Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-10-2015, 08:41 AM   #11
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
For example the typical maverick litigation lawyer is typically tempermentally unfit for learning a lot of Administration.
Optional Specialization and Quirks should be able to cover cases like this. Your maverick might have IQ 12 and Bureaucracy-16, but has a Quirk that means for Administration tasks he's working off of the normal Bureaucracy default.

Ideally, you'd want all skills to be the same difficulty for simplicity, with Optional Specialization simply giving a bonus to skill. I'd probably allow two levels of Specialization - Specialized and Extremely Specialized. The former is +1 for your task of interest and -2 for everything else; the latter is +2 for your task of interest and you work off defaults for everything else. Hard is probably appropriate, making Defaulting always be -5, [1] is -2, [2] is -1, [4] is +0, and it costs an additional [4] for each +1.
Varyon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 05:19 PM   #12
Kallatari
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

Have you considered just using the Niches/Challenges from Chapter 4 of GURPS Template Toolkit 1 - Characters? Granted, the Niches define a group of traits and skills to defeat a specific kind of challenge, but when you get down to having skills with a purpose in the game, what better way to limit them than by type of challenges?

There are 30 niches/challenges defined there, which isn't too large for a limited number of skills. It's not necessarily perfect... there's only a single "Combat" niche for example, so you don't divide between ranged and melee weapons as it was in your original suggestion, but then again, that's not so bad either as that tends to be more TL driven than anything else (you can throw in ranged vs melee as specialization). But it at least aligns up with the suggestions of character template design.
Kallatari is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 06:37 PM   #13
dataweaver
 
dataweaver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

I'd take most Esoteric Skills (e.g., Enthrallment or anything with Trained By a Master as a prerequisite) out of consideration for this purpose: those are essentially “supernatural powers” systems, and no more deserve to be covered by a generic skill list than Imbuements or Spells do.

Let me second Kallatari's idea of referring to Niches as a basis for the skill list, complete with the caveat that a strict one-skill-per-Niche list isn’t ideal; but there should be at least one skill per Niche, and more than one per Niche should be the exception.
__________________
Point balance is a myth.[1][2][3][4]
dataweaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 06:49 PM   #14
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

I seem to recall considering this sort of thing before. One start on a project was here.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 06:58 PM   #15
JMason
 
JMason's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cockeysville, MD
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

I was working on an idea like this by basically looking for skill families and creating a meta-skill that all the others defaulted to. I never got around to building a list of skills, but you can look at my thought process on my blog:

http://diceanddiscourse.blogspot.com/2015/07/skill.html
__________________
---
My Blog: Dice and Discourse - My adventures in GURPS and thoughts on table top RPGs.
JMason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 07:04 PM   #16
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

I did an article on this topic for JTAS: Condensed Skills for GURPS Traveller. I was only able to cut the list to about 75, though.
thrash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 05:17 AM   #17
Donny Brook
 
Donny Brook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Snoopy's basement
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Short of having literally millions of skills, that's going to be a problem no matter where you put the boundaries between them.

I suppose the other limit that still preserves some of the GURPS engine is not to have any skills at all. Just roll everything against the attribute you'd base the skill on instead. Effectively you have as many different skills as your game has attributes. This worked OK back before all games *had* skill lists, and still should.
I wouldn't say it worked OK. I'd call it a constant problem that was improved massively by adding skills to games.
Donny Brook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 07:21 AM   #18
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyïv, Ukraine
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I'm not sure I understand the purpose of this effort, but I see downsides.

Certainly in many of the examples given it seems to me that it is possible, and even likely, that a person would have some of the skills within an umbrella and not others. For example the typical maverick litigation lawyer is typically tempermentally unfit for learning a lot of Administration.

On the other hand, I would consider reducing inter-skill defaults by 1 across the board.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I wouldn't say it worked OK. I'd call it a constant problem that was improved massively by adding skills to games.
There are several purposes for it. Here are some that seem to be more common IME:
  • Consolidating skills reduces the chance of having 'orphaned skills' in a campaign - skills that had points spent on them, but never used in-game even though their skill group was relevant. That is, instead of hoping a default or a rare skill comes up, you are essentially guaranteed to use a default-like benefit regarding to a skill-group.
  • The long 200-ish skill list looks intimidating to players, and runs a huge risk of a player missing some skill that was important for a concept, particularly if they for some reason haven't memorised the names and bodies of all those skills.
  • On the contrary to the above, a modest number of consolidated skills means that a character meant to cover a niche will in fact be able to cover said niche. E.g. a street thief will not somehow manage to miss the somewhat-obscure Filch skill, a xenobiologist will not miss Hazardous Materials (Biological) and NBC Suit etc.
  • The current skill list makes skills priced too expensively compared to attributes, but directly reducing skill prices will make achieving high levels too easy. Consolidated skills will instead allow generalists to be priced fairly while preventing cheap 30s.
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
vicky_molokh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 04:35 PM   #19
dataweaver
 
dataweaver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
• Consolidating skills reduces the chance of having 'orphaned skills' in a campaign - skills that had points spent on them, but never used in-game even though their skill group was relevant. That is, instead of hoping a default or a rare skill comes up, you are essentially guaranteed to use a default-like benefit regarding to a skill-group.
I'm not disagreeing with you. But note that nearly every RPG that has consolidated skill lists invariably includes some mechanism for customizing a skill. Fate Core uses Stunts, World of Darkness games use Specialties, and so on. Clearly, a raw list of 30ish skills and nothing else is going to be insufficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
• The long 200-ish skill list looks intimidating to players, and runs a huge risk of a player missing some skill that was important for a concept, particularly if they for some reason haven't memorised the names and bodies of all those skills.
Relating this to the aforementioned customization tools, you'll likely note that the list of Specialties in Exalted brings the effective length of the skill list up into the 200ish range; but most people don't notice because (a) you're rarely looking at double-digit Specialties at a time, (b) they're always thematically grouped by the skill they're associated with, and (c) they're usually optional, in that they make you better at something the skill already lets you do rather than enabling you to do sommething that you wouldn't be able to do without them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
• On the contrary to the above, a modest number of consolidated skills means that a character meant to cover a niche will in fact be able to cover said niche. E.g. a street thief will not somehow manage to miss the somewhat-obscure Filch skill, a xenobiologist will not miss Hazardous Materials (Biological) and NBC Suit etc.
This strikes me as a strong argument for breaking out Template Toolkit 1 and referencing its section on Challenges and Niches, where a major purpose is ensuring that a given Niche properly covers the Challenges that it's supposed to cover. Granted, it was written with the standard skill list in mind; but it really could be used to generate a viable consolidated skill list by starting with the list of Challenges and then engaging in somme minor lumping and splitting.

Bringing this around to the customization tools that I’ve been talking about, the section about Splitting Challenges could be referenced when coming up with customizations for a skill when they're not being used to adjust the skill list itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
• The current skill list makes skills priced too expensively compared to attributes, but directly reducing skill prices will make achieving high levels too easy. Consolidated skills will instead allow generalists to be priced fairly while preventing cheap 30s.
And customization tools likewise help keep the costs down. In particular, there are cases in regular GURPS where a single entry on the skill list actually refers to several skills that must be purchased separately; on a consolidated skill list, I'd prefer that such several-skills-in-one entries be converted into a single skill with an initial requirement to select a narrow focus for the skill paired with a customization option that lets you expand its scope.

Using Fate as an example, I could see having a Science Skill that requires you to choose one field of expertise when you select it, but then lets you use Stunts to add more fields of expertise. For instance, a biologist who also studies physics would use the same Science skill for both.
__________________
Point balance is a myth.[1][2][3][4]
dataweaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 04:48 PM   #20
trooper6
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Medford, MA
Default Re: Alternate GURPS: Seeking a minimalistic (25-50) skill list . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
There are several purposes for it. Here are some that seem to be more common IME:
  • Consolidating skills reduces the chance of having 'orphaned skills' in a campaign - skills that had points spent on them, but never used in-game even though their skill group was relevant. That is, instead of hoping a default or a rare skill comes up, you are essentially guaranteed to use a default-like benefit regarding to a skill-group.
  • The long 200-ish skill list looks intimidating to players, and runs a huge risk of a player missing some skill that was important for a concept, particularly if they for some reason haven't memorised the names and bodies of all those skills.
  • On the contrary to the above, a modest number of consolidated skills means that a character meant to cover a niche will in fact be able to cover said niche. E.g. a street thief will not somehow manage to miss the somewhat-obscure Filch skill, a xenobiologist will not miss Hazardous Materials (Biological) and NBC Suit etc.
  • The current skill list makes skills priced too expensively compared to attributes, but directly reducing skill prices will make achieving high levels too easy. Consolidated skills will instead allow generalists to be priced fairly while preventing cheap 30s.

As a "many skill" GM...these just haven't been a problem for me in my campaigns.

Point 1) No skill will be orphaned. This happens because a) my players will find ways to use their skills. b) I keep note of skills used and make sure than unused skills find opportunities for use. Doing this results in much more interesting campaigns and encounters because it pulls me out of familiar patterns as a GM and trying to figure out an interesting opportunity to use that character's Professional Skill: Sommelier is a great challenge for me as a GM.

Point 2) My players aren't intimidated by a 200 long list of skills because I do all character creation one on one. We have a lovely conversation about character concept and then we go and get the skills that match that concept. If they are super GURPSy they can do it themselves. If they enjoy pursuing skill lists (some players do), they can do that. But we can also just have a conversation. No intimidation.

Point 3) Because we have a conversation about concept, the player is not going to have missed any skill in their concept because checking in on that is my job as GM. If for some reason we both miss something and it comes up in play, all the player has to say is..."Dang! We both overlooked Filch! I totally would have had that skill based on my character concept!" Then I say, "You are right, that was my fault for not thinking about it. Take the skill at one point and you can pay for it with your cps later." But I think that has only happened once or twice in all of my GMing.

Point 4) This just hasn't been that much of a problem. Especially character creation is so much concept driven rather than optimization driven in my campaigns. Also we use Talents. And also I use floating skills to other attributes and to 10 quite often and I use familiarity penalties so spending points in skills is often very useful.

Now, I know there are people who don't like lots of skills. Good for them! They can just use fewer skills. Heck, I offered a solution where everyone just has 3 skills that they define themselves and everything is super simple.

But some people like lots of skills. I am one of them...and players have tended to be as well.
trooper6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
alternate gurps, house rule, skills

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.