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 judgment 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 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 Aptitude Skills must be made through role play. There are no skill points, no knowledge 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 or from Good to Excellent; and
  • 8 finished, reviewed threads, at least 4 of which must be collaborative threads in order to move 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 Good 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.

Progress Requests and Thread Use

The threads necessary to advance all skills are additive, meaning the 4 threads needed to move from Poor to Average in an Aptitude Skill cannot be used ever again in a Progress Request to count toward the 6 threads needed to move any other Aptitude Skill (even the same one) from Average to Good or Good to Expert, etc. Each stage of advancement requires a new collection of threads to validate progression in that Skill. You can, however, use the same thread in a review request to advance more than one skill, meaning you can use a single thread toward the advancement requirement totals for both an Aptitude Skill (or multiple Aptitudes) and a Focus Skill (or multiple Focus Skills) at the same time, depending on the depth of character development contained within a single thread.

Basically, you cannot "recycle" threads that have been used in a past review request already. If a thread has been used in a review request for advancement regardless of whether its Focus, Aptitude or Linguistic, it’s classed as “spent”. (i.e. if you used a thread to count towards the upgrade from Poor to Average in a review request, it cannot be used again in any future review requests.)

We ask that you as a player use your best judgment and know that we will also be using ours when weighing the value of a thread toward skill advancements.

Aptitude Mastery Limitations

Please note that a character may only attain mastery in a single Aptitude Skill, be it Mental, Physical, or Social. After reaching Master Tier in one Aptitude, the other two skills may be advanced to Excellent through narrative progression but no higher. There are no exceptions to this rule.

It is highly encouraged for all players to consider their characters' flaws and weaknesses instead of focusing on maxing out their Aptitude Skills, especially with the understanding that each Aptitude Skill covers a large swath of abilities and general skills and that there are Focus Skills that allow a character to specialize in different skills than another character who may have the same Aptitudes.

Is anyone truly naturally good at everything? If they are, why would they need other characters to interact with at all?

Skill Correlation

While it's not a hard and fast rule because some Professional Skills are a blend of different Aptitudes instead of directly correlated to a single skill, for general purposes of tracking advancement, Combat Focus Skills should be loosely correlated to the Physical Aptitude Skill development of your character, Professional Focus Skills are narratively correlated to the Social Aptitude Skill of your character, and Magic is always narratively correlated to the Mental Aptitude Skill (although, since magic is also physically taxing to both galdori and wicks, some Physical Aptitude is necessary to have the endurance for advanced spellcasting). Again, this is in theory more than practice, but please use your best judgment 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: