Aptitude Skills

From ThornsWiki

These three skills describe a character's propensity in three directions: Mental, Physical, and Social abilities. Think of them as stats, but also keep in mind they encompass a range of general skills that someone could have a knack for given the Aptitude. Like stats in a pen-and-paper dice game, Aptitude Skills encompass what your character is naturally good at or has talent in more than what they have studied and applied themselves to (skills one has studied for are Focus Skills). A human that has Mastered their Physical Aptitude Skill is a strong, enduring, athletic individual, or perhaps they are acrobatic and swift on their feet. Maybe a Wick who has Mastered their Physical Aptitude skill is a stealthy hunter or a sly thief, though if their Social Aptitude is Poor and they get caught by the Seventen, they won't be talking their way out of an arrest.

These are broad, umbrella categories that cover a variety of skills or qualities, and like in real life, these attributes can be improved through effort and training. Progress affects an open array of various skills that could fall under these three categories. Progress is made through narrative, and cannot be solely advanced through solos. Collaborative writing is required in order to grow in any skill, even Aptitudes.

These Aptitude skills should at least narratively correlate with your character's Focus Skills, which require your character to choose a subject or focus in so that they can progress in that area, in terms of role play only—it would be rather unrealistic to play a galdor politician with Poor Social Aptitude Skill but an Expert Professional Skill in politics. Nor would you play a human blacksmith with poor Physical Aptitude and Expert Professional Skill in smithing. Please use your best judgement when defining the skills for your character and keep in mind your goals and personality, not just the skills you'd like to see your character have.

At character creation, one Aptitude must be Poor and one Aptitude must be Good. The other must be Average. These choices are then able to be affected by racial bonuses and how you decide to spend your Focus Skill slots. Please see the corresponding Guide for each race to learn more.

Physical Aptitude

Having to do with the body: athleticism or natural talents, strength, endurance, survival, etc. Examples of Physical qualities include: Acrobatics, Endurance, Strength, Running, Survival, Climbing, Dancing, Intimidation, Riding a Mount, Stealth, Lock Picking, Resistance, Swimming, Pick Pocketing, etc. Even if a character chooses not to pursue any Combat Skills, this Aptitude encompasses a character's overall physical prowess and dexterity.

Mental Aptitude

Areas of study, intellectual acuity, education, concentration, and discipline. Also includes creativity, aesthetics, and mathematics. Examples of Mental qualities include: Detection, Discipline, Field Craft, Investigation, Leadership, Language, Research, Mathematics, Navigation, Logistics, Politics, Academic Subjects, Religion, and so on.

This Aptitude Skill corresponds to a character's Magic Focus Skill and is used in determining your beginning [Linguistics Skill] languages.

Social Aptitude

Skills in dealing with people, groups the character is a member of or associates with. Examples of Social qualities include: Persuasion, Deception, Caregiving, Negotiation, Bartering, Gambling, Acting, Seduction, Storytelling, Socialization, and other skills that involve interaction and influence.

Making Progress

Poor < Average < Good < Excellent < Master

All progress through through Aptitude Skills must be made through role play. There are no skill points, no knowledges to acquire, but instead, a player must provide evidence of Skill use in the following rubric:

  • 4 finished, reviewed threads, at least 2 of which must be collaborative threads in order to move from Poor to Average;
  • 6 finished, reviewed threads, at least 3 of which must be collaborative threads in order to move from Average to Good, from Good to Expert, and from Excellent to Master

You may only progress one Skill Tier per skill per season (i.e. you cannot go from Poor to Average to Expert in a single season, no matter how many threads your character is involved in). For role play and advancement reasons, it's important to take your Aptitude Skills in mind when planning your Focus Skills at character creation and beyond.

The threads necessary to advance are additive, meaning the 4 threads needed to move from Poor to Average cannot be used to count toward the 6 threads needed to move from Average to Good or Good to Expert or Expert to Master, etc.

Each stage of advancement requires a new collection of threads to validate progression in that Skill.

While it's not a hard and fast rule because some Professional Skills are more Mental or Physical, for general purposes of tracking advancement, Combat Focus Skills are generally correlated to the Physical Aptitude Skill, Professional Focus Skills are generally correlated to the Social Aptitude Skill, and Magic is always correlated to the Mental Aptitude Skill. Again, this is in theory more than practice, but please use your best judgement when advancing Focus or Aptitude Skills and ask a moderator if you have any concerns. It would be very hard to become a Master sorcerer of any Conversation if your galdor remained Average in their Mental Aptitude Skill. Average gollies don't become impressive sorcerers, usually.

It's our goal here to make sure you've got the creative freedom to write a character you enjoy without feeling the need to grind or worry about skill progression on a thread-to-thread basis (but plotting and planning and setting goals are an important part of character enjoyment for most of us), so the mechanics of skills are meant to set up guidelines and boundaries for character interaction with other PCs as well as for meeting goals for yourself.

Starting Skills by Race

Please see the How to Play Guides for your race for more information on your starting packages of skills: