A list of lesser-known gameplay and engine mechanics of Project: Gorgon. Contains tips, tricks, and breakdowns of how the game calculates specific things.
Experience Gain in Combat
There are three ways in which the game determines whether or not you gain experience in combat skills when a monster is slain.
The first way is the most obvious one: using skills in combat. When you enter combat, an in-combat status is placed on your buff bar (below your portrait in the top-left). It usually sits as the first icon, a washed-out sword with orange and white swing effect. When you use an ability that initiates combat or is used within combat, your combat status takes note of which skills you have used. Simply put, using at least one ability from an active skill while in combat is enough to grant experience in that skill when an enemy is killed. This lasts for as long as the in-combat status persists -- if more monsters die from you, your pet, or your group, you will continue to gain experience in whatever skills have been "tagged" in your combat status. Using an ability against each monster is not necessary; you can simply use one ability from your active skill(s) and then sit back as your pet kills everything, and you will get full experience for all of them.
The second way is related to on-going buffs and effects caused by players. An example of this would be Mentalism's various "wave" abilities. If you have a buff active that you have cast previously (as in, before combat begins), that skill will immediately be tagged for experience when you enter combat. You do not need to refresh the buff at all to continue gaining experience. This is particularly handy when following a very fast group or being carried through a dungeon -- as long as you have a buff running, you will gain experience in that skill even with monsters immediately dying through group member's one-hit kills.
The final way is related to First Aid and Armor Patching. Both of these skills seem to have their own built-in timer that will automatically tag the skill when in combat, similar to an invisible buff. Casting either of these before combat and then getting into combat (or casting it in combat) will grant experience upon every monster death. However, if combat status wears off and not too much time has passed, a second combat engagement will also be tagged for those skills. The length of time that this effect lasts is longer than the cooldowns of these skills, so it is hard to say exactly how long it works for.
Animal Handling and Necromancy pets work as expected, needing you to have their skill equipped for the summons to stay. Note that a pet attacking things in combat will NOT tag that skill for experience gain from monsters dying -- you will need to cast at least one ability from the skill to get experience from combat. This is especially strange to newer players starting Animal Handling, since the starter ability is a pet heal. Healing the pet isn't quite necessary when fighting monsters, but players will only gain experience if they use an ability, so using the heal will be required to gain experience in the skill.
It is also worth noting that while Animal Handling under performs at higher levels, it allows you to use fully leveled pets (currently level 70, plus Bond levels) with any other level skill, allowing you to level up something from level 1 with level 70 killing power. This is a valuable way to skip out on the normal restriction of only being able to use abilities up to 25 levels above your lower equipped skill's level.
Spider has the ability to use Incubate to create up to two Baby Spiders. These follow the same rules as other pets, but with an additional interesting tidbit. As long as Spider is one of your active skills, the Baby Spiders will remain -- even if you take a different beast form! This is of limited use for other beast forms (since the babies are quite temporary), but it does enable you to level up something like Lycanthropy with max-level Baby Spiders assisting you when you would not otherwise be able to benefit from your Spider skill level.
Performance Skills and Experience
All instrument skills, Interpretive Dancing, and Lycanthropy Howling follow a similar experience granting method. When starting to perform, experience gain will begin at 10 exp, with 10 more added each minute (10, then 20, then 30, etc) until it caps at 100 exp, for a total of 460 experience per cycle. You must then wait a random amount of time before this experience cycle starts again. Playing other songs or restarting a song does not affect the cycle's cooldown, same with dancing or howling. This pseudorandom experience gain can be frustrating, so if desired, you can stop performing after the experience cycle ends, do something else for a while, and by then your random cooldown on performance will have passed and you can perform again for another instant cycle. Sitting and performing continuously will result in fairly large periods of time where no experience is gained, but seeing as you have to wait the invisible cooldown to matter what, it is still the fastest way to gain experience.
When training Goblinese, experience is gained in one of two ways. The first, and most obvious, way is to kill Goblins and take their Calling Cards. Every unique Calling Card you read will grant 50 experience, with repeats granting between 1 and 4 experience depending on the level required to read it. The other way is to scavenge through scrolls found in the world for Goblin Battle Plans, which can be translated for 10(?) experience, with no penalty for repetition. Of course, seeing just how many Calling Cards there are, it's still best to just read every single one you are able to.
A minor note, Rabbit form allows players to equip Ice Magic without a staff, which enables Rabbits to be the only form in which Ice Magic and Unarmed can be used together while still allowing use of Barrage, which requires both hands free.
Stuns and Multiple Stuns
Stuns are less directly obvious than they may seem. As a lower-levelled player, stuns seem to last the full duration everywhere except Gazluk Keep. In GK, lower level stuns seem to expire almost immediately. Or perhaps stuns are subject to diminishing returns in GK. I will need to test this once I level up unarmed and can test for diminishing returns on multiple stuns on a single target.
Independently of stun duration, stuns are counted individually on a target, allowing multiple stuns to coexist. If one stun wears off, the monster will continue to be stunned if other stuns are currently active. Note that all applied stuns will count down together, so overlapping stuns will be wasted duration. This can be used tactically -- if a monster's normal attacks are strong, stunning only when the current stun wears off is best so as to maximize stun duration efficiency. If a monster's rage attack is being delayed, stuns should be reapplied immediately before the current stun wears off, so as to extend the stun timer.
Miscellanea and Tips
When you complete a Survey, a hidden timer starts that is a couple minutes long, depending on the zone, with higher level zones having a longer timer. If you complete another Survey within this time period, you achieve a "speed bonus," which grants additional rewards (an example being Rubywall Surveys granting other gems as a speed bonus). A good idea is to create as many surveys as your inventory can hold and draw yourself a map of all the locations, taking the shortest route to get a guaranteed speed bonus each time.
Scrolls found in the world (spawned on the ground or on top of objects, simply named "Scroll" until picked up) contain random rewards. These Scroll spawns can contain junk notes (from worthless to being worth 250 Councils), rare recipes, poetry books, Goblin battle plans, or work orders. While they are almost always worthless, it is worth picking them up just for the chance of something good. In some dungeons, scroll spawns are static (as in, always respawning as scrolls), and some scroll spawns are actually generic spawn locations that can be other objects (such as food, goblets, plates, etc). An example would be the storerooms in Eltibule's Goblin Dungeon -- food, scrolls, plates, and strongboxes can be found on the shelves in random quantities. If you want to grind scroll spawns (or anything else), you should pick up all of these and drop the junk, freeing up the spawns to generate new contents.