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Virtually every task your character performs in Dalaya involves skills. Some skills are important and unique to your class and its role, some don't really do much of anything, and some are optional and unrelated to your class' role in a fight. Although the skills are generally capped by your character's level, they must be raised by performing the skill. Many characters who gain levels very quickly without doing much find themselves crippled by their lack of level-appropriate skills.
General skills: Everyone gets these. Sense heading makes your compass accurate. Swimming helps you go faster underwater and hold your breath longer. Bind Wound uses bandages to heal quickly between fights.
The Skill Mods page has a list of the different effects of the combat/casting mods.
Combat Skills: These skills indicate your caracter's abilities in physical combat. Everyone has offense, defense, and some weapon skills. Other skills include parry, dodge, riposte, and dual wield. Weapons skill raise is in delay scale which mean the time taken is the same.
Magic Skills: These skills are used when casting magic spells. Different types of magic spells use different skills. Meditation allows you to recover mana quickly when seated.
Tradeskills: These skills are mostly independent of your character's class. Unlike other skills, they are not capped by level. Increases in a tradeskill gives your character experience, and it is possible to gain several levels this way.
Specialized skills: These skills are limited to a few, or one, class or species, and are used for a wide variety of tasks. Examples include tracking, hide/sneak, intimidation, and pick locks.
Useless/unimplemented skills: Begging currently doesn't do anything, and there is only one language in Dalaya, making Common a redundant skill.