The SpaceMaster Training Center

Last Update: April 1997

Training in the ICE World

Sometimes players and GM's do not wish to start off a game at first level. They may want to start at fifth or even higher. One thing that may help to justify all the neat rows and columns of skills is formal training. Formal training is time spent in a class room or some other teaching environment learning the skills necessary to advance in level. These rules are general home-brew guidelines to help get a character up to a given level or give the GM some way out of handing out some skills to a character so they can survive the next mission.

There are two different types of training. General and specific. General training is used to increase the level of a character through the normal experience point rules. Specific training is training used to increase the skill ranks earned in a specific skill WITHOUT gaining a level.

General Training:

To train a character up in general experience points, there are a number of things that need to be considered before the formula below can be used.

  1. The smarter someone is the faster they will learn. With this in mind, we take the five stats that are used for training purposes (the upper five on the standard ICE character sheet) and average them. Subtract this number from 100 and then divide by 100. This gives us a percentage factor that will be used to determine how much time is actually spent learning. Any Player Character worth his salt will have a Training Stat Factor less than 0.15.
  2.  Campaign Levels range from 1 for really low powered campaigns up to as high as you want. I suggest 2 to 3 for realistic games. For Cinematic, bump the number to 4 or 5. This makes sense in that high powered campaigns tend to weed out the dumb really quick.
  3.  Point Spread is the number of points between the Desired Experience Point Level and the Current Point Level. Subtract the little number from the big number.
Once these factors have been figured, they are plugged into the given formula and solved. The final answer is the number of years it will take the character to gain the number of experience points desired. Keep in mind this number is the number of years of 8 hour days actually spent studying and practicing. Weekends do not count towards the total.

Years = PointSpread / (CampaignLevel * 5000) * TrainingStatFactor

Note: Where the numbers come from: I figured that it takes approximately 10 years for someone to get their Ph.D. these days if the student is dedicated. I consider 20th level Ph.D. level. This is assuming that we live in an average universe and the Training Stat Factor was around 0.30. Usually, people who have their doctorates are a little smarter than the average Joe on the street. But I have met some who simply worked their way through the system.

The savvy player will quickly figure out that for a level one universe and a TrainingStatFactor of 0.1 the character will gain 1 EP every 10.5 minutes. In a level five universe the character will gain 1EP every 2.1 minutes. Of course the character must be studying during this time.

Other factors may determine the final time it takes to reach a goal. At a minimum a student will need:

Some things that may speed up the learning the process would be: The following chart will demonstrate inter-level training requirements. It was calculated using a campaign level of 3. The TrainingStatFactors on the right show the difference in what I consider the average doctorate to have and what a character with all 90s in his/her training stats. All environmental factors were adequate for the mission.
 Years   Exp Pts     Base      0.10      0.30

   1      10,000     0.67      0.07      0.20
   2      20,000     0.67      0.07      0.20
   3      30,000     0.67      0.07      0.20
   4      40,000     0.67      0.07      0.20
   5      50,000     1.33      0.13      0.40
   6      70,000     1.33      0.13      0.40
   7      90,000     1.33      0.13      0.40
   8     110,000     1.33      0.13      0.40
   9     130,000     1.33      0.13      0.40
   10    150,000     2.00      0.20      0.60
   11    180,000     2.00      0.20      0.60
   12    210,000     2.00      0.20      0.60
   13    240,000     2.00      0.20      0.60
   14    270,000     2.00      0.20      0.60
   15    300,000     2.67      0.27      0.80
   16    340,000     2.67      0.27      0.80
   17    380,000     2.67      0.27      0.80
   18    420,000     2.67      0.27      0.80
   19    460,000     2.67      0.27      0.80
   20    500,000

Total               32.00      3.27      9.80

There is some round-off error when calculating really large jumps. I will leave it to the players to figure out how to carve off eight months on a 20 level training jump.

Training in Skills:

Training in skills is really a specialization. The character doesn't really gain in experience. He just gets really good in a certain field to the detriment of everything else. This technique CANNOT be used for normal skill development.

In order to increase the level of a skill OUTSIDE the standard experience rules, the cost of the skill is first determined.

Single Cost Skills - Example: A skill costs 5. The character can pay 5/15/* for the skill.

Double Cost Skills - Example: Piloting costs 1/2 for a pilot. The character wishes to increase his base ranks by studying piloting. He can pay 1/2/6/* for piloting.

You will notice that for the above two types of skills, the last (or only) skill cost is tripled and then starred. For triple cost skills, the last skill cost is only doubled as shown below.

Triple Cost Skills - Example: Electrical Technics costs 1/2/2 for an electrician. The character wishes to increase his base ranks by studying the electrical trade. He can pay 1/2/2/4/* for Electrical Technics.

Starred Skills (such as 2/*) are not affected. The character can buy those just as he normally would.

Now, what to do with the numbers. The general principle of the idea is that the student places his life on hold for the duration of this training. No other advancement is allowed and any campaign related actions are grounds for termination of training with NO advancement in the skills. The one stipulation to this type of training is the character can only train in this skill once per level. For example, the character cannot train for two ranks one week, take a week off and then train again the following week for two ranks in the same skill unless the character has gained a level during the off week. The reason for this should be obvious. Some of us are min-maxers. :)

The GM should then let the characters determine which skills they wish to train in. Let them buy all the skills they want at the prices mentioned above.

To use an example from above, we will assume a Pilot, Sam Solo, wishes to study to become a master pilot. He currently only has 4 ranks in piloting so he must study for an additional 16 ranks. His cost will be 1/2/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6. That comes to 87 development points. We now take the Pilot's normal development points and divide the 87 by them. If the pilot only had 34 points, then that would be 87 / 34 = 2.56. Round the second decimal place.

Now, here is where the tricky part comes in. We now take the 2.56 and multiply that by 10,000 points.

10,000 x 2.56 = 25,600 points.

We now take that number and use the rules for advancing in General Experience to calculate the number of years it takes to advance that many ranks. Once again, the TrainingStatFactor is taken into account. Using the rules above in a level 3 universe and a TrainingStatFactor of 0.1 will produce a base training time of 0.17 years. We now multiply that 3. This makes it 0.51 years or 187 days. Again, keep in mind this number is the number of years of 8 hour days actually spent studying and practicing. Weekends do not count towards the total. This would actually be 38 five day weeks, almost 3/4 of a year.

If GMs feel this is to powerful of a rule for the players then make them specialize in a certain type of ship or weapon or whatever. Fighter pilots today usually only fly one type of plane. There are those that can fly anything, wings or not, but generally they specialize in one type of craft and stick to it. Enforce this fact of life.

Granted, the above example is quite severe, but the general idea is to let the players advance in a few ranks from time to time to assist them in coming adventures.

I hope these rules are to your liking. I have never used these rules in a game, but I think they would work. If ya'll like 'em, let me know. If you could see a better way to do it, let me know. I will credit you.

Spacemaster Index
Pararaum´s Homepage