Skills represent your character's effectiveness in offensive, defensive, and magical disciplines. Starting skill levels depend on character species and background. As characters earn experience, XP is spread across different skills according to the distribution specified on the Skill Screen (m), multiplied by species' aptitudes. Skill levels are capped at 27.
Every species (excepting Gnoll) is rated from -5 to +5 in each skill, with higher scores yielding faster skill progress. Training skills with poor aptitudes is possible, but will be notably slower and may leave characters underprepared for later content.
Skills can be divided into three categories:
- Fighting: Improves melee damage, melee accuracy, and max HP.
- Weapon skills: Improve damage, accuracy, and attack speed with a weapon group. Training a weapon skill also gives a bonus to any skills that cross-train with it.
- Axes: Axes. Cross-trains with Maces & Flails and Polearms
- Bows: Bows.
- Crossbows: Crossbows.
- Long Blades: Swords. Cross-trains with Short Blades
- Maces & Flails: Maces, flails and whips. Cross-trains with Axes and Staves
- Polearms: Spears, tridents, etc. Cross-trains with Axes and Staves
- Short Blades: Daggers, short swords, rapiers etc. Cross-trains with Long Blades
- Slings: Slings. cross-trains with Throwing
- Staves: Quarterstaves, lajatangs and magical staves. Cross-trains with Maces & Flails and Polearms
- Throwing: Thrown weapons & blowguns. cross-trains with Slings
- Unarmed Combat: When without a wielded weapon. Auxiliary attacks are not improved.
- Armour: Improves the AC bonus armour gives (more effective with heavier armour). Reduces the impact of armour EV and spell success penalties.
- Dodging: Improves EV. More effective with lighter armour and higher dexterity.
- Shields: Improves the SH bonus shields gives you. Reduces and eliminates the impact of shield EV and spell success penalties.
- Stealth: Reduces the likelihood of unaware monsters detecting you. Increases the chance of out of sight monsters losing track of you.
- Spellcasting: Slightly increases the spell power and success rate of any spell you cast, reduces the spell hunger generated, increases your max MP, and grants you extra spell levels to memorize more spells.
- Invocations: Improves the effectiveness of powers granted by your god, increases your max MP. Some gods do not require training of this skill.
- Evocations: Improves the effectiveness of using wands and evocables. Increases your max MP.
- Spell school skills: Improve spell power and success rate. Casting a single spell may rely on more than one skill.
- Air Magic: Mainly attack spells that focus on wind and electricity.
- Conjurations: Direct attack magic.
- Charms: Magic to enhance your abilities.
- Earth Magic: Mainly attack spells that involve manipulation of the earth.
- Fire Magic: Attack spells that involve fire.
- Hexes: Magic to weaken enemies.
- Ice Magic: Mainly attack and enhancing spells that involve cold.
- Necromancy: Spells involving manipulation of negative energy and the undead.
- Poison Magic: Magic involving poison.
- Summonings: Magic involving temporarily creating allies.
- Translocations: Move yourself, enemies or objects.
- Transmutations: Transform yourself, enemies or objects.
The Skill Screen
Pressing m will bring up the Skill Screen, allowing you to select which skills you'd like to train and how you'd like the game to invest your XP. It also shows your character's current skill levels and aptitude for each skill, complete with adjustments made for cross-training and opposed magic schools. You can switch between displaying only those skills you can train/have trained and all skills with the * button.
You can select which skills to train by either clicking on its name in the list or pressing the key associated to it. Any skill that you haven't selected will have its name displayed in dark gray, and it will not improve. You can also choose to focus certain skills, causing them to gain twice the amount of experience they'd normally receive. Focused skill names are displayed in white, and their tiles icon will display with a blue glow.
The skill screen also allows you to choose whether to divide your XP in auto or manual mode by pressing the / key. Auto mode adjusts the XP division so that skills you use more will receive the greatest share of new XP, while those you rarely use receive less. In manual mode, each active skill receives a perfectly equal share of gained XP, while focused skills receive double that. Most veteran players advise always using manual mode, as it is far easier to control where your XP goes using it. Furthermore, you can ensure your XP is split between fewer skills, which is generally good strategy.
You can set skill targets by pressing = in the skill menu, then the letter of the skill you want to set a target for, then entering the value to set a target at. Once that skill reaches the skill target, it will automatically turn off. This can also be done for weapons' min-delay and shields skill-to-remove-penalty by entering the item description and pressing s. Skill targets let you much more easily control exactly how many points you want in a particular skill, and stop you from forgetting to turn off skills. Additionally, should all of your skill targets be reached and you're no longer training anything, you are prompted to turn on a skill.
Pressing ! will switch between 3 views: training, where you can see how much of your experience is going towards each skill; cost, which compares the experience requirement of raising that skill by 1 level with a level 0 skill at 0 aptitude; and targets, which shows your current skill targets.
In any case, you'll notice that you do not have access to all skills from the very beginning of the game. This is because many skills require associated equipment to become available:
- You must have an appropriate weapon in order to train its weapon skill.
- You must be carrying a shield to train Shields.
- You must have a spell of a particular school memorized to train that school's skill.
- You must worship a god who grants invocable powers to train Invocations.
- You must be carrying an evocable item or have abilities provided by Nemelex to train Evocations.
Removing these items, forgetting these spells, or abandoning these gods will cause you to no longer be able to train their skills, but you will not lose the progress you've made thus far.
The chart below shows how many total skill points must be allocated to a skill for it to reach each skill level:
|Level||Total skill points||Level||Total skill points||Level||Total skill points|
These amounts are then adjusted based on your character's aptitudes. An aptitude of n means you'll need 2^(-n/4) times as much XP to advance as a character with an aptitude of zero for that skill would.
- 0.21 - Added skill targets.
- 0.18 - Added the ability to see the relative cost of training different skills.
- 0.15 - Removed aptitude penalty for training opposed magic schools. Changed cross-training to give a direct bonus to cross-trained skills, rather than decreasing the XP cost of learning them.
- 0.13 - Removed Stabbing and Traps skills.
- 0.12 - Equalized all skill costs. Formerly, Spellcasting cost 130%; Invocations, Evocations, and Stealth 80%.
- 0.10 - Stealth cost changed from 50% to 80%.
- 0.10 - Equipment impact on skill training standardized from skill level 0-27.
- 0.9 - Change to current skill system. Formerly, XP was saved when earned, then applied to skills as they were used, resulting in repetitive and annoying victory dancing designed to funnel the XP appropriately.
|Melee||Short Blades • Long Blades • Axes • Maces & Flails • Polearms • Staves • Unarmed Combat|
|Ranged||Bows • Crossbows • Throwing • Slings|
|Physical||Fighting • Armour • Dodging • Stealth • Shields|
|Magical||Spellcasting • Invocations • Evocations|
|Spell Schools||Air • Charms • Conjurations • Earth • Fire • Hexes • Ice • Necromancy • Poison • Summoning • Translocations • Transmutations|