Skills define the broad categories of knowledge that the character has learnt, and their competence to perform various actions. The following list presents thirty-three main skills derived from various clauses of the Edictus Rothari, such as references to actvities a person might undertake, or inferred from objects or events that are otherwise mentioned. Some skills are specific in their focus, reflecting the interests of the Lombard law-givers. Others are more broad-reaching, so as to incorporate a range of activities which are appropriate to the Lombard seting and might be required in the game but are not attested directly or indirectly in the laws. The range of skills presented here, then, will inform the behaviours and attempted actions of the player and non-player characters who form the perpetrators, victims, investigators, witnesses and bystanders to the early medieval crimes, laws and society around which this RPG revolves.
The ability to use and maintain a bow and arrow for hunting or as a weapon.
A range of physical activities, such as running, jumping, climbing, swimming, lifting heavy objects and so forth.
The production ability to make and outfit sea-worthy or river-worthy vessels or to undertake major repairs on them. Of particular relevance here are the ferry boats referred to indirectly in the Edictus Rothari, Nos 265-68 in relation to the ferryman (portunarium) who aids a fugitives escape.
A range of boat types are used in the early medieval period in and around Lombard Italy, from ferries to cross rivers, to rowing boats and fishing vessels to ships that sail on the open seas. This skill includes the abilities to row or sail, steer and navigate, as well as genrally maintain a vessel.
Hand to hand combat, either unarmed with fists, feet, head-butting and the such like, or else with bludgeoning weapons and impromtu items such as cudgels, stout sticks and whatever else is to hand. This also includes wrestling techniques such as the pulling of hair and beards outlined in Rothari No. 383, or the crime of marahworfin when one intentionally throws a freeman from his horse (Rothari No. 30).
The ability to build and repair houses and hovels, water mills and dams, churches and barns, and all other manner of building that might be found across the Lombard regnum. In addition to construction from timber, in Rothari Nos 144-45 the laws make specific reference to stone-working and the master masons from the city of Como.
This is intended as a general skill of secondary production to encompass all manner of making, reworking and repairing things that are not otherwise covered in the named skills and which might – at best – only beindirectly hinted at in the laws. This includes brewing and vinting, darying, cooking, cordwaining, ropemaking, weaving, spinning to name but a few possibilities.
The ability to conceal one’s identity, allowing furtive activities to be undertaken with less chance of repercussion. A person skilled at disguise may go beyond simple anonymity, and even be able to cast aspersions on to some other, innocent individual. This skill is rooted primarily in Rothari No. 31, which refers to the walapaus, that is one who masks their identity in order to inflict violence on another person.
Being able to evade imamediate physical danger such as attacks, careening horses, falling objects and so forth.
Hand to hand fighting with edged or pointed weapons, such as swords and knives. Used for the camfio or judicial duel (ordeal by combat) as well as such fighting in more oridnary situations.
The ability to judge the financial worth of a person or object, taking into account a wide range of factors from provenance and condition, to social status and rarity. This skill factors into both mercantile activities when a fair price must first be known if the trader is to turn a profit and in the law courts were the correct amount of composition due for a crime must be negotiated, judged and set.
A range of activities outdoor rural activities, focusing on agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and labouring. This skill includes within its scope ploughing, sowing, planting, reaping and threshing, as well as tree-planting and felling, animal herding and so forth.
This wide-reaching skill incorporates a range of folkish knowledge, from which herbs and plants are safe to eat, or deadly, what practices rustics or pagans might engage in, where and even how, as well as the stories which shaped local and Lombard identities from genealogies and histories, to myths, legends and fire-side tales. This skill also incorporates unwritten customs and traditions, and may frequently be combined with Law to perform the legal rituals that underlined the authority of a transaction, and to understand local variations or the practices that the law-codes did not address.
The ability to ride or otherwise manage a horse (steering a horse cart, calming it when spooked, etc.), clean, feed and otherwise tend to it’s needs, and so forth.
Tracking animals, building snares and traps, managing hunting dogs or birds of prey. Some elements combine with other skills, such as archery, folklore and stealth in particular.
This skill denotes the character’s ability to actively turn their senses onto the world around them and to seek out evidence and implications. This may seem to contrast a little with the modes of proof outlined in the early medieval Lombard laws, in which guilt or innocence is often known from village gossip and judgement of character and social status, and proof of an accusation determined by ordeal (for the Lombards, the judicial dual) and the swearing of oaths. Nevertheless, later laws also suggest that there is some enquiry to be considered also, and investigation should be considered broad enough to encompass the questions that are asked and the manner in which they are put, as much as with the tracking and informing skills of the ‘way-pointer’, ‘informer’ or ‘proditor‘ whose information leads to the snaring of a fugitive or thief (such as in Rothari Nos 255 and 335).
Specific weapon skill, of some cultural significance to the Lombards. The lance may be thrown as a rnaged weapon, (coupled with the athletics skill), used from horseback (coupled with horseriding skill), or (presumably) used on foot like a spear.
This skill represents second languages that the character may have learnt. Each language is written as a speciality within the brackets following the main heading, so therefore a number of heading entries for this skill are included on the character sheet. The first language of each character, whether Latin, the Langobardic tongue or something else will be included in the main section on the character sheet for Character, and only other languages that the character has learnt will be included here. Other languages beyond Latin and Langobardic that might be encountered include various Germanic tongues of other neighbouring peoples gentes, such as Alamanic, Bavarian, Frankish and Visigothic, as well as other languages from further afield such as Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and so forth.
The light-fingered ability to filch objects of value and open locks with resorting to brute force. Thievery is addressed in many of the Lombard laws, most particularly Rothari Nos 253-57 which discuss fegangi, that is being caught red-handed.
Knowledge of the written law of the Lombards, what is permitted and what is prohibited and how legal transactions and documents should be undertaken and produced. At higher levels this skill may also include awareness of the laws of the other gentes of early medieval Europe, or of the Roman law. It may be combined with other skills in its execution in specific circumstances, notably with Evaluate for determining the worth of goods or people, with Folklore to understand and perform in socio-legal customs which surround and inform the practice of law and so forth.
Being able to take control of a group, or within the hierarchy of a group, issue commands and understand the logistics behind organising and managing it. As well as it’s military role, whether leading troops or a band of seditious field workers this can extend to any group of people working together, such as a master herder and their students.
Working with animal skins to produce leather (or else parchment for writing on) and the ability to then re-work that leather into clothing or other useful items such as the reins or hobble for oxen or horses.
Being able to read and write, but also to produce and maintain the basic tools of writing, particularly quills and inks. As literacy within the Lombard kingdom, and across the early medieval west as a whole, was (usually) first taught and learnt in Latin, the player should consider ensuring their character has at least a foundation point in Language (Latin) as well.
Treating external wounds and injuries, such as stopping bleeding, stitching or cauterising a cut, resetting a broken bone and so forth.
Smelting and purifying the metals from their respective ores, and reworking those metals, iron, lead, copper, silver, gold and so forth into various inventory items from weapons and armour, to ploughshares, pots and jewelry or the lead bells that hang around the neck of an ox.
The ability to barter or haggle over goods, and arrange an exchange. It cna also be used to negotiate terms either surrounding a court case, planning a treaty or charter, or the terms of a diplomatic interaction. Under negotiation both sides tend to get something from the other, but the better negotiator may come off the better, while the worse comes off more poorly.
This skill represents the overall degree of alertness across all the character’s senses. It is a somewhat passive skill, determining whether the character sees the flicker of movement out the corner of their eye, hears the snap of the twig or smells the soft acridity of smoke hanging in the air. While the Edictus makes loose references to various modes of perception, this skill is grounded more in requirements for a story than specific clauses in the laws.
Convincing, flattering, lying, threatening, or otherwise compelling another person to do what you wish through the strength of words and charisma or simnply intimidation.
The ability to use a shield for defence (catching blows form weapons, or arrows). Rather than providing an armour bonus, the succesful use of a shield can stop an attack from connecting in the first place. The shield can also be combined with the brawling skill in combat, to bludgeon an opponent or knock them backwards or off their feet.
The ability to sneak and hide is useful for committing crimes covertly – or for investigating their assumed perpetrators. Such activities are also referred to in the laws, such as where Rothari Nos 32-33 refer to first freemen and then slaves, who sneak secretly into another person’s courtyard in the night.
While such deceitful behaviour as lying and misleading is not outlined in fine detail in the Edictus, perjury and false oaths are referred to at least indirectly through the consequences when the oath fails. Rothari No. 363 details the circumstances when an oath is broken, while the following clause, No. 364, clarifies that a person cannot swear oath that they are innocent of a crime if they had previously admitted their guilt. Lying, then, underlies much of the broader social contexts in which law and justice were evaded and pursued.
Knowledge of the philosophies, practices and structures of the Christian church, understanding of how to pray, the role of miracles and saint’s cults, the prestige of the pope, bishops, priests and other ecclesiastics and monastics. More immediately, this knowledge can go hand in hand with pious belief, and may let the learned person see the hand of God in everyday actions and occurrences.
The ability to throw an object with some accuracy depending on the distance in question and its size and weight.
The ability to turn wood, carve it or otherwise shape it into useful inventory items, such as the yoke for an ox, the handle of some agricultural tool and myriad other such sundries.
Skills, in the arbitration system of the Langobard RPG as with many RPGS, are represented as a numerical trait. The higher the value of the trait, the greater the degree of competency the character has in that area, and the greater their chance of successfully employing that skill when the time comes. Each level or point in a given skill indicates an additional dice rolled when it is used in the arbitration system. As time passes and the story progresses, each player will be awarded Development Points (or ‘DP’ for short) for their participation in the game, which may then be spent to increase the level of the traits.
Each Skill is measured on a numerical scale of zero to five. A rough description of the degree of competency for each given level, and the DP cost to increase the skill from the previous level is given in the following table.
|●●●●●||Mastery||50 DP to increase from level 4|
|○●●●●||Expertise||25 DP to increase from level 3|
|○○●●●||Proficiency||12 DP to increase from level 2|
|○○○●●||Competency||6 DP to increase from level 1|
|○○○○●||Familiarity||3 DP to increase from level 0|