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Old 02-17-2020, 10:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Realistic Wildcard Skills

While Wildcard Skills can be quite cinematic, there are people whose breathe of knowledge (and luck) approach the capabilities of Wildcard Skills (or whose attributes and/or talents allow for similar results). In essence, Wildcard Skills are not necessarily unrealistic, just that some of them are very broad, meaning that there is no particular reason to forbid them in a realistic campaign as long as they are limited.

For Wildcard Skill use in a realistic game, I would suggest the following changes:

1. Realistic characters cannot have more than one Wildcard Skill (there is a limit to how versatile a relalistic character can reasonably be).

2. Realistic characters can only spend up to 24 CP on their Wildcard Skill, effectively capped at (Attribute).

3. Realistic characters may purchase the component skills beyond the Wildcard Skill as if their default equalled their Wildcard Skill.

4. Realistic characters add any bonuses from advantages (such as Talents) to the die roll of a component skill when using the default from their Wildcard Skill.

So, would you allow Wildcard Skills in a realistic campaign with those four changes?
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Realistic Wildcard Skills

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
So, would you allow Wildcard Skills in a realistic campaign with those four changes?
Nah, extra complexity for IMO no gain.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Realistic Wildcard Skills

The main change I'd make would be to go with double cost instead of triple cost; the latter puts far too many Wildcard Skills at a disadvantage vs. Talents and requires extra benefits such as hyper-competence to make them worthwhile. On the other hand, I wouldn't allow things like hyper-competence to be applied to the cheaper version of a Wildcard Skill; the only benefit you'd get would be the access to a wide range of skills without having to buy them individually.
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Realistic Wildcard Skills

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
So, would you allow Wildcard Skills in a realistic campaign with those four changes?
Pretty much, no. The only way I consider using Wildcard skills is as a shorthand skill for extremely complex or convoluted character builds.

"I'm playing the starship engineer, and I know I'm going to miss some of the skills I'll need."
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Realistic Wildcard Skills

I honestly don't see the interest.

I use wildcard skills

- for one shots and demonstration games, to shorten the skill list. In those case, the cp cost is often irrelevant.

-for character whose concept ask for the versatility or scope of wildcard skills. This includes both realistic and cinematic games.
I see no reason to limit them, to be honest.
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:04 AM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Realistic Wildcard Skills

Exactly what wildcard skills do has been a subject of debate since the playtests of the 3e books that first introduced them (as The Sword! and Science!). The major opinions are

* they substitute exactly for the list of included skills. This form should work fine in a realistic game, but all it does is save you a few points. Other players who actually did pay full costs for their skills may object.

* they allow you to roll for anything related to the theme. The included skill list is just suggestive, there will be other things they cover and conversely there can be times you can roll against one of the included skills you [cannot] roll against the Wildcard. This works fine in a realistic game. But it's effectively just a new skill, particularly if you lean heavily on that doesn't cover everything the included skills might. You need to watch out you don't create ones so narrow that an Expert or Professional skill would do everything they do for cheaper.

* they do one of the two above, plus allow you to pull off cinematic or otherwise "impossible" feats of some sort. This form won't work well in a realistic game, because most of what you are paying for is the cinematic capabilities it won't buy you there.

The original writeup of Science! leaned toward the first, the original writeup of The Sword! leaned toward the third, with the second as the way it treated the skills aspect. The 4e Basic Set description leans toward the first, the more fleshed out Power Ups versions toward the other options. It's largely going to be a matter of which Wildcard! skills you allow and how much of the impossible stuff you are going to rule cannot work at your chosen level of "realistic" whether or not they'll fit it. If one does fit, I don't actually see any reason you should cap its level.

Incidentally if your actual goal is to enable that "luck" you were talking about, Wildcard skills are probably not the best approach. Either Luck with a limitation (a specific theme is Aspected -20% and I allow Single Skill -60%), or saving a couple points for buying success (I personally allow you to pre-buy a success in a limited theme for 1 point, it'll convert any failure or critical failure to a success by 3) may reflect that better.
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