altered to fit a scimitar) . If the skill is something too drastically different, or a combination of more than one skill, a character will need to submit a Help Desk Ticket and a writeup outlining the skill in the World Development forum in order to get permission to take the skill at start. The staff of Mizahar freely encourages and supports new skill development, so if you are in doubt, simply ask the staff (Chat, Help Desk, etc) for some assistance. Someone might even be willing to help you develop a new skill (ex. A new martial arts form) if you are uncertain how to go about new development. See Creating New Skills for more information on skill development.

Initial Skills

Initial skills reflect the education and experience gained from the character’s background. Depending upon the character's background, they might indeed enter the game with a certain group of skills. In order to recognize the fact that a character has a past, Mizahar grants new PCs 50 skill points that can be applied to any skill (trade, weapons, magic) that a player might wish to give to their character. Depending on the race of the character, additional points may be granted. There are a few simple rules for the use of the 50 beginning points given to Initial Skills. A new PC can only have a minimum of 5 points or a maximum of 30 points in any one skill (e.g. Sword, Riding, Reimancy, Blacksmithing). It is recommended that a new player spread out their PC's skill points in order to give their character a more well-rounded background. For example, a woodsman might have Wilderness Survival (20pts), Hunting (15pts), Long Bow (10pts), Bowing & Fletching (5pts). A basic fighter who likes to tell great stories might go a totally different route by splitting their points into Longsword (30pts), Brawling (10pts), Storytelling (10pts). Do not forget that each race gets a racial point bonus (see individual race pages for amounts and types) for being that race and those skill points can be added to starting points as long count towards the total 30. In addition, if a skill has a prerequisite, such as Duel Wield (which requires a minimum 30 points in each weapon wielded), that prerequisite must be fulfilled before a skill that requires a prerequisite can be taken. Prerequisites are listed in the wiki articles about specific skills. Some skills, in the future, may also require lore as prerequisites as well .

Acquired Skills

Acquired skills are diverse and can be anything a player wishes their PC to learn once they begin playing. Acquired skills can be learned through numerous means. Characters can gain information by reading a book that contains the skills and then practicing it. They can talk to other characters or non player characters and learn a new skill. Characters can also, going back to the soup example, pick up ingredients and begin experimenting with learning a skill like cooking through hands on application. If a character has a zero cooking skill, that doesn't mean they can’t actually attempt to cook (and get awarded XP for it) – or pick up a sword for that matter. They still can. But the food they cook just will be pretty terrible to begin with. Storytellers can award characters all kinds of experience points for all sorts of actions they are performing when threads are finished and approved. Characters do not need to have experience in a skill (or know that skill at all) to gain XP in a skill, as long as they write about learning the skill and keep to their level within that skill, experience will be awarded by storytellers each and every time. Characters themselves can deliberately write training threads if they wish to intensely study a topic until their character has learned more about the skill. Each thread is worth approximately one to five experience points depending on the depth and length of the writing, so it is easy for threads here and there to add up until a character has a working knowledge of a skill and can be considered competent in it (26 experience points or more).

Skills Versus Lores

Like we've stated previously, anything can be considered a skill as long as it is the type of knowledge that can be built upon and grown over time. Knowledge that are more fixed are considered lores. The term Lore depicts accumulated facts, traditions, or beliefs about a particular subject. This subject, in general, is very specific and doesn't fit into the traditional skill groups because it does not change over time or is not so expansive that a character cannot easily grow their knowledge on the subject like they can a traditional skill can. For example, if a character knows the names of edible plants and how they are used in cooking for a specific area, that knowledge does not change over time because those plants do not change over time. Thus, Knowledge of Edible plants in The Burning Lands is a Lore. Lore knowledge is just simple knowledge that is somewhat unchanging and does little to affect your skill. Lore cannot be trained and built upon like a traditional skill. Characters get two lores at start, and can gain numerous other lores throughout their Mizahar roleplaying. Popular Lores include knowledge of specific Gods and Goddesses (Lore of Akajia, Lore of Yshul), geographical lore (Lore of Zeltiva, Lore of The Cobalt Mountains), or even more specific things that might fall under science (Lore of Human Anatomy), or culture (Lore of Benshira Folktales).

What Are Skill Levels And How Are They Used?

Skills are broken down into four stages: Novice (1-25 pts), Competent (26 -50 pts), Expert (51-75 pts), and Master (76-100 pts). A master at a skill will obviously be a lot better at that skill than a novice at the same skill. However when two novices are pitting their skills against each other, we must look at the exact point level each character has to determine who is better at the skill. However, skill points aren’t the only issue. When two swordsman are fighting, which are more or less in the same level (e.g. Competent – one has 28 pts, the other 31 pts) a storyteller will also figure in the creativity, thinking, and strength of the writing to figure out which swordsman wins the duel or battle during storytelling. When a skill has been developed, a writeup will exist that contains a skill table. Skill tables clearly outline what a person knows at what level. Below is an example.

Novice (1-25)
Things the practitioner will generally be able to do at this degree of proficiency.
Competent (26-50)
Things the practitioner will generally be able to do at this degree of proficiency.
Expert (51-75)
Things the practitioner will generally be able to do at this degree of proficiency.
Master (76-100)
Things the practitioner will generally be able to do at this degree of proficiency.

Creating New Skills

Creating new skills in Mizahar is highly encouraged – from developing a new form of martial arts to clearly outlining a specific type of weapon. What we mean to explore in this section is how to develop a new skill. Common skills exist (weaving, aromatherapy, etc), but are considered ‘undeveloped’ until they have a full writeup clearly outlining what that skill is and what a person can do with that skill at what level. Development is met with enthusiasm, cheers, and excitement by staff and players alike. But there are stages to development. First and foremost, a person should be interested in the skill, and want to see it further developed. It is not necessary to develop because others want to see a skill expanded. We’ve found the best development is often achieved simply for a single individual’s pleasure. Here are a few steps to follow in developing a new skill:

  • Gather information on the skill via books, the web, or by talking to people that use the skill in real life.
  • Post a discussion thread on the topic in the World Development Forum. This is not necessary, but it can often be helpful to get other opinions and feedback on the skill, and it provides you a safe (notes get lost in the real world and hard-drives crash!) place to start organizing your thoughts and working towards producing an actual skill writeup.
  • Decide exactly what a person can do at each specific level of a skill, and begin to take notes and write it down in a level 1 - 4 format.
  • Revise, spell check, and post up a ‘finished writeup’ for comment and critique. A founder or group of founders (and players too usually) will comment on it and give you the thumbs up when its ready for the wiki.
  • Once approved, take the finished writeup and place it in the skill format (use Dummy_Skill as a guide) and post your finished writeup in the wiki.

Tracking Skills

It is absolutely essential that Character Sheets be up to date and have an accurate record of what skill points an individual has in their skills. Most people keep a running record of skills in the form of a list somewhere in their character sheet. Below is an example skill list from a Konti Healer. Notice the pc notes when points come from a starting package or racial bonuses. Instead of writing out the full 30 pts from Starting Package, some people like to abbreviate by using 30@SP or 10@RB too. The important part is that the skills are tracked,not how exactly they are tracked.

Skill List

  • Medicine 30/100 (30pts from Starting Package)
  • Philtering 5/100 (5pts from Experience Points)
  • Riding 20/100 (10pts from Starting Package, 10pts from Experience Points)
  • Herbalism 15/100 (10pts from Starting Package, 5pts from Experience Points)
  • Cooking 5/100 (5 pts from Experience points)
  • Fortune Telling 10/100 (10pts from Racial Bonus)

There are both Initial Skills (starting package and racial bonus) Acquired Skills listed here. The exact threads the Acquired Skill points came from should be listed under the characters thread list (with links to the threads!) in some sort of manner like the below example displays. Again we'll use the konti healer as an example, so imagine this is further down on her character sheet under 'Thread List'. Please note that she makes note of receiving a Lore Award as well.

Thread List

  • 10th of Summer 509 AV - Learning to Philter (5 points philter awarded)
  • 20th of Autumn 509 AV - Enjoying my new horse (5 points riding awarded)
  • 30th of Autumn 509 AV - Mastering the Canter (3 points riding awarded)
  • 35th of Autumn 509 AV - Riding with a friend (2 points riding awarded)
  • 50th of Autumn 509 AV - Cooking 101 - How Not to Burn Down The Opal Temple (5 points of cooking awarded)
  • 60th of Autumn 509 AV - Learning the Herbs of Konti Isle (5 points Herbalism Awarded - Konti Isle Herb Lore Awarded)

Using Skills At Their Levels

There is one last thing a player should think about when roleplaying their character and using a skill. Always try and roleplay a particular skill at the level a character has that skill at. If they are a novice, please do not roleplay perfect results and comprehensive knowledge. Instead, roleplay in the way someone who just has beginner knowledge would act, including the occasional mistake or learning curve that is necessary when starting out with new things. To do otherwise is considered to be metagaming or godrping, and is considered bad manners. If characters consistently metagame or godrp, they will find it hard to interact with others as people will avoid threading with them. Storytellers are also never required to actually story tell for someone. They can pick and choose threads as they have time or interest. And while Storytellers are chosen for their positions as storytellers due to their fairness and integrity, people who consistently don't write about their characters failings or struggles (aka write at a higher level than they actually have points for) will find a hard time getting someone to mediate their threads or story tell for them.

Hopefully, this guide helps players understand skills and how they are used more. If there are any remaining questions, please feel free to talk to other players, staff members, or even post a help desk ticket.