This discussion sort of ties into my thread on PrCs posted earlier, but it also pertains to a few other elements; so it merits its own thread.

Training isn't something really addressed by the core books. It's somewhat assumed that a character can take any feat, any skill, any class, any PrC, any spell, what-have-you, so long as the DM allows it. While the DM may rule that a character can't learn a specific skill in a setting that doesn't promote its use (the only example of this being swim or profession [sailor] in the PH), I don't think I've ever seen this happen.

LEW is an interesting scenario. We've often had discussions on time limitations, among other things - which has come into play on experience point gains, item construction, and a variety of causality issues.

Training is often represented as an amount of time and an amount of gold spent to acquire training. The system can be quite simple (ie, every time you level you have to train for a week and spend 500 gp) or very complex (ie, using a formula based on your level and then a random number of weeks, which is multiplied by some odd number of gold). Obviously, any system that relies soley on time cannot work in LEW; while we may, one day, develop a cohesive system for dealing with temporal issues, I don't foresee that happening anytime soon.

However, in a living campaign, the issue of training must certainly be addressed. A character may develop a feat chain or PrC - and how does knowledge of this propagate? Can anyone instantly take the feats or PrC once the character has them? While this is certainly doable, I don't think that lends much credence to the idea that the setting is alive. The world isn't a hivemind or collective; it's a bunch of individuals in a setting. They don't share knowledge instantly.

The base assumption of the training system I've devised is this: there are two types of knowledge, general and specific.

General knowledge would be anything that is widely known, or an instance of information that can be easily and readily acquired with little or no effort. Examples of general knowledge would be almost every skill, all the core classes, all core feats, and all of the general PrCs.

Specific knowledge would be anything specifically developed by a character in-game. It may also be knowledge that isn't readily available; for instance, specific knowledge, craft, or profession skills may not be readily available, and require an amout of research (ie, "training") to find out about. Specific knowledge would also be anything that is world- or organization- specific. Examples of specific knowledge would be unusual core classes (I imagine psionic classes, if allowed, would fall into this category), non-core feats (feat chains and single feats devised by a character in-world), and any PrC that is representative of an organization or developed by a character.

Having a mechanic to represent training is almost necessary in such a diverse world as LEW; given the number of judges and DMs we have, there is almost no way that we could keep track of what characters have what training without using some sort of mechanic. Also, tying an RPing idea to a mechanic helps solidify it and drive home to players that the idea is going to be implemented throughout the system, rather than just something that is purely RP.

I chose to represent training with the mechanic that resembles it most: a feat. Training feats, then, are feats that allow you to gain a specified skill, feat, PrC, or whatever else training may be required for.

A Training feat, unlike other feats, can be gained at any time - however, to gain them at any time other than the normal time (one every 3rd level), you have to specifically pursue the knowledge, be it in an adventure or talking to someone who has the training you need. Training feats gained this way have a special restriction on them: you can't get more than X ranks, higher than the Xth feat in a feat chain, or higher than X level in a PrC than the person who trained you.

A Training feat gained as a normal feat choice would not have such numerical restrictions; it's assumed that, if you take a training feat in place of a normal feat, that you've been researching the idea in question and therefore have no limits on it.

Let's say we have a fighter/wizard called Jon. Jon is an elf, and he will one day qualify for two prestige classes: eldritch knight and arcane archer.

Eldritch knight is not tied to any organization; it isn't world-specific. As such, it is general knowledge, and doesn't require training.

Arcane archer, however, is tied to an organization: an arcane archer is a member of an elven warband, trained specifically to meld an elf's skill with the bow and magic together. It requires training.

At 1st level, Jon doesn't know which class he wants to pursue. Therefore, he goes along adventuring, alternating levels in fighter and wizard, focusing on the bow.

At 4th level, Jon is a 2nd-level fighter/2nd-level wizard. He encounters an arcane archer, and requests training. The arcane archer in question is only a 3rd-level arcane archer, but he agrees to train Jon. Jon gets the Arcane Archer [3] training feat as a bonus feat for pursuing the knowledge of arcane archers. He can now take levels in the arcane archer prestige class once he meets the prerequisites.

At 9th level, Jon is a 4th-level fighter and 5th-level wizard. He qualifies for both the arcane archer and eldritch knight. He begins taking levels in arcane archer.

At 12th level, Jon is a fighter 4/wizard 5/arcane archer 3. He would take his next level in arcane archer, but can't because he doesn't have the training feat for it - the one he has has taken him to 3rd, but he can't advance further until he receives more training. He takes the Arcane Archer training feat as his 12th level feat, and he can now take arcane archer up to any level, due to the lack of restriction on his training feat.

Characters Developing New Ideas
There is only one time when a character doesn't need to take a training feat to gain specific knowledge: when he is developing something new. A new feat chain, new skill, or new PrC doesn't require the person developing it to take training feats for it - since it's new, there would be no one to train him in it, anyway.

A character who develops a new idea can train anyone in his new ideas.

How Training Would Work
Using this system, training is assumed to take a negligible amount of time. The trainer trains the trainee as well as he can, and the trainee (through gaining levels in the PrC, taking feats in the feat chain, or gaining ranks in the skill) gradually grows in his understanding of the training; of course, this means that the trainee can't get better than the trainer, hence why there are level limitations, tree limitations, or rank limitations on the feat (explained below).

Training feats taken as a feat that the character would normally gain indicate that the character has been researching the idea and practicing it in his spare time (before resting, while the wizard is preparing spells in the morning, etc). This means that the character doesn't have a limitation on the training feat, as there was no trainer - the character is effectively his own trainer, taking knowledge wherever he can get it.

Training feats should be used for at least PrCs, but they can also be applied to feats and skills.

PrC Training feats have limitations by level. The trainer's level in the PrC becomes the trainee's level limitation; once the trainee hits that level, he can't advance until receiving other training.

Feat Training feats have limitations by chain; however, far up the trainer has gotten in a specific feat chain is how high the trainee can move. For example, if the Dodge chain were specific knowledge (which it isn't), and a trainer had the Mobility feat, the trainee could take Dodge and Mobility, but not Spring Attack or Whirlwind Attack. Once the character reaches the highest feat in the chain the trainer knew, he must pursue other training.

Skill Training feats have limitations by rank. The trainer's rank in the skill becomes the trainee's rank limitation; once the trainee gets that rank in that skill, he can't advance until he acquires other training.

This is just an idea I had. I think that having a mechanic for training helps reinforce the idea that, for some things, you have to pursue the knowledge. It helps lend the idea that the world is indeed alive, as some people would be trained by the same person and therefore have ties that way, and requires you to seek out training if you don't feel like blowing a feat on getting into that prestige class you want.

This really is just an idea, not a proposal. If it were a proposal, I would present all of the prestige classes that require training, and some more detailed notes on how to use feat chain training feats and skill training feats. I just want to see what the reaction to this sort of thing is, and if it sounds like a good idea, I'll write up a proposal.