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Old 06-24-2010, 10:41 PM   #1
Crakkerjakk
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Default [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

So, I have some problems with the GURPS skill system. I like the granularity, but find tracking the various skills that I think are required for a complete character to be a chore. Heck, the Barbarian template from DF has 24 skills, despite missing several of Kromm's "Strongly recommended for action heroes" skills. And the character sheet in the back of the book only comes with 25 lines to list skills!

The three current RAW skill systems are the standard skill system in the Basic Set, the skill system in GURPS Lite, and Wildcard skills. The system in the basic set is too granular for some of my players and is a pain to get on a character sheet, as mentioned. The GURPS Lite skills (84 in total) is closer to the number I think is manageable, but has some holes in it. Wildcard skills are okay for superhero or more cinematic pulp games, but rapidly become uneconomical if you're buying more than one. Plus, they go a little too far for what I had in mind, completely throwing granularity out the window.

Anyway, my tweak had several design goals. First, allow the people who like the way the system currently is to retain the granularity of the current skill system without compromising their effectiveness. Second, allow those who think that 256 skills before counting specializations is too many access to a streamlined list of skills, while retaining some element of balance with the more detail oriented. Finally, attempt to remain within the confines of the current rule system as much as possible.
  1. The first step was eliminating what I view as redundant skills. Some skills are better represented as techniques of other skills, as specializations of other skills, or as worked examples of a expert, hobby, or professional skill, IMO. These were simply struck from the skill lists, still purchasable if vital to a character concept but no longer cluttering up the list.
  2. The second step was to harness the power of specialties. Basically you can cut down a lot of clutter if instead of three specialties of Driving on the sheet you can just put down Driving. So almost all of the skills with required specializations are a difficulty class higher and no longer require a specialization.
  3. Finally, some skills were packaged into even broader higher difficulty skills. An additional difficulty of skill, Extremely Hard, was added to accommodate skills like Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, etc. These are just a step past Very Hard, with 1 point giving you the skill at attribute-4. This means that they cost 12 points just to bring up to the level of attributes, meaning that at a reasonable human level of attributes they do tend to be expensive enough not to be too good of a deal, IMO.
So, without further ado, first a list of 57 skills folded into other skills or eliminated:

Code:
Name			Reason
Architecture		Now a specialty of Engineering (Civil)
Body Language	        Skill eliminated.  Detect Lies gets a +2 bonus if you can see your target's body language.
Body Sense		Hard Technique of Acrobatic Movement, default skill -4
Brainwashing		Now a specialty of Psychology
Cartography		Now a specialty of Navigation
Cooking	        	One example of a professional skill
Counterfeiting		Now a specialty of Artist
Cryptography		Now a specialty of Mathematics
Dancing     		Now a specialty of Performance
Enthrallment Skills	These work more like spells than normal skills.  Move them elsewhere.
Esoteric Medicine	Skill eliminated.  This is just a different name for Physician/TL1-4
Exorcism	        	Now a specialty of Religious Ritual.
Falconry	        	One example of a Sport skill for hunting, Animal Handling for training
Farming	        	One example of a professional skill
Fast-Draw	        	Weapon skill-specific Average technique, default skill -4
Filch		        	Skill eliminated.  Roll v. Sleight of Hand
Fire-Eating		Now a specialty of Performance
Fishing      		One example of a hobby skill
Forgery	        	Now a specialty of Artist
Forced Entry		Skill eliminated.  Use appropriate weapon or unarmed skill.
Fortune Telling	        Now a specialty of Performance
Freight Handling	One example of a professional skill
Games			One example of a hobby skill
Gardening  		One example of a hobby skill
Geography		One example of an expert skill
Group Performance	One example of a professional skill
Guns(SMG, Shotgun, Rifle, and LMG)	Replaced by Guns(Longarm), which is for any weapon fired by placing in the shoulder and aiming down the weapon.
Herb Lore	        	Skill eliminated.  This is jusst a different name for Pharmacy(Herbal)/TL1-4
Knot Tying		Skill eliminated.  Subsumed under related skills (Climbing, Sailing, Professional Skill(Boy Scout), etc)
Lance			Skill eliminated.  Use Spear skill capped by Riding
Makeup		        Optional specialty of Disguise
Market Analysis	        One example of a professional skill
Saber			Skill eliminated.  Subsumed under related skills (smallsword, shortsword, broadsword, etc)
Musical Composition	Now a specialty of Artist
Musical Influence	This is simply an Enthrallment skill with an instument
Packing     		One example of a professional skill
Panhandling		Skill eliminated.  Use influence skills instead.  Which depends on the beggar's aproach.
Parachuting		Now a specialty of piloting
Parry Missile Weaps	Hard Technique of any weapon skill, defaults to skill -4
Photography		One example of a professional skill
Pickpocket	        	Now a specialty of Sleight of Hand
Poetry			Now a specialty of Artist
Poisons     		Now a specialty of Pharmacy
Politics      		One example of a professional skill
Propoganda		One example of a professional skill
Prospecting		One example of a professional skill
SCUBA      		Now a specialty of Submarine
Sewing      		One example of a hobby skill
Singing     		Now a specialty of Performance
Soldier			One (very common) example of a professional skill
Speed-Reading	        Skill eliminated.  Now a perk.  Roll v. IQ to see if you recall what you read.
Sports			One example of a professional skill
Stage Combat		Now a specialty of Performance
Thrown Weapon	Skill eliminated .  This is just a specialty of Throwing
Typing			One example of a hobby skill
Urban Survival   	Now a specialty of Survival
Vetriloquism		Now a specialty of Mimicry
With those out of the way, some new super-skills were created to fold multiple skills under a larger, more difficult skill.

Agile Movement (DX/VH) contains Acrobatics, Aerobatics, Aquabatics, and Climbing.
Atheletics (HT/VH) contains Breath Control, Flight, Hiking, Jumping, Lifting, Running, and Swimming.
Business (IQ/VH) contains Accouting, Finance, Administration, and Merchant.
Computers (IQ/EH) contains Computer Hacking, Computer Programming, and Computer Operation.
Crafting (IQ/VH) contains Armoury, Jeweler, Mechanic, Smith, Electrician, Machinist, Carpentry, Leatherworking, and Masonry.
Electronics (IQ/VH) contains Electronics Operation and Electronics Repair.
Humanities (IQ/EH) contains Artist, History, Philosophy, Theology, Connoisseur, and Literature.
Investigation (IQ/VH) contains Detect Lies, Forensics, Observation, and Search.
Medicine (IQ/EH) contains Pharmacy, Physiology, Surgery, Diagnosis, and Physician.
Natural Sciences (IQ/EH) contains Biology, Paleontology, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Metallurgy, and Meteorology.
Persuade (IQ/VH) contains Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Interrogation, Intimidation, Savior-Faire, Sex Appeal, and Streetwise.
Social Sciences (IQ/VH) contains Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Linguistics, Psychology, and Sociology.
Sneaking (DX/H) contains Disguise, Shadowing, Smuggling, and Stealth.

Some skills DO retain the need to specialize. They are:

Hidden Lore
Musical Instrument
Religious Ritual
Ritual Magic
Symbol Drawing

A note on melee weapon skills.

I always found it silly that my skill dropped four points if I used both hands to swing my Broadsword. Hence, you may now take the weapon categories listed under Melee Weapon (B208) as skills one difficulty class higher than the hardest skill within that class. You can take Fencing (DX/H), Flails (DX/VH), Impact Weapons (DX/H), Pole Weapons (DX/H), Swords (DX/H), and Whips (DX/VH).

So, at the end of all this, what do we end up with?

The new skill list is at ~120 skills. The DF barbarian can be built with ~18 skills if someone so chooses, and if they go that route they'll be more broadly competent but at a lower skill level than the person who chooses to specialize.

I've uploaded an .ods file to my site (link is in the sig) that has lists of skills from the Basic Set, GURPS Lite, an expanded list of skills (though not with all the optional specialties from basic entered) and the compressed list.

So, at the end of this, aside from presenting this work for others to use, I'd love some constructive criticism. If you think that RAW is just fine, please don't post just to say that. But if you think a skill I turned into a technique should be a specialty, or vice versa, or that one super-skill is too powerful for the cost, or if this gimps certain types of players, or doesn't meet my design goals, I'd love to hear your thoughts. This hasn't been playtested at all (although I have a game starting up that will probably use it) so there are almost certainly some flaws.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Last edited by Crakkerjakk; 06-24-2010 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

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Body Language Skill eliminated. Detect Lies gets a +2 bonus if you can see your target's body language.
[snip]
Fast-Draw Weapon skill-specific Average technique, default skill -4
I don't get these two.

I can imagine a person who can easily draw a weapon but is terrible at using it (but I guess it wouldn't turn up too much).

Body Language has uses other than helping you to detect lies. Gauging feelings is a useful skill in its own right.


Other than that I really like it, especially axing Herb Lore and Esoteric Medicine.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:06 PM   #3
Crakkerjakk
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

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I can imagine a person who can easily draw a weapon but is terrible at using it (but I guess it wouldn't turn up too much).
I figure you should design for the most general case. The majority of people who are quick on the draw can also shoot, and most guys who are good shots will have practiced drawing fast. I just think it's something highly skilled opponents should be able to do without cluttering up the character sheet. If you want to represent the guy from burning saddles, you can always buy up the technique a whole bunch and take an Incompetence (Shooting) quirk.

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Body Language has uses other than helping you to detect lies. Gauging feelings is a useful skill in its own right.
Slap those uses onto detect lies too. My eyeball was that Body Language was pretty much Detect Lies, but easier because you have to be able to see the person to use it. Since I was ruthlessly eliminating skills, redundant uses means they get combined into one skill.

Course, I've always thought there should be a more elegant way to manage all the unarmed combat skills, but I was afraid messing with that would mean you couldn't use Martial Arts without some serious head-scratching, so I left em.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

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I can imagine a person who can easily draw a weapon but is terrible at using it (but I guess it wouldn't turn up too much).
Because it's a technique, a character could improve it up to (default+4) by taking the Technique Mastery perk. Could represent someone who spends all their time practicing their draw, rather than their aim.

Overall I like this idea of streamlining the skill list.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

Feedback if you want...

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Fishing One example of a hobby skill
Don't you mean professional skill?
Hobby fishing is to real fishing as a flower garden is to farming.
Gardening is small scale farming, not a hobby, but could easily be a farming specialization.

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Forced Entry Skill eliminated. Use appropriate weapon or unarmed skill.
Do you mean some sort of technique?
It is something specifically trained for.


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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Lance Skill eliminated. Use Spear skill capped by Riding
Do you mean a spear technique with a Riding requirement?
Again specifically trained for.


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Parachuting Now a specialty of piloting
Um, piloting?

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SCUBA Now a specialty of
Submarine
Huh?

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Sewing One example of a hobby skill
Sewing is a profession, not a hobby.



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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Agile Movement (DX/VH) contains Acrobatics, Aerobatics, Aquabatics, and Climbing.
Can't see how Climbing fits there, if you took it out I'd say that was a fine DX/H skill.

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Athletics (HT/VH) contains Breath Control, Flight, Hiking, Jumping, Lifting, Running, and Swimming.
Um, making everyone automatically able to swim wouldn't work for me at all.

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Business (IQ/VH) contains Accounting, Finance, Administration, and Merchant.
Might even work fine as IQ/H Expert Skill

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Computers (IQ/EH) contains Computer Hacking, Computer Programming, and Computer Operation.
IQ/H again, at most IQ/VH

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Crafting (IQ/VH) contains Armoury, Jeweler, Mechanic, Smith, Electrician, Machinist, Carpentry, Leatherworking, and Masonry.
A bit messed up pairing DX and IQ skills together like that...

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Electronics (IQ/VH) contains Electronics Operation and Electronics Repair.
IQ/H Expert Skill

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Humanities (IQ/EH) contains Artist, History, Philosophy, Theology, Connoisseur, and Literature.
IQ/H Expert Skill

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Medicine (IQ/EH) contains Pharmacy, Physiology, Surgery, Diagnosis, and Physician.
IQ/VH is fine.

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Natural Sciences (IQ/EH) contains Biology, Paleontology, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Metallurgy, and Meteorology.
IQ/VH

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Sneaking (DX/H) contains Disguise, Shadowing, Smuggling, and Stealth.
Smuggling? I'd just put that one into the professional skills.

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You can take Fencing (DX/H), Flails (DX/VH), Impact Weapons (DX/H), Pole Weapons (DX/H), Swords (DX/H), and Whips (DX/VH).
Hm, I'd say you'd want to separate out Unbalanced vs Balanced Weapons.
Fencing and Swords default at -2 from each other?

Other than my above comments, I think it's reasonable, don't bother with EH, not worth it.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:00 AM   #6
Crakkerjakk
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

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Feedback if you want...
Thanks, I do appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Don't you mean professional skill?
Hobby fishing is to real fishing as a flower garden is to farming.
Gardening is small scale farming, not a hobby, but could easily be a farming specialization.
Fishing is Per/E, professional skills are Attribute/A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Do you mean some sort of technique?
It is something specifically trained for.
Sure, I'd allow a technique. Maybe even just a skill-specific perk for getting a damage bonus hitting inanimate objects out of combat. Mainly, I just don't think people spend enough time on it to justify a skill, and I figure using a weapon or unarmed skill + telegraphed + AoA is good enough.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Do you mean a spear technique with a Riding requirement?
Again specifically trained for.
I was thinking it was just something that people who knew how to use spears and how to ride could do, for the most part. You might get a few exceptions, and you might end up with some knights that are surprisingly good with a spear when dismounted. I hadn't considered that. Hmm... I think allowing a technique that allows you to exceed spear skill only when mounted seems okay.

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Um, piloting?
Figured it wasn't that different from piloting a glider or landing with a flight pack.

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Huh?
Figured it was close enough to Free Flooding Sub for gov'mint work. Unfortunately I overlooked the fact that Submarine is DX/A, not IQ/A.

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Sewing is a profession, not a hobby.
Sewing is an easy skill, thus a hobby skill

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Can't see how Climbing fits there, if you took it out I'd say that was a fine DX/H skill.
Acrobatics is DX/H, in order for it to stay balanced it needs to be more difficult. And yeah, Climbing should probably come out.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Um, making everyone automatically able to swim wouldn't work for me at all.
It's not automatic. You can still take the skills separately just like in RAW. But if you want a short-hand for "Athletic mofo" you can just take the Athletics skill. If you want shorthand for "Athletic mofo that can't swim," take Athletics and Incompetence(Swimming)[-1].

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Might even work fine as IQ/H Expert Skill
Accounting and Finance are already Hard skills. Need to up the difficulty to not make Business blatantly better.

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IQ/H again, at most IQ/VH
Computer Hacking is already VH.

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A bit messed up pairing DX and IQ skills together like that...
Leatherworking is the only DX skill. Honestly I just assumed it was IQ along with all the other crafting skills, and I think I'd be okay with changing it so that was the case.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
IQ/H Expert Skill
The specializations are A, so individually each of them are H, combining both into one skill should be harder. I also thought about throwing in Electrician to make it a bit better of a deal.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
IQ/H Expert Skill
Artist, History, Philosophy, and Theology are all Very Hard skills once you strip the requirement for specialization from them. It's definitely an EH skill.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
IQ/VH is fine.
Pharmacy, Physiology, and Surgery are all VH skills. Needs to be more difficult to stay balanced.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
IQ/VH
Biology, Paleontology, and Physics are all VH skills.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Smuggling? I'd just put that one into the professional skills.
The way it is now, someone with Sneaking can make themselves up to look like a turnip farmer, sneak some weapons past the front gate of the city in their wagon o' turnips, and then ghost around the city till they find the guy they're supposed to assassinate, and follow him back to his meeting place with the other guys they're supposed to whack. I think it fits.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Hm, I'd say you'd want to separate out Unbalanced vs Balanced Weapons.
Which unbalanced v. balanced? In pole weapons? Might be a good idea. What does that leave, polearms in one pile, spear and staff in the other?

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Fencing and Swords default at -2 from each other?
I might even go as far as -4. I mean, you can use a rapier with the broadsword skill, but if you're used to using a broadsword I think it'd be a bit of a stretch to fight like a fencer.

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Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Other than my above comments, I think it's reasonable, don't bother with EH, not worth it.
It's necessary to make the super-skills balanced with the VH skills they incorperate. But I do thank you for taking the time to run through and comment. You made some good points.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:33 AM   #7
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Computer Hacking is already VH.
I would pull Computer Hacking out of that skill package, on the grounds that it's harder than the rest and blatantly cinematic. You might even want to do away with it entirely, like you do for Esoteric Medicine and Exorcism - it's an application of Computer Programming, Cryptography and Expert Skill (Computer Security).
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

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Fishing is Per/E, professional skills are Attribute/A
Sewing is an easy skill, thus a hobby skill
Heh, I'm just objecting to the nomenclature of calling them hobbies, they should be E Professional skills.

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Figured it wasn't that different from piloting a glider or landing with a flight pack.
Parachuting is closer to Flying, no?

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Acrobatics is DX/H, in order for it to stay balanced it needs to be more difficult. And yeah, Climbing should probably come out.
Well, thing is you either say it's DX/H with Aerobatics, Aquabatics techniques, or you have it as DX/VH and most every player who takes it will take Incompetence(Aerobatics, Aquabatics)[-2] to make up for the wasted points.

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
It's not automatic. You can still take the skills separately just like in RAW. But if you want a short-hand for "Athletic mofo" you can just take the Athletics skill. If you want shorthand for "Athletic mofo that can't swim," take Athletics and Incompetence(Swimming)[-1].
I can see a lot of Incompetences getting listed...

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Accounting and Finance are already Hard skills. Need to up the difficulty to not make Business blatantly better.
This is where Hard techniques come in.

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Computer Hacking is already VH.
It's also listed as Cinematic, not a real skill.



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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
The specializations are A, so individually each of them are H, combining both into one skill should be harder. I also thought about throwing in Electrician to make it a bit better of a deal.
Expert Skills are setting specific, if you're simplifying skills it's a valid way of doing things.

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Artist, History, Philosophy, and Theology are all Very Hard skills once you strip the requirement for specialization from them. It's definitely an EH skill.

[...]

Pharmacy, Physiology, and Surgery are all VH skills. Needs to be more difficult to stay balanced.

[...]

Biology, Paleontology, and Physics are all VH skills.
How much utility are they really worth in your games?
If you're reducing skill numbers, are the skills left really worth a premium beyond VH?

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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Which unbalanced v. balanced? In pole weapons? Might be a good idea. What does that leave, polearms in one pile, spear and staff in the other?
Yeah, there was a recent thread about that, Revisiting Talents for Combat:
Lance, Polearm, Spear, Staff would work for balanced.
Axe/Mace, Flail, Polearm, Two-Handed Axe/Mace, Two-Handed Flail would work for unbalanced.

You just have to keep an eye on when it's a balanced vs unbalanced Polearm.

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I might even go as far as -4. I mean, you can use a rapier with the broadsword skill, but if you're used to using a broadsword I think it'd be a bit of a stretch to fight like a fencer.
Meh, you can use a broadsword like a rapier too, it's a pain, but you can do it, it's mostly just an issue of getting used to different stances when switching between styles.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

I've juggled the Skill Lists, looked at related Skills and Defaults, etc a fair bit, and I've considered some similar things, but nothing so drastic.

A GM should be reviewing the Skill List and defining the allowed skills for any particular campaign, along with any specific skill amendments. The DF Skill List has 149 skills (down from the full 270+, and pretty close to your 120).

Shifting closely related skills with good defaults to a single Primary Skill and optional Techniques or Specialisations seems like a reasonable idea.

Several skills could be changed to Professional or Hobby quite easily, but I'd agree with Ze'Manel Cunha about some of your choices between Professional and Hobby. Then again, Professional and Hobby are more 'labels' and the real distinction is Easy vs. Average difficulty.

Combining all of the Influence Skills into a single Persuade skill seems like a bad idea to me. How are you going to deal with the distinct special effects of the different influence skills, in particular the fact that use of the Diplomacy skill mean no worse than Neutral reaction?

I suspect you might also need to give some specific consideration to Talents and the effect your changes will have on their cost/benefit. Some of your 'Super Skills' are pretty close to Talents, and some Talents are only going to have 1 or 2 skills now.

You could simply drop Jumping and Lifting (and possibly others) and simply use the standard Attribute based rules - Jumping is based on Move and/or DX and Lifting rolls against ST.

Some specifics:
- Urban Survival as a Survival Specialisation seems reasonable, but the defaults are entirely different (none for Urban!)
- Esoteric Medicine is not just low-TL Physician, Chinese Medecine (among many others) coexists alongside Physician in our TL - perhaps it should be a Specialisation of Physician, with little or no defaults.
- Economics might be better as a 'Business' skill alongside Finance and Accounting, rather than a 'Social Sciences' skill.

Fast-Draw off Weapon Skill seems like a good idea, but what would Kromm's Fast-Draw (Rose) base off?

I think you also need to be careful not to cut some Niches down too much, Thief might have been reduced a little too much by your choices (I haven't checked, so it might be just fine). And Face Man from Action will certainly suffer from the loss of distinction on the Influence skills.

I'd also agree that you need to be careful rolling Physical (DX, HT) and Mental (IQ, Per, Will) skills together, but one or two shouldn't be any real problem.

I think anything like this has 2 important considerations:
1) Campaign Specifics - different campaigns may have different requirements, and rolling some skills together for one campaign might be fine, but would hurt another campaign considerably.
2) GM Style - If as a GM your games have less social interaction where the Influence skills make a difference, then by all means roll them together. If you have less of the gritty breaking and entering, pickpocket, crime action, then the Thief skills might not need to be as distinct.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: [House Rules] Crakkerjakk's Reduced Skill List

I commend this kind of thinking but I think skill granularity is part of the GURPS gameplay philosophy. For example, a police procedural will have a number of investigators who have different methods of investigation, some scientific forensics, some mundane clue analysis, some face-to-face interviewing, some database research, some following the suspects etc. The Investigate skill stomps on too much of this difference whereas the natural science skills aren't that important. However, Investigate would be fine in, say, a space exploration where an investigator is just one of a broader team but the natural sciences are more commonly used. That is granularity and redundancy depends on the campaign.

That is, a universal list either has skills that are too granular in some campaigns or too coarse in others. Now, you could switch each individual super-skill on or off, depending on the campaign. There is another problem that the usefulness of a skill depends on the campaign. Natural Science could be essential in a Star Trek style exploration, useless in a political intrigue, or somewhere in between for, say, a frontier trading game. You could reduce the difficulty of super-skills by two steps for campaigns where the GM deems it not so useful but not useless.

I have taken a different approach in my house rules, emphasising usefulness. Depending on the campaign, the GM chooses amalgamations of less useful skills, making it cheaper to be proficient in a set of less useful skills.
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