I am not giving away numbers, but still the below can make you more powerful so you may need to increase difficulty if you want to keep the game challenging despite knowing all the ins and outs.
WEAPON SKILLS. Each relates to a weapon type, including unarmed if you wield none. Increasing a weapon skill gives additional accuracy for every single point, but only when you are hitting, this impact is NOT showing in the stats screen because the stats screen shows just intrinsic abilities and equipment modifiers. In addition, every item has a set of weapon attack styles that you can use, and has a different threshold for the weapon skill from when it becomes available. Example: there is a 2h axe which allows you to use a SPIN attack after you reach a 2h axe skill level of about 70 from memory. SPIN hits ALL adjacent enemies around the attacker. Cool, eh? But another 2h axe may NOT have this attack style, but instead have others. Unarmed has a set of styles similar to weapons, with ‘final touch’ being the most powerful one. Attack styles grant bonus and penalties to things like speed, accuracy, damage, stun, bleed, crib hit%. You need to check you are changing your attack style after you increase your skill, it does not go automatic.
IDENTIFY: increases chance of an item in treasure or fight loot being identified. You generally fail if a condition, suffix or prefix is new. Apart from the skill level, it also helps if you have already found many of the same type.
PERCEPTION: determines many things: if you spot a secret passage when you walk past, if you spot a secret passage when you specifically SEARCH the right spot (low skill and you may still not see it even if you stare at it!), whether you notice monsters approaching while you rest. This a grouped skill.
SNEAKING: even when you enter the range by which a monster group can notice you, this grouped skill gives you a chance to continue without being spotted.
RAGE: low duration, fairly powerful attack buff. A daily skill. The speed and accuracy are slightly higher, and the damage is significantly higher. Evasion is far worse though. So this is used when you need to make it count. Invoking rage takes a small amount of time. This is a ‘levelled skill’ whereby once you hit a proficiency level of 10,20,30 etc. you see it labels as a new level, and it will be available more often per day, and be more powerful.
DETERMINATION: daily skill that simply speaking makes sure you make the next attack count. You get a significant bonus to accuracy and a slight bonus to crit hit%. It takes NO time, so in effect you just declare an attack a special attack by invoking this, no loss of time, no friend or foe is acting before you use it. Also a levelled skill.
SHADOW SHIFT: allows you to teleport into the shadow of a creature, friend or foe, that is a few tiles away. Takes a small amount of time. Best used to create quick flanking benefits or to make sure the boss enemy is not teleporting too far away and recovering. Daily skill, levelled skill.
ENDURE ELEMENTS: permanent increase in basic resistances. fully passive, and impact visible in RESIST view instantly.
TAUNT: reduces all enemies’ accuracy and physical armor by distracting them. It is a fine art, think ‘Men in Black distracting the boss cockroach’. Impact is small though, but cheap. Daily skill, levelled skill. Well-timed, it is an easy benefit. Using this while you are already in range to hit and be hit? probably a bad idea, spend your turn hitting them hard.
DIVINE FAVOUR: not yet fully implemented in the game, at present this grants a powerful healing to all players.
EXORCISE – a daily skill which a cleric or priest can get some rudimentary proficiency in (and rarely, monks have been seen having this skill from ‘birth’), but higher levels are restricted to the exorcist class. It is a ritual that REALLY hurts an undead creature. At lower levels the range is 2 tiles, so you don’t need to get as close to the monster as your fighters get. At higher levels, this is even a bit more than 2. The damage is massive compared to anything else you would have at your disposal early on, and there is no protection that would really help the target. Against enemies that otherwise try to shelter themselves from damage (casting resistances, or be naturally immune to physical attacks etc), this can be an instant kill.
REPULSION – a daily skill that is really useful against swarming smaller creatures. Imagine you are letting the mobs get particularly close for a second, only to burst out and hurt them with force damage, and potentially push them tile away (if there is no space, additional damage is dealt), and potentially stun them.
All three effects are stronger based on skill level and user’s strength. You will not do much to a big boss monster, but if he is troubling you with minions, they will disappear from around you for a small while and take damage and/or be stunned. Also nice to look at.
HARDEN UP – a basic cooldown skill, where a fighter for example braces himself for taking damage. Impact is a % bonus to armor class (15% at lowest level, more with higher levels). At higher levels, you also get resistances against elements (and even magic at level 5+, and poison at level 7+). This is one of the skills that are used automatically once recharged if you select the “use defensive buff skills” auto option for a player. This works even if the skill is not one of your quick action buttons.
DARK CHANNELING – well, this skill only comes into play in the 2nd half of the game and I don’t want to explain these in too much detail. Essentially, you give up health for mana. Somehow the weaker you are already and the weaker you make yourself in the process, the more mana you get. Rumour has it, if you are on the brink of death, it costs no further health and gives you FULL mana.
WEAPON SWAP – a key skill known to the ranger, it allows him to put a 1h weapon or ranged weapon each in its main hand and off-hand. It does not allow for dual wield attacks, but rather gives him the option to use this cooldown skill to swap between those two. It resembles his agility and versatility. You can use it to swap between melee and ranged attack style, but also to swap two weapons/bows with different attributes (vs undead bonus against damage and speed attributes).
FLAME ARROWS – Not just arrows, but any ranged ammunition, an archer learns pretty early that preparing some with a fire substance can make his ranged attacks a fair bit deadlier. The preparation time is significant (a bit over what is usually one fight turn), and the fire also wears off after a few turns. But this daily skill, timed well, can prove invaluable against enemies that are weak against fire. Often followed by the use of the determination skill, archers can make the fight turn in your favour.
SPRINT – this is a cooldown skill that is also used by auto mode, if you activate it and make a move action, the move is much faster. if you activate it and do an action that is not a move, than it has no effect. You can use it to reach ranged attackers faster to take them out, or assume a flanking position quickly. or to make sure you stay ahead of a chasing enemy while your ranged attackers weaken him. Higher skill level means faster sprint, and shorter cooldown required.
NO ESCAPE – a passive skill that increases the benefit YOU get from flanking an enemy. You know how to direct a blow so that your target has lesser change of evasion.
NIMBLE – a passive skill that lowers the impact that flanking benefits have when you are attacked.
HOLY CHANT – a daily skill that grants small bonuses to accuracy, evasion and crate hit chance (so always useful), and a SIGNIFICANT boost to “vs. undead” damage modifier. You can essentially save the day if you have melee fighters that do not ave vs. undead bonuses, and they are facing spectres or ghosts which are immune to physical damage. Once triggered, they are all getting a significant bonus, which turns their 0% damage into at least 200% damage. undead creatures that are immune to physical attacks normally have low health so you will cut them down very quickly. Note: several players using holy chant has a compounding effect. But the same person cannot invoke a second chant while the first is still having an effect.
SHIELD BASH – a cooldown skill that is also used by auto mode. You effectively add more force damage and stun chance to your melee attack. Higher skill means more impact and shorter cooldown.
SHOULDER BASH – similar to shield bash, but weaker. If you have both, you will effectively be using your entire body to pummel your opponents in whatever way you can.
HEALING HANDS – daily skill. heal an adjacent player. the healing impact is stronger the weaker the player is. So very effective if you are in trouble and have made sure you are close to your fighters.
MAGIC LORE – if you want to not just increase your spell proficiency by using a spell, but want to increase proficiency fast by using talent points, then magic lore has too impacts: first it is your natural MAX level because at higher spell proficiency, it is harder to know what you can improve. Spell books help with the amount of increase gained per TP, but cannot raise the MAX. Magic lore also helps increasing the gain per TP.
LOCK PICKING – ability to open locked chests or doors. The player with the highest score is what matters most, with a small impact from what skill other players have.
MANA FUNNEL – you use your arcane powers to direct the flow of mana in a way that it hurts a target. None of your own mana is used, so it has no cost. The damage is small, but can make a difference if you are out of mana. Also, legend has it that have studied this art to such an extent that they can rival people using the more common attack spells. At no cost…
MONSTER LORE – the party’s total score in monster lore, as well as the distance to an enemy, are compared to the difficulty in reading a monster’s health. The outcome determines at what distance, if at all, you can tell the health of a monster. this shows in combat. Some monsters are very difficult to read as they are not your normal living being.
TANK STANCE – a bit similar to HARDEN UP, but more powerful. So powerful in fact that it also has a downside: it reduces accuracy and speed. But the armor boost and evasion is probably worth it.
BERSERKER’S WILL – ability to ignore/withstand a STUN impact inflicted by your opponents. May not seemlier a big deal until you start to fight stone golems, minotaurs or dragons …
POISON BOOST – an assassin’s common daily skill. he has some poison ready and can spend some time out of combat to apply it to his weapon. The poison is very strong, and will crystalise/neutralise after a few turns. But in that time, it can prove very deadly.
HOLY WARD – a cleric’s non-health contribution to he party’s wellbeing. There can at times be many negative effects at play in a battle: the curses of ghosts and spectres, and more sinister debuffs from undead wizards and the lich. This daily skill casts a ward over a player target making him immune to all negative elements of those, while still allowing all positives to work on him. Even removes the partial bad aspects of RAGE for example while allowing the boosts. It also removes paralysis if present at the time the ward is put in effect, and grants some paralysis resistance thereafter for the duration of the ward.
NATURE ALLY – a starting skill for the ranger (and at lower level for druids), Nature Ally is a nice skill to have early in the game, it can if successful make one or more wolves appear. Chance of failure reduces with level, and wolf count increases. At high level it is also rumored to summon a more fierce nature ally. Can help a lot with low level fights at the start, but also provide a valuable distraction in later fights to throw in some wolves and chew on the back rank spellcaster type mobs that otherwise take too much time to reach and silence.
SUMMON DRAGON – A skill not usually obtainable. But there are achievements that may make a ‘DRAGON BLOOD’ birth feat available, and those possess the ‘skill’ if you may call it that to ask Zomok for help in a fight. Zomok may do nothing. Or he may send you a dragon as an ally during combat. Or you may catch him in a bad mood, and a dragon appears in the enemies’ ranks… and don’t even ask what he will do if you dare to ask twice in the same fight (which is by the way only possible if you have two players with the skill, because despite the skill level increasing the dragon’s power, it can only ever be used ONCE a day).