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Monday, April 25, 2011

Technical (Thieving) Skills-

When I first began this project as a BFRPG product, I had envisaged a substitution of the established Thieves' Skills with something like the following:

Alpha-Tech : Traps : The most delicate of powered technology and micro-precision tools necessary to perform these sorts of tasks. This includes fine surgery, such as brain or heart operations. It is consulted at x2 listed % for knowledge or calculations of this magnitude (Hyperspace Geometry, the properties of Aluvrynial ore, etc.). Hypothetical and currently impossible feats of physics and chemistry are the subjects of Alpha-Tech.

Beta-Tech : Open Locks : Less demanding and more forgiving than Alpha-Tech issues and procedures, Beta-Tech is still a force to be reckoned with, as it represents the best of what is currently possible, even the news of the latest developments as it arrives by post or telegram. Beta-Tech is currently capable of telegraphy and wireless transmission of signals and raw energy via wind and chemical derived electrical current; of seeing in the dark; anaesthesia, and of forging strong metalloids for use in deadly weapons, self-powered armoured vehicles, surgical instruments, and towering architecture on a grand scale. 3x % for consultation or conjecture of known parameters.

Delta-Tech : Pick Pockets : Delta-Tech represents all technology on the order of magnitude from telegraphy and the afore mentioned devices, down to the rudiments of basic tools (wedge, lever, etc.). Technical tasks ranging from picking a pad-lock to pulling a tooth to setting a compound fracture and suturing the wound in as sterile a fashion as possible under the circumstances. 4x % for knowledge checks.

I then went on to list other skills, such as Tracking, etc., each of which had a per %-point cost, allowing for complete customisation, paid for in earned XP. There was even the ever popular, Psychic Tracking. O.o

I abandoned that after I found that players became...obsessed... with gaining percentages in every skill they could lay their hands on. It reminded me of WoW, and I quashed that after about a year of use on several characters.

My current take is confined to ten Spheres, each of which has potential Concentrations (Rank +1), and Specialisations (R+2). Some, such as the tinkering skill sphere, determine one's bare employment income if a job were taken. Others impart small combat bonuses. Not having any skills is no more detrimental than not having high scores in Classic-play games, and none are required to fiddle with or attempt any action -- although brain surgery is best left to the trained Professional.


  1. I find your classification of skills/technologies from Alpha to Delta very interesting and quite different from the usual ranking systems in other games. I take it that these are wide range bands covering levels of complexity/difficulty. It's a pretty good idea.

    And yes, I wholeheartedly agree that brain surgery is best left to trained professionals. But (sigh) I know that won't stop an unskilled player character from attempting it anyway.... I guess player characters will always be player characters. :)

  2. spielmeister: Thanks. :)
    --Yes, you are correct. They would also advance as the tech Level advanced so that Alpha would always be the theoretical, Beta the cutting edge, and Delta the tried and true.

    PCs are an interesting bunch! :D

  3. I, too, find the rankings interesting and similar to the recent "skill" system I was developing for my "cyberpunky" game (with tiers of 0, 1, or 2 points). Of course, in the end, I got rid of the percentile dice rolls completely.
    ; )

  4. Huh. Do you still have those lists? I think I could use them at some point, if I ever actually get a game going.

  5. @JB: I'm very much looking forward to your diceless combat and magic, too! :D

    @C'nor (O_T): I'll see about stripping it out of the Beta Player's Manual.pdf