Learn

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Official Information

LEARN
Syntax:

       learn                            - Lists the number of learn slots left
       learn warrior|thief|mage|general - Lists the skills that can be learned
       learn <class> <skill/spell name> - Learn the skill

Unlike other classes, bards do not get practices for which they can
practice skills and spells, and remember the skills and spells on a
permanent basis. Instead, their skills and spells are derived from
finding and using spell and skill scores, and scrolls.

It is possible for a bard to permanently learn a skill or spell that
s/he currently has memorized. A bard can take up to 2 warrior skills, 3
thief skills, 4 mage spells, and 8 'general' skills permanent using the
learn command.

Three important things to note: 1) The bard must have the skill/spell
memorized, 2) The bard cannot learn a skill/spell before the other
class(es) get it, and 3) the skill is permanently learned at the same
skill (power) level as the memorized skill, even if the success rate
auto-improves.

In addition, bards automatically get refresh when their spell rating reaches
level 2, info when their skills rating reaches level 4, and info3 when their
skills rating reaches level 10.

Player Provided Information:

From the Blog of Whistler:
So the slots you can learn are
Warrior (2)
Mage (4)
Thief (3)
And General (8)

General skills you receive at the level equal to the lowest of the warrior/mage/thief skill levels, so although mages don’t learn parry until level 25, warriors and thieves both receive these skills at level 1, so you do as well. Learned skills should include Parry and dodge, as soon as you can get them.

What you should learn in the warrior and general areas are pretty strait forward, and it is the rare bard that considers anything other than the following. Both Warrior slots and General slots are based on your primary bard level for determining when you can learn them.

There are really only 3 skills you should even consider taking in your warrior slots.
They are: enhanced damage (level 7), second attack (level 10) and third attack (level 13).

You do not have to learn second attack before learning third attack in order for third attack to work. Optimally, Second attack should be taken as one of your thief slots, but you must get your skill level up to 18 before you can do this.

For general skills, you should learn parry (level 1) dodge (level 3) blynd (level 5) and sphere use (level 13). Pc languages are available at level 3, and other languages come in at levels 5, 10, and 15—but I’ve found these non-pc languages to be relatively useless. As I said in my blog on the starting bard, with so few learn slots in warrior/spell/skill, you won’t want to waste any of those slots on languages, so take them as learn general.

Your real character definition will come with what you choose to learn in your mage and thief slots. I have said before that ID is a foregone conclusion. One of the original bards, inspired and leveled to effective level 49 before the advent of Lyricals, tells me that I am mistaken in this because she never needed to learn either ID or the oft chosen locate spell to level.

However, I believe that her bard is atypical in her approach. Whois indicates that she not only has avoided pk death entirely, in all of her characters life, she has only been attacked a total of 19 times, and has initiated 23 pk attempts of her own in that same time. (For comparison, I had been attacked twice as many times by the time I was half her level. Most bards should expect something between our two extreme examples.)

This would seem to indicate that she is what I term a ‘combat bard,’—one who specializes in a combat approach to the exclusion of all else. Other types of specialist bards would be the traveling bard, (who specializes in spells like portal, fly, and waterbreath) and the sighted bard, (who specializes in detection and id, through such skills as track, detect invis, id and locate.) Most bards don’t specialize, they take a more balanced approach—a little of columns a, b, and c. They are by nature true ‘Jack-of-all-trades’. I suppose a bard could also specialize as an artificer, with enchant, charge, imprint and inscribe, but I would think that such a bard would really stymie their potential by doing so.

By the time your effective level reaches about 30, you’re going to find that it becomes increasingly difficult to find any mobs that you can handle that will give you a decent amount of xp. When this happens, it’s a sign that you need to learn some combat spells. Even one offensive or defensive spell can make all the difference in the world.

Remembering that most spells won’t work as well as you hoped if you have just reached the minimum level to cast them, the relevant combat spells and the minimum spell level you need to reach to learn them are:

Offensive spells:
Magic missile 1
Chill touch 3
Shocking grasp 5
Weaken 6
Burning hands 7
Strength 7
Blindness 8
Deafness 8
Lightning bolt 9
Colour spray 11
Dispel magic 11
Vampiric touch 13
Charm person 14
Sleep 14
Fireball 15
Chain lightning 16
Energy drain 16
Acid blast 20
Meteor swarm 25

Of these spells, each has their own obvious benefits, but remember that most of them have drawbacks as well, for example color spray doesn’t work in a darkened room and sleep cannot be cast after combat has been initiated.

Defensive spells:
Shield 1
Jump 2
Alarm 4
Invis 4
Darkness 15
Mass invis 15
Silence 17
Stone skin 17
Pass door 18
Improved invis 19

Just as no single offensive spell is the ultimate attack spell, none of these is the end all of defense; each has their own flaws. Of these, I like stone skin the best, closely followed by the darkness-jump combination. C dark c jump will usually free you up enough from sticky situations to get out.

Other mage spells you can learn are:

Miscellaneous Mage spells:
Comprehend 1
Detect invis 2
Detect magic 2
Infravision 3
Ventriloquate 3
Continual light 4
Wizard mark 5
Identify 6
Locate object 6
Fly 7
Strength 7
Faerie fog 9
Create spring 10
Survey 10
Dispel magic 11
Enchant weapon 12
Sunlight 13
Portal 14
Waterbreath 16
Teleport 18
Charge 24
Imprint 27

To me, many of these seem pointless for a bard to learn, but maybe you know something I don’t.

Thief skills:
Hide 1
Sneak 1
Pick lock 2
Peek 3
Backstab 5
Steal 5
Cant 5
Disarm 10
Inscribe 10
Scan 10
Engage 12
Tracking 12
Retrieve 14
Info2 15
Second attack 18
Kick 20
Third attack 25

Of these, second attack is the one you should take above all others. If you do choose to take this, that leaves only two other thief skills you can learn. Backstab is very enticing, but remember that to use this you must be unseen, you can only use it to initiate combat, and it rarely works on a mob that is already wounded. Low level hide is pretty much worthless, and pick lock has so few useful applications that you’re better off just using memoed picks than learning it. Cant seems a little buggy. If you’ve memoed cant, you can’t speak or understand it—but the same may not be true if you learn it. If you do learn this one, please tell the rest of us if it works or not.

If you do learn something that you then realize isn't working as well as you had hoped, remember that all hope is not lost. There is a way to Unlearn stuff--but I’m not going to tell you what it is, you're going to have to figure that one out on your own.