Dragonbane is a skill based system in which you advance your character by using your skills during adventures. When you use a skill, you mark it, and at the end of the adventure you roll a d20 against your current skill rank. If the roll exceeds the current rank, the skill advances by one rank. It’s a neat system that justifies having a roll under dice mechanic as the default action resolution. And in practice it means that it’s easy to raise low skills quickly, but it gets increasingly slower to advance skills a character is already very good at.

I was curious about how long it would take to get a skill to it’s maximum rank of 18 and calculated the following numbers. On the left is the starting rank of each skill and at the top the rank you are aiming to reach. The field where the row and column line up shows how many adventures it will statistically take to get to the respective new rank.

8
(40%)
10
(50%)
12
(60%)
14
(70%)
16
(80%)
18
(90%)
6 3 6 10 15 23 34
7 1 5 9 14 21 33
8 3 7 12 20 31
9 1 6 11 18 29
10 4 9 16 28
11 2 7 14 25
12 5 12 23
13 2 9 21
14 6 18

In theory a skill rank could be as low as 3, but that takes a score of 5 or lower in the respective attribute (1% chance for that) and the skill also not being trained at character creation, so I didn’t bother with starting ranks lower than 6, which makes the table much smaller and more readable.

The highest a skill can start at is 14, which requires an attribute score of 16 or higher (13% chance for that) and the skill being trained. And even then it will take you a statistical average of 18 attempts to get it to its maximum rank of 18.

Of course, there are 30 skills in the game and you’re not going to use every one of them each time you play. So for many skills, especially those that aren’t the focus of your character, getting them to very high ranks of say 16 or higher should take a very long time. The risk of a character reaching a point where advancement pretty much stops seems to be very low.