Changes and additions to the Palladium skills system.
All characters get 1 extra skill at even number levels, in addition to what the Education level gives.
Example +1 skill at levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, all skills start at Level 1 proficiency.
Note: The acquired skills should be what the character has actually been doing within the game. If he/she wants to learn a new language, science, or technical skill, then they are going to have to be taught. If a player, NPC, or book does not teach them, then they do not deserve this skill in a campaign. If you want running, then riding on horseback all day and sitting down is not going to get it for you. You must actually run within the game a lot. If you want cooking, then when someone gathers the food, you should be the one to prepare and fix it. In other words, you are eligible for skills only you practice and seek to learn while role-playing.
If a character attempts to use a skill she does not possess, she may still try—however her percentage will only be I.Q. + 2% per level (GM’s discretion as to which skills can be attempted or if a suitable substitute could be used or a combination and average of two or more other skills could be used in its place).
The relatively anticlimactic skill roll for understanding a language in fact covers a great deal of activity. Often, it is not a simple case of either understanding or not understanding, but a degree of shades, with some ideas and concepts getting through and others simply not. Often, things simply cannot translate well into another language, even if the speaker is entirely sure of what that concept it. Other times, the translation may be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Language rolls aren’t about getting the exact message. It’s about being understood. Just because a character can express himself in a language doesn’t mean he will necessarily be understood.
The following guidelines can be used as a quick reference to understanding languages, if you don’t want the hassle of going through all of the language rules, or even in addition to the language rules. Just because someone made a successful language roll doesn’t mean he understands it all necessarily, especially if his core language skill is low! Keep in mind that this is the most briefest of shorthand. In general, unless people grew up with the language around perpetually, the language skill should rarely go above 90%. Anything above it represents a serious immersion attempt or many, many years of speaking the language (without it being your primary language).
0% to 10%: The character barely grasps the language. He cannot hold any legitimate form of conversation and is likely only limited to very basic words and pantomime. Roughly equal to a toddler.
11% to 25%: The character has started to grasp the underlying structure of the language but his range is still very limited. He knows basic numbers, some useful verbs and individually important phrases to get around on, but cannot hold any kind of higher conversation, only relay information mostly. Equivalent to a grade-schooler.
26% to 50%: The character understands the structure of the language and has a wider range. He can conduct himself in a basic fashion in a social situation, and can convey information reasonably well, although he will get caught up on the details. Can handle past and future tenses reasonably well. Equivalent to a high-schooler.
51% to 75%: The character has a good grasp of the language at this point, and can handle himself well in social situations. Can discuss some limited advanced concepts at a simple level and can convey information fairly easily. Equivalent to a college student.
76% to 90%: The character has a firm command of the language, and can handle most any situation that arises. Can even discuss technical and philosophical points with others in the language. Speaks with a very slight accent that is barely noticeable anymore. Equivalent to a professor.
91% to 98%: The character owns this language. He can discuss most anything with anyone who speaks the language, as well as advanced concepts like existentialism and energy-mass transfers. Chances are the character is either native to a place where the language is spoken or was on an immersion program that lasted too long. Speaks with no detectable accent. Equivalent to a long-lived area native.