Definitions, and How You Use and Improve Them
(NOTE: Updated 10 September 2016)
In all sorts of Role-Playing Games, skills are used by players to allow their character to accomplish tasks in the game. What is, more often than not, ignored is that certain skills are very important to players to constantly be aware of, and to recommend the use of at particularly important times. Following are two lists of skills, with Immediate -aka most used- skills listed above the second list, which are your Non-Immediate skills. Descriptions accompany each skill, hence the reason the Immediate ones are on top, so if you're unable to find the description for the skill you're looking for in the top group, you can go to the bottom group and find it.
Skills are listed as Active, Passive, or both. Active means only you can suggest the use of and roll for the skill. Passive means only the LoreMaster can roll for the skill. Both allows you, the player, to suggest and roll for the skill, but also allows the LoreMaster to roll it behind the GMs Screen.
The player may suggest the use of ANY Common or Weapon Skill in the cause of playing the game; however, the following short-list of skills may be of particular importance to your character, more often than other skills.
Awareness (Active and Passive): This skill gauges one's readiness to notice anything out of the ordinary, something unexpected, and react readily, including those things that are difficult to detect. A high score reflects keen senses and the experience to translate what is seen and heard.
Traits: Keen-eyed, Quick of Hearing, Wary
Insight (Active and Passive): You know how to see beyond appearances, recognizing when someone is being truthful, is grieving, is frightened by some unseen malice. You can draw conclusions about people's motives, and you are recognized as being discerning and sensible, and as your reputation grows people may seek your advice. A successful roll provides basic information about the character observed, something of a personal portrait, while great or extraordinary successes provide information the character may have forgotten or not know about themselves, even. This skill may be used in opposition to someone attempting to Persuade you, or use another Personality skill on you.
Traits: Clever, Suspicious, Trading
Lore (Active and Passive): This is your character's love for learning, whether being a fascination with descriptions and facts of distant lands, an interest in family genealogy, or many other subjects. Whenever knowledge of any one of a number of subjects is needed, a Lore roll is required. Heroes are knowledgeable about a great many things already, including the traditions of their people, and for these things a Lore roll is typically not required.
Traits: Ancient, Beast, Elven, Enemy (up to 3), Folk, Herb, Region (up to 3), and Shadow
Search (Active): You are trying to find something through close examination of your surroundings, including locating pieces of relevant information in a library, finding concealed doors or hidden inscriptions, recognizing a familiar face in a crowd, and more. Awareness is typically used to passively notice something, while Search is suggested and rolled by the player once they have described what they are looking for.
Stealth (Active and Passive): This skill is used when a character is forced to act in a covert way, which includes hiding, shadowing, and moving quietly. This is about quickness and precision, and the character has to know the right time to take a chance. As well, the GM may roll this skill for a character when a hidden or stealthy enemy might detect them, and the GM doesn't want the player to have any idea of it.
Traits: Burglary, Elusive, Secretive, Small
Weapon (Active): While one may think their Battle skill would be used for fighting, that skill is, instead used to establish your character's ability to endure, use tactics, and keep your head in the fight. For all actual fighting, you roll for the appropriate Weapon you're using, instead.
Traits: Nimble, Swift
Notice that the skills listed here are not listed as either Active or Passive; this is because they can always be used as either, though these are also typically used more in an active capacity.
Athletics: This is a broad skill, covering most of the physical activities that a hero might undertake while adventuring, including running, leaping, climbing, swimming and throwing stones or other small objects with accuracy. Those with high Athletics exhibit strength, prowess, grace, and physical control, based on constant exercise, training, and daily exertion.
Successful rolls will lead to satisfactory outcomes in physical activities, while failure could result in personal injury, dependent on the circumstances.
Traits: Mountaineering, Swimming
Awe: This is a measure of a hero's ability to gain respect from onlookers, and to make a good impression on anyone, including those never met, before. It can also be used, depending on the heroes intentions and disposition, to instill fear, admiration, or wonderment. Awe rises from a character's natural charisma, but can be aided or even engineered with impressive attire and/or a dramatic entrance.
A successful roll provokes the intended effect, while a failure may be a mere failure or, if deep enough, can bring the opposite of the intended effect.
Traits: Fair, Grim, Lordly, Trusty
Battle: This is your grip on the rules of battle and your ability to keep your head in violent confrontations. You make a roll of Battle prior to combat to gain extra dice.
Command: While Battle may be used for individual or small group tactics, Command is used for other means of providing order to a group during battle, or during situations in which a tighter control is required for the safety or salvation of the group. While character's roll Battle to determine any bonus dice for their character prior to combat, a use of Command can aid the group during combat to help them out of situations that might otherwise be impossible, but allowing them to change their positions to improve tactical strength.
Traits: Patient, Stern
Courtesy: This skill encompasses the common social norms and conventions of behavior among the various Free Peoples. Proper use of these norms and traditions demonstrates respect and aids in putting you on a friendly footing with all manner of folk, even complete strangers. Succeeding at a roll of this skill expresses that you know what to say at the right moment to make a good impression, or that you are mindful of your manners when receiving guests.
Traits: Introduction, Smoking
Craft: This skill is representative of a character's ability to mend or repair things by hand, rather than covering a range of abilities with various types of crafting. Look to Traits such as Smith-craft or Wood-wright for specific crafting abilities. This skill could be used to repair the busted wheel of a cart, construct an improvised raft from wood found on river banks, or even start a fire on a windy hill.
A high score in this skill may indicate that your character was a craftsman, or emerged from a family of craftsmen before becoming an adventurer, or that you are part of a handy race.
Traits: Cooking, Gardener, Smith-craft, Stone-craft, Wood-wright
Explore: You rely on this skill as you work your way through unfamiliar terrain in the Wild. A test may be required to determine your Company's heading, or to get back on track from being lost or detoured, to cope with dangerous weather and know where to go for safety, to create paths in the wilderness suitable for others to follow, or to find an appropriate camp site. A high rating in this skill could prove invaluable to a group of adventurers.
Traits: Fire-making, Tunneling
Healing: You know how to relieve pain through the application of various techniques designed to restore health, such as applying remedies, setting bones, closing holes that shouldn't be there. These things differ from culture-to-culture, but all agree on the treatment of serious injuries, which must be immediately tended or they will get worse. Healing is handled on page 130 of the LMGr.
Hunting: Hunting is common in Middle Earth, and a roll of this skill may be necessary for pursuing creatures through wild areas, locating and following tracks, and identifying a quarry and where it will go to ground. You also know how to prepare, see, and disarm traps, and you can train hunting dogs or birds to aid you in your pursuit. In the Wild, Hunters can use their trade to find more dangerous quarry, such as Orcs, Spiders or Wargs, and to keep from becoming the prey.
Inspire: You can instill positive feelings in others, pushing their viewpoint in a certain direction you would like to see them go. This is mainly achieved through example, charisma, and personal conviction, rather than the effective use of words (such as Persuade). This skill can be used on individuals, but is best with crowds of people, as you become a forceful orator, passionate agitator, and you may become a well-loved leader.
A successful roll of this skill may awaken a chosen feeling in the subject(s), as long as it's not contrary to their present mood. A great success can influence wholly disinterested individuals, while an extraordinary success can turn rivals into supporters.
Traits: Fair-spoken, Forthright, Honorable, Merry, True-hearted
Persuade: You are able to apply your reasoning and knowledge to convince others to take a particular course or accept an idea. The person, or the size of the group to be persuaded, must be done in the appropriate context, whether it's a location or an activity, or a particular enemy or happenstance to be dealt with. A high skill denotes an uncommon eloquence, a love of speech and knowledge of its proper use and effects on the listener(s).
Traits: Cunning, Fierce
Riddle: This skill owes its name to the ancient game, and represents your character's ability to draw conclusions and connect the dots from seemingly unconnected scraps, through reasoning, deduction, and intuition. As well, when you want to conceal a part of what you know, but also gain more information from whomever you have encountered, Riddle comes into play. Finally, this is also used to gain insight, or to solve spoken or written riddles.
Song: All cultures celebrate through playing music and singing songs; great deeds and grim misfortunes are remembered in verse, and fun stories are told to ease spirits and find comfort. This skill is used to learn, remember and/or recite poems, sing songs, or play instruments suitable to the character's culture.
Traits: Composition, Minstrelsy, Rhymes of Lore
Travel: Many miles lie between the cities, towns, and villages of Middle Earth, and many are wild or deserted, with ancient roads that used to connect distant realms now worn in broken trails which now go nowhere. Covering distances, by foot, hoof, or boat requires companions to make rolls to avoid becoming wearied on the road too soon. The use of this skill benefits most from a heroes strength of spirit.
Traits: Boating, Hardy
Remember, ALL rolls within the game begin with the Feat Die (1D12, never more than 1) and you may add in 1D6 per rank in the Common or Weapon skill, or Valor or Wisdom, you're rolling for against a moderate target number of 10. The actual target number will be based on the difficulty of the skill being attempted.
For further skill notes, such as those concerning Cultural/Half-Skills, take a look here!
About XP in this game: Advancement and Experience Points are two different animals in this game; Advancement is used for improving your Common Skills and Experience is used for improving your Weapon Skills, Valor and Wisdom, and your Character's Attributes. When you successfully use a Skill or Characteristic, you gain a point in it, and I will generally update that information immediately, or write it down for later if I'm in a hurry. There is both skill-based experience, which means if you are successful with a skill you will, generally, gain a point in it, but there is also general experience, which can be accrued and/or spent into Common Skills (APs) and characteristics (XP) as you see fit. The following tables outline the costs to purchase up skills and characteristics. For each place you accrue either an Advancement or Experience Point, your Total Advancement or Experience points oval will also be incremented.
Purchase New Rank
Favored Rank Cost
1 (New skill)
Desired Valor/Wisdom Rank
Desired Weapon Skill Rank
Cost (No Favored)
Ranger/High Elf Cost
Body, Heart, Wits; Experience Points
Desired Rating & Cost to Raise
Raise 1 to 2 = 10
Raise 2 to 3 = 15
Raise 3 to 4 = 20
Raise 4 to 5 = 25
Raise 5 to 6 = 30
Raise 6 to 7 = 35
Raise 7 to 8 = 40
Raise 8 to 9 = 45
Raise 9 to 10 = 50
Raise 10 to 11 = 55
Raise 11 to 12 = 60