Friday 19 November 2021

Skill of the Day: Mountain Lore!


Mountain Lore is a skill generally used in conjunction with other skills, to reduce the Competency Level required. The skill includes knowledge of major mountain chains, significant peaks, cultures that dwell in mountainous regions, a basic understanding of the different types of the flora and fauna found in mountains and the kind of rocks and minerals that may be found there. 


Thus, a character with Mountain Lore could use it in combination with (for example): Cartography (for more accurate mapping of mountainous regions); Climb (to locate the safest climbing route); Mining (to locate sources of mineral wealth and ascertain the best locations for mining); Navigate (general route-finding) or Weather Sense (to better predict the weather in mountainous areas).


Using a skill like Mountain Lore to complement another check is subject to a few simple guidelines: if the character's Competency Level in Mountain Lore is less than half of the skill being checked, it cannot be used in such a way. If it is more than half or equal to the skill being checked, the character may add 1 to their effective Competency Level in the companion skill. If the Competency Level in Mountain Lore is greater than that of the companion skill, 2 can be added to the effective level. 


When to Roll the Dice


When determining if a check is needed for the Mountain Lore skill, the quick and dirty rule is the standard one for all skills: that where there is no time pressure and the Competency Level required is no higher than that of the character, matters can be safely hand-waved. Otherwise, a roll can be made. 



Primary Ability: Intelligence

Alternative Abilities: Wisdom, especially in such situations as foraging and tracking. 

Usual Time Requirement: varies with context, up to 1 hour maximum

Availability: Level 1

Type/Rate of Development: Campaign/Strategic; Average (1:2)


OSRIC: Ranger (*)

Swords & Wizardry: Ranger (*)

Labyrinth Lord: Dwarf (3*), including any Dwarf variant (e.g. Raging Slayer, War Chanter); Ranger (*)


OSRIC: Dwarf (3*)

Swords & Wizardry: Dwarf (3*)

Labyrinth Lord: Dwarf (3*)


Note that“*” indicates a quicker rate of development (1 Competency Level for every  Character Level), whilst the 3 in parentheses indicates that Dwarves and Dwarf sub-classes begin with 3 free levels of Competency.

Story Hook: The mighty peaks of the High Esvels form a massive range that separates the New Kingdoms from the northern lands – much of them barbaric deserts and wastes – and provides the watershed for most of the New Kingdoms’ great rivers. The High Esvels reach their greatest heights northeast of Rakhanay, in the towering Mount Orvael (over four thousand metres in height), although they seldom rise above half that. The mountains have a number of subsidiary ranges (such as the Low Esvels) and vary in width from between sixty miles (in Dalrok Haan) to over one hundred and fifty miles northeast of Torreg Tallyn.

North of Rakhanay itself the High Esvels are about one hundred miles broad from south to north, and rise to over two thousand seven hundred metres at Murokhagan. The mountains are populated by Gerredain, Orcs, Den Haarn, Goblins, Amaghli, High Esvelmen (barbarians not particularly close in relationship to the Low Esvelmen) and many ferocious monsters and beasts. There are no known cities in the High Esvels – and indeed few towns of any size. There are a number of tenuous and dangerous routes across the range, but only the Valderthorn Way north of Murokhagan sees much traffic. Of late, both the Guilbhir Trading Leagues and the Grovelords of Tarezain have been exploring the possibilities of developing the Valderthorn Way into an alternative route for trade, hoping to circumvent the rapacious folk of Dalrok Haan, who hold control of the upper Sandlane, and thus the main gateway to the fabulous riches of the north.

The Guilbhir Trading Leagues are looking for willing and brave folk to accompany and defend two of their Engineers (Wolden Shursant, LN Human Engineer* 4 and Krin Boistur, NE Half-Elf Illusionist 3/Engineer 4) as they survey the Valderthorn Way. Neither Engineer is particularly experienced in mountain environments, and thus require the services of a few seasoned souls with mountain knowledge. There's a problem, however: Krin Boistur is in the pay of the Dalrokhani, and is hoping to somehow sabotage the endeavour - perhaps by using his magic to bring about the downfall of his fellow engineer before reporting to his League 'masters' that the Valderthorn route is not viable.

* the Engineer is a Petty-class that may be detailed in a later post.

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