Character Growth


One of the first questions that many new players ask is “How do I level-up my character?” This becomes even more curious to the new player when the new player realizes that the character sheet does not have a spot for levels or experience points. That is because Legends of Nor'Ova does not use an experience based system. Instead, character growth and progression is tied to acquiring and mastering skills.

The idea behind this is simple, simply hacking to death hordes of foes will not necessarily increase your character's understanding and ability. It doesn't matter how many enemies your character has slain if your character has learned nothing from it. Growth requires learning new skills and improving ones self. To better illustrate this idea, Legends of Nor'Ova uses a skill-based growth system where the only way you can grow is through the skills system. You do this by gaining skill points. Skill Points are points that you use to obtain new skills and spells, upgrade skills and spells, and acquiring new stats and stat modifiers. You get skill points for successfully using skills. Your GM may also reward skill points for showing real use of skill to overcome obstacles.

2. The Importance of Acquiring Skills

Screenshot_stattile.png
Stat Improvement Tile found on a skill progression grid

Going through the skills progression grid is the only way you can improve your character. The skill grids contain a mixture of skills, stat modifiers, and stat points. For example, if you want to increase your character's Mental stat, you will want to acquire a mental stat tile, such as the 10 Mental tile. Those can only be found in the skill progression grids, and often times you will have to work your way up to one by acquiring skills.

Also you will need skill points to get skills and get stat points. The only way to get skill points though is to use skills. Therefore it is very important to make the most of the skills and to plan your character's growth path accordingly to how you wish to play your character.

3. Gaining Skill Points

During Character Creation you would have created a skill point pool to help you get your first set of skills. But how do you acquire more skills after that? Simple, by using and acquiring skills. Using "active skills" will get you skill points, even after mastered. Your skill point rate will change depending upon how many skills you have acquired from your profession, or related to your profession - including passive skills and spells. Your Profession page will detail how this works for you, but it is simple. It starts with your Mental stat and gives you a bonus based on how many in profession skills you have. The rate drops when using mastered skills and spells because you are no longer learning as much from using them, but you are still learning something.

4. Character Growth with Professions

Your character's profession greatly affects your character's growth. Through your character's profession your character can access skills and stats. Each profession page has the skill grid on it, containing the skills and stats that relate most to that profession. You can of course use the skill grids on any profession page, even if your character isn't in that profession. However, getting ths skills from your profession page will be easier, cheaper, and more rewarding. You should strive to grow within your character's profession if you want to get the most out of the profession you've chosen, while using the other skill grids to fill in the blanks for the skills you find yourself needing that can't be found on your character's profession skill grid.

5. Acquiring Skills & Improving Their Success Rates

In order to acquire a skill, you must spend skill points. The amount of skill points you must spend depends on the skill's

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The START tile is a free space tile that you can start from on a skill grid. Any skill or stat tile touching the START tile can be obtained for your character.
 

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Like shown in this picture, if you have Quick Attacks, you can have Swordplay, Full Moon Attack, Counter Blast, Cleave, Lunging Attack, and EP +10.

cost, which vary depending upon the skill's difficulty and what the skill provides or does for your character. Also the cost might be decreased for you if it is in your character's profession. In order to acquire a skill, it needs to be touching the "START" tile or be touching a skill you have already acquired

When you get a skill, it will come with a predetermined Success Rate. The skill's Success Rate is what you must meet by rolling percentile dice to use the skill. As long as you roll the skill's Success Rate or less, you use the skill. So if the skill's Success Rate is 50, you have to roll 50 or less to use it. If you roll 51 or greater, you fail.

Each time you succeed at a skill, you can increase the skill's Success Rate. You can increase it by up to its Maximum Mastery Rate. The way you do this is by adding your Skill Point Rate to your skill's Success Rate. So, if your character's Skill Point Rate is 2 and you succeed, increase the skill's Success Rate by 2. If your character's Skill Point Rate is 10, you'd increase it by 10. Remember though, you can only increase the Success Rate to its Maximum Mastery Rate, though if that skill is part of your profession, it might be higher than listed. You can never improve a skill's Success Rate past 95 however, always leaving a chance for failure.

If you fail at using the skill, you won't get to increase the skill's Success Rate. There is a skill that lets you do this however, called Study Habits. So if you wish to improve your skill's Success Rate even faster you might want to make sure you pick up Study Habits.

After you have improved the skill's Success Rate as much as you can, you will instead gain skill points that you would use to improve your skill's success rate as skill points which you can use to later acquire new skills, however you will gain them at a lower rate. If you don't wish to improve the skill's success rate, you can of course just collect those points as skill points.

6. Skill Types

On the skill grid there are three types of skill tiles; Stats, Active Skills, and Passive Skills.

skilltypes.png

  • Stats: Stat tiles are what you acquire to improve your character's stats with or to give yourself modifiers to your stats - depending upon the tile. You would spend the skill point cost and that stat will be yours. Instead of listing it as a skill, you would add it to your character's stats.
  • Active Skills: These are skills that you have to roll to use, and have to spend skill points in to master. These are skills you would use at an instant, using your actions to perform an action such as Trained Strike. Using these skills gains you skill points.
  • Passive Skills: These are skills that come with a 100% mastery. You don't roll to use these skills. Some passive skills are always in effect, while others require you to spend some stat cost to activate them. Since you don't roll for them, you won't get skill points everytime you use them. However, they do count towards your profession skill point rate if they are in your character's profession.

 

7. Acquired Tiles

When you acquire a stat tile, it becomes yours. You can then acquire stats or skills that are touching that stat tile. That stat tile is only yours on the skill grid that you acquired it on. For example, if you acquire a +5 Strength stat tile, you only got that specific tile, not every other +5 Strength tile on the other grids. Those tiles are still waiting for you to acquire them.

The opposite is true for skill tiles though. Like stat tiles, when you acquire a skill tile, you can then acquire any skill or stat that is touching it. However, unlike with stat tiles, if you acquire a skill tile in one skill grid, you have it for every other skill grid. For example, if you acquire First Aide in the Alchemist Skill Grid, you also have it in the Adventurer Skill Grid. You could then use that acquired tile in the Adventurer Skill grid to get the skills or stats that are touching it. This means that when you want to look at another skill grid to get more skills or stats, you might not have to start from the START tile. If you have a skill tile that is also on that skill grid, you could use it as a starting tile.

One thing you might have already noticed with stat tiles is that, due to your character's race maximums, you might find yourself unable to get anymore of a certain stat. So what happens if a +10 Luck tile is in your way to getting a skill that you want, but you can't have anymore luck because it is maxed out? Simple, you spend the full skill point cost of that tile, and you will get half of it as a modifier. That +10 Luck will become a modifier of +5 Luck, due to the fact that modifiers aren't restricted by racial maximums. You might be thinking that it is a little unfair to have to pay the full price yet only get half of it as a modifier, but modifiers are worth more than stats simply because they aren't limited.

8. Using Skills

In order to use a skill, you need to roll its success rate or lower. Meaning if you wanted to use the skill Punch and its success rate is at 60, you would need to roll, using percentile dice, any number between 1 and 60. If you do so, your character successfully used the skill. You would apply what ever effect the skill does, subtract the stat cost from the required stat and give your character skill points.

Let’s take the skill Punch for example. You rolled a 10, which is below the 60 success rate, so it is a success. This allows you to do more damage punching a target, assuming the target does not evade your attack. You would also receive skill points. If your character's Mental stat is 25, that would be 2 in this case. Punch is not a free skill however. It costs 5 EP points, so once you rolled for it you need to subtract 5 from your character’s EP.

If you fail, you still need to take away the skill’s stat costs, but the skill’s effect will not be used. You also do not get skill points, unless you have Study Habits. Therefore if you failed using Punch in the above example, you would still lose 5 EP, and would not gain any skill points.

free action skill is a skill that doesn't count as any of the battle actions. If the skill is a free action skill, you only get to attempt that skill once per round if it is in combat. Even if you fail it counts as an attempt. If the skill has an action cost listed then it takes that many actions to use. The use of actions will be further explained in Combat.

It is important to subtract the stat each time you attempt a skill, successful or not.

8a. Critical Success and Critical Failure

While attempting to use a skill, your character may experience what are referred to as Critical Successes and Critical Failures.

Whenever you are using a skill, if you roll a 001 on your percent dice, that is considered a critical success. It not only doubles your character’s skill points, but it also doubles every value attribute about the skill except for its stat and action costs. Therefore, if you made a critical success using the skill Punch from the above example, it double the success rate of skill points your character receives and double the added damage that the skill does. A critical success on a skill like Hide would double the penalty to the enemy's perception as well as double the success rate of skill points your character would earn. Critical Successes on a skill also decrease the skill's stat cost by half for that use.

Just like there are critical successes, there are also critical failures. critical failure is whenever you are trying to use a skill and you roll a 100 on the percent dice. This hard to get roll is the exact opposite of the critical success roll. With a critical failure you do not get to use any of the skill’s effects and you do not get any skill points. However, you will spend double your skill's stat cost, and could suffer different effects depending upon the skill and the GM. Many combat skills could leave you stunned or worse if you fail, however sometimes critically failing could lead to an unexpected and surprising outcome. One example of this is could be tripping over your staff, causing you to somersault and kick the target when you meant to bash the target. The result of a critical failure should depend upon the skill and the situation.

9. Upgrading Skills

Upgrading skills is something else that can be done with skill points. You can only upgrade  a skill that you can no longer improve its success rate. Below is a table of simple upgrades that can be done to a skill.

Upgrade Effect Skill Point Cost
Decrease Stat Cost You can decrease a skill's stat cost by spending skill points. You can only decrease the stat cost to 1/2 of its original cost. If a skill cost two different stats, such as 20 EP and 10 SA, each have to be decreased individually. 5 skill points per 1 point decreased
Decrease Action Cost You can decrease the skill's action cost by 1, but not less than 1. 50 skill points per action
Increase Area of Effect You can increase a skill's area of effect by one additional space ring (i.e. a 3x3 space to a 4x4 space) only if the skill has an area of effect greater than 1 hex or 1 target. You can only apply this upgrade once per skill. 25 skill points
Double Range You can double a skill's range only if the range is not 1 target and not decided by weapon or movement ranges. 25 skill points
Increase Duration You can increase a skill's duration by +1 only if the skill's duration isn't instant and is measured in rounds. You can only increase the duration once per skill. 25 skill points
Increase Skill Effect You can increase the skill's healing or damaging effect. This will increase the skill's damage or healing power by +20. It will also increase the skill's stat cost by +20. Nothing else will be changed however, including the skill's Success Rate. 25 skill points

10. Picking Skills

Once you reach this part of character creation, you should be able to pick up skills for your character. You will be doing so by spending the Cost to Acquire for the skills you desire.

Following this page you will find the skills, separated into the following categories: Offensive, Defensive, Character, Support, and Magic Skills. You won't find any magic spells yet, those will be dealt with in the following Magic section. Some skills may be repeated in different categories if that particular skill or ability belongs to more than one category.

The skills listed within their categories will be organized by what tier they are on in the skill progression tree. There will also be a skill progression tree proceeding each skill category.

Before continuing on with picking your skills, lets first go over some of the terms that you will find. Lets start with skills.

  • Skill: This is the name of the skill. You would record this in the Skill field on your skill record sheet.

  • Weapon Type: Typically used only for offensive type skills, the weapon type indicates what kind of weapon needs to be equipped to use the skill. If you don't have the right weapon equipped, you can't use that skill.

  • Effect: This is the skill’s effect, whether it be damage, restoration, or whatever. This info is to be listed in the Effect field on your skill record sheet. This will be a brief description of the skill's effect.

  • Stat and Action Cost: This is how much it cost to use the skill in stat points and actions. This is typically either SA or EP, however some skills may cost HP.

  • Range & Area: This is the range and area of effect of the skill, starting from your character and extending outwards. Sometimes this may be just one target, however if it affects an area on the battle field it will be listed in a space by space method, such as 3x3 space. This would mean that starting from the center of the effect, which is typically where you target the skill, the effect spans outward in every direction in 3 spaces. Record this information in the Range & Area field on your skill record sheet.

  • Duration: This is how long the skill’s effects last, whether in rounds, minutes, cycles, or days. This information is recorded in the Duration field on your skill record sheet.

  • Success Rate: This shows you the Success Rate that comes with the skill, basically what you will need to roll or below to successfully use the skill.

  • Cost to Acquire: This is how many skill points it costs to acquire this skill.

 

Now that you understand better how skills work, continue to the next page to begin selecting your skills. Here's a few important facts to remember when doing so.

  • Fact 1: To acquire a skill, you must have a skill that touches it (or it must be a first column skill) and spend its Cost to Acquire in skill points.

  • Fact 2: You can improve a skill's Success Rate by up to its Maximum Mastery, which may be increased by your character's race or profession.

  • Fact 3: You gain the first digit of your Mental Stat as skill points for successfully using skills. Without having Study Habits, you cannot gain skill points for failing at using skills.

10. Sacrificing Skills

Lets say you created this xodian character, but you don't care about the Mind Speak ability. You never really plan to use it and really you'd rather have the skill points instead of that skill. You can trade in that skill for skill points. You can trade in any skill for skill points, as long as that skill isn't a prerequisite for another skill that you wish to keep. Before you can trade in any skill for skill points that is a prerequisite for another skill that you have, you must first get rid of the skill that requires it.

The amount of skill points you can receive for trading in skill points depends upon the skill or spell's tier level. The rate you get is determined by the following:

  • You are offered 1/2 of the skill point cost to acquire the skill.
  • You are offered an additional 15 points if you mastered the skill.
  • You are offered an additional 10 points per upgrade improvement made to the skill.
  • Finally, you are able to use haggle to increase the skill point return by 20%

 

While the refund of skill points will be less than what you might have spent to get the skill, this is at least a way to get back skill points if you decide that skill just isn't what you want for your character.

11. Chapters