Variant: Minor Skills
Skills in Dungeons and Dragons 5e are wonderful, but the way they are selected leaves for little variance between characters of similar class or background. Our take remains faithful to the design choices of Fifth Edition but allows players to customize the skill choices of their characters in a more meaningful way.
How this works
When using this variant, there are two classifications of skill: a major skill and a minor skill. The major skills are all the skills defined in the Player's Handbook and minor skills are all defined here. Minor skills are all attached to a relevant major skill. As an example, Geography is a minor skill under Nature.
Before, when creating a character your class gives you training in some skills with additional skills chosen from a list. These are added to the skills you gain from your background. You still gain all these skills as major skills. All characters get to choose an additional two minor skills. You do not need a major skill to take a minor skill that is attached to it. You gain an additional skill whenever your proficiency bonus increases.
Benefits of Minor Skills
So why would someone want a minor skill? If we examine Athletics, you can train in Climbing, Jumping, Mining, and Swimming which are all things Athletics already does.
First, if you don't have training in the Major skill then you still have training in the minor skill, you still apply proficiency. Additionally, if you are trained in both, you can roll the minor skill with advantage. So if you had selected Swimming as a minor skill and you're trained in Athletics, when you're asked to make an Athletics roll to swim you can instead use Swimming and roll with advantage.
As a DM you can also give out training in minor skills as rewards. If your players decide to help a knowledgable wizard, you could hand out a knowledge skill representing the knowledge they've gained. Another example would be players that want to use their downtime to train minor skills.
DC's remain unchanged. The same Difficulty Classes you would use on major skills would be used for minor skills.
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Constitution was handled before by just rolling a Constitution check. To add minor skills, we've added Endurance as a skill under Constitution. It works exactly the same as it did before, but now characters can have training in it as a skill, adding proficiency to their roll. Players who lack proficiency in Endurance roll exactly the same as they did before.
Barbarian, Druid, Fighter, Monk and Paladin can add Endurance to the list of skills they can choose from.
Endurance: Endurance checks are made when your character needs to push their bodies beyond normal limits. Holding breath, marching for days, going without sleep or food and resisting the effects of alcohol are all times when one would roll an Endurance check.
Crafting is an abstract system in the base game. With this variant, we've added crafting skills. Crafting tool proficiency from your background or class is now replaced with training in the minor skill.
You still require the tools needed to complete the job, but now you can become an even greater crafter by adding in an applicable modifier. For example, blacksmithing adds Strength.
Additionally, there are new tools. A small forge allows you to craft but having a building designed to forge items allows you to craft them with greater ease.
We've added additional skills which aren't tied to existing Major skills. Crafting and Language can each be used on their own without the rest of the Minor Skills rules and Minor Skills can be used without the use of these options. It's entirely up to your DM to decide if these options are available.
Athletics is broken down into four minor skills: Climbing, Jumping, Mining and Swimming.
Scaling cliffsides or reaching rooftops, few heroes have careers without the use of climbing.
Jumping allows heroes to leap in great bounds horizontally, or try to attain great heights vertically.
Extracting minerals and metals from the ground is a staple in worlds where iron and steel see kingdoms rise and fall. This is a new use of the Athletics skill. DMs should set DCs based on how long or difficult it would take to extract valuables. Failure results in lower yields.
Crossing rapid streams, delving into the lair of a black dragon or communing with mermaids, few are the heroes who stay dry forever.
Acrobatics is broken down into five minor skills: Balance, Diving, Escape Artist, Aerobatics and Tumbling.
Crossing tight spaces, riding choppy seas or running across ice, most heroes actively avoid trying to fall prone.
Sometimes a belly flop is fine, but most heroes want to avoid taking damage when falling into water. Also, slipping unnoticed into water to evade a dock guard might come in handy for port rogues.
Between spider webs and bounty hunter manacles, a quick escape is sometimes the better part of valor.
Tumbling and swimming is great for heroes darting around foes not in the air, but Aerobatics helps airborne heroes do the same. Dms should set DCs similar to those skills for flying heroes.
Avoiding damage from a big fall or moving through an opponents legs, mobile heroes can often find a need to tumble.
Sleight of Hand
Sleight of Hand is broken down into three minor skills: Concealment, Juggling and Pick Pocket.
While pick pocket is great for liberating things from less observant targets, Concealment is great for making sure perceptive individuals aren't going to notice objects you've hidden. The DM should set the DC based on the size of the object and how difficult it would be to hide.
Whether catching something to prevent it from falling or entertaining a crowd, it's not an uncommon skill for those of quick reflex to pick up.
Planting evidence or filling your pockets with the possessions of others, Pick Pocket is a staple in every major city.
Stealth is broken down into two skills: Camouflage and Tailing. While both are used for hiding in different situations (staying still vs moving) the usual rules for stealth still apply as per page 177 in the Player's Handbook.
Hiding in place like a great cat stalking prey, Camouflage is a great tool for staking out targets or keeping your party hidden while resting.
Wanting to move and not be noticed isn't just for Rogues. Keepers of Law or Bounty Hunters can find it useful for tracking targets. Either way, if you plan to move and be hidden Tailing is a useful skill to know.
Endurance can be broken down into three minor skills: "Environmental" Adaptation, Pain Tolerance and Running.
Choose an environment to become more adapted to. When using your Endurance skill to resist the naturally occuring effects of that region, you can use adaptation instead. For example, in a desert, you could use it to resist lack of water or overwhelming heat.
When picking this skill, select a region from the 'Environmental' Adaptation skill. You can take this skill multiple times, selecting a new region each time.
The environments available to Rangers via the Natural Explorer trait (Pg 91, Player's Handbook) are the options you can choose each time you take Environmental Adaptation.
This works best on your character sheet if you write it as the appropriate environment. For example, if you pick Artic, then on your character sheet write "Artic Adaptation".
Information is power, and to that end torturers consider information extraction an art. Pain Tolerance allows you to resist their craft. The DM should use Constitution, Endurance or Pain Tolerance as the DC for Torture.
Sprinting short distances is fine, but sometimes heroes need to cover vast distances without rest. Running allows you to maintain your pace. DMs should use Running to allow players to cover greater distances overland than usual, failure resulting in a exhaustion.
Aracana is broken down into five minor skills: Abberation Lore, Construct Lore, Elemental Lore, Monstrosity Lore and Arcane Spell Lore.
Aberrations are the strange and unusual creatures of the far realms. Experts can spend decades learning about these creatures but often end up going insane from picking up forbidden knowledge.
Wizards are often considered fragile or frail, their strength in the arcane leads them to have powerful bodyguards made of stone, iron or flesh, clockwork guardians who fight to the death for their masters.
Airy assassins, powerful effreet and alien gem eating mounds of rock, the elemental planes spit out all manner of unusual creature but their long history and ties to the creation of existence make them a well studied group.
While natural creatures like wolves and bears are well known to all, there are rarer beings like hydras and centaurs that inhabit the lands. With unusual abilities like turning heroes to stone from a paralyzing gaze or dissolving metals with only a touch, it's the wise hero who knows about these beasts.
Arcane Spell Lore
A wizard pulls out a pinch of sulfur and bat guano. Woe to the hero who doesn't identify a fireball spell before experiencing it firsthand.
The lore skills defined below allow you to know lots about things in the world. Functionally they are all the same although the information they provide is quite varied. Below is a guide on how DMs can set their DCs, using dragons as an example.
- Very Easy - Very common knowledge. Dragons are dangerous.
- Easy - Common knowledge. Dragons have breath weapons and fly.
- Moderate - Uncommon knowledge that a commoner might not know. The color of a dragon determines the breath weapon element or that dragons are usually resistant to the same element.
- Hard - Rare knowledge. Sometimes dragons are spellcasters, which is an innate ability they are born with.
- Very Hard - Very rare knowledge. Elder dragons are creatures of legend, with lairs that can end adventurers as easily as the dragon.
Obviously it's up to the DM to determine for their world, how rare information is but a good rule of thumb is that commoners know stuff DC 5-10. Educated individuals know 10-15. Scholars know things 15-20 and Experts (people who focus on that area of expertise) would know things DC 20+
History is broken into 10 minor skills: Humanoid Lore, Giant Lore, Dragon Lore, "Regional" Lore, Ancient Lore, Appraising, Bureaucracy, Heraldry, and Law.
Is that statue historically relevant to the people who made the dungeon you're in, or is it something that was added in a later age? Knowing who built things and why can give greater insight into how they help you now.
Humans, Elves, Dwarves and the other races of the world have raised empires, toppled kingdoms, forged and broken alliances with each other.
Uncertain which giant sitting in a circle is the leader? Can't tell a Storm and a Cloud giant apart? Perhaps picking up the Giant Lore skill would help your hero avoid these confusions.
While everyone thinks they know all about dragons, the creatures are so prolific and create so many half-breeds that a smart hero would want to study them, filtering fact from fiction.
How old is Waterdeep? What are the laws regarding open magic in Sembia? Who is the consulate from Thay in Damara? Only a fool would go into a country without knowing anything about it.
When picking this skill, select a region from the regions sidebar. You can take this skill multiple times, selecting a new region each time.
Knowing the cut of a gem, the difficulty in casting a bronze statue or the elegance of a wooden box, allows you to understand exactly how ripped off you're going to get from the merchants in town.
Understanding the ins and outs of governments, politics, and those who pull the strings behind the scenes, heroes who train in bureaucracy long for the safety of dungeons.
A dragon stylized on a shield with a yellow and green theme, does that belong to the evil baron from the next county or the benevolent king in your debt? Knowing means the difference between the heros being celebrated or captured.
Knowledge of the rules and regulations, and the consequences that will happen when your party members break them.
The 'default' setting for the current edition of Dungeons and Dragons is Faerun. Below are the regions we suggest for the use of minor skills but you can adapt this to any world. Generally, if your world has only a few regions (such as Ravenloft), each one would get an appropriate skill. If you have a great many regions, try grouping them. For example, in Faerun exists the Bloodstone Lands. That covers Vaasa and Damara and a little of the surrounding areas.
- The Sword Coast: Waterdeep down to Amn.
- The Frozen North: The Ten Towns of Icewind Dale down to Neverwinter and across to Netheril.
- Netheril: The former desert of Netheril.
- The Shining South: The Snowflake Mountains across to Chessenta, from the Sea of Fallen Stars down to Halruaa.
- The Calphate of Calim: Tethyr, the country of Calim and Velen
- The Jungles of Chult: Everything on the south side of the Shining Sea, over to Halruaa.
- Old Empires of the East: Unther, Mulhorand, Murghom and Thay
- The Bloodstone Lands: Vaasa, Damara and Narfel
- The Moonsea Region: The Dalelands, Impiltur, Cormanthor and the region between Vaasa and Netheril.
- The Sea of Fallen Stars: Turmish, Sembia, Cormyr, Thesk, Aglarond and Chessenta
- The Sea of Swords: Moonshae Islands, Lantan and all the islands of the Sword Coast.
But of course, these are suggestions. If you wanted fewer regions, you could say the map is split into quadrants, North East, North West, South East and South West.
Investigation is broken down into two minor skills: Cryptography, and Information Gathering.
Cryptography is used when someone wants to hide information inside something else. Picking up on the hidden meaning in a story, a password drawn into a painting or leaving a message for a member of a hidden society. The difficulty the DM should set would be based on the complexity of the information and how hard it is to decode it.
Walking around town, picking up rumors is a common adventurer past time. Plying locals with booze to get secrets out of them is a great cover for getting drunk in town.
Lions, Tigers and Bears. And Giant Rats. And Dinosaurs. Prepared heroes are ready for all of these horrors nature decided to throw at them.
The Seelie and Unseelie courts are something no rational character will want to delve into, but rarely do you interact with these strange beings of your own volition.
One would think that Oozes don't have much lore behind them but the Oozeologists of the worlds disagree. These creatures have a tendancy to inhabit exactly the places heroes need to go.
While farmers grow wheat and rotting wood grows new mushrooms, there are more mobile threats to the world.
If it's not walking, talking and thinking but it's still a plant, those trained in botany know all about it. Farmers, cooks, and scholars tend to fill out their ranks.
There's a big difference between being able to read the lay of the land in person, and reading a map. Knowing how to create and read maps is especially important for adventurers wanting to explore new lands.
Knowing how and why mountains form, what rocks lay under the ocean and which side of trees moss tends to are all skills useful to those who trek through the wilds.
No dwarf worth their salt would be caught dead not knowing the difference between rock types. If you plan on delving through caves or even the underdark, it's advised you listen to their knowledge.
Is a substance safe to touch? To breathe? To apply to your weapon? Not all poisons are created equal and their dangerous nature means understanding them makes you much safer.
Religion is broken down into seven minor skills: Celestial Lore, Fiend Lore, Undead Lore, Ceremony, Divine Spell Lore, Prophecy Lore, and Zeal.
Angels are powerful creatures and it's an old hero addage: don't anger anyone who can vaporize you in a beam of concentrated holy light.
Devils? Demons? It's inadvised to trust either, but knowing which one sticks to their word and which doesn't will save your life.
A skeleton stands before you, a few strands of hair clinging to the dome of its skull. A quick check will tell you if you should rush a disposable guardian or if you're about to be disintegrated by a powerful lich.
Watching a priest perform a ritual in the center of town is something most wouldn't consider unusual. Those keen of eye and armed with the knowledge of the hidden rituals of tamoachan would know something evil is afoot.
Divine Spell Lore
A priest raising their hand and calling out for a powerful being to lend them power. With your hefty knowledge of divine spells, you'll know if they're summoning a fiendish weasel or casting a magical darkness.
Heroes deal with Prophecies regularly, but it usually involves seeking out wise old mountain dwellers for their knowledge. Cut out the middle prophet by learning about prophecies yourself.
A priest needs to communicate with the followers of their God. Zeal allows them to pass religious messages along with their sermons in the same way Bards use perform with their audience.
Animal Handling is broken into five minor skills: Entomology, Falconry, Horsemanship, Kenneling, and Shepherd.
Favoured with the drow, your knowledge of insects and arachnids allow you to identify the small ones and convince the big ones to let you ride them.
Working with majestic birds, you can train them to send messages to other cities, find food or if your sizes allow, ride them.
Many an adventurer has swung a sword from horseback but these creatures need to be trained to wade into battle. Understanding your mount will go a long way towards keeping it from flinging you off.
While others know how to deal with animals and even ride them, learning kenneling will allow you to keep and breed them. Many lords will have large kennels of canines with which to hunt.
While not as glamourous as a giant spider, eagle, wolf or horse, the shepherd deals with herding groups of animals. A horserider can calm a horse, but a shepherd can calm a whole herd of cow, sheep or goats.
Insight is broken into two minor skills: Empathy, and Tactics.
A bard might understand how to make others see their point of view with a silvered tongue, understanding empathy will let you understand how someone else is feeling without having to press them as forcibly. A more subtle art, certainly.
Everyone knows to take the high ground, but there are hundreds of battlefield strategies that can can keep adventurers alive. Likewise, understanding that your opponent also knows these tricks is a useful tool to staying alive.
Medicine is broken down into four minor skills: Apothecary, Masseuse, Forensics, and Veterinary.
Ointments, medicines and ugents are all different ways of solving what ails the common man who can't afford to down a healing potion whenever they get a headache. Being trained in the skill allows you to separate these from snake oil.
Body therapy is not only a useful skill medicinally, but many a powerful ruler has had their ear swayed when they were in good moods from a skilled masseuse.
Looking at a battlefield and being able to determine which side won, where the victors went and who might have survived takes as sharp a wit as being able to look at a corpse and determine the cause of death. Such a skill can help keep the same fate from befalling your heroes.
While most medicines apply in a general way between humans and horses, understanding the specific differences between the two can help you ply medicine to animals.
Perception is broken into two minor skills: Eavesdropping, and Tasting.
Listening through a door, from a distance, or around a corner is not an easy task. Another one of those skills that urban adventurers find useful.
Wow you can really taste the poison! Every lord, king or emperor will be glad they have royal tasters specially trained in picking out the dangers lurking within their food.
Survival is broken down into 10 minor skills: Find Water, Fire Mastery, Fishing, Foraging, "Region" Navigation, Rope Mastery, Skinning, Tracking, Trapping, Weather Sense.
It's recommended players take time to drink a few times in an adventuring day and in some of the more dangerous regions of the world that can be hard to do. Being trained to find water can help mitigate this risk.
Something even children are taught and one of the basics of survival, knowing how to start or stop or enlarge a fire and how long a fire has been burning.
Let others eat berries and find yourself some of that delicious flaky food. A staple in any port location, many adventurers will supplement their dried foods with fish.
No water nearby? Can't hunt because the animals in the forest belong to the king and his evil henchmen? If you're going to end up eating berries, it's a good idea to know the difference between the ones that will make you feel better and the ones that will leave you sick.
Can't see the forest for the trees? Find the Underdark keeps twisting around in circles? An ocean all around you and no idea where you are? Take some time to learn how to navigate the world and never feel lost again.
When picking this skill, select a region from the 'Environmental' Adaptation skill. You can take this skill multiple times, selecting a new region each time.
You might not want to kill your foes, but they certainly can't be allowed to walk around freely. Why not tie them up with a rope? Or tie off a rope for an impromptu ladder for those times you're in the dungeon and a ladder cannot be found.
Before animals can be turned into the leather armor that ends up protecting your more lightly armoured friends and warming more northern peoples, they need to be skinned. It is recommended DMs set the DC based on how difficult removal is and rewarding failures with lower yields.
Not everyone can be so lucky as to track foes through wet mud or snow, so being skilled in spotting the tell tale signs of your prey through the best and worst of conditions is useful to most adventuring groups.
If you're not into the whole 'slowly chase animals and shoot them with arrows' thing isn't working for you, try luring them with some bait into a trap! It is advised that the DM sets the DC based on how plentiful creatures are in the area.
Storm's a brewin' and you can tell! Know what the weather will be like in a few hours or even a few days if you're really good at it.
Deception is broken into five minor skills: Acting, Boasting, Disguise, Fast Talking, and Mimicry.
From the ampitheaters of large cites to tricking mob bosses in their sewer lairs, the skill of acting can be plied wide across the land.
Drunks from taverns across the world, trained or otherwise, flood the ears of passers by with the Boasting skill. Of course, every single tale boasted upon is absolutely factual as well!
The ability to apply pigments, makeup and prosthetics to literally make someone look unlike themselves, the DM should set the DC according to how difficult it would be to make the target look like something else.
Your lips are just as quick as your wits, and combining both to throw people off of the intent of your words and directly where you want them (provided they don't notice your duplicity).
Calling out to a goblin tribe, mimicking their war boss, and having them let prisoners loose is a great test of your mimicry skill. Of course, sounding like someone isn't enough to convince people you're them but it's a start.
Intimidation is broken into two minor skills: Torture, and Savagery
Extracting information from a source by force. The DM should use an Constitution (Endurance / Resist Pain) roll to set the DC for using this skill.
Talking to barbarians, tribal creatures and other so called 'uncivilized' societies require a different set of skills that playing around in a court. The Savagery skill is used in the same way Etiquette is used in civilized places or Zeal in locations of faith.
Performance is broken into seven minor skills: Comedy, Dancing, "Instrument" Mastery, Mime, Oratory, Poetry, and Singing.
What's the deal with Orcs subjugating other races? Comedy is a great way to endear yourself to your audience. Of course the wrong joke to the right crowd could end very poorly.
Dancing is a universal sign of civilization. From the smallest Halflings to the largest Giants, every race seems to have their own culturally significant way to cut a rug.
“Instrument” Mastery (Brass, Keyed, String, Woodwind, Percussion)
Choose an instrument group to become skilled in when you take this minor skill.
When picking this skill, select a musical instrument. You can take this skill multiple times, selecting a new instrument group each time.
There are five types of instruments. When you pick an instrument, you are skilled in that group. Below are a few examples of each.
- Brass - Trumpets or Horns.
- Keyed - Pianos or Gnomish Steam Organs
- String - Guitar or Harp.
- Woodwind - Clarinet or Flute.
- Percussion - Drums or Triangle.
The ability to pantomime actions and have others understand what you're conveying, such as communicating with party members without resorting to whispering. The DM should set the DC according to how difficult that action would be to convey without any other items.
A booming voice, echoing through a large room, catches the attention of all. The oratory skill lets you say what needs to be said with a significant amount of panache.
It's not for everyone but to the right target, Poetry is like the masseuse skill for the soul.
Functionally similar to playing an instrument but requiring an entirely different set of skills, singing is oft said to be one of the most difficult instruments to perfect.
Persuasion is broken into five minor skills: Bargaining, Debate, Etiquette, Leadership, and Seduction
Honest merchants prefer a fair bargain versues a cunning tongue. The best deals are the ones which benefit everyone.
You might be right, and they might be wrong, but if you don't understand the best way to express that then you'll truely have your work cut out for you.
While your usual skills of persuasion will work with the commoners, nobels and gentry will require a much more refined touch. That's when it's time to break out your etiquette skills to impress.
Anyone can lead a troupe of soldiers into battle. A leader will be there to inspire them to stay on the battlefield when the going is tough, or to ignore their exhuastion when they're tired. The DM should set the DC to the difficulty it would be to command a group based on how loyal that group is to the leader as well as what the leader is asking of that group.
If you've got it, flaunt it. Of course there's no promise that you're what your target is looking for but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
But Wait, There's More!
Presuming you run your games somewhere other than the Forgotten Realms, there's a high likelihood that you'll need skills that aren't on here and even more likely that there are skills in this variant you do not need.
You can always remove skills or add skills as you need. As long as you follow the idea that each minor skill needs a major skill it can function from and that the minor skill should represent a single thing that the major skill is capable of doing.
Variant - Skill Training
What is Skill Training?
Skill training allows your players to expand their skill retinue by spending time learning that skill. Players can only learn minor skills in this fashion.
How Do I Train Skills?
Training a skill requires 200 points if you do not have proficiency in the major skill or 100 points if you do have proficiency. Each day you roll an Intelligence check (adding proficiency if you have it) and gain a number of points based on the chart below. If you are being taught by someone who has proficiency themselves, which requires them to spend their downtime training you, then you have advantage on this check.
The DM decides if a minor skill can be learned without a teacher. For example, your DM may suggest that Arcane Spell Lore cannot be learned without someone trained in either Arcana or Arcane Spell Lore.
|0 - 10||No Points|
Once you have acquired enough points, you are now proficient in the minor skill.
Teaching A Skill
If a character wishes to teach another character a skill, they may do so. This requires them to spend as much downtime as the learning character. During this time, they can also learn a skill that the person they are teaching knows.
Instead a character wishing to be trained may seek out a teacher and pay them 1 gp per day to learn.
If you are using the Crafting, variant from this book you only require 100 points as they do not have major skills associated with those abilities.
If you are using the Language variant, learning that language requires 200 points or 100 points if you already know a language that uses the alphabet from the language you're learning (ie if you are learning Gnomish and know Elven, it only needs 100 points to learn as they share the same alphabet).
In addition to the minor skill system provided in the previous chapter, we've created a compatible system for crafting as well. While crafting is functionally the same, now the tool proficiencies have been replaced with more minor skills. This has a small bump in how well you craft as you can add a relevant attribute. Any feat or ability that would give you a bonus to a tool proficency instead gives it to the skill.
How to use
The following is taken from the 5e SRD, page 88:
You can craft nonmagical objects, including adventuring equipment and works of art. You must be proficient with tools related to the object you are trying to create (typically artisan’s tools). You might also need access to special materials or locations necessary to create it. For example, someone proficient with smith’s tools needs a forge in order to craft a sword or suit of armor. For every day of downtime you spend crafting, you can craft one or more items with a total market value not exceeding 5 gp, and you must expend raw materials worth half the total market value.
If something you want to craft has a market value greater than 5 gp, you make progress every day in 5-gp increments until you reach the market value of the item. For example, a suit of plate armor (market value 1,500 gp) takes 300 days to craft by yourself.Multiple characters can combine their efforts toward the crafting of a single item, provided that the characters all have proficiency with the requisite tools and are working together in the same place. Each character contributes 5 gp worth of effort for every day spent helping to craft the item. For example, three characters with the requisite tool proficiency and the proper facilities can craft a suit of plate armor in 100 days, at a total cost of 750 gp.
While crafting, you can maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay 1 gp per day, or a comfortable lifestyle at half the normal cost.
Crafting works as above, however crafting now is 5 gp plus an amount based on your skill roll. If someone is assisting you, they add 5 gp and give you advantage if you don't already have it. The below values are not cumulative, so if you rolled 25 it adds 15 gp to the final work not 30 gp. The roll is whatever the appropriate skill would be. For example, rolling Alchemy allows you to use proficiency if you have it as well as Intelligence.
Additional Work Completed
|0 - 10||No additional Benefit|
Variant - Languages
Languages are handled unusually in Dungeons and Dragons. While each race gets their own language, almost all of them also speak Common which makes the game take an odd turn. All the 'goodly' races speak it, so few heroes will take the chance to learn languages from the lands they'll visit while monsters (save for a few humanoid ones) rarely speak common making those languages far more common. Even odder are languages like Primordial or Draconic where they're described as archaic or dead, and yet a first level character knows them.
How To Use Language With This Book
Firstly, there are going to be a LOT more languages and so players are going to need to be able to take more. Grant players the starting languages they get now, plus a number of languages equal to their intelligence modifier. If they have a negative intelligence modifier, they do not lose languages. The Common tongue is no longer available to players.
Class based languages like Thieves Cant can only be learned from someone who knows it. This is a rare occurance and very unlikely. Most users of the language have levels in the relevant class.
All racial languages are left in play. Elves from one side of Faerun share at least a basic level of communication with those from the other.
Any language that shares an alphabet with another (for example, Gnome and Elven) are treated as having a shared common base. This means that while you cannot read or write that language, you can communicate with those who speak it.
Due to the nature of conquering in the Underdark, most races keep Undercommon and it is available for players to learn. Of course Underdark races still speak their racial language (Drow can speak Elven, Deep Gnomes speak Gnomish and so on).
Faerun has six dialects. Each region from the Region Lore minor skill will be listed. For the Moonsea region, they speak Waelan, Olou and Thorass.
The Sword Coast and the Frozen North share this language.
This language is most common in The Sea of Swords
Spoken in the Bloodstone Lands, and in Netheril.
One of the most common dialects, Thorass is spoken all around the Sea of Fallen Stars.
Spoken around the Shining South, The Jungles of Chult, The Calphate of Calim.
The Old Empires of the East are the most common speakers of this ancient language.
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- "Front/Back Cover": Knight at the Crossroads by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1878
- "Page 1": Purple twenty sided die, derivative work by Technical13 from work by WireLizard, 2010
- "Page 5": Nazgûl mirando el crepúsculo by User The Artifex from flickr, 2006
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# Variant - Vehicles Boats, Airships and Wagons, there are a great number of ways to move about the realms. Sometimes, just being familiar with the draft animals drawing your carriage is enough but some vehicles take more effort to properly navigate. ### Vehicle Skills There are three different skills that will be of use to players who want to use vehicles in their games. Driving carriages, wagons and any other draft animal drawn vehicles will use the Handle Animal skill. If you're using the minor skills variant, you can also use the appropriate minor skill related to that animal. Using waterborne vehicles that are not drawn by animals will use the Athletics skill. If you're using the minor skills variant, you can use Sailor. Sailor is a new minor skill under Athletics. Using airborne vehicles that are not drawn by animals will use the Acrobatics skill. If you're using the minor skills variant, you can use Pilot. Pilot is a new minor skill under Acrobatics. ### Vehicle Sizes Vehicles come in four scales: Medium, Large, Huge and Gargantuan. Medium vehicles are capable of holding 4 people comfortably. Large vehicles can hold 16 people comfortably. Huge vehicles can hold 32 people comfortably. Finally Gargantuan vehicles can hold 64 people comfortably. ### Skill or Ability Contests When two characters need to perform a contest, it's generally performed immediately. An arm wrestle, for example, can be done by performing a series of athletics or strength checks. For vehicles, these are resolved at the end of each round of combat. If a vehicle requires multiple participants for the action used in the challenge and cannot finish on the same round as the other vehicle, then it automatically fails. ### Vehicle Actions Each action is labeled for which skills it can be used with. If an action has more than one skill, it can be used with any vehicle associated with that skill. For example, if a vehicle uses "Handle Animal, Athletics and Acrobatics" it can be used on all three vehicle types. </br> Each vehicle has a list of actions it can take. There are two sorts of actions, those that are ongoing and those that are not. An action will describe if it is ongoing and these are generally actions like movement or turning for less maneuverable vehicles as they take longer to do so. Actions like attacking with mounted weapons generally are not ongoing. Some actions require multiple participants. The action doesn't happen until the last participant succeeds at their check. </br></br> ### Vehicle Statistics Much like your characters, vehicles have their own abilities. **Strength** is a variable number based on different things for each vehicle. **Dexterity** is how swift and maneuverable the vehicle is. **Constitution** is how much damage the vehicle can take in total. **Speed** is how fast the vehicle is in local combat and **Overland Speed** is how fast the vehicle can travel per day. **Toughness** determines how much resistance the vehicle has to damage. </br> Vehicle combat damage works on a different scale. Vehicles have a much lower hit point pool than what you would find on a character. You must deal an amount of damage at least equal to the Toughness of the vehicle to deal any damage. If you do roll over this amount, you deal 1 damage for each die of damage the attack or spell deals. So a greatsword with 2d6 damage deals 2 whereas a Fireball with 5d6 damage deals 5. </br> <img src='https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Purple_d20.png' style='position:absolute;bottom:50px;right:30px;width:80px' /> <div class='pageNumber'>12</div> <div class='footnote'>Variant: Vehicles</div>
<div class='pageNumber'>13</div> <div class='footnote'>Variant: Vehicles</div>