In video games, skills are usually learned through a standard mean. Be it by [[CharacterLevel leveling up]], or by [[JobSystem collecting job points]], or even by buying scrolls and books that teach the skills. No matter which method the game used, the majority of the skills are obtained by this method.

Enter this trope.

There are certain skills that cannot be learned through the usual method. They need to be obtained through other means, like advancing the storyline, building up [[LevelUpAtIntimacyFive friendship with your party members]], completing that old granny's request to [[IrrelevantSidequest buy her groceries]], or defeating the [[BonusBoss super-duper strong hidden monster]] whose existence [[GuideDangIt may or may not be hinted at]]. The point is, don't expect to learn this skill just by the standard procedure.

For a completionist, this might be the LastLousyPoint. May be related to EveryoneHasASpecialMove, if these moves must be unlocked by the story.

Related to SkillScoresAndPerks. For the leveling-up version, see EasyEXP.



[[folder:First-Person Shooter]]
* In ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying'', all spells are acquired by taking a magic scroll, except for the Lightning spell. For that one, you must take a lightning rod and put it in a orifice on a roof. A lightning will strike the rod and you will receive the electricity, which will give you the spell.

* The ''LARP/OtakonLARP'' characters can only learn new skills, and can only earn one rank in that skill.

* ''VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery'' is unique in regards to this trope. You only improve your existing skills by levelling up and the usual way to learn new ones is from [=NPCs=] and wishes. However, mindcrafters and elementalists learn new Mindcrafting powers and new spells, respectively, upon level up.

[[folder:RPG -- Eastern]]
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'', very often used together with GuideDangIt.
** The [[PowerCopying Blue Mage]] job is basically this as a whole job. While the rest of the jobs usually learn their skills by by gaining levels, Blue Mages don't. There are certain monster skills that the Blue Mages can learn. To learn these skills, the Blue Mage needs to be hit by the skill and survive (some games do it differently, like [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX eating the monster]]). The problem is, the game [[GuideDangIt won't bother telling which skills can be learned and which one can't or which monsters carry which skill]].
** SummonMagic in general is this trope. They are often learned through [[DefeatMeansFriendship defeating the summoned monsters in battle]], but there are many other means.
** Also LimitBreak. Each character usually have their own methods of obtaining their ultimate attacks.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV''
*** Because of a trauma, [[ChildMage Rydia]] cannot use the spell Fire, until [[WhiteMagicianGirl Rosa]] convinces her later in a storyline event. Hilariously enough, she can still learn Firaga given you do enough LevelGrinding.
*** Several of Rydia's [[SummonMagic summons]] can only be obtained from getting an item that RandomlyDrops from certain types of enemies. Pray that the RandomNumberGod is in a good mood.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' only had a couple of characters who would learn magic by leveling up, and a fairly limited set at that. In order to learn magic otherwise, [[SummonMagic Espers]] had to be equipped to the characters to teach them new spells by earning Ability Points (AP) in battle. Similar concepts were used in later games as well.
*** Some of the character-specific abilities also had special conditions, including the resident Blue Magic user.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' averts this at the start, granting characters new Limit Breaks through repeated combat, but to teach a given character their level 4 Limit Break, you'll need a special item. There's also the Enemy Skill materia; see Blue Mages.
** The Limit Breaks in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' are like this. Squall's Limit Breaks are learned by upgrading his weapon, with the final upgrade teaching him all 4 finishers. Zell reads magazines to learn some of the stronger attacks and finishing moves. Quistis uses certain items to learn skills. Rinoa takes her dog for a walk, and learns a new skill during the plot. Irvine can use different bullets based on what's in inventory. Selphie (technically) has all of her best Limit Break Magic available from the word go, but once you use the special ones once they show up more frequently in future.
*** Technically speaking, you can also use all of Zell's moves right from the start, but you not only need to know the exact input to use them, but also what preceding moves you need to use for some of the finishers to be available, some of which also having the exact same requirements. In other words, unless you memorize a single specific path of moves to each finisher, you're better off just finding and reading the magazines for convenience's sake.
** The Overdrives in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' have this feel, due to the [[CastOfSnowflakes diverse nature of the party]]. Tidus and Lulu gain new Overdrives by using previous ones repeatedly and levelling up, respectively. Yuna only has one skill that she starts with, but gets new Aeons to summon with it during the plot. Rikku's overdrives are based on the party's inventory. Auron levels up by collecting movie spheres, Kimahri learns Overdrives from enemies, and Wakka gets additional Reels as prizes from winning Blitzball tournaments. One of the most {{Egregious}} example of GuideDangIt would be Valefor's Energy Ray attack. How do you obtain it? ''By talking to a friggin' dog in the very first village''.
*** Tidus can learn a special blitzball skill (his father's signature move) by kicking blitzballs at hallucinations of his dad mocking and belittling him.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', most skills (including basic Attack) are represented by nodes on the Crystarium. The exception is the characters' [[SummonMagic Eidolons]], which are obtained during the storyline and stored in the inventory.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' mostly uses the same system, but there is a notable new mechanic for the monster pets that serve as the third party member called Infusion, which consumes one monster to pass some of its passive and active skills to another one who might not normally be able to learn them.
** Ramza's skillset gets larger over the course of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics''. There's also the Ultima spell (learnable only by Ramza and Alma, and only during two storyline fights) and the Zodiac summon (learnable only by summoners, during one optional fight), which are taught by being hit with (and surviving) the skill in combat, as opposed to most skill which are purchased with JP.
*** Most other high-end spells that you can normally learn by spending JP can also be learned the same way, but due to the difficulty in actually finding enemies able to cast them and the need to use the same class that naturally learns the said spell, few people find about it on their own. That, plus since the chance to learn the spell this way is the same as getting it from the crystal the enemy might turn into after dying and doing it that way doesn't require you to be the same class as the enemy, it's much more convenient to just kill them and attempt to get the skill from their crystal: the only real advantage of learning the spell by getting hit by it is the ability to possibly teach it to multiple characters, but chances are you won't have multiple mages of the right class available when you manage to find an enemy that can cast a spell that none of them have learned yet.
*** Mostly downplayed in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'', which require you to equip an item that teaches a skill before you're able to learn it by good ol' LevelGrinding. Played straight by the Thief class skill [[ImpossibleThief Steal: Ability]] in ''Advance'', which allows you to [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin steal the knowledge of how to use a skill directly from an enemy's brain]][[note]]Steal: Ability can only steal skills that the thief would be capable of learning from equipment (based on their species, not on their current class; a hume can steal an Illusionist ability, for example, even if they're currently a soldier), and can't steal Reaction or Support abilities.[[/note]]. ''Advance'' [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs thieves can also steal equipment that teaches new skills from enemies, for you to equip and grind]]. Thieves were {{nerf}}ed in ''A2'', losing the ability to steal abilities and equipment. Blue Mages also show up in ''Advance'' and ''A2'', and learn skills [[PowerCopying the usual way]]; [[GuideDangIt some enemies are only in certain missions, though]], and missing them there means that [[PermanentlyMissableContent you won't be able to get their teachable skills until another run]]. [[LethalJokeCharacter Morphers]] can also use monster souls to transform into monsters, gaining the monster's stats and abilities; to do so, a Hunter has to capture at least one monster of the species to get a soul for the Morpher to equip; the aforementioned GuideDangIt monsters are morphable, too, so you need to capture them as well as let the BM be hit by them.
** ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'' also has Blue Mages, called Vampires. [[AntiFrustrationFeatures The bestiary clearly indicates which monster skills they can learn]]. ...[[GuideDangIt Except for ones from DLC monsters that don't show up in the bestiary]].
* ''Franchise/{{Atelier}}'' series.
** Several examples in the first ''VideoGame/AtelierIris'' game.
*** At one point in the story, [[ItemCaddy Klein]] will get the option to either learn the skill Living Item or the ability to create Ether Bulb. You can get the other one later, though.
*** [[SquishyWizard Norn]]'s Illusion skill is gotten through solving the puzzle in Ka Luda's playground the second time, using the black pieces instead of white.
*** [[TheArcher Delsus]]' Spirit Shot skill, gotten from completing an optional sidequest from the old man at Lake Forwell near the end of the game.
*** [[CuteBruiser Lita]]'s Pale Wing skill, gotten after a certain storyline event near the end of the game.
** In ''VideoGame/AtelierIris2'', Gray and Fee learn Dragon Slayer and Ein Zecksclaw respectively during the main story.
** In ''VideoGame/ManaKhemia2FallOfAlchemy'', Lily is the only one whose upgraded skills, instead of learned through the Grow Book, are obtained through certain cutscenes after creating certain items.
** All of Gino's skills in ''VideoGame/AtelierTotori'' are obtained through [[LevelUpAtIntimacy5 doing his character events]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', several of [[MissionControl Rise's]] skills are obtained through [[LevelUpAtIntimacy5 Social Link]] instead of leveling up.
** In ''[[UpdatedRerelease Persona 4 Golden]]'', every party member gets a unique skill that is obtained through talking to them on a certain date after maxing their Social Links.
** All the party members have social link skills. Golden also adds "Bike Ride" skills, which allow the party members to learn new skills late in the game by going on a trip to a spa with the protagonist.
* In ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'', if you answer certain dialogue choices throughout [[OneGameForThePriceOfTwo the two games]], [[TheChick Argilla]] and [[EleventhHourRanger Seraph]] will automatically obtain the skills Seraph Lore and Reincarnate respectively when you reach the final dungeon. Notably, you have to import a Digital Devil Saga 1 save into Digital Devil Saga 2 for those skills to be actually learned by those two, and should you merely import a Digital Devil Saga 1 save into Digital Devil Saga 2, then [[TheSmartGuy Gale]] will always learn Pyriphlegethon, regardless of dialogue choices.
* Some of Ryuudo's most advanced special moves in ''VideoGame/GrandiaII'' can only be learned after defeating [[spoiler:his brother Melfis]]. Millenia, meanwhile, gains new special attacks from every piece of Valmar the party defeats.
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' very many of the ultimate or signature attacks are only obtained through doing a sidequest, some of which can be impossible to get [[GuideDangIt if you don't make the right decisions]] during gameplay. In fact, getting the special ability for one character, Razzly the fairy, requires that you choose the ''worst'' option out of a quest in the previous disc and results in many innocent deaths (it's the tragedy that ends up empowering her).
* In ''Videogame/EarthBound'', spells are acquired by leveling up, except for the two tiers of Teleport for Ness. The first Teleport must be learned [[ItMakesSenseInContext from a talking monkey]], and the second one is automatically acquired after completing the Magicant level.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'', Lucas learns [[LightEmUp PK Flash]] by ''getting struck by lightning.'' Kumatora also learns PK Starstorm in the same fashion, though it's voluntary in her case.
* Smeargle, from ''Videogame/{{Pokemon}}'', who is the only Pokemon who can permanently learn attacks via Sketch. Everyone else has to level up to learn new moves, use a TM, HM or move tutor, or even be bred from two compatible mons with the moves you want.
* The ''VideoGame/TalesSeries'' does this frequently, making some skills obtained through story events, sidequests, or by using certain other skills enough times.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{SaGa}}'' series, you can generally spark learning new skills (randomly, of course) by spamming abilities lower on the skill tree.
** In ''VideoGame/{{SaGa Frontier 2}}'', you can also enter one-on-one battle mode and enter your commands manually (i.e. "Slash + Backslash = Cross Slash", rather than selecting the "Cross Slash" skill from your menu), triggering new skills that way.
* While ''VideoGame/{{Lunarosse}}'' goes with the PowersAsPrograms route, the four main characters can learn new moves via plot events or by building their RelationshipValues.
* Kyuu in ''VideoGame/RakenzarnTales'' is the only party member who doesn't learn moves by leveling up, so all his attacks have to be gained this way. The methods include training with others, gaining the knowledge from an information source, equipped a certain weapon or learning it from one of his dates.
* The ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series spreads learning abilities across various methods (level up, progress the plot, defeat a boss, or complete some other challenge), but that comes across as not having one "standard" method in the first place. Though stat boosts come primarily through level-ups, so that might create an expectation that most character growth is from experience points.
* ''VideoGame/TwilightPrincess'': As with most Zelda games, Link needs to clear out dungeons so he can use items that will let him progress further in the environment. New sword skills to deal with unusual enemies, however, are learned by howling along with the wind at certain stones, finding a golden wolf on the overworld, and learning the technique [[spoiler:fromOoT's Link, now a gold-armored ghost]].
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSunTheLostAge'':
** Where battle Psynergy is learned by leveling up and utility Psynergy is found by equipping items, the game now features each of your party members gaining an exclusive skill by completing the elemental dungeons: Sheba learns to see invisible objects, Piers learns to evaporate large amounts of water, Felix learns to turn himself into sand to exploit SandIsWater, and Jenna learns to amplify preexisting flames. The previous game had only one example, Ivan learning Reveal from Hama just before the dungeon that required it.
** In the previous game, SummonMagic was readily available and grew with the amount of Djinn used, doing large amounts of damage in return for lowering characters' stats. In TLA, new multielemental summons can be found in GuideDangIt-worthy locations.
** Classes change every time a Djinni changes owner, modifying stats and spells, but for the item-based classes it only changes the rank.
** Most Djinn are found in towns and dungeons, but some join the party with other characters (this is more prevalent in ''Videogame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'').
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'': In order to access the advanced classes and obtain the best skills, the class/weapon trainers give you increasingly complicated ([[LuckBasedMission and luck-based]]) quests that involve killing a number of enemies a certain way, no two of which are the same.

[[folder:RPG -- MMO]]
* In addition to spending job level points on skills, ''VideoGame/TreeOfSavior'' has a second system which provides additional benefits. Each class has a Master associated with it, who can (for a sum of [[GlobalCurrency Silver]]) teach Attributes, which are either passive abilities that augment skills and stats, or toggleable abilities that significantly modify how those skills work. Most Attributes require time in addition to money to learn, but characters will continue to study them even while the player is logged out, similar to ''VideoGame/EVEOnline''.

[[folder:RPG -- Western]]
* Squad members' [[EveryoneHasASpecialMove unique Loyalty Powers]] in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' and ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' can be learned by Shepard, too, but only after completing their personal missions (and only one at a time). In the second game, the Loyalty Power would only be unlocked for the Squad Member themselves after completing said personal mission.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', each party member has a hidden perk tree of "Inspired" abilities, which are automatically unlocked at [[RelationshipValues 25, 50, 75, and 100 Disposition]] and give increasing bonuses to their primary character stats. If their Disposition to the Warden drops, however, the perks are revoked. Wynne additionally has an active power [[spoiler:Vessel of the Spirit]], which is unlocked by certain story events.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', reaching either end of the [[RelationshipValues Friendship/Rivalry scale]] of a party member makes it [[UndyingLoyalty lock there permanently]] and unlocks that character's unique permanent bonus.
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'', you normally learn skills by investing skill/feat points into them. However, you can only learn advanced lightsaber combat forms by receiving instruction from or fighting the Jedi Masters you find throughout the game.
* Creator/{{Obsidian|Entertainment}} did something similar to the ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' example two years earlier in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: Mask of the Betrayer'', where increasing your RelationshipValues with party members unlocked bonus feats (mainly skill and ability boosts applied to both you and the party member). Meanwhile the ''Storm of Zehir'' expansion has a list of Teamwork Feats which require two steps to unlock: meet requirements outlined in the game manual, then accept and complete a corresponding sidequest from the Adventurers' Guild at Crossroad Keep. All three games also give history feats for completing story requirements, and in ''[=SoZ=]'' some of them grant bonuses.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' has a number of skills that can only be acquired from consumable quest rewards, and a few from special encounters.
** Undersea skills are learned from following an old sea monkey who [[UnwantedRescue doesn't want to be rescued]] until he does something [[BadAssGrandpa badass]].
** The skills for [[BareFistedMonk The Way of the Surprising Fist]] path are [[WaxOnWaxOff learned entirely from special encounters]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'', some perks/upgrades can only be learned by crafting and consuming unique mutagenic potions, e.g. Golem's Pith potion unlocks the Moonrise ability. Also, the [[FunctionalMagic Signs]] have to be unlocked at specific Circles of Elements before you can invest more skill points into them.
* Most {{Skill Score}}s in ''VideoGame/DivinityOriginalSin'' can be learned by investing skill points into them at character creation or at any point in the game. The hidden Tenebrium skill, however, which allows a character to safely handle Tenebrium items and raw ore, can only be unlocked by completing a specific side quest in Silverglen or stealing a unique skill book in Sacred Heart. Another, downplayed example would be the [[spoiler:Death Knight Bane]] active power, which is nonstandard in that its skill book does not disappear upon being used, like all other powers, but can be read by everyone in the party.
* While most skill scores in ''VideoGame/{{Wasteland 2}}'' can be learned by anyone from the start, two are conspicuously grey out: the South-Western Folklore and the Combat Shooting. The former is a ''Website/{{Kickstarter}}'' backer-exlusive reward, unlocked by giving a secret password to a specific character, while the latter can only be learned from a unique hidden book.
* The Blaster skill in both ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic VI'' and ''VII'' is unlocked by story events towards the end of the games, unlike the standard method of finding a related store and paying for basic training.

* In ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'', starting from the second game there is always one party member whose ultimate skill is obtained through the story instead of leveling up.
** In ''VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories'' we have Yukimaru's [[SelfDuplication Midare Fubuki]].
** In ''VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice'' we have MainCharacter Mao's [[OneWingedAngel Vasa Aergun]].
** [[TokenHuman Fuuka's]] [[HumongousMecha Prinny Kaiser XX]] in ''VideoGame/Disgaea4APromiseUnforgotten''.
*** ''VideoGame/Disgaea5AllianceofVengeance'' pulls a two-fer on this trope. Aside from Killia learning Avidya Holy Water and Macrocosm in this manner, there's also each of the story characters' [[LimitBreak Overload Skills]], which coincide with some CharacterDevelopment.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' series:
** A variation. Most characters promote to their PrestigeClass by using a Master Seal (or class-appropriate promotion item) at Level 10 or above. Most of the main characters, however, have their promotion tied to a story event and cannot do so beforehand. Examples involve Ike being made a noble in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Path of Radiance]]'' (because having a commoner lead the country's main army would cause a political scandal) and, most infamously, Roy aquiring the Binding Blade in [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe the game of the same name.]] (Infamous because it occurs a mere 3 chapters before the end of the game, making the protagonist very under-powered for most of it)
** Even then, one particular promotion method stands out: in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Thracia 776]]'' Linoan can only promote by visiting the church in Chapter 21. And if anyone else visits it before she does, the chance to promote her is [[PermanentlyMissableContent lost for the rest of the game]].
** ''Thracia 776'' also has a case of this trope with actual skills. Mareeta can learn [[SpamAttack Astra]] by talking to Shanam, the body-double of Prince Shanan of Isaac [[JokeCharacter who's nowhere near as badass as the real thing.]] Hilariously, Shanam has no idea how to teach sword techniques, so just makes up some random crap and hopes she won't notice. This somehow manages to teach her the technique anyway, implying either AchievementInIgnorance or ItWasWithYouAllAlong.
** Another skill example in ''Radiant Dawn''. Normally characters learn their [[LimitBreak ultimate skill]] on promoting to their 3rd-tier class. Ike, however, learns Nihil in addition to [[SignatureMove Aether]] when promoting to Vanguard. This is probably a case of AntiFrustrationFeatures, as Nihil negates enemy skills and the Black Knight's Eclipse skill is so powerful no-one in the game can survive it. Given that Ike has a forced DuelBoss against the BlackKnight later, giving him Nihil avoid the fight being a complete LuckBasedMission.
* In ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'', the basic psychic ability Mind Flay is not part of the normal class-based SkillTree but is unlocked randomly for soldiers with particularly high Will score after a prolonged stay in the psychic labs. More advanced psychic powers are tied not to the CharacterLevel but to [[StatGrinding how often you use Mind Flay and other powers you already unlocked]], while the most powerful psychic ability, the Rift, can only be learned by [[spoiler:the Volunteer, a single soldier who enters the Gollop Chamber in the endgame]].