- She finds a Teacher capable of teaching her that Skill.
- She has accumulated sufficient Skill Points.
- She has learned the necessary prerequisite Skill.
Skills provide an important way a player may customize the character Scarlett. Venetica divide skills into Physical Skills, those pertaining to combat with a weapon, and Mental Skills, those pertaining to casting necromantic spells. (A few Combat skills blur the line, requiring Scarlett to use necromantic Mental Energy in order to perform the action, even though it relates to using a weapon.)
Skill Points Edit
Each time Scarlett reaches a new Level, she is awarded 20 additional Skill Points. She can spend will those new points to learn new skills or improve her mastery of skills she's already learned. Each skill learned or improved costs 10 Skill Points, so in effect she gains or improves two skills per level. Her total Experience points determines her level. Scarlett gains experience by completing quests, other small feats, or defeating opponents.
Active vs Passive Skills Edit
Some skills are Passive: they are invoked automatically when they are applicable, sometimes modifying existing actions. For example, if Scarlett has the Beast Knowledge skill, when invoking the "Search/Loot" action (usually used to collect treasure items, whether simply found lying about or on bodies of defeated enemies) on a slain Creature, it will also include skinning the animal to collect its hide or other useful or valuable body part.
Most Mental Skills and many Physical Skills are Active skills: They need to be invoked explicitly by the player pressing a button when Scarlett is to use them. Venetica offers a set of player-assigned buttons or keys that the player can set to initiate Active Skills. There are five such buttons on the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers: The four Arrow buttons and the B or O button. Using a Windows Keyboard, the seven number keys 1-7 are all customizable. These customizable keys or buttons are called the QuickBar (or QuickSlots).
The QuickBar buttons and their currently-assigned Skills are displayed on the game screen as part of the Heads-up Display (HUD) icons. (This display varies according to the controller.)
In order for Scarlett to use an Active Skill, the player must first assign that skill to a key or button on the QuickBar. For example, if Scarlett has learned the Raven's Wrath spell and wishes to use it, that Mental Skill must first be assigned to one of the buttons on the QuickBar; once that's done, it can be cast quickly and easily by just pressing that button/key. (This means the player should adjust which skills are available on the QuickBar according to the situation or opponents, and also make sure the skills currently on the QuickBar are appropriate to the Weapon Scarlett is using.)
To set up which Skills are assigned to which buttons/keys on the QuickBar, the player should open Scarlett's book to either the Physical Skills or Mental Skills page and select a skill to be assigned to the QuickBar. Use the X or  button to configure the QuickBar by then pressing the QuickBar button to be assigned to the currently selected Skill.
Level of Mastery Edit
Some skills have more than one Level of Mastery: after learning this skill, it is possible to improve Scarlett's proficiency in that skill by expending more Skill Points on that skill. This may increase the damage or duration of the skill. The maximum Level of Mastery depends on the Skill, and varies from one to six.
Skill Hierarchies Edit
Skills are divided into hierarchical groups, arranged vertically on the inventory page. These groups reflect a particular type of magic or combat with a specific class of weapon. Within a group, it's necessary to learn each skill in the hierarchical order shown: first, the topmost skill must be learned, and then the next skill or skills in the hierarchy can be learned. (Only a single level of mastery is required in the prerequisite in order to advance to the next skill.)
Skill Teachers Edit
Scarlett can only learn a new skill, or improve an existing skill, when she is with a Teacher who is able to teach her the skill desired. A teacher may be able to teach Physical Skills or Mental Skills, but never both. Furthermore, not all Teachers know all skills in those broad categories. Generally speaking, the Teachers Scarlett meet early in the story only teach basic skills, while Teachers she meets later in the story have a broader knowledge to share. (See list of teachers.)
Learning A Skill Edit
To learn a new Skill or improve the Level of Mastery in an already-learned Skill, Scarlett should move close enough to the Teacher character so that the "Talk to ___" Contextual Action Prompts appears. Initiating a Conversation with a Teacher will provide additional Dialog Choices. The first time Scarlett speaks with any Teacher, the Teacher will first introduce themselves. (Not all Teachers will automatically train Scarlett in Skills; some, such as Nox, will demand Scarlett perform a Quest first. Others, such as Aeris, will only provide training after she has moved to a specific location.) Eventually, one of Scarlett's possible Dialog Choices with a Teacher will be to "Learn Physical/Mental Skills". Selecting that reply will bring up either the Physical Skills or Mental Skills screen.
Skills that Scarlett is eligible to learn or improve with the current Teacher will be highlighted with a pulsing glow on the Skills screen. (Skills will only be so highlighted if Scarlett as the necessary prerequisites. E.g., Scarlett will very probably wish to learn the Blood Toll spell from Nox; but that won't be available until after she has first learned at least one Level of Mastery in the Ancestral Horror spell.)
To learn an available Skill, select it from among those on the Skill screen that Scarlett can be learn and press the action key/button (A, X, or left-mouse, depending on the controller.) A pop-up display will confirm the action, showing the details of the Skill at the Level of Mastery to be learned and its cost in Skill Points. (That cost appears to always be 10 for every Skill.) Learned Skills are displayed in color on Scarlett's Skills page and the costs deducted from her Skill Points total.
Use of Mental Energy Edit
Mental Skills and advanced Physical Skills require the expenditure of Scarlett's Mental Energy. If Scarlett does not have sufficient Mental Energy, she cannot use the associated skill. (Skills which require more Mental Energy then Scarlett currently has are dimmed slightly on the Quickbar.)
Any Skill involving use of Mental Energy has two other components to consider: Casting Time is the time it takes Scarlett to focus and invoke her necromantic powers. During that interval, Scarlett is stationary and defenseless; if she is struck by an enemy's attack during that time, she fails to invoke the skill, but she still pays the cost in Mental Energy. So, it's obviously not advantageous to invoke a skill with a long casting time when one or more opponents are in striking range. Skills involving Mental Energy also have a Cooldown Time: that skill can't be invoked again until that time has elapsed. (Other skills are unaffected.) The player can see how much of the Cooldown Time has elapsed by how much of the skills icon on the Quickbar has been filled in with color again.