Friday, 24 April 2015

Secondary Skills: A Chandler's Gotta Eat!

Note: If you want a PDF copy head to my Downloads page or directly from DropBox.

Secondary skills within earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons and their more recent retro-clones are a commonly debated inclusion. While many who implement such systems use these ‘skills’ merely as a role-playing device, or to flesh out their character to a greater extent, I would suggest considering a system whereby these professionals are benefitted in some small way.

I: Earning Some Coin
The two tables below may be used in times of non-adventuring when adventurers wish to earn some extra coin. First, determine the character’s background or secondary skill (pg. 12 AD&D DMG). Next, roll on Table I: Locating Paid Work. In my campaigns I would roll on Table I for each week paid work is sought. This presumes the adventure is located within a substantially sized town or city. But you, fellow DM, may change this period to a daily rate or even a monthly rate depending on the value of coinage in your campaign.

Table I: Locating Paid Work (Roll 1d6)
D6 Result
Outcome
1
Failed to locate work
2-3
Located minimal paid work (roll once on Table II)
4-5
Located consistent paid work (roll twice on Table II)
6
Located ample paid work (roll thrice on Table II)

When it has been determined whether work has been located, and if so, how much work, roll on Table II: Earnings. Some results from Table I will necessitate multiple rolls on Table II. If so tally the results to determine the total earnings for that week.

Table II: Earnings (Roll 1d6)
D6 Result
Outcome
1
Earned a wage of 1d4+2 copper pieces
2-3
Earned a wage of 1d8+2 silver pieces
4-5
Earned a wage of 1d4+2 gold pieces
6
Earned a wage of 1d8+2 gold pieces

Example:
Tuscott Irontooth has a background as a carpenter. He seeks work for two weeks between adventures. The DM (or optionally the player) rolls 1d6 per week on Table I. The result is 1 and 5. Consulting Table I, Tuscott fails to find work on the first week, but on the second locates some ‘consistent paid work’. Rolling twice on Table II, he earns a total of 4 gold pieces and 6 silver pieces. Tuscott then remembers why he took up adventuring in the first place: carpentry is not as lucrative as adventuring! Thereafter he locates another dungeon to plunder.

II: ‘I Am After All, Skilled’
Some professions such as a trader, a locksmith or a gambler may infer benefits within an adventuring context. The DM may wish to afford a small modifier to certain tasks based on the character’s profession. For example a trader may add an additional +1 modifier to reaction rolls based on his cheery disposition and experience when dealing with humans, a locksmith may possess additional skill with bypassing non-magical locks, while a chandler will be able to make candles rather than pay for them.

In these ways secondary skills provide some minor mechanical benefits, while retaining the broad role-playing possibilities traditionally associated with these ‘skills’. For those who wish a more granular system, everything herein can be modified to suit one’s personal sensitivities.