Skill Training

I find the DnD system overly rigid with skills, so I looked at some homebrew rules to train skills outside of actual leveling and tried to come up with a good system. One of the ones I looked at used experience to get skills, but rather than that, I’m playing with time.


Please note, that the system already assumes that the characters are practicing the skills they would like to improve in as they adventure. This system requires 8 hours a day of studies, 8 hours of recreation and 8 hours of rest 7 days a week. It’s full-time training in whatever skill it is, and is very demanding. The DM may accept some not-too demanding activities in the recreational time a few times per week (such as a social engagement), or a few hours per day (such as an apprentice job). It also requires either excellent source material (such as books in a library) or an instructor to train. There is frequently a gold cost involved.

These skill ranks are just added on top of regular skills. A cross-class skill counts as two trained skill points, and a character can not train more than her maximum number of ranks in a skill. The main difference is that the time it takes to train is in relation to how many ranks have been trained before, rather than total skill ranks.

Example: Lys has 6 skill ranks in Diplomacy and is talking with a professor of rethoric to improve her skills in Diplomacy during downtime from adventuring. She has already had a little bit of help from the professor before, and gained 1 skill rank. The next rank she gains is the second trained rank, and so 1 previous rank is calculated rather than 6 when determining how long it will take to train.

Quite simply, the time it takes to gain one skill rank is 2 weeks plus one for each rank already trained previously. So, for number of trained ranks:

  1. Gain +1 rank = train for 2 weeks. Total time: 2 weeks for 1 rank.
  2. Gain +1 rank = train for 3 weeks. Total time: 5 weeks for 2 ranks.
  3. Gain +1 rank = train for 4 weeks. Total time: 9 weeks for 3 ranks.
  4. Gain +1 rank = train for 5 weeks. Total time: 14 weeks for 4 ranks.
  5. Gain +1 rank = train for 6 weeks. Total time: 20 weeks for 5 ranks.
  6. Gain +1 rank = train for 7 weeks. Total time: 27 weeks for 6 ranks.
  7. Gain +1 rank = train for 8 weeks. Total time: 35 weeks for 7 ranks.

Training can be paused for a number of days equal to two times the total skill ranks without any adverse effects; any additional pause after that will decrease the total count of training days by one for each additional day without effective training.


Skill Monkeys & High Intelligence

Classes and characters that already excel at learning this and that spend less time training for the same effect and go longer without starting to forget their training.

  1. Add the following modifiers up:
    • Each point of Intelligence bonus = 0.5
    • Class has 2 skillranks/lvl = 0
    • Class has 4 skillranks/lvl = 0.5
    • Class has 6 skillranks/lvl = 1
    • Class has 8 skillranks/lvl = 2
  2. The sum is your Traning Efficiency Value (TEV).
  3. Divide TEV by 2 (don’t round the result up or down) and shorten the training period with this amount of days per required week.
    • If the result is lower than 1, use 0 instead of dividing by 2.
  4. The TEV (undivided) is also added to the amount of days pause a character can have between training sessions without starting to foget things learned in training.


Multiclassing and Leveling Mid-training

A character that is training a particular skill and levels up before finishing her training can choose between keeping her current progression or recalculating it.

If she chooses to recalculate:

  1. Subtract the days trained from the required days of training to get remaining days.
    1. Divide the remaining days of training by 7.
    2. Multiply the new TEV/2 with the result to get the reduction of days.
  2. Subtract the reduction from the remaining days to get the recalculated days needed to train.

Example: Hannah is a lvl 3 Fighter with an Intelligence score of 15 (TEV = 1.5). She is one week into training her third skill of Handle Animal. She is now acquiring a level of Rogue and has picked Intelligence as her ability increase, getting a new TEV of 3.5.

The required training time is 4 weeks, but her Fighter TEV/2 (0.75) reduces that to 3 weeks and 4 days (0.75*4=3). She only has 2 weeks and 4 days (18 days) remaining since she already has done one week of training.

A seventh of 18 days is 2.57* and multiplying it with 1.75 gets her a reduction of 4.5 days. So subtracting the 4.5 reduction from the remaining 18 days means she has 13.5 days, or 1 week and six and a half day, left to train.**

* Rounded for the example. When possible, use full calculations.
** Note that the saved time from stat gain and class change actually is 2.5 days, since TEV/2(0.75) gives a 2 day reduction from 18 days remaining, so: 4.5 – 2 = 2.5.



To be entirely in line with the rest of the rules, the difference should be greater between skill monkeys and other classes, but then it’s TOO easy to max out everything. This is mainly meant for players to get a few skill ranks in a few skills they may not otherwise invest in.

Note 2: The ability modifier is here slightly more important than skillmonkey class, if you count a score of 18 as “normal”. However, in most games having scores of 16 is pretty good, and I think that should be comparable to class ability, and it would also reward non-skillmonkey classes with high intelligence.

Aand some classes are simply a little slow on the uptake! :)

Skill Training

Hökaland Leord