No one's life and personal level of knowledge or skills is ever static. That's an inexorable part of Melza, all of Aporue, and the entire known world. As a unique individual, you adhere to this as well. Even if you like stability and familiarity, certain things will be changing and shifting over time, and you'll be changing with them… for better or worse.
On this particular page, we'll talk a little about developing and improving one's skillsets. There is a long, long list of various skills known within the strata of society that professional thieves inhabit. The skills of an individual tend to form groupings of similar skills at times, and these might ultimately influence what sort of things an individual thief specialises in (at least most of the time).
“No one fell to earth from the heavens all-knowledgeable…”, goes an old Aporuean saying. With that in mind, let's have a closer look at what tasks, actions, events, situations and procedures can influence the development of certain skills.
- the RP has no character classes. A player character can go for certain forms of specialisation, but these are not rigid restrictions, and only steer the focus of your character into a certain direction and narrow it down to make it better manageable.
- furthermore, character levels in the classic sense do not exist at all. This is because all improvement of skills is an entirely fluid process, The same goes for the potential deterioration of particular skills if they're not used for a long time. On the upside, no player character can entirely lose a skill.
- due to the classless approach, the player character can theoretically do anything, since there are no arbitrary rules about this or that character build being restricted from using this or that item or doing this or that thing. The chosen specialisations keep focusing the character more strongly in particular directions, but they don't entirely override the player's basic competence.
- the aforementioned lack of character levels means improving skills in the RP doesn't really rely on calculated levels of any kind. Instead, it's based on the amount of experiences and the quality/nature of experiences obtained by a particular character during whatever assignments he/she took part in.
Let's go with the following model situation: Someone starts with a character of an amateur thief who's “along for the ride” and has to closely follow the advice of a more seasoned character. Eventually, he or she gains enough experience to improve the overall skill in something. Often through trial and error, trying to get better.
The entire process can be narrowed down into three steps:
1.) Practice - practicing a skill to gain experience, either by training, or just by carrying out a “job” or related activity. With the catch that training counts less, because it only offers your character practicing in a safe environment, not in a “this is for real” situation.
2.) Experience - which you get by the aforementioned practicing, whether by training or (preferrably) “live”. By live, I obviously mean your character doing an assignment/mission/job of some sort, whether it's a little sidequest type thing or a big ol' proper caper/heist/eavesdropping/whathaveyou. You only gain experience in a certain area/skill by practicing that certain area/skill in an effective manner. For instance, jumping over obstacles while running or jumping upward to grab a mantle slowly increases your potential experience for the Jumping skill, but just jumping in place won't.
3.) Improvement - how you invest the amounts of experience you've gained in certain areas. Improvement gets alloted based on what you've practiced, how well you've practiced it, and how much experience you've gained from it. You only tend to gain the most new experience in a few particular areas. The new experience you've gained in smaller amounts is “stored away” for later, until you can invest it in its own areas.
Quality of gained experience
Affects a lot. It can be measured by how a player performed on an assignment. For instance, how many guards he avoided successfully, how many times he sneaked past without being heard or seen, how well he used a device/weapon, etc.
Investing the gained experience
While you should usually go for the biggest amounts of XP gained, you can also choose the smaller, more marginal gains if you like, and invest in those. So, you have to make it a bit of a picky process and choose what you want to focus on at the moment in terms of “upgrades”. It gives your character a bit more control over things and a bit more challenge too, rather than just going for a boring “eh, just continuously upgrade everything I can” option.
One thing that needs to be factored in, is the fact that different equipment and weapons have different stats about how stealthy they are, or how common they are.
Tough luck finding some sort of impressive weapon or item, if they're hard to obtain in the first place. Your player character will have to earn them, and even if you find them by chance, you might need to work a bit to learn how to use them properly. I think it's a natural enough restriction to avoid the player easily abusing something powerful.
You always have to keep in mind that, even with much-improved personal skills, your player character can never become entirely perfect at what he/she tries to pull off. This is down to two things:
1.) Even a very experienced master thief can sometimes make mistakes, slip somewhere, etc. Not often, but “sometimes” definitely remains a possibility.
2.) Try as you might, you can never fully improve all your skills simultaneously. You're always limited by what career path and specialisations your character has chosen (either at the very start or gradually throughout the RP) and by how you actually perform within the soft-but-tangible limits to your pathway that you've chosen.