Dungeons of Olde

Trashing old-school dungeons, one tile at a time!


Dwarven Smith by Earl Geier

Skills categorize and quantify a hero's training and experience. If a hero possesses a given skill, he rolls his normal Stat Dice without adjustment when applying that skill to a challenge. If he lacks the relevant skill, he usually rolls his Stat Dice with a penalty of -2 to the Check roll. A few skills are so rare or specialized that untrained characters are not allowed to attempt the task at all, depending on the circumstances.

Purchasing Skills

Skills are purchased and improved using character points (CP). To purchase a new skill at the basic level—Apprentice rank—costs 1 CP. Additional skill ranks may be purchased to improve a hero's competence with a skill. Groups of related skills can be purchased at a discount as Skill Sets.

A few skills, including Alertness, Leap, and Lift/Shift, are considered Common Skills—every hero possesses each of these skills at the Apprentice rank at no cost in Character Points.

Brawn Skills
Skill Description Untrained
Axes Combat skill Penalty
Brawling Combat skill Penalty
Burst Summon a burst of power or energy in an emergency situation Penalty
Climb Scale vertical surfaces Penalty
Endure Endure hardship beyond the capacity of ordinary folk Penalty
Leap Make an exceptionally long or high jump Common
Lift/Shift Carry or push a heavy load Common
Maces Combat skill Penalty
Ride Control a riding animal while remaining mounted Penalty
Shields Combat skill; -2 penalty for untrained use of a shield applies to all Attack checks Penalty
Swim Travel through or across deep water without drowning Penalty
Finesse Skills
Skill Description Untrained
Bows Ranged combat skill Penalty
Climb Scale vertical surfaces Penalty
Crossbows Ranged combat skill Penalty
Dodge Avoid being struck in combat Penalty
Escape Escape from restraints Penalty
Fencing Combat skill; includes use of Bucklers, but not larger shields Penalty
Knives Combat skill Penalty
Long Guns Two-handed firearms; ignore if campaign does not include firearms Penalty
Murder Kill or knock out a completely-unaware victim with a single attack Penalty
Pistols Single-handed firearms; ignore if campaign does not include firearms Penalty
Pursuit Close in on a quarry or open distance from a pursuer in an active chase Penalty
Quarterstaff Combat skill Penalty
Ride Control a riding animal while remaining mounted Penalty
Sleight-of-hand Manual trickery and misdirection such as picking a pocket or lifting a purse unnoticed Penalty
Sling Ranged combat skill Unusable
Sneak Move without attracting attention Penalty
Spears Combat skill Penalty
Swim Travel through or across deep water without drowning Penalty
Thrown Weapons Ranged combat skill; includes knives/daggers, axes, javelins/spears Penalty
Tumble Stay on your feet in tricky situations, or land gracefully when falling Penalty
Savvy Skills
Skill Description Untrained
Alertness General perception Common
Camouflage Hide creatures or items using natural cover or find creatures or items so hidden Penalty
Disable Disable mechanical devices such as traps or locks Penalty
Forage Find food and water in the wilderness Penalty
Healing Minister to the sick or injured to aid their recovery Penalty
Insight Accurately anticipate the intentions, motivations, or plans of another person Penalty
Investigation Search for clues and make deductions based on those clues Penalty
Knowledge Familiarity with a specified field of knowledge; the narrower the field, the deeper the knowledge will be Unusable
Language Fluency in a specified language. Apprentice Rank gives fluency equal to a native-speaking peasant; higher Ranks indicate more eloquence and vocabulary. All characters receive their native tongue as a Common Skill. Unusable
Literacy Read and write any language the character speaks Unusable
Pathfinding Find and follow the safest route through difficult terrain Penalty
Profession Competence in a mundane craft, trade, or occupation Unusable
Research Know or find out where useful information is likely to be found, and locate such information within large collections Penalty
Tracking Find and follow a trail left by another Penalty
Trivia Recall obscure and seemingly random facts, gathered through voracious and eccentric reading and listening habits Unusable
Veterinarian Provide healing to animals Penalty
Nerve Skills
Skill Description Untrained
Burst Summon a burst of power or energy in an emergency situation Penalty
Command Direct trained animals in pressure situations Penalty
Deception Tell a convincing falsehood Penalty
Disguise Pass oneself off as someone else Penalty
Drive Guide a vehicle drawn by animals Penalty
Endure Endure hardship beyond the capacity of ordinary folk Penalty
Entertain Hold the attention of a crowd Penalty
Intimidate Cause another person to become fearful or lose confidence, usually with the intent of coercing them Penalty
Negotiate Conclude transactions in ways that are benificial to one or both parties Penalty
Persuade Win others to your point of view Penalty
Train Train an animal to follow commands Unusable
Skill Ranks

Skills may be improved beyond their basic level. Each skill rank above the basic level affords the hero a bonus on his Check rolls using that skill.

Skill Ranks
Rank Title Adjustment Cost at Creation Cost as Upgrade
Untrained -2 0 0
Apprentice 0 1 1
Journeyman +1 2 1
Foreman +2 4 2
Master +3 6 2
Grand Master +4 9 3
Legendary Master +5 12 3
  • Total Cost: The cost in Character Points to buy the listed skill rank all at once, at the time of character creation
  • Upgrade Cost: The cost in CP to buy that rank if the character has already purchased the preceding Rank.
Illustration from vintage book Journey Through Bookland
Skill Sets

Most skills are included in one or more Skill Sets. Purchasing a Skill Set at the listed price gains the hero every skill in the set at a discount over buying each skill separately.

Skills in a Set also improve together. For each Skill Set, the Skill Sets table lists a Number for Rank value. When a hero improves that many Skills within the Set to a given Rank, the remaining Skills in the Set also improve to that Rank at no additional cost. For example, Melee Weapons Set has a Number for Rank of 3. As soon as a hero improves his third skill in the Melee Weapon Set to Journeyman rank, all his Melee Weapon Skills immediately improve to Journeyman rank.

A few skills, such as Ride, are included in more than one Skill Set. In such cases, the overlap does not reduce the cost to purchase either Skill Set at the Apprentice rank. Additional ranks in such "overlap skills" do, however, count toward the Number for Rank to rank-up both Skill Sets.

The Character Point cost of a Skill Set including a common skill is not discounted in any way. Additional ranks in Common Skills do, however, count toward the Number for Rank to rank-up the entire Skill Set.

Skill Sets
Set Skills Cost Number
for Rank
Melee Combat Axes, Knives, Maces, Shields, Spears, Swords 4 3
Ranged Combat Bows, Crossbows, Long Guns, Pistols 2 2
Streetfighting Brawling, Knives, Thrown Weapons 2 2
Swashbuckling Fencing, Knives, Swords 2 3
Animal Handling Command, Drive, Ride, Train, Veterinarian 3 3
Survival Alertness, Camouflage, Foraging, Pathfinding, Tracking 3 3
Stealth Alertness, Camouflage, Disable, Escape, Murder, Pursuit, Sleight-of-hand, Sneak 3 4
Ministry Entertainment, Healing, Literacy, Persuasion, Profession: Minister 3 2
Scholarship Literacy, Any five related fields of Knowledge 3 3
Linguistics Any five languages 3 2
Might Burst, Climb, Endure, Leap, Lift/Shift, Pursuit, Ride, Swim 4 3
Grace Climb, Dodge, Pursuit, Ride, Swim, Tumble 4 3
Acumen Alertness, Healing, Insight, Investigation, Literacy, Research, Trivia 4 3
Influence Deception, Disguise, Entertain, Intimidate, Negotiate, Persuade 3 3
Skill Packages

Every character created under the Core Rules for Dungeons of Olde chooses a Skill Package—a collection of related skills suitable to a traditional role within an adventuring company. The optional Crunchy Characters rules afford players the option to choose their skills a la carte using a point-based system, tailoring their heroes to their unique visions. Nonetheless, a character built with a Core-Rules Stat Array and Skill Package is balanced with characters created under the Crunchy Characters system, so there is no danger in allowing some players to create customized characters while others choose Stats and Skills under the Core Rules.

Skill Packages are balanced to cost 10 CP each. While it would be possible for experienced heroes to save up 10 CP to buy an entire Skill Package at once, there is no benefit in doing so. In fact, because there is often significant overlap between Skill Packages, an experienced hero who already has one Package likely already has some of the Skills included in the new Package. For these reasons, a player who wants to "multi-class" his Core-Rules hero by purchasing a second Skill Package should simply buy the necessary Skills or Skill Sets as he can afford them, and let his hero branch out gradually.

Skill Packages
Set Skills
  • Axes, Knives, Maces, Quarterstaff, Spears or Swords (Choose one)
  • Shield or Journeyman Rank with any single Skill (Choose one)
  • Ministry set
  • Faith (rules TBD)
  • Axes, Knives, Maces, Spears, or Swords (Choose one)
  • Ranged Combat set
  • Survival set
  • Stealth set or Animal Handler set (Choose one)
  • Journeyman Rank with any single Skill
  • Streetfighting set
  • Stealth set
  • Grace set
  • Journeyman Rank with any single Skill
  • Axes, Maces, or Swords (Choose one)
  • Shield
  • Might set
  • Ministry set
  • Journeyman Rank with any single Skill
  • Swashbuckling set
  • Grace set
  • Influence set
  • Profession: Performer (Choose musician, singer, actor, storyteller, etc.)
  • Journeyman Rank with any single Skill
  • Melee Combat set
  • Bows, Crossbows or Thrown Weapons (Choose one)
  • Might set
  • Journeyman Rank with any single Skill
  • Knife, Quarterstaff, or Sword (Choose one)
  • Scholarship set
  • Wizardry (rules TBD)