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Ashtagon
2009-09-30, 06:50 AM
This is the preliminary draft of my definitive list of skills. Some of them may not appear to have much use in a fantasy campaign; some may not appear to have much use in any campaign. The goal here is to try to cover all aspects of human endeavour that can't reasonably be done solely as a feat.

I am aware that some, perhaps many, of these have little place in an action-hero genre. All skills are intentionally NOT equal; some will be more useful than others, depending on the genre. The intention is partly to make sure that NPCs can be described as well as PCs, and using the same set of rules for both.

There are some subtle changes in how the rules here play out, notably in Appraisal, Diplomacy, a few extras to cover new genres (Streetwise, Astronavigation, Seduction), and a new rules mechanic for vehicle operation skills, music skills, and a few others.

As long as it isn't "skill X is useless" or "this list is too big", I'm open to almost any c+c.


Alchemy: How to use the inherently magical properties of plants and minerals to make potions and salves. This can also be used to identify a magic potion.

Appraisal: This includes the ability to evaluate the artistic merit and worth of a performance or a work of art (anything produced with Perform or Artist skills). The relevant Perform or Artist skill can also be used for this function, but this skill acts as an umbrella for all such tasks. In effect, you can use either Appraisal of the relevant Perform or Artist skill, whichever is most advantageous.

This skill also allows you to estimate the worth of an animal or a crafted item. Such an evaluation is based on the usual market values rather than spotting hidden flaws. To find such hidden flaws, you must have he appropriate Handle Animal or Craft skill.

Artist (general note): See the note on Craft for forgery and counterfeiting. Each Artist skill is a distinct skill, purchased separately, and you cannot spend skill points to "broaden the scope".

Artist (2D art): Includes calligraphy, drawing, and painting. You can also do illuminated letters if you have an appropriate literacy. With a suitable sample of their writing, you can copy another person's handwriting or signature.
Artist (3D art): Includes pottery, sculpture, and wood-carving.
Artist (interior design): Includes domestic and office interior decorating/design, as well as theatrical stage/scene design. In cultures where it is relevant, this includes a knowledge of the design aesthetics of (but not a practical benefit from the mystical side of) feng shui interior design.
Artist (body art): Includes tattoos, piercing, and scarification.
Artist (camera): Used for both still photography and motion pictures.
Artist (chef): The ability to make food look, smell, and taste good. No skill is needed to reheat frozen food or roast a rabbit over an open fire.
Artist (jeweller): The ability to create beautiful art with precious stones and metals. Because the usual metals used in jewellery are soft (copper, gold, and silver, mostly), Craft (metal) is not needed.
Artist (poetry): How to create pleasing poems. Also, how to create a pleasing musical score. You must have familiarity with any instrument you intend to create a musical score for. Literacy is required for any musical score that involves actual words, as well as for poetry. This skill does not grant understanding of common musical notation; however, at least one rank of Musician is required to create musical scores, and Musician does automatically grant understanding of common musical notation.
Artist (writing): How to create create engaging works of literature. Includes both creative fiction, advertising, and propaganda. Advertising generally requires Artist (writing) to be effective. Creating false propaganda requires Artist (writing) in conjunction with Bluff, opposed by Gather Information (reflecting their ability to find information that corroborates or contradicts your version of the facts).

Astronavigation: How to figure out where you are and which direction you need to go in order to get where you want to go while in space or hyperspace. Navigation is used to move around a planetary body; this skill is used for moving between planets. Generally, no skill is required if moving from a planet to its moon, especially if your vehicle has a high manoeuvrability or limitless fuel (eg. most spacecraft more advanced than rocket-ships).

Autohypnosis: Recalling and dreams, mind-over body to feign death or resist poisons, meditation

Balance: Use this skill to avoid falling over or slipping. This skill is also used to ride a bicycle (but not a motorbike), skating, and skiing. in some situations, a check may be required immediately after teleporting.

Bluff: This combines a number of talents, including the ability to fake emotions, fast-talk, and more practical for adventurers, feint in combat or provide a distraction while an ally picks the target's pockets.

In conjunction with Disguise, can be used to impersonate a specific person.

Climb: This includes the ability to use rope for knot-tying and binding.

Computer Use: Using electronic devices, computer programming, computer security (making and breaking it), brain hacking by directly re-programming the brain (in conjunction with Knowledge (life sciences).

Concentration: I'm really not sure what to do with this skill.

Craft (general note): Forgery of documents or counterfeiting of money requires successful use of relevant Craft and/or Artist skills to produce a believable copy. Detecting such a forgery is opposed by Perception checks. If you personally believe the item you are presenting is a forgery, you must also succeed on a Bluff vs Sense Motive check.

Most of the more advanced Craft projects will typically require one or more skills from the function sub-set and the material sub-set. Note that, unlike Handle Animal, Artist (and some others), you cannot spend skill points to make another area of Craft into a familiar skill; each Craft skill is a distinct skill, completely independent of the others.

Crafting by Function:

* Craft (structural): How to build objects that would otherwise collapse under their own weight. This is required for any structure (building or vehicle) that has two or more levels, and for any vehicle that has a motorised power source (eg. steam power or internal combustion engines), or that has a thick armoured outer shell (this includes all spacecraft, and any water vessel more complex than a raft).
* Craft (armour): This skill is needed to make any kind of personal body armour.
* Craft (gunsmith): This skill is needed to make any kind of firearm or beam weapon.
* Craft (weaponsmith): This skill is needed to make any kind of melee weapon. It also allows construction of early siege artillery (catapults and ballista), and early missile weapons (bows, crossbows, slings, spear throwers).
* Craft (electronic): Allows design, construction, repair, diagnostics, and appraisal of electrical and electronic items.
* Craft (mechanical): As for electronic, but with regard to mechanical devices, including clockwork mechanisms, combustion engines, and robotics. Simple levers and hinges do not require this skill.
* Craft (nanite): Allows construction and design of microscopically-small machines. It is generally not possible to actually "repair" these.
* Craft (pharmacy): Used to create medicines, drugs, and poisons. Actually determining what medical compound would be needed to cure a specific poison or disease requires Treat Injury skill. This does not grant any particular ability to safely handle a poison!
* Craft (weird science): Time machines, teleportation booths, psychotronics, etc. Exact use depends on what exists in the campaign world.

Crafting by Material:

* Craft (cloth): Sewing and needlework. In conjunction with Artist (2D art), you can be a fashion designer.
* Craft (leather): Leather-working. In conjunction with Craft (armour), can be used to make leather armour.
* Craft (metal): Black-smithing. In conjunction with Craft (armour), can be used to make most forms of metal armour.
* Craft (stone): Masonry. This skill is also used for making buildings with adobe brick, as well as actual cut stone. Making finished walls or floors in a mined tunnel (such as dwarven underground cities) requires this skill and Craft (structural).
* Craft (wood): Carpentry and joinery. This is strictly functional; to make something decorative, you may also need Artist (3D art).

Decipher Script: How to create and break codes. This won't make an ancient long-lost language readable. It may, however, allow interpretation of symbols that are inherently meaningful for their imagery (rather than for their value as a part of an alphabet).

Demolitions: How to set a placed charge for maximum destruction of a structure, how to set and disarm a detonator or timer, how to build explosive devices.

Diplomacy: Negotiation, diplomacy, politics, and how to act in a formal setting.

Winning popularity contests (such as elections) requires this skill, often in conjunction with Perform (public speaking). In some cases, money also helps win the election.

Succeeding at job interviews generally requires a Diplomacy skill check, assisted by any skills you have that may be relevant for the job in question.

You can't change someone's attitude by a Diplomacy check - this generally requires reflection on their part over a few days, based on their feeling about the earlier interactions (ie. GM fiat; don't roll). You use the NPC's current attitude toward you to determine the DC for using Diplomacy to persuade them to perform a single specific act as a favour. If they are open to bribery, money can be used to improve the chance of success. If you have control over them through personal secrets, using that would call for an intimidation check (and long-term will probably worsen their attitude toward you).

Streetwise is used instead of Diplomacy when trying to determine how to act, or trying to negotiate or persuade, in counter-culture settings, such as mafia, street gangs, or yakuza.

Disable Device: Used to pick locks and disable mechanical devices. Disabling an electronic device may require Craft (electronic) skill. Disabling a computer could be accomplished with Craft (electronic), or more subtle tampering could be accomplished with Computer Use to re-program it.

Disguise: Includes knowledge of makeup, as well as appropriate use of prosthetics and basic changes in posture to give the illusion of a difference in height. Used for changing a person's appearance, whether your own or someone else's. Can be used to disguise as a type (soldier, town burgher, monk, etc). In conjunction with Bluff, can be used to disguise yourself as a specific person and interact with people who know that person.

Escape Artist: How to get out of bindings and squeeze through narrow spaces.

Gamble: Skill at games of chance where there is an element of skill involved. This skill is of no use in genuine games of chance (such as lotteries and "one-arm bandit" machines). Playing against other people is an opposed Gamble check. When playing against "the house", the house is treated as a player with a very high skill bonus.

Cheating is accomplished by using Slight of hand instead of cheating, but only in games where this is actually possible. It is a Vision vs Sleight of Hand check to spot this cheating.

Gather Information: Useful for urban tracking (by asking "have you seen this person?"), finding the latest news in a town, carousing, and knowledge of current affairs.

Urban tracking by tailing a person from a close distance is accomplished by a series of Streetwise rolls. Tailing a person while remaining hidden from them also requires an opposed Hide vs Vision check. Tracking by scent or trail in a city uses the Survival skill, but at a very substantial penalty due to other tracks from townsfolk.

You can use this skill to interview a person to gain information from them without them realising they are giving you information. This is a common use of the skill by fairground fortune-tellers. Used this way, it is opposed by Sense Motive.

Handle Animal: How to train animals, calm spooked animals. Also used to drive animal-drawn wagons, carts, and chariots (or an animal type you are familiar with. When you first purchase this skill, choose one of the following animal types. Others are at a -4 penalty. It costs 3 skill points to buy an additional animal familiarity.

Amphibians: Giant frogs, newts, and toads.
Big cats: Lions and tigers, oh my!
Camels: Dromedary and bactrian.
Canines: Dogs, foxes, and wolves
Dragons: I have no idea.
Equines: Horses and donkeys
Porcines: Wild boars - the traditional riding beast of the Warhammer orc.
Raptors: Birds of prey, such as eagle, falcons, and hawks. This is the skill used for the traditional hunting technique of falconry.
Reptiles: Giant lizards and snakes.

Hide: Usually used to hide yourself. Can also be used to hide an object. In both cases, this is opposed by a Vision check.

Hiding another person is a function of Aid Another. Tailing another person in a city without being seen requires a Hide vs Vision check.

Intimidation: Brainwashing by conventional methods uses this skill, as does torture and threats of torture. Also interrogation, intimidation. Trying to eprsuade someone to do something by threatening them (by revealing information or with-holding due payment, for example) uses Intimidation.

Jump: How to leap great distances, perform high jumps, fall safely (Tumble can also be used to fall safely), and operate a parachute.

Knowledge (general note): Note that, unlike Handle Animal, Artist (and some others), you cannot spend skill points to make another area of Craft into a familiar skill; each Craft skill is completely independent of the others.

Knowledge (business): How to run the accounts, identify who to contact in an organisation, run a large organisation. Knowledge of economics, finance, market analysis, on a general scale. In medieval societies, this is more commonly identified with merchants. This skill can be used to know the general value of a given crafted item or an animal (see Appraise), but spotting any hidden flaws requires the appropriate handle Animal or Craft skill. This skill includes knowledge of corporate logography, similar to Knowledge (heraldry), but in a business context.
Knowledge (arcana): Occultism, magical symbol drawing, thaumatology. This skill subsumes the Spellcraft skill from the SRD.
Knowledge (civics): Knowledge of legal rights, limits jurisdictional authority, how the political system works, who to contact in a political body
Knowledge (earth sciences): geology, meteorology, climatology, metallurgy, prospecting. Can be used to predict the weather, recognise dangers in natural cave formations, etc. The palaeontology aspect can be used to identify fossil remains.
Knowledge (farming): How to grow plants for food and other purposes. Includes agronomy, gardening
Knowledge (heraldry): Knowledge of nobility, royalty, their symbols, coats of arms, and basic facts about their family history and territorial possessions.
The Knowledge (business) performs a similar function for corporate logos. Streetwise performs a similar function for gang colours and graffiti tags. In a world with superheroes and supervillains, this skill functions for identifying them with no changes.
Knowledge (life sciences): Bio-engineering, biology. In conjunction with Computer use, can be used to perform brain hacking, directly reprogramming someone's brain. This skill is focused heavily on the technological application of life sciences, an especially on the function of individual organs and body chemistry, rather than the bigger picture of "keeping someone alive and healthy", which is the purpose of Treat Injury.
Knowledge (military) Strategy, tactics, intelligence analysis, leadership. Creating a false military report to be "leaked" to the enemy requires Knowledge (military) and Bluff.
Knowledge (physical sciences): Astronomy, mathematics, physics
Knowledge (social sciences): Anthropology, criminology, psychology, sociology
Knowledge (geography): area knowledge, cartography
Knowledge (history): Archaeology, history, literature
Knowledge (philosophy and theology): Knowledge of religious rituals and beliefs, comparative religion, and schools of philosophy.

Move Silently: How to walk silently. Opposed by Hearing checks in most cases.

Musician: The ability to play one or more instruments, and the ability to lead a group of such players. When initially picked, choose on area of familiarity. Other forms of music are at a -4 penalty. It costs 3 skill points to gain an additional area of musician familiarity. One rank in this skill grants understanding of common musical notation.

Keyboard: Keyboard, including pianos, harpsichords, organs, and modern synthesisers.
Percussion: Drums, cymbals, and other "hit it with a stick" instruments. Also rhythmic clapping and slapping.
Singing: Vocals
String: String instruments, including bow-string (violins) and pluck-string (guitars).
Wind: Wind instruments, including both woodwind (flutes, etc) and brass (trumpets, trombones)

Navigation: How to read a map, use a compass, astrolabe, star charts, street signs, ground terrain, ocean currents, etc, to figure out where you are and which direction you need to go to reach where you want to go. This single skill covers air, sea, and land navigation. If moving between planetary bodies, use Astronavigation.

Perception: This is a single skill. Points spent on this skill apply equally to all senses that the character has. However, it is rare for a skill check to actually call for a "Perception" check. Usually, it will be a "Hearing" check or a "Vision" check (although any of the senses could be appropriate in the right situation. This is used to indicate what the appropriate modifiers are for the skill check. For example, low light levels are irrelevant for Hearing checks, and background noise is not important when trying to see someone or something.

Perform (general note): Note that, unlike Handle Animal, Artist (and some others), you cannot spend skill points to make another area of Perform into a familiar skill; each Perform skill is completely independent of the others.

Perform (acting): How to give a good performance on stage or in front of a camera, or make a dramatic entrance. In conjunction with someone who has good Artist (camera) skills, this can be used to make movies... or for cheesecake photography. This can also be used to communicate using gestures and body language, for simple concepts only.
Perform (dancing): Dances. Choreographed fight scenes use the lower of this skill or your base attack bonus.
Perform (public speaking): Used to speak convincingly to large crowds of people. Includes everything from stand-up comedy to political speeches and corporate presentations.

Ride: How to sit on an animal and not fall off. Training the animal requires the appropriate Handle Animal skill.

Intelligent creatures that can be ridden (ie. not realistic horses) can take Mount as a skill, which is the skill of being ridden and keeping the rider on your back (or alternately, throwing him off).

When you initially get this skill, choose one of the following familiarities. All others are performed at a -4 penalty. Buying an additional familiarity costs 3 skill points.

Amphibians: Giant frogs, newts, and toads.
Big cats: Lions and tigers, oh my!
Camels: Dromedary and bactrian.
Canines: Dogs, foxes, and wolves
Dragons: I have no idea.
Equines: Horses and donkeys
Porcines: Wild boars - the traditional riding beast of the Warhammer orc.
Raptors: Birds of prey, such as eagle, falcons, and hawks. This is the skill used for the traditional hunting technique of falconry.
Reptiles: Giant lizards and snakes.

Seduction: How to please someone in bed, how to make yourself sexually attractive in public places. I'm sure you can use your imagination to fill in the details.

Sense Motive: How to read body language, and determine from subtle voice inflection if someone may be deceiving you, or is not all that he or she appears to be.

Sleight of Hand: Taking unattended small objects from a table or shelf, picking pockets, and concealing objects on your person. This is also used to cheat in some gambling games.

Streetwise: How to find a safe shelter in a city, knowledge of where you might go to find a particular kind of store open at odd hours, how to trail someone in a city without losing sight of them (staying hidden at the same time also requires Hide skill).

Includes knowledge of gang colours and graffiti tags, similar to Knowledge (heraldry).

Streetwise is used instead of Diplomacy when trying to determine how to act in counter-culture settings, such as mafia, street gangs, or yakuza.

Survival: How to get on in a wilderness area. Includes gathering food (if it is available at all), finding small game (if you have appropriate tools), finding shelter, how to dress and where to go to avoid severe environmental dangers, and finding safe places to sleep. This is also used to track animals or people by following their trail (footprints, scent, or whatever). Tracking someone in a crowd and keeping them in sight requires the Streetwise skill.

Swim: How to swim. Includes knowledge of using scuba gear. Heavy diving suits generally require an appropriate Armour Proficiency.

Treat Injury: Diagnosis, esoteric medicine, first aid, physician, physiology, and surgery. The focus here is on keeping someone alive and in good health. Knowledge (life sciences) focuses more on biochemistry and bioengineering, and is of no use in a medical situation. This skill can also be used to determine the approximate time and cause of death (pathology).

Tumble: How to move around gracefully. This skill applies equally to aerial and aquatic movement, if you have such a movement ability. Its most usual uses are to mitigate injury from falling, and to dodge past opponents in close combat.

Use Magic Device: The practical art of making a magic item do what you want by sheer willpower, as opposed to actually having the nous to use it as intended.


Part Two: Vehicle Operation Skills.


Pilot: The ability to operate a personal transport which can move around in three-dimensional space. When you first buy ranks in the Pilot skill, choose one of the following vehicle familiarities. All others suffer a -4 penalty on skill checks. Buying familiarity with an additional vehicle type costs 3 skill points.

* light aircraft (small one or two-engine craft, minimal passenger or cargo capacity, equivalent to a estate car/station wagon at best)
* supersonic (advanced jet fighters)
* heavy aircraft (large passenger or cargo jets, WW2 heavy bombers)
* space fighter (anything intended to fly in a vacuum)
* ballooning (small single-crew balloons and dirigibles)
* helicopter/grav (rotary wing, autogyro, and gravitic lift vehicles; key point is ability to hover)
* submarine (small one-man submarines)

Note that any aircraft operating at faster-than-sound speeds in an atmosphere suffers the -4 penalty if you do not have the appropriate Pilot familiarity. This is most likely to affect space fighter pilots.

Helmsman: The ability to operate and command a large crewed vehicle. When you first buy ranks in the Helmsman skill, choose one of the following vehicle familiarities. All others suffer a -4 penalty on skill checks. Buying familiarity with an additional vehicle type costs 3 skill points.

* spaceship (spacecraft)
* galley/galleon (wind/muscle powered ships)
* wet navy (machine-powered ships)
* airship (large dirigibles and balloons, such as the Hindenburg)
* grav (large crewed gravitic lift vehicles)
* Submarine (underwater vessels)

In order to act as a crew member on such a vehicle, a person needs one rank in either the Helmsman with the appropriate familiarity, or Drive (or Pilot) in a vehicle of the same general type.

Drive: The ability to operate a personal transport which can move around in two-dimensional space. When you first buy ranks in the Drive skill, choose one of the following vehicle familiarities. All others suffer a -4 penalty on skill checks. Buying familiarity with an additional vehicle type costs 3 skill points.

* automobile (includes personal transports, from motorbikes and snow-mobiles, up to and including station wagons/estate cars)
* heavy wheeled (includes SUVs, small vans, trucks, HGVs, wheeled construction vehicles, and wheeled APCs).
* tracked (construction vehicles, tanks, and tracked APCs)
* locomotive (railroad vehicles)
* mecha (walkers and snake-like flexibody vehicles)
* powerboat (personal machine-powered water surface vehicles, from jet-skis to private yachts)
* boat (personal wind/muscle powered water surface vehicles)

Note that animal-powered vehicles (such as wagons and chariots) are operated by the Handle Animal skill; bicycling, skiing, and skating are handled by the Balance skill; parachuting is handled by the Jump skill; scuba equipment is operated by the Swim skill. In all cases, if your baseline technology and culture doesn't not have these technological items, you cannot use them effectively.

Silverscale
2009-09-30, 12:23 PM
With so many skills, would you increase the number of skill points characters get? Otherwise some people would be at a serious disadvantage since they need 2-3 skills for their profession and that may very well be most or all of their skill points.

Ashtagon
2009-09-30, 12:51 PM
Generally, available skill points will remain the same, except:

1) some classes will get points revised upwards (such as fighter)
2) cross-class skills cost 1 point.
3) Some skills will be added to the class skill lists for various classes.
4) All characters get a background, which operates much like d20 Modern's occupations, providing a small bonus to some skills.
4) I subscribe to E6 philosophy that the most exceptional real-world humans are level 6. With skill focus and skill bonus feats, that makes for a potential +14 by level 6.

No character is seriously expected to have competence in most of these skills. It would be a peculiar campaign that even gave access to every skill; (Craft (nanotech) and Knowledge (arcana) rarely belong together in one world.

I am curious, however, as to what professions exactly you see as being difficult to build with this variety of skills. I am sure there must be some. Knowing what they are would help me identify the problems in this list.

Assume for now an "NPC civilian" has 4 skill points per level, no Intelligence bonus, and +2 on two skills from feats. What realistic or fantasy-trope occupations couldn't be built?

Silverscale
2009-09-30, 01:25 PM
Generally, available skill points will remain the same, except:

1) some classes will get points revised upwards (such as fighter)
2) cross-class skills cost 1 point.
3) Some skills will be added to the class skill lists for various classes.
4) All characters get a background, which operates much like d20 Modern's occupations, providing a small bonus to some skills.
4) I subscribe to E6 philosophy that the most exceptional real-world humans are level 6. With skill focus and skill bonus feats, that makes for a potential +14 by level 6.

No character is seriously expected to have competence in most of these skills. It would be a peculiar campaign that even gave access to every skill; (Craft (nanotech) and Knowledge (arcana) rarely belong together in one world.

I am curious, however, as to what professions exactly you see as being difficult to build with this variety of skills. I am sure there must be some. Knowing what they are would help me identify the problems in this list.

Assume for now an "NPC civilian" has 4 skill points per level, no Intelligence bonus, and +2 on two skills from feats. What realistic or fantasy-trope occupations couldn't be built?

It's not so much that there are many jobs that would be hard to have all the skills for, as the fact that with only 4 skill points for an NPC they might be very good at their job but be totally inept in anything else which may or may not be an issue depending on how rounded you want people to be.

Let's take an Armour-smith for example. The way you have it written they would need Appraisal, Craft(Armour), Craft(Cloth), and Craft(Metal), in other words all 4 skill points just to do their job and would not have any ranks left for things like Bluff or Diplomacy or anything.

EDIT: On a side note I would separate out driving a car and riding a motorcycle, those are 2 very different skills. I, for one, am a very accomplished driver but I can't ride a motorcycle very well.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 01:28 PM
They are a lot of skills, yet they are still too few to give a good representation of how skills work for real (granted, they make a much better work than the basic skill sistem).
For example, knowledge (chemistry). I take chemistry because I'm a chemist, so I find easier to speack of that, but it may be true for any other knowledge and some other skills. You didn't put it into the list, maybe because you tought it fell under alchemy. Yet those two are very different skills. But anyway, not my point.
My point is that if you go into the university in the chemical area, you'll see plenty of people with a very high score in knowledge(chemistry), yet most of them will have no idea of what the other guy is doing.
There are guys specialized in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, industrial chemistry, computational chemistry, theoric chemistry, physical chemistry, quantum theory applied to chemistry, mixing things in the laboratory (probably alchemy falls under that), other I can't think about at the moment. All of them have a good basic knowledge of chemistry, yet the industrial chemist will know nothing of what the biochemist is doing.

In the same way, for other skills, the world champion of long jump is not capable of jumping very high. And the champion of jumping high don't jump so long. How that turns out with skills? They both should have more or less the same jump bonus, and jump the same way, and instead one jump long and the other jump high.
The same can be applied to swimming (different stiles) and a lot of other skills.

So, making other skills? Dividing skills, making the skill jump (high) different from jump (long)?

Don't think so.

I had an idea about the chance of specializing in a skill: basically, you spend skill points in a skill, but instead of growing all the facets of this skill, you grow only some, yet more. Ok, as it is I don't think anyone understood, so I'm going to make an example.

jump. You spend 1 skill point in jump, get +1 to all jump checks.
Instead you want to specialize. You spend 1 skill point in jump (long, running) and get a +2 to jumping long while running, but no bonus to other jumps. You may specialize in other kind of jumpings as you will. The more restricted is your area of specialization, the greater the bonus you get. For example,
knowledge (chemistry)
You specialize in
knowledge (chemistry (industrial)) spend 1, get +2
knowledge (chemistry (industrial processes of the nitrogen) spend 1, get a +4
knowledge (chemistry (industrial process involving ammonia) get, say, +6
knowledge (chemistry (Haber-Bosch process for ammonia production), that is a very specific knowledge and you can get a +10 to it by spending 1 skill point. After all, someone whose work is supervising said Haber-Bosch process is supposed to know everything about it (and he probably does), yet not necessarily he spent dozens of skill points in the knowledge (chemistry). It could be that he only has basic knowledge of chemistry but read everything about his work.

I think this could be a better way to represent how skills works in the real world; I never wored out the details because I'm not really intersted in making succh a skill sistem, but if you want to take something from it, feel free.

Ashtagon
2009-09-30, 04:25 PM
@silverscale


Let's take an Armour-smith for example. The way you have it written they would need Appraisal, Craft(Armour), Craft(Cloth), and Craft(Metal), in other words all 4 skill points just to do their job and would not have any ranks left for things like Bluff or Diplomacy or anything.

Not so. If he wants to make metal armour, he needs Craft (metal) and Craft (armour). He doesn't need Craft (cloth) unless he wanted to making actual clothing out of fabrics (or padded armour, if he could find a market for that). Yes, I realise that technically plate/chain armours included padding underneath, but the intent is to focus on the major component of the item. Historical armourers tended to sub-contract the padding that would have been worn under the metal armours they made anyway. He would need Craft (leather) if he also wanted to make leather or studded leather armour.

He does not need Appraisal. His Craft skills give him all the benefits of Appraisal with regard to objects that fall within the realm of those Craft skills. Appraisal is used for anything that you don't have the correct Craft/Perform/Artist/Handle Animal skill.

So, our (metal) armour-smith minimally needs two skills to do his job well: Craft (armour) and Craft (metal). Any of Bluff, Diplomacy, and Knowledge (business) would be useful supporting skills in his secondary role as salesman and/or senior guild member.


EDIT: On a side note I would separate out driving a car and riding a motorcycle, those are 2 very different skills. I, for one, am a very accomplished driver but I can't ride a motorcycle very well.

Good idea. I almost did that anyway.

@ King of Nowere

Good catch on chemistry. I had intended chemistry to fall under Knowledge (earth sciences). This is why I need good proof-readers like you :smallwink:

I am horribly aware that these skills are very broad. K/earth sciences is incredibly broad, and I am certain that many chemists would be offended at how simplistic I have made their chosen career (ditto for high jumpers). We both seem to agree though that making literally millions of skills is not the solution. K/philosophy and theology is another that'd have many people up in arms, as it intrinsically assumes knowledge of all religions :smalleek:

My approach was to create Knowledge skills that were as broad as reasonably practical, using the base categories from D&D and d20 modern as a base level.

That specialisation system you outlined is very similar to what is used in GURPS (another game that I data-mined for base skill categories). Allowing ranks to rise faster than class level is the inevitable result of the specialisation you suggest, which makes for horrible imbalance issues. It also creates teh danger of players creating characters that are extremely highly specialised, and then getting upset because their character routinely fumbles at something that is closely related to their specialisation. Such players will criticise teh game design rather than their choices.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 05:15 PM
I didn't say it would work as a skill system. It is too complex and byzantine to be really useful for roleplaying.
On the other hand, imo it is the most realistic choice, if well balanced by the dm. Real people generally are very good at doing few very specific things (the specializations), and quite good in certain areas (the regular skills).
It would need a good way to balance the bonuses.
For example, someone with a +30 to jump check in the E6 idea would make no sense, peope don't jump that much. So in this case a dm should allow someone to take a few points in specialization in a kind of jump, just to justify the fact that someone jumps longer and someone higher, but not enough to make that guy jump 15 meters.
On the other hand, for knowledge skills, I find perfectly reasonable that a researcher has like a +30 to knowledge checks in the very specific stuff he is researching. It is a very strict field, where he read all that was published on the subject, and uses that knowledge everyday. He cram out dc 25 checks like cookies. But he knows that much only in this specific field. I'd say a researcher in chemistry probably has +8/+10 in knowledge (chemistry), but with more specializations in a specific field that jumps him to the stratosphere for a specific task.
Even workers specialized in a specific task should have very high checks in the knowledge/craft/perform (what the hell they're doing 8 hours per day).
The difference is that for physical abilities your body is limited, you can't specialize over a certain degree, while in knowledge-based abilities (including crafting and stuff) you can focus on a very specific area and know everything of that, so for a real person a + 30 to jump or climb would make no sense, but +30 to a specific knowledge regarding a specific field makes actually sense.

EDIT
Probably to balance it a bit it should be posed a condition like

- to spend skill points in a specialization you need to have that much ranks in that skill (to spend 3 skill points to specialization (organic chemistry) you need to have at least 3 ranks in chemistry).

- for physical abilities you may take only one concentric specialization (you can take jump, then jump (high). You can't take jump (running) to get cumulative bonuses when you run to jump high. Or maybe you can but you apply only the higher specialization.

-for knowledge-like skills you can take up to three or five concentric specializations, like knowledge (chemistry) + knowledge (chemistry (industrial)) + knowledge (chemistry (industrial processes of the nitrogen) + knowledge (chemistry (industrial process involving ammonia) +
knowledge (chemistry (Haber-Bosch process for ammonia production)
which all give cumulative bonuses since every specialization is an even stricter field than the previous.

-there is no limit to the number of non-concentric specializations (you may take specialization (jump, high) AND specialization jump (long), they don't cumulate with each other.