Random Skill Ideas

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Aglondir

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I'm trying to create a skill list for my Traveller heartbreaker. The goal is to keep the list to around 30 skills, so a lot of stuff has to go. I have a skill called Profession/* which is used for misc skills. These skills come from many different systems. Feedback welcome!

Climb (Delete): Is this really a skill, or a feat of strength?

Disguise (Combine With Deception) This might be a localized experience, but no one seems to use this skill. Oddly enough they use magic to do this often.

Escape Artist (Delete): Again, might be localized experience, but players hate being captured. Probably as much as they hate being mind controlled. As a result, I never have the NPC's capture players, which makes this skill useless.

Forgery (Make it a Profession): Again, this may be localized experience, but no one ever seems to use it.

Handle Animal (Make it a Profession): Not really appropriate for the genre.

Jump, and Swim (Delete): I think I’m going to emulate the Hero system and make these flat values based on STR rather than something you roll.

Gambling (Delete): It's a fun skill, but in reality to win at cards you either cheat (with the Sleight of hand skill, swapping a bad card for the ace in your sleeve) or you’ve got a really good poker face (Deception skill). I guess you could count cards as well, but is that Gambling or just INT?.

Interrogate (Delete): I don’t want this to be a skill, but an extended dynamic where the players use different skills (probably deception and intimidate).

Navigation (Delete): This skill is used to get the players from Where They Are to Where the Adventure Is. I'm not going to make someone buy a skill for that. For getting un-lost in the woods, use Survival.

Sailing (Make it a Profession): Seldom comes up.

Shadow (Combine with Stealth) Seem related.

Systems Ops (Delete): See Vacc Suit.

Vacc Suit (Delete): I think I will just rule that everyone knows how to use one, just like everyone can drive a car. Unless they don’t want to (maybe they come from a primitive world.)
 

Stevethulhu

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A few points.

Climbers tend to be wiry and agile, rather than just strong. Rock climbing in particular needs a lot less strength than you might think. Other physical feats can also be a lot less dependent on raw strength that you'd guess if all you had to go by were RPG rule systems.

When it comes to getting captured, one thing I've said many times is, "How do you make a daring escape if you never get caught?" Which usually has "Besides, these NPCs will just shoot us dead if we don't surrender." Note that this might mean letting your players believe that you'll kill them with no mercy. Even if this isn't strictly the case.

When it comes to Profession skills, on the one hand macro skills aren't a bad idea. On the other, if a skill needs specialist rules in order to function, it probably should be a skill rather than a fluffy tag.

For Navigation, remember that getting lost is also an adventure. And sure, anyone can say, "Computer, plot us a jump to the Delta Magna system." But it takes a Navigator to go plot a jump to Delta Magna IV and put you on the far side of the moon so you can jump in undetected.

System Ops is the ability to find obscure information, create workarounds or to perform other non trivial IT related tastks while under pressure. It's not just opening your Gaming Files folder to look up a document.

As for Vacc Suit, sure, everyone can use one. But what about when your buddy's suit, or even worse yours, starts to malfunction in some way? Anything more sophisticated than "I put the suit on and walk across the surface of the planetoid" should probably require a roll.
 

Baulderstone

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I'm trying to create a skill list for my Traveller heartbreaker. The goal is to keep the list to around 30 skills, so a lot of stuff has to go. I have a skill called Profession/* which is used for misc skills. These skills come from many different systems. Feedback welcome!

Climb (Delete): Is this really a skill, or a feat of strength?

It is definitely a skill. Strength isn't going to teach you to use climbing tools or to know if an outcropping will make a safe handhold or break.

Disguise (Combine With Deception) This might be a localized experience, but no one seems to use this skill. Oddly enough they use magic to do this often.

Disguise can be a number of things. You might be trying to imitate someone specifically or just look like a type of person, or maybe you are trying to simply look innocuous. As for the skills involved, make-up is definitely a skill, as is having an eye for detail on costuming. Anyone can put on a bloody uniform you just took off a dead NPC. A disguise artist knows all the fine touches in how an Beranian count dresses, from the cerulean tassels on their bootlaces to the way in which they trim their eyebrows. Knowing this kind of thing is useful even with magic. Magic is great for being able to make a disguise in seconds, but if you don't have a clear image of the look you are going for, it might still be unconvincing.

I should add, I have one friend I have gamed with for years who loves the disguises.

Escape Artist (Delete): Again, might be localized experience, but players hate being captured. Probably as much as they hate being mind controlled. As a result, I never have the NPC's capture players, which makes this skill useless.

If you are never going to let the players use it, then you are right to strike.

Forgery (Make it a Profession): Again, this may be localized experience, but no one ever seems to use it.

This skill should be enormously useful in Traveller. You have far-flung, high-tech setting with no FTL communications. If you show up with forged documents from another world, it can be weeks or months before anyone catches on, if they ever do at all. The Traveller setting is custom-built to run amuck with disguises and forgery.

Jump, and Swim (Delete): I think I’m going to emulate the Hero system and make these flat values based on STR rather than something you roll.

Gambling (Delete): It's a fun skill, but in reality to win at cards you either cheat (with the Sleight of hand skill, swapping a bad card for the ace in your sleeve) or you’ve got a really good poker face (Deception skill). I guess you could count cards as well, but is that Gambling or just INT?.

There are some games that are blind luck, but a skilled gambler won't play those anyway. Gambling is very much a skill whether you are cheating or just reading the odds. Gambling also usually has its own subsystem, so it is good to keep as its own thing.

Interrogate (Delete): I don’t want this to be a skill, but an extended dynamic where the players use different skills (probably deception and intimidate).

Sure. If you already have both Deception and Intimidate, you should be fine. Having a large menu of social skills can get confusing. I don't want to play a high Intimidation character and get told I need to roll Interrogate to get information out of someone.

Navigation (Delete): This skill is used to get the players from Where They Are to Where the Adventure Is. I'm not going to make someone buy a skill for that. For getting un-lost in the woods, use Survival.

I'm with Stevethulhu on this. Getting lost is an adventure. Also, Navigation is good for finding shortcuts. The PC and NPCs are both travelling to the same place. Who gets their first if they have the same speed? The side with the best navigator.

Survival is most fun when you are lost. When the party is wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, the survival guy gets to keep them alive. He gets to roll every day to give the party food and shelter.

Shadow (Combine with Stealth) Seem related.

Definitely

Systems Ops (Delete): See Vacc Suit.

Siding with Stevethulhu here again, especially his point on gathering information. Having a gather information skill is useful because it makes people care more about exposition. If you give the players an exposition dump, they may or may not care that much. If they get an exposition dump because they made a roll to get it, the guy that made that roll is more likely to be hanging on every word. It is treasure he just won.

As for IT knowledge, we are decades into the Information Age. Even among young people who grew up in it, People vary vastly in what they can do. Sure, everyone under 50 can use basic applications on their laptop and phone, but plenty of them have only the vaguest idea of the underlying systems. Your car analogy fits because everyone can do it, but some people can just get to the grocery store and back, and some people can can drive the Indy 500.

Vacc Suit (Delete): I think I will just rule that everyone knows how to use one, just like everyone can drive a car. Unless they don’t want to (maybe they come from a primitive world.)

Maybe in a belter community. Most people in Traveller live on planets, and if they do travel in space, they might know how to put on the Vacc Suit for Dummies that is stored in their cabin. Even then, they might forget the crash course they had after 15 years of travel without a space emergency.
 

daniel_ream

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the survival guy gets to keep them alive. He gets to roll every day to give the party food and shelter.
[...]If they get an exposition dump because they made a roll to get it, the guy that made that roll is more likely to be hanging on every word. It is treasure he just won.

This just gets into the realm of rolling for the sake of rolling, though. What makes RPGs a unique form of entertainment is the players' choices driving the fiction. Sure, to some extent somebody made a choice to take Survival (more likely, it's a skill they obtained during Traveller's random chargen), but if the extent of the skill existing is "periodically the GM will ask you to roll a die, and then do some things based on the roll of that die" then either the skill should be removed or there should be some kind of subsystem that involves player choice.

As for IT knowledge, we are decades into the Information Age. Even among young people who grew up in it, People vary vastly in what they can do. Sure, everyone under 50 can use basic applications on their laptop and phone, but plenty of them have only the vaguest idea of the underlying systems.

It depends on what the OP wants in their heartbreaker, but by default even the current versions of Traveller stick with a kind of retro-70's technology feel where technology is hardware, and human-scale hardware at that.
 

Aglondir

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Thanks for all of the replies. This is exactly the kind of feedback I need, to hear about other people's POV and experiences. Instead of quoting posts, I'll try to reply with thoughts.

Climb: Agree. I will make it a skill under Agility.
Disguise: Agree. I seldom see it used, but I that's probably becuase we usually play fanatasy. In Traveller, there's no magic to do it for you.
Forgery: Agree. I don't know why no one seems to take it, but its a fun skill with lots of possiblities.
Gambling: Considering. I like it thematically, but I still don't see what it covers that SOH and Deception don't. Maybe knowledge of different games?
Navigation: Considering. I like your argument that a navcomp can get you from A to B, but a human navigator can do cool tricks.
Systems Ops: I forgot to mention that there's a Computers skill that covers most of the examples you guys provided. Here I'm thinking of stuff on a staship like life support, comms, sensors... bascially the misc systems that aren't security, helm, or engineering. The Star Wars RPG rolled this into the computer skill (which gave me the idea) but it's starting to sound like a viable skill to me.
Vacc Suit: Still leaning towards no. I think I will cover this under Profession: Spacer.
 

Aglondir

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Here's my current skill list. 37 total skills. I don't want to go any higher unless it is relly necessary. Thoughts?

CHA
Bargain
Command
Deception
Intimidate
Perform
Savoir Faire

DEX
Acrobatics
Armed Com
Climb
Drive
Pilot
Ranged Com
Unarmed Com

INT
Animals
Astrogation
Business
Knowledge*
Language*
Medicine
Profession*
Survival
Tactics

TECH
Computers
Demolitions
Electronics
Engineer
Forgery
Mechanic
System Ops
Weaponsmith

WITS
Alertness
Disguise
Gambling
Security
SOH

Stealth
Streetwise
 

Baulderstone

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This just gets into the realm of rolling for the sake of rolling, though. What makes RPGs a unique form of entertainment is the players' choices driving the fiction. Sure, to some extent somebody made a choice to take Survival (more likely, it's a skill they obtained during Traveller's random chargen), but if the extent of the skill existing is "periodically the GM will ask you to roll a die, and then do some things based on the roll of that die" then either the skill should be removed or there should be some kind of subsystem that involves player choice.

I don't know how you got that from my comment. I just feel that providing players with an active way to gather information through a skill gives it value. I don't see what that has to do with the randomly asking the players to roll a die.

As for the survival roll, needing to roll for food and water is pretty meaningful.

It depends on what the OP wants in their heartbreaker, but by default even the current versions of Traveller stick with a kind of retro-70's technology feel where technology is hardware, and human-scale hardware at that.

'70s hardware based computers only make it more likely you need a skill for them.

Navigation: Considering. I like your argument that a navcomp can get you from A to B, but a human navigator can do cool tricks.

A good way to think about it is that it is the difference between having a savvy cab driver take you through a city and just turning on your car's navigation system. You will notice a difference.

Vacc Suit:
Still leaning towards no. I think I will cover this under Profession: Spacer.

Actually, that sound like a viable way to do it.
 

Stevethulhu

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Gambling: Considering. I like it thematically, but I still don't see what it covers that SOH and Deception don't. Maybe knowledge of different games?
Gambling application in a nutshell:

C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.


In other words, Gambling is the skill you use for knowing just how unlikely it is tha you can pull off a given feat. And might even influence the outcome when you use it before you do something utterly insane.
 

opaopajr

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Knowing your scope of play will help immensely on prioritizing skills.

That which overlaps nigh universally should just be bundled as part of, as you say, Profession/* (or even just conceive of it as Culture/*). It would be easier to find where you want play to be focused and then note what sort of diverse roles you want active (dare I say it, "class"?). Then catalog skills per role, pool them together, and let people choose from the buffet.
 

Mrfish

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Gambling application in a nutshell:

C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

In other words, Gambling is the skill you use for knowing just how unlikely it is tha you can pull off a given feat. And might even influence the outcome when you use it before you do something utterly insane.

Im thinking that application should really be party of the skill you would be using to complete whatever task you are contemplating. So in the example, this should really be a pilot, or perhaps navigation skill check (or astrogation, from the list above)?

I rarely find room for a separate gambling skill, but with that said I prefer shorter skill lists.
 

Stevethulhu

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Im thinking that application should really be party of the skill you would be using to complete whatever task you are contemplating. So in the example, this should really be a pilot, or perhaps navigation skill check (or astrogation, from the list above)?

I rarely find room for a separate gambling skill, but with that said I prefer shorter skill lists.
I like skills. I find games with too few skill lists don't have meaningful differences between pilots and drivers. Or between athletes and acrobats. Or between gunners and gunslingers. But that's me.

As for the gambling thing, I forget which game it was that had Gambling as more than just betting and playing games of chance and expanded it into having a character who could figure the odds and then play them as well as the usual stuff. But I thought it was brilliant. Suddenly a character like Bret Maverick or Lando Calrissian becomes a lot more attractive when your poker skill does more than just let you play a game of cards sometimes.
 

Baulderstone

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For the gambling skill, it also comes down to whether your players like gambling. In the group I had about 10 years ago, the players would jump at any opportunity to gamble, complete with the related cheating, brawls, and nights spent in lock-up that came with it. If I was running a game that didn't have a gambling skill, I had to add one.

I've been thinking further on Profession skills. They are useful for reducing skill bloat, but you need to be careful that you aren't hiding important skills by doing so.

When I think of profession skills, I often think of horror investigation games or superhero games where my PC has a day job but that won't come up that often. I put some points in Profession: Accountant, and maybe once in while I roll to look into the mayor's expenses, and I see how he is tied into the local cult, but mostly the skill is just how I get paychecks.

If you have a Profession: Spacer skill that covers something like Vacc Suits, the players may just scan past the Profession list. "My character is a starship pilot, and I have the Pilot skill. I don't need a Profession skill." Then when their starship loses pressure, they get a rude awakening when you ask for a Profession: Spacer skill as they scramble to suit up.

Rather than having it bundled under profession where it might be missed, maybe just have a Spacer skill that covers all the thing various life skills of a person that lives in space long-term.
 

Aglondir

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For the gambling skill, it also comes down to whether your players like gambling. In the group I had about 10 years ago, the players would jump at any opportunity to gamble, complete with the related cheating, brawls, and nights spent in lock-up that came with it. If I was running a game that didn't have a gambling skill, I had to add one.
True. That's why I decided to keep it. It's a fun skill. My metric is "will this make the game more interesting?"
When I think of profession skills, I often think of horror investigation games or superhero games where my PC has a day job but that won't come up that often. I put some points in Profession: Accountant, and maybe once in while I roll to look into the mayor's expenses, and I see how he is tied into the local cult, but mostly the skill is just how I get paychecks.
That was my thinking as well, Profession/* is for the "before I became an adventurer" stuff, or "all the other stuff" that adds depth to your character. I'm at 41 skills right now, which is 1 more than I wanted. And I don't have Gunner. Damn it, make it 42.
Rather than having it bundled under profession where it might be missed, maybe just have a Spacer skill that covers all the thing various life skills of a person that lives in space long-term.
I've decided to nix it. Everyone has Profession/Spacer, since it's so integral to the game. That includes knowing how to put on a vacc suit, how to use basic ship systems, how to cycle an airlock, how to lower the loading ramp, etc. Unless someone specifically doesn't want it (e.g. a barbarian from a TL3 homeworld.) But I will include a list of sample professions, for stuff that may not be obvious. It's even more of an issue for Knowledge/*, which includes all of the sciences. I'm not going to list and describe every academic subject (from Archeology to Zoology). Otherwise I'm reinventing Gurps.
 

Aglondir

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Are you going to do 0 level skills? I usually assume that players have 0 lvl in Vacc Suits. The caveat in vacc suits is that as soldier's armor is usually a vacc suit; then also I'm not seeing Zero G or any EVA skills. For a Traveller house rule I have thought about is to make the stats more relevant, so that certain actions like acrobatics is redundant under dex. Generally, I have thought to make very broad skills to reduce their number, such as their being two personal combat skills: Firearms and CQB (Close Quarters Battle). Another skill that is almost a must have imo, is investigate, it has the potential to be very useful.
Currently I have Atts range 1-10, skills range 1-10. Add those together. Roll <= on a D20 and you succeed.

I have 3 combat skills: Armed Combat, Ranged Combat, and Unarmed Combat. But I'm tinkering with the idea of splitting them:
  • AC splits into 1-Handed Weapons and 2-Handed Weapons
  • RC splits into Firearms, Beam Weapons, Archery, and Throwing
  • UC remains the same.
This way the guy from the TL4 planet can be an awesome archer, but lousy with a blaster.
 

Aglondir

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I like skills. I find games with too few skill lists don't have meaningful differences between pilots and drivers. Or between athletes and acrobats. Or between gunners and gunslingers. But that's me.
True. It's a fine art, and I appreciate the feedback you guys are providing! I generally like to have around 30-40 skills. I'm at 42 right now.
 

Aglondir

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That which overlaps nigh universally should just be bundled as part of, as you say, Profession/* (or even just conceive of it as Culture/*). It would be easier to find where you want play to be focused and then note what sort of diverse roles you want active (dare I say it, "class"?). Then catalog skills per role, pool them together, and let people choose from the buffet.
Funny you should mention that! When I created the skill list, I originally grouped them into families based on roles:
  • Fighting
  • Athletic
  • Covert
  • Technical
  • Social
  • Academic
I was actually thinking of making those the attributes, but there were a few skills that wouldn't fit neatly into that scheme (Search and Alertness, mostly.) And then there's the Strength/Con issue.
 

Stevethulhu

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Funny you should mention that! When I created the skill list, I originally grouped them into families based on roles:
  • Fighting
  • Athletic
  • Covert
  • Technical
  • Social
  • Academic
I was actually thinking of making those the attributes, but there were a few skills that wouldn't fit neatly into that scheme (Search and Alertness, mostly.) And then there's the Strength/Con issue.
I like that list. Add some kind of Alertness/Awareness to it and you've got most of your typical RPG stat/skill group bases covered.

As for Strength/Con, it depends what you're going for. Is the amount you can carry going to be important? Is endurance going to matter? Other than as fluff items, that is. Once you decide the answers to those questions, you'll have an idea of where you want to take things as you move forwards.
 

Aglondir

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I like that list. Add some kind of Alertness/Awareness to it and you've got most of your typical RPG stat/skill group bases covered.
Thanks, I'm starting to like it more than the arrangement I current have (Str, Dex, Int, Tech, Wits, Cha). Should I put Alertness in the covert family (which sort of makes sense, in a "a thief can spot a thief" kind of way) or elevate it to the top level? The problem with the latter is that there are no skills that would fall under it. The problem with putting it under Covert is that it's also used to detect ambushes, which is more of a Fighting idea.
 

Baulderstone

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Thanks, I'm starting to like it more than the arrangement I current have (Str, Dex, Int, Tech, Wits, Cha). Should I put Alertness in the covert family (which sort of makes sense, in a "a thief can spot a thief" kind of way) or elevate it to the top level? The problem with the latter is that there are no skills that would fall under it. The problem with putting it under Covert is that it's also used to detect ambushes, which is more of a Fighting idea.
I like the idea of "a thief can spot a thief". After all, getting away with sleight of hand and sneaking past people does involve a lot of situational awareness. I'm okay with it spotting ambushes too. Fighting skill doesn't automatically make you good at ambushing or spotting ambushes. It's the guy who is good at stealth that is going to notice that this is an excellent place for an ambush.
 

Stevethulhu

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I like the idea of "a thief can spot a thief". After all, getting away with sleight of hand and sneaking past people does involve a lot of situational awareness. I'm okay with it spotting ambushes too. Fighting skill doesn't automatically make you good at ambushing or spotting ambushes. It's the guy who is good at stealth that is going to notice that this is an excellent place for an ambush.
I'd say that, in a sci-fi game, being alert and aware of your environment is more than just spotting ambushes and other deceptive acts. It's being able to read your sensor display and properly interpret what you're seeing. It's being able to find that particular file you're after in a mainframe.

At this point, I'm going to suggest taking a look at the Star Trek Adventures game. There, you have six Attributes and six Disciplines. Your Attributes fill the same function as stats do in most RPGs. And your Disciplines fill the role of skills. But the clever bit is in how they interact. Each Attribute can work with each Discipline to perform a different, but related, task. It's quite a clever idea and cuts your skill list down to 6. Or 36, depending how you look at it.
 

Baulderstone

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I'd say that, in a sci-fi game, being alert and aware of your environment is more than just spotting ambushes and other deceptive acts. It's being able to read your sensor display and properly interpret what you're seeing. It's being able to find that particular file you're after in a mainframe.
I agree. I'm just making the point that engaging in deceptive acts requires a high level of situational awareness, so I can see the skills being linked somehow.
 

Aglondir

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I agree. I'm just making the point that engaging in deceptive acts requires a high level of situational awareness, so I can see the skills being linked somehow.
Cool, I will place ALE under Covert.
 

Aglondir

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I like the idea of "a thief can spot a thief". After all, getting away with sleight of hand and sneaking past people does involve a lot of situational awareness. I'm okay with it spotting ambushes too. Fighting skill doesn't automatically make you good at ambushing or spotting ambushes. It's the guy who is good at stealth that is going to notice that this is an excellent place for an ambush.
That's my take on it as well. How do you feel about Stealth under the Covert skill? Usually RPG's place it under Dex, which I think is a mistake. It's more about being aware of your opponent and environment than agility or coordination.
 

Aglondir

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At this point, I'm going to suggest taking a look at the Star Trek Adventures game. There, you have six Attributes and six Disciplines. Your Attributes fill the same function as stats do in most RPGs. And your Disciplines fill the role of skills. But the clever bit is in how they interact. Each Attribute can work with each Discipline to perform a different, but related, task. It's quite a clever idea and cuts your skill list down to 6. Or 36, depending how you look at it.
That does sound interesting; I'll check it out.

Currently I'm going with FACTAS: Fighting, Athletics, Covert, Technical, Academic, Social. The trick is vehicle skills. I've got them under Athletic, since they involve hand-eye coordination, but I'm not sure. Another option is to replace Academics with Knowledge, and placing them there-- the idea being you're trained in how to operate a complex piece of equipment. That creates a weird situation where the astrophysics professor becomes a better pilot.

The other option is to put them under Tech, but that's more repair, modifying, and inventing. That creates the weird situation where there's no difference between the ace pilot and the mechanic that maintains his starfighter.
 

Aglondir

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Added a skill: Exosuit, which covers battler armor, construction exosekeltons (e.g. Ripley in Aliens) and... vacc suit!
 

Baulderstone

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That's my take on it as well. How do you feel about Stealth under the Covert skill? Usually RPG's place it under Dex, which I think is a mistake. It's more about being aware of your opponent and environment than agility or coordination.
I agree with that. Dexterity helps, but it is secondary.
 

Stevethulhu

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Does it make sense to use Repair/* instead of Mechanics, Electronics, Weaponsmith, Engineer? That way the GM can customize the /* to their campaign. For example, a game without Robots would not have Repair/Robots.
AS long as Repairs use a consistent set of rules, I don't see why Repair as a macro skill wouldn't work.
 

Aglondir

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Sorry I deleted that post (on tech skills)-- I was sort of thinking out loud (which I tend to do often.) But thanks for the answer!
 

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Funny you should mention that! When I created the skill list, I originally grouped them into families based on roles:
  • Fighting
  • Athletic
  • Covert
  • Technical
  • Social
  • Academic
I was actually thinking of making those the attributes, but there were a few skills that wouldn't fit neatly into that scheme (Search and Alertness, mostly.) And then there's the Strength/Con issue.

Sorry, I was heat exhausted these past few days and wanted to get back to this topic. :smile:

That's one way to do it. But part of me likes the idea of coming from the setting scope direction to clean things up a lot. This way you think of roles within your scope's professional or cultural milieu, sprinkle skills relevant to each role's strength, and then place that pool as open for PC tailoring.

Let's see if I can give an example:

Astrobelt Spacers Customs Agency

Culture: Spacers
Profession: Custom Officers
Roles:
Patrol Officers - Piloting, Ship Combat, Diplomacy.
Fleet Mechanics - Repair, Ship Upgrades, Decryption.
Ship Inspectors - Investigation, Close Combat, Security.
Custom Agents - Translation, Custom Law, Insight.

Then open the entire pile of 12 skills for everyone to mix and match as they like. Those 4 roles are archetypal, but no one is expected to be exactly like that. Everything else, like Vacc Suit, First Aid, Spacer Safety, Customs Protocol, Jurisdiction, etc. just gets rolled up into Culture or Profession.

That's what I would mean working from Setting Scope on back into the mechanics. That way skill mechanics serve your Campaign by providing a tighter band of relevant skills.

Afterwards you could add Miscellaneous skills pool, where people can select 1 for added PC flavor.
e.g. Appraisal, Fencing (illegal), Gambling, Gossip, Evangelism, etc.

It'd be a very Skills-lite game, but that'd be part of its charm. Most stuff is hand-wavium away to support immediate play. Also those roles' skills give quick reference to spot check crew strengths and weaknesses. It's great to be different, but it also opens the complexity for team build decisions, which makes Stable of PCs play potentially sing.
 
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