HMG Character Creation - Skills

Severin's picture

When creating a new character, if the Occupational Skills table for Knight says 6 Weapons/shields to OML/OML+SB, what exactly does that mean? Assuming we are not using the optional Specialties rule, does that mean I can open: Shield, Longswords, Axes, Knives, Battleaxes, and Staves to OML+SB?

If we were to use the Specialties rule, does that change the above allocation or just the resulting percentages?

rbs's picture

If the character is a knight, then yes, open six weapon skills at OML+SB.

If the character's parent is a knight but the character is not then open them at just OML.

There is an optional rule for "Following in the Footsteps" on CharGen 16 about adding or subtracting 1/2 of SB depending on whether the character _and_ parent's occupations match.

As for specialties, or sub-skills, my experience has been that they're typically not used when the character is starting the game at the "usual age" and only enter play as time goes on. The mechanics for handling this are not really delineated in HMG.

Severin's picture

So I would not choose specific weapons/shields for the 6 OML+SB weapon slots?

My six slots would be the general weapon categories and not specific weapons. Example: I would not open specific weapons like Roundshield, Dagger, Mace, Broadsword, Estoc, Falchion.

If we use the optional Specialty rules, I would calculate the MLs for specific weapons based on the ML for the weapon category. Example: My Swords ML is 60. If I specialize in Broadsword, my Broadsword ML is 60, but if I pick up an Estoc my ML would be 50.

rbs's picture

On re-reading, I see that the HMG description of specialties really tracks with how weapon skills were generally handled in HM1, which I used when I was GMing.

First, the six slots at OML+SB go to individual weapons, and not to weapon groupings. Next, if a user wants to use another weapon skill in the same group, then he does so at the known/specialty weapon's ML-10.

So let's say a new character opens Broadsword at an ML of 72. He can then opt to treat that he knows all the other Longswords at 62. However, if he also wants to start with Bastard Sword at 72, he has to use another one of the six slots to do so.

The HM1 rules did have a paragraph on specialties, but it was somewhat different. The example there was of a crafter specializing in the making of a particular type of product in his field. Thus, a weaponcrafter who specialized in making swords.

Severin's picture

Right. But that does not appear to be the way HMG handles skill selection and specialization. So I am left with a considerable amount of confusion when creating a character. Perhaps it is because, like you, I have echoes of HM1 and HM3 in my head.

I am pretty sure that you use the general weapon category when selecting skills during character creation. Is that correct?

rbs's picture

"I am pretty sure that you use the general weapon category when selecting skills during character creation. Is that correct?"

HMG seems to imply that, although it may be an oversight/error from when Robin was overhauling the rules. If you're cool with giving newbie characters the extra boost that it entails, then go with it.

Me, I'd be inclined to hit the brakes and apply the older/specialty scheme.

ken's picture

Skill Specialties are an optional rule. The system as written is designed for the GM to use them or not.

IF the GM uses them then the rules state a player may assume a -10 EML penalty to unopened skills in the same "broad skill category*

In other words.. in the case of weapon skills, if the GM implements specialties, the player chooses six specialty weapon skills.

If the GM doesn't implement specialties, the player chooses six of the broader weapon skills.

Some GMs may choose to use specialties in some categories and not in others.

Does that help?

rbs's picture

What Ken said essentially duplicates what I was hinting at. My unsaid point was that letting the character open six weapon skill categories at OML+SB is somewhat more generous than requiring the character pick six particular weapons and then apply the speciality rule. I prefer the less generous approach.

Severin's picture

Thanks Ken. It does help.

"In other words.. in the case of weapon skills, if the GM implements specialties, the player chooses six specialty weapon skills."

I don't think that is clear as the rules are currently written. I am not complaining, just providing feedback. The Specialties rule seems to suggest that you only get one specialty per broad category. The Multiple Specialties optional rule, allows multiple specialties per broad category, but ties them to higher skill indexes (SI6 - 1, SI7 - 2, SI8 - 3 etc.)

So I am sort of struggling with how I would choose 6 individual weapons/shields as specialties.

ken's picture

Feedback is good! :)

An update of the rule book is on the table and the more troubled spots we can iron out the better.

And yes, the idea is that the character choose ONE specialty per broad category. It shouldn't be that hard to come up with six though. A typical knight for example might have:

Knight's Shield (Shield)
Dagger (Knives)
Bastard Sword (Longswords)
Morningstar (Clubs)
Ball & Chain (Flails)
Lance (Staves)

Now a knight has more weapon options and skills than most anyone and for most characters it will be easier to decide.

In addition, note that a knight would only need an SB of 15 in a particular category in order to OPEN a specialty of Longswords, Shortswords, Knives, or Shields at an ML of 60, granting the immediate selection of a second skill specialization in the same category.