These skills require a character to choose a focus in a particular field or subject in order to progress. They are limited by race and status—a wick cannot without very special permission learn galdori spells and a passive cannot begin with a Professional (Politician) focus skill. These categories still glaze over a range of skills for both Combat and Professional and somewhat also in Magic, but the character is focusing on an area, like Combat (Gunplay) or Magic (Type). Because of the narrative focus of Thorns, it is highly likely that no two players with the same types of Focus Skills will write or play their characters the same.
The Linguistics Skill is also a Secondary type of Focus Skill, but is managed a little differently than Combat, Magic, and Professional Focus Skills, so please check out that guide separately. The beginning Focus Skill slots your character starts with may not be used to level languages as part of your starting package (if you have a narrative reason for doing so, please don't hesitate to ask staff, however). For more information on Linguistics Skill and Language Starting Packages, please see the Guide here.
Combat Focus Skill
Combat Focus Skills encompass skills such as melee weapons, ranged weapons, and firearm weapons skills, tactics, evasion, and defensive maneuvers. Keep in mind that your Physical Aptitude Skill covers many of your physical abilities, and so the Combat Focus Skill is mostly in place to define your character's specific preferences when it comes to fighting and defending themselves.
Examples of Combat Focus skills include: Bladed Weapons, Blunt Weapons, Hand-to-Hand or Unarmed Combat Style, Gunplay, Shields, Tactics, Polearms, Ranged Weapon, etc.
Professional Focus Skill
A Professional Focus Skill covers the collection of knowledges and skills picked up on the job or for a specific craft, trade, or labor.
Examples of Professional Focus Skills include: Jeweler, Soldier, Blacksmith, Butcher, Farmer (such as a produce farmer or a livestock farmer), Glassblower, Criminal (such as a Pickpocket or a Thief), Student, Mercenary, Thug, Circus Performer, Dancer, Sailor, Printmaker, Cobbler, Business Owner, Socialite, Politician, etc. You can have more than one profession over the course of your character's life, and combining Professional Focus Skills so that they overlap with others can help define your character uniquely.
As another example of how these skills are meant to overlap, if your character is a farmer of livestock, your first logical Professional Skill would perhaps be Professional (Livestock Farming) and progressing in this Skill would allow you to have a bigger herd of animals, feed them at lower costs, exchange them on the market for a fair or profitable value, and slaughter/process the meat in simple ways. If you wanted to enhance your livestock business, you could choose Professional (Butcher), which would then also give your character the skills needed to determine and create finer cuts of meat, dry and cure it into various specialty meats, preserve and smoke other cuts, and understand the business of selling more than just a whole cow.
One notable exception to the skill progress listed below is the Professional Skill of Spell Writing, which is detailed separately.
Magic Focus Skill
The Magic Focus Skill is always unavailable to humans and currently unavailable to passives, as well as unable to be chosen by raen upon creation, though Raen can choose to pursue Magic through role play. Galdori have access to the Conversations of Magic while wicks have access to both the Old and New Spokes Almanac, depending on their background. Please see the specific magic pages for galdori and wicks in order to choose your Magic Focus Skills.
Tricks: A Non-Magical Option
Wicks and other non-magical races who have been raised by and/or had contact with Wicks have access to the Tricks Focus Skill section of the Old Spoke's Almanac, as they are all slight-of-hand or practical skills that do not use any mona. Please see the Wiki for further information.
Combat and Professional Focus Skills
All progress through Focus Skills must be made through role play, but no one can solo their way through progression. There are no skill points, no bits of knowledge to acquire, but instead, a player must provide evidence of Skill use in the following rubric:
- 3 finished, reviewed threads, at least 1 of which must be a collaborative thread in order to learn a new Focus Skill
- 6 finished, reviewed threads, at least 3 of which must be collaborative threads in order to move from Beginner to Proficient;
- 8 finished, reviewed threads, at least 4 of which must be collaborative threads in order to move from from Proficient to Expert and from Expert to Master.
You may only progress one Skill Tier per skill per season (i.e. you cannot go from Beginner to Master in a single season, no matter how many threads your character is involved in). These threads are additive, meaning that the 6 threads that you wrote to move you from Beginner to Expert cannot be re-used or count towards the 8 threads you need to move from Expert to Master.
In a theoretical sense, sometimes progressing through a specific Aptitude Skill is what lays the foundation for your character to advance in their choice of Focus, but please keep in mind you can work toward advancing both in Aptitude and in Focus through the same completed threads. This means the same threads you submit to approve a Focus Skill advancement can also be proof of literary progress in an Aptitude Skill as well and vice versa.
Magic (and Tricks) Focus Skill
Please note there are only three Tiers to Magic Focus Skill Progression:
The same progression rules as above apply, but it's slightly more difficult to advance through the magic tiers because of just how powerful and physically taxing wielding sentient magic is:
- 6 finished, reviewed threads to learn a new magic at Elementary level, at least 3 of which must be collaborative threads
- 8 finished, reviewed threads to move from Beginner to Intermediate, at least 4 of which must be collaborative threads
- 10 finished, reviewed threads to move from Intermediate to Advanced, at least 5 of which must be collaborative threads
If a player character would like to pursue their True Name, please talk to an Admin about how that would affect their magic skill levels and abilities with magic.
Please note that wicks only have one type of magic to progress through: the Spokes' Almanac. A wick can choose to pursue both Magic and Tricks, however, and the above progression applies to *both*.
Most galdori specialize in one Conversation in their lifetime, often never advancing beyond the Elementary level because Elementary magic is impressively powerful as it is. If a galdor chooses to continue their studies, two Conversations tend to be the limit of most sorcerers simply because it seems more difficult to discover ones True Name.
A Note on Spell Writing
Please see the Spell Writing page for more information on the special Focus Skill of Spell Writing. It has a very unique set of thread requirements for progression.
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.
Starting Skills by Race
Please see the How to Play Guides for your race for more information on your starting packages of skills: