Skill training takes more than practice and repetition. Throughout the land of Threshold you may meet experts or masters in certain skills, or find tomes of instruction which can teach you how to use your skills in unique fashion. The benefits of such training are enormous. First, you become a better and more effective student. This translates into cheaper training in coin and/or expertise. In rare circumstances you may also learn additional abilities from this specialized knowledge. These benefits vary depending on the skill, and when your rank increases, you will learn some or all of the benefits of your new rank.
The first and most basic rank is Novice. After that, the ranks are, in order, Adept, Specialist, Master, and Grand Master. Trainers are often difficult to find, and almost always require some kind of favor or test before they will teach you how to reach the next rank. If you wish to reap the benefits of this advanced knowledge, you must explore the land to find these trainers, and accomplish whatever task they give you to obtain their training. Books of instruction are scattered throughout the realm which can be studied to improve your skill or spell mastery.
It is important to note that the location of such trainers, and how to obtain their training is similar to a quest. Thus, the rules on quests apply. However, since being an Adept, Specialist, Master, or Grand Master is an IC thing, you can talk about that (unlike other types of advancement). So in other words, it is ok to be excited about becoming a "grand master in attack!" or discuss your ranks amongst others.
If the concept of skill ranks still confuses you, one way to think about skill levels vs. skill ranks is this: Your skill level is like your physical ability or actual capacity in that skill. Your skill rank is your academic or philosophical understanding of the intricacies and nature of that skill.
A common way to level up your skill ranks is via tomes and manuals found through the world drop system.
- displays your ranks for all skills
- displays your ranks for just spells skills