PROGRESSION SYSTEM MECHANICS: SKILL PROGRESSION BLOCKED(suggestions)

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INTRODUCTION:
The current progression system ensures that there is a certain learning rate in each skill in relation to both the number of focus points assigned to it, both the degree of this skill, and the value of the attribute linked to the skill, net of the base value.
Acquiring a degree in one skill decreases the learning rate of all skills.
Furthermore, there is a maximum degree that can always be reached according to these variables and this maximum degree decreases if the degrees of other skills are increased.
This progression system collides with a given fact: often the player performs actions that increase the experience and the degree of various skills, both those he would like to increase, and those he would not want to increase, because they would prevent him from having a character progressed as desired, as decreasing learning rate and maximum rank not only slow down this progression, but can compromise it.
So the player finds himself playing in an artificial way only to not increase the skills that at that moment he wants to remain low, but this affects the performance of his campaign because he cannot "sell stuff without necessarily learning the laws of the economy" or "he can't sell slaves without becoming a dweller in disreputable neighborhoods", or "he can't use the bow without becoming a robin hood"
In short: he would like to remain incompetent in what he does, but he can't ... it's too much good at what he does, a genius (in reality the opposite happens :smile:)

My proposal is simple:
A WAY TO BLOCK THE INCREASE OF SOME SKILLS. (a button near the skill)
The player should be given the freedom to choose whether or not to block the acquisition of experience of one or more skills. This would prevent the ability from climbing and therefore would not compromise the progression of the character.

HOW TO SEE MECHANICS IN A COHERENT WAY:
Let's take the study as an example
: not everything that you study is "learned" until you have the will to learn it (initial phase), understand it (middle phase) and have the will to remember it (phase after the study).
In addition, exercise is often required for the second and third stages.
And if time passes and you don't return to the subject before it is well established, the risk is to forget it or remember it badly (which is worse).

So, back to the game:
-using a one-handed weapon without training in the techniques does not make you improve and become a swordsman.
-same for 2-handed weapons and polearms. -even if you sell or barter, it is not certain that you will improve in the field over time if you do not think about it.
In short: for all other skills, if you don't want to commit to them, they shouldn't improve.
This way you can focus your learning rate only on what you really want to see progressed.

CONCLUSION:
I hope the idea is good (nothing complicated for the developers or the player) and that it is effective. Vote for the poll and possibly take a look at my other threads with polls.
They are lengthy, go into detail and do not just balance the game by varying some parameters but by introducing new mechanics and degrees of freedom that the game should have and that it does not have for various reasons, including a slice of the very conservative player base who row. against any proposal that increases the number of combat mechanics and deepens it.
 

Tryvenyal

Knight
HOW TO SEE MECHANICS IN A COHERENT WAY:
Let's take the study as an example
: not everything that you study is "learned" until you have the will to learn it (initial phase), understand it (middle phase) and have the will to remember it (phase after the study).
In addition, exercise is often required for the second and third stages.
And if time passes and you don't return to the subject before it is well established, the risk is to forget it or remember it badly (which is worse).

I thought this is what Focuspoints were ment to reprecent? Feels like a non-immersive way to solve a clash between Charachter and player will/personality.

But I get the idea and acknowledge the issue.

The issue I feel, is that the focus-points are too static to be... well focus! During the lifetime of a person, they might change focus lots of times, meaning focus changes-more than increases. I feel they maybe could increase the skill-point penalty and award "movement" of focus-points in addition to new focus-points. This way even old and skilled charachters can improve. An extention drawback could be the "red" skills risks to drop and even lose points if the learning level is below the skill.
 
I thought this is what Focuspoints were ment to reprecent? Feels like a non-immersive way to solve a clash between Charachter and player will/personality.

But I get the idea and acknowledge the issue.

The issue I feel, is that the focus-points are too static to be... well focus! During the lifetime of a person, they might change focus lots of times, meaning focus changes-more than increases. I feel they maybe could increase the skill-point penalty and award "movement" of focus-points in addition to new focus-points. This way even old and skilled charachters can improve. An extention drawback could be the "red" skills risks to drop and even lose points if the learning level is below the skill.
I agree with what you say but I want to point out that in the game the character has a non-zero learning rate even for the skills in which he has no focus point.
So regardless of the fact that you can move the focus points (therefore mobile focus points), the skills in which you have no focus points inserted will end up gaining experience by performing the actions associated with them, thus leading to a decrease in the learning rate of the skills that you wants to increase.

The idea of mobile focus points does not solve the problem but it would still be an idea to apply, albeit with a review that I would like to propose:
you can move a focus point every X time.
In this way, there would be no abnormality due to the fact that a character who has never applied in a field suddenly acquires experience very quickly (passing from 0 focus point to 5), as he could not do it instantly.
Conversely, by moving a focus point every X time (suppose 3 months), that learning speed is acquired after a playing time of 15 months.

Using both ideas:
1) experience acquisition block (or strong reduction, it is up to the developers)
2) 1 mobile focus point every X time (or unlimited, at the discretion of the developers)
You would have a good way to control the growth of your character without having to artificially vary your way of playing.

In short, in order not to increase the roguery skill I had to free the bandits, hire them but not sell them.
I couldn't sell too many consumer goods because I didn't care about increasing the trade skill.
And if I wanted to make a few weapons and sell them just to break even, I ended up increasing both crafting and trading.
Sometimes you can and should choose "not to treasure your experience" (what a bad sentence .. I know).
I wish I could play NATURALLY without worrying about progression efficiency too much than I should.
 

Tryvenyal

Knight
I agree with what you say but I want to point out that in the game the character has a non-zero learning rate even for the skills in which he has no focus point.
Yes, this is true. Even a charachter with 0 attribute and focus can get a few skill-points. This we have seen clearly with younger siblings and children from before the education-path recently.

My proposed idea with move-able focuspoints might need a few tweaks and an addition to solve the issue - a few more spots for focus-points for each skill.

I´m sorry, although it´s easy and straight forward, your solution feels a bit like a non-immersive min/max thing to suit a RPG game. A more immersive direct fix in my mind would be to not count low skill-values towards the point penatly. Say skillvalues below 75 does not count or counts less. This discount to increase abit with each level or on certain checkpoints, to not make it broken easy early game.
 
I´m sorry, although it´s easy and straight forward, your solution feels a bit like a non-immersive min/max thing to suit a RPG game.
I don't understand why it is not immersive, rather it is the opposite, it gives immersion to the game.
Do you want to sell the captured prisoners to the slaveholders?
This does not alter your skill riguery and therefore you do not worry about whether you can do it or not, so you do.
Conversely, without this block, you would free the prisoners or in any case do any action that does not increase the roguery skill.
Another example is the skill charm.
Each time you solve a village chief's quest, you gain experience in this skill.
But solving a problem doesn't automatically mean you get better at speaking, you don't become a speaker.
With skill blocking you don't have to worry about increasing skills you don't want to increase WITHOUT ALTERING YOUR WAY OF PLAYING.

Conversely, without blocking the skills you risk having to consider every minimum action in the game, therefore NOT PLAYING ROLEPLAYNG but HARDCOREOGAMING.
If one wants to play hardcoregaming and therefore "don't use the block", he is FREE TO DO IT.
The point is to give the player the freedom to decide which character to be.

If my character wants to be a barbarian who slaughters villages, enslaves and sells, he must not become an economist who knows the slums of the cities as if they were his own pockets, maybe he remains an ignorant brute without low-ranking knowledge.
Without the block of the skills this is impossible.

I always find myself trying not to perform the actions related to some skills (steward , roguery, charm ecc) and not being able to pick up other skills such as medicine and leadership in time because other skills take away my experience points.
But if you didn't perform those minimal actions to survive in the game and do something, it would be like not playing.
So either you play as you wouldn't or you don't play.
These are the choices that the progression system currently offers.
The opposite of roleplaying.

to not make it broken easy early game.

It would be enough to give less initial focus points and increase them with the progression of the level.
A solution that does not eliminate the block (and therefore does not alter the roleplaying) and at the same time does not make the early game easy is this:
- for each blocked skill (therefore learning rate of those skills 0) the learning rate of active skills decreases by X.

In this way the blocked skills do not alter the roleplaying and you do not become a god of the 2-handed weapon and simultaneously a surgeon of the modern era and a horse archer within 1 year. immersive and unnatural)
 

Tryvenyal

Knight
With skill blocking you don't have to worry about increasing skills you don't want to increase WITHOUT ALTERING YOUR WAY OF PLAYING.
For me, this is the core of MIN/MAX over RPG. How does this fit into your arguments pro RPG? your charachter is eligable for experiance but as a player you override it for MIN/MAX purpuse. For me, Focuspoints is the only thing that reprecent a charachters WILL and INTEREST. Overriding them as a player is NOT RPG- friendly :smile:

I don't understand why it is not immersive, rather it is the opposite, it gives immersion to the game.
I´ll try to answer why I whitstand my statement and still disagree it would bring immersion to the game.
Each time you solve a village chief's quest, you gain experience in this skill.
But solving a problem doesn't automatically mean you get better at speaking, you don't become a speaker.
If learning limit is above the skill-level, above statement simply is false. You do become a better speaker by practicing it when you are focusing on learning it. Of course we can question if the experience should be awarded for solving just any village-quest. But that is another question really :smile:
Do you want to sell the captured prisoners to the slaveholders?
This does not alter your skill riguery and therefore you do not worry about whether you can do it or not, so you do.
Conversely, without this block, you would free the prisoners or in any case do any action that does not increase the roguery skill.
Well.. if you are a noob at rougery, you might catch some basic stuff up by dabbling in shady business. Even if you start without skill or focus in rougery and never add any, over the lifetime of the charachter, you might end up 20-30 skill in Rougery if you repeately practice shady business, such as selling prisoners into slavery. So do you and I, we catch up basics also in subject we have no interests but have to be in touch with.

Concequently, if you like to be the human rights White Knight, you should free the prisoners instead of just blindfolding and take the money. Because that´s RPG. Blindfolding is hypocratic at the best, non-immersive at the worst.

A responsive natural world, envolving around what happens in it.

Unfortunatly, the white knight will also be a poor knight in Bannerlord. Selling your prisoners is an importent factor in financing your non-shady business.
Conversely, without blocking the skills you risk having to consider every minimum action in the game, therefore NOT PLAYING ROLEPLAYNG but HARDCOREOGAMING.
First: Yes, I agree it should be possible to reach high/MAX skill level, probably in several skills. SOMETHING needs to be done to allow skillfull senior charachters to continue improving. You should not need to monitor every action to get there. Secondly: Is a simple block the best? I believe instead in ignoring low value- skillvalues when calculating skillvalue penalty.
 
For me, this is the core of MIN/MAX over RPG. How does this fit into your arguments pro RPG? your charachter is eligable for experiance but as a player you override it for MIN/MAX purpuse. For me, Focuspoints is the only thing that reprecent a charachters WILL and INTEREST. Overriding them as a player is NOT RPG- friendly :smile:
As I had already written: "without altering your roleplaying".
Being forced to alter it to avoid a small number going up is against roleplaying.

Well.. if you are a noob at rougery, you might catch some basic stuff up by dabbling in shady business. Even if you start without skill or focus in rougery and never add any, over the lifetime of the charachter, you might end up 20-30 skill in Rougery if you repeately practice shady business, such as selling prisoners into slavery. So do you and I, we catch up basics also in subject we have no interests but have to be in touch with.
Concequently, if you like to be the human rights White Knight, you should free the prisoners instead of just blindfolding and take the money. Because that´s RPG. Blindfolding is hypocratic at the best, non-immersive at the worst.

A responsive natural world, envolving around what happens in it.

If you want your character to sell slaves to have a consequence in doing so, then that consequence must be ETHICAL / MORAL (e.g. loss of reputation if you find out), not necessarily related to your ability to know low funds ( roguery) or to better sell a product (trade).
Using a weapon archetype (for example 1-handed) shouldn't imply that in a short time (the game time you level 3-4 times) your character loses (in that time) his ability to learn how to use 2-handed weapons (and also the bow, crossbow, riding etc ...).
A responsive natural world, envolving around what happens in it.
as above: " then that consequence must be ETHICAL / MORAL "

Because in blocking a skill and using it (by necessity) the PRICE is already paid: you do not level the one you would like to level and at the same time you do not improve and do not get the benefits of the one you use.
But at least we are not obliged not to use a given weapon or a given mechanical just because otherwise some numbers would change.

If you have to sell slaves you sell them (and in case you get the moral and ethical consequences) but you don't have to worry about your character UNEXPLAINABLY becoming less good at learning to use weapons or in the field in which you REALLY want to apply.
the fact that it does not apply in those fields simply DELAYS growth, but KEEPS it SAFE.
Worrying about growing the character is different from fighting the game mechanics.
I want to fight IN game not THE game.

Secondly: Is a simple block the best? I believe instead in ignoring low value- skillvalues when calculating skillvalue penalty.
The problem is that some of the skills are best performing actions we say "common" and often necessary and you use them from level 1.
But at level 1 all skills are "low leveled", so the idea of ignoring low level skills would only apply when you already have high level skills.
But this condition is reached when the damage is already done, as it is leveled both by increasing the skills that you wanted to increase (voluntarily) and by improving those that you did not want to increase.
And all by trying to play not as you would like but as you are obliged to do in order to reach your goal and fail anyway ...

Let me note one thing: open my other threads and you will notice that the detail in which I go down is proportional to the length of the thread.
Here I just wanted to suggest an idea to which to apply changes that improve to the point of making it implementable.
Blocking skills alone, without other conditionalities, may not be enough.
Precisely for this reason I have suggested some other changes in the response comments I wrote to you.
 

Tryvenyal

Knight
And all by trying to play not as you would like but as you are obliged to do in order to reach your goal and fail anyway ...
Please note I did not object to the issue. I see it, understund it and acknowledge something should be done.

I don't even object to solution. It might solve or partially solve the issue. I pretty much agree to evertthing you say, except when you motivate it as RPG friendly, when I only see can see it as min-maxing. My RPG definition is charachter-goal focuses over player-goal-focused.

I would not use it. I would feel I played against the charachter setup, it would ruin my immersion to block a skill just after I reached a desired perk, just for doing the math to optimize power - min/maxing in nutchell

The core issue is you are penalized for playing the game, improving your charachter widely when game should instead try to reward the player for doing so. To say something objectively feedback to blockers is that it would not solve the issue. Only hide it. The issue is still there for everyone that does not use the blockes, including AI.

I´m not responding to everything here. alot of it is slightly off Topic but more importantly, I agree to most of. I miss the moral aspects and concequeses, for sure. That does not mean you should act blindfolded and benefit from the shady business too without the charachter getting a basic understunding. Same with Eg Tactics, Stewardship, Scouting, Engeenering etc, that you do not directly control when you gain XP in.

Thanks for a good discussion.
 
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I would not use it. I would feel I played against the charachter setup, it would ruin my immersion to block a skill just after I reached a desired perk, just for doing the math to optimize power - min/maxing in nutchell
keep in mind that the skill you block will remain at that level, so using it will not improve your character's performance, but you can continue to use it without risking ruining your character's growth.
Blocking a skill you use not because you want to use it but because you are forced does not alter either your character's or the player's roleplay.
Conversely, the fact that increasing a skill causes your character to become "slow in learning" in other skills is against the roleplay of both the character and the player because it alters the gameplay of your character (who doesn't want to become an economist but is obliged to do so because ... he has to sell the loot)
Consider the fact that very low-level skills have many levels with few uses, while the skills you want to bring to the maximum and are already at a high enough level will require consistent use that risks being aggravated by the reduction of the learning rate due to the levels acquired in skills that your character didn't care about (and you as a player too).
Increased skill that is more frequent at low levels.

My RPG definition is charachter-goal focuses over player-goal-focused.
Mine too, except that in order for your character to achieve a goal, for example his training and growth, it must be the player who makes him reach it and if a game mechanic prevents the player from doing so, inevitably the character also fails to add the his goal.
But the goal is not missing because "he does not fight and does not train" but because "he became an economist by selling the loot and a dweller in the depths by selling slaves", objectives that he should not achieve only because "he sells stuff and sells slaves" but only if "there is a TRUE INTEREST in reaching them"
 
I'm against it for 1 simple reason - I believe the notion that "acquiring a degree in one skill decreases the learning rate of all skills" is flawed in the first place and should be changed completely.
 

Akka

Sergeant at Arms
This is a very weird and gamey (and honestly, needlessly verbose) solution to a problem that could be much more simply solved by just not making levels increase experience required.
 
no they should redesign the bad leveling mechanics and remove the forced minmaxing in the first place.
"developers should ...."
And perhaps those who come to complain should "propose solutions".
What you are saying I have already written but I would like to point out that the developers will hardly take all the work done and tear it up to start over.
So, if this is probably the case and this is the system that we have to keep, the partial solution set out above is an improvement of the current system ??

too difficult to vote with respect for those who propose without just ranting against the developers.
 

Akka

Sergeant at Arms
"developers should ...."
And perhaps those who come to complain should "propose solutions".
What you are saying I have already written but I would like to point out that the developers will hardly take all the work done and tear it up to start over.
So, if this is probably the case and this is the system that we have to keep, the partial solution set out above is an improvement of the current system ??

too difficult to vote with respect for those who propose without just ranting against the developers.
Don't know how you come to this conclusion, pretty much everyone agrees that the root of most problems is that leveling up makes gaining skills more difficult and that this aspect should be removed.
So people DO propose solutions, which are easy to implement, and TW just ignore them. What are they supposed to do ?
 

Tryvenyal

Knight
Don't know how you come to this conclusion, pretty much everyone agrees that the root of most problems is that leveling up makes gaining skills more difficult and that this aspect should be removed.
So people DO propose solutions, which are easy to implement, and TW just ignore them. What are they supposed to do ?
There is likely a good reason that the more skillpoint you have, in total, makes it harder to gain any skillpoints. Just removing it I think open up for over-powered player charachters.

I don't think it should be as easy to level a skill at level 31 as it is on level 2 - it should be harder.
My countersolution is to create a "Skills above X counts towards the skill-points- penalty." where X becomes a bit higher with each level.
For example, from level 10 you get X += 3.
At level 20, skills under 30 should not count towards the penalty.
At level 30, skills under 60 should not count towards the penalty.
At level 40, skills under 90 should not count towards the penalty.

or start at skill-level 25
For example, from level 10 you get X += 2.
At level 20, skills under 45 should not count towards the penalty.
At level 30, skills under 65 should not count towards the penalty.
At level 40, skills under 85 should not count towards the penalty.
Whith this solution we don't need to turn off roleplaying to continue progression.

In the other end, we could introduce a "High skill penalty" that makes new skills harder to learn, the more high skills charachter has, to compensate - if needed.
 
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AndrewArt

Squire
INTRODUCTION:
The current progression system ensures that there is a certain learning rate in each skill in relation to both the number of focus points assigned to it, both the degree of this skill, and the value of the attribute linked to the skill, net of the base value.
Acquiring a degree in one skill decreases the learning rate of all skills.
Furthermore, there is a maximum degree that can always be reached according to these variables and this maximum degree decreases if the degrees of other skills are increased.
This progression system collides with a given fact: often the player performs actions that increase the experience and the degree of various skills, both those he would like to increase, and those he would not want to increase, because they would prevent him from having a character progressed as desired, as decreasing learning rate and maximum rank not only slow down this progression, but can compromise it.
So the player finds himself playing in an artificial way only to not increase the skills that at that moment he wants to remain low, but this affects the performance of his campaign because he cannot "sell stuff without necessarily learning the laws of the economy" or "he can't sell slaves without becoming a dweller in disreputable neighborhoods", or "he can't use the bow without becoming a robin hood"
In short: he would like to remain incompetent in what he does, but he can't ... it's too much good at what he does, a genius (in reality the opposite happens :smile:)

My proposal is simple:
A WAY TO BLOCK THE INCREASE OF SOME SKILLS. (a button near the skill)
The player should be given the freedom to choose whether or not to block the acquisition of experience of one or more skills. This would prevent the ability from climbing and therefore would not compromise the progression of the character.

HOW TO SEE MECHANICS IN A COHERENT WAY:
Let's take the study as an example
: not everything that you study is "learned" until you have the will to learn it (initial phase), understand it (middle phase) and have the will to remember it (phase after the study).
In addition, exercise is often required for the second and third stages.
And if time passes and you don't return to the subject before it is well established, the risk is to forget it or remember it badly (which is worse).

So, back to the game:
-using a one-handed weapon without training in the techniques does not make you improve and become a swordsman.
-same for 2-handed weapons and polearms. -even if you sell or barter, it is not certain that you will improve in the field over time if you do not think about it.
In short: for all other skills, if you don't want to commit to them, they shouldn't improve.
This way you can focus your learning rate only on what you really want to see progressed.

CONCLUSION:
I hope the idea is good (nothing complicated for the developers or the player) and that it is effective. Vote for the poll and possibly take a look at my other threads with polls.
They are lengthy, go into detail and do not just balance the game by varying some parameters but by introducing new mechanics and degrees of freedom that the game should have and that it does not have for various reasons, including a slice of the very conservative player base who row. against any proposal that increases the number of combat mechanics and deepens it.
Exactly, I always find myself playing in an artificial way too, just because I wish my character to progress a certain way, and exp is limited. It's a very bad mechanic. I was thinking of blocking some skills from leveling up as well, but that was more of frustration speaking, I really don't think it's enough or good for gameplay to do that. I think those limits to character progression should be removed or toned down a lot, just so the player can enjoy playing naturally without having to worry that "oh, I got some exp in this skill, now I'll level a lot slower"... he should receive less exp in skills he isn't focused on, yes, but that shouldn't affect his progression in other skills at all. Really think the system can be better than this...

And also what you say about learning, some skills make total sense to learn just by doing. You definitely would learn how to use two-handed by doing it, even if you don't intend to learn it. It's a life or death situation when you're fighting, and the body clearly learns from its mistakes. Yeah you wouldn't master swordsmanship if you don't really intend to, but you would definitely be better than average with experience. The only way the blocking feature would make sense is if it was a character penalty that didn't allow you to use two-handed swords at all. But then what, if you block tactics you are not allowed to fight battles as party leader anymore? No, we need to get back to the core issue: the leveling progression...

So I don't really agree with this solution honestly. I think every skill should be improvable but at a lower rate (0.5x learning rate from the start for all the skills), and then focus points and attributes should increase that limit until 10x let's say, making some of the skills acquire way faster. This is just one of the many solutions that have been given
 
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Akka

Sergeant at Arms
There is likely a good reason that the more skillpoint you have, in total, makes it harder to gain any skillpoints. Just removing it I think open up for over-powered player charachters.

I don't think it should be as easy to level a skill at level 31 as it is on level 2 - it should be harder.
Sorry, why ?
If I spend two days swinging a sword, I should suddenly have a harder time learning to write ? What kind of absurd logic is it ?
Not only it's absurd, but it also causes completely bonker metagaming in which gaining a level is actively detrimental, which is both bad for player's engagement but also completely counter-intuitive.
 

Tryvenyal

Knight
Sorry, why ?
If I spend two days swinging a sword, I should suddenly have a harder time learning to write ? What kind of absurd logic is it ?
Not only it's absurd, but it also causes completely bonker metagaming in which gaining a level is actively detrimental, which is both bad for player's engagement but also completely counter-intuitive.

Why? It takes time to maintain a skill-level. The higher, the more difficult, the more skills to maintain, the less time and focus to learn new stuff? Having 5 high skills makes it harder to maintain and update them, which gives less focus and time to learn something new.

High knowledge in Trade or Engeenering for example takes alot of focus each day to excell.
Its not like a trading competitor looks at you , thinking "This is skilled trader. Let´s reduce the price." It´s you spending hours on arguments and finding the right buyer. Trading successfully is full-time work.. So each time you performs something that gives you XP in a skill, X% of your "Focus-capacity" -and daytime- is consumed for this purpuse.

High swordskills takes several hours of hard focus each day to maintain and develop. When should you have time to read up/practice something else?

The only assumptions I can see is that you
  • to a degree practice all skills, where you have a skill-level above 0
  • it´s harder to pracrice skills with high skill-level.
I gladly accept them both, though there ofc could be exceptions.

So unless there is mechanics to loose skills you don't use or have focus capacity on, there needs to be penalty to learn alot.

Makes sense?
A valid question though is how this should be represented in video game.
 
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redmark

Squire
Sorry, why ?
If I spend two days swinging a sword, I should suddenly have a harder time learning to write ? What kind of absurd logic is it ?
That's not quite what the game does, though; that penalty (which is actually very marginal, at lower levels) is only applied when levelling up, not every 'couple of days'. It only seriously starts to affect skill learning rate as you reach a level in the high teens/early twenties. Thus, it's more about spending a decade swinging a two handed sword making it harder to learn to trade, or manage a kingdom. Is that entirely logical? No, but it's an abstraction (as every game mechanic is, in every game). While logically in reality learning one skill may not slow down another, we do make choices - 'focus' - on one over another. Over time our practical ability to learn new skills declines; the mechanic could have arbitrarily used age as a slowing mechanism rather than arbitrarily using level.

Regardless, it's a mechanic to stop individual player/non-player characters being a master of all trades - fitting the intention of the game being slower paced, multi-generational (not entirely well implemented, as other game pacing elements - such as reaching clan levels 5/6 and conquering half the map by your starting character's mid 30s - don't fit that terribly well).
 
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