FAQ/Errata File v. 2 for Player's OptionTM: Skills & Powers
There've been quite a few questions on the Skills & Powers book, and I've attempted here to answer some of the most common basic questions regarding the book.
My point here has been to address nuts-n-bolts rules questions, not getting into the whys and wherefores behind the rules. So, if you've more questions, please be as specific as you can and phrase your question in a manner that a "yes" or a "no" will answer it (when that's possible).
My thanks go to Jim Butler and Sean Reynolds (TSR's online crew) for fielding all the questions and comments on S&P until I had the time to devote to assembling this file. Please check this file often as it will be updated from time to time.
Here's the first update of this FAQFile. In summary, changes regarding subabilities are racial limits do apply to subabilities and the only way to get above those numbers is to purchase "+1 [subability] score" with character points. Ignore the reference to Strength subabilities in the book. It's wrong and likely will be excised in the second printing.
I also changed the answer about bards casting spells while wearing armor. See the "Chapter 4" section for an ability bard PCs can buy to give them the same option wizards have in the S&P book. Dale Donovan
Q. Can CP earned by level increases be used to buy new Racial or Class abilities?
A. No. The only time Race and Class abilities can be purchased is during character creation.
One good "standby rule" is this: If the book (and this goes for any kind of rule book, not just S&P or only TSR products) doesn't specifically say you can do something, then assume that you cannot.
Q. Can CPs be used to add to attributes?
A. I'm not sure what's meant by attributes, but I'm assuming you mean the 6 standard ability scores. If that's what you mean, the answer is no. CPs do not truly come into play until after the 6 scores are generated (not counting the dubious reference in Method X on page 9).
Q. Can subabilities exceed racial limits for ability scores?
A. No, subabilities cannot exceed racial limits.
Q. Can PCs have subabilities above 18? For example, if I purchase "Aim +1" and my PC already has an 18 Aim?
A. That's the only way a character can exceed 18 in his subability scores. Purchasing the "+1 [subability] Score" also lets the PC violate the "within 4 points" rule, allowing that set of subabilities to differ by five.
Q. Can CPs gained from high Intelligence be used to buy Racial or Class abilities and/or traits?
A. No. Bonus CPs from a high Reason subability can be spent on proficiencies only. See page 17 and remember the "standby rule" rule mentioned above.
Q. Can rangers and paladins have exceptional Strength (and Strength subabilities) in the Player's Option(TM) rules?
A. Yes, all members of the warrior group of classes can possess exceptional Strength and Strength subability scores. Page 13 of S&P mentions "a fighter"; replace this with "a warrior".
Q. There were some mentions in the C&T book to particular subabilities. These exact subabilities didn't appear in the S&P book. Can you give conversions?
A. Sure. Below is the list of those subabilities which changed names in the production of the S&P book.
* Strength/Power became Strength/Muscle.
* Constitution/Toughness became Constitution/Fitness.
* Intelligence/Learning became Intelligence/Knowledge.
* Dexterity/Agility became Dexterity/Balance.
Q. Can Racial CPs unspent be used to buy Class abilities?
A. Some races allow a player to "roll over" CPs from the Race portion of the character-creation process. These "roll-over" CPs can be spent in the class section, on proficiencies, on traits, or they can be held for use during the game. See page 23 under "Character Points" for how many points races can roll over.
Q. In the Races chapter, humans are said to receive 10 CPs. But in the Compiled Tables on page 181, they are listed as receiving 15. Which is correct?
A. The text on page 36 is correct. Humans receive 10 CPs as their racial allotment.
Q. Do the thieving bonuses from Aim & Balance apply in addition to the Dexterity bonuses as listed in Table 29?
A. No. That's an error. Refer to Table 29 only for those abilities not modified by the Aim and Balance tables.
Q. Mages can now cast spells in armor, why can't bards?
A. Good question. Try adding this to the bard's list of class-ability choices: Armored Bard (10): The bard can cast his wizard spells while wearing one type of armor allowed to bards (chain mail or worse, PHB, page 58) of his choice.
If DMs are generous, you also could allow bards to purchase the Casting Reduction and Extend Duration abilities, as given for wizards on page 61 of the S&P book.
Q. Do bards get the music/instrument trait for free?
A. No. They already receive the Singing and Musical Instrument proficiencies for free. I do not believe any class automatically receives any trait for free (please correct me if I'm wrong).
Q. Is the +2 AC bonus for unencumbered warriors and rogues apply in addition to the Defensive bonus which thieves and warriors can purchase?
A. Yes, but bear in mind that the +2 bonus that can be purchased by warriors and rogues apply only to unarmored and unencumbered characters.
Q. With regard to multi-class characters. Do they get CPs for each class
they have? How can they spend those points?
A. Multi-class characters do indeed get CPs for each class. However, each class' CP allotment must be spent in buying abilities for that class and only that class. In other words, a fighter/mage would receive 15 CPs to spend on fighter-class abilities and also would receive 40 to spend on mage-class abilities.
Further, remember the rule that only 5 CPs can be "rolled over" from the class-ability portion of the character-creation process. That's 5 CP total, not per class. Therefore, the fighter/mage mentioned above could leave the class-ability portion of the process with only 5 CPs, not 10 (5 per class and having two classes).
Q. As above, but for proficiencies: Do multi-class PCs take the best CP amount from their classes or do they get them for each class they have as a lump total?
A. Note that the opening paragraph under multi-class characters states that all normal rules for theses characters still apply. The PHB says that a multi-class character gets the highest number of proficiencies allowed to any of his classes.
Applying that idea to the S&P rules, a multi-class character gets the highest single allotment of CPs available to any one of his classes. He can buy proficiencies from whatever lists his classes allow him access to, but he only receives the single-highest CP proficiency allotment.
Q. There are references to "divine disfavor" in the book, but no rules. What happened?
A. Without going into too much detail, there were to be rules in the S&P book that affected the effects of clerical (and wizard) spells. However, when the Player's Option(TM): Spells & Magic book was put on the 1996 schedule, those rules were removed. Unfortunately, not all the references to those rules were caught.
Q. Table 46 shows Traits with an "initial rating". This makes no sense to me since you can't improve traits and you should have no reason to be able to do so. I assume this is the character point cost?
A. You are correct. The heading is simply wrong and will be fixed in a later printing.
Q. Gaming is listed twice in the NWP charts. Which do I use?
A. Use the Gaming listed under the General proficiencies list and disregard the one in the Warrior list.
Q. How can CPs from disadvantages be spent?
A. CPs gained from taking disadvantages can be spent on acquiring traits, proficiencies, race abilities, or class abilities. All or some also may be saved for use during play. All normal rules apply when spending these CPs.
Q. Can CPs gained in the NWP and WP section be used to buy Racial or Class abilities?
A. No. With the exception of "roll over" points, all CPs either must be spent in the part of the character-generation process in which they were given (race, class, etc.) or held for use during play. See each chapter for details on "roll over" points.
Q. It says in the Spellcraft proficiency that a check can be made to determine if an item is enchanted. Does this mean this skill now allows one to detect magic?
A. No, the proficiency only allows one to determine if an item is magical; it does not make an item "glow" as the Detect Magic spell would do.
Q. Why wasn't the new Psionics section given the CP treatment?
A. Okay, this is one of the most common questions I've heard. The answer's not short, but here goes:
The lack of CPs in the Psionics Appendix was deliberate. It was done to make the psionics system in the S&P identical to the system that will be included in the revised Dark Sun(R) campaign setting by Bill Slavicsek.
When Bill and I both received mandates to do new, simpler psionics systems for the two products, we decided to put our heads together. Bill and I are good friends, and together we assembled the new psionics system. We wanted to keep the "two" systems identical to avoid confusion (and have only two psi-systems for the AD&D(R) game, rather than three).
In the next few months, Bill & I (together and separately) will cover the topic of the "new" psionics in articles in Dragon(R) Magazine. One of these articles will include CP costs and so on for the "S&P psionicist".
Q. Are there plans to incorporate S&P stats into future products?
A. Yes and No. There is one product--an adventure tentatively titled "Gates of Firestorm Peak"--on 1996's schedule that'll take advantage of much of the material in the C&T book.
Most of the material in S&P regards only characters, not an adventure or campaign setting and should be usable with any other AD&D(R) game products.
Q. Is TSR going to produce all future NPCs with CPs, subabilities, traits, disadvantages, and so on?
A. No. The Player's Option line is just that: optional. TSR tries not to assume that players own any optional sources. This avoids confusing those folks who, in this case, don't own the Player's Option books. This is TSR's policy regarding all our optional products (PHBRs, HRs, Tome of Magic, etc.).
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