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Old 11-21-2021, 06:25 PM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Professional skill seem cheap

Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Professional skills are cheap placeholders for "skills some character might have for a job but won't be useful in adventures."
And probably not the only skill a typical professional would have, at that.

GURPS has a very fine-grained skill system. Few professions, including the adventuring ones, would just have a single skill, jacked as high as possible to reflect expertise. They'll have a number of other related skills and supporting skills.

As others have mentioned, the Wildcard skill optional rule (sometimes called "bang skills" on the forums) are meant to help in games that don't want that kind of detail in the skill list. Such games might prefer skills named after roles, like Detective! or Soldier! (not to be confused with the normal Soldier skill). They're expensive -- triple cost, so as much as 24 points per level -- but they cover a wide variety of tasks, anything their role would be expected to do. See the box on B175. They're particularly good for games where the table likes everything to keep moving, roll and shout!, and don't worry about the details.

The chief drawback of Wildcard skills is that omnicompetence, an inability to reflect being good at some things but not others. Science! turns the character into The Professor from Gilligan's Island, or Spock from Star Trek. It's hard for that one skill to represent being good at all the hard sciences but none of the soft, for instance. It becomes hard to tell two similar characters apart, or reflect individual areas of expertise and varying ability within those sets of professional skills. You can always split the wildcards into, say, Hard Science! and Soft Science! if you want -- but that's headed to finer granularity and even higher cost. It takes fiddling to get the list exactly where you want it, and that division probably won't be the same from genre to genre or game to game. (Just another example of the "GURPS is a toolkit" idea.)
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