In downtime, each character has the opportunity to improve their skills from practice despite not necessarily gaining them from exp or level-ups. For every month of downtime allow characters to make one check by any skill they could have reasonably practiced during the downtime. This represents the character's primary occupation, taking up 8-12 hours a day, depending on how much the character works on rest days. In a period of longer than one month, for example a year of downtime, a character may specify that most days were spent on a variety of tasks in different skills, in which case each check represents a month's work spread out across a period of longer than a month. Characters that do not spend their checks on profit-making skills may suffer in Resource Level.
Assume that characters have 4-10 hours a day of time that is not spent on their skill study or sleep. A character may, therefore, have a total time of around 13 days a month that is not spent on these tasks. However, this period is rarely contiguous, and represents free time to spend on entertainment, relaxation, and family, so in general a character shouldn't expect to do much of any real systems benefit without spending a month's check on a related skill.
The actual system for skill growth is rather simple. When a character has one or more checks in a skill, potential knowledge is bubbling in his brain. A character may roll a die according to the following chart, based on number of checks expended, but may not expend more checks for one roll than pre-increase skill ranks:
|1 Check||Roll 1d4|
|2 Checks||Roll 1d6|
|3 Checks||Roll 1d8|
|4 Checks||Roll 1d10|
|5 Checks||Roll 1d12|
|6 Checks||Roll 1d20|
Roll the die, divide the result by the skill's ranks, and round down. This is the number of ranks that are added to the skill. So a d4 rolling a 4 against a Rank 2 skill increases that skill by 2 ranks, a d8 rolling a 7 against a rank 4 skill increases that skill by 1 rank, and a d20 rolling a 20 against a rank 6 skill increases that skill by 3 ranks. Remember that no more checks may be expended for one die than the character has ranks in the skill that is being improved (so only d4s for a rank 1 skill, etc.)
If a character has no ranks in a skill, one expended check gives the character 1 rank in the skill.
A character for whom the skill is Cross Class must expend twice as many checks as are suggested above for the same effects.
The DM may choose to award bonus checks for spectacular results or failures with a skill. In general, this will only be awarded in very appropriate circumstances, and will be rarely awarded for rolls the GM did not specifically call for.
Skills raised through skill checks may exceed the character's normal maximum skill ranks, but skills points gained from level-up or exp expenditure are still limited to their normal cap.