Comments on: Building Better RPGs: Skills Systems & Building Characters http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/building-better-rpgs-skills-systems-building-characters A D&D 4e Blog Dedicated to Dungeonmasters & Players Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:54:57 -0400 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 hourly 1 By: Big http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/building-better-rpgs-skills-systems-building-characters/comment-page-1#comment-86122 Big Fri, 28 Sep 2012 16:11:06 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7593#comment-86122 I always liked the old 1E AD&D ability check system where you simply rolled a d20 and if you got a number at or below your ability score, you were successful. It was simple and elegant. I like the idea that NEXT is placing a similar level of importance on ability scores again. That being said, I also like an open ended skill system. The idea that you can create a backstory and have a profession and this would allow you to have a bonus on checks that relate to that story and profession (without explicitly listing skills) is really inspired to me. I never like point buys or pick and choose character creation. It always felt very meta gamey for my tastes. I think skills should come in packages. If someone is good with woodworking, you can assume they'd be good with related skills. But in a point buy, they might have skills with woodworking, decipher script, and negotiations. You get characters that don't make much sense but that are very "useful" in game. I always liked the old 1E AD&D ability check system where you simply rolled a d20 and if you got a number at or below your ability score, you were successful. It was simple and elegant. I like the idea that NEXT is placing a similar level of importance on ability scores again.

That being said, I also like an open ended skill system. The idea that you can create a backstory and have a profession and this would allow you to have a bonus on checks that relate to that story and profession (without explicitly listing skills) is really inspired to me. I never like point buys or pick and choose character creation. It always felt very meta gamey for my tastes. I think skills should come in packages. If someone is good with woodworking, you can assume they’d be good with related skills. But in a point buy, they might have skills with woodworking, decipher script, and negotiations. You get characters that don’t make much sense but that are very “useful” in game.

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By: Philo Pharynx http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/building-better-rpgs-skills-systems-building-characters/comment-page-1#comment-83707 Philo Pharynx Tue, 25 Sep 2012 22:23:41 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7593#comment-83707 One system I like is used in some of the Cortex games. This lets you buy broad skills up to a certain level and then after that you have to buy up the specialty associated with every skill. I.e. After you've hit the maximum in your guns skill, you need to buy up the specialties (like pistol or shotgun) separately. I like a good happy medium. With broad skills, you get anomalies where somebody that's good at driving cars can now jump into any ground vehicle and be just as good. With skills that are too narrow you end up with somebody who is great at charming people, conning people, reading people's intentions, and giving speeches, but he's no good at dimplomacy because he didn't put skills into that particular slot. A good system to default skills on other skills can help, but it adds complexity. One of the issues I have with professions is that the GM has to work with each player to make them about equal in breadth and to make sure that everybody is on the same page as to what each profession covers and doesn't cover. For example, All of the following could be justified as fitting under "Ninja": Unarmed combat, grappling, stelath, concealment, acrobatics, jumping, dodging, weapons (sword, staff, club, thrown weapons, chain weapons, spears, polearms, improvised weapons), explosives and pyrotechnics, chemistry, disguise, impersonation, breaking and entering, balance, riding, mounted combat, breath control, silent swimming, underwater combat, meditation, boating, strategy, politics, espionage, recruiting, hypnosis, escaping from bonds, meterology, geography, poisons (creating and using), anatomy, pressure points, first aid and medicine. And these are just what a ninja could do in a non-magical world. In a world with magical powers, there are dozens more things that could easily be covered by "ninja" - ki focusing, Dim Mak death touch, gravity-defying leaps, hurling fireballs, mesmerizing people, truning invisible, teleporting, etc. One system I like is used in some of the Cortex games. This lets you buy broad skills up to a certain level and then after that you have to buy up the specialty associated with every skill. I.e. After you’ve hit the maximum in your guns skill, you need to buy up the specialties (like pistol or shotgun) separately.

I like a good happy medium. With broad skills, you get anomalies where somebody that’s good at driving cars can now jump into any ground vehicle and be just as good. With skills that are too narrow you end up with somebody who is great at charming people, conning people, reading people’s intentions, and giving speeches, but he’s no good at dimplomacy because he didn’t put skills into that particular slot. A good system to default skills on other skills can help, but it adds complexity.

One of the issues I have with professions is that the GM has to work with each player to make them about equal in breadth and to make sure that everybody is on the same page as to what each profession covers and doesn’t cover. For example, All of the following could be justified as fitting under “Ninja”: Unarmed combat, grappling, stelath, concealment, acrobatics, jumping, dodging, weapons (sword, staff, club, thrown weapons, chain weapons, spears, polearms, improvised weapons), explosives and pyrotechnics, chemistry, disguise, impersonation, breaking and entering, balance, riding, mounted combat, breath control, silent swimming, underwater combat, meditation, boating, strategy, politics, espionage, recruiting, hypnosis, escaping from bonds, meterology, geography, poisons (creating and using), anatomy, pressure points, first aid and medicine. And these are just what a ninja could do in a non-magical world. In a world with magical powers, there are dozens more things that could easily be covered by “ninja” – ki focusing, Dim Mak death touch, gravity-defying leaps, hurling fireballs, mesmerizing people, truning invisible, teleporting, etc.

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