Rules update 2020
Every year we carry out a review of some part of the game looking to see what we improve. This year our focus has been on updating some parts of the rules that are linked to the website, as the time provided by the loss of events is allowing us to implement some long planned changes that required substantial code rewrites to the website. As a result of that review we're implementing some changes to the published rules. This page summarizes and explains the changes so that players can identify and understand the changes easily.
We try to include a section after each update to explain the reasoning behind the change, as well as providing a in-character rationale for what has changed.
We have implemented a new feature for all characters allowing them to retrain a single skill, or a crafting option or a pair of rituals after each event. You can do this at any time after an event you've been to. The appropriate skill, ritual or crafting option will be permanently removed from your character as soon as you save the form. The refunded xp can only be spent on that character, they cannot be used for other characters. Once you drop a skill, option or pair of rituals then you won't be able to retrain anything else until after you attend another event.
The rules are more forgiving for new players. Anyone who has been to their first event can retrain as many skills as they wish - you can drop all your skills and repick them all if you want. This only applies to players who have attended their first event - existing players who have played a new character at an event follow the standard rules.
We have always been flexible with players who wanted to adjust their skills. Although the experience points provides a system for characters to slowly grow in abilities over time, we would prefer players to play characters with skills and abilities they want for their character, not be stuck with something they discovered they didn't want. In some cases a player needs to change their character where real world changes affect a player's ability to take the battlefield. And new players in particular tend to find the Empire skills and countless ritual and item options fairly bewildering. We'd much rather new players had a chance to change their skills after an event to maximise the chances of enjoying the game.
Rituals provide the biggest challenge; since your choice of rituals is often dependent on the presence of friends at the event, it was very easy for players to be left with a suite of rituals they could never cast if friends switched characters for any reason. As a result we provided an option for characters to change a ritual after each event - to give people a way to retrain over time so that they weren't stuck with rituals they couldn't use.
That system worked ok, but it was administratively intensive and wasn't well publicized. As a result it was somewhat ad hoc - and it was clear that a number of players were unaware of the option. Similar problems affected new players who were often unaware that we would allow them to change their character's skills after their first event.
The new system should solve a number of issues. It extends the flexibility from rituals to crafting options and to all skills. Although rituals are the most obvious example where a player can get caught out with an ability they can't use - the same thing can happen with other skills and options and it didn't make sense to limit retraining to just rituals. The new change extends the approach uniformly across all your characters skills and skill options.
We've implemented a major overhaul to the system that shows your character details online, separating information out into different tabs. We've added options to allow you to select any rituals, potion recipes, crafting options or spells if you have empty skill "slots" available (previously this had to be done by email to PD if they weren't purchased at the time). And if you've been to an event then you'll find a button on the skills tab that will let you choose a single skill to retrain (Retraining rituals or crafting options can be accessed from the rituals and items tabs respectively).
We've opted to allow one skill or crafting option after each event as a compromise that allows players to steadily redirect their character's focus over time. We'll will still consider a request by email to drop more than one skill at once if it is clear that the need is driven by genuine OOC reasons such as ill-health preventing you taking the battlefield. But we expect that most people will now be able to make use of the new system in most cases. We've allowed people to retrain two rituals if they want - because that reflects how rituals are bought - with each ritual lore skill providing a character with two new rituals.
These new rules won't change effects such as Infant Starts with a Blank Slate or similar. The ability to "empty" ritual slots is very different to the ability to remove skills and is used in a very different way.