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Old 10-21-2016, 05:00 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Book Idea: GURPS Skills

GURPS has a lot of skills. Different amounts of text are dedicated to each, which is fair: the Exorcism skill is the best place to describe an exorcism, probably, and Crossbow is pretty self-explanatory. But some of them would justify their own supplements: Boardrooms and Curia isn't precisely GURPS Politics, but it's close. What strikes me as more feasible than a supplement for every skill, though, is a book dedicated entirely to skills. For each skill, I'd love to see some combination of the following:
  • At-length description of the skill
  • Explanation of why other skills allow defaults to this one
  • Distinctions between the skill and related ones (what's the difference between Economics and Finance? Body Language and Detect Lies? Electronics Operation: Media and Photography?)
  • Common and uncommon uses for the skill
  • Common and uncommon modifiers that may apply to the skill
  • Techniques that are specific to the skill
EDIT: Now with contributions from other brains!
  • Applications of superhuman skill levels, if any
  • Familiarity and optional specialization examples
  • "If I wanted to cut down the skill list, what skill could do this skill's job?"
  • Skills through the ages; does use change much over TL?
  • What tools are required to avoid a penalty? Do any provide a bonus? Does this change over TL?
  • What genre(s) is this skill appropriate or inappropriate for?
SAME EDIT: That's a long list! I'm sure there are some skills that deserve to have every one of those points lavished with attention over the course of a full page or more, but I'm envisioning a book where, if there's nothing interesting to say for a given point, it's omitted. I don't think anyone needs to be told whether Sewing is appropriate for an Action game. If you take it, you know full well it's so you can say "before we turn in for the night, I'll stitch all the bullet holes in Burt's jacket shut so he doesn't draw attention at the office tomorrow."

There should also, like Talents and Wildcard Skills, be a second section that discusses skills in a general sense. Talk about solo complementary skills. Talk about helping other peoples' skill use. Talk about techniques that might be applicable to a variety of skills. Talk about learning skills in play, and give some realistic/cinematic levers to adjust that. Maybe there can be a list of Cinematic Defaults, defaults that wouldn't be allowed in a gritty campaign but might be reasonable for a campaign where breadth in competence is appropriate even without wildcard skills. Maybe there's a discussion of when and how it's appropriate to cap skills: when it's best to cap them at Attribute+5, when it's best to cap them at 20, when it's best to soft-cap them, when it's best not to cap them at all.

Would there be a market for a supplement like that among forumgoers? What length would be thinking about? I'm thinking it wouldn't be ~250 pages like Powers or Martial Arts. Could 150 get the job done? What do you think?

Last edited by McAllister; 10-21-2016 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Excellent feedback
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