Character Retraining

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In Epic Path, it is always possible for any character to work on re-training and self-improvement. The wizard can cloister himself in a high tower and study the arcane mysteries. The druid can meditate at length upon the glory and might of the Nascent Seed. The fighter can go to the Fighter's Guild and have a training montage of rapid-fire smash-cuts set to 80's rock-metal. There is always stuff to do, ways to make yourself better, and that's just fun.

These rules offer three different categories of character development that you can perform during downtime: retraining, self-improvement and single-use boons.

  • Retraining is the adjusting of one aspect of your character to another, or growing your character into potential it already has.
  • Self-improvement is the building of additional abilities, increasing the power of your character beyond what is normal for its level.
  • Single-use boons provide one-time bonuses to a single die roll, allowing you to dramatically impact the outcome of that roll in one of several ways.

The first step of retraining is determining what you would like to retrain or improve. Many options exist, but you can only work on one at a time. If you change your mind mid-way through one retraining to start a different one, all progress towards the incomplete goal is lost. (This is the case even if you are merely changing the focus of the retraining, while staying inside a specific category. For example, if you are retraining to convert Sense Motive to a Natural Talent skill, and then you decide you would rather have Diplomacy as a Natural Talent skill, not only is the progress towards Sense Motive not applicable to making Diplomacy a Natural Talent skill, but it will be lost if you begin to focus on Diplomacy, or any other kind of retraining, instead.)

Once selected, you next make a single bailiwick skill check (Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft or Warfare) to see if you can modify the time required to accomplish the retraining. You must make this roll, even if you don't want to.

  • If your bailiwick skill check result is less than an Easy DC for your current level, the time required to complete the retraining you have selected is increased by 1 day OR 10%, whichever is worse.
  • If your bailiwick skill check result is at least the Easy DC for your current level, but less than the Challenging DC, the required time to complete the retraining is unchanged from the listed value.
  • If your bailiwick skill check result is at least the Challenging DC for your current level, but less than the Impossible DC, the required time to complete the retraining is reduced by 1 day OR 10%, whichever is better.
  • If your bailiwick skill check result is at least the Impossible DC for your current level or better, the required time to complete the retraining is reduced by 3 days OR 25%, whichever is better.

Note that no selection can ever be reduced to less than 1 day, regardless of how great your bailiwick skill check result was.

If you have access to spells, feats, or abilities which can temporarily improve your bailiwick skill, or somehow alter the result of a skill check, such a spell, feat, or ability may only be used if it has a duration of at least a day (i.e. until the next full-night's rest). If the spell, feat, or ability has a duration of less than a day, you may not apply it to your bailiwick skill check when retraining. Furthermore, you may not use a spell, feat, or ability of an ally to modify your own bailiwick skill check, unless that ally is willing to spend the full 8 hours doing nothing other than assisting you (this is true even if the buff requires a single casting for the full day). An assisting ally may not spend this time performing their own retraining.

Retraining uses up the full day. If you spend more than 1 hour doing anything else during a retraining day (except meals and short rest breaks) besides retraining, that day cannot be counted towards your progress.

A player may not use the retraining rules to swap out a skill, ability or feat taken at an earlier level for a skill, feat, or ability that they only qualify for now, but wouldn't have qualified for when they originally took the skill, feat, or ability. For example, upon reaching 21st level, a character gains access to Epic feats, but may not use retraining to swap out an earlier non-epic feat for an epic feat. Similarly, a high-level rogue may never retrain to have fewer than 4 basic rogue talents, even after she qualifies for advanced or epic rogue talents.

If you train out of a skill, ability or feat which is a prerequisite for another ability, you lose the use of the other ability until you can once more meet its requirements. "Backing down" out of a feat tree can be done via retraining, but takes several re-training actions.

Finally, note that all retraining requires an appropriate place to train, be it a library, a peaceful grove, a quiet meditation temple, a shrine, a gymnasium, a patch of howling wilderness, a deep, dark sewer, courts of intrigue, or whatever is applicable to the aspect of your character being trained. Once the GM adjudicates there is an appropriate location, progress may begin.

Self-Improvement Cost

Retraining, self-improvement, and single-use boons have no cost (other than time). However, you may wish to maintain a Lifestyle to keep your quality of living at some reasonable level, for extremely long periods of retraining. Note that very low levels of lifestyle introduce some risk of disease and starvation, so you may want to pay at least a LITTLE attention to this.

Retraining Selections

Reassign Skill Ranks

  • Average Days to Complete: 4 per skill rank

It is possible to move a skill rank from one skill to another skill after you have placed the skill rank at level-up. We have all made a choice of a skill point that we've later found questionable, and this allows your character to realistically grow and change as time passes, as you get better at some things and lose some proficiency in other things.

Characters may also make use of a library or train with a respected master of a specific skill they wish to retrain into, speeding this process to 2 days per point re-allocated. However, libraries and training under a master nearly always have a cost associated with them. Furthermore, there may be a limit to how many ranks can be allocated to a skill retrained via such training methods, based on the expertise of the master or the information available at the library in question.

A character cannot assign more skill ranks to a skill than he has character levels. A character cannot put ranks into a bailiwick skill that is not normally available to their character class, unless they already have ranks in it from another means (such as multi-classing).

Swap a Feat

  • Average Days to Complete: 6

You can swap out a feat you have for a different feat you qualify for. Note that you must meet all prerequisites for the new feat before you can retrain into it. Furthermore, if the feat you trade out is a prerequisite for another ability, you lose the use of the other ability until you can once more meet its requirements. Backing down a feat tree can be done via retraining, but takes several re-training actions.

Re-select a Class Ability or Racial Trait

  • Average Days to Complete: 10

Sometimes you choose a class ability or racial trait that you later decide isn't what you wanted at all. This could be a sorcerer or bard spell, a rogue talent, a fighter tactic, etc. This retraining selection allows you to trade out an existing class ability (or racial trait) for a different one you could have selected at the same level as the class ability you wish to trade out.

A player may not use the retraining rules to swap out a skill, ability or feat taken at an earlier level for a skill, feat, or ability that they only qualify for now, but wouldn't have qualified for when they originally took the skill, feat, or ability. For example, upon reaching 21st level, a character gains access to Epic feats, but may not use retraining to swap out an earlier non-epic feat for an epic feat. Similarly, a high-level rogue may never retrain to have fewer than 4 basic rogue talents, even after she qualifies for advanced or epic rogue talents.

Reallocate Ability Points

  • Average Days to Complete: 10

In extreme cases, you may wish to completely change how your ability scores are allocated. Perhaps you've discovered you need a 13 Intelligence to qualify for a feat you want, or you have decided you want to mainly use ranged weapons instead of melee. Such changes of direction usually require fundamental changes to your core ability scores. This retraining allows you to redo your ability point allocation, using the point-buy system, with a number of points based on your Campaign Power Level (though 28 points is the default), to suit your new needs.

Remember that ability point increases at 4th, 8th, 12th, etc. levels, as well as bonuses from magic items, class abilities, or feats, should be excluded from your calculations, and then re-added when you are done. You may also change how your racial ability score bonuses were allocated at this time. You must still follow the restrictions that existed at 1st level during the point-buy – namely that you cannot have a starting ability score above 20 after racial adjustments, an ability score below a 7 after racial adjustments.

Pay careful attention to your existing feats and abilities when you do this, as some of these have minimum ability score requirements. If you alter your ability scores in such a way that you no longer qualify for a feat or other ability, you may no longer use that ability. (You can then, if you wish, retrain that feat or ability away as a separate retraining endeavor.)

Self-Improvement

Gain a Hit Point

  • Average Days to Complete: 4 + 2 per 100 hit points you have (before retraining; drop fractions, minimum 0). That is, the base number of days, if you have fewer than 100 hit points, is 4 days.

It is possible to train up your hit points, if they are less than the maximum possible for someone of your class, level and CON modifier. This is applicable to all characters, although the more hit points you have to begin with, the longer this takes.

Additional Skill Rank

  • Average Days to Complete: 8

It is possible to earn a skill rank without leveling up, by intense training, study, and practice. This self-improvement can be performed a maximum number of times equal to your current level (i.e. a maximum of 1 extra skill point per level).

You must declare which skill you intend to improve at the start of the retraining, which helps to guide the environment appropriate to the retraining.

Even with self-improvement, your total ranks in any skill may never exceed your current level.

Improve Language to Native Fluency

  • Average Days to Complete: 16

You can improve your fluency with a language you already know, from the Fluent level of fluency, up to Native level of fluency. You must have access to a native speaker of the language while training (whose fees are covered by the cost of the retraining). If you can find a native speaker willing to teach you for less than the listed amount, the cost of the retraining is reduced accordingly.

Gain Natural Talent in a Skill

  • Average Days to Complete: 100

It is possible to gain Natural Talent in a skill. This allows you to change the ability modifier that a single skill of your choosing is based upon, IE, re-map the skill to a different ability. It is possible to re-map your Acrobatics skill, for example, to be based upon your Intelligence, or your Perception Skill to be based upon your Constitution. This is exactly like having an additional Natural Talent skill.

To re-map any skill, making it into a Natural Talent skill, it must be a skill you qualify for: You may not, for example, make a bailiwick skill you do not otherwise qualify for into a Natural Talent skill.

You may re-map more than one skill, but you must complete each change before you begin the next. You may choose to re-map a skill again: You may change your Diplomacy to work off your Dexterity, and then later re-map it again to work off your Constitution. You must expend the full amount of time and money each time. Obviously, you can only remap each skill to a single stat. Even as you intensely train, study, and practice that skill to make it second nature, you still cannot map a single skill to two stats and gain the modifiers for both.

Additional Non-Epic Feat

  • Average Days to Complete: 150

It is possible to gain the use of a new non-epic feat, once in a character's career. You choose the feat you wish to gain at the beginning of the self-improvement process. You do not have to have all the prerequisites for a feat to begin earning it. You must satisfy all prerequisites for the feat at the time you complete the self-improvement, or you may not use the feat until you satisfy all said prerequisites. If you have a feat you cannot use (for whatever reason) you may swap it for another feat via the normal process laid out above.

Additional Epic Feat

  • Average Days to Complete: 300

It is possible to gain the use of a new epic feat, once in a character's career if you are at least level 21. You choose the feat you wish to gain at the beginning of the self-improvement process. You do not have to have all the prerequisites for a feat to begin earning it. You must satisfy all prerequisites for the feat at the time you complete the self-improvement, or you may not use the feat until you satisfy all said prerequisites. If you have a feat you cannot use (for whatever reason) you may swap it for another feat via the normal process laid out above.

Additional Minor Racial Trait

  • Average Days to Complete: 110

It is possible to gain the use of a new minor racial trait, once in a character's career. The minor racial trait you gain must be legal for your character in all particulars. For example, you must choose a minor racial ability from your current race. If you somehow change races, you must change this additional minor racial trait to match your new race.

You choose the minor trait you wish to gain at the beginning of the self-improvement process. You may not change the minor trait you are working toward in the middle without losing all your progress.

Additional Major Racial Trait

  • Average Days to Complete: 400

It is possible to gain the use of a new major racial trait, once in a character's career. The major racial trait you gain must be legal for your character in all particulars. For example, you must choose a major racial trait from your current race. If you somehow change races, you must change this additional major racial trait to match your new race.

You choose the major trait you wish to gain at the beginning of the self-improvement process. You may not change the major trait you are working toward in the middle without losing all your progress.

Permanent +1 to an Ability Score

  • Average Days to Complete: 250

It is possible to gain a permanent +1 to a single ability score of your choice. This may be done up to two times per ability score during a character's career.

Single-Use Boons

Action Point

  • Average Days to Complete: 6

It is possible to gain the use of an additional action point through intense study, training, and meditation. This action point is exactly like the action point that is usually gained at the beginning of any real-time combat, and can be used for any legal use of action points in your campaign. Note that it is possible to earn action points through the re-training system if your Game Master is not awarding action points in each combat, if the Game Master allows re-training. You may select this retraining as many times as you wish, though you can never keep more than one action point earned from retraining at a time. Note that you can never spend more than one action point in a single combat round.

Combat Bonus

  • Average Days to Complete: 4

It is possible to gain the use of a combat bonus through intense study, training, and meditation. A combat bonus is similar to an action point, in that they may only be used during real-time combat (i.e. while an initiative order is underway).

Using a combat bonus adds 2d6 to the roll which is being boosted. A combat bonus may be used to boost a single to-hit roll, critical confirmation roll, Maneuver Offense skill roll, or damage roll.

  • If used to boost a to-hit roll, use of a combat bonus may raise a D20 roll to a 20 or even higher, but it is not considered a 'natural' result, and as a consequence, may not threaten a critical strike.
  • If used to boost any weapon damage roll, the 2d6 rolled are treated as additional base weapon damage of the same type as the weapon being used, and thus increase upon critical hits and are further multiplied by the level of the wielder.

A combat bonus is NOT an action point, and may be used at any time during combat, even in the same round as an action point, and even during an action granted by an action point.

You may buy as many combat bonuses as you wish, with the important caveat that you cannot ever have more than one combat bonus "banked' at one time.

Fortune's Favor

  • Average Days to Complete: 8

It is possible to gain fortune's favor through intense prayer, training, and meditation. Every character gains fortune's favor in different ways. A paladin may gain it by intense prayer in a shrine, a brawler may get it by pouring out a ritual libation to Lady Luck with every round he drinks, a barbarian may get it by howling to the wild, open sky, etc. Fortune's favor is different from an action point or a combat bonus, in that it may used at any time.

When you expend fortune's favor, you succeed at a single D20 roll without rolling any dice. Thus, this must be expended before the die roll. This success is absolute, and occurs regardless of the target DC. However, it is only a success, not a maximum result or any other quantifiable number. If fortune's favor is used for an Abstract Encounter skill roll, for example (which has no defined upper limit for success) the fortune's favor will grant the minimum possible successful roll.

However, fortune's favor always makes the roll a success. If you are trying to Sunder a force wall and need a DC of 250, fortune's favor will automatically reach that DC, and not one digit higher, thus inflicting a single Sunder.

You may buy as many fortune's favors as you wish over the lifetime of a character, with the important caveat that you cannot ever have more than one fortune's favor "banked' at one time.