This page covers skills, abilities, and leveling up.
In Engines of Ascension, every skill needs practical application to get better at it. This applies to everything from the basics of weapon use to mercantile aptitude, and may be a familiar concept for people who have played the Elder Scrolls series and their methods of progression. Performing activities related to a skill will progress the skill, eventually ranking it up, giving your character Experience Points towards leveling up and improving your proficiency with the skill, as well as unlocking access to abilities within that skill.
There are many ways to train skills in Engines, and there is no limit on how many skills you can train. You are only limited by the ability points you are allocated to specialize in a skill, but raw points alone would still give you better performance than someone untrained.
Furthermore, your skill progression is dependent on the level range of the dungeon you are in and the quality of the equipment that you are using, if applicable. For example, if you are a master swordsman, you are not going to learn much from skewering rats in the local sewage system, nor will you be able to effectively practice your technique with a rusty, brittle disgrace of a sword. Keep your gear maintained and seek areas that challenges your current skills to get the most of your training.
Your first two highest skills will receive an EXP bonus to encourage you to specialise. At certain breakpoints in the progression of your highest skill, your character will also receive general passive bonuses to represent their continued improvement.
As each character accumulates experience points, they may accrue enough to level up. In Engines, this isn't a standard level-up in the "traditional" sense, as mechanically every character is level 1, but more worldly individuals can focus their efforts on improving an aspect of their physique, gaining the option to increase one of the three primary attributes - Hit Points, Stamina, or Metabolism - by 5. When you start off, your three stats all start at 100, but the functional values are modified as you do various things.
- Hit Points are self-explanatory. Reduced as you take damage, and you die if it reaches zero. When injured, you may acquire "cumulative damage" on the side, which limits the maximum HP that you can regenerate to out of combat, and can be restored by resting, recovery potions, and certain abilities.
- Stamina is your "Action" bar. It is consumed by using active abilities, invoking gadgets, and reloading firearms. Swimming also continually drains Stamina - once that is gone, your Hit Points will follow! Armor reserves a portion of Stamina when worn, limiting the amount you have for the above functions, and the heavier the armor, the more Stamina is reserved.
- Metabolism controls how well your character can metabolize the detrimental effects of alchemical concoctions and toxins. Consuming potions or being attacked by poisonous attacks will take up room in your metabolic capacity, and potions with persistent effects will reserve a portion of that capacity, leaving less safety space for you. If you take in too much to handle, the results can be debilitating at best and fatal at worst, depending on the source!
Every character starts with 2 ability points and get 1 ability point every level-up. While it is theoretically possible to obtain an unlimited amount of ability points, the difficulty in earning experience down the road means that there is only so many points you can earn in a reasonable manner.
Ability points are distributed on the Abilities tab of your character sheet. Abilities are specialisations for each skill, providing passive bonuses, active abilities, or greater utility for the skills you have practiced in.
Abilities can largely be broken down into four major categories, relative to the skills they stem from. Access their respective pages for a breakdown of the skills and their abilities available to you:
- Offence - Hit things.
- Defense - Don't be hit (or don't care about being hit).
- Utility - Field skills covering roles that do not fall under the above.
- Crafting - Make and upgrade stuff.
Additionally, there are four general traits available to every character, which improves every twenty ranks of your highest skill. These traits are: Carry, Explosion Resistance, Knockdown Resistance, and Wounding Resistance. Each trait has five tiers of progression, and an additional 5 optional abilities capable of net doubling the bonus. You can only take a tier at rank 10 and every 20 points thereafter (30,50, etc) that you have in your current highest-leveled skill, and each tier of each ability can be taken only once. These abilities are listed below: