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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

[RPG] Speak your Mind on Skills-

Prone to multi-tasking, I am working on:

* Creating pregens for two convention sessions
* Writing the streamlined PM
* Re-designing the Character Control Record
* Providing input to my map artist
* Tracking my other artist's output relative to the deadline
* Cleaning up for the SO's coming over to cook for mum and me
* Floating ideas for the weekly game
* Waiting to hear from Work regarding new assignments
* Tending to home-things

...more or less in that order.

One idea that keeps vacillating in my mind is to collapse the skills into the overarching framework I'd used for years on Guild Houses of Blood, namely:

General (Civilisation)

My 'new school' players prefer micro-managing individual skills, but I am being plagued by wise admonitions to Keep It Simple/As Simple as Possible, but Not Simpler.

I think the Middle Path I'll adopt is the above with Specialisations.
--But, don't quote me on that.

--I'd love to hear everyone from 'Skills? Hate 'em!' to 'Skills? Natch'' folks here at TGT.



  1. What's the story on the con games?

  2. I'm not opposed to skills at all, though I don't currently use them other than skill-like thief functions and such.

    Actually, I have always LIKED the idea of skills/NWPs and don't hate them in 2e like so many do.

    Still, I think I prefer the non-skill approach for my fantasy gaming.

  3. @cyclopeatron:

    @Lord Kilgore: Cool. Duly noted. :D
    --As far as the proposed over-arching with Specialities I've posted, do you have an opinion?
    ---Urutsk is certainly not a 'fantasy game', but a post-apocalypse re-discovery sci-fi game with fantasy trappings. Does that have an effect on the skill issuer in your estimation?

    Thanks! :D

  4. My vague answer is that I think when adding anything to a game, there should be a consistency of crunch (or lack of it)across the whole system. This is why I found the skillgroups and specialisations of 2E Jorune and Classic Traveller acceptable even though I dislike attaching skills to OD&D. I hate huge lists of specialisations though.

  5. Short answer - I like the 10 skill groups and see no problem in adding specialities.

  6. Okay. I'm doing it, then. :D
    --New Skoolerz be darned! ;p

  7. If you need to included a skill list, I'd keep it simple. Too many skills get distracting, and they take over the game. Skills also introduce the "you don't have that!" issue when PCs try to do fun stuff.

  8. I agree with Dan, having played Rolemaster in the past. Tried it again last year, and it was painful.

    The main skill issue is what happens if you don't have the skill, and how good can you get in a skill? If you can't pick a lock without a pick lock skill, that means you have to have someone with that skill, so it becomes very D&D 3.5-like. And if someone can max out a skill to perform useless actions perfectly, they will.

    I use an early (either Knockspell or Fighton!) article that has skill groups close to yours and a number to roll under on with 2d6. Trying to convert that to a d20 and stat system but it's difficult getting the numbers making sense.

    Use the skill system as enabling rather than restrictive, and make sure it makes sense internally - I've seen a system once where not having the skill meant you used your stat instead, which made it easier to do stuff.

  9. Dan & Pukako: Agreed. This is a bonus, and a relative 'who's better' measure.

  10. I've played a lot of Rolemaster and I think, make them as simple as possible. Just restrict the available skill points accordingly so that you retain character class differentiation.

    Lots of skill is a pain in the arse. No skills is a recipe for DM arbitrarity. Somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot no-one has ever found...

  11. You have done an excellent job of comming up with a nice consice list of skills. I'd be inclined to split combat into Ranged and Melee, and am not sure what skills general covers. I do think having a short list of well defined skills is definitely the way to go.

  12. @faustnotes: Thanks for the input.
    --I'll see what I can add to the mix, then. :D

    @imredave: Dave, thanks for the input.
    --I'll think hard about the Combat split.
    ---The term 'General' should perhaps be replaced with Civilisation, as it deals with the default assumptions that do not necessarily apply to non-Civilised folks and creatures, such as: knowing not only to wait in queue to receive service, but how to bribe the bouncer to let you past; how to use indoor plumbing where it exists, as well as the penalty for defecating in public; cooking a fine meal and where to purchase the ingredients without being taken advantage of; using the standard mode of transport in a city (whether calling for a carriage taxi, or taking a trolley, or in some more advanced areas, the tube), etc.

  13. Sorry. I simply meant that skills seem less ideal in pure fantasy settings and that's why I don't use them there. In this sort of setting, I can totally see them as appropriate.

    That said, I do like the more general categories rather than a list of XX narrowly-defined skills. I would agree with imredave about maybe splitting up combat into two (or more) categories. Maybe melee weapons, missile weapons, tech weapons, and unarmed.

    But then suddenly we're headed for XX narrowly-defined skills.

  14. Kilgore: Thanks. :)
    --I don't think I'd go beyond Melee and Ranged, as even 'primatives' can use tech items if they figure them out or are shown. It more a matter of native Tech Level.

  15. Civilisation - Would a Vrun with a high score know a lot about her own civilisation or know a lot of non-academic stuff about all the different ones (Black Crown, WICE)as well ?

  16. Sean: An excellent observation.
    --It is geared toward the PC's native Background, but has a degree of 'portability' to related cultures.

    The US has high degrees of relation to the UK Commonwealth [and Canada in particular] (which breaks down quickly as one's remove from high population centres increases, on the micro-level of Scottish, Welsh, etc.), there is still a good deal of relation with the rest of (at least) Western Europe (and Russia). --Much of the Northern Mediterranean, many parts of the Middle and Far East (the ones that desire in many ways to emulate the successes of the West, at least), and so forth.

    However, physical proximity, as in the case of the Central and South Americas, illustrates that Tech Level and 'cultural outlook' have much more to do with this degree of relatedness. I would brodly say that the lower latitudinal Americas share much more in common with most of South Asia in those regards.

    I'm beginning to write-up each Ethnicity's CharGen specifics, and I'll make certain to list a Relatedness hierarchy so as to facilitate the Ref's adjudication in such matters.