Prism Chapter 5 Aptitudes

Art copyright  Ragnarok Press5.1 The Purpose of Aptitudes

While it is widely recognized that anyone can learn any skill, if they are willing to put their minds to it, it is also widely recognized that some people are simply more apt at learning certain skills than others.  Some people are natural musicians and pick up the concepts of music theory easily, but have to struggle hard to learn how to operate computers; some take to fighting as a duck takes to water, but have no comprehension of the mental disciplines that make magic work.  Aptitudes are a method of achieving both of these considerations.

An aptitude does not determine what you know, or even decide what you can learn.  All it does is determine how difficult it will be for you to learn different types of skills.  In game terms, it does this by making some skills cost more and others cost less.  (These costs are measured in development points, not character points.  You will use character points to buy the aptitudes now, and development points later to buy the skills.) By making certain skills more cost-effective, aptitudes influence characters to follow the template set during their creation, without forcing or limiting them to it.

Art copyright  Doug Beekman, used with permission5.2 Aptitude Values

All the skills a character may learn fall into ten categories (but note some skills will fall into more than one category; more on this later).

The character will have a number ranging from 1 to 10 in each of these categories, which measures how difficult the skills in that category are for him to learn.  This number is an Aptitude Value, hereafter referred to as an AV.

A character with an AV of 5 in the Mind Mastery category is average at learning the skills in that category.  Someone with a AV of 1 would learn those skills without even trying, while someone with a 10 would require incredible effort to learn Mind Mastery skills.

Art copyright  Eyal F., used with permission5.3 The Categories

These categories are sometimes referred to only by the first two letters of their names, particularly in the skills listings.

Art copyright  Lou Frank, used with permission5.4 Choosing Your Aptitudes

You'll be spending your remaining character points here, choosing your aptitudes.  When this is done, double-check your points to make sure they add up to 100.  If they don't, you might want to go back and change a stat by a few points, add one last quirk, buy some plot points, or change anything else to get the balance to exactly 100.  (Remember that some campaigns may have started with some other number than 100.)

You must buy an AV in each category; you can't simply "pass" on some category.  Note that one of the possible values in each category has a cost of 0.  It is important to realize that you do not need a 1 to be "good at" the skills involved; a 3 is actually the standard level for "professionals" in that category's skills.  For instance, a standard warrior would have an AV of 3 in COMBAT; only a weapons-master, virtually incapable of anything but combat, would have an AV of 1.

Similarly, an 8 is usually the appropriate level for someone who is no good at something.  A 9 or 10 is usually reserved for those who have an exceptional mental block or are legendary for their inability to learn the associated skills.  Be prepared to explain any 9s or 10s you buy.

Art copyright  Ragnarok PressThis may be the most important step in creating your character, and the one you'll wish you could change later on (if you do it wrong) more than any other, so take care to do it well.

Chart 5.4 AV Costs

Category 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
COMBAT 40 30 25 18 13 10 5 0 -5 -10
BODY 44 32 28 20 15 10 5 0 -3 -8
OUTDOOR 32 28 22 18 10 5 0 -2 -5 -10
AIR/SPC 45 32 21 18 11 8 4 0 -8 -15
SCIENCE 30 28 20 16 10 6 2 0 -5 -9
MIND 70 60 45 30 18 11 9 4 0 -3
ARTS 50 35 23 22 12 2 0 -2 -6 -11
CRAFTS 28 24 19 10 5 1 0 -6 -9 -14
MEDICAL 38 33 22 12 8 3 0 -3 -7 -11
SOC/SPY 35 30 25 19 13 8 2 0 -4 -8

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